Monthly Archives: May 2016

BEAM Leak Checks Before Crew Enters Next Week

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Sun Glint

Astronaut Tim Peake photographed the sun glint over the Earth and tweeted this image. Credit: @Astro_TimPeake

BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, was successfully expanded Saturday beginning two years of tests to demonstrate the new expandable technology. BEAM was pressurized and expanded to its full volume, width and length this weekend after 25 pulses of air were introduced into the new module.

BEAM leak checks are underway and will continue before astronaut Jeff Williams gets the go to enter the module on June 6. Williams will install sensors inside BEAM to measure its environment.

Japan’s Kibo lab module is sending more CubeSats into orbit this week from a small satellite deployer. The CubeSats are supporting research such as communications and Earth observations sponsored by government, education and private organizations.

Back inside the International Space Station, the six-person Expedition 47 crew was exploring human research and advanced physics in microgravity. The crew was also setting up science gear and maintenance hardware and continued packing the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft before its June 14 departure.

BEAM Fully Expanded and Pressurized

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BEAM Expanded and Pressurized

The space station now hosts the new fully expanded and pressurized Bigelow Expandable Activity Module attached to the Tranquility module. Credit: NASA

Pressurization of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) began at 4:34 p.m. EDT, and the eight tanks filled with air completed full pressurization of the module 10 minutes later at 4:44 p.m. BEAM’s pressure will be equalized with that of the International Space Station, where it will remain attached for a two-year test period.

The module measured just over 7 feet long and just under 7.75 feet in diameter in its packed configuration. BEAM now measures more than 13 feet long and about 10.5 feet in diameter to create 565 cubic feet of habitable volume. It weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.

During the next week, leak checks will be performed on BEAM to ensure its structural integrity. Hatch opening and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’ first entrance into BEAM will take place about a week after leak checks are complete.

BEAM is an example of NASA’s increased commitment to partnering with industry to enable the growth of the commercial use of space. The project is co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division and Bigelow Aerospace.

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.

For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station.

BEAM Expanded To Full Size

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BEAM Expansion

The BEAM expansion took several hours today as astronaut Jeff Williams sent two dozen pulses of air into the expandable module. Credit: NASA TV

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was expanded to its full size at 4:10 p.m. EDT.  Expansion was completed as the International Space Station flew over the south Pacific at an altitude of 252 miles. The NASA and Bigelow Aerospace teams working with NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams will now begin the final step to open eight tanks of air stored within the BEAM to pressurize the module. NASA Television coverage continues and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams and the NASA and Bigelow Aerospace teams working at Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center spent more than seven hours on operations to fill the BEAM with air to cause it to expand.

Williams opened the valve 25 times today for a total time of 2 minutes and 27 seconds to add air to the module in short bursts as flight controllers carefully monitored the module’s internal pressure. Time in between bursts allowed the module to stabilize and expand.

From the beginning of operations at 9:04 a.m. EDT, the module added 61 inches in length to reach 67 inches beyond its packed configuration and an internal diameter of 127 inches. Its final length will be 158 inches, and its final diameter will be 127 inches.

BEAM is a technology demonstration from which we will learn more about how these types of habitats will perform in a microgravity environment. It will remain attached to station for a two-year test period.

For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. For additional live coverage of expansion, follow @Space_Station on Twitter.

BEAM Coverage on NASA TV Contunues

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BEAM Expansion Coverage on NASA TV

BEAM expansion coverage continues on NASA TV.

NASA Television coverage is again underway for the operations to resume shortly to add air to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) attached to the International Space Station. NASA TV can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

The module has been slowly expanding for the last three hours as NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams has introduced eight short bursts of air to the BEAM, allowing the module to stabilize and expand in between bursts as flight controllers monitor the operation.

For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. For additional live coverage of expansion, follow @Space_Station on Twitter.

NASA TV BEAM Coverage on Break

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Bigelow Expandable Activity Module

BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, is depicted in its expanded configuration in this computer rendering.

NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams has continued to add air to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) in a series of short bursts during operations aboard the International Space Station today. A total of 44 seconds of air has been introduced during eight bursts.

Flight controllers are monitoring the operation as the module slowly expands. BEAM has expanded at least 16 inches in length and at least seven inches in diameter since the first burst at 9:04 a.m. EDT.

The team will take another break until the International Space Station again has television capability so flight controllers can monitor the expansion. NASA Television coverage from Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will resume at 12:10 p.m. EDT and can be viewed at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station.

BEAM Operations Resuming

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NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams

NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams monitors BEAM from the Tranquility module during expansion. Credit: NASA TV

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are resuming operations to expand the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), currently attached to the International Space Station. NASA Television coverage is again underway and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

During operations this morning, NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams introduced four pulses of air into the BEAM during a total 34 seconds. Time in between bursts allows the module to stabilize and expand in between. Flight controllers have confirmed the module is expanding both in length and diameter.

The teams are expected to resume expansion operations momentarily.

For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. For additional live coverage of expansion, follow @Space_Station on Twitter.

NASA TV Coverage of Beam Expansion Continues

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NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are resuming operations to expand the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), currently attached to the International Space Station. NASA Television coverage is again underway and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv 

 During operations this morning, NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams introduced four pulses of air into the BEAM during a total 34 seconds. Time in between bursts allows the module to stabilize and expand in between. Flight controllers have confirmed the module is expanding both in length and diameter.

 The teams are expected to resume expansion operations momentarily.

 For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. For additional live coverage of expansion, follow @Space_Station on Twitter.

BEAM Has Begun Expanding

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At 9:04 a.m. EDT, NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams began introducing air into the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) in a 22-second burst followed by an 8-second burst at 9:13 a.m. The teams are allowing the module to stabilize and expand in between bursts.

 Flight controllers monitoring the operation have confirmed some expansion of the module both in length and diameter.

 NASA Television coverage from Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston continues and can be viewed at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

 For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. For additional live coverage of expansion, follow @Space_Station on Twitter.

Bigelow Expandable Activity Module Expansion Underway

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BEAM Installation

This computer rendering depicts the installation of BEAM on the Tranquility module using the Canadarm2. Credit: NASA

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace is making a second attempt this morning  to expand the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), currently attached to the International Space Station. NASA Television coverage is underway and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv 

During initial operations Thursday to expand BEAM, the module’s length and diameter did not increase with the increased internal pressure, as expected. Teams stood down from operations for the day and engineers depressurized the habitat Friday afternoon.

 NASA astronaut Jeff Williams again is leading operations to expand the module while they are in position to work in the sunlight and with downlink television capability for flight controllers to monitor the expansion.

 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.

 For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. For additional live coverage of expansion, follow @Space_Station on Twitter.

 

BEAM Media Teleconference Rescheduled for 2 P.M. EDT

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Bigelow Expandable Activity Module

BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, is depicted in its expanded configuration in this computer rendering.

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace have rescheduled their media teleconference for today from noon EDT to 2 p.m. to discuss the status of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). Engineering teams monitored the module overnight for structural changes after attempts to fully expand the module yesterday were unsuccessful. They have been meeting throughout the morning to discuss the next steps.

With the exception of the change in time, call-in details remain the same for any reporters who have already registered to participate. To participate in the teleconference, media must contact Cheryl Warner at cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov or Tabatha Thompson at tabatha.t.thompson@nasa.gov, or call 202-358-1100 for call details. The teleconference will stream live at www.nasa.gov/newsaudio.

BEAM is a technology demonstration from which we will learn more about how these types of habitats will perform in a microgravity environment.

For more information about BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/beam. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station.

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