A thought about Bigelow's plans
A couple of weeks ago, Robert Bigelow made a somewhat cryptic announcement.
Las Vegas, Nevada – August 11, 2006, 3 p.m. PDT
Due to a number of factors related to the outstanding performance of Genesis I, the hoped-for adequate performance of Genesis II and various additional factors — including, but not limited to, domestic and international issues forecast over the next four to five years bearing upon America’s transportation and launch deficits — we have made several bold decisions. An important announcement early in 2007 subsequent to the launch of Genesis II shall expose some of our plans.
The motivation for this announcement was not well understood at the time; however, there seemed to be plenty of speculation. Some of the more interesting theories were based on some rather sketchy information revealed in a patent filed in November of 2004 and granted in November of 2005.
Then, last week Robert Bigelow appeared as a guest on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston for a two hour long interview. Based on some of his comments during the show, I'm willing to venture a guess that the bold decisions are related to an acceleration of their development and deployment schedule.
(From about 1:10 into the program)
Guardian was a certain sized spacecraft that we decided not to fly mainly because we did not have a lifting vehicle that fit that fit that particular weight class and that size.
As far as I know, there has not been any other mention in the media about this. Of course I could easily have missed something. I also have not heard of there being any other development stage between Genesis II and the BA330 besides the Guardian. So, my conclusion is that they may be planning to skip over their second generation design and go directly to the deployment of a full BA330 module.
Any one else care to venture another theory?
[Update: 09/15/2006] Well, never mind. I have apparently forgotten about the Galaxy class module which will be the next intermediate-sized module flying after the Genesis II. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.