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Bigelow Aerospace Deploys Genesis 2 Space Module

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the final-frontiers dept.

Space 94

ThePopeLayton writes "Space.com is reporting that Bigelow Aerospace has successfully launched its Genesis 2 Space Module. This is significant as Bigelow Aerospace is one of a few private groups currently developing space technologies. The module was launched in a compact form and upon achieving a stable orbit will be inflated using compressed air. Bigelow's website is reporting 'the second experimental pathfinder spacecraft has been successfully launched and inserted into orbit.' The module has a variety of things on board: Scorpions, Hissing Cockroaches, Ant colonies, and even a Bingo game."

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nuts (1)

prestorjohn (1062636) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686467)

10,000 a pound and they send up BINGO?

Re:nuts (4, Funny)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686479)

The mutant space scorpions will have to have something to play, while they wait for re-entry.

Re:nuts (2, Funny)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687265)

I, for one, welcome our new mutant space scorpion overlords.

Re:nuts (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687545)

That has got to be the funniest use of that cliche - ever.

Re:nuts (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688015)

I would say it's close, but not quite there:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=198099&cid=162 38175 [slashdot.org]

Re:nuts (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690109)

I stand corrected.

KHAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!! (2, Funny)

ukemike (956477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690889)

Genesis in space? wha?

Khan... Khan, you've got Genesis, but you don't have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You're gonna have to come down here. You're gonna have to come down here.

I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet, buried alive. Buried alive.

KHAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!!

Re:nuts (2, Informative)

d0rp (888607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690071)

I, for one, welcome our new bingo playing mutant space scorpion overlords.
fixed.

Re:nuts (0, Offtopic)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689387)

You hit on the really funny part. There is no re-entry. So why did they send the specimens up at all? I read most of the article but did not hit on any scientific purpose...

TFA reads like Ad Copy. BTW, in case you didn't get as far as I did, one of the scorpions was named Antares by a fifth grade class in Pennsylvania. Aren't you glad I told you?

How do you think those fifth graders will feel when they find out that Antares is bound for a desolate grave orbiting earth for a (optimistic) company goal of 8-13 years.

Regards.

Re:nuts (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690893)

Um, I'm pretty sure they put some monitoring equipment on it. The purpose of the specimens would be to ensure biological matter will actually survive up in the damn thing before we start sending up the primates.
 
-kap

Re:nuts (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19692935)

The point is that the article made no reference to the science of the experiment. It was an advertisement.

Re:nuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19687039)

Yeah, they should have sent a Male Gigolo.

Re:nuts (2, Informative)

zaydana (729943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687307)

Bigelow made his fortune in Las Vegas, so it is kind of fitting.

Re:nuts (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689941)

Actually, he made his fortune from his Aunt, the owner of Bigelow teas. He simply started another company that he decided to base on the opposite coast and it made another fortune.

Re:nuts (1)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688095)

Not surprising, considering the Russian's (er, Soviet's, whatever) first Cosmonaut was a dog... B. I. N. G. O.! And orbit was his name-o!

Re:nuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19688829)

Bingo seems like a good idea. My aunts play Bingo often.

Re:nuts (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689455)

Well, they need to test some random objects, so why not?

What really got *me* from the summary was this:

This is significant as Bigelow Aerospace is one of a few private groups currently developing space technologies.

Yeah, one of the few. I mean, who ever heard of LatinSat, Nahuelsat, Optus, Star One, INPE, Loral Skynet do Brazil, Mobile Satellite Ventures, Telesat, APT Telecomunications, AsiaSat, Chinasat, Sinosat, Nilesat, France Télécom, Stellat, Télédiffusion de France, Deutsche Telekom, OHB System, Hellas-Sat, Agrani, ISRO, PT Datakom, PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, PT Telkom, EuropeStar, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, RASCOM, Worldstar, Spacecom, Broadcasting Satellite Corp.,
JCSat, MBC, NTT DoCoMo, Superbird, JSC KazSat, SES Astra, Binariang Sdn. Bhd. (MEASAT), Satmex, New Skies, NASRDA, Telenor, Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Mabuhay, NPO Kosmicheskaya Sviaz, Gazkom, Global Information Systems, Intersputnik, Media Most (Bonum), Arabsat, Singapore Telecommunications, Korea Telecom, Hisdesat, Hispasat, Nordiska Satellitaktiebolaget, Chunghwa Telecom, Shin Satellite, TONGASAT, Eurasiasat SAM, Turksat, Thuraya, ICO Satellite Management, AirTV, Astrolink, DirecTV, EchoStar, Globalstar, Hughes Network Systems (Spaceway), Iridium, Loral Skynet, Orbcomm, PanAmSat, Spacenet, SES Americom, Sirius Satellite Radio, Teledesic, TerreStar, WildBlue, XM Satellite Radio, XTAR, and VINASAT?

