Jan 132013

NASA, Bigelow Officials to Discuss Space Station Expandable Module

WASHINGTON — NASA has awarded a $17.8 million contract to Bigelow Aerospace to provide a new addition to the International Space Station. The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module will demonstrate the benefits of this space habitat technology for future exploration and commercial space endeavors.

Irony time: in the late 1990’s, NASA spent a fair chunk of change to develop the “Transhab” inflatable module to be attached to the Space Station, providing a large volume. But NASA rather suddenly abandoned the whole effort. Bigelow snapped up the technology and the rights, to form the basis of first-generation “space hotels.” Now it looks like NASA is paying Bigelow to study adding a Transhab to the Space Station.

Garver and Bigelow Aerospace Founder and President Robert Bigelow will discuss the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module program at a media availability at 1:30 p.m. EST (10:30 a.m. PST) Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Bigelow Aerospace facilities located at 1899 W. Brooks Ave. in North Las Vegas.

I wish ’em luck. Back in early 1999, I flew to Vegas for a job interview with Bigelow; it turned quickly surreal, and was not only disastrously unsuccessful, I later found out from side channels that I was seen not as a prospective new hire but as a spy. Yeah. I didn’t get the job.

 Posted by at 2:23 am
  • gemccry

    Thank You Scott. I too interviewed with Bigelow-and looking back Thank God I didn’t get the job. Surreal-yeah thats a good word for it. I should have turned around when I first got there, and saw the patch Security had on their uniform-the Gray Alien. It just went nuttier from that point on. Anyway-wish them luck.

    • Anonymous

      > the patch Security had on their uniform

      I think my interview was before that time. They were still in the idea phase, and I recall no security (though I’ve no doubt there was some, given the Money I saw on display).

      • publiusr

        There are only a handful of people who truly understand real space, and you see the same names popping up.

        I think some of this might date back to the Satchell Alexio deal when some Boeing employeers tried to steal EELV contract info from LockMart before they merged into ULA and became one big happy fleet–around the time Musk was runn off the coast under the aegis of ‘range safety.’

        The effect is that if anyone makes a splash and has any history and knows their stuff, they get more suspicion than consideration. The result is that some of Bigelow’s Moe Green type friends who got their education from spaceflight via the movie “Explorers” have his ear, and his money–but folks who should be hired get the cold shoulder.

        It isn’t just the USSR that suffered from paranoia–take Howard Hughes.

        Don’t get discouraged. You have to press the issue. The trick is to find the way around the typical chain of secretaries and find a way to talk to Bigelow himself if possible. perhaps contacting the NASA handler and go through that way if you want.

  • Michael the Somewhat Civilized

    For whom did they think you might be spying?

    I got the same impression when I interviewed for a job as a site maintenance manager for a small accelerator. Most of the questions were about what I might tell anyone about the place. I started wondering what they really did there.

    • Anonymous

      > For whom did they think you might be spying?

      My guess is, the company I worked for at the time. Bigelow and my then-boss had previously had a meeting at our little company in order to talk over some sort of business relationship; nothing – so far as I’m aware – ever came of it. Given that virtually everyone who has contemplated a business relationship with my then-boss sooner or later came to the view that that was a bad idea, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that the whole company might have been held in some suspicion. Plus, I probably did a piss-poor job at the interview. I was frankly curious about their designs (I’d heard some screwy things, like a plan for a space “cruise ship” that would use SSME’s… SSME’s that would burn for something like an *hour* to get the ship up to speed), and asked about that sort of thing. Some people, I’ve found, tend to be suspicious of curiosity.

      The whole trip, including the flight to Vegas which featured the flight attendanstewardesses running a numbers racket with passenger ticket stubs, was pretty odd.