On June 16, he’ll use a Russian Dnepr rocket to launch a 1/3-scale Genesis model of his planned commercial orbital space station. That much has been public for a while. What I didn’t learn until just now is what will be on that module.
Freefloating inside will be 1,000 photocards and small personal objects contributed by Bigelow employees. If all goes well, those items will be continuously blown throughout the pressurized module in a kind of space collage. Six onboard cameras will stream video to Bigelow’s new website, which will launch tomorrow or Friday. Seven external cameras will provide views of the Earth from space and the outside of the module.
If that doesn’t get even the most disinterested member of the public at least intrigued about the possibilities of space travel, I don’t know what will.
But it gets better. Subject to a successful launch of the first module, Bigelow will launch a second Genesis module in September, and that one will contain photos and other small items contributed by anyone who cares to pony up $295.
Think of it. For the next five years, while Genesis hurtles through its 550-kilometer-high orbit, you could fire up your Web browser, click the appropriate link, and watch the ultimate psychedelic space show–hundreds of photos, golf balls, belt buckles, rings, medals, you name it, twirling and spinning in zero gravity, and every once in a while, your smiling mug, or your daughter’s, or your husband’s, will peek out of the milieu for all the world to see. Hell, make it your screensaver. Or project it on a wall for a party. All for the price of an iPod, which if you bought now would just be an expensive paperweight in five years anyhow.
Phase one of the new website, outlining this program, launches by week’s end. Keep an eye on it for details on how to make reservations. Also look for photos of Bigelow’s just-completed mission control center in Las Vegas.
“We’ve been busy,” said Bigelow with his characteristic flair for dramatic understatement when I expressed my astonishment at his recent activity. And how.
Bigelow wants me to give him feedback on his new Web site after it launches. Let me know what you think of it, either here or via the email address on my website, and I’ll pass it on.