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Space exploration - Reusable space tourism
 

Cruise shuttle approaching space habitat--No. 1

A reusable space tourism "cruise" shuttle approaches a manned habitat in preparation for docking 250 miles above the Earth.

The 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 habitat is 65 feet while the inflatable module has an external diameter of about 30 feet. The pair of paddle-like solar voltaics has a total spread of 50 feet. The cruise shuttle is 75 feet long by 55 feet wide.

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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