Author Topic: BEAM module Q&A  (Read 10394 times)

Offline whitelancer64

BEAM module Q&A
« on: 04/19/2016 02:39 PM »
Does anyone know how the BEAM module actually expands?

Is it actually inflated by internal air pressure, or is there some other means by which the walls are moved out into its final position?

Also, if the air were to be sucked out of the module, would it collapse or would the walls retain their "expanded" shape?
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Offline MattMason

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #1 on: 04/19/2016 02:47 PM »
Does anyone know how the BEAM module actually expands?

Is it actually inflated by internal air pressure, or is there some other means by which the walls are moved out into its final position?

Also, if the air were to be sucked out of the module, would it collapse or would the walls retain their "expanded" shape?

As to how expansion will look, even NASA does not fully know. This video shows four expected scenarios.

BEAM will be expanded from ISS resources.

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Offline whitelancer64

Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #2 on: 04/19/2016 02:53 PM »
I mean to ask not how it will look, but what actually causes the expansion. Is it inflated, or is there an expanding truss inside, or is it something else?
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
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Offline MattMason

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #3 on: 04/19/2016 03:04 PM »
This article from Popular Science gives more detail and the most recent illustration I can find of BEAM's interior. The tanks inside, contrary to information I'd read in other threads, suggest that BEAM may inflate itself, so I hope someone else can clarify which mode will occur.

Broke out that illustration of the inflated interior from the article.

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Online RonM

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #4 on: 04/19/2016 04:20 PM »
I mean to ask not how it will look, but what actually causes the expansion. Is it inflated, or is there an expanding truss inside, or is it something else?

The B330 will be expanded by inflation, so I'm assuming they'll do the same with BEAM. It would be a wasted testing opportunity to do anything else.

These modules are called expandable and not inflatable because they retain their shape even if depressurized. If you hooked up a vacuum pump and sucked the air out, since there is no external pressure because of the vacuum of space, the module would retain its shape. You would just be equalizing the pressure without wasting the air.

Offline SaxtonHale

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #5 on: 04/19/2016 04:29 PM »
"Wasted testing opportunity" to do a different expansion operation, but this is happening attached to a crewed vehicle and they will be doing this with safety prioritized.

NASA has written that the initial expansion will be done with ISS air probably vented through the hatch/vestibule so that the expansion is slow and imparts smaller loads into the ISS. Pressurization will then be done with the tanks inside BEAM.

Offline The man in the can

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #6 on: 04/19/2016 09:02 PM »
Does anyone know how the BEAM module actually expands?

Is it actually inflated by internal air pressure, or is there some other means by which the walls are moved out into its final position?

Also, if the air were to be sucked out of the module, would it collapse or would the walls retain their "expanded" shape?
The answer to your questions are in this video of the CRS-8 science conference. Robert Bigelow and Jason Crusan (Director of NASA Advanced exploration system division) are the last in the conference and answer your questions.
It begin around 45 minutes in the video.


In short: BEAM will be inflated by the ISS ventilation system (by the inter module fans). The compress air bottles inside BEAM will equalize the pressure once beam is inflated. It also keep its shape if it lose its pressure.

I Hope it helps.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2016 09:03 PM by The man in the can »

Offline Jonathan_Blatter

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #7 on: 04/21/2016 07:08 PM »
Every one Talk about , That BEAM has to go after 2 Years Berceuse it has to make room for somethin else dos any one know what is planed to this port.
is there a generell overview of outstanding Hardware proposed.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #8 on: 04/21/2016 07:43 PM »
Every one Talk about , That BEAM has to go after 2 Years Berceuse it has to make room for somethin else dos any one know what is planed to this port.
is there a generell overview of outstanding Hardware proposed.

Actually, the BEAM will be removed because it is an experiment, they will be monitoring the structural integrity, internal temperature, radiation protection, debris impact protection, leak rate, etc. of the module. As such, when the experiment is over, there is no need for it to be on the ISS anymore.

So far as I'm aware (and anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), there is nothing in particular planned for the Aft port of Tranquility after the BEAM has been discarded. I think it will remain open, possibly reserved as a backup berthing location.

Russia plans to add a laboratory module, one or two power modules with solar arrays, and another docking module to its segments on the ISS (this is in preparation for the future termination of ISS operations, Russia will be removing its newest modules and keeping them in orbit as a follow-on space station), but there are no other major modules currently planned for the ISS.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
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Offline sanman

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #9 on: 04/21/2016 09:24 PM »
What will happen to BEAM after the evaluation is done? Will it remain part of ISS as an extra module, to be used for cargo space? If a BA-330 were to later be attached to the ISS, then would it potentially replace the BEAM and be attached where the BEAM now is?

Offline whitelancer64

Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #10 on: 04/21/2016 09:36 PM »
What will happen to BEAM after the evaluation is done? Will it remain part of ISS as an extra module, to be used for cargo space? If a BA-330 were to later be attached to the ISS, then would it potentially replace the BEAM and be attached where the BEAM now is?
The current plan is that at the conclusion of the 2 years of monitoring, BEAM will be removed from the ISS and sent on a trajectory for atmospheric re-entry. BEAM doesn't actually have much in it, not even straps on the walls to tie stuff to for storage. So while it's not impossible for it to remain on the ISS as a storage closet, that is not the current plan.

I think (if I remember correctly) there's some clearance issues with the Tranquility Aft berthing position, it's pointed directly at the Japanese Kibo module. I'm not sure a BA330 could fit there.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline sanman

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #11 on: 04/22/2016 01:20 AM »
Does anyone know how the BEAM module actually expands?

