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Watch ISS’s newest module expand

Astronauts in orbit aboard ISS spent more than 7 hours on Saturday filling the new BEAM module with air. Check out this 25-second timelapse.

The newest module for the International Space Station (ISS) – first new module since 2011 – was fully expanded and pressurized this weekend, as ISS flew over the south Pacific at an altitude of 252 miles (405 km). The team managed to get the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) fully inflated late in the day on May 28, 2016, on the second try in three days. It was nearly a seven-and-a-half hour operation to inflate the module. During this time, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams slowly fed air into the module while being monitored by mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The short timelapse video above shows the complete BEAM expansion from start to finish. BEAM was installed April 16 on the Tranquility module after being delivered aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Many compared the sound of module expanding to the sound of corn popping …

NASA said:

BEAM is a technology demonstration from which we will learn more about how these types of habitats will perform in a microgravity environment. It will remain attached to station for a two-year test period.

Congrats to all involved!

The process of expansion of the new ISS BEAM module on May 28, 2016. The entire process took 7 hours. Image via NASA.

The process of expansion of the new ISS BEAM module on May 28, 2016. The entire process took 7 hours. Image via NASA.

Bottom line: The International Space Station now has a new, fully inflated, expandable module called BEAM.

Deborah Byrd

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