The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, attached to the International Space Station early on April 16, 2016.
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was installed to the International Space Station and at the time of installation, the station was flying over the Southern Pacific Ocean. It will remain attached to station for two-year test period.
BEAM will be the first expandable module attached to the space station. It will allow investigators to gauge how well it performs overall, and how it protects against solar radiation, space debris and the temperature extremes of space.
In late May, BEAM will be filled with air and expanded to its full size. Astronauts will enter BEAM on an occasional basis to conduct tests to validate the module’s overall performance and the capability of expandable habitats. After the testing period is completed, BEAM will be released from the space station to eventually burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Images credit NASA/Bigelow