Space Station to Add Inflatable Module in 2015
NASA plans to add a privately developed inflatable module to the International Space Station in 2015, launching it from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a SpaceX cargo mission.
Designed by Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace, the module would stay attached to the station for a two-year demonstration of its capabilities before being jettisoned.
Similar technology could eventually be deployed as private space stations, or possibly fit into NASA’s exploration plans.
“As we venture deeper into space on the path to Mars, habitats that allow for long-duration stays in space will be a critical capability,” Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said in a statement.
Called a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, the $17.8-million module measures about 13 feet long and 10.5 feet in diameter when fully deployed.