Along with your jetpack, flying car, and moving sidewalks, a hotel in space is one of the great, undelivered promises of the future. Well, Bigelow Aerospace took another step towards fulfilling that promise last week with the launch of Genesis II, its prototype of an inflatable space hotel.
Genesis II was lofted into space atop Dnepr rocket on Thursday from the SC Kosmotras Yasny Cosmodrome in Russia. Shortly after launch, ground controllers confirmed a strong signal with the vehicle, confirming that it reached orbit.
On Friday, the habitat unfurled its solar panels, and inflated itself to its full width of 2.4 metres (8 feet).
Like it predecessor, Genesis 1, this spacecraft is a 1/3rd scale prototype of a future space hotel, designed to demonstrate various technologies and techniques needed for space tourism. The eventual plan is to put a manned habitat up by 2015, and then connect additional modules together to build up a space station.
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Genesis II has 22 cameras, and many new systems that weren’t aboard Genesis I.
Original Source:Bigelow Aerospace