Space Architecture

Space Architecture

Architecture has several branches that you choose like interior architecture, landscape architecture, naval architecture and many more. One of them is space architecture that is the theory and practice of designing out of our planet. Just imagine that right now we don’t know the half of how our own planet works and we want to experiment and study other worlds. We want to explore, travel and visit other planets and things that orbit in the space. One thing that humans have is that we are persistent in our work. When we have a goal, we don’t stop until we have it and because of that I think we have all the technology we have now in days. Walt Disney said,“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. In order to understand how space architecture works first we have to know the definition and how it works, the background and the history of how we came tothis idea of going to the space and important process we did through history, sustainable cities in Mars, 3D printing the advantages and disadvantage, space tourism and terrestrial space architecture.What it is coming next? What are the ideas that are coming for space architecture? Are we making history?

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The meaning of architecture is the art and practice of designing and constructing buildings, but when we add to that world space,the meaning to that whole world would be the same, but adding that we are building in inhabited spaces that are out of the world we live in.  This branch of architecture covers the design and construction of space vehicles, stations, base control, experiment launches areas and everything that human will need in the space. Space architecture born in the 1980s with the work of some architects and designers that built thespace station. Now in days there is a whole community of architects and industrial designers that are involved in all areas of space projects like mission development, robotics, lunar and martian space stations, launching rockets, simulators, and habitat construction in space. The name of spaces architecture is extension of earth architecture. The difference between architecture and space architecture is that space architecture works with extreme conditions, like high radiation, atmospheric pressure, gravity, different materials and many more. The conditions that are on earth are not comparable with the conditions of space. That’s why they are two different branches, but the goal is the same.Provide shelters that protects us from our surroundings in every habitat. Also, both of them encourage us to extend our imagination and creativity to think “outside of the box”.  That’s why is very important to study and understand where you are, the different conditions that can exist in some areas being our planet and the space.

The biggest challenge that this branch have is that some things are uncertain. We are still studying how space works, if we can live in another planet or if there are living things in another planet. That’s why the conditions to build something in the space is very challenging. In space we don’t have water, electricity, air, things that are vital to survive, but because this is a challenge that we take we still construct and figure it out the way to succeed in this area. Also, this way of construction gives ideas to build in the earth because most of this construction are sustainable structures. This technology and techniques that space architecture is developing can be very useful to construct more efficient and environmentally friendly designs on earth.

Not everyone can be a space architect. Also, the opportunities to be part of this depends on the government support of explorations programs. There is an organization named the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). They are in charge of all this community. It is important to say that a space architect must be prepare for everything. They should have the knowledge as engineering, the ability to construct in extreme conditions, become familiar with human space conditions, and speak the technical language of design, in order to help when times comes.

Ones of the first ideas of how to get to space started with the V-2 rocket in 1945. This idea was developed during the World War II when the Nazi party wanted to create a weapon to destroy enemy aircraft, ships and anything they could. After World War II start people got really excited by the idea of going to another planet or even living in space because they began to understand rocket science with the creation of V-2 rocket.We were very advance in technology because we began to fly, created nuclear arms, firearms and many more. Also, the idea to go to the moon was the dream of all the people. The Soviet Union and United States start the Cold War where the goal was to achieve the first spaceflight. The race between these two nations was very strong and it wasn’t just a race to go to the space, it was a political conflict, economic and scientific competition between these two powerful nations. Both of them start to launch artificial satellites, space probes to the moon, Mars, Venus and prototypes into the space. The real competition starts in the 1955 when the Soviet Union respond to the first announcement by United States of the intent to launch artificial satellites by saying the will also launch a satellite in the “near future”. According to history this was very stressful times and people said that United States made it to the moon thanks to the successful launches that the Soviet Union didduring this time. The Soviet Union were very advanced with all the technology they had. They were the first one to achieve the goal to send a human to the space in 1959, but that wasn’t the goal. United States try several times before one succeeds. In their first launch in 1967 they were doing a rehearsal test, Apollo 1. This one fail and it was remembered because three astronauts where kill because a system failure. It took more thana year to redesign the space craft, but it’s not until Apollo 11 that the race to space ended even though when Soviet Union had achieved more than the United States. Apollo 11was the first mission with and American that made it to the moon in 1969.

“Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin landed an ungainly spacecraft named Eagle on the moon and spent two hours exploring the lunar surface. They left next day, rendezvousing in lunar orbit with the command ship Columbia and returning safely to Earth. The Apollo 11 landing ended a decade of competition between the Soviet and American space programs helped to restore the nation’s self-confidence and began the intensive program of exploration that transformed scientist’s understanding of the moon” (Gale,14). We have to say that we couldn’t make it without the government support. We have to remember that all of this is missions and accomplish need to be supported by the President, but as I said this time were very intense in the whole world because of this Cold War. It was an economy and a power war to see which one have more money to support the project and see which one have the best technology in the world. Thanks to this space race we increased our knowledge in everything space related. Also, we have to say that we increase the amount of research in technology in a very short time. They repeated the launch with Apollo 12, but later on, the missions and explorations to the moon and space were cut back because they already achieved the goal and there was an unemployment rise in United States, so the space industry was the first affected.

In the 1980s the ISS (International Space Station) was created. This is a modular space stations in the low Earth orbit. That is a multinational station where we have 5 participants that are NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) from USA, Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe) and CSA (Canada). This station serves as a space environment research laboratory and a space to stay for the future missions to the Moon and Mars. Saying this we have to mention one of the best accomplishments after Apollo 11 that NASA did, and it was the Space Shuttle program. This spaceflight program was very important because it was the first space vehicle that did several flights into orbit and began to reused parts of the craft like the solid rocket booster. They accomplish the creation of the ISS with this spacecraft during 1981 to 2011.After this year the space shuttle program ended because as I said before all this missions and explorations programs depends on the government support.

“NASA and the commercial company SpaceX are scheduled to do something that hasn’t been done in nearly a decade – launch astronauts to the International Space Station aboard an American rocket.” (NPR, 1) It wasn’t until May 31st, 2020 the Crew Dragron Demo-2 mission, with the collaboration of SpaceX that is a private company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk that sent humans to the ISS from American soil. This was a very important time in history because without the achievements of Falcon 9 which succeed at reusing parts of the craft,this launch wouldn’t have been made.

In 2016 Elon Musk aske their crew: “How fast we can establish a self-sustainable city on Mars?” ( Disney PLUS) We can say that the idea of space tourismand making a sustainable city in spacehas advanced. Right now, they are designing, manufacturing and launching advance rockets of space tourism as a viable commercial venture.“We need to go to Mars because it protects us from our extinction. There is sort of different things that can happen on earth that would kill all humans on the planet, but once humans are on two different planets the odd of extinction drops to cero”.( Disney PlUS)Going to space is really expensive, but with the creation of Falcon 1 to falcon 9 and dragons mission each one of them has been a step that allow us to test out and built technology that will eventually allow us to go to Mars. Go big or go home.

In order to build a big city in Mars we don’t need to build big spaceships we can make several flights directly with the equipment required directly to Mars. The colonization to Mars and not to another planet it because Mars has a surface area it is similar to Earth. It is also rich in carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, water and many more. It has all raw materials that Earth have to support life and human civilizations. This is what makes Mars so special and so different between the moon that would be our closest option between other planets. In order to create a civilization in Mars we need have the essentials like water, energy and food. We can obtain water from the soil; different studies had demonstrated that there is frozen and evaporated water. We can obtain energy by the solar panels and by a wind generated. They are still investigating if the soil is great to plant food. There is an atmosphere very thick that could protect us from the solar flares. It has been demonstrated that humans can only live in two locations Mars and Earth because the similarity in the atmosphere. Knowing all of this as space architect we would have the possibility to create a totally new civilization. We wouldn’t have limitations in terms of designs because we have plenty of space to build on. Our goal is to see which would be our new necessities in this new environment and era we would live in.  As I said before “We will become extinct if we don’t become a space faring species”. (DISNEY plus). Mars is our new goal, someday going to the space would be like going to another country and there would be different cultures and traditions that we will learn in Earth. Every step we made is a step-in history and it is also a step to the near future. Failure means learning and as Walt Disney says keep moving forward, open new doors and do new things.

Since the beginning of space flights and the advances we have made through the years. Space traveling have been one of the goals humans want to make. We can’t say that it would be the same as travel country to country because the materials to create the spacecraft are more expensive because the different atmospheric experiences it passes through. Also, we need to take in considerations that is not the same travel around the word in an airplane that travel in a spacecraft that is faster it can be really dangerous if the people that is traveling doesn’t have the minimum requirements as the astronauts exam. Travelers should do some test and examination before going to space tourism. There would be a whole training on basic things like how to walk, how to seat and different codes in case of an emergency.

