Cutaway view of LIFE Habitat – inflates on-orbit.
Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation

A candidate for NASA’s future deep space habitation applications is the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Large Inflatable Fabric Environment, or LIFE™ Habitat.

Under Phase 3 of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Appendix A habitat program, design concepts could be used on the lunar surface or as a Mars transportation habitat to test at the Gateway.

Inflatable structure

The LIFE Habitat inflates on-orbit to a large structure that is three stories tall and 27 feet in diameter.

It can comfortably sleep four astronauts, with additional room for science experiments, exercise equipment, a medical center and SNC’s Astro Garden® system, which the company is developing as an option to grow fresh produce for astronauts on long-duration space missions.

SNC’s full scale LIFE habitat prototype was delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in May 2019 where it underwent crew evaluation.

Phase 3 work, which includes risk reduction and maturing the concept to System Definition Review (SDR) maturity will continue through the end of 2020. 

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