(And those are just the satellite companies; never mind the launcher designers and developers, launch operators, subcontractors, developers of all of the individual systems, and so on).

Where did this stupid meme that private industry is only minimally involved in developing space technology come from? NASA would be nothing without Boeing, Lockheed, Orbital Sciences Corp, and dozens of others.

Re:nuts (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689901)

To be fair, most of those companies you listed develop unmanned communications satellites. Bigelow aerospace is developing a modular habitable space station with no (?) government funding.

Re:nuts (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690367)

I just picked one category that it would be easy to get a list on ;) The main point is that there are a huge number of private companies working on space technologies; there's this stupid meme going around that it's "governments" who are doing it all. Governments just tend to subsidize private companies that do the work. NASA does a lot of basic research (even then, they often fund part of that work in outside labs), but the general spacecraft development is usually done by contract with private firms. And those firms typically operate the launch contracts, too. The shuttle is one of the few exceptions to this rule -- it was built by private labor, but is operated by NASA (still making use of contractors, though).

Failure is unpossible (5, Funny)

mhannibal (1121487) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686475)

Scorpions? Cockroaches? Ants? Bingo? See this is what happens when scientist have too much free time on their hands... Bigelow Aerospace, July 2005: SCIENTIST1: "Wouldn't it be cool to send scorpions to space?" SCIENTIST2: "...And have them fight giant space-cockroaches!" SCIENTIST3: "And play bingo!" All: "This is so cool!!! *snort* *snort*"

Re:Failure is unpossible (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686639)

Scorpions? Cockroaches? Ants?

Yeah, I'd have thought a can of Raid would be more effective than dumping 'em in space.

Re:Failure is unpossible (2, Insightful)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687919)

Wow! An orbiting roach motel...

Re:Failure is unpossible (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690021)

You know, you might have hit on it!

Bigelow's whole idea is a space hotel! The guy made his money in hotels!

Re:Failure is unpossible (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688337)

Scorpions? Cockroaches? Ants?

A good source of self replicating protein for long space voyages?
...and crunchy too!

Old fogeys (2, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688547)

Well, only really old fogeys will have enough money to visit the space hotel and they will probably want to play bingo...

OT: Your sig (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689259)

Your sig is remarkably on-topic for this discussion!

Re:Old fogeys (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689837)

And then...The Vermicious Knids...

Re:Failure is unpossible (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688841)

Scorpions? Cockroaches? Ants? Bingo? See this is what happens when scientist have too much free time on their hands... Bigelow Aerospace, July 2005: SCIENTIST1: "Wouldn't it be cool to send scorpions to space?" SCIENTIST2: "...And have them fight giant space-cockroaches!" SCIENTIST3: "And play bingo!" All: "This is so cool!!! *snort* *snort*"
--
It's a casino guy. He'll train the scorpions to play craps and the "Games from Outer Space Internet Casino" will take bets.
The ants will run a treadmill for the Bingo fan, while the cockroaches will do races people can bet on.(Insider Cockroach Trainer hints included)

Re:Failure is unpossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694145)

Actually, a friend of mine worked on this module for quite a while. Apparently, it's the psychos in corporate that are demanding this, not the scientists/engineers on the ground (who were furious at, among other things, the lack of understanding of basic science concepts like gravity and compression.) Just another case of the PHB.

I for one... (0)

fr4nk (1077037) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686483)

... welcome our new Bingo-playing Scorpion Overlords...

