Known as the Habitability Design Center, NASA’s “conceptual, human-centered design studio” is nothing short of a playground for playing with some of humanity’s most futuristic design concepts.

While it might be easy to jump to the conclusion that the design team gets to ‘draw spaceships all day’…the amount of human factors research that goes into their concepts is likely among the most in-depth and tested in the world.

Aiming to “create opportunities for design to solve the unique challenges of living and working in extreme environments,” the lucky design team works on everything from vehicles to radios and even interstellar habitats.

“This resource of imaginative design aims to inspire the next generation of human exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond.”

“The HDC assures successful human habitation and performance in space through the development of early and iterative conceptual designs, models and mockups of habitation systems, hardware and architectural concepts. Evaluations then investigate crew interface designs and operating concepts to predict human and machine performance in space, and generate design requirements.”

The design center—which is located at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston—also features an annual internship program for a handful of lucky students.

Among other things involved in a typical day include starting out with some conceptual spaceship layout sketching or CAD work followed by “building space suit mockups in the shops, helping construct a vehicle mockup out of aluminum extrusions, packing food and supplies for habitability experiments out in the desert,” according to intern Anson Cheung.

While the HDC website leaves much to be desired, it does include a photo gallery and additional contact information. Check it out here.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.