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BEAM expanded to its full size to begin the final step

01 June 2016

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was expanded to its full size at 4:10 p.m. EDT, May 28, 2016.

The BEAM expansion took several hours today as astronaut Jeff Williams sent two dozen pulses of air into the expandable module. (Credit: NASA TV)

Expansion was completed as the International Space Station flew over the south Pacific at an altitude of 252 miles. The NASA and Bigelow Aerospace teams working with NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams will now begin the final step to open eight tanks of air stored within the BEAM to pressurise the module. NASA Television coverage continues and can be seen at

NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams and the NASA and Bigelow Aerospace teams working at Mission Control Centre at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre spent more than seven hours on operations to fill the BEAM with air to cause it to expand.

Williams opened the valve 25 times for a total time of two minutes and 27 seconds to add air to the module in short bursts as flight controllers carefully monitored the module’s internal pressure. Time in between bursts allowed the module to stabilise and expand.

From the beginning of operations at 9:04a.m EDT, the module added 61in in length to reach 67in beyond its packed configuration and an internal diameter of 127in. Its final length will be 158in, and its final diameter will be 127in.

BEAM is a technology demonstration from which we will learn more about how these types of habitats will perform in a microgravity environment. It will remain attached to station for a two-year test period.

Video courtesy of NASA TV.

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