Customizing Collaborative Design Sessions for the Development of Architecture-Related Design Tasks in Astronautics

Christian Friedrich, Sandra Häuplik-Meusburger, Bernhard Sommer

The current dominating approach to space mission design, known as systems engineering is historically linked to a process of design from the aviation industry. It attempts to integrate all constituent elements of a space mission in a holistic design. Within this approach the mission goals are the design drivers, and are translated into system and subsystem requirements, which serve to constrain the design.

For human space flight missions, the characteristics of the inhabited environment are strongly constrained by hard technical requirements, e.g. launch bay volume and mass restrictions, whereas human based soft requirements, which contribute to the efficiency and well being of the crew still need more recognition. 

Space Architecture by nature is a multidisciplinary enterprise, implicating the collaboration with experts from various fields, such as Structural Engineering, Science, Design and Architecture, Physiology and Psychology.

These circumstances make it an ideal application for the Protospace approach. Protospace, a revolutionary design environment for architecture, urban planning and other disciplines, is an initiative of Prof. Ir. Kas Oosterhuis of Hyperbody at the Delft University of Technology. The primary aim of Protospace is to intensify the professional dialogue between different experts in a project team and to bring the entire design process to a new level of complexity
and performance, thus increasing the quality of obtained design results achievable within much shorter design timeframe.

Based on the experiences made by the authors, this paper tempts to propose an alternative teaching method as well as an alternative system engineering approach for real space projects, which will further improve the collaboration and concurrent design techniques within a multidisciplinary team. 

This paper will give a short introduction to the previous conducted workshops and related lessons learned as well as the Protospace concept. It will subsequently propose a workshop idea using the Protospace environment and outline the reasons for an integral part of this approach.