NASA sent a very important inflatable module to the International Space Station on April 8th that could set a precedent for space travel and space habitation for human beings.
Nearing the end of this week, NASA attempted to inflate the module for the first time, which goes by the name of Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM for short, and it didn’t quite go as planned.
The module, which measures at 7.09 feet long and 7.75 feet in diameter when compacted, was expected to inflate to its full size of 13.16 feet long and 10.5 feet in diameter.
Instead, as NASA astronaut Jeff Williams slowly filled it with air, the module only inflated widthwise, and the height didn’t really budge any.
A long story short, the module didn’t inflate as it was expected to, and rather than risking damaging the equipment, or putting the astronauts lives in danger they’ve went ahead and postponed the inflation until it can be figured out what exactly went wrong.
The exact date for when the new inflation attempt will occur is still unknown at this point in time.
There isn’t a whole lot known yet about what went wrong, but it is confirmed that everyone aboard the International Space Station is safe and no astronauts were harmed during the test.
Because the module is the first technology of its kind to be used in space, no one really knows yet how it’s going to react to the micro-gravitational effects of space.
If it can be perfected, such technology would be compact enough to easily stow away on cargo ships and are light enough to carry many at a time on a space-bound rocket, making it a potential helper in future missions to the Moon, Mars, and anywhere in between.