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SFS News: Bigelow Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Converging..

Posted by: Klaus Schmidt - Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:02 am
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SFS News: Bigelow Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Converging.. 
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Post SFS News: Bigelow Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Converging..   Posted on: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:02 am
Littleton, CO and Las Vegas, NV (Bigelow) - Bigelow Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services are engaged in discussions and converging on terms to supply Atlas V launch vehicles to provide crew and cargo transportation services to a Bigelow-built space complex.

Bigelow Aerospace already has successfully launched two of its Genesis units that demonstrated the technology and feasibility of its expandable space module technology. This experience has formed the basis for a larger commercial space complex, which is now proceeding into full-scale development.

Bigelow Aerospace is on schedule to provide a low-cost, low-Earth orbit space complex that is accessible to the private sector for commercial activities. The Bigelow architecture can be adapted for a variety of missions and is designed to provide increased volume, enhanced safety and reduced costs to the extent that space-based activities will become more affordable for entrepreneurs, small businesses and the public at large.

"I don't think anyone could deny the excellent record and pedigree of the Atlas V401 as a quality choice to be upgraded to carry human passengers," said company founder and President Robert T. Bigelow.

"The Atlas V is ideal to provide commercial crew and cargo transportation for this pioneering commercial space venture," said David Markham, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. "Bigelow Aerospace possesses an unparalleled vision and entrepreneurial perspective that is crucial to truly opening the commercial space market to a larger segment of the population. Targeting the Atlas V for use demonstrates a commitment to flight-proven domestic launch services to ensure success."

The Atlas booster has been used for decades to launch government and commercial payloads to a wide range of orbits and its reliability record is at the top of the space industry. As the simplest, most robust, and most reliable version of the Atlas V family, the 401 configuration has been selected by Bigelow to launch its space complex. This launch vehicle, compliant with the Federal Aviation Administration's stringent requirements for unmanned spaceflight, will undergo modest system upgrades that will augment existing safety features prior to flying the first passengers.

During the operational phase, which is currently planned to begin in 2012, up to 12 missions per year are envisioned, increasing as demand dictates.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:04 pm
12 launches per year? I'll believe it when I see it. I've read somewhere that during early space shuttle designs, there were supposed to be 50 launches a year. And we all know the reality...

Don't get me wrong. It would be fantastic. Anyway, with launch once per month, the price could also go down. On the other hand, by 2012 I suppose Falcon 9 will be operational and available.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:52 am
You'd be surprised what you can do with a non-shuttle rocket. I remember being stunned by what NASA was doing back around the original Gemini missions. At one point at least when they were practicing orbital docking maneuvers they launched a rocket with an unmanned docking orbiter and then the next day they launched another rocket with the manned capsule. The launch also had a window of only a few seconds/minutes in order for them to be able to make the dock.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:53 am
Andrew Burns wrote:
I remember being stunned by what NASA was doing back around the original Gemini missions.


Ah well. It was quite a while ago, when NASA didn't lost the spirit. It took 8 years from JFK announcement to the actual landing. And what about now? Bush announced the great and glorious Moon comeback plan. In 16 years. And the overall technology and hardware availablility has improved in the meantime.

My personal oppinion is that NASA did great thing (and still doing), but it is horribly inefficient.


Ehhh, just launch that european Columbus thing, dammit! :)

Greetings from Europe,
Thomson

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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:32 pm
thomson wrote:
12 launches per year? I'll believe it when I see it. I've read somewhere that during early space shuttle designs, there were supposed to be 50 launches a year. And we all know the reality...

Don't get me wrong. It would be fantastic. Anyway, with launch once per month, the price could also go down. On the other hand, by 2012 I suppose Falcon 9 will be operational and available.


I think that there is every chance that if Bigelow is willing to buy 12 Atlas Vs a year that Lockheed will easily provide them and launch them for him.

This will help them drive their prices down and compete better with other launch providers.

Not sure what Falcon 9 has to do with anything as the contract will be between Lockheed and Bigelow. I find it strange that people expect Lockheed to have problems increasing the number of launches but not SpaceX who still havent managed to get their Falcon 1 to orbit.

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