It was the first module of its kind, however, if everything continues to run well as now, in a few years there may be several inflatable stations to orbit the planet Earth.
Excellent news for the missions to Mars and interestingly also for space tourism.
After a successful delivery and expansion, even if it was the second attempt, everything has been going for the best with the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM. NASA has affirmed it by announcing those that are the first shared data on the launch of the module, since this kind of tent attached to the International Space Station has been inflated for about six months.
The structure of the module is made of a soft and flexible fabric, which was able to expand its compacted size from 1.7×2.3 meters to 3.6×3.2 meters. Even so, the intention is that other inflatable modules, of larger dimensions, can also join him.
This module was shipped aboard the Dragon from SpaceX on April 8 of this year and will stay connected to the EEI for the next two years. In this period, it will serve to perform various tests of performance and comparison with the traditional metal structures, in order to observe how it supports the variations of temperature and the environment of high radiation of the space around it.
After these tests, if the technology works, Bigelow, its creator, hopes to one day be able to build its own private space station, which could even be a research destination for private clients or even a space hotel. NASA, however, reveals that its interest is related to the future missions to Mars, and the respective trips of three years.
The first information gathered on the module indicates that no signs were found that the impact of large debris could affect the capacity of the module to protect its passengers. Similarly, researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center point out that they, too, have not detected above-normal levels of radiation inside the passenger compartment, thus ensuring that it exhibits levels similar to those found in the rest of the space station.