The future of space exploration looks more exciting than ever, thanks to Airbus’ recent unveiling of a new space concept called the Loop. The European Space Agency has designed a space station that is bigger, more comfortable and more stable than existing models, and shows what the future of long-term space travel might look like.
Below the Loop living room are three customizable decks surrounded by patios. The space station was originally designed to accommodate a crew of four, but can be adjusted to accommodate up to eight space passengers. At 26 feet (8 meters) wide, the Loop is capable of deploying habitats in just one flight, matching the reach of super-heavy aircraft like SpaceX’s Starship. Once in orbit, the station can immediately come to life and become a game-changer in the world of space exploration.
The basic configuration of the Loop includes a gravity-generated artificial habitat, a science suite, and a centrifuge facility that can provide temporary relief from the zero-gravity state. Lack of weight training can be harmful to the human body as muscles and bones are damaged from disuse. This concept is designed to reduce this impact and make the space more comfortable and pleasant for the occupants to stay in the space for a longer period of time.
Airbus has taken advantage of decades of learning and fully exploiting the capabilities of tomorrow’s technology to create a space that supports efficient and sustainable operations. Orbiters are built to support humanity’s future in space, whether in low earth or lunar orbit or long-duration missions to Mars. According to Airbus, Loop offers its occupants more interior space than existing space stations, which means it could be the perfect solution for extended space missions.
In the past, Airbus has played an important role in space exploration, leading the consortium that developed the European Columbus Module of the International Space Station and the Automated Vehicle that served as a cargo carrier for the Orbital Laboratory. Currently, the firm is responsible for building the Orion Service Module used to transport NASA’s Artemis crew capsule to the moon. With its latest innovation, Airbus is once again at the forefront of space exploration and envisioning how long-term space living will be more comfortable and sustainable than ever. The orbiter can be ready for flight in the early 2030s, the end of the life of the International Space Station.