Cruise shuttle docking with space habitat
A reusable space tourism "cruise" shuttle docks with a manned habitat
in preparation for docking 250 miles above the Earth.
The habitat is composed of two modules connected in the middle by docking
ports. On the left is a hard-walled habitat similar to the modules that make
up the pressurized environments of the International Space Station, while on
the right is soft-walled inflatable habitat that is collapsed and folded
during launch, and then once in orbit inflated like a balloon with a
pressurized and breathable atmosphere. Both modules provide a comfortable
shirt-sleeve, albeit weightless, environment for several astronauts. Such a
configuration could one day be amenable to space tourism.
The total length of the habitat is 65 feet while the inflatable module has
an external diameter of about 30 feet. The pair of paddle-like solar
voltaics has a total spread of 50 feet. The cruise shuttle is 75 feet long
by 55 feet wide.
Earth image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA
Johnson Space Center
Copyright © Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.
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