ET Game (3, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686487)

They should have sent up this instead. It would have been more fitting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.T._the_Extra-Terres trial_(Atari_2600) [wikipedia.org]

Re:ET Game (1)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686719)

I agree. The faster we can fling all the existing copies of that game away from Earth, the better.

Re:ET Game (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686843)

Fling those carts into space! Phone home already!

Re:ET Game (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687013)

Ohly if they could send *all* of the copies, on an orbit spiraling into the sun. That game was amazingly bad.

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19686489)

First Post.

Safety Concerns? (5, Interesting)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686495)

If humans plan to move boldly into space, private investment and development is critical. Imagine the westward expansion of the United States if it had only been performed by governmental institutions. Like most projects, it would have been slow, mismanaged, and innovation would have been stifled. Like wearing denim jeans? Thank Levi Strauss and his creativity during the Gold Rush. Now imagine no westward rushes - only slow, methodical probes such as the Lewis and Clark expedition. Lewis and Clark did a lot of knowledge of the Louisiana Purchase, but the percentage of territory actually explored was miniscule. Did private exploration lead to increased risk and loss of life. Defintitely, but that was a risk that those pioneers were willing to accept. Those who were scared of harm during the voyage stayed home.

How does this all relate to space? Simple - governmental programs by the US, UK, Europe, China, et al, likely will not be the place where true discovery is made. Once commercial interests develop space-based platforms, we will begin to see true innovation, and perhaps, affordable spacebased transit and colonization in the very-long term. It wasn't always pretty, but hard work and planning got people from cities to the frontier of the New World in the 1850's. I believe the same will happen with space.

At the same time, I was unable to find any mention of protection for the craft from micrometeorites and space debris. An inflatable structure will be at greater risk of catastrophic failure from micropunctures than would a traditional aluminum/titanium shell. It will be interesting as well to see what sorts of atmospheric pressure can be contained in the vacuum of space in inflatable structure and their airlock ideas. The psi differences will be drastic, and many inflatable materials do not respond well to the temperature swings of space.

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686523)

You may be correct in that a failure may be immenent. However, there are two huge pieces to the puzzle. 1 is designing a craft that can handle space, and 2 is actually getting it to successfully launch.

One could argue that you shouldn't waste a whole bunch of money on an expensive craft it you're only going to destroy it in a failed attempt to launch.

Or maybe they could only afford to focus on one area and decided to make a cheap craft.

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686547)

I never stated that failure was imminent; in fact Bigelow's first test craft remains in space to this day: http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/060721_bigelo w_genesis-1.html [space.com] as referenced by TFA. So far, they have been successful on both of your points. My original post was intended to point out the dangers inherent to all spacecraft, and raise discussion of the potential merits of an inflatable structure. I see obvious benefits to the inflatables. While they do not decrease launch mass, the volume can be reduced, making it possible to send up more equipment on a certain launch vehicle, provided the mass envelope is not exceeded.

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689009)

Actually the amount of equipment you send is the same.

But, with inflatables, you can send a bigger habitat in one launch (one that would otherwise be too large for your launch vehicle) and send "the furniture" in sequence and doing some in-orbit assembly.

With the upcoming Saturn V-class launch vehicles NASA is planning, truly huge LEO habitats can be deployed. Not to mention these structures can be combined to form even larger ones. While I don't think it's particularly clever to have very large open spaces without hatches to close in case of loss of atmosphere in LEO, if you build an inflatable ring structure, you can have artificial gravity 2001 style.

That's kinda cool.

Not to mention the publicity a 1000 meter wide billboard balloon at 200 km could create. Unless my math fails me, it would be the same angular diameter as a full moon and be easily visible during daytime. Using the same surface-to-mass ratio as the Echo 1 (I suppose we can do a lot better now), we would have a total 88 ton mass launch. I say it's very feasible.

BTW, an Ariane V (18000 Kg to the ISS) or a Delta IV Heavy (about 21000 Kg to the ISS) could launch a 500 m diameter inflatable sphere with these same materials next month if we really wanted it. We may need a higher orbit if we want it to last, but that's a start.

