Bigelow Gets FAA Backing For Moon

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's Office of the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (AST) has given their approval to private sector operations on the moon.


(Robert Bigelow (left) explains inflatable lunar bases)

The FAA/AST letter, obtained by Inside Outer Space, encourages the private space firm to continue to invest in the development of Bigelow Aerospace's lunar habitat to support public and private sector activities. [Bigelow Aerospace's Private Space Stations (Gallery)]

"Moreover, we recognize the private sector's need to protect its assets and personnel on the Moon or on other celestial bodies," the FAA AST letter explains. "Supporting non-interference for private sector operations will enhance safety and only add to the long history of preserving ownership interests in hardware and equipment."

Furthermore, the letter explains that the Department of State's fundamental concern is that the national regulatory framework, in its present form, is "ill-equipped" to enable the U.S. Government to fulfill its obligations under the Outer Space Treaty with respect to private sector activities on the moon or other celestial bodies.

"This response represents one small step for Bigelow Aerospace and one giant leap for lunar development," said Mike Gold, Director of Washington, D.C. Operations & Business Growth for Bigelow Aerospace, LLC.

The igloo inflatable moon habitat from Arthur C. Clarke's 1961 novel A Fall of Moondust was an essential element in the future of lunar exploration:

This was one of the latest models - a Goodyear Mark XX - and it could sustain six men for an indefinite period, as long as they were supplied with power, water, food and oxygen. The igloo could provide everything else...

Lawrence stooped slightly to enter the air lock. In some of the old models, he remembered, you practically had to go down on hands and knees. He waited for the "pressure equalized" signal, then stepped into the hemispherical main chamber.
(Read more about igloo inflatable lunar shelter)

However, even earlier, Philip K. Dick fans were treated to the inflatable lunar resort from his 1955 novel Solar Lottery:

Corpsmen, dressed in bright vacation colors, were relaxing and enjoying themselves around and in a vast tank of sparkling blue water. Above them a dome of transparent plastic kept the fresh spring-scented air in, and the bleak void of the Lunar landscape out...

Rita O'Neill had climbed from the water and was sunbathing drowsily a little way beyond the main group of people. Her sleek naked body gleamed moistly in the hot light that filtered down through the lens of the protective balloon.

Via Space.com.

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