I am very excited about Bigelow Aerospace’s BA-330 space inhabiting module.
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. 😉