Successful Testing of Advanced Space Habitat

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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems

Commercial Space is an ecosystem which is rapidly evolving with advanced space habitats and broad interest in habitation development opportunities. Addressing this growing space economy requires the on-orbit presence of multi-use environments, similar to the International Space Station. One of these advancements is maximizing the livable volume of the space habitat without the burden of multiple launches or heavy lift capabilities, which is addressed by use of softgoods. Softgoods provide the benefit of an expandable volume once on orbit but minimal packed-size while launched, creating a significantly better volume-to-weight ratio. This enables support functions for diverse payload, governmental and civilian human visitors, on orbit in various scenarios including robotic, human tended, and autonomous/remote operations. In order to support a variety of user case functions in the manner in which customer bases are accustomed, the ecosystem of services should be scalable. The ability to scale and evolve on orbit habitation is a key discriminator in the advancement of space exploration.

ILC Dover and Sierra Space have successfully tested multiple Ultimate Burst Pressure (UBP) subscale softgoods space habitats, a significant milestone towards manned flight qualification. The UBP tests verify the structural integrity of the system at or above a 4.0 factor of safety requirement at maximum operating pressure (15.2 psi) and demonstrates repeatability in the design across test units with both units exceeding the required 182.4 psig (operating pressure x 4 = 60.8 x 3 = 182.4 taking into account the 1:3 sub-scale factor) , averaging 198 psig internal pressure before failure. This paper discusses the system architecture, concept of operations, rationale for testing approach, and test results gathered.

Matthew Morgan,
Elizabeth Schaepe,
John Lin,
Gerard Valle,
Shawn Buckley,
James Kirwan,
ICES502: Space Architecture
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.
Habitat, Softgoods, Testing, Structural, Certification