A Lunar Depot

The Bigelow Aerospace (BA)/United Launch Alliance (ULA) to create a Lunar Depot 

Previously I introduced Bigelow Aerospace (BA) and expandable modules. 

To BA's credit they have two expandables in gradually declining orbit, the Genesis 1 launched July 12, 2006 and Genesis 2 launched June 28, 2007.  BA has not made any data analysis received from Genesis public.  Previously BA's website had various plans for much larger modules and a moon base.

BA's next endeavour was with NASA and the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM).  Looking at NASAs photo of beam shows it wasn't totally inflated.  Per Wikipedia BEAM inflation was "...thought to have been the result of the unanticipated 10-month delay in module inflation, which may have caused the fabric layers to stick together"

Bigelow Aerospace has become Bigelow Space Operations (BSO).  Currently their website only presents the B330, XBASE and Alpha Station.  Although this page behaves as if XBASE and Alpha Station should be links they are not enabled.  the XBASE video shows the B330 docked to the ISS however other sources research allude it won't be.  Alpha Station is shown as two connected B330's with a spacecraft docked.

Wikipedia on B330Per BSO the B330 will have a width of 6.7m (22 ft) by 16.88m (55.41ft) length inclusive of required electronics, propulsion, life support, docking systems and can house 6 crew members.

ULAs page states "The launch would place a B330 outfitted module in Low Lunar Orbit by the end of 2022 to serve as a lunar depot" and that the ULA Vulcan "is the only commercial launch vehicle in development today with sufficient performance and large enough payload fairing to carry the habitat".  NASASPACEFLIGHT has some information.

The DEPOT orbit is expected to be lower than GATEWAY and support lunar surface operation. Currently NASA is considering using GATEWAY as a cojoined craft for Mars operations.

I would like BSO to continue with their concept of a lunar surface base.

         Return to previous page                                         Return to Exploration Index                                                             Next page