The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is expected to head to space inside SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft in 2015, according to a senior representative for the company Bigelow Aerospace, which is building the module. Once BEAM gets to the space station, the robotic Canadarm2 will install it on the Tranquility node's aft port to test out expandable-habitat technology.
NASA is paying Nevada-based Bigelow $17.8 million to send the demonstration module to the station, where it will be in place for at least a couple of years. Here at the International Astronautical Congress Thursday (Oct. 2), Bigelow representative Mike Gold said BEAM provides an example of what the company, and private firms in general, can do in low-Earth orbit (LEO). [Photos: Bigelow's Inflatable Space Station Idea]