The Largest-Known Spiral Galaxy Discovered
Previous
RANDOM
Martian Crater Once May Have Held Groundwater-Fed Lake
Next

NASA To Test Inflatable Module On Space Station, Could Use on Mars Mission

by William W. on January 16, 2013
NASA

beam_0061358355911

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver announced a newly planned addition to the International Space Station that will use the orbiting laboratory to test expandable space habitat technology. NASA has awarded a $17.8 million contract to Bigelow Aerospace to provide a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which is scheduled to arrive at the space station in 2015 for a two-year technology demonstration.

“Today we’re demonstrating progress on a technology that will advance important long-duration human spaceflight goals,” Garver said. “NASA’s partnership with Bigelow opens a new chapter in our continuing work to bring the innovation of industry to space, heralding cutting-edge technology that can allow humans to thrive in space safely and affordably.”

The BEAM is scheduled to launch aboard the eighth SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the station contracted by NASA, currently planned for 2015. 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.

“This is a great way for NASA to utilize private-sector investment”

After the module is berthed to the Tranquility node, the station crew will activate a pressurization system to expand the structure to its full size using air stored within the packed module.

201102040004HQ1-4

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.

“The International Space Station is a uniquely suited test bed to demonstrate innovative exploration technologies like the BEAM,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “As we venture deeper into space on the path to Mars, habitats that allow for long-duration stays in space will be a critical capability. Using the station’s resources, we’ll learn how humans can work effectively with this technology in space, as we continue to advance our understanding in all aspects for long-duration spaceflight aboard the orbiting laboratory.”

Astronauts periodically will enter the module to gather performance data and perform inspections. Following the test period, the module will be jettisoned from the station, burning up on re-entry.

“This is a great way for NASA to utilize private-sector investment, and for pennies on the dollar to expand our understanding of this technology,” said Lori Garver, the agency’s deputy administrator.

The BEAM project is sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Program, which pioneers innovative approaches to rapidly and affordably develop prototype systems for future human exploration missions. The BEAM demonstration supports an AES objective to develop a deep space habitat for human missions beyond Earth orbit.

For more information about Bigelow Aerospace, visit:

http://www.bigelowaerospace.com

For more information about the International Space Station and
animation of the BEAM, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

William W.
I am an amateur astronomer with a focus on astrophotography and deep space objects. I have 15+ years in the web publishing business and over 20 years as a space enthusiast. I enjoy reading and writing about the amazing discoveries of brilliant scientists and engineers.
 
READ MORE

Telsa Motors Launches Battery Swap Pilot Program

 
READ MORE

SpaceX Completes First Milestone for Commercial Crew Transportation System

 
READ MORE

NASA Awards SpaceX Launch of Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite


 
READ MORE

NASA Rover Finds Active and Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

 
READ MORE

Venus Express goes gently into the night

 
READ MORE

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Identifies Links in Chain Leading to Atmospheric Loss


 
READ MORE

NASA Tests Software That May Help Increase Flight Efficiency, Decrease Aircraft Noise

 
READ MORE

SpaceX set to create 300 new US jobs

 
READ MORE

Lockheed Martin Wins Medium Lift Contract in Alaska


 
READ MORE

Arianespace’s upcoming Soyuz mission receives its “identity” at the Spaceport

 
READ MORE

U.S. Geological Survey releases highest-resolution geologic map of Mars

 
READ MORE

NASA All About That Space – All About That Bass Parody Music Video


 
READ MORE

Warm Gas Pours ‘Cold Water’ on Galaxy’s Star-Making

 
READ MORE

Scientists Warn That Cosmic Rays Will Threaten Future Deep-Space Astronaut Missions

 
READ MORE

New Horizons Pluto probe wakes up after 1,873 days in hybernation


Load More
End of the line!
Fonts by Google Fonts. Icons by Fontello. Full Credits here »