The "Advanced Inflatable Airlock", AIA, is a $4.5M project ordered by the NASA. The objective was to study, to design and to test an inflatable airlock for next generation space shuttles.

After 2 years of development the project is now completed. The AIA team designed and built a full-size textile personnel airlock, and managed the inclusion of many novel technologies into a complex system that worked first time.

Peter Heppel was identified as the ideal person to provide the technical lead to NASA's AIA, developing and proving technologies for spacecraft pressure containment using textiles.

The NASA paradigm for design is that of risk management. This paradigm encourages openness by sharing responsibility. The AIA team's wholehearted adoption of this approach was a key factor in its success. We now bring this approach to all our projects.

In situ CAD model


Full size model successfully tested under a pressure of 4.5 Bars.