I may be wrong, but I think extraordinary things like these (a man-made object half the size of the moon anyone can point up and see crossing the sky during daytime) is the kind of inspiration this generation may need. At the very least, they will look up.

Anyone knows how much would that cost?

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689361)

I may be wrong, but I think extraordinary things like these (a man-made object half the size of the moon anyone can point up and see crossing the sky during daytime) is the kind of inspiration this generation may need. At the very least, they will look up.

You are assuming that it will display a message like "Aim high" or "You can do it" or "Another giant leap for mankind", or an inspiring absence of any message.

In reality, it will display a Nike logo, or "Surf Better at AOL.COM", or an American flag (which nowadays is only trotted out when we feel guilty about giving up our freedoms), or some religious crapola. At that point, I will be ready to invest in Burt Rutan's next craft -- the one capable of shooting it down.

Re:Safety Concerns? (2, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689499)

Just imagine the incentive to develop light and cheap ground-to-space missiles ;-)

And I would go for the "inspiring absence of any message".

Or George Lucas could buy one and make it look like the Death Star...

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19692071)

Actually, an inflatible object (propperly designed) is better protected than a more conventional one. What you have to understand is that the physics of an orbital collision are very different from a more mundane one.

In an orbital velocity collision, you can't do anything to prevent impact damage. when the objects hit, their kinetic energy (~25MJ/kg) is converted to heat. That means that no matter what your shield is made from, it vaporizes - nothing you can do about it. So now you have an extremely hot vapor that has just passed your shielding and is heading towards your hull. But vapors tend to spread out, so if you give it enough room it will just apply a few nanometers of additional metal shell to your hull instead of breaking through. So the key is to make sure that there is adequate spacing between your shield and your hull.

Since the size of object hit you can survive is basically proportional to the spacing between your shield and your hull, you want that to be as big as possible. On an inflatible station, you can have it bigger than on something that has to fit in a launch vehicle.

Re: Future of exploration (1)

Bobble Pi (1113337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686637)

It is interesting to see imagine the alternative scenario if exploration had been funded primarily by governments. To add further matter to your point, if you consider the expansion into the new world and things like the European expansion into Asia, it is often pioneered by trade. The modern equivalent is private enterprise of course. Historically it is the way that society has seemed to lead to. So then what is the solution to our exploration of space? Leave the role of space exploration solely to private enterprise or still fund things like NASA? If private enterprise is left as the only bastion of expansion will we still see growth in the area? Space is quite rich in resources that are just waiting for exploitation such as mining, and information systems are more and more important in this age. We've seen increasing private involvement in satellites and further systems will evolve. Yes there are groups like the good ol' space elevator people and if you remember back a few years, the Mars Society (if I remember correctly). They were a group of engineers who developed and proved a cheap, workable system to send manned missions to Mars. Sadly as we're can all attest to currently, we are lacking our shiny jetpacks and Moon Condos. So clearly the private sector alone cannot be relied on. What is the best solution then? A synthesis of both as we currently have? The decline in exploration we're currently seeing clearly attests that the status quo is not going to achieve the same levels as desired. Then that leaves increased government funding, which without a clear gain taxpayers are unwilling to support. This is further compounded by issues of safety causing public concern about safety. Interestingly enough if tax payers were not paying for the attempts, I wonder if public outcry to tragedies in space would be on the same level? In other words clear progress into space is a very difficult problem to approach, and without full support of both private and government we're not going to see any substantial gains made. If the Cold War was good for one thing, it was the Space Race. I do not see anything short of that, or a similar thing happening between rival companies leading to rapid expansion into space.

Re: Future of exploration (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689573)

Private enterprise *does* run space. Who do you think makes and operates almost every spacecraft in operation? Government funding typically acts as little more than subsidy. "We tell you what we want to be able to launch with, and we give you all of the money you need for R&D. Come up with a working concept that meets our requirements, design it, and build it, all on our dime. Then you operate what you just designed and built, and charge us for launches with it."

Why subsidize like that? Because there's not too much profit to be had currently. If companies like Boeing and Lockheed had to fund R&D on their launchers themselves, even commercial satellite launches would almost never be economical.

One might say, "Small industry is the answer." Sadly, the world is littered with the corporate graves of small companies that attempted and failed to bring effective orbital craft to the market.

It seems amazingly difficult for many on Slashdot to accept, but getting to orbit is really, really, really hard, and it's pretty miraculous that we can get out of this deep gravity well at all. Suborbital flight is quite easy, comparitively. It's that extra 6x delta-V that gets you.

That doesn't mean, "Abandon all hope ye who enter this industry." As it stands, for example, I think it looks like SpaceX is shaping up to be one of those rare success stories. But they're not out of the woods yet, nor are their low prices fixed in stone. A couple years and we should have a better idea on them.

Re:Safety Concerns? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19686817)

TFA does mention that

"..The skin is made of several layers that include proprietary impact-resistant materials. Testing on the ground has shown that the expandable shells of a Bigelow module are much more resistant to space debris than the modules on the International Space Station."

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687107)

At the same time, I was unable to find any mention of protection for the craft from micrometeorites and space debris. An inflatable structure will be at greater risk of catastrophic failure from micropunctures than would a traditional aluminum/titanium shell.

Governments doing stuff like this:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/01/18/china.mis sile/index.html [cnn.com]

Won't help in keeping the place clean of dibris that could do it either.

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

The_Noid (28819) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687187)

The funny thing with a vacuum is that the pressure of it can never go below 0 bar... So if you want a nice internal pressure of 1 bar your maximum pressure difference will be... 1 bar! Not really that drastic don't you think?

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690699)

Of course, most spacecraft operate at a lower pressure than that. Saves on the launch weight, among other things.

-jcr

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687225)

I agree with your support of private industry, but a fucking tea company [bigelowtea.com] ?

Re:Safety Concerns? (2, Informative)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687609)

I agree with your support of private industry, but a fucking tea company?
Sure, why not. There's an historic precedent. The fastest sailing ships of their time, and new sailing technologies, were developed as a by product of the tea industry in the 19th Century.

I think it's rather fitting, and all quite steampunk really.

Seriously though folks, as other posters have mentioned, there's not nearly enough Space Gigolo posts on this story.

Not sure how serious you're being... (2, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688003)

However, from Wikipedia:

Bigelow Aerospace was founded by Robert Bigelow and is funded by the fortune Bigelow gained through his ownership of the hotel chain Budget Suites of America."
Hence the whole idea of a "space hotel" seems appropriate...

So why isn't private money getting involved? (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687571)

Government involvement bad, commercial investment good, yadda yadda ..yawn... - so why's it not happening?

Because there's no money in it! Nobody's stopping Bill Gates and Exxon and Haliburton from throwing a few billion at spaceflight, the Russians would happily take their dollars and launch up anything they want (oh the irony, the Russians are completely up for free market exploitation of space and the Americans won't allow it...).

So even though you want private investors to pour money in, they aren't doing it... they are waiting for the ev0l government funded projects to take the risk and make the discoveries and lose the lives first. Personally I don't think private companies give a toss about making discoveries and getting involved in innovation, they just want to make a profit.

Re:So why isn't private money getting involved? (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687629)

"Personally I don't think private companies give a toss about making discoveries and getting involved in innovation, they just want to make a profit."

Of course that's what they're interested in. Why would you expect anything else? I mean, presumably, any corporate entity that has the money/material to invest significantly in space flight will have plenty of stockholders to keep happy...do you think they would support the investment of their money in extremely high risk ventures with minimal return in the near future? Of course not--they want to make their score and get out. Which is not to say that this is the ideal model, but it's precisely what you'd expect from capitalism. In economics speak, discovery and exploration have positive externalities in excess of the individual's return on investment. We might all be better off if they did the research, but because they can't get paid for it, they don't do it, which is why the government gets involved.

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687671)

It will be interesting as well to see what sorts of atmospheric pressure can be contained in the vacuum of space in inflatable structure and their airlock ideas.

The real safety concern is if the giant radiation-affected, bingo-frenzied cockroaches, scorpions and ants return to Earth alive... Go vacuum!

