Astronauts have entered BEAM!

Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams opened the BEAM module today.  Along with Russian flight engineer Oleg Skripochka, he entered the BEAM and the two crewmen inspected the interior and found it free of condensation, as well as every bit as cold as mission controllers warned it would be (about 44 degrees Fahrenheit, or 7 Celsius).  They took air samples and collected data from sensors inside the module which had recorded data during the deployment.  Once they were done, the two men buttoned the module back up.  It isn’t really equipped for actual habitation, so the module will only be opened about six or seven times a year; the real objective here isn’t to enlarge the station but to closely monitor and evaluate the performance of BEAM over a long period in space, with exposure to sunlight, radiation, and micrometeoroids.  If it holds up well, this technology is nearly ready to be used in much cheaper construction of other space stations and even of habitats for long transMars cruises.

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