Astronauts enter world's first inflatable space habitat (Update)

June 6, 2016 by Marcia Dunn
In this image from video provided by NASA, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams floats inside the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) Monday, June 6, 2016. The crew of the International Space Station entered the newly expanded pod Monday to collect air samples. As is customary, they wore goggles and cloth masks in case of floating debris. Williams says the room—the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM—is pristine but cold. The chamber arrived in April and was inflated a week ago. (NASA via AP)

Space station astronauts opened the world's first inflatable space habitat Monday and floated inside.

NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams swung open the door to the newly expanded chamber and was the first to enter. He said it was pristine but cold inside.

The room—called the Bigelow Activity Activity Module, or BEAM—arrived at the International Space Station in April, packed in the trunk of a capsule loaded with supplies. It was inflated just over a week ago.

Mission Control said the temperature registered 44 degrees, as anticipated, at one end of the 13-foot-long, 10 ½ -foot-wide chamber. There was no trace of condensation, Williams noted.

For now, BEAM is empty and dark; Williams and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka wore head lamps to illuminate the crinkled, silver walls. They collected air samples, took expansion measurements and made sure the air-pressurization tanks were empty, before exiting and closing the door behind them.

The six-man station crew will deploy more sensors and other gear over the next few days. After each brief entry, the hatch will be sealed. Mission Control anticipates just six or seven entries a year.

This Saturday, May 28, 2016 file image made from video provided by NASA shows the inflation of a new experimental room at the International Space Station. The crew of the International Space Station entered the newly expanded pod Monday, June 6, 2016, to collect air samples. As is customary, they wore goggles and cloth masks in case of floating debris. Williams says the room—the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM—is pristine but cold. The chamber arrived in April and was inflated a week ago. (NASA via AP)(NASA via AP, File)

NASA wants to make certain the multi-layered BEAM—an experiment led by Bigelow Aerospace—can withstand wide temperature fluctuations, radiation and debris impacts over time. It will remain at the orbiting lab for two years.

The Nevada-based Bigelow is developing even bigger and better inflatable habitats for space travel. Until BEAM, the company founded by hotel entrepreneur Robert Bigelow had flown only a pair of inflatable satellites in orbit for testing.

Both Bigelow and NASA envision using pumped-up habitats for Mars expeditions. Inflatable spacecraft are lighter and more compact for launch than the traditional metal housing for astronauts, yet provide roomier living quarters once expanded.

In this image provided by NASA, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams floats in front of the entrance to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) Monday, June 6, 2016. The crew of the International Space Station entered the newly expanded pod Monday to collect air samples. As is customary, they wore goggles and cloth masks in case of floating debris. Williams says the room—the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM—is pristine but cold. The chamber arrived in April and was inflated a week ago. (NASA via AP)

Explore further: NASA hits snag while inflating new room at space station

More information: NASA: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Bigelow Aerospace: bigelowaerospace.com/

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24 comments

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Mark Thomas
4.6 / 5 (10) Jun 06, 2016
Congratulations all around!
Steelwolf
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 06, 2016
I have been following the Bigelow Team for some time, both other rooms they put into orbit and (sorry for the poor taste, but) Now the ISS has it's very own blow-up doll
dirk_bruere
1 / 5 (7) Jun 07, 2016
44 degrees is pretty cold - liquid Nitrogen is 77
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (6) Jun 07, 2016
44 degrees is pretty cold - liquid Nitrogen is 77

I know you are being sarcastic. Still, I will remind you that the Kelvin scale is not expressed in degree. Now you can add this to your knowledge base.
KelDude
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 07, 2016
@TechnoCreed Excuse me, you must be American using the Farenheit scale. The Kelvin scale to which you are refering uses the Celcius "degress" which are real, usable and apply to the Kelvin scale. Time for you guys to catch up with the rest of the world and switch to the metric system.
AlbertPierrepointOBE
2.8 / 5 (9) Jun 07, 2016
Wrong. And how idiotic do you have to be to correct someone when you're wrong- whilst misspelling it.

Maybe the US is the place for you.
TechnoCreed
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 07, 2016
@KelDude
Excuse me, you must be American using the Farenheit scale.

On this, the only part that you have right is that I live in America... the continent at least. But your intuition fell very flat for the rest of it; I am French-Canadian I live in the province of Québec. Canada converted to SI in 1970 and almost everything is metric here; one major exception is lumber and construction material.

tbc
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (6) Jun 07, 2016
...

Even though I was only 9 when the conversion was made, I am still way more comfortable in the imperial system. I am 5 feet 9, 170 pound; do not ask me to answer in metric it does not come naturally. Also, even if the education system employs SI, it is much the same for my 20 years old son who grew up strictly in the SI system.

