|Atlas-V with CST-100|
|CST-100 closes on Bigelow station|
A deeper private investment by Boeing would also be welcome news to Bigelow Aerospace as it seeks to perfect its business plan of hiring taxis to ferry international commercial researchers to private inflatable space laboratories later this decade. Interestingly, the CST 100 was developed as part of a partnership between Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace.
Though Boeing has received millions of dollars from NASA as part of the Commercial Crew Development program, the company has maintained that it needs a destination besides the ISS to make the program financially viable for Boeing. Enter Bigelow, who have been working to bring inflatable, commercially produced space stations to orbit and subsequently working directly with Boeing on the CST-100 development.
|Rendering of a Bigelow inflatable attached to International Space Station|
|CST-100 at Bigelow Station|
Bigelow would gain confidence in, and operational experience with, its inflatable modules in a crewed environment, confidence which would undoubtedly also be gained by any potential future customers to Bigelow. Given that the ISS is a permanently crewed operational environment, it is an ideal testbed to demonstrate these technologies