Experimental residential module of the ISS was blown up at the second attempt

BEAM Inflating
The inflatable residential module BEAM finally took the calculated form. The first attempt to fill the module with air was unsuccessful. During the second approach, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams pumped air into the capsule for 7 hours until it expanded to the required volume.

During the first attempt to inflate the module on Thursday, despite the 6-hour air injection, BEAM did not want to decompose. Engineers of Bigelow believe that the reason for the problem is too long storage of the module in the folded state for 15 months. During this time, the layers of fabric were cobbled together and began to create more friction than anticipated.

Before the second “approach” the module was depressurized and the tissues were allowed to “lie down” during the day. During the deployment of the module, Williams 25 times pumped air inside. As a result, the bay was still unpacked with the characteristic sound of popping popcorn.

Location of BEAM
Location of BEAM

When the module has reached full size, the automatic pressure maintenance system has been activated. Now BEAM will have to undergo a weekly test to keep the temperature and pressure. For this, astronauts will install control devices inside the module.

In total, BEAM will stay on the ISS for two years, during which the compartment will be tested for leaks, strength and ability to withstand cosmic radiation.


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