quote: The concept of utilizing expandable, or, as referred to in the past, ‘inflatable’ spacecraft and space systems is not a new idea. The history of inflatable space systems goes back to the very beginning of America’s space program. As a matter of fact, the inflatable Echo 1 and Echo 2, the world’s first passive communications satellites, were one of the inaugural projects taken on in 1958 by a new federal agency called NASA. Boasting a diameter close to the height of a 10-story building, the Echo satellites have been described as “perhaps the most beautiful object[s] ever to be put into space.” The challenge that these first NASA engineers faced was how to place such a large structure into the relatively tiny fairing of a Thor-Delta rocket. The ultimate solution was to use an inflatable system, which led to the development of the Echo 1, 1A, and 2, and a brand new substance that the satellite was made out of called ‘Mylar’.
quote: How do they hold up to space debris?
quote: Radiation Protection: Bigelow Aerospace’s shielding is equivalent to or better than the International Space Station and substantially reduces the dangerous impact of secondary radiation.Ballistic Protection: BA 330 utilizes an innovative Micrometeorite and Orbital Debris Shield. Hypervelocity tests conducted by Bigelow Aerospace have demonstrated that this shielding structure provides protection superior to that of the traditional “aluminum can” designs. Propulsion: