New York Times: A private company, Bigelow Aerospace, has contracted with NASA to build an inflatable module for the International Space Station. At a cost of only $17.8 million, the space pod could set a new paradigm for space exploration. Instead of being made of metal, the unit consists of several layers of cloth, including a bullet-resistant material. It can be folded up to fit into the launch rocket and, once at the space station, attached to an air lock and inflated like a balloon. The company has already launched two unmanned prototypes and has plans to use the technology to build the first private space station.