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

Valdez (125966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689421)

So, in summary, if we want to have colonies on the moon or mars in the next 10-20 years, open it to private companies and let them plant flags? First one there gets to stake a claim and keep it.

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19697701)

The UAC welcomes you to Mars City, and hopes you enjoy your stay. Please ignore the alien creatures throwing fireballs from the left, the portal to a hell-like planet on the right, and the ruins of a long-dead civilization below you. Stop by our concession stand for a complementary soul cube on your way back to the dropship. The UAC welcomes you to...

Re:Safety Concerns? (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690135)

Actually, this has undergone a number of tests before it went into space. These are more validation tests than anything else. In fact, from all the data, it is thought that the cloth (more like fiberglass) is safer than the metal and FAR less risk. For instance, you mention hits. The transhab/BA-xxx has mutiple layers and includes sealers built in. In addition, it includes lawyers that are designed to absorb much of the energy. Whereas the meteorite would puncture the metal version, it may actually be stopped here AND self seal. As to the temp. swings AND radiation, all material suffer in it. The question is which will last longer. That is unknown. But that is what is being looked at with the genesis.

Re:Safety Concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19690379)

In addition, it includes lawyers that are designed to absorb much of the energy.

As opposed to much of the money....

For some reason, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy comes to mind...

Re:Safety Concerns? (1, Flamebait)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19691415)

Oh please, enough with the Libertarian drivel. The US space program was moving boldly enough until the general public got bored with moon landings. Even now, NASA is accomplishing some pretty remarkable things with a relatively meager budget. Private industry will ride the government's coattails like they always do. All of these recent ventures are built on almost 70 friggin' years of governments' accomplishment. Hell, Space One amounted to a glorified X-15. Libertarians like you were just salivating at the chance to use that in another "government bad, business good" debate.

Goddamned private industry can't even maintain terrestrial air travel without truck loads of government subsidies and hand-holding. But, no, let's all forget about that and cheer another victory for Private Capitalism's conquest of space!

Re:Safety Concerns? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695351)

If humans plan to move boldly into space, private investment and development is critical. Imagine the westward expansion of the United States if it had only been performed by governmental institutions.

Yes, lets imagine a west... Without the trancontinental railroad. Without the US Army. Without the Homestead Act. Etc... Etc...
 
The west I'm imagining would be a pretty empty and desolate place without all the things the goverment did to open it up.
 

Now imagine no westward rushes - only slow, methodical probes such as the Lewis and Clark expedition. Lewis and Clark did a lot of knowledge of the Louisiana Purchase, but the percentage of territory actually explored was miniscule.

Sure. But they were only the first of hundreds (if not thousands) of explorers and surveyors sent by the Federal, State, and Territorial goverments - many of them well in advance of any settlers.
 
For a clue: Look at the arrangments of land west from Ohio westward and southwestward. See how it's almost all arranged neatly in little squares? That's because the goverment paid surveyors to survey the land and parcel it up - then the goverment opened the parcels for the settlers to buy or homestead.
 

How does this all relate to space?

It doesn't really. The West opened up because the various levels of goverment, from the Feds on down, spent decades and dollars making it possible. It didn't "just happen" and wasn't done by private investment on it's own hook.
 

Once commercial interests develop space-based platforms, we will begin to see true innovation, and perhaps, affordable spacebased transit and colonization in the very-long term.

The key problem being that commercial interests won't develop those platforms unless the affordable transportation already exists. (Bigelow is gambling against long odds that will happen anyhow.) In alt.space circles this is known (by those few who think about these things) as " the chicken and the egg problem". Most alt.spacers think like you do - wish real hard, and hope that magic happens and that "if you build it, they will some". Economics however is a cruel mistress.
 

It wasn't always pretty, but hard work and planning got people from cities to the frontier of the New World in the 1850's. I believe the same will happen with space.

There's no reason to believe it will happen in space, at least not on the model of opening the west (which was heavy on govermental intervention). Not to mention that there ample economic reasons for opening the west - reasons which don't apply in space. (No resources to easily mine, no agriculture to ship food to the cities of the East, etc... etc..)
 
