Astronaut Randy Bresnik enters BEAM

Astronaut Randy Bresnik enters BEAM

Just days after arriving at the ISS, NASA astronaut and Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Randy Bresnik got to visit the usually sealed-off BEAM module.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module is a technology demonstrator designed to test the effectiveness of an "inflatable" habitat as an alternative or supplement to traditional rigid modules. Astronauts periodically enter the module to collect various data points such as temperature, radiation exposure, condensation, etc.

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Cargo ships, expandables and spacewalks: ISS in 2016

Cargo ships, expandables and spacewalks: ISS in 2016

Between cargo ships servicing the outpost and spacewalks to maintain it, 2016 was arguably one of the busiest years for the International Space Station since the end of the space shuttle era.

Probably the most visible event for the space station in 2016 was the yearlong crew – NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko – returning to Earth. They had launched to the outpost on March 27, 2015.

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BEAM in high-res

BEAM in high-res

With the installation of a high definition camera during the U.S. spacewalk earlier this month, the exterior of the International Space Station can now show images and video in high resolution. 

That includes the docking or berthing of visiting vehicles such as Progress, Soyuz, HTV, Cygnus or Dragon. But it can also mean really neat, clear pictures of the structure of the orbiting outpost

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