back to article ISS pump-up space podule refuses to engorge

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace earlier today scrubbed a first attempt to inflate the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) - the "human-rated expandable structure" which is clamped to the International Space Station (ISS) for a two-year test. After "several hours of attempts to introduce air into the module" by ISS crew member …

  1. bzn
    Joke

    Performance issues.

    Maybe it's nervous?

    1. Alister

      Re: Performance issues.

      Yep, all those people staring, I'm not surprised they couldn't get it up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Performance issues.

        Ohhh, someone doesn't approve of willy jokes! That's strange, I'm sure my browser's address bar is displaying forums.theregister.co.uk at the mo!

        Seriously, we've been spoilt a bit of late with successful space (and back again) missions, so we forget how hard... er difficult rather, these things can be.

        I wish the team good luck for tomorrow!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Performance issues.

          Ohhh, someone doesn't approve of willy jokes!

          Judging from the time it was voted down - probably reading the register in the middle of the night after failing to get it up. That tends to "freeze" people's sense of humour :)

    2. Doctor Evil

      Re: Performance issues.

      Nah, it was just cold.

      1. Preston Munchensonton

        Re: Performance issues.

        That can happen if you're a grower and not a shower. I would say all this global attention make it harder to perform, but the results say otherwise.

  2. Anonymous Blowhard

    Blue pill?

    1. g e

      Always the red pill

      Every time, Neo

  3. Kevin Johnston

    So, they could get it up there but couldn't get it up there? Is this a riddle?

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      It didn't blow up when they tried to get it up there, and now that it is up there they can't blow it up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        More likely a koan.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blow...

    Maybe they just need to do a better blow job on it?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Figures

    Never a fluffer around when you need one. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluffer)

  6. Number6

    Can't they crush a few Viagra pills, mix in water and inject it as a fine spray into the inflation air?

  7. Chris Hawkins

    Sounds like a load of of hot air to me!

  8. hellwig

    Sunlight

    [quote]The inflation of BEAM requires the ISS to be in sunlight, allowing a clear video feed of swelling or, in this case, non-engorgement. Accordingly, time constraints were also a factor in the decision to abort. NASA reckons a second attempt may be on the cards for tomorrow.[/quote]

    I know very little, but doesn't the ISS orbit the earth once every 90 minutes? I gather they need time to plan their next move, but they don't have to wait until tomorrow. Don't we have relays around the world for communication? Couldn't the ISS crew try to re-inflate this once every 90 minutes if necessary?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Sunlight

      They do have a bunch of other jobs and experiments to be getting on with all the time, so it takes a bit of scheduling to find a time when there's an astro/cosmonaut free to supervise it.

    2. Vic

      Re: Sunlight

      Couldn't the ISS crew try to re-inflate this once every 90 minutes if necessary?

      Mate, when you get to my age, ...

      Vic.

  9. Doctor_Wibble
    Facepalm

    For want of a nail...

    It's going to be something hideously trivial like the 5p washer on the connector has perished or cracked in the cold and blocked the airflow. And due to weight limits they didn't pack a spare.

    There's surely an engineering law to cover this - along the lines of the one that requires the £250,000 machine to sacrifice itself to save the 15p fuse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For want of a nail...

      I bet they'll have to do an eleven-hour spacewalk to unship the entire module and expose the little pull-tab that somehow wasn't pulled properly back on the ground.

  10. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Flaccid?...

    ...Then you just need some vigorous pumping action.

  11. Johndoe888

    Was it not Electronically Tested to ISO 4074:2002, or did they puncture it taking it out of the foil packet ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First time

    It needs to relax and not think about things so much

  13. TimeMaster T

    I wonder

    could it have gotten cold enough in there for the air in the tanks to liquefy?

    No, it couldn't be that simple. Someone would have thought of that an installed heaters to prevent it from happening it there was a chance of it being a problem.

  14. TheOtherHobbes

    Everyone's still waiting for the big in Bigelow.

  15. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Red faced ...

    I note no video of Tim Peake, red faced, out of breath and still desperately blowing into a small tube ...

    "How big did you say this balloon was...?"

    <edit> sorry, I have to report I just has a major Airplane flashback!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its probably

    Having a bad air day.

    Quite a let-down if you ask me.

  17. cray74

    SpaceX, too

    SpaceX also had some performance issues and didn't launch its payload last night. Kind of surprising when it had a Thai package strapped on.

  18. weegie38

    Oh Behave!

    When it's up, will it be visible from the ground? Won't it look just like a giant...

  19. Elmer Phud
    Paris Hilton

    Forgotten?

    There is a way of sorting this out - but someting lately we have forgotten about:

    (see Icon)

  20. Wommit

    Just a minute though

    This is an inflatable thingy, right. In space, with micrometers and stuff and shit. And they want astronauts to occupy this room. Well, remembering my recent experiments with a bag of balloons, also inflatable spaces, and the conclusion that when pricked with something pointy they tend to go BANG and disappear. And if the astronauts were inside?

    I really hope that they've got a metric shitload of duct tape up there. They've gonna need it.

    1. cray74

      Re: Just a minute though

      This is an inflatable thingy, right. In space, with micrometers and stuff and shit. ... Well, remembering my recent experiments with a bag of balloons, also inflatable spaces ...

      Did your balloons have 18-inch thick, multi-layered walls [Ref. 1] designed and tested to stop micrometeorites [Ref. 2], and did they have years of proven space operations by two prior demonstrator satellites [Refs. 3, 4]? Otherwise, your balloon experiments were probably not comparable to BEAM and its predecessors.

      REFERENCES

      1. Description of BEAM wall layers including micrometeorite and orbital debris shield (MMOD).

      2. Spacecraft armor, picture #5 shows a cross-section of BEAM's grand daddy, the Transhab multi-layered, foam-filled Whipple shield

      3. Genesis I, the first flown inflatable Bigelow demonstrator with 10 years in orbit and no punctures.

      4. Genesis II, the second flown demonstrator with 9 years in orbit and no punctures.

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