European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments

Final Report Summary - SHEE (Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments)

Executive Summary:
Project Objectives

The goal of the Self Deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments (SHEE) FP7 project was to develop a transportable habitat prototype demonstrating technologies and architecture that may one day be used in extreme environments both on and off the Earth.

Project Summary

SHEE represents three years of research and development work by a consortium of seven companies and organizations from five different European countries. As delivered, the SHEE prototype is a transportable habitat testbed capable of providing logistical support for two analogue astronauts for missions of up to two weeks in duration.

The habitat prototype features rigid segment deployable petals, which provide for a large deployed volume with a greater level of safety for the crew. These petals are easily modifiable to allow for rapid re-purposing of the SHEE to suit the needs of researchers. While each SHEE unit can support two astronauts, multiple SHEE units can be linked together to provide expanded capabilities, scaling easily to accommodate any mission architecture big or small.

Each SHEE unit contains two bedrooms, a common area, kitchenette, hygiene facility, and two workspaces. Entry and egress from the SHEE is made via suit port style spacesuits. SHEE contains an integrated environmental control and life support system, waste storage system, and limited power capabilities.

When packed, the SHEE unit is approximately the same dimensions as a standardized shipping container, allowing for a large habitable volume to be transported by a common flatbed truck. Deployment once the habitat is in place is fully automatic, requiring no human intervention. With the first SHEE prototupe complete, researchers are now studying how to incorporate the lessons learned into future habitats on and off the Earth.

Significant Results

First European Analogue Habitat – As delivered the SHEE prototype is the first ever European habitat available for space analogue and isolation studies.

Rigid Segment Deployable – The SHEE prototype represents the first-ever application of rigid segment deployment technology in a space architecture context.

Transportable Analogue Habitat – Most analogue habitats are static structures, fixed at one research location. SHEE can be easily transported anywhere within the European Union, providing unprecedented versatility to European researchers.

Modular, Scalable Architecture – Multiple SHEE units can be linked together to accommodate the needs of a variety of mission architectures, both big and small.

Future Work

The SHEE prototype is the first transportable analogue space habitat available to the European research community. Already the habitat has garnered extensive attention and has been booked for research activities and expositions in four different European countries. In April of 2016 the prototype will serve as a logistical base for analogue astronauts in the Moonwalk project, a FP7 research expedition to the Rio Tinto site in Spain.

Researchers interested in utilizing the SHEE prototype should contact the project coordinator or their local SHEE consortium partner.
Project Context and Objectives:
Extreme Environments

There are many extreme environments on both the surface of the Earth and in space where humans cannot operate for extended periods without support. These environments represent extremes in temperature, pressure, radiation, alkalinity, salinity, humidity or other environmental factors that are hostile to human life. While inhospitable to humans, extreme environments present many activities that may warrant a human presence.

Such activities include...

• Resource Exploitation: As the most easily accessed resources on our planet are either claimed or in the process of being exploited, places that were once considered too expensive to access are now being re-evaluated for their natural wealth. Evaluation and exploitation of these regions can put personnel at risk if a safe staging area is not provided.
• Disaster Relief: Disaster zones, both natural and man-made frequently pose risks to first responders and relief personnel. One of the first tasks of responding personnel is to establish a safe staging area, which can be difficult when facing environmental hazards and lack of fundamental infrastructure.
• Science: Some scientists frequently enter extreme environments such as the Antarctic to conduct experiments or maintain data collection apparatus. Other experiments in preparation for future spaceflight (known as analog simulations) place human subjects in extreme environments that closely resemble the operational environments on the Moon or Mars.
• Isolation (Analogue) Stations: There are many unknowns about how humans operate in isolated or confined environments such as those encountered in space exploration. So-called analogue Stations isolate groups of volunteers for varying lengths of time in conditions similar to those that would be experienced in long duration spaceflight.

Construction of safe staging areas in an extreme environment can be incredibly costly, time consuming and exposes personnel to the extreme environment for extended periods during the construction. Existing solutions such as tent cities or Jamesway huts are either too fragile or take too long to construct for many environments. Tent cities, while providing basic protection from the elements, lack integrated hygiene facilities or power generation necessary for longer term habitation.

Self Deployable Habitat For Extreme Environments (SHEE)

The Self Deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments (SHEE) was a three year research and development project conducted under the European Commission Framework 7 Program. The goal of SHEE was to examine how design principles from both terrestrial robotics and space habitat design could be integrated to form a self-sufficient habitat that suited the requirements for extreme environments both on and off the Earth.

Basic requirements were set for a habitat that would provide:
• For the needs of two personnel for missions of up to two weeks in duration
• Fully functional staterooms, kitchen, hygiene facility, workshop and meeting areas.
• Autonomous deployment and semi-autonomous packing
• Environmental control and monitoring system sized for both arctic and desert environments
• Support for suit-port style entry and egress
• Transportable via common place infrastructure
• Modularity to support different mission needs (laboratory, greenhouse, medical station, etc..)

Historically habitats for spaceflight environments have been “tin cans” in space, limited in diameter and volume by the faring of their launch vehicle. While deployable habitats have been studied in the past for space environments, research has primarily been focused on inflatable habitats that more closely resembled a balloon than a tent or camper van. These inflatables offer very large habitable spaces when deployed, but represent increased danger after being hit by a micrometeorite or radiation event.

The first task undertaken by the Consortium in Work Package 2 was a detailed researching of the state of the art of deployable structures and to flesh out concepts for further design and simulation work.

