An experimental spacecraft bankrolled by real estate magnate Robert Bigelow successfully inflated in orbit Wednesday, testing a technology that could be used to fulfill his dream of building a commercial space station. . . .
Bigelow hopes to use inflation technology to build an expandable orbital outpost made up of several Genesis-like modules strung together like sausage links that could serve as a space hotel, science lab or even a sports arena.
“We’re ecstatic. We’re just elated,” Bigelow said in a telephone interview from Las Vegas. “We have a sense of being on a great adventure.”
The goal of the maiden Genesis mission will focus on the inflation process — a key element to determining the feasibility of constructing an expandable space habitat. Future Bigelow missions will test docking among spacecraft.
Bigelow has committed $500 million toward building a commercial space station by 2015. So far, $75 million has been spent on the project.
I wish them success.