Bigelow Aerospace is looking to get in on this whole privatized space game with an ambitious plan. The company wants to have not one but two space stations in orbit by 2016, which will then serve as rental space for countries that can't afford such programs of their own.
Bigelow's design actually has NASA roots, as the company worked on the space agency's TransHab program, which focused on inflatable habitats for living in space. That's exactly what Bigelow's "Sundancer" space stations are. They launch, unmanned, into space in a compact form and then expand in orbit, where Bigelow already has two prototypes.
The big difference here, though — or rather, the big benefit — is that where NASA relies largely on government funding to fuel its efforts in space, the private companies aims to turn a profit, which can lead to do-or-die innovation. The inflatable space stations may not be as fully featured as the International Space Station, but if they do the job and interested parties are willing to pay for it, they could portend greater things to come from private enterprise in the final frontier.