Project Results:
Work Package 2 - Review State of the Art robotics and architecture

Point of departure

Before starting a project usually the partners bring together their respective expertise in the needed fields including information of previous studies and projects. In this task it was further the aim to look at other research and projects outside of the consortium in areas such as simulation habitats, self-deployable structures, robotics and analogue testing to define mission requirements, operational and system requirements, hardware/software requirements, habitability and mission scenarios.

The objective was to review:
- State-of-the-art applications of robotics in building construction
- Mechanically-deployable, inflatable and hybrid habitable buildings
to derive design requirements for a Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments (SHEE).

From this initial fundamental research the following two documents were collated and developed: State-of-the-Art robotics and architecture summary (SoA) and the Design requirements document (DRD).

State-of-the-Art robotics and architecture summary
The State of the art robotics and architecture summary document describes the background research for the Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments (SHEE), a technology demonstration unit which will be capable of self-construction independent of any human assistance.

The content of this document reflects the primary focus of the SHEE project, robotics and architecture in extreme environments and self-deployable architecture. This coverage will include: historical background, relevant examples and case studies, and future outlook on these fields.

The summary served as a reference for all SHEE consortium participants and facilitated the transfer of knowledge between participants during the project.

This summary includes relevant historical as well as visionary examples of sections:

• Robotic applications in architecture (external tools that support the construction process, building subsystems like building services, building equipment and appliances, space efficiency and/or rapid response to alternating user needs,
• Mechanically deployable, inflatable and hybrid structures (possible and realized transformation processes in the field of architecture)
• Categories of planetary surface elements, corresponding subsystems and analogues (analysing the planetary surface mission scenarios relevant for the SHEE project)

The Definition of Design drivers comprises the definition of requirements based on the results of the previously mentioned summary applicable to the design and manufacture of SHEE. The Design Requirements Document (DRD) provides essential requirements for tasks which were performed subsequently starting with Concept Identification and Selection.

The DRD presents the following:
- a description of extra/terrestrial environments relevant to SHEE and the SHEE mission context
- SHEE baseline mission scenario
- SHEE functional, system and subsystem requirements including a column indicating the relevance for the test-bed noted as follows:
NA Not applicable to test requirement; only applicable to mission flight units
M Mandatory test requirement
D Desirable test requirement
O Optional test requirement

This document was updated and reflects the final built SHEE test-bed with it’s capabilities.
The key requirement areas include:

• SHEE Mission context
• Lunar Base Architecture
• Mars Base Architecture
• Research, Rescue, and Military Base Architecture
• SHEE Baseline Mission Scenario
• Overall Mission Requirements
• Overall Mission Requirements Moon
• Overall Mission Requirements Mars
• Overall Terrestrial Mission Requirements
• Mission Operational Requirements
• Habitability Requirements
• Crew Safety Requirements
• Habitat Operational Requirements
• Greenhouse Operational Requirements
• Laboratory Operational Requirements
• Operational Environment Requirements
• Communications Requirements
• Objectives
• Transport Requirements
• Launch and transit phase
• Descent and landing phase
• Hibernation phase
• Deactivation phase
• Functional and Performance Requirements
• Systems and subsystems performance requirements
• Mechanisms and robotics
• Telemetry and telecommand requirements
• Power requirements
• Thermal protection requirements
• Safety requirements
• System Safety Requirements
• Surface Protection Requirements
• Objectives
• On Board Control Procedures (OBCP)
• Data Management System
• Telemetry and Telecommand
• Robotics Control
• Health Monitoring
• On board data handling requirements

A typical table of the DRD looked as can be seen in Table 1. Important is the column “test reqmt.” which describes if the mission requirement for a real mission would also be applicable to the SHEE test-bed. This way one can easily identify how SHEE fulfills already as simulator the real future mission requirements and where the limitations of the test-bed lie.

ID Test
Reqmt. Requirement Rationale / Comments
OP-10 NA The SHEE habitat system shall perform a Baseline Mission as defined in Sect. 5.5
OP-20 M One design concept of the SHEE habitat system shall be operable as habitation unit.
OP-30 O One design concept of the SHEE habitat system shall be operable as greenhouse unit.
OP-40 O One design concept of the SHEE habitat system shall be operable as laboratory unit.
OP-50 M The SHEE habitat system design shall provide for 20-25 m³ habitable volume for a two person crew. Current NASA/ESA studies provide 20-25 m3/person.
OP-60 M The SHEE habitat system design shall provide a galley for food storage, food preparation, and disposal.
OP-70 M The SHEE habitat system design shall provide a hygiene and health facility. This includes: whole body cleansing, defecating, urinating, exercising, health monitoring, first aid kit, medicine box
OP-80 M The SHEE habitat system design shall provide crew quarters for individual use.
OP-90 O The SHEE habitat shall provide means for two crewmembers to perform extra-vehicular activities EVA. EVA egress/ingress may be performed via an airlock or “suitports”.
It should be noted that at least two crew-members for safety reasons must perform EVA at the same time.
OP-100 D The SHEE habitat shall provide at least one hermetically sealed access airlock. The airlock may be used for docking/ berthing visiting vehicles or for the attachment of additional SHEE-type elements.
OP-110 M The SHEE habitat shall provide at least one window allowing direct visual perception of the surrounding landscape.

The overall document also serves as rolemodel for future simulation habitats since there is no such precursor the team could base their design requirements on.

