LAS VEGAS (AP) — NASA is partnering with a commercial space company to test an inflatable room that can be compressed into a 7-foot tube for delivery to the International Space Station.
NASA engineer Glen Miller says that if the habitat proves durable during two years at the International Space Station, it could help lead to stations on the moon and missions to Mars.
Officials detailed the $17.8 million project Wednesday during a news conference at North Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace.
NASA is expected to install the 10-foot-diameter, blimp-like module by 2015.
If it's successful, Bigelow plans to begin selling inflatable space stations in 2016 to countries looking to increase their presence in space.
Miller says the new technology provides more room than existing options and is far cheaper.