Deep Space Travel: NASA Picks Six Companies to Build Habitation Modules

A good summary of the commercial vendors chosen by NASA to develop habitats for space exploration. It is good to see that there are a variety of alternatives. Particularly like the Bigelow approach. It will be interesting to see how the two year prototype evaluation turns out.


Traveling to distant planets can be tough on space travelers. Spacecraft are constantly bombarded with radiation, debris impact is an ever-present threat, and cramped confines can cause even the most steely-eyed astronaut to question his or her sanity. It’s no surprise that NASA is looking to a number of companies to design and develop ground-based prototypes for the first generation of deep space habitation modules.The companies range from young, post-startups to long established giants in the industry.

Bigelow Aerospace

Betting on what is called expandable module technology, Bigelow Aerospace has already designed what is sure to be one of the more innovative prototypes. Essentially, it’s an inflatable balloon of sorts that provides more usable space for less mass and launch space. Currently, NASA is testing a smaller prototype called the ‘Bigelow Expanded Activity Module’ – or BEAM – that is docked with the International Space Station (ISS). It was successfully attached…

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