17 July 2006

Will I be able to take my inflatable friends there?


This is quite interesting, so I will anti-Fisk it.

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.

A man with a plan beats a government bureaucracy any day.

The launch was a first for the startup Bigelow Aerospace, founded by Bigelow, who owns the Budget Suites of America hotel chain. Bigelow is among several entrepreneurs attempting to break into the fledgling manned commercial spaceflight business.

Note that Bigelow isn’t some blowhard with a weblog, but someone who not only runs a national, successful business but a business that is closely related to what he wants to do in space. That’s how success is made.

Bigelow has committed $500 million toward building a commercial space station by 2015. So far, $75 million has been spent on the project.

Note the allocation of serious cash and the low costs to date. Imagine NASA getting initial studies of a new system done for only $75M, as opposed to design and a working prototype in orbit.

Because Wednesday’s unmanned mission was experimental, Bigelow said he was prepared for problems.

“I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we have a number of different systems fail,” he said on the eve of the launch. “I would hope that we have some success.”

Successful businessmen tend to be honest and straightforward because they have to deliver results in the real world. I don’t expect this kind of honesty out of NASA, ever.

So congratulations to Bigelow and his team, this should be a very interesting effort.

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