Washington, D.C. — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates Bigelow Aerospace and NASA on the successful deployment of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which on Saturday was expanded to its full volume, berthed to the Tranquility node of the International Space Station. The BEAM module, delivered to International Space Station in April onboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, berthed using a Sierra Nevada Corporation Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM), will test and validate expandable habitat technology. In addition, BEAM has been approved for commercial operations, which will enable Bigelow Aerospace to offer commercial services to the burgeoning LEO market.
Co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Divisions, the BEAM project is the first test of a human-rated expandable module, an experimental habitat that is designed as compact cargo on a spacecraft, but holds the promise of providing lower cost and greater volume for living and working in space once fully expanded.
“BEAM is a critical pathfinder that will validate both the exploration and commercial benefits of expandable habitats,” said Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Eric Stallmer. “And this landmark project is yet another example of private sector collaborations creating great benefit and value for NASA, the American taxpayer, and the United States 21st century economy.”
The fully expanded BEAM module will be entered by space station crew members for the first time in about a week, initiating a two-year demonstration period in which astronauts will enter the BEAM to retrieve data from sensors and assess conditions, monitoring the module for pressure, temperature, radiation detection, and micro-debris impact detection.
About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the leading voice for the commercial spaceflight industry. Founded in 2006, CSF and its 70+ members are laying the foundation for a sustainable space economy and democratizing access to space for scientists, students, civilians, and businesses. CSF members are responsible for the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs driven by billions of dollars in investment. Through the promotion of technology innovation, CSF is guiding the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere, bolstering U.S. leadership in aerospace, and inspiring America’s next generation of engineers and explorers.