Earlier this week an inflatable spacecraft was launched in Russia. The satellite was launched to test technology that could be used to build a commercial space station:
The Genesis I satellite flew aboard a converted Cold War ballistic missile from Russia's southern Ural Mountains at 6:53 p.m. Moscow time. It was boosted about 320 miles above Earth minutes after launch, according to the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.
The launch was a first for the startup Bigelow Aerospace, founded by Bigelow, who owns the Budget Suites of America hotel chain. Bigelow is among several entrepreneurs attempting to break into the fledging manned commercial spaceflight business.
Despite the successful launch, significant hurdles remain.