ISS - International Space Station logo.
April 17, 2016
Following extraction from Dragon, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was installed to the International Space Station at 5:36 a.m. EDT. At the time of installation, the space station was flying over the Southern Pacific Ocean. It will remain attached to station for two-year test period.
Image above: The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, is attached to the International Space Station early on April 16, 2016. Image Credit: NASA TV.
NASA is investigating concepts for habitats that can keep astronauts healthy during space exploration. Expandable habitats are one such concept under consideration – they require less payload volume on the rocket than traditional rigid structures, and expand after being deployed in space to provide additional room for astronauts to live and work inside. BEAM will be the first test of such a module attached to the space station. It will allow investigators to gauge how well it performs overall, and how it protects against solar radiation, space debris and the temperature extremes of space.
Expanding Possibilities Aboard The ISS
In late May, BEAM will be filled with air and expanded to its full size. Astronauts will enter BEAM on an occasional basis to conduct tests to validate the module’s overall performance and the capability of expandable habitats. After the testing period is completed, BEAM will be released from the space station to eventually burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM): http://www.nasa.gov/beam
For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/NASA TV/Jim Wilson.