Bigelow Aerospace, United Launch Alliance agree to place B330 habitat in low lunar orbit

Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are working together to launch a B330 expandable module on ULA´s Vulcan launch vehicle, the companies said.

The launch would place a B330 outfitted module in Low Lunar Orbit by the end of 2022 to serve as a lunar depot.

The B330 would launch to Low Earth Orbit on a Vulcan 562 configuration rocket, the only commercial launch vehicle in development today with sufficient performance and a large enough payload fairing to carry the habitat.

Once the B330 is in orbit, Bigelow Aerospace will outfit the habitat and demonstrate it is working properly.

Bigelow Aerospace is a destination-oriented company with a focus on expandable systems for use in a variety of space applications. These NASA heritage systems provide for greater volume, safety, opportunity and economy than the aluminum alternatives.

The B330 is a standalone commercial space station that can operate in Low Earth Orbit, cislunar space and beyond. A single B330 is comparable to one third of the current pressurized volume of the entire International Space Station. Bigelow Aerospace is developing two B330 commercial space station habitats that will be ready for launch any time after 2020.