Feeds

Space-bubble Bigelow looking to buy fifty Atlas Vs

Procurement for a pressurised-property portfolio

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.