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Bigelow Aerospace's expandable modules  (Source: wikimedia.org)
Further details about the partnership and scheduling will be released on Wednesday, according to NASA

After much success with SpaceX, NASA has decided to bring another commercial space company onboard -- but this time, it's for an International Space Station (ISS) remodel.

NASA has awarded commercial space company Bigelow Aerospace a total of $17.8 million to create an expandable module for the ISS.

Bigelow Aerospace, which was founded in 1998, has been building expandable spacecraft with the intention of using them on missions. In 2006 and 2007, the company successfully launched its prototypes into orbit.

Now, NASA wants Bigelow Aerospace to use its expandable modules to develop a bigger space station.

Further details about the partnership and scheduling will be released on Wednesday, according to NASA.

“This partnership agreement for the use of expandable habitats represents a step forward in cutting-edge technology that can allow humans to thrive in space safely and affordably, and heralds important progress in U.S. commercial space innovation,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver.

NASA took a chance with private, California-based space company SpaceX when the government agency retired its space shuttle fleet throughout 2011. SpaceX stepped up in order to provide American astronauts a way to the ISS without hitching an expensive ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket. In 2012, SpaceX's Dragon made an initial successful cargo trip to the ISS in May and its first official cargo trip later in October.

It is rumored that SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace will make a trip together in 2015.

The ISS, which launched in 1998, will deorbit and be sent to the ocean around 2020 according to deputy head of Roskosmos space agency Vitaly Davydov.

Source: Forbes



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RE: wow
By TSS on 1/14/2013 10:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well in the case of "either way" there's still stuff to be said for fabrics over solid materials such as aluminium. If it's punctured either way, there'll be less structural damage to the rest of the ship other then what was in direct path of the debris, as little of the force is transferred to the rest of the ship. After all, in an either way situation the people in that compartment are screwed anyway.

In case of actually stopping debris, it's all about dispersing energy. An air cushion is a very good way to disperse energy, and in case of collision with a large object it might very well be that it "bounces" out of the way, rather then shatter.

This's only when it collides with a sattelite or a small rock though, once you start talking anything larger then a your average pumpkin it doesn't matter what you make your space station out of.


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