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23 Jan, 2024
1 min time to read

Sierra Space, in collaboration with NASA, has successfully conducted a test on its inflatable space habitat named LIFE (Large Integrated Flexible Environment).

The habitat, constructed with flexible materials, uses Vectran straps, the same material utilized for Mars Rovers, to create a rigid structure when inflated. The recent test focused on evaluating the pressure shell's durability, designed to maintain the habitat's integrity under varying pressure conditions.

During the experiment, air pressure was increased beyond the recommended level of 60.8 psi, testing the resilience of the Vectran straps and other high-strength fabrics. The test ultimately led to the controlled explosion of the habitat, marking the end of the trial. Sierra Space plans to conduct additional tests throughout the year to assess different components of the structure.

LIFE, if proven durable through these tests, could become a valuable asset for space missions. The habitat can be compactly packed into a rocket and inflated to the size of a three-story apartment building once in space. By combining multiple LIFE modular units, it is possible to create a spacious living and working environment larger than the International Space Station.

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