Bigelow establishes company to market its private space stations


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Capitalism in space: Bigelow Aerospace yesterday established a marketing company to research and find potential customers for its private space stations.

“You’ll need deep pockets if you’re interested in staying aboard a Bigelow station; prices will likely run in the ‘low seven figures,'” Bigelow said today. He doesn’t expect tourist jaunts to make up the bulk of his business, however. “What we’ve always anticipated and expected is that we would be very involved in helping foreign countries to establish their human space programs, and be able to facilitate whatever their needs were in whatever context that they wanted to pursue,” he said. “The corporate world, obviously, is huge, and [leveraging] that is also our intent.”

Bigelow already says it will launch to of its large B330 modules in 2021, with another aimed for lunar orbit in 2022. I must note that the 2021 launch date appears to be year later then earlier announcements.

Share

2 comments

  • Anthony Domanico

    I wonder if there is a lot of room for improvement in the price if he moved from the traditional model to the more vertically integrated New Space model. I think Bigelow has said they only make half of the parts going into their space stations and the other half comes from the $traditional$ aerospace suppliers. I don’t know if that’s half by dollar amount or number of parts.

  • Edward

    Anthony Domanico wrote: “I wonder if there is a lot of room for improvement in the price if he moved from the traditional model to the more vertically integrated New Space model.

    The other parts are probably things like solar arrays, electrical distribution units, power storage units, power conditioning units, docking rings, attitude control and other guidance systems, and other systems that are needed for any space station. Going vertical requires a lot of expertise that even large manufacturers of satellites do not have.

    Over time, Bigelow may choose to do better at vertically integrating the business (which is not to be confused with vertical integration of rockets and their payloads), but as a young business they probably cannot afford it right now, possibly struggling financially with the problem of their original hope of having a transport system in 2015 delayed to a 2021 initiation of operations.

    Even SpaceX has outsourced several parts of its rockets, although they keep the engines and major portions of the rocket body in house.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *