BSO is planning to launch two inflatable modules called B330-1 and B330-2, which will measure 55 feet in length respectively.
Next up are Bigelow's B330 line of stations, advertised as "fully autonomous standalone space stations".
The launch of BSO is hot on the heels of recent news the Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a privately-funded enterprise from 2025. The densely packed modules launch on a rocket and then inflate once in space, providing more overall volume for astronauts to roam around. These stations could orbit Earth or the moon, and they could even be set up on the lunar surface, Bigelow has said.
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Manber opined to the contrary that United States companies should be able to take advantage of Chinese commercial space activities, adding the caveat that engaging could come at the cost of safeguarding American technology.
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"We intend to spend millions this year drilling down to a conclusion one way or another, what will the global market look like?"
A public meeting of the White House National Space Council on commercial space and regulatory reform held on February 21 saw divergent views on how to react to the rise of China's space programme. "They are offering very attractive terms and conditions and features that the commercial sector is going to have a terrible time trying to compete with", he said. If Bigelow can't scrounge up clients (no thanks to competition from global space programs), it may choose to ditch the B330 missions altogether. "That's a huge disadvantage that exists today". "I get an uneasy feeling that there is not a plan, there is not something in place, to actually embrace all of the partners" for commercial LEO operations, he said.
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Bigelow's BEAM capsule attached to the International Space Station.
Despite the market uncertainty, Bigelow Aerospace is proceeding with the construction of its first two B330 modules.
"Russia and China are each developing counterspace capabilities to use during a potential future conflict with the United States to reduce U.S. and allied advantage and effectiveness, eroding our information advantage", Gordon said.
To carry out that market study and other work, Bigelow Space Operations plans to grow to three or four dozen employees by the end of the year. "We would pause after developing the two B-330s, they would be sitting on the ground waiting for deployment, if in fact the business weren't there".
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The stations wouldn't just be for US government use, Bigelow anticipates the new company will help other countries develop their space programs, and envisages a "huge" corporation market, Fox News reported. BSO is officially a user of the ISS National Lab, and will be facilitating the integration of payloads for commercial, academic and government customers.