An Inflatable Space Room
BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, is an inflatable space room prototype built by Bigelow Aerospace that could pave the way to inflatable moon bases and more. In April 2016, BEAM will launch to the International Space Station to test how it could be used as an orbital habitat. See photos of BEAM and its mission here.
Jeff Williams enters BEAM
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams became one of the first humans to enter an expandable habitat in space. Williams is shown here in the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on June 6, 2016. Read our full story of BEAM's grand opening in space.
An Inflatable Room
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams is shown here in the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on June 6, 2016 (the picture was taken from outside the BEAM hatch). Astronauts will not occupy BEAM full time, but will periodically enter the habitat to collect data and check the status of the module. Read our full story of BEAM's grand opening in space.
BEAM Module Fully Inflated
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module is seen fully inflated on the International Space Station after being successfully expanded to its full size on May 28, 2016. The Bigelow Aerospace-built BEAM is a prototype space habitat for future space stations, moon colonies and moon bases.
BEAM Module Inflation Series
The inflation of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, a prototype space habitat, is shown in this series of images taken by a NASA camera on the International Space Station during expansion operations on May 28, 2016. The process took over seven hours.
BEAM Module Partially Inflated
The inflatable Bigelow Expandable Activity Module on the International Space Station is seen partly inflated during expansion efforts on May 28, 2016.
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BEAM Habitat Location
This NASA graphic shows the location of the inflatable Bigelow Expandable Activity Module on the International Space Station. The module will be tested for its effectiveness as a space habitat for two years.
BEAM on the Space Station
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, an inflatable space room built by Bigelow Aerospace, is moved by robotic arm to its new home on the International Space Station on April 16, 2016 in this exterior camera view. BEAM is a prototype for future space habitats.
BEAM Habitat Docked
NASA awarded a $17.8 million contract to Bigelow Aerospace to provide the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) in April 2016. This artist's impression released Jan. 16, 2013.
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module Lifted
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) to the International Space Station on April 8, 2016. BEAM will provide extra space for astronauts working in space. Here: Bigelow Aerospace's inflatable habitat is lifted into Dragon capsule's trunk to the space station. Image taken February 24, 2016.
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Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.