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BigelowOrion version TWO
Five months ago I've developed (and published in my BigelowOrion article) the idea of a new, original and useful spaceship built with a smaller 4.5 m. Orion, or another capsule, and a Bigelow module to have (both) the same (or LESS) weight of a 5 m. Orion capsule with a TWO-THREE TIMES LARGER and MORE COMFORTABLE (since mainly cylindrical rather than conical) internal habitable space!
The only problem of the first version of BigelowOrion is that it was made of TWO modules: a (smaller) Orion AND a (fixed or jettisonable) inflatable module arranged in a Soyuz-looking design.
So, I've developed a "version TWO" of my BigelowOrion idea that has great part of the advantages of the first version (more habitable space, smaller capsule, less weight) but built in a SINGLE MODULE: a "splitted" 4.5 m. Orion capsule with the inflatable module located in its middle.
The new "single-module" BigelowOrion inflatable module should have an INTERNAL deploy-mechanism that can be opened or closed mechanically (with an electrical drive) or manually (with the astronauts hands) so it could be (also) repaired in space (if necessary).
Of course, the two "solid" parts of the capsule must have a set of "locking devices" to keep them firmly joined at lift-off and re-entry.
Despite my idea was born to be applied on the (too heavy) Orion, it could be (clearly) used with EVERY other capsules developed and built in future, so, we could have a SpaceX "Bigelow-Dragon" (that may increase very much the internal space of to-day's version) an ESA/RSA "Bigelow-ACTS" (that should have less weight and the same internal space of a Soyuz-like version without any orbital module) a chinese "Bigelow-Shenzhou", etc.
Like in the first two-modules version, also the new "version TWO" of my BigelowOrion will have enough internal space to allow a (very useful, but missed in the Orion's design) airlock and a comfortable Shuttle-like toilet.
Both (single and two modules) BigelowOrion (already) have BIG advantages if used alone (thanks to the internal volume of an "eight meters Orion" at the price and weight of a 4.5 m capsule!!!) but a further use of this vehicle (or the Dragon/ACTS/Shenzhou versions) is to (quickly) build MANY (simple and cheap) earth and lunar space stations!
The main advantage of the BigelowOrion used to build small space stations, is that it's easy to launch (and priced) like a capsule, but big enough to be an useful space station module, also, all BigelowOrion modules can be always reversed back as capsule, to be used as cargo, rescue or backup vehicle!
As explained in my Lunar Space Station article, the main reason to have a small space station in lunar orbit (with several years of life support) is to reduce thousands times the risk of all moon missions ("if something goes wrong") but another very good reason to build it, is to use that lunar space station as a "multipurpose" lunar surface ultra hi-res reconnaissance, earth-moon-earth communications, gps, Orion/reusable-LSAMs' parking and astronauts' training platform.
Here you can see the "concept" of a (very simple, small and cheap) earth/lunar space station built around a "core module" with large solar panels and eight LIDS androgynous docking ports for Orion, LSAM and other (american and international) "LIDS-compatible" vehicles and modules.
Both earth and lunar space stations could also ROTATE slowly to create an artificial lunar gravity, so the astronauts can learn how to walk and work on the moon and to test the consequences for human healt of very long permanences at 1/6th of earth gravity (that's very important to know if we can build a lunar outpost, someday) .
June 23 - 2007
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Copyright © 2007 Gaetano Marano - All rights reserved - base images used for drawings are © NASA, RSA, SpaceX