Deep Space Habitat


Deep Space Habitat is a safe place for humans to live in Earth orbit or missions to planets, asteroids, moons or deep space in our Solar System or beyond. Destinations include Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and even all the way to Pluto and beyond.

Why Build Deep Space Habitats

In 2016 NASA is developing deep space, long duration habitation and in-space propulsion, These capabilities are required for the next human exploration capabilities needed beyond the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule.

NASA are plan to develop deep space habitats where humans will live and work independently for months or years at a time, without cargo supply deliveries from Earth.

NASA has selected six U.S. companies to help advance the Journey to Mars by developing ground prototypes and concepts for deep space habitats.

NextSTEP-2: Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2

NASA is using public-private partnerships to expand commercial development of space in low-Earth orbit while also improving deep space exploration capabilities to support more extensive human spaceflight missions.

NASA selected six companies to design and develop prototype deep space habitats to be used sometime in the future space exploration.

They are:

1. Bigelow Aerospace
2. Boeing of Pasadena
3. Lockheed Martin
4. Orbital ATK
5. Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems
6. NanoRacks

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is using the logistics module from the space shuttle resupply missions to  create a full-scale habitat prototype.

Boeing’s prototype Space Habitation Module.

Boeing Prototype Space Habitation Module

Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK design is based on the Cygnus spacecraft which they currently use to carry automated unmanned cargo supply missions to the International Space Station.

Bigelow Aerospace’s XBASE

 Bigelow Aerospace's XBASE

Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s concept for a deep space habitat involves 3 to 4 launches for a modular long-duration habitat that will be built in space. The habitation prototype is based on its Dream Chaser cargo module.


NanoRacks is teaming up with Space Systems Loral and United Launch Alliance to work if a rocket’s upper stage can be converted into a pressurized, habitable module.

Bigelow Airspace Xbase

Bigelow Airspace is developing XBASE (Expandable Bigelow Advanced Station Enhancement), a prototype of an expandable 330-cubic meter habitat. It will attach to the International Space Station and serve as a testing platform for the technology necessary to safely send humans into deep space.

The six partners will have up to about 24 months to develop ground prototypes and/or conduct concept studies for deep space habitats. Selected partners are required to contribute at least 30 percent of the cost of the overall proposed effort.

The ground prototypes will be used for three primary purposes: supporting integrated systems testing, human factors and operations testing and to help define overall system functionality.


Did you know?


NASA made the first NextSTEP selections in 2015, which include deep space habitation concept studies that also advance low-Earth orbit commercial capabilities. Four companies were selected under that solicitation: Bigelow Aerospace LLC, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK.


Deep Space Habitat Links

NASA Selects Six Companies to Develop Habitat Prototypes, Concepts: August 2016

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