The Astro-Web: a new dynamic storage for astronauts on the International Space Station
Microgravity in space poses a challenge when it comes to storing objects. When everything just floats around, the astronauts have to fasten their objects to the walls with Velcro, ties and magnets to keep them in order. This process is time consuming and inconvenient, not to mention inflexible. We harnessed cutting edge printing materials, possessing high elasticity to address this issue. These elastic qualities, combined with the parametric morphology based on a 3D Voronoi cube enabled us to come up with a new hyper dynamic storage solution to serve the space station residents. Now astronauts can keep objects from floating around while simultaneously maintaining a dynamic flexible lifestyle – more typical of earth.
The Astro-Web design has a thick frame for support and the inside is thinner and more elastic. The Astro-Web's combination of unique shape and flexible materials can accommodate a wide variety of objects. For example, instead of using 3 Velcroes to adhere an IPod, glasses and watch, now the astronaut can just place them together seamlessly in the inner pattern of the Astro-Web storage solution. The sizes of the voroni cells were designed to allow small objects (0.5-6 cm) but the astronaut can also print a larger unit to support storage of bigger objects.
The cubes were optimized to use minimal amount of materials, while maintaining structural reliability, making them cost effective and easier to manufacture in space. The Astro-Web isn't just a standalone object; the web was designed with holes in its frame corners to interlock in a modular fashion with additional Astro-Web printings. This feature allows combination of multiple units to create a larger singular compartment capable of storing increasingly large and diverse sets of objects. These storage units may serve personal astronauts, each with their own unit, interlocked to provide a , or to serve mission wide functional storage issues. Either way, the Astro-Web surely provides a dynamic solution that can improve the astronaut's quality of life and operational efficiency.
Designers: Chen Gabay and Nelly Panchenko