Launched on July 12, 2006 at the ISC Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex near Yasny, Russia aboard a converted Russian ICBM (the ’Dnepr’), Genesis I became Bigelow Aerospace’s first operational spacecraft and was a tremendous success.
Specifically, Genesis I accomplishments include:
- The first spacecraft produced by Bigelow Aerospace.
- The first expandable space habitat technology on orbit.
- The development and validation of the necessary seals and metal to softgoods interfaces.
- Proving that an expandable habitat can successfully withstand the vibration and loads of the launch environment.
- Successfully verifying Bigelow Aerospace’s proprietary folding and packing techniques.
- Demonstrating in microgravity Bigelow Aerospace’s pressurization and deployment process for an expandable envelope.
- Marked the first commercial launch to take place at the ISC Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex.
- Represented the first launch of a single, large payload aboard the Dnepr, taking full advantage of this innovative "swords into plowshares" transportation system.
- Likely represented the lowest-cost mission of its kind in the history of aerospace, including spacecraft fabrication and the launch itself.
The spacecraft remains in orbit and is operational today, continuing to produce invaluable images, videos and data for Bigelow Aerospace. It is now demonstrating the long-term viability of expandable habitat technology in an actual orbital environment.