BEAMS - A Research Plan for Architectural Materials Testing in Space 2003-01-2432
It is important to test the performance of architectural materials in the environments in which they will be used, to ensure the safety and reliability of structures using those materials. Though this is a normal part of the accreditation procedure for new terrestrial building materials, it is of particular importance for structures in extreme environments, where material failure can be much more costly in terms of human safety and mission success. In addition, extrapolating and understanding material performance in a hostile environment like space can give a greater understanding for material performance on terrestrial structures as well.
Proposed is the BEAMS (Behavior and Evaluation of Architectural Materials in Space) program, as a testbed mission for short-term and long-term testing of architectural materials in the space environment on the Space Shuttle and the Space Station, using samples and specimens ranging from traditional terrestrial building materials to advanced aerospace building materials. This paper is intended as a template to stimulate research participation in the BEAMS program by interested parties. In this paper, the BEAMS program and mission are developed and discussed in the form of a preliminary research plan, including research sequence, research procedures, analysis parameters and treatment of results. The paper concludes with an outline of the direction of follow-on research.