Thursday, July 10, 2014

Astronauts Wanted

Click the arrow to watch a news report about the April 30 Bigelow-Boeing media event in North Las Vegas. Video source: KLAS-TV Channel 8 Las Vegas.

Are you an unemployed astronaut?

Or maybe you're a former astronaut unhappy in your current job.

Maybe you're happy, but you have a thing for balloons.

If you fit any of these descriptions ... Bigelow Aerospace wants to hear from you.

Space News reports that Bigelow has hired former NASA astronauts Kenneth Ham and George Zamka to “form the cornerstone of the private astronaut corps.”

Space News reporter Dan Leone interviewed founder Bob Bigelow by phone.

Bigelow said the smallest space station his company plans to fly will require two BA330 modules, each of which has 330 cubic meters of internal space. The company expects to finish building the first two BA330s by 2017, Bigelow said.

Ham and Zamka are former military aviators who have piloted and commanded space shuttle missions. Their NASA and military credentials are part of the appeal for Bigelow, who plans to put both former space fliers to work as recruiters.

“I would like to see us have half a dozen astronauts onboard by the end of the year,” Bigelow said.

Each Bigelow Aerospace space station would require about a dozen astronauts, including orbital, ground and backup personnel. The 660-cubic-foot stations would host four paying clients, who would be assisted by three company astronauts responsible for day-to-day maintenance, Bigelow said.

Initially, clients and crews would cycle in and out of the stations in 90-day shifts, Bigelow said. Eventually, the company hopes to shorten that cycle to 60 days.

“Our clients don’t need six months on orbit,” Bigelow said, referring to the time astronauts typically remain aboard the international space station. “It’s an imposition on them. They can get just as much out of three months.”

Bigelow held a joint media event April 30 in North Las Vegas with Boeing, which will fly its CST-100 commercial crew vehicle to deliver Bigelow customers. Bigelow also has a deal with SpaceX to deliver customers to the habitats.

Even if you're not an astronaut, Bigelow is hiring other jobs. Click here for the Bigelow careers page.

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