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Triumphant Failure: Sierra Space’s Inflatable Habitat Delivers Controlled Explosion

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Sierra Space has completed a key test of its inflatable space habitat, as the company progresses toward launching and operating a private space station with Blue Origin before the end of the decade. The “ultimate burst pressure” test of the inflatable module was conducted at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The softgoods that make up the LIFE habitat include Vectran straps, which are made out of high-performance polymers, and other materials. Although the burst test is certainly suggestive, it would be a mistake to compare the LIFE module to a balloon. Sierra said this year will be one of “aggressive” testing at both sub- and full-scale of the other layers of the habitat.