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Inflatable Space Stations

Plans to develop an inflatable space station may soon be given the green light, FoxNews reports. A deputy administrator at NASA recently visited the Bigelow Aerospace facility in Las Vegas to discuss future additions to the International Space Station.

NASA has endorsed the concept of inflatable habitats and Bigelow Aerospace has already built, tested, and launched prototypes, hoping to have the first fully-developed space station in orbit by 2015. One of the main advantages to these new modules is cost reduction, as the lightweight yet impact-resistant material of the inflatable shells would allow them to be larger and less expensive than heavier structures.

Each inflatable habitat would be able to function on its own with the help of solar power arrays, making use of a seven-seat crew capsule to transport people between orbiting space stations.

In addition, Bigelow has been designing versions of the habitats that could be anchored on surfaces such as the moon or other planets.

The company plans to market the space stations to foreign countries, allowing them to lease the orbiting labs in order to conduct research in microgravity. This could give scientists from less wealthy nations (ones that may not be able to afford a space program) the opportunity to work in a weightless environment.

Images:
Space.com
Imaginary Foundation

4 Responses to “Inflatable Space Stations”

  1. This is ingenious. How I wish that I could be part of the team developing it. Cheers.

  2. This is really amazing stuff. I remember reading a article in PopSci years ago about this and its amazing watching something grow and mature. Now that i live in vegas i think it would be really cool to check it all out if they have a sort of visitor center for the public.
    Stuff like this makes the chinese space station ambition look cute. lol I could ramble on about this just absoluty beautiful. You know this was originally from nasa but they went a different direction and selfed it. Then Bigalow bought it off them. Good stuff. I belvieve thats what government research should be for. Takeing the research rick and sponing private industry.

  3. Well, I think those inflatable space station are worth a million and with those we can able to locate or people can abler to create a satellite signal.

  4. Pretty cool, I like how they look. BUT, what if the pop?

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