The competition heats up: Bigelow Aerospace’s BEAM inflatable module, built in only three years for a mere $17 million, was installed on ISS this past weekend.
BEAM will allow Bigelow and NASA to demonstrate the capabilities of the inflatable habitat on ISS. It is expected to perform for at least two years of testing on the Station, providing a key shake out of the technology that is likely to play a major role in human deep space exploration. “(BEAM) will be a great way to test out the thermal characteristics of this new type of module, along with its radiation protection,” added Kopra. “It’s going to be a neat thing.”
Following its test period, the SSRMS will remove the module from the Station before releasing it Nadir (Earth-facing). The module will eventually re-enter around a year later.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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