Space Station Dining Table
2022. Conceptual Design.
Executed under the supervision of:
Larry Toups - Exploration Mission Planning Office at Johnson Space Center, NASA
Dr. Olga Bannova - Director of the Space Architecture Graduate Program, Houston University
With input from:
Albert Magh - Project manager of Wetlab 1 at Johnson Space Center, NASA
David Fitts - Associate Chief for Human Systems Integration, NASA
Currently, most research on space food design has emphasized the functional and nutritional aspects of food, there are no systematic studies that focus on the human experience of eating in space. The social features of eating and food design should not be underestimated.
What’s lacking about dining at the ISS is the human factor. Nothing from packaging, environment, waste handling to the feeling of eating has been designed with the human at the center. How can the tools be adapted to the human rather than the other way around?
Though the Galley Table is rigid and stable, it is over-engineered for a Zero-G habitat. In the constant state of weightlessness up in space, structural support standards are of less significance compared to here on earth.
Zero-G also means that there is no need for dimension or volume when designing the tabletop as objects only need a thin supporting surface to be held up. Using an elastic net instead of a solid three-dimensional volume reduces the weight of the table greatly and allows the users to stick loose objects in place. Removing the use of tape and velcro declutters and reduces the messy appearance of the table.
The final design is configurable in size and allows an astronaut to single-handedly extend the table through a button with the function of one on a luggage handle. The tabletop rolls up automatically like in a roller shade, creating a constant tension on the surface.