Astronauts go inside their new pop-up room

Image: BEAM module
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams works inside the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, the newest addition to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

Nine days after the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module was blown up to its full volume, astronauts entered the bedroom-sized BEAM compartment for the first time today and started hooking up the utilities.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams reported that the BEAM’s interior looked “pristine.” It was chilly inside, but there were no signs of condensation on the walls. The temperature was about 44 degrees Fahrenheit at the module’s bulkhead, as expected, according to readings received by ground controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Williams and Russian crewmate Oleg Skripochka took air samples, checked sensors, measured the module’s dimensions and began hooking up air ducts. Then they floated back through the hatch and closed the door. The job will continue over the next couple of days.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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