Skip to main content

Bigelow Aerospace's Inflatable Space Station Idea (Photos)

Bigelow Space Module Concepts

Bigelow Aerospace.

This layout released by the Las Vegas, Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace shows the size relations between the firm's various planned inflatable spacecraft. At top is Genesis 2, a near-identical follow on to the Genesis 1 module, that flew in 2007.

Bigelow Aerospace Aims for an International Market

Bigelow Aerospace

Hang Time in Earth orbit courtesy of Bigelow Aerospace expandable modules. The company unveiled a business plan to populate space with habitable complexes for international space agencies and multinational corporations.

Bigelow Aerospace's Space Vision

Bigelow Aerospace

Bigelow Aerospace has planned a series of inflatable structure tests in space. Plan is to evolve testing and hardware to establish the Nautilus outpost in Earth orbit.

Building Up Infrastructure

Bigelow Aerospace

Construction is under way at Bigelow Aerospace in North Las Vegas, a building to crank out expandable habitats.

Boeing CST-100 Approaching Bigelow Space Station

Boeing

This artist's illustration depicts a Boeing CST-100 spacecraft approaching a private inflatable space station complex designed by Bigelow Aerospace.

Commercial Space Stations

Bigelow Aerospace

Despite being a feat of engineering and research, the International Space Station's days are numbered, with some estimates aiming between 2014 to 2020 for its end of operations. But Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, Nev., hopes to build new inflatable space stations like that shown above for commercial uses ranging from tourism to research and other fields.

Bigelow Aerospace's Sundancer

Bigelow Aerospace.

Bigelow Aerospace Sundancer module is designed to be capable of supporting crews in Earth orbit.

Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM)

NASA/Bill Ingalls

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is seen during a media briefing where NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and President and founder of Bigelow Aerospace Robert T. Bigelow announced that BEAM will join the International Space Station to test expandable space habitat technology, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 at Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas.

Bigelow BEAM Contract

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and President and founder of Bigelow Aerospace Robert T. Bigelow talk while standing next to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) during a media briefing where is was announced that the BEAM expandable space habitat technology will be tested on the International Space Station, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 in Las Vegas.

Lori Garver Speaks About Bigelow BEAM Contract

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and President and founder of Bigelow Aerospace Robert T. Bigelow, announce a planned addition to the International Space Station that will use the orbiting laboratory to test expandable space habitat technology during a press conference held at Bigelow Aerospace on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 in Las Vegas.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.