Is it actually inflated by internal air pressure, or is there some other means by which the walls are moved out into its final position?

Also, if the air were to be sucked out of the module, would it collapse or would the walls retain their "expanded" shape?
The answer to your questions are in this video of the CRS-8 science conference. Robert Bigelow and Jason Crusan (Director of NASA Advanced exploration system division) are the last in the conference and answer your questions.
It begin around 45 minutes in the video.
<snip>

In short: BEAM will be inflated by the ISS ventilation system (by the inter module fans). The compress air bottles inside BEAM will equalize the pressure once beam is inflated. It also keep its shape if it lose its pressure.

I Hope it helps.

Regarding "inflatable" vs "expandable" - are the walls themselves inflated, or is it simply that the interior volume is inflated?
Somehow, I've gotten the impression that the walls themselves are pumped full of air, to make the walls expand into a fuller rigid shape, thus creating the interior working space that can be pressurized with atmosphere and inhabited.

If the walls themselves are indeed being inflated, I'd like to then ask if they could in principle be inflated with something other than air - like foam? If a foam or non-newtonian fluid were pumped in, it could fill the interior of the walls and then later be hardened, perhaps through UV-curing. That would give the walls much more strength and structural integrity than leaky air.

Is there any evolutionary path being considered for the Transhab technology itself, beyond successively larger hab models?


Offline QuantumG

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #12 on: 04/22/2016 01:24 AM »
As I understand it, neither. There's telescopic supports that carry the tension. Inflation of the internal space is what makes the supports extend and once fully extended they lock into place. After that you can expose the interior to vacuum and the walls will remain rigid.
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Offline sanman

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #13 on: 04/22/2016 04:14 AM »
So the telescopic support(s) being extended is located inside the "living space"of the hab, and not inside the walls? I saw in the video that he compared the BEAM to a tent, but I thought that air was being pumped into the walls as well. Gee, then how can the walls really be considered rigid? The walls of a tent aren't really rigid - everything rests on the tent poles, which are the main load-bearing members. What change takes place in the walls from before and after the deployment? It sounds like afterwards the walls are the same as before, only they're not squished up anymore, and have simply been stretched taut.

What is the thickness of the walls after deployment?
« Last Edit: 04/22/2016 04:18 AM by sanman »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #14 on: 04/22/2016 06:30 AM »
BEAM is just an accordion. Have a look at the supports. When it's compacted all those little metal bars are sitting on top of each other. As it extends they snap end-to-end.

The walls are thin, I don't know the exact thickness.

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Offline sanman

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #15 on: 04/22/2016 06:18 PM »
Hmm, and the orange thing is the "tentpole", right?

Gee, so what's inside the walls themselves? I know there are layers of Kevlar or that parachute material Vectran, but what else are the walls composed of?

I thought that there were inflatable cavities inside the walls that would literally inflate the walls to rigidify them and thicken them up that way. I also thought that this might allow for a technological upgrade path to inflating the walls with foam one day. Somebody ought to at least look into that.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2016 06:18 PM by sanman »

Offline okan170

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #16 on: 04/22/2016 07:09 PM »
I think (if I remember correctly) there's some clearance issues with the Tranquility Aft berthing position, it's pointed directly at the Japanese Kibo module. I'm not sure a BA330 could fit there.

Node 3 aft has clearance issues with the retracted solar arrays on Zarya that limit the size of anything that can be berthed there.  The location was briefly considered for the PMM (instead of Node 3 fwd) but it was decided that the clearances were too tight to be certain of no collisions, plus the array isn't fully retracted as had been hoped.  Node 3 port, where PMA-3 is right now, would become open once more and Nanoracks has considered placing a commercial airlock there.  However there are also fairly tight clearances at that location due to the motion of the station's radiators.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2016 07:10 PM by okan170 »

Offline Alpha Control

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #17 on: 04/22/2016 07:23 PM »
Hmm, and the orange thing is the "tentpole", right?

Gee, so what's inside the walls themselves? I know there are layers of Kevlar or that parachute material Vectran, but what else are the walls composed of?

I thought that there were inflatable cavities inside the walls that would literally inflate the walls to rigidify them and thicken them up that way. I also thought that this might allow for a technological upgrade path to inflating the walls with foam one day. Somebody ought to at least look into that.

The orange thing is the air duct, for atmosphere circulation inside of BEAM. When the hatch is opened, an air hose would be connected to that duct. Similar to when Dragon is opened, and the astronauts run orange air hoses inside. 

While the ISS has a robust ventilation system, there is a concern of CO2 pockets building up in various corners, as I understand it.  The air hoses help to disperse the CO2 buildup by mixing the air.
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #18 on: 04/25/2016 02:44 PM »
What is the thickness of the walls after deployment?
Reports have said the walls of the BA-300 will be 18 inches thick. I don't know if the BEAM is the same, but I'd expect them to use much the same production processes and materials for the BEAM walls, otherwise there's not a great justification for testing it out on the ISS.
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Offline sanman

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Re: BEAM module Q&A
« Reply #19 on: 04/25/2016 09:45 PM »
Is there any danger of a Bigelow module being punctured from the inside? Is it sufficiently armored against internal protrusions?

What is the procedure if any kind of puncture of any type occurs?
« Last Edit: 04/25/2016 09:45 PM by sanman »