Good news for NASA and for all of us interested in continued space exploration: the new NASA budget allots $55 million for the development of a space habitation module.
The funding is earmarked for the creation of a habitation module prototype, but in an interview with Space News, NASA Headquarters International Space Station director Sam Scimemi said that the agency hasn’t yet detailed how the money will be used. He also hesitated to speculate on the module’s specific configuration. Scimemi did, however, comment in the interview that he expected testing of the habitation module and other technology in what he called a “shakedown cruise” in cislunar space by the late 2020s.
Reporting on the habitation module budget allocation, R&D Magazine noted that in March, the agency announced new partnerships with the commercial industry to advance studies and technology development in the realms of advanced propulsion, habitation, and small satellites. For the habitat component of its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships programs, the agency partnered with Bigelow Aerospace LLC, The Boeing Company, Dynetics Inc., Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Orbital ATK, and Orbital Technologies Corporation.
Whatever the plans for the development of the new habitation module, there will surely be many chemical engineers involved in different phases of the project. If you’ve never taken a look at NASA’s website, or haven’t done so recently, check it out. There’s a lot to satisfy the interest and curiosity of science lovers, from Hubble images and International Space Station news to the latest on Earth’s weather patterns.