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Privately built module heading to ISS next year

The competition heats up: An inflatable module, built by the private company Bigelow for NASA, will be launched next year to ISS inside a SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Read that sentence again to savor the reality of two private companies both building and launching this addition to ISS.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Jack

    Just totally cool.

  • DK Williams

    I was amazed by the comment that astronauts aren’t allowed to eat lettuce grown in space. So, what are Martian colonists supposed to eat?

  • Pzatchok

    Its taken NASA years to agree to let a Bigelow module attach to the ISS.

    Bigelow has had a module just like this in space for almost 7 years taking pressure radiation and atmosphere readings. Nasa saying they need to dock one to the station for a few more years of testing before letting anyone use one is BS.
    Its Nasa dragging its feet in order to make themselves look better and private companies look worse. They can’t let private companies do something cheaper, faster and better than they could.
    The dang thing is better armored than the ISS is. Its self sealing. What more do they want? Bullet proof and capable of soft landings?

  • geoffc

    Agreed, NASA is totally stalling. But did you notice the cost for BEAM? $17.8 million? That is a rounding error on SLS or Orion.

    Less than 20 million dollars for a module on the ISS? $20 million would not buy you a single rack on the ISS.

    Yes, of course it is much simpler than anything in terms of equipment, etc. Nonetheless, the Alenia built shells of the ESA and US modules are clearly WAY more than $20 million. Anyone want to bet a single CBM port costs more than that, on the side of one of the Node modules?

  • Kelly Starks

    The folks around here who build these Veggie habs, note their are some “losses” from them before they get shipped down. I.E. the astronauts “sample” the products.


  • Kelly Starks

    Just a nit here – but how do you fit a Bigelow inside a Dragon?? Even their small test ones are to big?

  • Edward

    The embedded video shows that it is stored in the exterior section, the unpressurized cargo-carrier “trunk,” which is exposed to space. Once BEAM is attached, it is expanded/inflated; it is not launched at inflated size. Further, it is not one of Bigelow’s usual habitats but is smaller and sized to fit the station and the cargo ship.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Yes it is ! !

  • Tom Billings

    I’d use the unpressurized stowage behind the capsule, leaving interior pressurized volume for fragile goods. IIRC, there will not be anything vacuum will hurt. Technically, “the trunk” is part of the vehicle, so it’s still in the vehicle.

  • Steve C

    Pity it’s so small. I was just looking at pictures of them testing a prototype of the MMU inside Skylab. It would be nice to have that kind of space on the ISS.

  • Kelly Starks

    Still tiny compared to most of theirs. Oh well.

  • Pzatchok

    Nasa should have accepted the largest one possible.
    Even if its not used for people now, it could at least be used for storage.
    Eventually a Bigalow module could be used for habitation and this one would have already been there and in use.

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