  What few economic incentives do exist require massive upfront investment, a healthy helping of technologies that are currently not only immature but also not really in the realm of private experience, and decades before they are likely turn a profit. Historically such ventures have been the province of govermental agencies or companies wholly or largely backed by the goverment. (Either tacitly or implicitly via such mechanisms as the issuance of exclusive licenses.)

Sega (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19686539)

Sega Genesis II? Awesome! But why the fuck are they launching it into space? :*(

Sounds familar (4, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686549)

Cockroaches, scorpions, ants and Bingo? Sounds like Phoenix not space. What are they trying to do establish a new place to send all the baby boomers when they get old?

Re:Sounds familar (1)

Sindri (207695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687077)

They are actually establishing a place to send the baby boomers when they get old. Their aim is to have a orbiting space hotel.

The bigger picture (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19686587)

One might ask why they are doing this. We've been launching balloons into orbit for a long time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon_satellite [wikipedia.org] These guys are moving toward building a space hotel. Tourists could pay zillions of dollars to visit the space hotel and they would make huge profits. To get the money they need to build the space hotel they need credibility. Launching a couple of balloons is supposed to give them the credibility they need with investors.

Technically, the space hotel people's accomplishment is not as good as what the radio amateurs have done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMSAT [wikipedia.org] It is more a publicity stunt than scientific advance.

Re:The bigger picture (1)

diqmay (773248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686689)

These guys are moving toward building a space hotel.
well I guess the cockroaches aren't so stupid after all.

there's a distinct difference (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688723)

There is a distinct difference between a ham radio satellite and habitable crew modules. The first merely requires a few thermal considerations and lots of power. The latter requires a lot of thermal considerations, power, airtight construction, etc. Also bear in mind the materials and construction methods being used are brand spanking new - NASA is licensing them for future use. The past radio balloon satellites were mere mylar baloons. No structural integrity and you'd have to be crazy to even think about putting a human in one.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a ham, and I have a great appreciation for the AMSAT program. But this is a whole different ball game.

Actually, that is very inaccurate. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690037)

They are looking at doing a hotel, but that is a side business. They are looking at building space stations for any nation/business that wants to be in space. In addition, he is counting on this being used to get to the moon and mars. Finally, this will be used for habitats on both the moon and mars. While everybody else is focus on getting from earth to leo (inner city within europe to a local port), he is focused on controlling the access across the ocean and on the new lands. He will make money across the entire journey except the initial leg. But the xprize and the xprize 2 are guarenteed to give his customers low cost access to his hilton.

Re:The bigger picture (2, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690423)

These are much more than just balloons and launching them really does give them credibility. They have proved that they can, using so-called balloon technology, create a habitable module in space that can survive the vacuum, micrometerites, radiation, and so forth. I'm frankly excited at what they've been able to do. I would not doubt at all that if this project ultimately proves successfully technologically, that we'll eventually see Bigelow inflatable modules on the international space station. This may give NASA a bit of competition, which will be good.

There's a long way for them to yet go. They have to figure out how to assemble and build stations out of these modules in orbit. That requires things like space walks and robotic arms and so forth. Watching the astronauts spend hours and hours under difficult conditions working to just bolt a truss into place on the station gives me a lot of respect for what it takes. Also a critical piece of Bigelow's vision is still missing, which is a way to get people up there. Even buying launches from Inertia, it will cost many millions of dollars per launch, not to mention years of training for people flying. Space flights will not be routine for many more years.

But Bigelow is making small but giant steps towards the future. I think it's exciting and worthwhile.

Slow News Day? (0, Troll)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686625)

Oh, please. All that cargo combined probably weighs less than five pounds. This sounds more like a shameless and overblown plug for the company than a viable and worthwhile news article

Launch five humans and a habitat module into orbit and you've got my attention.

Re:Slow News Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19687131)

> Oh, please. All that cargo combined probably weighs less than five pounds

Off by about 3 orders of magnitude. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Aerospace [wikipedia.org] , it's more like 3,000 pounds (1,360 kg).

Re:Slow News Day? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689093)

Humans carry the nasty problem of having to bring them down safely.

Those cockroaches are not that lucky...

so this is Deuce Bigelow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19686781)

*ducks*

I for one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19686827)

Scorpions in Space? Really who thought that would be a good idea?