Work Package 3 - Concept identification and selection

With the requirements identified and collated the next step could be taken: developing design options for a SHEE test-bed, evaluating them and selecting a design to be built.
Summarized the objective of this task was to identify and select a baseline self-deployable habitat concept from a series of trade-off studies comparing various deployment and structural concepts taking into account the functions of the proposed habitat, habitability requirements and its subsystems.

The work was divided into the following aspects:
• SELF-DEPLOYMENT STRATEGY: Design options for the deployment of mobile components - taking into account mass/volume and power characteristics of the actuators/robotics, reliability of the deployment mechanisms/control and methods of sealing, etc).
• DEFINITION OF HABITAT DIMENSIONS: This went hand-in-hand with the previous task and focussed on defining baseline dimensions for the self-deployable habitat test-bed (based mainly on transport requirements for packed configuration, and mainly on functional requirements for deployed mode). From here requirements for actuator/robotic installation, for installation of subsystems and furnishings were developed, evaluated and trade-offs conducted.
• STRUCTURAL CONCEPT: All design concepts involved deployment of rigid structures, partly supported by inflatable elements, deploying radially or telescopically.
• POWER AND THERMAL CONCEPT: Power system focussed on a 3-Tier System: primary power source drawing from an unlimited main grid, secondary power source using a battery pack, third power source generating power on site from fuel cells. Thermal control was envisioned to be carried out by a reversible air conditioning unit being part of ECLSS.
• ECLSS CONCEPT: The Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) aimed at partially resupplying consumables in-situ or at regenerative life support systems. Emphasis was given on technologies such as water recovery, CO2 reduction, air monitoring and revitalization, that can also serve in terrestrial applications.

38 design options were conceptualized, evaluated, summarized and trade-offs performed. After repeated design iterations and a 2-stage concept selection process the design option VC-14 was selected.
Concept options
Main trade-off criteria were
• Deployment Simplicity (description of deployment and implications for sealing and other elements)
• Structure Simplicity (number of elements, building)
• Structural Robustness (in stowed and deployed configuration)
• Ratio volume deployed /stowed
• Exterior layout(shape and size description, e.g. attachments possible)
• Interior layout – habitability (functional layout options, division possibilities of private and public spaces etc.)
In the following a selection of final concepts are shown to give an impression of the diversity and variety of designs. Some are very different from each other, some are variations of the same idea.

Selected Concept Description
The selected baseline or concept design VC 14 was based on the following capabilities and excelled in the trade-offs performed.

Structural simplicity/ robustness/deployment simplicity: It offers a reasonable relationship between the number of deployable elements and their size. There are eight deployable elements with a maximum extension of 2.5 m. The symmetry of the design, as well as the application of a single deployment strategy (rotation around a vertical axis), adds to the structure simplicity. Two vertical axes are situated in the middle of the opposite longitudinal sides of the stowed habitat. All the movable shells can be deployed simultaneously. VC-14 was developed with a focus on the structural robustness by combining favourable aspects of previous concept designs. Special attention was paid to the structural stress on the stowed habitat during transportation. A rigid frame system was created positioning the two hinge columns in the middle zone on opposite sides as well as introducing ring frames and stiff interior elements. For lifting the whole habitat in its stowed mode off a transport facility a cradle is integrated to ensure structural robustness. All movable elements are shell type structures with stiffening frames on the open sides to avoid sagging during the deployment process. The symmetrical layout of the design allows for balancing the weight during deployment.

Ratio of the deployed/packed: The selected concept design shows a comparatively high ratio of the deployed/packed volume with regard to the low number of deployable elements. Concepts with a higher ratio usually faced major deficiencies concerning structural and deployment simplicity.

Exterior layout: In the deployed mode VC-14 proves to be a nearly ideal shape for a pressure vessel and provides a favourable surface/volume ratio.

Interior layout/usability of space/habitability/functionality: Deploying two joining compartments on each side of the habitat out of a longitudinal translational space creates a spacious interior layout in deployed mode. All four compartments which are generated through deployment can also be closed individually through the application of sliding walls or doors. A comparatively large central translational zone of approx. 2 m width and 5 m length spans between the two interface elements which either connect to other modules (docking hatch) or to the outside (EVA suitports or airlock). Due to its dimension this area can be used for a variety of additional functions still fulfilling its primary translational function.

The slightly different sizes of the deployable quadrant areas A and B allow for a variation of layout configurations according to habitability priorities. In general, orientation inside the module is easy as there are no identical spaces due to the geometry of the concept design.

The highly flexible interior furnishing provides numerous possibilities to rearrange the interior according to alternative mission requirements or personal needs. In addition, the transformable interior furnishing increases the functional variety. The deployable interior elements not only ensure multi-functionality but also allow the astronaut to personalize his/her environment according to individual needs or personality.
To show that the chosen concept is versatile, additional to the habitation scenario for living and working a laboratory including medical infrastructure and a greenhouse were generated on a concept design level.

Modularity: The VC-14 module is outfitted with two docking areas. A linear or circular layout of the base is possible. In addition, the integration of node-elements can substantially enlarge the numbers of possible layouts.

Transportability: In its packed mode, the floor plan of the selected test-bed design is designed to be positioned back-to-back into a payload shroud of 6 m diameter. This configuration allows the transport of two of the deployable modules occupying the same space, which would be required by one comparable non-deployable module. All selected concept designs for the SHEE test-bed also complied with standard road transport requirements in Europe. Maximum size for test-bed /-elements was defined with a width 2.40m and a height 2.50 m or 2.90 m (megatrailer).

Work Package 4 - System engineering and detailed design

After a selection of a baseline design this needed to be further detailed and step-by-step implemented. For this development calculations and planning drawings were made. These work steps were conducted as an iterative process including design optimization steps.

The main areas of work included
• Structure and deployment design and analyses
• Power and thermal design and analyses
• ECLSS design and analyses
• Internal furnishings design
• Robotic deployment subsystem
• Robotic deployment subsystem software

Concluding the above mentioned, the overall objective of this activity was to create detailed design drawings and data for the manufacture of the self-deployable habitat technology test-bed concept selected in the task “Concept identification and selection”.
In two main document reports “Digital model and design data for optimization” and “System Engineering Report” the results were summarized.
In particular the work was concerned with the design of the SHEE habitat with respect to its:
- Primary structure (outer shell and compartment) design and structural analyses using Finite Element Models (FEM) based on external atmospheric and internal environment, transport and living loads generated by the crew’s movements.
- Rack-type structures needed to enable the integration of ECLSS components within the central core of the primary structure: rack design and FEM analyses.
- Interior furnishings (sleeping and working accommodation for the crew).
All of these tasks were interrelated and required reiterative cycles in the design process.

Digital model and design data for optimisation

The SHEE concept was developed and iterated further producing digital models and optimisations for manufacture and to meet the technical requirements. Component lists, accurate lists of drawings combined with baseline technical drawings were created to exchange data and information between the partners in a meaningful way since all team members used different software to develop and analyse SHEE within their specific field, e.g. structural, thermal, layout etc. So to ensure that there is compatibility between CAD drawings a consistent part number/ drawing number system has been introduced.

The overall material used are composite panels of 60 mm wall thickness strong enough for any realistic load case. The default wall composition is 5 mm glass fibre and resin + 50 mm of core + 5 mm glass fibre and resin. It has improved fire resistance using a thermoplastic honeycomb filled with closed cell thermoplastic foam. This combines the best properties from both schools. It inhibits the rip propagation like honeycombs and it has superior heat and noise insulation like foam cores.

All composite components are moulded from two halves of identical base geometry, thus reducing the number of moulds needed. The half shells are joined using aluminium profiles. The profiles are bonded to the components and joined to each other with rows of screws. All flat surfaces around the various openings are faced with a monolith flat aluminium flange. Further, mechanical properties of materials were described.

Optimisation was also undergone in the area of layout. The following layouts (ECLSS- violet, galley – orange, hygiene unit – turquoise) have been investigated:

Engineering standards

Requirement: The metric International Standard Units shall be used for design and manufacturing of all items. For components and equipment, the dimensions shall be given in millimetres and the
angles in degrees.

Finite element analyses were done at stages where the structure was sufficiently defined to be able to obtain meaningful results from these analyses. The structure has been subjected to wind loads, live loads (i.e. crew moving around the habitat’s interior, ground transport loads and hoisting loads. For the Structural Analysis shown in the present document Creo Simulate 2.0 FEA software was used.


SHEE has two different configurations:
A. The packed configuration: For transportation, lifting relocation and general movement purposes.
B. The deployed configuration: For operation purposes.

In the deployed configuration it is forbidden to perform relocation or movements that are only meant to be performed in the packed configuration.

Thermal Analyses

Analyses for the need for heating/cooling were carried out based on a 2.5 m-high cylindrical theoretical SHEE volume with an inside temperature of 20°C and an outside temperature of 0°C.

System Engineering Summary

A number of compromises between design and manufacture were made to allow SHEE and its components to be manufactured within the planned budget.
The main changes to the selected baseline design configuration (VC-14) were:
1. Measures taken to reduce the number of moulds needed for manufacturing the outer fixed shell and deployable petals and reducing manufacturing complexity. These include:
• Arranging the upper and lower halves of the outer shell to be symmetrical about the habitat’s “equator”.
• Designing the deployable petals to have the same external lateral radius.
• Reducing the number of the smaller deployable petals from four to two.
2. Petal hinges and actuation:
• Introduction of additional vertical axes of rotation for the petals to remove the need for pairs of petals to rotate about a single common axis.
• Reduction in the number of petal actuators.
3. SHEE road transportation:
• Integration of the “cradle” originally foreseen for road transportation as an integral part of the outer shell to create an underfloor cavity for the accommodation of subsystems, etc. SHEE is being loaded on / unloaded from a low loader by means of a crane using a four point hoisting sling.
4. ECLSS and hygiene facility installation:
• Adaption to the location of the hygiene facility and the ECLSS systems as part of a load bearing rack structure.

The design and layout of the structure, structure deployment actuation system, environmental control and life support system, power and thermal control systems, and interior furnishings were developed in this activity and exhaustively described. The main areas comprise:
• Habitat Dimensions: SHEE test-bed terrestrial transportation, transport affordability of test-bed, suitability for COMEX Logistics and for ISU bay
• Structural Concept: mechanisms and methods of Sealing, other mechanisms, actuation approach, deployment control
• System Definition
o Environmental control and life support system, air revitalization architecture & components, Monitoring and safety architecture & components
o Water management and hygiene facilities architecture & components
o Food preparation facilities and waste process architecture & components
o Perspective views of ECLSS components locations
o Power generation
o Thermal control system
o Habitat interior furnishings
▪ Outfitting of the central zone of SHEE (galley, communal table, chairs)
▪ Outfitting of the movable petal compartments (crewquarters, work zone, hygiene facility, work bench area)
▪ Interior lighting
• Communications and onboard data handling: The overall onboard handling of (1) TC received from Earth or orbiting spacecraft and their processing to generate control signals toward the motors, and (2) of sensors data acquisition and processing, is under the responsibility of the On Board Data Handling subsystem (OBDH). The OBDH includes an On Board Computer (OBC), and should interface to the main communication bus of the habitat – to which all subsystems are connected (power management, communication, ECLSS, etc).
• Mass and centre of mass of SHEE habitat (Mass of Deployed and Packed Habitat): the SHEE habitat weighs approximately 6t.

