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Report by Georgi Petrov: This is a brief report on the 2019 International Conference of Environmental Systems (ICES), that was held in Boston, MA, USA at the Omni Parker House Hotel, July 7-11, 2019. Along with Francois Levy and Sandra Häuplik-Meusberger, I co-chaired organizing the Space Architecture Technical Committee’s participation in this year’s ICES. 

The International Conference on Environmental Systems, or ICES (known prior to 1990 as the Intersociety Conference on Environmental Systems), is an annual technical conference focusing on human spaceflight technology and space human factors. Session topics include: Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), thermal control, life sciences, extra-vehicular activity (EVA) systems (including space suit design and human-robot interaction), space architecture, and mission planning for exploration. The conference has taken place annually since 1971. Next year’s conference will be in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Space Architecture session was a big success. We had ten presentations in three sessions. We had very good attendance with peak attendance for each session of 50, 60, and 30.

We had a good mixture of regulars and some new faces. There were four former astronauts at the conference and I saw all four of them at our session at one time or another.

Special thanks to my co-chairs Sandra and Francois who ran the abstract and peer review process with me.

Photo gallery for ICES 2019.

“Building Beyond: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Architecture in Space” was a panel discussion comprising architects, artists, authors, scientists, and engineers speaking about the expanding roles their disciplines are finding in the field of space architecture. Emerging cultural and economic forces are opening aerospace design to more diverse participants and viewpoints, and especially to integrators with skills to collaborate across disciplines. Opportunities and incentives for space architects are increasing, especially in the crossover between space habitation system development and applying lessons learned from space projects and technologies to help development of sustainable, autonomous, and ecosystem-integrated projects on Earth.


The session was held the evening before the Opening Ceremony of the 69th International Astronautical Congress, convenient for arriving delegates and serving as a stimulating introduction to the scope of space architecture and start to the week. Attendance was noteworthy, about 100, with wide-ranging Q&A followed by informal dialogue, fellowship, and refreshments.


Space Architect Barbara Imhof described multiple collaborative projects with designers, engineers, and scientists: expandable habitat prototypes, Antarctic greenhouses, and sintering of lunar regolith. Engineer Daniel Schubert expanded on the role of the broad team that created the antarctic greenhouse project, now in operation, aimed at developing lessons for growing plant life in space. Biologist and Artist Angelo Vermeulen summarized multidisciplinary studies on starship concepts, projecting a visionary future of ecosystems in space. Architect Jan Dierckx from Foster+Partners discussed how their work on autonomous 3D printing for Mars and smart habitation has helped keep the firm at the forefront of advanced Earth construction. Author, Engineer, and Space Architect Brent Sherwood put architects’ unique skills into the context of interdisciplinary design of space systems, and described the long view of human expansion into space.  Through lively discussion about their work and the state of space design, the panel highlighted the enthusiasm, interest, and opportunities for multiple disciplines working together on the verge of building beyond.


Webinar: Step-by-Step Process for Designing Weightless Space Habitats

8 November 2018. 1300-1430 Eastern Time

A special educational webinar for anyone who would like to gain an understanding of the importance of designing space habitats for human neutral body posture.

SATC member Brand Griffin prepared and will conduct this web course. It contains a vast amount of relevant information and guidance for anyone involved in any aspect of weightless space architecture. AIAA members pay a special rate; AIAA student members get a huge discount. You can sign up for the webinar on the AIAA page link below:

Webinar: Step-by-Step Process for Designing Weightless Space Habitats


The latest round of Space Architecture Symposium (SAS Bremen) was held at the Bremen DLR center on the 29th September 2018. The Symposium was organised by Barbara Imhof and Christina Ciardullo, with the support of and many members from the Space Architecture Technical Committee. The theme for the day-long workshop session was to discuss the recent milestones and state of space architecture, as well as current and future opportunities for the field.

The symposium was attended by around 30 individuals coming from diverse backgrounds but share the common interest in the field of space architecture. The symposium began with an introduction about the theme and aim of the symposium, followed by brief reports of the current state of space architecture around the different region around the world. The symposium then went into a bit more detailed discussions on specific topics such as projects, companies, competition and education etc., giving a general overview of the field of space architecture at this moment in time.

