Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sundancer

Alan Boyle has interviewed Robert Bigelow and has managed to confirm that the next module to fly after the Genesis II will be a man-rated module named Sundancer.
For now, Bigelow has back-burnered the idea of sending up an intermediate-sized test vehicle that would not be human-rated - the type of inflatable known as the Galaxy or Guardian class.

This is, of course, contingent on the next Genesis flight going well.
If everything goes smoothly, "we have decided to try to cut some of the time" from the initially planned development cycle and go directly from Genesis 2 to a "human-occupiable" module, he said.

So, my prediction wasn't that far off after all. The BA-330 module will not be ready until the 2011-2012 time frame, but the half-scale Sundancer module will be ready sometime in late 2009 or early 2010.

This is actually a very sound plan as it will allow them to establish a viable destination early. This will, hopefully, spark a demand for habitable volume on orbit which he will be able to expand upon fairly rapidly as the BA-330 comes online a couple of years later.

I do hope, though, that they continue to offer the Sundancer module as an alternative to the BA-330. There are probably alot of uses to which a module of that size could be put to use that wouldn't be practical for the BA-330. More on that later.

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