Inflatable space hotels and farms will soon be a reality

Missions into space may soon carry giant inflatables, ready to be deployed in orbit as extra shelter. Space startup MaxSpace is developing „high-quality, high-volume” expandable „space habitats” to solve a fundamental problem humans face when crossing the frontiers of space – the lack of habitable room.

20 m3 Version to launch in 2026

Funded by various private investors, the startup's founders are two veteran entrepreneurs who boast over 40 years of experience in the aerospace industry. The units they work on are „tight packed” for transport and turn into tough, high-spec habitats once they reach low Earth orbit.

The company already has 20 m3 A version reserved for launch by SpaceX Rideshare in 2026, and 100m.3 and 1000m3 Avatars by 2030.

Prototype version of the inflatable module © Max Space

A 100-fold improvement in cost

Being lightweight and portable, they solve one of the biggest challenges for space station builders: the sheer cost of getting infrastructure into space.For reference, Max Space Notes, 1000 m3 The International Space Station has carried more than 60 launches at a cost of $100 billion.

Max Space claims that a single flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 can get the same amount of habitable or storage space into orbit at „100 times the cost per cubic meter.”

Scale to farm, factory, hotel or warehouse size

Another unique selling point of aerospace inflatables is their scalability, which the company says allows for 10,000m.3 blocks, or „stadium-sized” habitats, and must be online to transport a new Starship or New Glenn. The range of applications recommended by Max Space seems to be as vast as the structures. Whether for entertainment and hospitality spaces, agriculture, laboratories or pharmaceutical manufacturing, or logistics and warehouses, to name a few, MaxSpace says their modules will „allow people to live and work in space.”

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An inflatable idea that withstands forces and possible debris impacts in space is unusual, but their strength uses an isotensoid structure, in which the structural fibers can adapt to the best geometry for maximum load bearing. They also feature multi-layer fiber-based ballistic armor, which the manufacturers say in a press release, is „more resilient than titanium or aluminum”.

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