The discussion continued over the pizza lunch and was followed by a guided tour around the DLR center and an update on the Eden-ISS project that is currently operating live in Antarctica.

Into the afternoon session, the topics moved onto to where the field of space architecture is going in the near future, on “working for new space”, , “branding the profession”, “working on Earth” and “outlet for space architecture ideas”.

The symposium wrapped up with a casual dinner near the DLR, where participants had the opportunities to continue the conversation over the many topics discussed during the day.


Summarised notes for SAS Bremen 2018.

Prensentation slides for SAS Bremen 2018.

Photo gallery for SAS Bremen 2018.


Building Beyond – Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Architecture in Space

What does the future look like for buildings, cities and habitats on and off the planet?
Join us for drinks and conversation on the operational field of space architecture and its potential to impact future space exploration and terrestrial building practices.

Sunday, 30th Sept 2018 – 18:00
IAC – CCB Franzius
Messe Bremen, Findorffstrasse 101, 28215 BRemen, Germany.

Report by François Levy: This is a brief report on the 2018 International Conference of Environmental Systems (ICES), that was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA from July 8th through 12th. Along with Georgi Petrov, Sandra Häuplik-Meusberger, and Don Barker, I co-chaired organizing the Space Architecture Technical Committee’s participation in this year’s ICES.

The International Conference on Environmental Systems, or ICES (known prior to 1990 as the Intersociety Conference on Environmental Systems), is an annual technical conference focusing on human spaceflight technology and space human factors. Session topics include: Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), thermal control, life sciences, extra-vehicular activity (EVA) systems (including space suit design and human-robot interaction), space architecture, and mission planning for exploration. The conference has taken place annually since 1971. Next year’s conference will be in Boston, MA, USA at the Omni Parker House Hotel, July 7-11, 2019.
The plenary keynote on Monday was given by Elisa A Truscott, ISS Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems (ETHOS) Senior Flight Controller. As an ETHOS Flight Controller, Ms. Truscott offered valuable insights on the performance of ECLSS systems on orbit in contrast to individual components’ terrestrial test or design performance. I found her talk to be interesting and insightful, and many of her observations and wisdom are applicable to any design discipline. Speaking of design, Brent Sherwood, Ted Hall, Matt Simon, Max Venatta, Charlie Hanner, and myself enjoyed a lively discussion on design and space architecture over lunch on Monday. Such informal interactions with our peers and colleagues are an unscripted but tangible benefit of conferences like ICES.
There were six space architecture papers accepted and scheduled to be presented in two sessions. One paper author was unable to present at the scheduled time due to travel delays, but presented later in another session. The Space Architecture session attendance was very good, topping at about 60 and never falling below about 30.
Below is a brief synopsis of these papers. Proceedings of this and recent years’ conferences are hosted here:
Gregory Gentry, Matt Duggan, Darren Samplatsky and William West
Bill West offered a new paradigm for safety rating in an era of multi-vehicle mission architectures, considering the systems of flight vehicles, landers, rovers, and habitats. Rather than designing each vehicle/habitat to be human rated, the paper suggests that systems be human rated as a whole, with less reliance on redundancy and a greater emphasis on reliability. This could allow components to be human safe when appropriate, with corresponding reduction in mass and complexity.
#106 Recommendations for Next Generation Crew Quarters
Brandon Maryatt, Michael Van Wie and Toni Clark
Brandon Maryatt reviewed the work done at NASA towards an evolutionary design of Crew Quarters (CQ), taking a hybrid approach that synthesizes predecessors: on-orbit assembly in the case of TESS, and the integrated rack Shuttle-delivered ISS CQ. The proposed CQ would be partially pre-assembled, and partially orbit-assembled, given current delivery options. Ventilation challenges for occupant comfort and safety were discussed, as well as improvements in lighting.
Robert Gitten, Ben Greaves, Haroon Syed, Takumi Date, Sindhu Jayakala, Sweeya Tangudu, Annika Stoldt and Anna Mariella Pulvermüller
The Michigan Bioastronautics and Life Support Systems (BLiSSteam presented their Argo concept, their NASA X-HAB entry: a habitat architecture for both deep space transit and deployment on the Martian surface. The toroidal design has two distinct implementations built on a common architecture in an effort to maximize common elements. The transit configuration rotates to simulate 0.38g at the inner structure serving as floor deck; the surface version is similar in overall design but the deck orientation is perpendicular to the central axis and obviously the surface habitat is static.
#244 Experimental Investigation of Vertical Translation Design Commonality Across Differing Gravitation Levels
Lemuel Carpenter, Charles Hanner and David Akin
Undergraduate Charlie Hanner provided a description and status of on ongoing project at the University of Maryland under David Akin’s guidance, to test stair configurations for 1/6 (lunar) and 3/8 (Mars) gravity. Prototype tests led to optimal design of test fixtures and neutral buoyancy test protocols. The university, which has the only academic neutral buoyancy test facility in the US, is seeking sponsorship funding to run the full test series.
François Levy, Georgi Petrov, Marc Cohen and Michael Fox
I presented our work outlining the applicability to crewed vehicle and habitat design processes of terrestrial architecture building information modeling (BIM) frameworks and standards, specifically LOD (levels of development), IFC (industry foundation classes), and COBie (Construction Operation Building Information Exchange). We paid particular attention to the data-rich aspects of BIM and opportunities for improved design outcomes, and concluded with a brief review of Cal Poly’s BIM processes for their X-HAB entry.
Shunsuke Miyazaki and Suzana Bianco
Shunsuke Miyazaki presented this paper in a later session (due to unfortunate travel delays). He described a commercial space station
architecture as a successor to the ISS. Several private ventures are already in various stages of preparing their own modules for attachment to the ISS for technology verification. The new architecture would combine selected ISS modules with others from Axiom, Bigelow Aerospace, and NanoRacks.

