Bigelow Aerospace, run by Las Vegas hotelier Robert Bigelow has successfully launched an unmanned rocket (a converted ICBM) from Russia and deployed, 340 miles above the Earth, a prototype of its space-living habitat known as Genesis. Genesis is crafted in kevlar and is inflatable. The company successfully inflated the structure, which is almost like a dirigible or airship, today.
It contains two life forms: cockroaches and moths.
The company hopes to begin space tourism within 5 years.
Here is a timeline:
7/13/06: Genesis I: All systems are operating within expected parameters.
7/12/06: Bigelow Aerospace has received confirmation from the Genesis I spacecraft that it has successfully expanded. >>More
7/12/06: Bigelow Aerospace mission control has begun to acquire information from the Genesis I spacecraft.
7/12/06: A Russian Dnepr rocket carrying the Bigelow Aerospace pathfinder mission Genesis I has successfully launched from the ISC Kosmotras space and missile complex in the Orenburg region of Russia.