After Hours

Images: First room launched for space hotel

There's a new object orbiting Earth that could be the first step in the construction of an inhabitable complex in space. Genesis I, built by Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, was successfully launched into orbit by a converted Russian ICBM on Wednesday. This inflatable 14-foot demonstration craft is the first launch toward the company's overall mission--to build an affordable human space complex that is accessible to the commercial sector by 2015.

Left is one of the first images returned by Genesis I, showing the inflated craft and a solar array. Note the Earth's curviture in the background. Photos number 3 and 13 are also of Genesis I in orbit.

Bigelow Aerospace

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...