From Bigelow Aerospace:
Las Vegas, NV 03/27/07 – Bigelow Aerospace announces its second pathfinder space complex module Genesis II has been shipped to a launch site in Russia and is expected to be lofted into orbit in mid-April.
Genesis II will be enclosed in a payload shroud and put atop a Dnepr rocket at the ISC Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex near Yasny, Russia for a launch window that begins on April 19.
If it successfully reaches orbit, Genesis II will mark the second test flight for a Bigelow Aerospace module following the successful start to the Genesis I mission last July. It is not meant for habitation and will launch into an orbit separate from Genesis I.
The outside appearance and size of the new module will be identical to Genesis I — approximately 15 feet (4.4 meters) in length and 6.2 feet (1.9 meters) in diameter, expanding to 2.54 meters (eight feet) in diameter once in orbit. It is a one-third scale version of the manned commercial space modules Bigelow Aerospace hopes to launch in the future.
Unlike the company’s previous spacecraft, Genesis II will feature several systems and materials not flown on Genesis I. This includes upgrades to vehicle control and sensors, a multi-tank inflation system for the module’s expansion and additional layers to the module’s outer shielding. There will also be a total of 22 combined interior and exterior cameras on Genesis II that include articulated and wireless cameras, as well as an exterior projection system to allow the display of images on the main body of the vehicle.
Genesis II features items and pictures sent up by paying customers are part of the “Fly Your Stuff” program. The photos and items will be photographed and displayed on the Bigelow Aerospace Website at www.bigelowaerospace.com.Public participation will also include the first-ever “Space Bingo” game, as well as the Biobox life sciences experiment featuring colonies of ants, scorpions and cockroaches.The public is invited to follow the preparations for the start of the Genesis II mission through an ongoing blog by company counsel Mike Gold on the Bigelow Aerospace Website at www.bigelowaerospace.com.