|Posted on Jun 15, 2011 11:30:50 AM | NASA EDGE | 11 Comments ||
If you’re looking for a nice two-story, walk-up* with spectacular views from the Moon, Mars or any potential deep space destination, look no further than the NASA Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) and their newly added second level!
Of course, the HDU, the new second level and a soon to be added Hygiene Module together form the Deep Space Habitat configuration of the HDU that will be featured in this year’s D-RATS analog field test.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. The essential 2nd level has not been completely decided on yet.
There are currently three different options being considered through a fascinating competition know as the X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge. Three Universities were selected from a number of entries to design, build and demonstrate their inflatable habitat concepts all the way from CAD drawings to a full scale demonstration unit.
Each school has one week to deploy their version of the interstellar penthouse on top of NASA’s current HDU at NASA Johnson Space Center. The final demonstration units will be judged on many different criteria, such as ratio between the packed hab’s volume and the deployed hab’s volume, deployment time, lowest hourly pressure decay and self-support due to loss of internal pressure. Coincidentally, these align perfectly with my every day living requirements!
The three schools are Oklahoma State University (June 6th – 10th,) the University of Maryland (June 13th – 17th) and the University of Wisconsin (June 20th – 24th.) The pictures below were taken during our trip to NASA Johnson while the University of Maryland was testing and installing their demo unit.
University of Maryland unpacks and weighs their Hab Demo Unit. Credit: Co-Host
University of Maryland Hab Demo Unit soon to be joined with NASA's Hab Demo Unit. Credit: Co-Host
University of Maryland's Hab Demo Unit Deployed! Credit: Co-Host
All of the teams have overcome many different obstacles and engineering challenges to deliver their inflatable habs, but the learning experience from the process itself is invaluable. As one student commented when asked about seeing their team’s demonstration being deployed, “I’m curious. I’m excited, but we all really want to see if our ideas work well.”
For the winners? Their demonstration will experience full field implementation during NASA’s analog field test in Arizone (D-RATS 2011.) The winning design will be announced sometime during the week of June 27th – July 1st, 2011.
For the record, I volunteer to stay in the winner’s demonstration unit as long as they agree to fully return my security deposit when the analog is finished. Plus, I SPLIT the utilities with my fellow medianauts from NASA EDGE. Too many times, I’ve been left with the tab.
For more information on NASA's HDU and the Challenge, please visit the following sites:
Good Luck! And may the best Hab win!
*Walk-up can refer to the fact that a particular apartment is accessible via stairs only. I mean that it is easily accessible by pedestrians that happen to be in the vicinity of building 220 at NASA Johnson or the Black Point Lava Flow in Arizona sometime in August 2011.
Tags : Engineering