Genesis 1, described as having "the silhouette of a 14-feet-long, 8-feet-wide blunt sausage," has been successfully placed in orbit about 120 miles higher than the Space Station. In a sign of just how far private space efforts have come, one enthusiast describes the craft as the first private space destination.
Genesis 1 'is incredibly significant,' says George Whitesides, executive director of the National Space Society, a space-advocacy group in Washington. 'This is the only real, funded project that's trying to create a destination in space privately, as opposed to the other folks, who are creating private launch vehicles.'
The effort is financially backed by Robert Bigelow, who is also putting up half of a $50 million prize to the first company to successfully launch a rocket capable of carrying seven people into orbit by 2010. According to "Business takes one small step into space," docking with the module "would be a big plus."