Balloons in Space
"Inflatable craft have played an important role in space from the very beginning."
SPACE.com Download time: Nov 12 2010 8:52 AM ET
Humanity's oldest flight technology, ballooning, proved instrumental at the beginning of the space age, helping loft the world's first communications satellite, Echo 1, 50 years ago.
Now inflatable structures are seeing a resurgence in space — they are, for instance, the foundation of a new effort from Bigelow Aerospace to build the first private space station.
"We're trying to take the next step from where Echo was," said Mike Gold, Bigelow Aerospace's director of Washington, D.C. operations and business growth. "We're going to go to low Earth orbit and beyond with expandable technology."…
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