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ISS working with University of Greenwich on design project

12 October 2020

The International Space Station National Laboratory and the World Design Organisation have teamed up with a University of Greenwich expert to help bring sustainable and inclusive design from space down to Earth.

Shutterstock image
Shutterstock image

In an effort to expand the research opportunities of this unparalleled platform, the ISS was designated as a U.S. National Laboratory in 2005 by Congress, enabling space research and development access to a broad range of commercial, academic, and government users. The ISS National Laboratory would be responsible for managing all non-NASA research, and all investigations would require the capacity to utilise microgravity for Earth benefits.

Dr Anastasios Maragiannis, Associate Professor in Inclusive Design and Deputy Head of School of Design, is leading a research challenge with the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory (ISS).

Working in collaboration with the WDO, Dr Maragiannis is heading a team of 12 experts looking at ways to develop techniques begun by NASA on the ISS. The three-week project has the brief: "Design in Space for life on Earth to Reimagine our Future in Space." 

An expert in design inclusion, Dr Maragiannis was selected as one of the five team leaders from across the globe to lead the Design Research Challenge Statement: How can space-based research address the UN Sustainable Development Goals? 

He said: "The projects are looking at making the planet more sustainable, along the lines of health, energy, water, consumption and communities. 

"Because the projects have begun on the ISS, we have to find or create similar conditions on Earth to continue working on them.

"We are looking to make these projects inclusive so they can help more people, across such factors as age, marginalised groups, cultural background and gender. We are looking to reach not only individuals but also societies and charities through co-design and design thinking processes."

World Design Organisation (WDO) President Srini Srinivasan added: "This is an opportunity to leverage industrial design to go beyond the limits of Earth to solve real problems facing our planet today. 

"In order to evolve, the design community must continue to learn from other disciplines and widen our understanding of what design can do. Through this collaboration, we look forward to seeing the inspired conversations and innovative solutions that emerge."

Over 70 participants from 26 countries are taking part in the project. Upon completion of this workshop, and based on the outcomes, the WDO intends to develop spaceflight projects that may fly to the orbiting laboratory under the sponsorship of the ISS National Lab.

The project is being run by the World Design Organisation with The Centre for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).

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