NASA Mars Ascent Vehicle

A sponsored collaboration between RISD and the Johnson Space Centre (JSC) in Houston, TX to design a concept for the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV)– a key component of the Evolvable Mars Campaign.

The Mars Ascent Vehicle is designed to take astronauts from the surface of Mars to the Transit Vehicle, which will then return them to Earth. The objective of this project was to propose an interior configuration for the MAV capable of supporting four astronauts from 16 hours to 5 days. To guide our design process, we had were advised by Robert Howard Ph.D. who heads the Habitability Design Centre at JSC, and Astronaut Michael Gernhardt. Ph.D. who has logged over 43 days in space on missions STS-69, STS-83, STS-94, and STS-104.

As designers, our advantage was the ability to approach this problem from the human perspective; to analyze a design based not solely on the technical merits but instead also taking into consideration the ergonomic and psychological factors as well.

The final prototype demonstrated essential interactions such as ingress and egress, sample storage and seating and interaction ergonomics.

This project was completed in a team of nine, myself included. My role in this project was primarily overseeing the execution of the overall vision, and coordinating the functions and various tasks of project members. This responsibility fell on me as I had initially proposed this concept in the earliest stage of development. Other duties included designing the CAD model of the external structure,  and creating moving components such as the hatches and control panels.

Team members were Jeremy Bass, Sung Wha Kang, Ji Hyo Kim, Minju Kim, Kenta Kondo, Savanna Li, Megan Valanidas and Azlee Yu. Our guiding light in times of darkness was professor Michael Lye.