A live explosion of a prototype of the future International Space Station

The inflatable space station, designed by a private company called Sierra Space, exploded under the watchful eyes of the entire technical project team. The explosion of this one-of-a-kind block is, in fact, a test that allows engineers to know the resistance of their invention to different physical systems.

Orbital reef. It’s a name that will endure in a few years New space station Developed by Sierra Space, an American company. It is planned to replace the current International Space Station by 2030. Testing conducted by Orbital Reef’s technical teams and NASA engineers is an essential step in the construction of a new spacecraft. It is used to assess the resistance of certain materials to events that may occur in space. In this particular case, the resistance of the inflated block to high pressure was tested.

A prototype of the Orbital Reef project developed by the American company Sierra Space
Prototype of the Orbital Reef project developed by US company Sierra Space © Sierra Space/Blue Origin

The inflatable orbital reef project is one of three ISS replacement projects jointly funded by NASA and private parties. In fact, the American company offered Sierra Space $130 million To produce a The prototype could replace the ISS. According to the American company, from the beginning of 2023, new tests (especially fire resistance) will be carried out on life-size models. Once again, they will make it possible to learn more about the viability of the Orbital Reef project.

To read: A zero-gravity Christmas on the International Space Station

Why was the International Space Station (ISS) decommissioned?

Orbital Reef, like two other private projects co-funded by NASA, is part of the US space agency’s new direction. privatizing part of its space operations. This unprecedented decision, taken a year ago, is particularly illustrative Aging of the ISS. Launched in 1998, various recent issues have, in a certain way, accelerated this decision. For example, in August 2021, astronauts on board discovered deep cracks in one of the station’s modules. Air leaks, holes, or losses of height and uncontrolled changes of direction seem to be firmly established. A (well-deserved) break from the ISS.

Source: space.com

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