Monday, June 18, 2007

The technical challenge of making space travel easy

The ergonomics of designing for space travel ...

"One glance at the model rockets, space magazines and NASA knickknacks strewn across Marc Newson's desk tells you that he is a space freak. Newson has been obsessed by space for as long as he can remember, and whenever anyone asks what his dream design project would be, he says a space station.

He is now taking what he calls "a brilliant first step" toward that goal by working on the design of a spaceplane, a new leisure spacecraft that is part airplane and part rocket. "This is the sort of project I've always known that I'd love," said Newson. "It's been a huge challenge, technically and ergonomically, but most of all because we've had to deal with a whole lot of issues that didn't exist before. It's felt a bit like designing in the early days of flight."

The spaceplane was unveiled in Paris last week by its manufacturer, Astrium, part of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, as the latest challenger in the space tourism market. Like its archrival Virgin Galactic (where the French designer, Philippe Starck, is cast in Newson's role) Astrium plans to take people into space and straight back again. It expects to charge up to €200,000, or about $265,000, for a ticket when commercial flights start in 2012. Another competitor, Space Adventures, will offer multimillion-dollar eight-day holidays at a space station."    (Continued via International Herald Tribune)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Spaceplane - Ergonomics


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