Temporary space station habitat fails to inflate

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MIAMI: NASA aborted an attempt to deploy a temporary habitat at the International Space Station after it failed to inflate to full size on Thursday. The new room, known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), is part of an experiment to test expandable habitats astronauts might use on the Moon or Mars in the coming decades. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams took charge of the inflation early Thursday in cooperation with mission control in Houston. However, the module made little progress despite two hours of effort. “Flight controllers informed NASA astronaut Jeff Williams that BEAM had only expanded a few inches in both length and diameter at the time the operation ceased for the day,” the US space agency said in a statement. Fully expanded, the module should reach a size of 13 feet long (four meters) by 10.5 feet (3.23 meters) wide. NASA said it would not try again Friday, but would hold a news conference at 12 p.m. (1600 GMT) to discuss the problem.

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