Personal Habitat 2


Provide Living Quarters for four crew
Sleeping Quarters
Washing Facilities
Toilet Facilities

Bed Time

First something to think about. In space simple things that you need to do all the time become problems. List some (our list is further down):

Being strapped to a board may seem a very uncomfortable way to spend a night, but in weightless conditions this is the best way to sleep. With no "right way up", you cannot "lie down" to go to sleep. In order to simulate the usual sensation of a bed, a board is used. Because there is no gravity pushing you into it, it feels like a very soft mattress. You need to be strapped in, because otherwise as you breathe out you will push your mass across the cabin . So you will strap yourself into a thin sleeping bag, attached to a board, with straps across your head and chest to keep your head from moving and your arms from floating out in front of you and accidentally knocking something. You may want ear plugs to cut out the noise and an eye mask to keep the light out - remember you will have 45 minutes of daylight every hour and a half!

Would you want to go to bed like this? Strapped in so you don't float away. Skylab 3 Photograph
© Image: NASA

Did you come up with any of these?

Using the toilet
Getting dressed

In this module you have been allocated your personal quarters, this might have storage drawers, cupboards, a desk, and a bed - something like a sleeping bag attached to one of the walls. You will experience weightlessness on board the space station, so your body has no real idea of "up" and "down" and all surfaces can be used (walls, ceiling, floor are all as good as each other for placing furniture). But remember this will also mean that anything that isn't attached will float around. You have the choice of a colour scheme to suit your own preferences.

Skylab 3: a hair cut - upsidedown or not? (top). Owen Garriott trims the hair of commander Alan Bean. Note the vacuum hose to collect the trimmings. Shaving: this is Commander Alan Bean on Skylab 3 (lower). What happens to the floating stubble? This was a problem because it floated around in the air for days and got into everything! In the end the crews gave up shaving - see image of the Skylab 4 crew with beards. But what if you want a spacewalk? How well does a spacesuit fit a man with a beard? Can you think of a solution to the shaving problem?

Women are not exempt from the hair problems, either. Many women like to have long hair. In space this floats at bizarre angles and can become a work hazzard as well as just an inconvenience. Can you come up with any solutions to the long hair problem, assuming the lady doesn't want to wear a crewcut?

© Images: NASA

Bath Time

A bath is out of the question, not only because of the amount of water you would use, but also because it would float all around your head as well as your body. You will take a space shower, which uses much less water. These were developed for Skylab, the US manned mission and require an enclosed shower cubicle which controls the movement of the water droplets by blown air and vacuum pumps. You require much less water to wash in under weightless conditions, as the droplets stick to the skin better.

Even the smallest room in space has to take into account weightlessness! To go to the toilet there are two main points, keep yourself stuck firmly to the seat (by using the seatbelt and handgrips) and make sure the suction is working. There is no water flush, it is all done by blown air and just the right amount of suction!

Each habitat module has four crew quarters and a shared shower and toilet.

What does water do when it is not being held down by gravity?
Can you think of some problems washing and going to the toilet could cause in the space station?
How do you think these have been solved?

A Space Toilet (right). Everthing must seal. The water is recycled.
© Image: NASA

A Skylab Personal Hygiene locker with toothbrushes, electric razor, toothpaste, and hand lotion. (left)


Make a Space Washbasin

Make a space washbasin from scrap materials. Try icecream tubs, plastic drinks bottles, rubber gloves, atomiser sprays, clear moulded packaging, duct tape.

Design considerations:

  • How do you see what you are doing?
  • How do you get water in?
  • How do you get soap in?
  • How do you stop the water and soap spraying everywhere and drifting away?
  • How do you collect the waste?
  • How do you dry your hands?

Remember, you can't take your hands out and flick water everywhere. It would drift around for days and may get into unwanted places such as electrical systems.

Go to Space Station 2020 Specification

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