A Look Inside Bigelow’s BEAM Module on the ISS

BEAM module interior (Credit; NASA)

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik looks through the hatch of the International Space Station’s Bigelow Expandable Aerospace Module (BEAM) on July 31, 2017. He shared this photo on social media on August 2, commenting, “Ever wonder how you look when you enter a new part of a spacecraft? Well, this is it.  First time inside the expandable BEAM module.”

The BEAM is an experimental expandable module launched to the station aboard SpaceX’s eighth commercial resupply mission on April 8, 2016, and fully expanded and pressurized on May 28.  Expandable modules weigh less and take up less room on a rocket than a traditional module, while allowing additional space for living and working. They provide protection from solar and cosmic radiation, space debris, and other contaminants. Crews traveling to the moon, Mars, asteroids, or other destinations may be able to use them as habitable structures.

The BEAM is just over halfway into its planned two-year demonstration on the space station. NASA and Bigelow are currently focusing on measuring radiation dosage inside the BEAM. Using two active Radiation Environment Monitors (REM) inside the module, researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are able to take real-time measurements of radiation levels.

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  • Brainbit

    The interior of the BEAM seems very winkled a little like a aluminium duct hose before you stretch it, yet the BEAM is fully expanded. Wouldn’t it be better if the interior surface was flat. It would be less likely to be damaged if it is brushed by a passing astronaut. Does anyone have an explanation why it is like this?

  • Jeff2Space

    Considering its appearance, it could be an insulation layer inside of the pressure layer. You’d have to ask Bigelow Aerospace to find out for sure.

  • publiusr

    End of life–I can see it stowed with trans. The larger modules are what I want on ISS next.

  • duheagle

    Did you mean “trash?” I don’t know that any “trans” have visited ISS, but if any have I don’t expect they’d be too pleased at the prospect of being “stowed” regardless of location.