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The mission of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on the International Space Station has been, well, expanded. After more than a year and a half on orbit providing performance data on expandable habitat technologies, NASA and Bigelow Aerospace have reached agreement to extend the life of the privately-owned module. For a minimum of three more years, BEAM will be a more operational element of the station used in crew activities and on board storage, allowing time to gather more data on the technology’s structural integrity, thermal stability, and resistance to space debris, radiation and microbial growth.
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