A day afterlaunching into orbit, the privately-built Genesis 2 expandable modulesuccessfully relayed high-resolution images taken on June 29 during on-orbitcheckout procedures.
The twopictures confirmed the operation of the inflatable module?s camera systemfollowed by download to the Mission Operations center for the Las Vegas, Nevada-basedspaceflight firm Bigelow Aerospace. The testing will continue as the groundteam perfects the acquisition of the Genesis 2 signal.
A camera onthe interior of Genesis 2 captures a test image of the expansive spacecreated by the inflation technology. In this early stage of checkout, thisimage was taken without all the spacecraft interior lighting turned on.
A picture on the endof one of the aft solar arrays looks toward the midsection of Genesis 2 aswell as the forward solar panels.
Genesis 2 is the second inflatable module launched by Bigelow Aerospace as aprototype for future commercial space stations in Earth orbit. The U.S. firm launchedits firstspacecraft Genesis 1 in July 2006, which remains operational today.
An ISCKosmotras Dnepr rocket launchedGenesis 2 into space on June 28. The 15-foot (4.4-meter) module inflatablemodule is designed to expand to a diameter of about eight feet (2.54 meters)and carries 22 onboard cameras to relay scenes from both inside and outside thespacecraft. Personal items from paying customers, a ?Biobox? with scorpions,ants and cockroaches, and a Space Bingo game are tucked inside the spacecraftas cargo.
Genesis 2is also outfitted with two exterior projection systems designed to demonstratethe casting of messages onto the spacecraft's exterior "for ad purposes orjust for fun," according to Robert Bigelow, head of the space company.
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- VIDEO: More on Bigelow Aerospace's Inflatable Modules and Space News TV.
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Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as Space.com's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He was received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.