Headlines > News > UPDATED: Bigelow Aerospace Launch, Successful!

UPDATED: Bigelow Aerospace Launch, Successful!

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:41 am
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Good news, Bigelow Aerospace Genesis-1 module (a 1/3-scale model of a commercial orbital space station ) had a successful launch today!

Latest updates; in new topic: http://www.spacefellowship.com/News/?p=1615
Other updates will follow as other news posts in the news section:
http://www.spacefellowship.com/News/

UPDATE: Thursday 1:20 GMT

Bigelow Aerospace has received confirmation from the Genesis I spacecraft that it has successfully expanded.

We have also confirmed that all of the solar arrays have been deployed.

UPDATE: Thursday 0:15 GMT

Bigelow Aerospace mission control has begun to acquire information from the Genesis I spacecraft. The ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket has flawlessly delivered the Genesis I into the target orbit of 550km altitude at 64 degrees inclination. The internal battery is reporting a full charge of 26 volts, which leads us to believe that the solar arrays have deployed.

The internal temperature of the spacecraft is reported to be 26 degrees Celsius and we have acquired the spacecraft’s Global Positioning System (GPS) signal that will enable us to track the ship in flight.

We have initiated communication with the ship’s onboard computers and expect to download more information over the next few hours.

Next Launch:

Next sheduled launch is Aug. 6: Dnepr to launch Genesis-2 from Dombarovskiy. . This time you’ll have a chance to fly your own picture or item into space

Your personal selection will be floating inside a spacecraft hundreds of miles above the Earth. If all systems function properly, your personal treasure (be it a photo, ring, bottle-cap or toy) will be floating in space for years. .

A Dnepr launched the Bigelow Aerospace Genesis Pathfinder-1 at 6:53 p.m. Moscow time from Dombarovskiy, a missile unit located in Southern Russia, southeast of the city of Orenburg on the border with Kazakhstan near the town of Dombarovka. It has reached its orbit about 340 miles (550 kilometres ) above Earth and with a 64° inclination to the equator, several minutes after liftoff, currently they do not yet know whether the spacecraft reached its proper orbit, They will find out at 0000 GMT Thursday night when the spacecraft is expected to pass over Las Vegas, Nevada, US, the location of Bigelow Aerospace communications and mission control centre.

It is expected to start the inflation process later Wednesday when engineers determine that its power (including unfolding its solar arrays, necessary to power the onboard telemetry) and computer systems are working, this process could last several hours. Genesis Pathfinder-1 is 14 feet long and 4 feet wide and is expected to be two times that size after the inflation process.

As the craft inflates, other systems onboard, including 13 cameras and lighting, will switch on. The cameras will beam pictures and video of the craft back to Earth and also monitor the module’s living inhabitants, which include cockroaches and Mexican jumping bean moths.

They anticipate being able to display images of living systems flown about Bigelow Aerospace Spacecraft. Unique images of the living systems aboard the ship, as well as images of the ship as it circles the earth, should be available and frequently updated. Fore more information visit the Bigelow Aerospace events page.

Genesis-1 is built around a rigid central core and two solid bulkheads. The inflatable walls are composed of a range of materials including Kevlar, often used in bullet-proof vests, and a fibrous textile called Vectran. On a full-scale module, each wall would be 40cm (16 inches) thick. “It’s extremely durable and resistant to any puncture or penetration,” said Mr Bigelow

The Dnepr launch vehicle is a converted SS-18 ICBM. This was the inaugural launch from the new Yasny launch base, and was also the first launch for Bigelow Aerospace.

Bigelow Aerospace is a Las-Vegas based company, founded, owned and operated by visionary entrepreneur Robert T. Bigelow. The goal of Bigelow Aerospace is to create a revolution in space commerce by constructing affordable, reliable, and robust expandable space habitats. Expandable habitats have the potential to offer lower mass, superior protection from radiation, and increased volume in comparison to their traditional metallic counterparts.

The Genesis-1 is the first in a line of sub-scale technology demonstrators that will allow Bigelow Aerospace (“BA”) to develop and validate its plans for a future full-scale habitat called the BA-330. By drastically reducing the price of manufacturing, launching and operating a space platform, BA hopes to reenergize global interest in space development and reengage the general public. Genesis-1 is expected to stay in orbit for 2 to 5 years.

After Genesis-1 establishes BA’s fundamental concepts, future BA spacecraft will test more complex subsystems.

According to Mike Gold, Corporate Counsel, who was overseeing BA operations at Yasny, “This launch was the first step in an adventure that will take us all to the stars and beyond.”

For ISC Kosmotras, its team of Russian and Ukrainian companies, of which Yuzhonye State Design Office is the primary contributor, it was the sixth launch of the Dnepr LV and Genesis-1 was the 23rd spacecraft successfully deployed by this team in orbit.

Nasa was also exploring the concept for use on the surface of the Moon and Mars. Inflatable spacecraft are attractive because they take up less space on their launch vehicle than solid components and therefore cost less to place into orbit. Budget cuts by the US Congress ended the Transhab programme in 2001, and Bigelow acquired the patents and rights to the design soon after. Since then, the private company, set up in 1999, has been evolving Nasa’s design.

UPDATE: Wednesday 19:23 GMT; Bigelow Aerospace’s website confirms: “A Russian Dnepr rocket carrying the Bigelow Aerospace pathfinder mission Genesis I has successfully launched from the ISC Kosmotras space and missile complex in the Orenburg region of Russia.”

More updates coming tomorrow! Already Today!

Previous Bigelow Aerospace articles:
http://www.spacefellowship.com/News/?p=1612
http://www.spacefellowship.com/News/?p=1600
http://www.spacefellowship.com/News/?p=1596

Other news articles featuring the same story:
BBC.com: Launch for inflatable spacecraft
Cnn.com: Spacecraft carrying commercial space station launches
Space.com: Bigelow Orbital Module Launched into Space
The Associated Press: Inflatable spacecraft launches from Russia
The Associated Press : Testing on private space station begins

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