Feeds

Tycoon to offer $760m for affordable orbital launch

Bubble-baron Bigelow buys ballistic-balloon boost

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Vegas property tycoon Robert Bigelow has always been aware of the main problem besetting his plan to sell cheap inflatable space habitats in orbit - he can build them, but no one can afford to come.

The problem isn't so much with the blow-up space stations. Compared to massive rigid jobs like the International Space Station, Bigelow's bubble habitats are lightweight and economical. Once launched they can stay up for a long time, at least theoretically, earning Bigelow lots of cash.

But the balloon-buildings have no purpose other than to sustain human life. And humans need to come down to earth fairly frequently. Again, not an insuperable problem; but what comes down often has to go up often, and boosting things up into orbit on a frequent basis is, at the moment, horrifyingly expensive.

With the inflata-realty programme going well - there are already two test habitats in space, and a factory for human-rated production models is to open soon - Bigelow Aerospace is in danger of getting ahead of its time.

So now Bigelow has decided to finance the transport as well as the destination. He says he's willing to offer a $760m deal for eight launches to any company which can meet his criteria, which he will publish within weeks.

"We could find ourselves with a nice new facility, a number of modules on the floor ready to launch, and nowhere in sight is an affordable or even existing transportation vehicle – a capsule and a lifting vehicle that makes economic sense," he told New Scientist last week.

"We're going to offer a contract – to whomever – where we will state how much we're willing to pay per seat or per launch," he said.

Watch this, erm... space. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.