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Bigelow sets up new company for space stations

Bigelow space complex
An artist’s conception shows three Bigelow Aerospace B330 modules linked together to create a space station being serviced by SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. Such a configuration would provide as much pressurized volume as the International Space Station. (Bigelow Aerospace Illustration)

Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace has had space modules in orbit for more than a decade, but now billionaire founder Robert Bigelow is starting a new push to operate commercial space stations.

To that end, he has set up a separate company called Bigelow Space Operations, or BSO, with the aim of having Bigelow’s expandable B330 modules sent into orbit. Two of the 330-cubic-meter (12,000-cubic-foot) habitats are due to be ready for launch by as early as 2021.

The timing for deployment will depend on the outcome of Bigelow’s negotiations with potential launch providers, and the findings of a market study to be conducted by BSO this year.

“We intend to spend millions of dollars this year in drilling down, hopefully, to a conclusion one way or the other as to what the global market is going to look like, and we expect to finish this investigation by the end of this year,” Bigelow told reporters today during a teleconference.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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