Work Package 5 – Simulation and Modelling


The objective of WP5 was to perform a design optimization of the detailed design data created in WP4. These data include element structure, element subsystems, element furnishings, robotic components and deployment subsystems, which were to be optimized to minimize their weight and also to minimize thermal bridges in the habitat envelope. Air distribution channels inside of the habitat were also optimized. All of these optimizations were performed for the terrestrial conditions. The digital prototype of the habitat assembly was further optimized to withstand the load from the launcher rocket take-off. Behavior of the virtual prototype of the habitat was simulated also for conditions on the moon and Mars surface.

Optimization and Modelling

Structural analyses of the petals were performed during the initial phase of this task for it is the most stressed part of the habitat. A static load was applied for various petal wall thicknesses. An influence of petal/core joint material design and way of connection was considered.

Two stages of the habitat were scoped during the modal analyses calculation loop. One calculation with deployed habitat and one with the habitat in undeployed state was performed. The deployed variant of the analysis aimed on the possibility of earthquake or loading of the habitat with wind gusts. Knowledge of the eigenfrequencies of the undeployed model is important for transportation and launcher take-off conditions.

The goal of the thermal simulation was the determination of the thermal comfort level inside the habitat during extreme conditions and in case of need set the recommendation to air-condition system design. Due to the nature of the selected regimes (temperature extremes on Earth) it is not expected thermal comfort of high quality, but rather an option to survive these conditions in the habitat. During this task the analyses performed within WP4 had been extended by these worst cases, particularly for summer day in Death Valley and winter day in Antarctica. These cases were solved analytically and using EnergyPlus and OpenFOAM software.

The power consumption model created within WP3 and WP4 was further developed in WP 5 to include the heat generation inside the habitat.
Mass and Thermal Optimization

The optimization has been mostly driven by manufacturability features and ease and flexibility of assembly. The aspects of mass and thermal optimization have been taken into consideration, but they have not been the primary drivers. In the current state the optimization could only be carried out based on estimations of the load cases and theoretical calculations. Certain attention has also been given to secondary functions and possible emergency situations.

The petal pivot point mechanisms where optimized.
• Obvious weak points were removed.
• Added interfaces for the assembly tools.
• It is now possible to mount and fix petals independently from each other, thus debugging possible assembly problems one by one.
• It is now possible to decouple the petals from the drives from within the habitat, which would allow to deploy the habitat manually in case of total power failure.

Also a method for fixing loads in the under floor compartments was added. Rack design was standardized to enable modular, mission specific, modules to be attached. Packing strategy was rethought and human operated packing process was deemed to be the only reliable one.

Human Factors Analysis

Two approaches were taken with regard to the human factors analysis of the SHEE:

(1) a quantitative approach relying on the Creo Manikin module that allowed analyzing the suitability of the internal SHEE layout, and resulted in a series of (relatively minor) recommendations for adjustments of the internal layout.
(2) a qualitative approach relying on a software applications allowing the rendering of the SHEE habitat in immersive Virtual Reality. The outcome allows performing immersive VR tours of the SHEE habitat as designed. This application had been extended to experiment various lighting configurations (note that this was done as a qualitative mean to envisage different lighting positioning and configurations, and was not aimed at providing a realistic rendering of a specific lighting solution).

The resulting immersive VR applications has been tried out opportunistically with a range of subjects (with relevant background in the field of SHEE - though not with a systematic / extensive campaign). Qualitative feedback has been collected accordingly.

The developed VR software applications had been found to be also an interesting outreach instrument that has been integrated within the SHEE project's web.

Thermal Analysis

In order to see how well the habitat design CFD thermal analyses were performed for the worst scenarios that can arise during the habitats staying on Mars and Moon surface. For both space objects cold and hot case had been simulated. The goal of the simulation was to determine the level of thermal comfort inside the habitat during extreme conditions and in case of need set the recommendation to air-condition system design. Due to the nature of the selected regimes (temperature extremes on the Moon and Mars) is not expected thermal comfort of high quality, but rather an option to survive these conditions in the habitat.

The simulation included calculation of air flow inside the habitat, and heat exchange with the surroundings. The solution was divided into two steps. An initial stationary calculation of forced air flow inside the habitat within constant temperature was performed. Result of this calculation was used as an initial condition (state at time 0) for the further transient thermal calculation. The thermal load of the habitat caused by the surroundings was solved by specially prepared “user defined” boundary condition that reflects the radiations of the Sun. The diffuse radiation of the sky, the radiation reflected from the surface of the space object (Mars, Moon) and heat convection transfer with surroundings. For solved regimes a time interval corresponding to one local day was calculated. An update interval of the boundary conditions (position and intensity of the sun, temperature of the surroundings etc.) was one hour. As a control element of thermal comfort a model of a woman with three control points (head, torso, legs) was inserted in to the habitat to evaluate the surface temperature.

