Airbus, the European aerospace company, has unveiled a wild new concept for its version of a space station that could head to the last frontier and orbit Earth (or Mars) in the future.
With the cramped International Space Station (ISS) set to retire in 2031, the new Airbus LOOP concept would offer far more space, amenities, and options for its four-person crew. For starters, the Airbus design features a large diameter of about 8 meters (or 26ft) in width and length and has three different levels for activities.
Those three levels consist of a habitation deck, a science deck, and a main Centrifuge. The crew living quarters is spacious, comfy, including an exercise bay. And while the initial design has a team of four in mind, it could temporarily house up to eight people.
More importantly, Airbus mentioned that the specially-designed Centrifuge would offer simulated gravity, which could help reduce stress and breakdown of the human body from weightlessness.
There’s a built-in greenhouse that runs along the inner core of the craft and tons of technology onboard, and it “exploits the potential of tomorrow’s technologies in order to best support humanity’s future in space.”
Another huge factor in the design is the ability to launch into orbit as an entire module, pre-assembled and in one piece. Thanks to a new generation of super-heavy-duty rockets (like ones from SpaceX,) the LOOP would be immediately assembled, up, and operational once it reaches orbit.
The entire project was designed for low Earth orbit and other long-term space missions. And finally, Airbus says that operators could redesign or repurpose any of the three decks to better match mission parameters or objectives. Or, combine multiple LOOP capsules into one massive station for a larger crew or more operating decks.