BEAM Open for the First Time

BEAM First Ingress
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams floats in front of the entrance to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM)

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams opened the hatch to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) at 4:47 a.m. EDT Monday, June 6. Along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, Williams entered BEAM for the first time to collect an air sample and begin downloading data from sensors on the dynamics of BEAM’s expansion. Williams told flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston that BEAM looked “pristine” and said it was cold inside, but that there was no evidence of any condensation on its inner surfaces.

Additional ingress opportunities to deploy other sensors and equipment in BEAM are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The hatch to BEAM will be closed after each entry.

Williams and the NASA and Bigelow Aerospace teams working at Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston expanded the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) by filling it with air during more than seven hours of operations Saturday, May 28. The BEAM launched April 8 aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and was attached to the International Space Station’s Tranquility module about a week later.

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

5 thoughts on “BEAM Open for the First Time”

  1. Awesome opportunity to put larger habitation modules in space as well as more than one per launch, should this technology prove a viable alternative then the trip to mars may be a pleasant one with much more space for the crew as well as a specifically designated module for high radiation events. Great job to all involved and for the cutting edge technology.

  2. A great leap in the now more probable orbital moon station and moon base program. Large structures, less launches and a possible use as a payload habitat for an Earth Moon shuttle system. This can make it happen cheaper and hopefully more quickly.

  3. Why NASA has been so slow to accept this technology is puzzling.
    This has the potential to be a gamechanger in moving beyond living in a tin can, in space.
    How well BEAM and it’s progeny do with protecting from the effects of long term exposure to Cosmic Radiation and the many associated health issues, thereon has yet to be established…

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