Halfway into its planned two-year demonstration attached to the International Space Station, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, is showing that soft materials can perform as well as rigid materials for habitation volumes in space.
The BEAM was launched and attached to station through a partnership between NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division (AES) and Bigelow Aerospace, headquartered in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
NASA and Bigelow are primarily evaluating characteristics directly related to the module’s ability to protect humans from the harsh space environment. Astronauts aboard station work with researchers on the ground to monitor the module’s structural integrity, thermal stability, and resistance to space debris, radiation, and microbial growth.
Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, continually analyze data from internal sensors designed to monitor and locate external impacts by orbital debris, and, as expected, have recorded a few probable micrometeoroid debris impacts so far. BEAM has performed as designed in preventing debris penetration with multiple outer protective layers exceeding space station shielding requirements.
Over the next several months, NASA and Bigelow will focus 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. They have found that Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) dose rates inside the BEAM are similar to other space station modules, and continue to analyze contributions to the daily dose from the Earth’s trapped radiation belts to better understand the shielding properties of the module for application to long-term missions. The space station and the BEAM enjoy a significant amount of protection from Earth’s magnetosphere. Future deep space missions will be far more exposed to energized radiation particles speeding through the solar system, so NASA is actively working on ways to mitigate the effects of radiation events.
In late April, NASA’s radiation researchers at Johnson began a multi-month BEAM radiation experiment by installing a .04 inch (1.1 mm) thick shield onto one of the two REM sensors in BEAM. The station crew produced a hemispherical shield using the 3-D printer on the space station, and in the next few months this first shield will be replaced by two successively thicker shields, also 3-D printed, with thicknesses of about .13 inches (3.3mm) and .4 inches (10mm), respectively. The difference in measurements from the two REMs—one with a shield and one without—will help better resolve the energy spectra of the trapped radiation particles, particularly those coming from the South Atlantic Anomaly.
Space station crew members have entered the BEAM nine times since its expansion in May 2016. In addition to the REM shielding experiment activities, the crew has swapped out passive radiation badges called Radiation Area Monitors and they routinely collect microbial air and surface samples. These badges and samples are sent back to Earth for standard microbial and radiation analysis at Johnson.
The BEAM technology demonstration is helping NASA to advance and learn about expandable space habitat technology in low-Earth orbit for application toward future human exploration missions. The partnership between NASA and Bigelow supports NASA’s objective to develop a deep space habitat for human missions beyond Earth orbit while fostering commercial capabilities for non-government applications.
The Latest on: Expandable space habitat technology
- Space is changing. Webb is just the start, says ex-Israeli who was in from its dawnon January 20, 2022 at 7:31 pm
The oldest bits of the universe [whose light has been traveling the longest through ever-expanding ... Space Station at the end of this decade. It will be replaced by commercial habitats.
- Quintana de Uña Takes Reins as CEO of Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitaton January 19, 2022 at 12:39 pm
we are expanding our investment in thought-leadership, teaching and global industry research to address the complex relationships among policy, buildings, people, urban density, urban space ...
- Silvano Announces Token Sale on P2PB2B For its Innovative Beef Management Systemon January 17, 2022 at 2:00 am
Silviano, a Brazilian cattle producer’s online management system, announced its token sale would go live on the P2PB2B exchange. The token sale will be live until Feb 15, following the token sale, the ...
- Grants to go toward makerspace, STEAM carts for schoolson January 11, 2022 at 5:53 am
The Norfolk Public Schools Foundation has announced the receipt of two grants totaling over $107,000 designated for STEAM enhancements (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) at the middle s ...
- underwater habitaton January 10, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Otherwise, divers could develop decompression sickness from nitrogen expanding in the bloodstream. An illustration of the Conshelf 3 habitat. Image via Medium In the 1960s, world-famous ...
- Southold expanding trail system with $258G Empire State granton January 6, 2022 at 3:12 pm
Phase 5 of the project — which began in 2007 — will see Southold expanding its 10.5-mile public trail system by 4.2 more miles, providing access to 160 acres of additional open space and ...
- Dundas public works yard fuel storage expandedon December 31, 2021 at 7:01 am
The fuel storage is south of Delsey Pond, wildlife habitat for ... our shared green space along with the neighbouring residential properties,” Jenkins said. While expanding fuel storage in ...
- ‘We’re all citizens of planet Earth’: former astronaut Bill Nelson on his mission at Nasaon December 24, 2021 at 1:44 am
Nasa’s new administrator discusses the space race with China ... we learn how to live there, we create habitats.” In 2023 a probe will dig down at the south pole of the moon to learn how ...
- Over 80 percent of Earth's oceans remain unexplored — the US can step upon December 21, 2021 at 1:03 pm
While the U.S. has been a leader in space exploration, including investing billions of dollars to achieve a set of national priorities, there are many great unknowns on Earth where we can step up ...
- Ozmens’ SNC Launches Sierra Space, An Independent Commercial Space Companyon April 21, 2021 at 5:03 am
The new company’s "space-as-a-service" business model will leverage cutting-edge technologies, such as Dream Chaser® spaceplanes and expandable LIFE™ habitats, within the fast-growing new ...
via Google News and Bing News