Re:I for one.... (4, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687389)

Scorpions on a Spaceship - where's Samuel L Jackson when you need him?

Deuce Bigelow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19686831)

Space gigolo!

Ow ow ow ow stop hitting me!

Deuce Bigelow? (2, Funny)

choseph (1024971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19686869)

I came to the comments on this story ONLY to read the "Deuce Bigelow - Space Gigolo" comments. Slashdot, you have sorely disappointed me.

Re:Deuce Bigelow? (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687005)

Don't laugh if there are any studio Execs cruising the site it'll be in production by morning.

Re:Deuce Bigelow? (1)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687083)

That's a huuuuuge ship!

Does it... (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687091)

Does it have hookers? And blackjack?

Re:Does it... (3, Insightful)

Bagels (676159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687227)

Well, the occupants won't necessarily be governed by any terrestrial laws (maybe international ones?), so I'd guess probably yes.

Re:Does it... (3, Funny)

Cybrex (156654) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688289)

Does it have hookers? And blackjack?

Well... sort of. If your idea of hookers is venomous exoskeletal arachnids with claws then you're in luck! Just bear in mind that "getting a piece of tail" will have a different meaning for her than it will for you.

Bingo might seem like a poor substitute for blackjack, but this is Space Bingo! Anything is better with "Space" affixed to its name! Think about it; Which would you rather drink- "beer" or "Space Beer"!

Wow, this is so amazing (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687579)

I had no idea Bigelow had come so far. Lipton and Twinings had better step up to the plate.

It the fiiiinaaaal count down....... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687675)

Oh wait, that Europe not Scorpions...

Nevermind.

Re:It the fiiiinaaaal count down....... (1)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688209)

Yup, it's about time we sent the Scorpions [wikipedia.org] into space.... maybe they'll get Hit Between the Eyes [lyricsfreak.com] ?

Don't scientists learn anything? (1)

jfekendall (1121479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19687859)

They should have learned from their collegues in the Star Trek Universe that The Genesis Device [wikipedia.org] was a complete failure? Oh! Wait! It's Genesis II. My bad. They must have worked-out all the bugs!

Re:Don't scientists learn anything? (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694651)

They must have worked-out all the bugs!

I think you mean they worked-IN all the bugs......

Re:Don't scientists learn anything? (1)

jfekendall (1121479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695843)

touche` A scorpion is a hell of a bug!

Geez - I must be tired... (1)

Skippyboy (978787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688061)

I could have sworn that the headline was DESTROYS Genesis2 Space Module...(Note to self: drink more coffee)

scorpions, roaches, bingo... (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19688881)

Isn't there a cheaper way to get rid of these things?

What if the vehicle somehow gets pulled out of Earth's gravity and eventually lands on an inhabited planet? Won't the residents be pissed and decide to annihilate Earth to rid the galaxy of free-square roaches?

Nuclear Annihilation Assured (1)

starwarsfans (921179) | more than 7 years ago | (#19689209)

We have just insured the the cockroaches will live longer than us, if there is a Nuclear War that devastates the Earth. The cockroaches will wait in their space module until it is safe to come back to Earth and take over the world.

Re:Nuclear Annihilation Assured (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693511)

We have just insured the the cockroaches

You can insure cockroaches? Whatever next...

Art Bell (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19690189)

Mr. Bigelow who is a billionaire hotel mogul, is also a personal friend of Art Bell from Coast to Coast AM (if you've never heard of it, it's the highest rated late night radio talk show with affiliates world wide), and interviewed him prior to this launch on his show about what he intends to do and the probability of success. The ideas he espoused were essentially luxury vacations in space eventually going for mass market appeal that everyone could afford over time (something in line with an ocean cruise) after the prices come down enough by the super rich going first.

I know that C2C is not popular here and gets all kinds of shit talked about it but I thought I'd point out that they were first (as they have been with many other national news stories which then occasionally leak into the main stream).

Scorpions in Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694999)

Woah, kewl, d00d; I've never heard of The Cockroaches but the Scorpions are way mad. Can we send Lars up too? I'll even give him a dollar!
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