Work Package 6, Self-deployable habitat testbed manufacture

Shell manufacture

The chosen habitat concept required building a rigid shell. Due to big moving components and modular interfaces to the suit-ports and airlocks there was very little room left for the shell elements that can provide structural strength to the habitat shell. This limited the choices of methods for building the habitat. There was no room for separating load bearing structures and cladding. The whole body had to be a load bearing structure. These considerations resulted in using a composite sandwich wall structure.

The choice of materials is a compromise between the desire to build a strong lightweight structure and budget constraints.
Some analytic calculations were carried out to estimate the deformation and stresses of the structure. We also considered the past experience of some team members at building similar structures. Namely the modern wind turbine nacelles are of similar size and composition and they work in quite extreme environments from North Sea to Kobi Desert. Unlike the SHEE habitat a typical nacelle is not a load carrying structure, usually it has an internal structural framework that helps to resist the impact of the environment. Based on the structural analyses with the estimated extreme load cases the shell structured was dimensioned as shown in Figure . Since the habitat shell consist mainly from holes the diagonal rigidity was a major concern. All flat surfaces around the openings were faced off with a monolithic 10 mm thick aluminium flanges. The flanges were attached using resin and screws with threaded inserts.
The manual lamination was carried out in one sided direct moulds built out of plywood using vacuum bagging for saturation of the foam layer with resin. The main body was laminated in 2 pieces. The pieces are different, but they were made in the same mould modifying the moulds for each item.

The moving petals have three different geometries moulded in 3 different moulds. In order to minimize the need for moulds the petals were similarly horizontally cut into two halves. As a result each petal mould produced 4 items, which were then joined into 2 mirror image wings. The petal moulds also underwent slight modifications to be able to put out the mirror image parts.

With the hind sight this decision was not correct. Joining the two halves of the petals with accurate geometry proved to be difficult, this resulted in none uniform gap between the moving components and problems with achieving air tightness. It also stretched the manufacturing cycle and we ran into cold season with the final assembly. It would have been better to invest into bigger moulds and mould the petals in one piece. Splitting the main body was correct as building a completely monolithic structure would have been very complicated. The horizontally split components were joined using an aluminium girdle on both sides attached to the wall sections using resin and screws with threaded inserts.

A very simple load test was carried out and deformations were measured. The results correlated with the analytic predictions and the construction acceptable.

The weight of the shell exceeded the expectations. It can be attributed to the poor control of the resin usage during the manual lamination. The weight of the habitat of the real flight unit can be signifycally reduced by optimizing the shell structure and using more lightweight materials.

Robotic components

The moving petals are mounted on the pivot axels. Each axel is supported with ball bearings in both ends. The flange bushings are split so the double petals on the big petal side can be mounted and assembled independently. The axes mount design is such that the torque and bending forces are acting independently and the bending forces have little influence on the drive components.
Each of the 4 pivot axels has a double worm gear reducer with gear ratio of 1:15000. The gearboxes are rigidly coupled in pairs and driven by 2 DC motors. The small petals and the inner petals on the opposite side are rigidly connected to the gearboxes.
The outer petals on the big petal side are freewheeling. The gaps between the moving parts are filled with inflatable seals. The seals can be both deflated or inflated. While deflated the parts are free to move. Selective inflating and deflating of the seals determines the sequence of opening or closing of the petals. Habitat is not airtight during the motion sequence. A real space habitat will need a secondary sealing mechanism for the time of actuation. An inflatable envelope would be the simplest solution.

The compressor, vacuum pump and motors are controlled by a PLC. A command box is located next to the entrance door. All deployment and packing commands can be entered using this command box. Deployment can be executed in an automatic sequence or all drives can be operated manually. It is also possible to connect emergency power through the command box, meaning that the habitat can be operated even with a total failure of the internal power system. The PLC can also receive remote commands using IP connection.

Power system

The main power source for the habitat is the local power grid. The main power connection point is next to the command drawer on the lower edge of the panel with the entrance door The main power connector is of IEC 60309 16A 400V 3P+N+E type. The power connector on the SHEE wall is of mail type. A 25m long Male/Female extension cable comes together with the habitat.

The battery pack consists of 16 LiFePO cells connected to output 24V DC. The batteries, when fully charged, can contain 4,8 kWh of energy. Most of the power system components are located in the ceiling compartments. The main function of the battery pack is to provide energy for autonomous deployment and emergency backup during the exploitation of the habitat. The habitat is not able to operate on battery power for long periods of time.

Power system outputs 240 V AC and 24 V DC. The power system can convert power in both directions. A special 24 V DC circuit is installed for feeding PLC-s, this provides uninterrupted current even in noisy situations, when power sources are switched.

Environmental Control and Life Support System.

Major ECLSS components are placed into two racks in the galley. The racks are built out of standard aluminium profiles. The central sections of the racks form a structural backbone of the habitat. The wing sections of the racks are modular and can be easily adapted for the mission needs.

Clean water supplies are in soft bags. The bags are inserted into two hygiene racks, one in kitchen and one next to the toilet. The spare bags are stored in the floor compartments. The floor compartments also house the grey and black water reservoirs.
Sensors monitoring the environment are located inside to cover all functional spaces. ECLSS is monitored and controlled by a separate PLC mounted in the small rack together with a HMI screen.

Internal furnishing

The objective was to manufacture robust, flexible and functional furniture, intuitive to handle and easy to clean. All elements are quickly replaced - being attached to walls, floor or ceiling by M6/M4 screws using inserts to allow multiple changes.

