HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be deployed to its full size Thursday, May 26, and begin its two-year technology demonstration attached to the International Space Station. NASA Television will provide coverage of the expansion beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT.
Events begin Tuesday, May 24 when engineers and team members from NASA and Bigelow Aerospace answer questions about the module’s expansion during a 4 p.m. Facebook Live event and at 5 p.m. on Reddit.com. Anyone may submit questions during these events at:
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams will lead Thursday’s operations to expand the module. Designers need daylight and video communication to closely monitor the process starting at 6:10 a.m. Thursday.
Space station astronauts will first enter the habitat Thursday, June 2, through the station’s Tranquility module, and re-enter the module several times a year throughout the two-year test period to retrieve sensor data and assess conditions inside the module.
Expandable habitats are designed to take up less room on a spacecraft, but provide greater volume for living and working in space once expanded. This first test of an expandable module will allow investigators to gauge how well the habitat performs and specifically, how well it protects against solar radiation, space debris and the temperature extremes of space.
BEAM launched April 8 aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is an example of NASA’s increased commitment to partnering with industry to enable the growth of the commercial use of space. The BEAM project is co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division and Bigelow Aerospace.
The International Space Station serves as the world’s leading laboratory for conducting cutting-edge microgravity research and is the primary platform for technology development and testing in space to enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including asteroids and Mars.
For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit:
Get more information about the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module at: