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New Private Space Station Launched

Bigelow Aerospace has now successfully launched their second inflatable satellite, a prototype for an evenatual private space station:

A privately-built space station prototype successfully launched into orbit Thursday from a Russian missile base, kicking off the second test flight for the U.S. firm Bigelow Aerospace.

Genesis 2, an inflatable module laden with cameras, personal items and a Space Bingo game, rocketed spaceward atop a Dnepr booster from a silo at Yasny Launch Base, an active Russian strategic missile base in the country's Orenburg region. Liftoff occurred at 11:02 a.m. EDT (1502 GMT) though it was near evening at the Russian launch site.

"It was beautiful," Bigelow Aerospace corporate counsel Mike Gold, who attended the launch, told SPACE.com immediately after the Dnepr blastoff. "Genesis 1 is about to have company."

Over on The Speculist, I was just this morning writing about how I don't want to take the first private trip to the moon offered. I think subsequent lunar vacation packages will be safer, more economical, and (most importantly) will include more fun stuff to do on the moon. One of the changes that will help bring this about is a robust and competitive market for private space development. Bigelow is helping to make that happen.

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