Slight grey anti-slip coatings have been applied to the floor areas. The cantilevered parts of the racks in the centre zone can be completely dismantled and reconfigured. In the SHEE habitat they contain the galley with a sink, refrigerator, oven, shelves and dehydrator.

The main furniture elements involving physical contact (like working/meeting/eating table boards as well as the crew quarter beds) have been manufactured as laminated light building boards. The lamination is based on impact-resistant resin-glass fibre material. Other furniture surfaces which are not be in constant direct body contact have been manufactured from aluminium sheets being double bent in section on the user-exposed sides. In general all exposed sharp edges have been removed to avoid handling hazards.

The straight walls of the working zone compartments are outfitted with a flexible aluminium shelf system in the present habitat interior configuration. All rack and shelf systems, as well as the hygiene walls, are suitable for quick adaptation to alternative configurations - like for laboratory or green house. Three of the wall segments forming the hygiene cabin partition can be folded so that the space of the cabin can be united with the working space behind it to create one bigger common working space for wet applications.

The colour concept foresees colours only for the textile wall panels (felt) in the sleeping and working zones which are designed to be removable and therefore provide a personalisation capability according to the individual crew member preference. All laminated furniture elements, like the tables and beds dispose of an impact-resistant finish in a neutral grey.

The lighting system as an important aspect for the well-being of the crew comprises tiltable, rotatable warm LED luminaires for the general lighting, adjustable individual lights, as well as individually adaptable colored light sources for the crew quarters.

Work Package 7 - Assembly, Integration & Testing

This work package has performed the overall system integration and has validated the SHEE habitat through subsystem and overall system tests including several deployment/folding of the habitat. All the elements of the habitat testbed can be grouped in two main parts: the Environmental Life Support System (ECLSS) and the internal furnishings that have been assembled at the COMEX site in Marseilles.
ECLSS integration and testing

The Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) of SHEE habitat has as objective to ensure the autonomy of a 2 person-crew during an isolated mission either in an extreme terrestrial environment or –ultimately- on a planetary surface for two weeks. The current habitat prototype is not intended to work on a planetary mission; further work would be required in terms of sealing, thermal and mechanical protection and operational procedures to make SHEE space-fit. The ECLSS works on an open-loop basis, meaning that the habitat uses air and consumables brought from outside to maintain the crew alive inside. However, even with these trade-offs SHEE can serve as an operational scenarios and hardware testbed for future missions on the lunar or Martian surface. The SHEE ECLSS covers the basic needs for a crew of two subjects during a two-week mission. The objective is to obtain a partially regenerative system to highlight the necessity to design closed-loop ECLSS for long duration space mission in the future.

The ECLSS can be divided into six main areas: the air revitalization system, the monitoring system, the water management system, the hygiene facilities, the food preparation facilities and the waste management. The spatial distribution of the ECLSS is based on the creation of different, independent and modular racks that host one or several functional subsystems of the ECLSS. Here are the main design drivers:
- The major components of ECLSS have been accommodated through the non foldable SHEE interior parts,
- All the components have been selected as trade-offs between compactness, mass and energy consumption.

The water management system houses water sources (15 X 20L flexible clear water bag), provides clear water at the kitchen sink assembly (for food preparation) and at the hygiene sink. The water used here flows directly to 2 X 110L rigid grey reservoir. Then this grey water is partially recovered through a reverse osmosis filter, automatically controlled by the current level of the upstream and downstream reservoirs via the ECLSS controller. The filtered water is used for supplying the toilet flush. As this water is drinkable, it could also supply greenhouses in future versions of SHEE. The outlet of the electrical toilet located into the hygiene rack is finally pushed into the black water reservoirs. The emptying and cleaning of rigid reservoirs can be achieved with standard pump solutions classically known in naval applications. The reservoirs are equipped with two level-probes in order to indicate when the maximal level or the minimal level of the reservoir is reached. These sensor’s data are processed by ECLSS controller and shown on the HMI screen.

The atmosphere revitalization management is the most critical requirement for the crew and provides them with an internal breathable atmosphere and a comfortable internal temperature (thanks to a reversible and remotely controlled air-conditioning unit). It has been designed for two operating modes:
- Closed air loop achieved with two scrubbers designed (but not manufactured) for a 24h demonstration,
- Opened air loop, the rest of the time, achieved with some closable fresh air inlets/outlets from the outside.
The main components prevent air stratification inside the habitat through internal fans, an active ventilation system hidden in O2 and N2 dummy pressurized bottles, a toilet air extractor aiming at cooling batteries in the ceiling, and passive ventilation grids.

In this framework, the SHEE ECLSS proposes to monitor and offers to the crew a visualization of some ECLSS parameters. The latter are measured and distributed all over the habitat and outside with 6 X temperature and hygrometry sensors, 2 X CO2 and 2 X O2 sensors located in the vicinity of the crew cabin, an outside temperature sensor and a luxmeter. The SHEE controller operates the water filtration process relying on the level probes status of the reservoirs. This controller is supplied with a tactile human-machine interface screen located in the monitoring rack and displays/records measurements and alerts if threshold values are reached.

For the crew’s convenience, hygiene facilities and kitchen facilities have been integrated and limited to a strict minimum. They are hosted in two modular racks. The hygiene rack is composed of an electrical compact toilet and a sink assembly. The kitchen rack contains a mini-fridge, a working plan, a compact micro-wave oven and a dehydrator device for dry organic waste.

