October 2, 2014, at the International Astronautical Congress Bigelow Aerospace announced that next year will be an inflatable space station orbit testing, the use of Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket to complete the space station in orbit tests.
Imagine Figure inflatable space station, NASA hopes of inflatable structures more tests
According to foreign media reports, Bigelow Aerospace and NASA in 2013 announced a joint research and development worth $ 17.8 million contract for the development of inflatable space station technology, to October 2, 2014, at the International Astronautical Congress The company announced that the next year will be an inflatable space station orbit testing, the use of Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket to complete the space station in orbit tests. Bigelow Aerospace representative Michael Gooden think this is a big private aerospace companies, we will carry out various activities in the station, and to establish the first privately funded, manned space station module development.
Bigelow companies next year to test inflatable space station structure is called the active expansion module (BEAM), can be embedded into the International Space Station to become a private space habitat construction, shortly after the astronauts can climb this is private inflatable space station life, scientific research, so this project has a great significance for the purposes of manned spaceflight. Activities expansion module weighs approximately 1.36 tons, that is 3000 pounds, use the “Dragon” type non-pressurized cargo transportation spacecraft, once it is transported successfully to the space station, astronauts will be thrilled all of its features, its size will be extended to 3 m diameter and 4 meters long cabin space, can provide additional space for the daily activities of the astronauts.
Bigelow company currently has two separate spacecraft in orbit module project, which were named Genesis I and Genesis II, these two modules are designed to be deployed to verify the inflatable space station in Earth orbit basic conditions, and for the future build more large-scale inflatable space station to prepare. Meanwhile, NASA will also test the inflatable space station to determine whether it is suitable for manned live, especially radiation levels inside the space station can meet safety standards.
NASA’s human exploration and operations director of the task the Council considers inflatable space station using a non-metallic structure, we hope to learn more about the current situation of this material on the track, especially in the key attributes radiation, thermal conductivity, etc., because it affects health of astronauts. For the inflatable space station construction, Bigelow also hope that more organizations to participate in this project, you can also come from a country such as the construction of the space station, but the plan is still performed by private companies, in the long run , the near-Earth orbit is accelerating the commercialization process.