Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams of NASA opened the hatch to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) June 6 to collect an air sample and set up equipment to monitor its status during its two-year lifetime attached to the aft port of the Tranquility module. Williams was the first astronaut to enter the habitat, which was expanded to its full capacity a week earlier.
Once his work was completed, Williams closed the hatch again. Crew members will occasionally re-enter the module over the next two years to check BEAM’s condition. BEAM is serving as a prototype for possible expandable habitats that may be launched in the future to facilitate deep space exploration.