Note: Click on thumbnails for full-size images.
Jim Oberg has a nice feature article in the February IEEE Spectrum about his visit last year to Bigelow Aerospace's facility in Las Vegas. The article has lots of good detail, including the fact that Genesis I, Bigelow's first test module, has an outer skin of 6 inches (15 cm) thick, while the production module will have an outer skin of 16 inches (40 cm) thick. The Genesis I has one window that is 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Here is the amazing view from the Genesis I, which Bigelow released recently. You can click on the picture for a much larger version.
Obviously, a 4-inch wide window isn't wide enough to do this view justice. But all of the Bigelow conceptual artwork that I have seen includes very few, very small windows on its big modules. Are large windows too much of a luxury on these big modules? Perhaps so. The International Space Station (ISS) module Destiny has a 20-inch diameter Earth observational window, which seems small to me.
Maybe Bigelow is moving toward having specific modules for observation, while keeping windows out of the main modules. Perhaps these modules could also act as the intermodule connectors, with attached observatories. Here is Italy's ISS module Cupola, which has seven windows in a configuration reminiscent of Captain Nemo's submarine Nautilus.
The module is 2 meters in diameter, 1.5 meter in length, and weighs in at about 2 metric tons -- light enough to be launched by a Dnepr rocket, for instance. The module's main window is a full 31 inches (80 cm) in diameter. The windows are protected by shutters and have individual window heaters. I can see myself star-gazing and Earth-gazing from this module all day long.
This kind of module would seem big enough to cure any claustrophobia that visitors might develop.
The reason why I state that Bigelow might be moving toward this sort of approach is that Bigelow's conceptual artwork includes attached mini-modules from its intermodule connectors. Are these mini-modules actually observatories? Look closely.
If so, I can't wait to experience the view for myself!