This dual view of BEAM shows the expanded external (left) and internal configurations. Image courtesy Bigelow Aerospace.
The final preparations are under way for Thursday morning’s expansion of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) from the Tranquility module. Back on Earth, a veteran cosmonaut and a pair of first time space flyers are getting ready for their mission in June.
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams performed leak checks and installed hardware to monitor and support BEAM expansion set to begin Thursday at 6:10 a.m. EDT (10:10 a.m. UTC). The expansion could potentially start earlier.
NASA Television will broadcast the expansion activities live beginning at 5:30 a.m. Crew entry into BEAM, which has an expanded habitable volume of 565 cubic feet (16 cubic meters), is planned for June 2.
A new trio of International Space Station crew members is in Russia ready for final qualification exams for a mission set for launch June 24. Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin will command the new Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and JAXA astronaut Takuya Onishi.
The Expedition 48-49 crew members are scheduled for a four-month stay aboard the orbital lab.
The crew orbiting in space now explored working with detailed tasks and interacting with touch-based computer screens for the Fine Motor Skills study. They continued stowing gear after completing the Rodent Research-3 bone and muscle atrophy experiment.
Other experiments today looked at Earth photography techniques, interactions between space crews and teams on the ground as well as more eye checks.