Private Space Stations could start launching in 2020
Bigelow Aerospace and Axiom Space, plan to launch habitat modules to orbit in 2020, with the aim of making some money off Earth. If all goes according to plan, private space stations will eventually form the backbone of commercial facilities that replace the International Space Station, which is currently funded through 2024.
"Hopefully, if we're successful in the private-sector community, NASA's going to save a boatload of money, on multiple locations [in orbit], not just one, with more volume than they've ever had before," Bigelow founder and CEO Robert Bigelow said here Wednesday (Oct. 12) at the 2016 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS). "So, whether it's Axiom or us or other people, that is the future."
A new company, named Axiom Space LLC, was incorporated in January, 2016 in Delaware but is based in Houston. Mike Suffredini (former NASA manager of the International Space Station) serves as its president and Kam Ghaffarian, the president and chief executive of SGT, is the chief executive.
Suffredini believes that there is a robust market for a commercial space station. A study commissioned by Axiom Space concluded the addressable market for such a station could be as large as $37 billion between 2020 and 2030, combining various commercial and government uses.
Axiom Space hopes to keep building, launching and linking up modules, eventually creating an industrial "space city" of 100 or so people by the mid-2030s, Baine said.