It looks like China won’t be the only entity making the $100 billion International Space Station worthless over the next decade.
After successfully launching 2 inflatable space stations, Bigelow Aerospace is now adding international governments to its client list, which might seal the fate of the ISS.
Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, chief of Bigelow Aerospace, has been busy marketing his private space modules, an outreach effort leading to six deals being signed with clients this year.
The deals, in the form of memorandums of understanding, involve Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom. […]
“That is what this new leasing guide is going to expose,” Bigelow said. “It’s encouraging to see the enthusiasm. They all have different reasons, different ways in which they see using our facilities — what I call ‘dynamic assets’ in the new leasing guide — to benefit them. It can change the face of a nation.” (Space.com)
Despite being built by Russia and NASA, the ISS overall has been a failure as very few nations can access its facilities and (more importantly) there isn’t much science that can be performed outside of a few notable experiments.
Renting an entire station from Bigelow will not only give countries guaranteed access to a heavenly way station, but also allow them to perform experiments that can benefit each countries respective interests (as opposed sharing everything with the rest of humanity).
Bigelow may also extend its services lunar side, which could help nations with smaller budgets to establish outposts upon the lunar surface without having to create their own facilities from scratch.
Either way the ISS is looking more and more irrelevant, and once Bigelow space stations start becoming a common sight throughout the heavens, it won’t be surprising to see the ISS abandoned to a fiery death through the atmosphere below.
(Image Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)