Feeds

Space-bubble Bigelow looking to buy fifty Atlas Vs

Procurement for a pressurised-property portfolio

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The main questions people ask about Vegas property billionaire Robert Bigelow and his huge-inflatable-satellite-habitat plans are: can the man really be serious? Sure, fire a couple of test space-balloons into orbit on (relatively) cheap Russian rockets, he's done that. But will he really put up full-size inhabitable models? And will he ever really get people up there?

The answers appear to be in. Yes, Bigelow is serious; yes, he really does reckon to put working balloon space stations into service; and yes he will get the people up there by simply spending an immense amount of money, buying ordinary rockets from the people who supply NASA and the Pentagon.

Flight International reports that Bigelow has been in negotiations with US aerospace colossus Lockheed for months now, and is close to realising a deal. Lockheed is also building the "Orion" spacecraft for NASA, which will be the space agency's new option for manned flights to the proposed US Moon base (and then maybe Mars) when the shuttle fleet stands down.

It is now understood that Bigelow has firm plans to buy a total of 50 Atlas V rockets from Lockheed over the next seven years.

"The capsule has to be determined at this time. Lockheed has a concept for a capsule. Our application is specifically for experienced astronauts and we will have our own training regime," according to a statement by Bigelow.

The Atlas V is not yet "man-rated", or certified to carry humans as opposed to cargo or machinery. A substantial amount of work would be necessary to validate the rocket for this purpose. However, NASA has previously assessed that such a certification could be achieved.

That said, Bigelow's initial launches will not require people on board, so the man-rating of the Atlas V doesn't have to be done at once.

Bigelow has previously offered over three-quarters of a billion dollars for any company which could produce a plan for a man-rated system able to meet his requirements. That would be for eight launches.

There isn't any word yet about how much money Bigelow might give Lockheed for his 50 Atlas lifts, but on a pro rata basis he might be thinking in terms of $5bn odd.

The man certainly seems to be willing to put his money where his mouth is. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.