Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Genesis I is About to Have Company"

Note: Information on Genesis II has been updated.

Las Vegas, NV 06/28/07 – Genesis II, the second experimental pathfinder spacecraft by Bigelow Aerospace, has been successfully launched and inserted into orbit. The privately-funded space station module was launched atop a Dnepr rocket at 8:02 a.m. PDT from the ISC Kosmotras Yasny Cosmodrome located in the Orenburg region of Russia. Read More...
A Russian Dnepr rocket used for launching Genesis 2.
Actual photo is from the Genesis 1 launch. Source: BigelowAerospace.com

Just like its predecessor Genesis 1, Genesis 2 has also completed a successful launch into orbit. Barring any major mishaps during its deployment in space, the successful completion of this mission puts Bigelow Aerospace one step closer to launching a 'crew rated' spacecraft. The completion of Genesis 2 marks the halfway point to achieving this goal. Next in line is an entirely new model called Galaxy. Galaxy will have 45% more habitable space (16.7 cubic meters) than the two Genesis crafts. Bigelow plans to launch this sometime next year.

Following Galaxy is the Sundancer. The Sundancer will be the first 'crew rated' craft and is expected to be up and flying sometime in 2010. At a volume of 180 cubic meters, the craft will considerably dwarf all previous models and contain enough room for a crew of three. Once established in orbit, a connecting node and propulsion system is expected to be added in 2011 in preparation for Bigelow's final step in creating the first space hotel. The additions will eventually allow for the BA 330 module, a 330 cubic meter habitable volume craft, to dock with the Sundancer. Bigelow won't be wasting any time seeing as the two are to connect by 2012.

To compare the size of all of the planned (and current) modules the Bigelow Aerospace website has posted a growth chart. It really puts into perspective just how large this orbiting hotel will be.

With the launch of Genesis I and II, I believe we are in the midst of a very exciting time period that is about to unfold. Bigelow Aerospace corporate counsel Mike Gold, who was there to witness the launch, gave one of the best analogies describing this monumental moment in the private space industry. "With Genesis 1 we put one foot ahead of us. With Genesis 2 we put another foot ahead of us which means that we're walking," said Gold. "I look forward to running and what that's going to be like at Bigelow Aerospace."

The Bigelow Aerospace website will be posting updates soon as more information comes in once Genesis 2 passes over a SpaceQuest ground station in Fairfax, Virginia. Once they do I will soon likewise update with more information over their updates and the Genesis II module in general. Plus, I will definitely provide you all with some personal insight on the whole situation.

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