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07/13/2006 11:12 AM ID: 55668 Permalink   

Inflatable Spacecraft Launched from Siberia

 

The Genesis spacecraft, an inflatable module that may be the foundation of civil space tourism, has been launched from Siberia by Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow Aerospace is the brainchild of Robert Bigelow.

Bigelow said in a statement that "A successful launch has occurred at 7.53am Pacific time. At approximately 3pm we will start to acquire information from the spacecraft as to its health." It is due to inflate when it starts orbiting Earth.

Genesis is based on a design that NASA discarded.

 
  Source: news.bbc.co.uk  
    WebReporter: NuttyPrat Show Calling Card      
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  10 Comments
  
  Inflatable?  
 
Pliable enough to be inflated and deflated but strong enough to withstand the conditions in space? Must be a pretty amazing material!

Interesting article.
 
  by: Quantum1.5     07/13/2006 07:49 PM     
  cool  
 
if it's safe then this would be amazing, imagine the size of the stations you could fly up to
 
  by: political exorcism   07/13/2006 07:50 PM     
  Omg Omg  
 
Hes got a Tack! hes got a tack!!! Noooo. Pop.
 
  by: imbyjam   07/13/2006 08:31 PM     
  Hmmm  
 
Reading some tid-bits on this "It's extremely durable and resistant to any puncture or penetration" Resistant, not immune, so a deliberate attempt to puncture the hull would be successful? Say a knife or an old lady with a knitting nettle. I also wonder about space garbage, or tiny flying rocks.
 
  by: imbyjam   07/13/2006 08:39 PM     
  Spacecraft are all delicate  
 
Any orbiting or flying debris (even very very small) will punch a hole in any spacecraft. This is due to the tremendous speeds thing move at up there. Other than the risk of being "holed" which has happened before and can be repaired; there is little else to risk physically damaging the spacecraft. There's no atmosphere so no rain, wind etc. The other issue is drastic temperature variances which doesn't require any structural robustness to counter.

I think it's a pretty good idea. I'm curious to see if it works.
 
  by: etown411   07/13/2006 09:58 PM     
  @imbyjam  
 
I'm sure you just thought of something that the experts didn't!

"The inflatable walls are composed of a range of materials including Kevlar, often used in bullet-proof vests, and a fibrous textile called Vectran."

"The walls are designed to be airtight and tough, to withstand the impact of space debris and small meteorites."
 
  by: GodLoki   07/13/2006 10:02 PM     
  Wonder if...  
 
Wonder if the foot pump is sold seperate or some in the box.. That going to take alot fo lung power. >Yes I know it would only take a small amount of air to inflate in space.. So before you flame me..(Heh, hope it's not flamable).<
 
  by: CaveHermit   07/13/2006 11:06 PM     
  inflatable spacecraft!!  
 
"Wheres the shuttle?" Right here, its inflatable! "uhhhhhh right... um I'll wait for the next shuttle ok"

I'd be very hesitant to fly in an inflatable shuttle. With metal, if it gets a hole you can repair it, with this, it would deflate before you could patch it.

Its either a very stupid or brilliant idea, we'll just have to wait and see.
 
  by: Whiskers   07/14/2006 06:30 AM     
  @Whiskers, @imbyjam, and Others...  
 
Did you even read the source before commenting? This isn't space transportation; it's a space station/module design. No one is flying around in them; they are just for hanging out in orbit.

A full-scale module has sixteen-inch thick Kevlar walls... If a Kevlar vest under two-inches in thickness can stop a bullet, imagine what a sixteen-inch thick one can stop. Because they can flex a little, that means they can disburse the energy from impacts better than more rigid materials, and thus can probably take even more of a hit than current metallic designs.

I could also see something similar to this making a good portable shelter for moon and planetary expeditions. Granted, we still have the travel portion to figure out in the case of planetary adventures, but we are going to need the right tools for when we get there.
 
  by: neotritium   07/15/2006 03:52 AM     
  .  
 
would also be a good place to keep space shuttles in, spacedock type thing. well, maybe somethign better than a shutle ;)
 
  by: political exorcism   07/16/2006 12:13 AM     
 
 
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