Thursday, January 10, 2013

NASA contract May Put Inflatable secretive Module on Space Station

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NASA and Bigelow Aerospace have reached a contract that could cover the method for attaching a Bigelow-built inflatable space habitat to the International Space Station, a NASA spokes man said.

The $17.8 million agreement was signed in late December, NASA spokesman Trent Perrotto told Space News Monday. Perrotto declined to offer other conditions of the accord, except to speak that it centers on the Bigelow extended Aerospace Module. He said an official statement is in the works.

The contract signed in December follows a nonpaying NASA agreement Bigelow got in 2011, under which the North Las Vegas, Nev., company worked up a catalog of rules and protocols for totaling BEAM to the space station. Bigelow got that agreement, which did not call for any flight hardware, in response to a 2010 NASA Broad Agency Announcement seeking thoughts for support equipment and services meant to help the U.S. part of the International Space Station live up to its billing as a countrywide laboratory.

SpaceX and Orbital are below agreement for space station cargo deliveries through 2016. So far, only SpaceX has flown to the location. The company, which flies Dragon cargo capsules atop Falcon 9 rockets, finished its initial contracted run in October. Orbital, which is raising a cargo freighter called Cygnus for begin aboard its new Antares rocket, is now listed to start a demonstration cargo run in February from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

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