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This Expandable Structure Could Become the Future of Living in Space | Science | Smithsonian
"Even NASA refers to the kind of spacecraft Bigelow is developing as “soft-sided” or as “soft goods.” In fact, nothing could be more misleading. The spacecraft Bigelow Aerospace is engineering are pillowy the way a fully inflated football is pillowy. They are soft the way the tires on a 450-ton 747 gliding onto a runway at 180 miles an hour are soft. Says Glenn Miller, the principal investigator for Bigelow’s technology at NASA, “It’s ‘inflatable,’ but it’s not like a kid’s bouncy castle.”

“If you were to float into one of these modules in orbit and rap on the interior with your knuckles, it would feel like you were rapping on the inside of a fiberglass boat hull,” says George Zamka, a former Marine combat pilot who flew space shuttle Discovery in 2007 and commanded space shuttle Endeavor in 2010. He worked for Bigelow for 14 months, developing training and procedures for the people who might ultimately staff Bigelow space modules. If the Bigelow space modules don’t look like what we think of as “space-age” habitats and vehicles, says Zamka, “it’s just because it’s not what we’re used to seeing.”"

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inflatables  nasa  space  soft  inflatable 
july 2016 by robertogreco

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