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Russia planning inflatable space stations

Posted on Tuesday, 26 August, 2014 | Comment icon 9 comments

Bigelow Aerospace's mock-up inflatable modules. Image Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls
Russia's space agency Roscosmos is seeking $440 million to develop inflatable space habitats.
The concept was put forward as part of the agency's proposed federal space program for 2016 to 2025 which also includes plans for other projects such as a moon base and new rockets for lifting extremely heavy payloads.

The first inflatable habitat would be launched as a module for the International Space Station by 2021 and would remain operational for a period of around five years.

NASA experimented with a similar idea in 2006 and 2007 when it tested two inflatable space station modules consisting of a flexible air bladder with interwoven Kevlar and Mylar layers.

The inflatable habitats have the advantage of being cheaper and lighter than conventional modules but it isn't clear just yet how practical they will be for long term use in space.

Source: The Moscow Times | Comments (9)

Tags: Russia, Roscosmos, Space Station

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by LucidElement on 26 August, 2014, 13:19
what happens if it leaks or gets a hole in it.. pass!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 26 August, 2014, 13:31
If you think about it they are no different from a spacesuit, just on a larger scale. In the the 49 years since the first astronaut walked in space there have been no major leaks in spacesuits and none have ever been holed. As for the threat of space debris puncturing an inflatable module, so what? The velocities involved mean that anything that would punch a hole in an inflatable, kevlar protected, module would punch a hole in a conventional module. If it happened then the procedures would be exactly the same as in a conventional module, evacuate and shut the hatch behind you. US company... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by GreenmansGod on 26 August, 2014, 15:00
How will would it work for cosmic radiation. We really need to work on that, even they stuff we are putting up now really doesn't work for that as far as I know, but I might be wrong. I think on the moon your best bet is to go under ground.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 26 August, 2014, 15:19
In low Earth orbit there is no problem. There are still problems with long term exposure on deep space missions. There is also a problem with solar flares, however for solar flares there is no need for an entire spaceship to be shielded, you just need a shelter to hide in until the threat has gone. This means that inflatable modules can play a part in deep space exploration. Underground works, but placing a sufficiently deep layer of lunar soil over the modules will also work.
Comment icon #5 Posted by bubblykiss on 26 August, 2014, 20:18
This is actually a very interesting idea....I had the same concern about holes...and then thought about space suits as well. I am just waiting for somebody to build a space elevator.
Comment icon #6 Posted by John Wesley Boyd on 27 August, 2014, 1:41
Those clever Ruskies! First they invent flexible borders, now this!
Comment icon #7 Posted by Whatsinausername on 27 August, 2014, 5:45
They could perhaps be more hole resistant than standard modules if you filled the air cavities with a bit of this
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 27 August, 2014, 6:21
Actually the USA built the first inflatable space modules and will have an inflatable module on the ISS before Russia.
Comment icon #9 Posted by John Wesley Boyd on 27 August, 2014, 15:19
I know. I was being silly, and it was Hitler that invented flexible borders.

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