Low Cost Space Experiments to Generate Performance Data on Inflatable Space Structures 2002-01-2424
There is a need to begin generating data on the testing and performance of high pressure inflatable structures in the space environment. This data is necessary to validate inflatable structures for future space exploration mission studies. The International Space Station can serve as a long term testbed for inflatable structures where multiple samples can be flown and evaluated over a period of several years. Precursor experiments can fly also on Space Shuttle missions to provide preliminary data quickly and economically. This paper describes new, small payload carriers that are being developed commercially for the Space Shuttle. It outlines a range of inflatable structure experiment topics that are suitable for both precursor and long term study.