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In New Space Race, Enter the Entrepreneurs

Demon of Light

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At the Bigelow Aerospace factory here, the full-size space station mockups sitting on the warehouse floor look somewhat like puffy white watermelons. The interiors offer a hint of what spacious living in space might look like.

“Every astronaut we have come in here just says, ‘Wow,’ ” said Robert T. Bigelow, the company founder. “They can’t believe the size of this thing.”

Four years from now, the company plans for real modules to be launched and assembled into the solar system’s first private space station. Paying customers — primarily nations that do not have the money or expertise to build a space program from scratch — would arrive a year later.

In 2016, a second, larger station would follow. The two Bigelow stations would then be home to 36 people at a time — six times as many as currently live on the International Space Station.

Source: The New York Times

Mr. Bigelow says "Eat my dust, Richard Branson!"
 

Civil1z@tion

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Private expansion into space is going to be the wave of the future. There are lots of potential resources out there and as the costs of getting out of Earth's atmosphere drops and the cost of resources on Earth rises this could be the big place for future economic growth. The public sector does alright with exploration and space probes but its going to take the private sector to turn space from a curiosity into something that will really help mankind.
 
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