Satellite Technology Feature Article
Private Space Station Firm Bigelow Aerospace Hiring
By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
If you’re a technician, machine shop worker or an engineer (Electrical, Mechanical, Software, Systems) looking for a job in the space industry, private space station manufacturer/operator Bigelow Aerospace is hiring.
Open positions listed on Bigelow's website include three mechanical engineers, one production engineer, one systems engineer, two electrical engineers, one software engineer for avionics integraion, and a soft goods industrial sewing machine operator.
Bigelow Aerospace currently operates two pathfinder satellites, Genesis I and Genesis II, designed to verify and test the company's inflatable structure technology for the BA 330 space station module it will ultimately orbit.
Launched on July 2006, Genesis I was launched from a Russian missile complex. On orbit, the compressed 4.4-meter long and 1.6-meter in diameter package expanded to 2.4 meters in diameter. The slightly larger (2.54 meters in diameter inflated) Genesis II was launched from Russian in June 2007 and included 22 interior and exterior monitoring cameras, sensors, a "BioBox" and a reaction wheel system for attitude control and stabilization.
The BA 330 module is designed to support up to six occupants on a long-term basis and has a habitable volume of around 330 cubic meters. Each module has two "green" propulsion systems, an independent power supply with solar cells and batteries, an independent avionics system, an independent environment control and life support system with lavatory and hygiene facilities, and four observation widows.
Multiple BA 330 modules can be linked together in orbit to provide more living and working space.
Bigelow and SpaceX announced in May 2012 they were going to market on-orbit manned stays at Bigelow space stations to international customers. The package would include a turnkey package with crew riding aboard a SpaceX (News - Alert) Dragon capsule to a Bigelow station made up of two or more BA 330 modules.
Smaller countries seeking manned space experience have expressed interest in a private space station lease/time-share arrangement because they can't afford the expensive and/or cumbersome agreements to put astronauts and experiments onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Bigelow has previously said it has agreements with seven countries to use a private station: Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirate of Dubai and the United Kingdom. Estimates for a 30-day stay have ranged around $23 million.
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Edited by Braden Becker