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Nuclear Swords into Inflatable Orbiting Plowshares

Bigelow Aerospace made history last week by successfully launching an inflatable, miniature space station into earth orbit. The good news here – another step forward in the private development of space. Company founder Robert Bigelow – a Las Vegas tycoon who made his fortune from the Budget Suites of America hotel chain – has outlined a plan whereby last week’s orbital balloon launch is the first step in a process that leads to the opening of the first hotel in outer space. It sounds like a plot right out of a Robert A Heinlein novel, but it isn’t. It’s just medium-to-long-term planning from a real company – one that looks to be off to a very successful start.

If all that wasn’t good news enough, Robert Reed III of LUF Blog points out that this is the perfect example of private space development providing an occasion to beat swords into plowshares. That’s right. Bigelow’s inflatable craft, aptly named the Genesis 1, was launched into space using a converted Soviet-era intercontinental ballistic missile.

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