As a plane can be used millions of times Elon Musk is trying to create a spacecraft that could be reusable hundreds of times to transport people to the moon and Mars. Right now, NASA want to create space tourism by making a safe trip that can transport people to the space and return safely. Number of private companies as SpaceX are working to develop this idea. They are working to develops new spacecraft, spaces vehicles, hotels, space airport and more. As a space architect we would design the interior of this spacecraft that would require and additional cabin for the travelers that should be small, comfortable and more attractive. The spacecraft should be attractive and represent confident in order to sell it to the people. Remember that we are responsible to build the necessities humans will need in the space this include the hotel where they will stay during the visit. The ISS would be the first perfect landing to make a stopover to them continue to Mars. The challenge that space architectures have is to get familiar with the different materials and integrate the construction process with the structure. All Dragons missions are preparing spacecraft that will provide transport to humans to the space. Right now, the technology it’s very advance and NASA and SpaceX are working to make sure someday in the near future we could visit the space.

We have to say that “Over the last decade there has been a fundamental shift in the space industry from short-term pioneering expeditions to long-term planning for colonization and new ventures such as space tourism” (Leach, 10), going to mars and the moon and terrestrial space-related industries. Now in days architects are more involved in all the areas. We have learned to develop strategies to achieve different task in our way. Right now, the vision future is to settle in the moon and mars and because of that space architecture has been very involve in this research they want to explore the ways to construct different habitats and structures. Thanks to the technology we have been developing in our favor3D printing has been very useful to show prototypes and try different strategies to develop different models. “3D printing consists of manufacturing materials layer by layer, with little or no wasted material” (Dunn, 1).It has accelerated the growth of orbital infrastructure.The invention of this technology has been very helpful now in days in Earth. We created an entire house using 3D printing. The idea of using 3D printing is to help us to use less materials and save us time.

Thinking about how 3D printing would be helpful in space architecture would be as space structures, fabrications of spare parts, things that we will used in our daily life and preparations of food. The idea of 3D printing is to help us to transport buildings to the space and reducing weight in the missions. Bringing everything we need to survive in the space is very expensive, so the goal is to send the robots to the space anywhere we will build and make the construction on the space. In that way we are saving money and reducing the risk of radiation. Printing in the moon as beautiful as we can say it sounds the perfect idea, but this presents numbers of problems, like the extreme variation of temperatures, daylight in moon it is not the same as Earth and the problem is that we would not receive solar energy to our equipment’s  that last charged andproblems with environment meaning the meteorites, radiation, gravity and light intensity. As there are some disadvantages there are some advantages in the moon there are no winds and rain so that would help to heal the materials of the construction. Unlike the moon Mars present similar problems but in different aspects. Mars have the same daylight as Earth, but the Mars there are strong winds storms.

Some benefits of In-space manufacturing will bebuilt what is need in the moment, immediately repair what is broken, build for the use in space, not in the launch, built large structures, less exposure of humans and less work, time delay will not be a problem anymore, repair and mission risks will be less. NASA is working to made food in Space with 3D printing. Of course, we want our astronauts to be good shape eating all the nutritional needs. This could also be a benefit for the future to the space tourism. Before we progress with this idea, we need to study all the consequence and benefits 3D printing have. It is important to take in considerations the new atmospheric we will be built. We still have many failures before succeeding.

We have to say that all of this technology advances to go to the space have contributed to the terrestrial technology if we can call it like that and vice versa. We can say that we are living in a new era of development. Terrestrial space architecture consists in the elaboration of a spaceport some areas for tourism but in Earth. Spaceport Americais located in New Mexico and is the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport design and built by the Architects Foster + Partners the winners of an international architectural competition on 2007. It serves as a home for spacecrafts, astronauts’ preparations and flights operations. This building is fully accessible to general public but have the perfect balance of privacy in order to have limit access where its need it. The building documents all the history of space explorations through years, all the achievements that humans have made. This building was constructed with sustainable materials and techniques that will takes the advantage of the natural light and the winds that are in the area. The design of the building wants to represent the technology advance human had made in space, so you can feel in some way that you are in the space station.

In conclusion we can say thatspace architecture is still a branch of architecture that is still been developing. There is so much we have to discover in space and our planet, but because the persistent of man we will go as far as we have through the history. Knowing the past, it very important to understand the present, how we live today and the things that are happening right now. Later on, the idea of going to the moon vas very unrealistic or even going to the space, but we made it and it was the first step of the future commercial travels and more things we dream of. We are totally making history every failure we made and every succeed contribute to what we are today and the technology we have right now. What is coming next we really don’t know but for sure we will succeed.




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