Bigelow Aerospace introduces new space life-support systems

Local News

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A space technology company in North Las Vegas creates what may be the future of space living. Bigelow Aerospace staff showed 8 News Now reporter Cristen Drummond the latest advancement — a compact structure that is a variant of the B-330 — that inflates for astronauts to live in after launch, providing more volume while doing missions.

“What we’re doing is novel. It’s really unique,” President and Founder Robert Bigelow said.

It’s a huge step forward for the company since developing the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or “BEAM” for the international space station. That was an experiment three years ago to test and validate expandable habitat technology. Now the founder, Robert Bigelow wants to do more.

“We haven’t put any people into our structures,” Bigelow said.

But that changes with the B-330.

“The life support systems can accommodate four people indefinitely,” Bigelow said. Five people for many months. Six people for maybe 8 weeks. No other spacecraft is that capable of doing that.”

The station has a central core with lab equipment, two toilets, two galleys and other features. Roughly 60 people from NASA are evaluating the unit during a two-week-long ground test at the facility, giving feedback on how to best use the unit and possibly consider it for future missions, including the moon and mars.

“It’s a really interesting program and we would love to be part of any of that,” Bigelow said.

The company is also looking at future space entertainment options which includes virtual reality on board for astronauts.

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