Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) Successfully Pressurized And Expanded In Space
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is an expandable habitat technology demonstration for the International Space Station. Expandable habitats greatly decrease the amount of transport volume for future space missions. Expandable modules, which are lower-mass and lower-volume systems than metal habitats, can increase the efficiency of cargo shipments, possibly reducing the number of launches needed and overall mission costs. Pressurization of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) began at 4:34 p.m. EDT, and the eight tanks filled with air completed full pressurization of the module 10 minutes later at 4:44 p.m. BEAM’s pressure will be equalized with that of the International Space Station, where it will remain attached for a two-year test period. The module measured just over 7 feet long and just under 7.75 feet in diameter in its packed configuration. BEAM now measures more than 13 feet long and about 10.5 feet in diameter to create 565 cubic feet of habitable volume. It weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.