By Jonathan Stroud
The newest addition to the International Space Station known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) made by Bigelow Aerospace has been expanded and pressurized as of May 28, 2016. The attachment won’t be up and running for a few more weeks and they still have to run pressurizing tests and check other functions before it will be used by astronauts as a living space.
The expandable feature will allow for more room on the International Space Station and BEAM is an important step in gauging whether these types of add-ons are a viable method to increasing volume while avoiding bulky additions to the station. This is also a make or break testing time for Bigelow Aerospace who plan to launch a fully-expandable habitat in low Earth orbit called the B330 in the next few years.
Why is this so cool?
This is cool because it opens up new possibilities to how space travel is conducted saving storage space during launches! This could act as a method for cutting costs making space travel more affordable long-term.
Why should I care?
You should care about this because steps to lower costs on any kind of space equipment, while also increasing possible durability of structures, means quicker turnaround times for getting the human race into space!
Read more about the B330 here: Bigelow Aerospace B330
Find out more about BEAN here: NASA BEAM
*Featured image credit: NASA