Bigelow Aerospace have been informed by their launch provider ISC Kosmotras that they’ll have to wait another four weeks – until an undisclosed window at the end of June – for the launch of their Genesis II.
Kosmotras need yet more time to test ground support equipment and the Dnepr launch vehicle at the Dombarovskiy launch site, following the failure of the Russian vehicle last year.
The launch was scheduled – following a previous sixty day delay – for May 23. The new launch date is now set to be in late June.
In total, over six months of delays to the launch has been caused by the ongoing testing of the Dnepr and its ground support, as Bigelow attempt to follow up the success of the Genesis I – which was successfully launched via a Russian RS-20 Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missile last year.
‘Bigelow Aerospace has been informed by its launch provider ISC Kosmotras (‘Kosmotras’) that additional testing of the Dnepr rocket and its ground equipment is being required by Russian authorities,’ said founder Robert T. Bigelow in a released statement.
‘Due to last year’s Dnepr failure, these new and additional tests have been requested to identify any remaining issues with the system and enhance the overall chances of achieving our primary objective of mission success. Unfortunately, these procedures will create an additional four week delay. We now expect the launch of Genesis II to occur in late June.’
Genesis I and II are a family of prototype and production space station modules, with their unique element of being inflatable spacecraft potentially aiding a cheaper solution to creating habitable modules in space, from space stations to space hotels.
Genesis II will also allow the public to ‘fly your stuff’ inside the module, for as little as $295. Over the next several years, Bigelow plans to test larger prototype spacecraft, including a full-scale prototype that could to launch as early as 2012.
‘Again, no one likes launch delays and we wish the situation were otherwise,’ added Bigelow. ‘However, we experienced similar delays on the Genesis I campaign and, of course, were quite pleased with the end result.
‘Moreover, since Genesis II contains a variety of important mementos, photos, and other personal items as part of our pilot ‘Fly Your Stuff’ program, both Kosmotras and Bigelow Aerospace are proceeding with great caution in order to safely and successfully deliver the spacecraft to orbit.
Bigelow’s plans are extensive, with ongoing work with a number of launch service providers, including ULA (United Launch Alliance) – via a human rated Atlas V – for the transportation of space tourists to his planned orbital space complex.