Space expert Jon Goff has some thoughts about that potential blockbuster deal for Lockheed Martin to provide up to 50 Atlas V’s to support cargo and crew transport to Bigelow Aerospace’s planned space station.
“If he were just running an orbital hotel (he isn’t), I’d be very skeptical. Instead I’m somewhere between skeptical and guardedly optimistic. While there haven’t been large numbers of takers for flights on the Soyuz, what Bigelow’s offering is fundamentally different. Flight opportunities are frequent (which is critical for most microgravity research programs–imagine trying to run an R&D lab that you could only visit once or twice a year!), the situation is more customer friendly, training would likely be more streamlined (I hear that for Soyuz training the “passenger” is actually more of a third crew member than an honest-to-goodness passenger), etc.”
You can read more of his post at Jon’s excellent Selenian Boondocks blog.