back to article Sierra Space bursts full-scale inflatable space habitat module

Sierra Space has inflated a full-sized test article of its Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) habitat beyond bursting point to demonstrate how the module might behave in the harsh environment of space. The Ultimate Burst Pressure (UBP) test, required inflating the module until it popped, which happened at 77 psi, a …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Space habitat goes pop!

    This strikes me as a sensible way of doing things...

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      By Vectran's Beard

      Is it just me, or does that material sound suspiciously like a Mitchell and Webb sketch?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What will they think of next ?

    Sierra Space is also notable for its Dream Chaser spacecraft, a winged freighter capable of delivering cargo to and from the ISS and returning to Earth using a runway.

    Where do they get their crazy ideas ?

  3. ravenviz Silver badge

    They missed a trick there not calling it the UBURP Test!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Fast/Flight/Full Air/Atmospheric Release/Relief Test

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Now they've successfully completed the Full Atmospheric Release Test will they follow through to perform a Secondary Habitat Air Recovery Test?

    2. BartyFartsLast

      Test Rupture Under Maximal Pressure?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Your acronym's reference is under a lot of pressure, possibly to increase -- how long until HE ruptures?

        1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

          We're just bursting at the seams with ideas here.

        2. BartyFartsLast

          I think we're about $83.3 million closer to a complete rupture than we were at the start of the week, there's certainly a lot more noxious hot air and the stench when you're near him is apparently unbearable..

          Nice that there's an apologist for a rapist downvoting us for using a good old English slang word for fart.

  4. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

    Safety margins

    I expect my COTS items to have 0% -- or even negative -- margin, meaning performance peaks, or the item fails, at or below rated limits.

    Having 50% to 100% margin on any limit (that's additive, so 1.5X to 2X) is somewhat standard.

    Taking it to 4X (300% margin) is partly a "Star Trek" joke and mostly pure awesomeness.

    But 77 compared to 15.2 = 5X plus 1?! Mind blown as completely as that bubble. They deserve these -->

    1. MrAptronym

      Re: Safety margins

      Right? One of my worries with space exploration, especially by corporations, has been that they will allow more lax safety and less rigorous testing. Happy to see things being done thoroughly. Not that NASA and legacy contractors have a spotless record, but it could be much worse.

      1. munnoch Bronze badge

        Re: Safety margins

        But now that they have some empirical data they'll be figuring out ways to make it lighter and cheaper whilst still squeaking past the required standard.

  5. VeganVegan

    Do they have external protection against orbital debris?

    When that thing popped, it looked like the walls are made of some kind of woven fibers. Is that fabric able to withstand being punctured by chunks of space trash? If not, all this over-pressure margin will hardly matter.

    1. MrAptronym

      Re: Do they have external protection against orbital debris?

      From the article "The team has plans for a series of tests in 2024, both at sub- and full-scale, including development of the primary atmospheric barrier and micrometeoroid orbital debris layers."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five times over-pressure?

    If my "test articles" got to 5 times over-pressure, I'd have to activate my pressure relief valve.

    Oh! Grow a pair.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Five times over-pressure?

      The target was 4x when new. The real test is what it can do after being in space for its designed life span plus a decade's supply of life extension waivers.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other space related news

    Curry night is approved

  8. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    5.171 bar

    So roughly five times atmospheric pressure. I hope they will adapt to NASA measurements. We don't want to repeat the mars orbiter problem with an inflatable habitat, possibly with humans inside.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: 5.171 bar

      Don't they use hectopascals these days (aka millibar)?

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: 5.171 bar

        They use the amount of air pressure one African swallow generates when flying north to south these days.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    snark not needed

    I don't get why many of the space company CEOs feel the need to snark about each other's companies?

    There is plenty of room up there both near to earth and far away.

    None of you can do everything so why not concentrate on what you do well and leave the others to concentrate on what they want to do and can do well?

    Ironically the most snarked about "other company" has a CEO who (ignoring a lot of what else he does) is actually quite good at congratulating all the space companies on their respective successes.

    Also not a great idea to snark about a company that you may need at some point to get your stuff into orbit...

  10. Dizzy Dwarf


    I was hoping it would fly randomly around the lounge whilst making farty noises. Scare the cat.

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