Genesis-1: Reaching Escape Velocity From Red Tape

The orbiting of the privately-bankrolled Genesis-1 expandable spacecraft by Bigelow Aerospace is a step forward in the company’s vision to provide a low-cost, low Earth orbit human-rated space complex that is accessible to the commercial sector. The general concept for “inflatable” space habitats was initially developed by NASA for use in a proposed mission to Mars, hence the name, “Transit Habitat” or “TransHab” as it was commonly referred to. That work was curtailed in 2000, falling victim to NASA budget cuts. Since that time, Bigelow Aerospace took the basic concept, redefined it, moved the technology generations ahead and in many different directions, and ultimately brought the idea to fruition in the form of the Genesis-1 Pathfinder vessel.