Watch a House-Sized Space Habitat (Intentionally) Burst

The LIFE 1.0 module at the Sierra Space facility in Broomfield, Colorado. Credit: Sierra Space

We live in an age of renewed space exploration, colloquially known as Space Age 2.0. Unlike the previous one, this new space age is characterized by inter-agency cooperation and collaboration between space agencies and the commercial space industry (aka. NewSpace). In addition to sending crews back to the Moon and onto Mars, a major objective of the current space age is the commercialization of Low Earth Orbit (LEO). That means large constellations of satellites, debris mitigation, and plenty of commercial space stations.

To accommodate this commercial presence in LEO, Sierra Space has developed the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) habitat, an inflatable module that can be integrated into future space stations. As part of the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program, NASA, Sierra Space, and ILC Dover (the Delaware-based engineering manufacturing company) recently conducted a full-scale burst pressure test of their LIFE habitat. The test occurred at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and was caught on video (see below).

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Another Starship Test Ends in an Explosion (Intentionally This Time)

Credit: Elon Musk

Today, SpaceX experienced another explosion at their South Texas Launch Site in Boca Chica, Texas. Once again, the explosion occurred during a cryogenic pressure test, where a prototype was pressurized with liquid nitrogen to see how it held up. This time around, it was the test tank for the 7th Starship prototype (SN7), which was being deliberately pressurized to the point where it would fail – aka. “tested to failure”.

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