This 3,100 lb. module is part of today’s SpaceX Dragon launch payload.
The idea for inflatables began at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in the 1990s. The space agency was trying to figure out how to get astronauts to Mars, without the crew going crazy living in a tiny capsule for months on end.
Kriss Kennedy was a NASA engineer working on the problem. It essentially boiled down to this: How do you pack a large living structure into a small rocket cargo space? The solution: inflatables.