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Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test

The Large Inflatable Flexible Environment (LIFE) habitat should not be overinflated - or, as Clint Eastwood would say "A man's got to know his limitations."

The test, which is the first of two sub-scale burst tests scheduled for 2022 in support of Sierra Space’s softgoods certification, used a one-third scale of Sierra Space’s LIFETM inflatable habitat – which burst at 192 psi – exceeding the safety requirement of 182.4 psi. As a result, this stress test is among the highest publicly released data points for a softgoods UBP test at any scale. Sierra Space will plan the next sub-scale test for later this year.

“The LIFE habitat is one of the most innovative products designed and developed by Sierra Space and is essential for enabling humans to safely and comfortably begin to develop new civilizations in space,” said SVP and GM, Space Destinations, Neeraj Gupta.

(Via Business Wire.)

I can't help but include this science-fictional demonstration of the same idea, found in the 2015 film The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, from the excellent novel of the same name by Andy Weir:

Everyone enjoyed reading Arthur C. Clarke's idea of an Igloo Inflatable Moon Habitat:

This was one of the latest models - a Goodyear Mark XX - and it could sustain six men for an indefinite period, as long as they were supplied with power, water, food and oxygen. The igloo could provide everything else - even entertainment, for it had a built-in microlibrary of books, music and video... In space, boredom could be a killer...

Lawrence stooped slightly to enter the air lock. In some of the old models, he remembered, you practically had to go down on hands and knees. He waited for the "pressure equalized" signal, then stepped into the hemispherical main chamber.

It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.

Earlier versions of similar ideas can be found. For example, Robert Heinlein wrote about roofing a valley on an asteroid with synthetic spider silk, and inflating it with a breathable atmosphere. The airtight tent from Raymond Z. Gallun's 1951 novella Asteroid of Fear is another example..

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/15/2022)

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