New Delhi: The US space agency NASA is all set to install the first human-rated expandable structure that may help inform the design of deep space habitats to the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, April 16.
NASA Television will telecast the coverage of the installation first expandable habitats which will begin at 5:30 a.m. EDT.
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be attached to the station’s Tranquility module over a period of about four hours.
The BEAM will be removed from the unpressurized trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft by the controllers in mission control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
To remove and move the BEAM into position next to Tranquility’s aft assembly port, controllers will use the robotic Canadarm2.
The BEAM will be secured by using common berthing mechanism controls by NASA astronauts aboard the station. Robotic operations will begin at 2:15 a.m. EDT and are expected to be complete by 6:15 a.m. EDT.
BEAM was launched aboard Dragon on April 8 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. At the end of May, the module will be expanded to nearly five times its compressed size of 7 feet in diameter by 8 feet in length to roughly 10 feet in diameter and 13 feet in length.
Astronauts will first enter the habitat about a week after expansion and, during a two-year test mission, will return to the module for a few hours several times a year to retrieve sensor data and assess conditions.
BEAM 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.