This paper discusses the habitability requirements for the NASA Space Station which will become operational in the mid-1990s, and proposes preliminary design concepts for the crew habitation modules and facilities to satisfy these requirements.
The proposed Space Station is characterized by the need to support crews for extended periods (90 days minimum, as dictated by the proposed resupply cycle) in the near-Earth orbital environment. These crews will be drawn from a broader population base (including U.S. and international scientific and engineering personnel), in contrast to the professional astronauts and specially selected mission specialists comprising the crews in preceding programs. Significant effort is required to enhance the habitability of the pressurized modules of the Space Station to maximize crew productivity.
The long life anticipated for the Space Station also dictates a habitable module interior architecture characterized by modularity, interchangeability of functional units, commonality of hardware and software wherever possible, and reconfigurability to meet changing mission needs and growth. An architecture developed at MDAC to meet these requirements consists of longitudinally arranged standoff structural elements attached to the cylindrical pressure wall, through which are distributed the common utilities (air, water, gases, electrical power, etc.) and to which are installed modular equipment racks and functional units having common interfacing attachments, connectors and service loops. Illustrations of this architectural approach to habitation module design are presented.