Robert Bigelow Books Astronaut Seats on SpaceX

I like Robert Bigelow. He's an open-minded independent thinker who was earlier seen in MR's skinwalker ranch threads. (Including the one on the other forum that's myseriously disappeared.) And he just looks like one of those eccentrics that always seem to shake loose and end up out in the desert.

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Bigelow's miraculously recovered from the horror of being dissed by James Randi. Now he (or at least his people) are headed for outer space. His company has booked 16 seats on four separate SpaceX Crew Dragon flights.

Presumably the Bigelow astronauts will be technicians tasked with testing Bigelow's giant inflatable space habitats. These are giant balloons that can be packed small then inflated in orbit. (That might sound iffy but they are self-sealing and really just as safe as being inside a conventional space tin can.)

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Below is Bigelow's idea for an inflatable Moon habitat where astronauts can live, sleep and do their scientific stuff when they are outside their landers. It can support six people for 120 days on the Moon's surface.

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It's not all science-fiction. There's currently a smaller Bigelow module called BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) attached to the Space Station. BEAM was delivered to the Space Station in 2016 and intended for two years, but that's since been extended.

Astronauts inside Beam:

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Poe could probably have used the idea of actually living inside an inflatable itself, in that 1835 trip to the Moon via balloon (Adventure of One Hans Pfaal). Couldn't have been any worse than depending upon a "device which compresses the vacuum of space into breathable air". Among many other extraordinary challenges facing manned balloon spaceflight in the early 19th-century.

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