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.
Here's something from Bigelow about how Bigelow inflatable modules could be used to mount most of a Lunar expedition. Inflate a Bigelow space station in low Earth orbit. Send up fuel and components in several launches to build and fuel a tug to get from Earth orbit to Lunar orbit. Then a rather peculiar Bigelow lander to land Bigelow's First Base inflatable Lunar habitat for six astronauts. The amazing thing is that everything shown here could be done with existing rockets and technology today. All it takes is the vision and the will to do it. (NASA would have to kill off its existing white elephant projects like SLS, and redirect the billions being wasted to companies like SpaceX, Bigelow and maybe Blue, that can actually get things done at a relatively reasonable cost.)
The youtube video below is a new (Sept 12) NSF video of the always provocative Robert Bigelow showing off his new giant inflatable space modules.

You first see his mid-sized 330 Module, with a practical Space Station interior already installed. Then he takes the reporters to his huge 2100 Module, a massive volume by spaceship standards. This isn't the little Beam module, this baby's big! It's lit like a nightclub and you can imagine a band in there, a bar at the end and hundreds of people floating weightless. Not exactly the NASA image, but just the thing for Elon Musk and his Mars colonists on their 6 month interplanetary journey. Or... for whenever space tourism takes off. (Bigelow is already speculating about space hotels.)

The 330 with its interior installed. (This view of a single passageway doesn't give any idea of the size. For that, see the cutaway diagram in an earlier post.)

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An earlier photo of the 2100 (that doesn't really do justice to its tremendous size and makes it seem cramped):

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Bigelow says, and I increasingly believe him, that inflatable habitats are the future of space travel.
Geez, only from the mind of a guy who owns "Budget Suites of America".

Get the elite "Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace" sensibilities out of the way and it's finally discount, rampant innovation in space design.
(Sep 14, 2019 05:38 AM)C C Wrote: Geez, only from the mind of a guy who owns "Budget Suites of America".

He (or his customers like NASA) can link many of his habitats together to create a really giant space... space. Something with internal volume like a cruise-ship today. If we are talking hotels, several 2100's could be divided up honey-comb-style into sleeping spaces and personal compartments, equip a module with peculiar specialized zero-G personal hygiene facilities, tuck a food court and restaurants into another 2100. Definitely put a big well-appointed viewing gallery somewhere with huge windows where people could just float weightless and watch the Earth below (or Jupiter's red spot or Saturn's rings). Maybe turn yet another 2100 into a giant concert-hall/space nightclub. (Most exclusive in the Solar System! What would dancing feel and look like in zero-G?) Using multiple modules would even provide safety redundancy if one sprung a leak that refused to self-seal.

Of course, unless Elon Musk's reusable SH/SS rockets really do succeed in eventually making travel to Earth orbit as inexpensive as an airline ticket is today, it wouldn't exactly be "Budget Suites of Outer Space".

Quote:Get the elite "Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace" sensibilities out of the way

It is kind of fun to speculate about what space-architects could do with it if money wasn't a consideration.

Quote:and it's finally discount, rampant innovation in space design.

That's why it interests me. It looks like the most practical way to create large habitable pressurized volumes in a space environment. There must be all kinds of uses for really big space stations and even inflatable interplanetary spaceships that release and recover more conventional steel tin-can landers once they get into orbit around their destination.

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