Space real estate is happening, people.
This week, NASA contracted Bigelow—a commercial real estate company—to build them new inflatable habitats to replace the metal barracks they live in now. These can be bigger than what's possible right now for living room in space.
The contract was only $18 million—which is very inexpensive by space-enterprise standards. Starting next year, Bigelow actually wants to start selling these inflatable living tubes to countries without substantial space programs or even private companies who'd like to create "space hotels."
This is too great. If you have $25 million, you can stay there for 60 freakin' days, as long as you can also fork over the $27.5 million to get there and back. Oh, and for double that amount, you can take a great writer with such witty commentary as "Ooh! Look at that!" and "If you throw up in zero gravity, you can pick out your favorite stuff and eat it again! Wanna try?"
These bouncy house things are known as BEAMs, for Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and when the first one goes up to the ISS in 2015, astronauts are going to test it to see if it can hold in space without any leaks, and if it will withstand attacks from radiation, heat, debris, laser swords and laser scissors.
Here's how they're going to attach it. This is one small step for man, one giant step for zero-gravity pillow fights.