Monday, February 13, 2012

Bigelow Waits for Commercial Crew

They also serve who only stand and wait.

— John Milton, "On His Blindness"

Space Florida space reporter James Dean looks at the status of the Bigelow space station as the company waits for commercial crew to begin flights later in the decade.

Underpinning it all is the availability of more affordable transportation to get people to and from Bigelow’s planned private space stations.

And flights once optimistically projected as soon as 2014 or 2015 are now not promised before 2017, in large part because a NASA program supporting development of commercial crew taxis received less than half the money it sought last year.

“Our targets haven’t changed, but they have clearly been slowed a bit as a function of the ability of the Congress and the (Obama) administration to fund the evolution of the commercial crew capability,” Space Florida President Frank DiBello said. “It’s directly tied to that, because you can’t make the market work until you get those commercial cargo and crew capabilities flying on a regular basis.”

The Obama administration last year asked for $850 million for the commercial crew program to accelerate development so NASA could end its reliance on Russia, but Congress appropriated only $406 million.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget will be released today. According to, the administration will ask for $830 million for commercial crew, suggesting another confrontation with Congress over the pace of commercial crew funding.

The article states that Bigelow's space station would have "almost double the habitable volume of the International Space Station."

Bigelow has memoranda of understanding with seven nations to use their station — the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Sweden and Dubai.

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