United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Bigelow Aerospace have updated their future plans via an agreement to launch a B330 module on a Vulcan rocket to an eventual home in Low Lunar Orbit. Set with a target date of 2022, the “Lunar Depot” could become a precursor to a Deep Space Gateway that NASA is interested in assembling later in the decade.
Bigelow To The Orbit of the Moon:
Robert Bigelow, the founder of Bigelow Aerospace, has held a long-time interest in the Moon, including the lunar surface.
A recent overview at the ISSR&D conference saw the American businessman cite – in cartoon form – the threat of falling behind the Chinese as a driver of his ambitions, along with a warning the United States needs to remain focused on international competition.
With the US government now moving NASA toward a path that could even result in a return to the lunar surface, Bigelow is well placed for providing module options that could be involved with such future missions.
With the company already associated with NASA under several agreements, actual space hardware from Bigelow is performing well on the International Space Station (ISS).
The Bigelow expandable module, BEAM, launched aboard SpaceX’s ...