Twenty Years of Continuous Human Presence
International Space Station
Above: The Canadarm2 robotic arm and Dextre, the fine-tuned robotic hand, are remotely controlled from Earth to extract Bartolomeo from the pressurized trunk of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship. Built by Airbus Defense and Space and funded by private investors, Bartolomeo offers commercial companies a streamlined way to get their experiments into orbit. Right: The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is seen at center attached to the Tranquility module of the International Space Station. BEAM is an expandable habitat technology demonstration
Shireman conceded that commercializing the space station – introducing free-market competition to a platform built through unprecedented international collaboration – wasn’t an idea that took hold among all station partners at the same time. The Russians were arguably the first to introduce commerce to the station, when they flew the first private astronaut there a decade-anda-half ago. When NASA introduced the idea
co-sponsored by Bigelow Aerospace and NASA.