LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Sierra Space has completed the first pressure test for its Large Inflatable Flexible Environment habitat, the company announced.
The project is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and the test was performed at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The test is the first of two sub-scale burst tests scheduled for 2022 in support of Sierra Space’s softgoods certification. A one-third scale of Sierra Space’s LIFE inflatable habitat – which burst at 192 psi – exceeding the safety requirement of 182.4 psi.
“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 Sierra Space Vice President Neeraj Gupta. “The product has many applications in low-Earth orbit and for deep-space and surface habitation on the moon and Mars.
“LIFE will revolutionize humans’ ability to commercialize and explore space and we could not be prouder to achieve this important milestone.”
Sub-scale tests are used to support the overall full system development and to determine the ability of a vehicle to withstand the maximum internal pressure required to cause failure of the vehicle’s pressure shell, commonly known as the restraint layer.
“Sierra Space and ILC Dover, along with our partners, have created an innovative approach to softgoods inflatable habitats,” said Shawn Buckley, LIFE chief engineer and senior director of Engineering at Sierra Space. “This latest UBP test is a testament to the commitment that Sierra Space has pledged to establish itself as the leader in this technology.”
The UBP test is first of several tests that will be performed over the next few years in order to complete NASA’s certification of the LIFE habitat’s primary structure for human use in space.
The habitat can launch on a standard rocket and then expand to the size of a three-story apartment in orbit. The inflatable modules will be used on the Orbital Reef space station Sierra Space is building with Blue Origin.
To view the Ultimate Burst Pressure Test, visit: Sierra Space’s LIFE Habitat Completes Successful Ultimate Burst Pressure Test.