LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yesterday, NASA made the first attempt to deploy the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on the International Space Station (ISS). Out of an abundance of caution for the ISS and the crew, operations were halted after the BEAM’s performance no longer matched the forecasted models on the ground. We recognize that the BEAM is a first-of-its-kind spacecraft, and we are in full support of safety being the number-one priority.
The BEAM spacecraft has been in a packed state for a significantly longer time than expected. It has undergone a tremendous squeeze for over 15 months, which is 10 months longer than planned. Therefore, there is a potential for the behavior of the materials that make up the outside of the spacecraft to act differently than expected.
In 2006 and 2007, Bigelow Aerospace successfully launched and deployed two expandable, pathfinder spacecraft, Genesis I and Genesis II. However, because of the BEAM’s location on the International Space Station, the deployment sequence has been dramatically modified to a much slower approach.
It may take NASA a number of weeks to select the best approach to take. We fully expect that full deployment of the spacecraft will occur.