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Astronauts enter world’s first inflatable space lodge

First reports back suggest the Bigelow Activity Activity Module, or BEAM — is pristine but cold


 
FILE - This Saturday, May 28, 2016 file image made from video provided by NASA shows the inflation of a new experimental room at the International Space Station. The crew of the International Space Station entered the newly expanded pod Monday, June 6, 2016, to collect air samples. As is customary, they wore goggles and cloth masks in case of floating debris. Williams says the room _ the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM _ is pristine but cold. The chamber arrived in April and was inflated a week ago. (NASA via AP)(NASA via AP, File)

This May 28, 2016 file image made from video provided by NASA shows the inflation of a new experimental room at the International Space Station. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The world’s first inflatable space habitat is now open for business.

International Space Station astronaut Jeffrey Williams swung open the door to the newly expanded chamber Monday, and then floated inside. Williams says the room — called the Bigelow Activity Activity Module, or BEAM — is pristine but cold.

The chamber, for now, is empty and dark. The station crew will deploy sensors and other gear over the next few days.

BEAM arrived at the orbiting lab in April and was inflated just over a week ago. Bigelow Aerospace is in charge of the experiment and, along with NASA, wants to see how the 13-foot-long BEAM withstands radiation and orbital debris over the next two years. The Nevada-based Bigelow is developing even bigger and better inflatable habitats for space travel.

 


 
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