Bigelow Aerospace has announced plans to build two space stations that will float in low-earth orbit. The company has big plans for the space stations. The stations would be like orbiting space hotels where astronauts and possibly even tourists might stay one day.
In a press release this week, the company announced the creation of a spin-off venture called Bigelow Space Operations, which will operate and manage two space stations that will serve as hotels.
Both hotels are expected to launch in 2021, and the company has started work on building them this year. According to Bigelow, the two space stations will be the ''the largest, most complex structures ever known as stations for human use in space.''
The two stations are currently being referred to as B330-1 and B330-2, and Bigelow Space Operations has plans to build more. The two space stations that are inflatable are designed to provide shelter for up to six people in low-Earth orbit with about 12,000 cubic feet of living space.
The company told The Verge that it plans to market the space stations to the world's space agencies, such as NASA, and scientific research businesses and organisations.
Meanwhile, one Bigelow habitat, called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), is already connected to the International Space Station (ISS), which, according to commentators, demonstrates that the company's technology not only works in theory but in practice, too.
The BB330s space stations that the company will launch, will have around 12,000 cubic feet of space when expanded, making them around one-third the size of the ISS. These will be launched on two spacecraft in 2021.
Follwing the BB330s, the company plans to manufacture a single space station, launched on a single rocket, containing more than 2.4 times the pressurised volume of the entire ISS.