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Human Centric Approach to Space Exploration

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This paper argues the current lack of people-centred design thinking within the field of space exploration. Space exploration is a field heavily guided by engineers rather than architects and designers, owing to the advanced technical know-how needed to accommodate the extreme environments of space. Once humans come into the equation, it no longer becomes a purely functional endeavour and a different approach is needed - one that is human centric.

There are few examples where designers have played a crucial role in the development of space stations. Industrial designer Raymond Loewy is one of the most recognised of the few - his involvement in the Skylab space station stretched design and structural thinking in human space exploration.

Although history shows that designers can (and should) play a central role in space exploration, they are often brought in as an afterthought or kept on the side-lines. This paper argues that a new approach is needed to make human space exploration relevant and successful - keeping the human at its core. Although engineers are critical in this, designers should be equally involved to drive the experience that humans will have during travel and interplanetary habitation.
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Keywords: Skylab; human centric; space; space habitat

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: HASSELL studio, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: July 16, 2018

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  • The Proceedings of IASS Annual Symposia include the articles presented at each symposium. They are grouped by thematic sessions. These limited-length conference papers are reviewed and selected by the Scientific or Technical Committee of each symposium, and generally only those actually presented orally at the conference are included. Although the metadata for the papers is available to the public, only members of the IASS can view the full papers, for which the author(s) hold the copyright. Further information about the projects or research should be sought from the author(s).
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