Las Vegas-based space tourism accommodation developr Bigelow Aerospace has sent back its first videos from exterior and interior cameras onbaord its subscale inflatable habitable space complex technology demonstrator, Genesis I (below).

The demonstrator is orbiting at 550km altitude, at a 64˚, after its launch by an International Space Company Kosmotras Dnepr rocket at 14:54 GMT on 12 July. Once in orbit the spacecraft, based on NASA-developed technology, inflated itself, deployed its solar arrays and transmitted data to Bigelow Aerospace’s mission control in Houston.

Bigelow's mission is to validate expandable structures as a certificated spaceflight technology, eventually to provide a low-cost, low earth orbit (LEO) space hotel complex that is accessible to the commercial sector.

Data received so far has also given the internal temperature of the spacecraft as 26˚C (80˚F) and the spacecraft's global positioning system signal has been acquired, enabling mission control to track it in flight.

Genesis I is the first of 6-10 demonstrators planned to be flown by 2010. By 2012 Bigelow wants to fly its first full-scale habitable structure.

The company’s full size habitable complex is called BA-330. Suggested uses for the BA-330, which the company also calls a Commercial Space Complex, include a space hotel.

The Moscow based International Space Company Kosmotras is a joint venture between Russia’s Federal Space Agency and the National Space Agency of the Ukraine. Created in 1997 its Dnepr Space Launch System uses converted SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Source: Flight International