BEAM Opens for Tests, Crew Checks Body Shape

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet
Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet are pictured inside BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module. Pesquet is also wearing the experimental SkinSuit.

BEAM was opened for a short time Thursday so the crew could install sensors inside the expandable module. The Expedition 50 space residents also explored how the body changes shape and how to prevent back pain during long-term missions.

BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, had its hatches opened temporarily so astronaut Peggy Whitson could install temporary sensors and perform a modal test, which has the astronaut use their fist to impart loads on the module. The sensors are measuring the resulting vibrations and how the module holds up to impacts. BEAM is an expandable habitat technology demonstration, which is a lower-mass and lower-volume system than metal habitats and can increase the efficiency of cargo shipments, possibly reducing the number of launches needed and overall mission costs.

Whitson also joined Commander Shane Kimbrough for body measurements to help NASA understand how living in space changes an astronaut’s physical characteristics. The duo collected video and imagery and measured chest, waist, hip arms and legs to help researchers learn how physical changes impact suit sizing.

An experimental suit called the SkinSuit is being studied for its ability to offset the effects of microgravity and prevent lower back pain and the stretching of the spine. Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet wore the SkinSuit today and documented his comfort, range of motion and other aspects of the suit.

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11 thoughts on “BEAM Opens for Tests, Crew Checks Body Shape”

  1. Interesting study regarding pain using anti gravity suit.After 10years after back surgery’s leaves me in pain like to learn more.Sometimes metal objects stick to me kinda of magnet 2 rods 6 screws.Sure enjoy your research in space reminds me growing up with science space program monthly books and models of Apollo craft thank-you .

      1. Well now that is interesting to know.. Thanks Mr Garcia for explaining this. May I ask: Does this mean that they change close less often as that they would do when on earth? As in, are there regulations set for this? Thank you.

  2. What heard that the solid oxide fuel cell came from nasa research. Are you currently conducting any research in this area so we can can have cleaner electrical transmission and cleaner transportation.

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