Illustration for article titled NASAs Next Space Station May Need A Puncture Repair Kit

According to NASA's recent budget proposal, the agency is considering inflatable space station modules as a way to cut costs on future missions. Admittedly, I'm not a scientist, but even I can see one potential flaw: It might burst.


Based on an idea initially thought up in the 1960s - Goodyear were even hired to produce prototypes - the project has made it past initial test stages, with miniature crafts Genesis I and Genesis II having successfully lived up to expectations and then some; Mike Gold, operations director of Bigelow Aerospace, the company working on the project, says that the inflatable space station will be even safer than the existing International Space Station:

It's absolutely not like a balloon that's going to pop. It provides better than ISS-safety levels... If a leak were to occur, you would have 24 hours or more to identify and patch it before there was any impact on the module's structural integrity.


Currently, Bigelow is working on a larger test model, with plans being considered to add an even larger test module to the ISS to verify claims. There's probably a "holding your breath" pun to be made here, I'm sure.

NASA turned on by blow-up space stations [New Scientist]

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