The BA-330 is an inflatable, expandable habitat that can be launched into orbit or used to colonize another planet.
According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2 May 2013), the space vessels are inflatable–like a football or car tire.
The inner core is an airtight bladder for living. The outer shell is composed of protective layers of foam and bullet-resistant Vectran fabric. In the center is a metal framework of electronics and equipment.
The “space habitat is folded tightly into the trunk of a rocket for launch, and released in orbit, where is inflated with a breathable atmosphere.”
Internal pressure makes the hull rigid and the up to 40″ of layered protective material make the habitat stronger and safer than conventional aluminum modules–and yet can be produced at half the cost!
The modules can be arranged vertically into the equivalent of a three-story home with kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and gym.
NASA has plans for one of these modules to join with the International Space Station and to test it for future uses.
Bigelow wants to be the 1st space landlord renting out dwellings, work environments, and laboratories to tourists, scientists, and companies. “Bring your clothes and your money. We provide everything else.”
For only $51M you can travel to the Bigelow Alpha Station–it’s first commercial outpost–and enjoy 110 cubic meters for 60 days.
Someday, these early ventures into space will seen as the pioneers crossing the oceans to discover and settle new far away lands, but the difference will be millions of miles and infinite choices. 😉
This is a cool video by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on project Phoenix–which is a robot that can repair satellites in space and re-use components from retired satellites around it.
Phoenix can intercept, scavenge, and rebuild satellites in space–while orbiting above the Earth at 22,000 miles!
In the corner of the video, you can see progress being made in the lab, and in the main video frame you can see an animated version of how this would actually be put to use.
Machines working on, building, and repairing machines!
Like the fulfillment of a Terminator-like society, where machines can function with autonomy, eventually learning, self-healing, and even propagating.
I would imagine that these machines can help not only repurpose and recycle material in space to good use and fix things, but also they can clean up the space junk in orbit–similar to street sweeper trucks in Manhattan!
Eventually, these robots will travel to distance worlds–first Mars–to build human colonies and maintain them in inhospitable environments.
In mythology, Phoenix is a bird that regenerates and is reborn–in this case, this may be the beginning of the rebirth of human civilization throughout the galaxy. 😉