Bigelow Aerospace and SpaceX announced Thursday that they will team up to create the first private space station. BA will build the station in low Earth orbit using its inflatable module technology, and SpaceX will transport people to and from the station with its Dragon/Falcon 9 system. No timetable or cost was mentioned, but SpaceX plans to have Dragon man-rated within three years, and the two companies plan to start contacting potential customers immediately.
BA also has a partnership with the other BA-- Boeing-- that will have Boeing's manned spacecraft under development, the CST-100, also service a Bigelow space station.
If the Bigelow-SpaceX collaboration reaches its goal, that will be a major turning point in the history of the early Space Age. Private enterprise will finally have not only access to space, but a manned spaceflight capability, and a foothold in orbit. From that, the future will be wide open.