The Airbnb for astronaut — private crew units

HAB: Private Crew Units

NASA’s plans for future long-duration journeys to and from distant planetary surfaces. This requires crews live and work for a period of up to two and a half years in an isolated and confined environment. Given the unprecedented distance and duration of such missions, creating a comfortable environment for crew members becomes essential.


February - May 2018


Kay Kim (me) — UI/UX
Valeria Diaz — IND
Eric Lee — IND

My Role

Research, Ideation, UI/UX


As this was the NASA sponsored class, we could get a chance to interview the Yunkyung Kim, the UI/UX Designer in IRG NASA and her team. My team could get a knowledge of how difficult the current astronaut lives in the space especially when they take a rest and sleep. We found that there are huge opportunities for us to help the NASA team to think about the better living environment for astronauts.
"Nasa plans on sending astronauts to Mars in 2030 but there seems not a lot of care about living environment where the crews will going to spend their 2~3 years." 

Mars in 2030

Nasa plans on sending astronauts to Mars in 2030. The mission can last anywhere from 2 to 3 years. In one of the mission concepts, the transit habitat would be first launched to orbit around the moon and then Orion with a crew of 4-6 people would be launched. 
Current Sleeping Environment

Sleep Deprivation

73% of the astronauts relied on sleeping aid pills like Ambient or Zolpidem in at least half of the days of their mission. Noisy equipment, excessive light, sudden temperature changes disrupt the sleeping environment of astronauts.
"Astronauts suffer from sleep deprivation in space due to numerous factors in the spaceship environment. It keeps them from performing their task efficiently." 


Current living facilities in space are very confined, uncomfortable and have little private space for crew members.

How could we improve the living conditions in space? Here, we decided to focus on sleeping and taking rest.


We tried to come up with the idea that can technically be done while it meets our users' needs. The major constraints we have considered were gravity, small space, and non-flammable materials. 

Generated idea together
Industrial designers built mock for a test


Redesign the whole transit habitat that gives crew members a better experience of sleeping and resting. Each room has a workstation screen for the day and a bed screen for the night.

  • interior look
  • Workstation screen
  • bed screen

Workstation Screen


Main Screen

Emphasized on the nature to give a feeling of Earth

Main Screen (Day)
Main Screen (Night)



Touch five fingers to the screen and have it all


Reserve Shower Capsule

The assumption here was that there would be three shower capsules in the node. As they live in a communal setting, making a reservation for shower capsule would save crew members’ time

Bed Screen


Main Screen

Astronauts can see what they need before they go to sleep


Room Settings

Control every room settings on screen 


Send Message

Contact Earth people or co-workers

“Power of Whitespace”

It’s no need to use the whole space of the big screen. It needs white space as well as the small screens because it creates harmony and balance.