Space Habitats: An Overview of Simulations, Analogs, Pressure Chambers, and Development Technologies


Space Habitats: An Overview of Simulations, Analogs, Pressure Chambers, and Development Technologies


Marc M. Cohen

About the Speaker

From the time he saw his first satellite at age five – Explorer 3 in July 1958 -- Marc grew up believing that the Space Program was the story of his life. Marc studied Architecture, developing notions for habitats, bases, settlements, and colonies off the Earth.

Starting out as a facility architect at NASA Ames, Marc designed projects for wind tunnels, life science labs, and aircraft support buildings. When the current Space Station Program began in the early 1980s, Marc served on the Space Station Concept Development Group at NASA HQ and became a charter member of the Space Human Factors Office at Ames. There, he developed the triangular-tetrahedral space station concept, the nodes and cupola (US Patent #4, 728,060), of which went into the Space Station Freedom and later the ISS configuration. He invented the Suitport (US Patent 4,842,224) now part of NASA’s Lunar Electric Rover that appeared as the NASA float at President Obama’s inauguration.

Marc facilitated the Human Exploration Demonstration Project: “A day in the life of a planetary habitat,” as his dissertation project for the University of Michigan. He led the Human Engineering team of 15 for the crew cabin systems on SOFIA, a 747 that carries a 2.5m infrared telescope. Marc led the Habot Mobile Lunar Base Project for John Mankins at NASA HQ.

Marc was a founding member of the Ames Federal Employees Union, (IFPTE Local 30) and was elected President four times over eight years. This experience gave him a deep insight into the working of the NASA institution and its internal relations. Marc is an AIAA Associate Fellow, having served as Chair of the Design Engineering TC and as founding chair of its Aerospace Architecture Subcommittee.

Taking early retirement from NASA in 2005, Marc worked for Northrop Grumman, as Human Systems Integration Lead for the Altair Lunar Lander. As part of the Altair program, Marc developed the Crew Productivity FOM. While at Northrop Grumman, Marc also performed human factors evaluations of for the Air Force Global Strike, Navy UAV control workstation, and DARPA’s “HART” project.

Presently, Marc is starting a business, Astrotecture, for the professional practice of Space Architecture.


  • AB cum laude, Architecture and Urban Planning, Princeton University,
  • M.Arch, Columbia University, Kinne Summer Travelling Fellow,
  • Arch.D, Design Methods, University of Michigan, Saarinen-Swanson Fellow.



This presentation offers a common frame of reference for understanding full scale mockups and simulators for human spacecraft. Mockups and Simulators have a range of objectives and purposes, including:
- Concept evaluation,
- Design research,
- Engineering integration
- Operations simulation and development, and
- Crew Training. These purposes are not mutually exclusive, but can co-exist or overlap in the same mockup or simulator.


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Publication Date



Grand Forks, ND

Space Habitats: An Overview of Simulations, Analogs, Pressure Chambers, and Development Technologies