The inflatable measures 13 feet in length
On Sunday NASA solved the problem with a ‘blow-up’ extra room aboard the International Space Station 250 miles above the Earth. You know what it is like when unexpected guests come to stay…
And the extension could be the first step towards entire inflatable space stations.
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, failed to inflate on its first attempt Thursday.
It took three days in total to inflate to its full dimensions of 13 feet in length and ten-and-a-half feet in diameter.
Inflatable rooms allow for space stations bigger than the rockets that carry them… even inflatable space hotels.
The room, the shape of a beach ball, will be tested for a week to make sure it’s secure before astronauts enter.
This technology could allow for massive private space stations – even hotels.
Astronaut Jeffrey Williams spent seven hours Saturday opening and closing an air valve a total of 25 times to expand the compartment, with internal air tanks provided the final pressurisation to complete the job.
The room cost £12million.
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But founder and hotel owner Robert Bigelow believes that inflatables are the future of spaceflight, and has much bigger plans, including a pair of private inflatable space stations he says could fly in a few years.
Mr Bigelow said: “For ourselves and our company, this is a huge day for us. I’m so proud of the whole team. “It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
The room will be tested over the next two years for temperature and resistance to radiation and debris
Experts believe the delay in expanding the room was because it had been packed up so tight before last month’s launch.
NASA is looking at future inflatable modules to be used by crews on three-year missions to the planet Mars.