Sundancer is the proposed third prototype space habitat to be launched by Bigelow Aerospace and the first human-rated inflatable module based on the Transhab design by NASA. It will be used to test and confirm systems used in the company's commercial space station efforts, and if successful, will form the first piece of the proposed commercial space station.
Currently scheduled for a launch by 2009 or 2010 aboard a yet-to-be-determined launch vehicle, Sundancer will spend its first six to nine months on-orbit in a checkout configuration to test systems, followed by manned shakedown missions when transport vehicles become available. If these manned missions prove successful, Bigelow plans to use Sundancer as the starting point of the first commercial space complex. The company intends to launch a combined propulsion bus and central node to the module in 2011, followed by a full-size BA 330 module in both 2012 and 2013. The two BA 330 modules would dock with the central node, which previously connected to Sundancer, and the first of several planned commercial space stations would begin operation. A one-week trip to the complex is currently estimated to be priced at US$7.9 million.
Sundancer's propulsion system will initially be used to boost the module into a high orbit for long duration testing and will later lower it back into an orbit reachable by manned spacecraft. It will be equipped with a Soyuz-type docking system on one end of the craft and a NASA-developed Low Impact Docking System on the other.
Bigelow has a contract with Aerojet for the Sundancer aft propulsion system, which will provide a three-axis attitude control system and propulsion for a de-orbit maneuver. Andrews Space will provide Aerojet with electronic controllers for the aft propulsion system.
Bigelow Aerospace is also considering an option to include lights on the exterior of the spacecraft, potentially visible from Earth, which would be a furtherance of the projection system currently flying aboard Genesis II. Robert Bigelow noted in an interview that "if you have some blue and green and amber-colored lighting going on, you would have something that really has a lot of blink to it."