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NASA's attempt to inflate expandable habitat fails

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The inflation process could be resumed as soon as tomorrow

The unexpanded BEAM is seen attached to the Tranquility module.
NASA TV

This morning, the International Space Station was scheduled to deploy its first ever expandable module starting at 5:30AM ET. But the attempt seems to have failed and NASA called off the operation for today.

The folded-up habitat, called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), was delivered last month by one of Space X's rockets and attached to the ISS. Today, it was supposed to be inflated to its full size to begin a two-year trial of the inflatable technology in space.

The inflation began when the restraining straps around the BEAM were successfully released. After that, ground controllers told ISS astronaut Jess Williams to start transferring air from the station to the module, in order to slowly inflate it, NPR reports. That's when things started go wrong. The BEAM failed to expand.

"Unfortunately, we're going to have to stand down with the BEAM operations today," NASA ground controller Jessica Meir told Williams, according to NPR. "We've been assessing all the parameters here from the ground, and due to our set of no-go conditions and not seeing any noticeable movement, we're going to have to reassess further from here."

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace, which made the BEAM, are currently assessing why the module didn't inflate as planned, according to NASA. The inflation process could be resumed as soon as tomorrow if it's safe to do so.