Bigelow tests earthbound space station mockup

Bigelow Aerospace team

The team for the NASA-Bigelow Aerospace habitat test lines up in front of the Bigelow Mars Transporter Testing Unit at the company’s Nevada headquarters. (Bigelow Aerospace Photo)

Bigelow Aerospace opened up its ground-based prototype for a space station module — or perhaps even a Mars transport habitat — for inspection today at its headquarters in North Las Vegas.

The open house centered on the Mars Transporter Testing Unit, an all-steel mockup of the company’s expandable, fabric-covered B330 space module. For two weeks, a NASA-Bigelow team will be testing the suitability of the B330 concept for crewed deep-space missions.

Bigelow’s prototype is one of six ground-based demonstration projects funded as part of NASA’s NextSTEP-2 program. The other companies building full-sized NextSTEP-2 prototypes for space habitats include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Nanoracks.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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