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NASA's Original Inflatable Space Station


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This week, NASA announced that crews aboard the International Space Station will soon test an inflatable space module in orbit. The “balloon-like†module prototype will be manufactured by Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace and it’s scheduled for a 2015 launch aboard a SpaceX cargo run to the station.


The technology certainly has exciting implications – imagine being able to launch a full habitat to the moon on a single rocket! — but it’s not a novel idea. The Bigelow Aerospace design has its roots in the inflatable NASA concept TransHab developed (and ultimately canceled) for living on the space station, but designs for inflatable space habitats go even further back than that. NASA’s Langley research center originally considered an inflatable space station as a jumping off point for lunar missions in 1959.


50 years to realise it the concept.

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