Inflatable private room to dock to ISS, commercialise space

The $17.8 million BEAM inflatable module will be delivered to the ISS by SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft. It is expected to stay for a couple of years, attached to the Tranquility node’s port aft, where it will be used to test and demonstrate the feasibility of private company Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatable space habitat technology.
"Low Earth orbit will become a commercial domain," Bigelow’s Mike Gold told, adding that it wasn’t long ago that all communications satellites were owned by governments, compared to now, when the majority are privately owned. Bigelow currently has two stand-alone autonomous spacecraft in orbit, the Genesis I and the Genesis II, both collecting data about LEO conditions and about how well the technology performs in practise. The BEAM module will allow further data collation for the company, which is planning to launch its own space station, named Bigelow Aerospace Alpha Station, to be at least partially operational as early as next year.