18:08 GMT15 August 2020
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    An expandable addition to the International Space Station will be blown up to full size on Thursday to begin a two-year test of whether the tent-like dwelling can protect astronauts from radiation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explained in a video demonstration on Facebook.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — NASA is planning a live broadcast at 9:30 a.m. GMT when astronauts inflate the module, which was transported to the International Space Station last month.

    The module uses passive life support, which means it will get its heat and air from the space station.

    "We don’t know at this point [what] the radiation will be," NASA Project and Technical Integration Manager for the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) Rajib Dasgupta stated on Tuesday. "Once we get the data, it might look like the expandables are giving us some benefits for radiation protection."

    Speaking inside an Earth-bound replica of the module, which resembles the inside of a family size tent made of aluminum foil, Dasgupta described an array of sensors to measure oxygen, temperature, pressure, radiation and other hazards.

    NASA Chief Scientist for the International Space Station program Julie Robinson explained that future models of the BEAM will be much larger, and have their own life support systems.

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    Tags:
    Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), NASA, International Space Station (ISS)
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