Space expedition members Jeff Williams and Oleg Skripochka conducted the first test of the ISS inflatable module deployed by NASA in late May. It is assumed that BEAM, if it successfully passes all tests, will be used in a future Mars mission.
According to Reuters, last night flight engineers Jeff Williams and Oleg Skripochka opened the entrance hatch of the BEAM inflatable module and examined it from the inside. They took the first air samples in the module for later study. It was cold and dark inside the BEAM, Williams later said, but no sign of condensation was found on the sides of the module. Engineers will once again go to the module on Tuesday and Wednesday in order to install devices there, recording, in particular, the level of temperature and radiation. In total, auditors will visit BEAM six to seven times a year.
If the module performs well during the tests, it will be used as a cheap and potentially safe housing for future space missions. "This technology could be used for the upcoming mission to Mars," said NASA TV commentator Harry Jordan. Recall that the BEAM inflatable residential module was delivered to the ISS by the Dragon spacecraft on April 10. The diameter of the module is about three meters, the length is about four meters, the module weighs more than 1.3 tons. The living volume of the module is 16 cubic meters, the estimated service life is two years. Bigelow Aerospace, which developed the module, intends to create its analogue, which will be 20 times larger than BEAM. Businessmen are planning to lease it to businesses and research organizations.