BEAM_on_the_ISS (3)Work is progressing on the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) mid-year 2015 for a two-year technology demonstration.

The BEAM is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the ISS.

Following the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying the BEAM to the station, astronauts will use the station’s robotic arm to install the module on the aft port of the Tranquility node.

Built by private space firm, Bigelow Aerospace, the module is to be berthed to the Tranquility node. At that point, the station crew will activate a pressurization system to expand the structure to its full size using air stored within the packed module.

During the two-year test period, station crew members and ground-based engineers will gather performance data on the module, including its structural integrity and leak rate.

An assortment of instruments embedded within module also will provide important insights on its response to the space environment.

This includes radiation and temperature changes compared with traditional aluminum modules.

Back in January 2013, NASA awarded a $17.8 million contract to Bigelow Aerospace to provide the BEAM.

Check out this new and informative video on BEAM, provided by Bigelow Aerospace.

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