The 47th International Conference of Environmental Systems (ICES) convened in Charleston, SC, USA, 16-20 July 2017. SATC member Georgi Petrov chaired the two-parts Space Architecture technical session this year in the largest room in the conference with a total of seven presentations. The attendance was well attended and maxed out at about 70.

Next year’s ICES will be held in Albuquerque NM. on 8-12 July 2018.


As part of the Stamford Museum Astronomy Nights program, SATC member Antoine Faddoul gave a public lecture entitled “Space Architecture: Run, Hike, and Camp on the Moon” on April 7th, 2017 at Stamford Observatory in Connecticut, USA.
The talk included an introduction to space architecture and the main aspects of designing for space travel. Faddoul presented Project Luna Castra which is a semi-permanent lunar base that promotes sports activities on the Moon. A discussion followed covering how short-term trips to the moon expedite the plans and technologies for deep space travel and advance technologies for Earthly use.
Stamford Astronomy Nights are family friendly and attract wide audience of different age groups and backgrounds. The public talks are followed by a viewing of the night sky through the 22-inch telescope.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center







“Manifest Destiny: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Mars Colonization” was a space outreach event that took place at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom between 22nd – 24th February 2017.

The event aimed at promoting awareness about the opportunities and challenges of Mars colonization for both the students and staff within the University of Edinburgh as well as for the general public in the region.

The event was held over the course of three days, featuring design workshops and multiple panels discussions on a wide range of themes from life-sustaining systems and the impacts of long-term space habitation on human health, to the engineering and architectural challenges that we face when trying to establish a Mars colony/settlement, to the social science and ethical aspects of colonization.

SATC member and education subcommittee chair Prof. Patrick Harkness was invited to present on the subject of space architecture on behalf of SATC during the event. It was a successful event and the space architecture presentation was well received.

For more details about the event, please check out the full event summary.






The 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) convened in Expo Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico, 26-30 September 2016. SATC members Brent Sherwood and Olga Bannova co-chaired the Space Architecture technical sessions with support from Barbara Imhof and Jackelynne Silva Martinez. 6 papers were accepted and presented the sessions were fairly well attended in overall.

SATC also organised a “Global Network Forum” (GNF) panel event, titled “Space Architecture and Systems Engineering: different disciplines or the same?“. Featuring panelists from a diverse group representing different countries, genders, agencies, industries, and academia, the panel event was a success and was well attended.

Space Architecture and Systems Engineering: different disciplines or the same?