Evaluating Efficacy of VR Technology as a Validation Method for Spacecraft Habitat Design



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Spacecraft Habitat Design (SHD) is the process of creating a living and working space for humans outside of our Earth-based environment. A habitat designed for space applications uniquely combines human factors, ergonomics, environmental habitability, technical engineering design constrains, and architectural ingenuity. The unique interdisciplinary requirements of spaceflight make design decisions both time consuming and expensive to evaluate, with severe consequences for poorly made choices that can pose risks to human life and mission success. With the recent advancements of Virtual Reality (VR) Technology many fields and disciplines that deal with design of engineering large complex designs have used them to their advantage. Such fields being architecture & construction and even the automotive industry. VR technology has not been traditionally been integrated into the SHD process, likely due to the long lead times associated with the spacecraft design cycle, along with the uncertainties and the unknown risks associated with performing evaluations using this yet-to-be proven approach [17]. This thesis aims to investigate the practicality of the use of VR technology as part of a design methodology and evaluation of design, through the assessment of efficacy and efficiency. This will be done by examining the creation of stereoscopic renderings, walkthrough animations, interactive iterations, and quick demonstrations as explorations of mockups of spacecraft’s and habitats through VR. Experimentation with each visualization method is supplemented with a documentation of the VR scene creation process across an approximated period to measure efficiency, and a set of evaluation parameters to measure efficacy.
This research aims to investigate whether VR can yield the creation of a successful experience that exceeded the time constraints a common SHD mockup walk through (low efficiency) or create a limiting experience where interaction and functionality were not executed to meet the required standards when it comes to evaluating SHDs (low efficacy). Based on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the two case studies, it was concluded that VR for SHD has high efficiency and efficacy for partial gravity SHDs and low efficiency and efficacy for microgravity SHDs.



VR, Spacecraft Habitat Design