Space accommodation just got an upgrade

Airbus has revealed its concept for a space habitat designed to accommodate four astronauts in low Earth orbit, lunar orbit, and possibly during future missions to Mars.

The Airbus Loop is a sleek, modern space module that the European company has envisioned as the successor to the International Space Station (ISS) after it retires in 2030.

The Airbus Loop is designed to maximise astronauts’ comfort, with a modular interior stretching across almost 8m.

The space station is made up of three decks: the top floor is for living quarters, the second floor is for science experiments, and the bottom floor has a centrifuge to recreate gravity-like conditions and reduce the effects of weightlessness on the human body.

Additionally, a greenhouse tunnel runs through the middle, connecting all three decks, and providing astronauts with the option to grow plants and food in space.

Airbus LOOP has an orbital gym for astronauts to exercise while on board.

The company wants to create artificial gravity on board the bottom deck of its future module so that astronauts may get temporary relief from their orbital weightlessness, which erodes muscles and bones.

The space station is designed to host four astronauts at a time, although it could accommodate up to eight.

Airbus LOOP is built to be stationed around Earth, the Moon, or even Mars, whether it be attached to commercial or government-owned infrastructure in space.

The Airbus Loop is designed to fit with the upcoming generation of super-heavy launchers that can launch an entire module in one piece, making it immediately operational once in orbit.

Airbus has experience building orbital modules.

The company built the European Columbus module that launched in 2008 to the ISS.

Columbus is a multifunctional pressurised laboratory permanently attached to the space station’s Harmony Module.

Airbus is positioning LOOP as the next-generation ISS, which is due to end its 30-year reign in low Earth orbit.

After the ISS retires in seven years, NASA is looking to collaborate with private companies on other space stations in orbit.

Airbus isn’t the only private space company looking to build an orbital station. Axiom Space is planning on sending the first module of its space station in 2025, followed by a second module in 2026.

It is not yet clear when Airbus will start building its ambitious orbital module or when we might see this structure in low Earth orbit.

However, with the growing interest in commercial space travel and the continued collaboration between governments and private companies, it seems inevitable that the Airbus Loop and similar structures will become a fixture in the extraterrestrial landscape in the not-too-distant future.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.