NASA – Bigelow and BEAM

NASA - Bigelow and BEAM

This is Genesis 2, a little known inflatable Space Station test bed created by Bigelow Aerospace and launched into space from the ISC Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex near the town of Yasny in Russia on June 28, 2007 and is still in orbit today.
The reason I bring this up is because NASA has awarded Bigelow Aerospace a $17.8 million dollar contract to construct and inflatable extension to be added to the International Space Station as a laboratory. Known as BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) will launch aboard a SpaceX Dragon during a resupply mission in 2015. After being unloaded, astronauts will attach it to the aft port of the ISS Tranquility Node and activate its pressurization system which will expand the structure to full size.
During its scheduled two year mission at the ISS it will be monitored for radiation, temperature changes, structural integrity and leak rates. If successful, this has the possibility to revolutionize fast, cheap space structures.

Bigelow Aerospace: http://www.bigelowaerospace.com

NASA BEAM mission page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/beam_feature.html

ISC Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex site (Where Genesis 2 was launched from): http://www.kosmotras.ru/en/

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