Monday 26 September 2016

Space station astronauts to get inflatable room

Published 07/04/2016 | 19:06

The technology is meant to pave the way for moon bases and Mars expeditions (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)
The technology is meant to pave the way for moon bases and Mars expeditions (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

Forget blow-up air mattresses. Space station astronauts are getting their first inflatable room.

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The technology is meant to pave the way for moon bases and Mars expeditions, as well as orbiting outposts catering to scientists and tourists.

Bigelow Aerospace is behind the experiment, which will get a ride to the International Space Station with another private space company.

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon rocket is set to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday.

The soft-sided Bigelow compartment will be attached to the outside of the space station and inflated to the size of a small bedroom. It will stay there for two years, with astronauts occasionally ducking in.

Company owner Robert Bigelow is hoping for Nasa permission to put experiments inside the chamber, if everything goes well.

Press Association

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