NASA announced recently that it has awarded a contract worth $17.8 million to Bigelow Aerospace. The contract will allow Bigelow to build an expandable module for the International Space Station. Bigelow Aerospace is a commercial company that builds inexpensive commercial space stations designed for low Earth orbit.
Forbes reports that Bigelow has been working on the development of its expandable space station modules since 1998. The company put its first prototype modules in orbit in 2006 and 2007. The company designs its inflatable modules to work individually in orbit or to be connected other modules to create a larger space station.