Infrastructure

Human Activities in Space


2010 – Bigelow Space Stations – Snapshot

Bigelow Aerospace has been working for several years to develop commercial orbital habitats using expandable modules. This approach, leveraging technology licensed from NASA, involves launching modules in a compact form and inflating them once in orbit, creating much larger volumes than would be possible with traditional metallic structures.

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Infrastructure: Space Infrastructure – TSR 2010

Space Infrastructure - TSR 2010 examines global human spaceflight operations to include both the Chinese and US space stations, launch vehicles from all spacefaring nations, communications satellite constellations, PNT satellites,…

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2009 – ISS – Snapshot

The best-known in-space platform is the International Space Station (ISS), a project led by the United States in conjunction with Russia, Canada, Japan, and several member nations of ESA. The ISS operates in LEO and serves as a research facility and testing laboratory. The station has been crewed by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations and has been serviced by a variety of spacecraft.

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2009 – Bigelow Space Stations – Snapshot

Another type of in-space platform currently under development is Bigelow Aerospace’s Sundancer, an inflatable habitat tentatively scheduled for launch in 2011. Sundancer builds upon the success of the Genesis I and II demonstration modules, launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Sundancer is intended to accommodate experiments and support humans in orbit.

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2008 – Bigelow Space Stations

Bigelow Aerospace, an entrepreneurial company, is developing a second type of in-space platform: an inflatable habitat. Essentially a compressed module that expands once deployed in space, the habitat is designed to accommodate experiments and sustain human occupants in the future.

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2008 – ISS

In addition to satellites and spacecraft, a third major facet of in-space activity involves in-space platforms. In-space platforms are facilities or modules constructed or placed in space with the intention of creating a permanent or semi-permanent location and resource base for staging further space activities. The International Space Station is the only operational in-space platform.

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2007 – Human Settlements

NASA’s future exploration plans include outposts on the Moon, though many of the details and specifications for these habitats are yet to be determined. According to NASA: “Astronauts will set up a lunar outpost — possibly near a south pole site called Shackleton Crater — where they’ll conduct scientific research, as well as test technologies and techniques for possible exploration of Mars and other destinations.”

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2007 – Bigelow Space Stations

An entrepreneurial company, Bigelow Aerospace, is developing an in-space platform based on inflatable technology originally conceived in NASA’s TransHab program. It is building modules that can be used as platforms for in-orbit accommodations, research, and training. Bigelow has launched two prototypes into orbit: Genesis I in July 2006 and Genesis II in June 2007.

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2007 – ISS

The largest in-space platform ever constructed is the International Space Station (ISS). The development of the ISS, led by the United States, “draws upon the scientific and technological resources of 16 nations: the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, 11 nations of the European Space Agency, and Brazil,” according to NASA.[

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