Early information from Bigelow Aerospace finds private companies are interested in using a permanent moonbase by the 2020s.
A study by Bigelow Aerospace, commissioned by NASA, shows 'a lot of excitement and interest from various companies' for moonbases and other space projects.
The projects range from pharmaceutical research aboard Earth-orbiting habitats, to missions to the moon's surface, he said on Thursday, citing a draft of the report due to be released in a few weeks. Bigelow Aerospace surveyed about 20 companies as well as foreign space agencies and research organizations for the NASA study. NASA expects to release the first part of Bigelow's study within a few weeks. The second section is expected to be finished this fall.
SpaceX could launch an $18 million Bigelow inflatable module to the station from Cape Canaveral as soon as mid-2015.
NASA intends to use the information to figure out where it can collaborate with private space initiatives and where it might, for example, entirely skip an expensive research and development program and just buy services or hardware commercially.