NASA To Build Full-Scale Deep Space Habitat on Earth
Developing space habitats is a vital step in NASA's deep space explorations as providing the crew with decent and habitable area in space in crucial to the success of future missions.
NASA is looking at developing other deep space habitats from different companies and is planning to build full-scale model of each here on Earth. The agency teamed up with six private companies to produce full-scale prototypes of space habitats from their original design. The designs were chosen from the submissions to the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, according to Engadget.
Earlier this year, a habitable inflatable module was sent to the International Space Station (ISS), the first inflatable module sent to space developed by Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow Aerospace will also develop its space habitat version called Expandable Bigelow Advanced Station Enhancement (XBASE), the XBASE is capable of attaching to existing space stations.
The companies chosen includes Boeing that will test their modular habitat system. Boeing is also developing a new generation of space capsule that can transport crew to space called CST-100 Starliner.
Lockheed Martin is also part of the program and will transform their multi-purpose modules that used to carry supplies into space to habitats with integrated avionics and Environmental Control System, while Orbital ATK will continue to develop its cislunar habitat.
Other companies also working with NASA in developing space habitats include Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems, another cargo resupply company to the ISS. They will modify their Dream Chase space plane originally designed from unmanned cargo resupply missions, according to a report.
While for cost-effective measures, Space Systems Loral and United Launch Alliance are working on NanoRacks under their team name "Ixion." They are attempting to study the feasibility of transforming tanks from former launch vehicles into space habitats. This way, the former parts of space vehicles that are doomed to waste might get another shot at life by providing shelter to the crew in space.
All the habitats will be designed with space in mind and future deep space explorations like Mars. The companies are expected to build full-scale deep space habitat prototypes on Earth.