The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, slated in 2014 for a 2015 installation, is now finally successfully installed, inflated and fully pressurised on the International Space Station. It was NASA's second attempt to deploy the inflatable module. The first, on 26 May, saw the BEAM failing to inflate fully.
Over the next week, astronauts will perform safety checks on the expanded module to make sure that it's not leaking and its structural integrity is intact. About a week after these checks are completed, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams will enter the four-metre long (13 foot), 3.2-metre diameter (10.5 foot) room for the first time.
The BEAM is designed to be more compact on a rocket into space, but provide additional living and working space when fully expanded. This is the first time it has been installed, and the new room will be used to determine how well it performs, and how well it protects against space debris and solar radiation.