Tags: nasa | deep space | habitat | congress

NASA Deep Space Habitat Gets $55 Million Kick in the Pants

Image: NASA Deep Space Habitat Gets $55 Million Kick in the Pants
 (nasa.gov)

By    |   Thursday, 31 Dec 2015 07:14 AM

NASA's plans for building a deep space habitat for astronauts taking long trips to Mars got a shove from Congress which included $55 million and marching orders for the project in the omnibus spending bill passed in December.

The bill instructed NASA to spend the money to create a "habitation augmentation module" that could be part of the space agency's deep space exploration efforts such as a Mars trip, said Space News.com.

"NASA shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program no later than 2018," Congress ordered in its bill. NASA has 180 days to report back on how the program's status, noted Space News.com.

A mock-up of a deep space habitation was posted in 2012 on the NASA website.

"Developing a deep space habitat will allow a crew to live and work safely in space for up to a year on missions to explore cis-lunar space, near-Earth asteroids, and Mars," said NASA. "The Habitation Systems Project is a multi-center team of NASA architects, scientists and engineers, working together to develop sustainable living quarters, workspaces and laboratories for astronauts on next-generation space missions."

Sam Scimemi, International Space Station director at NASA headquarters, said the space agency could test the habitation module and other key technologies in a year-long "shakedown cruise" in the late 2020s.

Popular Science's Sarah Fecht said NASA has plenty to consider in turning the project into something real.

"At this point, the agency pretty much has a blank slate as to what the habitat would look like and how it would function," said Fecht. "Shielding astronauts from space radiation while also maintaining a light weight will be one of the major challenges. Thus far Bigelow Aerospace's inflatable habitat stands out as a frontrunner – a test version of the habitat will soon be deployed on the International Space Station."

Mike Gold, director of D.C. operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace, said the ISS test could give NASA the information it needs to meet the 2018 deadline set by Congress for developing a deep-space prototype.


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NASA's plans for building a deep space habitat for astronauts taking long trips to Mars got a shove from Congress which included $55 million and marching orders for the project in the omnibus spending bill passed in December.
nasa, deep space, habitat, congress
366
2015-14-31
Thursday, 31 Dec 2015 07:14 AM
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