NASA Televises, Hosts Events for Deployment of First Expandable Habitat on International Space Station

May 20, 2016 
MEDIA ADVISORY M16-056

Concept image of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM)
This artist’s concept depicts the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), constructed by Bigelow Aerospace. Now attached to the International Space Station, BEAM will be expanded to its full size Thursday, May 26, 2016, soon after which the space station crew will begin a two-year test of the new habitat. Credits: Bigelow Aerospace

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be deployed to its full size Thursday, May 26, and begin its two-year technology demonstration attached to the International Space Station. NASA Television will provide coverage of the expansion beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT.

Events begin Tuesday, May 24 when engineers and team members from NASA and Bigelow Aerospace answer questions about the module’s expansion during a 4 p.m.Facebook Live event and at 5 p.m. on Reddit.com. Anyone may submit questions during these events at: https://www.facebook.com/NASA/ and http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/

After the May 26 module expansion, NASA will host a 10 a.m. media teleconference to discuss expansion operations and look ahead to next steps. The briefing will include Jason Crusan, NASA’s director of Advanced Exploration Systems, and Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Aerospace.

To participate in the teleconference, media must contact Tabatha Thompson at 202-358-1100 or tabatha.t.thompson@nasa.gov by 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, for dial-in information.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams will lead Thursday’s operations to expand the module. Designers need daylight and video communication to closely monitor the process starting at 6:10 a.m. Thursday.

Space station astronauts will first enter the habitat Thursday, June 2, through the station’s Tranquility module, and re-enter the module several times a year throughout the two-year test period to retrieve sensor data and assess conditions inside the module.

Expandable habitats are designed to take up less room on a spacecraft, but provide greater volume for living and working in space once expanded. This first test of an expandable module will allow investigators to gauge how well the habitat performs and specifically, how well it protects against solar radiation, space debris and the temperature extremes of space.

BEAM launched April 8 aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is an example of NASA’s increased commitment to partnering with industry to enable the growth of the commercial use of space. The BEAM project is co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division and Bigelow Aerospace.

The International Space Station serves as the world’s leading laboratory for conducting cutting-edge microgravity research and is the primary platform for technology development and testing in space to enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including asteroids and Mars.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Get more information about the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module at: http://www.nasa.gov/beam

Learn more about the International Space Station at: http://www.nasa.gov/station

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