Thursday, November 11, 2004

SpaceX & Bigelow Aerospace

Earlier in the week I mentioned 'America’s Space Prize.' What I didn't go into was how Bigelow Aerospace is going to get its inflatable space hotels into orbit.

Bigelow has contracted with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to use their not-yet-flown Falcon V rockets. And that's where things get interesting. You see, SpaceX is the latest venture of Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal and its goal is to reduce the per kg cost of space launches by 90%.

To that end, they've developed the Falcon I and Falcon V launch vehicles. Both are designed for high reliability and low cost. The Falcon I is a two-stage, single engine vehicle. The Falcon V scales up the Falcon I to a five engine design, re-using most of the Falcon I components. The first Falcon I launch will be in early 2005 and the first Falcon V launch will be at the end of 2005.


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