Industrial Design for Outer Space

Uploaded by vice on May 26, 2012


EVAN TWYFORD: Three dimensional design for me was
always kind of the greatest form of creation.
Being able to take an idea from that very tiny amount of
energy, being this idea in your head, and then
formulating that into a fully functional
three-dimensional product.
Take that a step further, I always kind of wanted to
design the ultimate three dimensional object, right?
And so designing space vehicles, to me, was like that
ultimate form of creation.
It's like, what's the bad ass thing you could design would
be a spaceship.
And NASA really was kind of the final frontier for me.

My name's Evan Twyford, and I'm a habitability designer at
NASA's Johnson Space Center.

We in our group do conceptual design for
NASA's human space flight.
A lot of these projects are coming down as major kind of
campaign level design projects, where they're saying
hey, we're doing a mission to the moon.
We're working on a pressurized rover.
We've got this idea, and we want you guys to
help us make it happen.
Starting off with sketching and rendering, very
Take it to a full scale mock up phase out of wood, foam
core, low fidelity materials.
We use those to kind of sketch out the volume of how big the
vehicle might be, and how it would feel on the inside.
Part of what we'll do when we're designing a habitat is
we'll look at how the corners, how the edges are treated.
What type of paint schemes are going to go inside.
There was actually an issue with one of the colors that
they had painted on the International Space Station,
where one of the hatches was like a salmon color.
And the crew really disliked it, so we try to
avoid salmon now.
And then working out the details in a CAD system on the
computer, and developing a fully functional prototype.

And the type of design at NASA that we do kind of crosses the
line between fine art and engineering.
So it's a lot more problem solving, though, which is what
makes it really exciting.

So this is the SEV, the Space Exploration Vehicle on the
chassis, gen 1B.

For interior design for space vehicles, there is certainly
the problem of confinement, which is a psychological issue
for crew members over time.
So we have to deal with ways of designing environments and
designing products that will reduce the effects of feelings
of confinement in space.
So this is the interior of the SEV rover gen 1B, and most of
the interior design elements was a product of our team, as
well the robotics team that we've been working with on
this vehicle for some time.
And we've kind of been charged with making the interior of
the vehicle more comfortable, more luxurious, if you can
call it that.

Seeing as most of us haven't actually been to outer space,
it can make things very difficult sometimes, because
everybody has a different opinion, or different
assumptions that they're making about what that
experience is like.
So it's a very testing and evaluation intensive work
So we have to do whatever we can to ensure that these
products will work in their intended environment.
So sometimes that means flying products, or mock ups on zero
gravity flight in the parabolic aircraft.
Sometimes it means going out into the desert and testing
them in a very harsh, kind of desolate environment that
might be similar to what we would encounter in space.

There's always that kind of thing with designers between
are you going to be like, a stylist, or are you going to
be a problem solver?
And you can look at a product and say this accomplishes
exactly what we need it to accomplish, and that's what
makes it beautiful, and that's what makes it successful.
It's a very pure design problem that we're dealing
with, which is to create products and environments that
the crew will find useful, and will make them successful and
productive in their daily routines.
MALE SPEAKER: Go for main engine start.
T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5--
All three engines up and burning.
2, 1, 0, and lift off.
The final lift off of Atlantis.

EVAN TWYFORD: The shuttle program and the International
Space Station were started in the '80s as sort of a longer
term analog for human space flight, and establishing a
permanent human presence in space.
To start to learn more about how humans would behave and
interact in longer term space flight scenarios.

I've kind of felt like a lot of people in general are maybe
not as excited by the International Space Station,
or by the shuttle program.
Or at least not as much as they were maybe in the '80s,
when the shuttle was brand new.
I just hope that we can really re-engage people in the right
way, and get people excited about space flight.
Because this next generation of space vehicles is going to
be the most bad ass that we've ever seen.