Space habitat in low earth orbit No. 2
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
Copyright © Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.
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