BEAM Operations Resuming

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.

Bigelow Expandable Activity Module Expansion Underway

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

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.

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace to Discuss BEAM Friday

Canadarm2 Installs BEAM
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was installed to the International Space Station on April 16, 2016 using the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are continuing to evaluate why the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) did not fully expand today as planned and will not attempt to complete the module’s expansion on Friday. Engineering teams will monitor the module overnight for structural changes that could result in either larger volume or lower internal pressure before meeting on Friday morning to discuss options moving forward. Ground teams will look for any changes in the module’s shape following the conclusion of Thursday’s operations and the station crew will take additional pressure readings. Crew members aboard the International Space Station are safe, and both BEAM and the space station are in a stable configuration.

During about two hours of expansion, BEAM’s length and diameter did not increase as expected with the increased internal pressure, and teams decided to stand down from operations for the day.

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace will host a media teleconference Friday, May 27 at 12 p.m. EDT to discuss BEAM. 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. 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.

Station Gets Ready for BEAM Expansion

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

The Expedition 47 crew is getting a new module recently attached to the Tranquility module ready for expansion later this week. The International Space Station residents are also running experiments today exploring a wide variety of phenomena and checking station gear.

BEAM, or the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, is scheduled to expand to full pressurized volume Thursday morning. In preparation, the crew is installing computer cables, checking connections and verifying hardware prior to BEAM deployment. NASA TV will televise the BEAM expansion activities live. Crew entry into the new module is scheduled for next week but will not be televised.

The Rodent Research-3 (RR-3) experiment was completed last week and the astronauts are cleaning up and inventorying the gear today. During the wrap up work, the crew also collected station air and astronaut breath samples for the Marrow bone study sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency.

Some of the station hardware that helps run and monitor equipment and experiments is getting new gear and upgrades. The Microgravity Science Glovebox, which housed the RR-3 activities last week, is being prepared for video equipment upgrades. A new laptop computer is being loaded with software to demonstrate control of station assets from both the orbital lab and the ground.