Artist’s view of the Bigelow Alpha Station comprised of two BA 330 expandable habitats built by private spaceflight company Bigelow Aerospace. CREDIT: Bigelow Aerospace

Alpha Station: Private Inflatable Space Outpost Envisioned

by Leonard David, Space Insider Columnist
Date: 16 January 2013 Time: 01:30 PM ET

The formal unveiling today (Jan. 16) of a NASA deal to add an inflatable room developed by commercial company Bigelow Aerospace to the International Space Station is a forerunner of things to come. The private space firm has its eyes on setting up its own commercial space outpost, which it is calling Alpha Station.

The new room to be attached to the International Space Station — a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) — will remain part of the orbiting laboratory for at least two years. During that time, astronauts will monitor the environment inside the module, recording a variety of parameters including temperature, pressure and radiation levels.

According to company details provided to SPACE.com, Bigelow Aerospace officials intend to use the BEAM to further validate the promise and benefits of expandable space habitats.

Read more: Bigelow Aerospace Envisions Private Alpha Station in Space | Space.

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