BEACON TRANSCRIPT – There is some pretty cool stuff going on aboard the International Space Station. According to NASA, the ISS will receive its very own inflatable chamber, which will be delivered during the upcoming resupply mission.
Yes, you heard it right. The astronauts will have a new toy to play with. During the next resupply mission, the guys from the ISS will receive their very own inflatable research chamber, which, according to NASA’s engineers, will have at least 3.6 meters in length.
The inflatable thingamabob will host various scientific experiments and, if we understand correctly, it will be the first brick laid on the path towards building sustainable outer space dwelling.
As we mentioned before, the inflatable chamber called B.E.A.M or Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, will be delivered during the next resupply mission, sometime during this year. B.E.A.M will be transported aboard the ISS in a deflated state.
Before mounting B.E.A.M on the ISS, the inflatable chamber will measure 1.6 meters in length. Once onboard the station, B.E.A.M will be affixed over an airlock, using ISS’s robotic arms. The astronauts said that the whole process (mounting and inflating) would take about 45 minutes, during which, the guys will kick back and relax for a while.
After the inflatable chamber is mounted, the astronauts will use it for various experiments, including general ops, radiation control and temperature.
According to Rajib Dasgupta, B.E.A.M’s project manager, the astronauts will make four trips to the inflatable space chamber. The longest trip will take about three hours although Dasgupta said that there’s no reason an astronaut can stay in there longer than 3 hours.
However, the boys in space are on a tight schedule, so they will have to cut short their visits to B.E.A.M.. When asked about how long the chamber will be used, Dasgupta answered that the inflatable chamber will remain attached to the ISS for two years, although the engineers declared that B.E.A.M can be utilized for at least five more years.
After two years of testing, the inflatable module will be jettisoned into space. But that’s not the end of the story. According to NASA, B.E.A.M is an experiment meant to determine how an inflatable structure behaves in space.
If the test returns encouraging results, then NASA might be rethinking the whole Mars trip and colonization process. We guess that it’s better to bring along some inflatable homes than build new ones using various materials.
Moreover, both the project manager and the astronauts declared that there isn’t much difference between ISS’s modules and the inflatable chamber.