One of the comments we received on the Altair video asked about possible sleeping arrangements for the astronauts. Well, we are exploring various configurations for crew sleeping accommodations. One option is certainly fold-down beds. Currently, we are experimenting with a hammock concept for Altair, in which a fabric hammock is supported by two poles, which attach to the forward walls of the cabin. In this scenario, we would deploy four such hammocks vertically, similar to how crew sleep stations are arranged on many naval vessels. When not in use, the poles would be stowed flush with the cabin walls and the hammocks would be folded up and stowed in lockers. This arrangement worked well in recent evaluations and allowed our test subjects to “sleep” without disturbing each other, and it allowed any crew member to get up in the middle of the night (e.g., to get a snack, complete a task) without causing the others to have to move their sleep stations out of the way. We will continue to explore additional concepts in the future as we search for the ideal solution to incorporate into the Altair. It will be interesting to see what kind of sleeping accommodations eventually fly.
Here’s a look at some of the testing being done on the sleep stations inside one of the Altair mock-ups.