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Space exploration - Manned space habitat, or small space station, orbiting the Earth; space exploration; human spaceflight; space technology; astronautics; astronautical engineering; aerospace; space flight; nature; astronomy; science; space art; astronomical art; space ships; spaceships; space craft; spacecraft; low earth orbit; inflatable habitats; expandable habitats; expandable activity module; expandables; inflatable space habitat; flexible air bladder; expandable activity module; expandables; voltaics; solar cells; photo voltaics; space tourism; low earth orbit - Space Art Illustration
 

Space habitat in low earth orbit No. 1

In this speculative illustration a manned habitat, or small space station, orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 250 miles.

This habitat is composed of two modules connected in the middle by docking ports. On the left is a hard-walled habitat similar to the modules that make up the pressurized environments of the International Space Station, while on the right is soft-walled inflatable habitat that is collapsed and folded during launch, and then once in orbit inflated like a balloon with a pressurized and breathable atmosphere. Both modules provide a comfortable shirt-sleeve, albeit weightless, environment for several astronauts. Such a configuration could one day be amenable to space tourism.

The total length of the structure is 65 feet while the inflatable habitat has an external diameter of about 30 feet. The pair of paddle-like solar voltaics has a total spread of 50 feet.

Earth image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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