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LIFE Habitat

LIFE Habitat

Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) Highlights

  • Significant volume, power & data to support long-duration human habitation
  • Flexible launch options; compatible with commercial launch vehicles
  • Applications in low-Earth orbit, Mars transport & Lunar/Mars surface habitation
  • Specifically designed and developed by SNC and its partners
  • Developed and tested to meet NASA micrometeoroid impact requirements

Videos Photos Renderings

SNC Commercial Space Station Concept
SNC LIFE Habitat PrototypeSNC LIFE Habitat with Astro GardenSNC LIFE Habitat InteriorSNC LIFE Habitat Interior

LIFE Ground Prototype

SNC developed a full-scale prototype of the LIFE habitat that is being used to evaluate how crew members could perform mission tasks. Demonstrated core technologies include:

  • Full-scale Vectran habitat inflation & testing
  • Air circulation & environmental monitoring
  • Habitat health monitoring system
  • Interior LED lighting
  • SNC’s Astro Garden® system for plant growth
  • Crew equipment

SNC Space Station

SNC’s space station leverages its transportation and destination technologies including the Dream Chaser spaceplane and LIFE Habitat.

The station is a configuration of multiple expandable LIFE habitats that can be serviced by both cargo- and crew-carrying Dream Chaser spaceplanes.

Among the industries that could utilize the station:

  • In-space manufacturing such as 3D printing
  • Pharmaceutical and medical research
  • Agricultural production for food and science
  • Movie production
  • Tourism

LIFE Features

  • 27 feet in diameter
  • Three floors: science lab, kitchen, garden and sleeping quarters
  • Utilizes SNC's Astro Garden to grow fresh food for long duration missions
  • Pressurized volume is 300 cubic meters (about 1/3 of the pressurized volume on the International Space Station)
  • Outside layer is a Vectran fabric weave that is strong enough to withstand the internal pressure needed for the crew to live and work comfortably
  • Can comfortably house 4-12 crew depending on location
  • Uses SNC developed closed loop life support that aids in long duration missions

LIFE Hab Moot Cutaway | Sierra Nevada Corporation
LIFE Hab Mars | Sierra Nevada Corporation
LIFE Hab on Moon | Sierra Nevada Corporation
LIFE Hab Space Station | Sierra Nevada Corporation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • The LIFE habitat is 27 feet in diameter and 27 feet long, including its vestibule. The LIFE habitat pressurized volume is 300 cubic meters, or about 1/3 of the pressurized volume on the International Space Station.

  • SNC’s LIFE habitat consists of three floors outfitted with everything a crew of four astronauts would need to live in space and perform science missions. This includes science labs, robotics work stations, medical and sick bay, sleep and hygiene quarters, galley, exercise equipment, SNC’s Astro Garden® plant growth system and ample storage room for crew supplies. (Our ground prototype only has two floors, because the bottom floor of the real LIFE habitat will be upside down on-orbit).

  • All of the air and water that crew need to survive in space is delivered by logistics carriers to the habitat. The habitat stores the delivered air and water. The LIFE habitat has life support systems that regulate the air to maintain proper pressure, temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. These life support systems recycle some of the air and water that is used to reduce the amount that has to be delivered to the habitat.

  • SNC’s LIFE habitat is being designed to support four crew living and working in space.

  • SNC’s LIFE habitat prototype has several soft goods layers.

    • The outside layer is a Vectran fabric weave called the restraint layer, which is strong enough to withstand the internal pressure needed for the crew to live & work comfortably in space.
    • The inner layer, called the bladder, is made of urethane which is designed to keep the air inside the habitat without leaking.
    • The middle layer, called the liner, is made of nylon fabric. It presents a smooth surface to the bladder to protect it from being damaged.
  • The LIFE habitat has a woven fabric structural layer, called the restraint layer that is strong enough to withstand the internal pressure needed for the crew to live and work comfortably. Outside of the restraint layer is a multi-layer soft goods shield that protects the habitat from space debris such as micrometeoroids. The layers of fabric plus the internal outfitting provide ample shielding against radiation.

  • The LIFE habitat is designed to be launched on either the Space Launce System (SLS) or commercial launch vehicles.

  • The prototype is not going to space. SNC is making the full-scale prototype of the LIFE habitat to determine the best approach to constructing, inflating and outfitting the real LIFE habitat that will go to space in the future.

  • No, and we didn't copy it. It uses commercially available Vectran material and is based on ILC Dover's Tunnel Plug technology. SNC is partnered with ILC Dover to develop the habitat. ILC Dover has extensive experience in inflatable systems. 

Business Area

Business Area Space Systems
SNC Space Exploration Systems Brochure (.PDF)

Space Systems Brochure 2020

Life Habitat

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