One thing you have got to understand about this is that the imperial system is ingrain in our culture... it is something that is part of our history and that we hold dear even though we have to let go of it. So please do not be so condescending.

tbc
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (6) Jun 07, 2016
...

The Kelvin scale to which you are refering uses the Celcius "degress" which are real, usable and apply to the Kelvin scale.

What you did not get about my first comment, the one in reply to dirk_bruere, is that you cannot refer to the Kelvin scale as Kelvin degrees; that would be wrong. IOW you cannot say 0 degree Kelvin or 44 degrees Kelvin or 77 degrees Kelvin. You must say 0 Kelvin, 44 Kelvin, etc.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (4) Jun 07, 2016
N.B.: SI refers to the International system of Units.
Enthusiastic Fool
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 08, 2016
Is it safe to assume that's a chill 44 degrees Fahrenheit and not a blistering 44 degrees Celsius? I think d_b's point was that a unit of measurement would have been nice for clarity.
SteveS
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 08, 2016
@TechnoCreed, KelDude

The degree kelvin, kelvin, kelvins controversy has been addressed here
http://physics.st...-vs-kelv
One issue not addressed so far in this thread is that it should be pluralized and not capitalized, as in 0 kelvins or 44 kelvins.

Being of a similar age to you TC I to still have my imperial hangovers including using degrees kelvin, it's a hard habit to break :-)
TechnoCreed
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 08, 2016
@EF
Is it safe to assume that's a chill 44 degrees Fahrenheit and not a blistering 44 degrees Celsius? I think d_b's point was that a unit of measurement would have been nice for clarity.

I explained why the kelvin was ruled out and since the text mentioned 'cold', it rules out Celsius too.

Extract from the article:
NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams swung open the door to the newly expanded chamber and was the first to enter. He said it was pristine but cold inside.

So any comment on the thermal unit involved is either a lack of culture, or condescension.
TechnoCreed
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 08, 2016
@Steve
Following your comment I digged a little: The unit is kelvin 'small k', the abbreviation is 'capital K' and concerning plural, if you go to the governing body...BIPM, it takes an 's'. Follow the link and read annotation 'e' http://www.bipm.o...ml#notes
Thank you for your comment, there was something in it for me.
TechnoCreed
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 08, 2016
@Steve
addendum: If you talk about the 'Kelvin scale' it have to be capital K.
ScottyB
3 / 5 (6) Jun 09, 2016
Stop arguing ladies.

Well done Bigelow!
SteveS
2.4 / 5 (7) Jun 09, 2016
Stop arguing ladies.


I find your comment offensive and unwarranted.
BongThePuffin
Jun 09, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TechnoCreed
4 / 5 (4) Jun 09, 2016
@ScottyB

Stop arguing ladies.

Well done Bigelow!

Honestly Scott, I do not understand your reaction. Your comments are usually polite. If you think that comments like "Well done Bigelow!" brings anything more constructive to this site, I suggest that you take a look at point two on the comments guidelines http://phys.org/help/comments But what was it all about? Did you have your morning coffee before you opened your PC? ;-)

Just a reminder; this kind of mistreatment of genders is prejudicial to women and should be avoided.

Have a nice day.
john berry_hobbes
3.2 / 5 (9) Jun 09, 2016
Steelwolf 1.8 /5 (5) Jun 06, 2016
I have been following the Bigelow Team for some time


and have been reported to the police for stalking.
SteveS
5 / 5 (3) Jun 09, 2016
Seriously, I can see you know that. You were here when it was real. You must miss those days.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W B Yeats

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing

E Burke

What's wrong with politely calling somebody out on their misjudged comment? as TC pointed out ScottyB is normally polite, and given some of the abusive comments on this site maybe he didn't realise his comment would cause offence.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 12, 2016
Posting elitist WASP poetry on a science site is particularly offensive and inappropriate. You have been reported to mods and also to the DNC.

And using animals to hunt other animals for pleasure is also offensive. You've been reported to various animal rights advocates and so has Yeats.
ScottyB
not rated yet Jun 15, 2016

Seriously, I can see you know that. You were here when it was real. You must miss those days.

*sigh* i do, i really do.
ScottyB
not rated yet Jun 15, 2016
I find your comment offensive and unwarranted.

I find you offensive and unwarranted.




Just a reminder; this kind of mistreatment of genders is prejudicial to women and should be avoided.

Funny, the only people i see protesting my choice of words are two guys.

Maybe i should have said "Stop arguing children", of is that offensive to children? Oh god i just don't know anymore.

XD

You both have a nice day :)

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