During WP7, it has been performed several deployments and folding, and tests of the whole internal equipment in the habitat ( ECLSS subsystems from Comex and the internal furnishing from LSG) as well as an overall run of the whole habitat. The full management system and all hygiene facilities have been tested from the sink assemblies to the black reservoirs. The air revitalization system has been tested as far as possible and the monitoring system has also been validated. The WP8 “Habitat Operations” goes further in the experimental investigation in order to evaluate each subsystem but also validate the use of the habitat on long-periods and validate some ergonomic aspects.
Testing internal furnishings
During and after integration of the internal furnishings several tests were performed to ensure safe SHEE deployment and redeployment as well as efficient and safe handling during operations.

Preliminary testing of handling was performed during integration to allow for early adaptations. For some elastic elements like the screens and rack nets with complex geometries samples had been manufactured, which were tested during integration, and adjustments have been realised with the finally integrated elements. Multiple hole positions in consoles, the use of Velcro tapes, as well as sailing equipment for quick and safe attachment allow for further adaptations when needed.

Testing of light revealed very individual approaches and preferences concerning well being. The very flexible lighting concept with adjustable luminaires proved to be an important feature.

A few handling procedures are necessary to ensure safe redeployment, as the four compartments fold around the non-transformable ECLSS/galley racks. All folded and movable parts are secured by colourful belts - to be easily checked. Tests have been performed to verify that sufficient space is available for the folding process.

Work Package 8.1 – Testing and Validation

Prior to delivery the SHEE prototype underwent an extensive testing campaign at the International Space University. The goal of this campaign was to verify the functionality of all SHEE subsystems and verify the unit met or exceeded all of the design criteria.


One of the primary requirements of the SHEE prototype was that it be autonomously deployable and packable with minimal to no human intervention. In order to verify if this requirement was met, the habitat was commanded to pack and deploy itself ten times, with a human operator recording the results and deploying the interior furnishings (which were not required to be autonomous).

During the deployment and packing testing it was noted that the larger petals on the hygiene / workspace side of the habitat did not always fully close or deploy. As a result, after deploying or packing, the operator would need to switch the habitat into manual mode to finish closing or opening the petals by the last few centimeters.

This error was found to be a result of several factors:
• The SHEE has three independent systems of determining if the petals on the living quarter side of the habitat are fully packed or deployed: the encoders on the motors, cut off switches and hard stops. During construction it was decided to only use the motor encoders to determine the position of the larger petals due to difficulties in installing these switches and hard stops.
• Motors have a small “play” between the teeth of the gears. This small play is multiplied in size by both the gearbox and the 3 meter distance between the center of rotation and the edge of the petal.
• Friction between the petals and the deflated rubber seals is higher than expected due to a slight settling / warping of the petals post-assembly.

This small error in deployment is not seen to be a large problem as there is no scenario foreseen where the prototype SHEE will be deployed without a human operator assisting the deployment. Future SHEE units could solve this error by including redundant methods of determining the petal positions such as has been implemented on the habitation side of the SHEE, and waxing the exterior of the habitat in order to minimize the friction between the petals and the deflated rubber seals.

Thermal Characteristics:

The SHEE prototype is designed to maintain adequate living conditions in both arctic and desert conditions. While budgetary restrictions did not permit shipping the habitat to an arctic or desert environment, the thermal system was tested in the coldest temperatures available (~ 15 °C) and was found to maintain its internal temperature without any difficulty.

A full thermal survey of the exterior and interior of the habitat was conducted in order to identify the primary sources of heat loss in the habitat. SHEE was found to be well insulated, with very few unexpected sources of heat loss. Small heat leakages were identified along the lateral metal strip connecting the top and bottom halves of the SHEE, as well as several wall joints that were not fully sealed. Overall however no heat losses were identified that warranted immediate remediation.

Ergonomics Testing:

Extensive ergonomics analysis was conducted during WP5 to ensure the SHEE prototype would be usable by users of all heights and weights. During the testing campaign volunteers were asked to replicate tasks from the WP5 analysis and rate the task on its ease and comfort level. This volunteer pool represented a large range of height, weight, physical fitness, and ethnic backgrounds.

The only major difficulty discovered during this testing was the visibility of the main ECLSS display screen. A majority of users reported difficulty reading important information from the display screen. This difficulty was found to be due to the high reflectivity of the display in combination with low contrast text. Remediation actions have been planned including higher contrast text and an after-market anti-glare screen for the display.

Auditory Testing:

One of the most pervasive issues dealt with in spaceflight is noise prevention. High levels of background noise can lead to a wide range of negative health effects. It was therefore important to quantify the noise environment within the SHEE to ensure safe living and working conditions for the analog astronauts.

An auditory survey was carried out inside the habitat in a wide range of working and living scenarios. Acoustic levels in five different “zones” were monitored including both bedrooms, the central living area, and both workshops. It was found that the exterior ventilation fans were the main source of noise in the habitat, and while easily bearable for short periods, created noise levels in excess of that recommended for long term habitat and sleeping.

A plan to reduce the noise inside the SHEE has been detailed, with the main action being the replacement of the ventilation fans with variants designed for low-noise and the addition of vibration dampening material around the mount of the fans. Afterwards the acoustic environment will be re-evaluated and further action taken if warranted.

Subsystem testing:
In the final phase of testing, all SHEE subsystems underwent a full test appropriate to their function. This testing included but was not limited to the hygiene facility, furniture, kitchen, ECLSS, monitoring systems and remote control systems.

In addition to functional testing, feedback was sought from members of the European Space Agency at the German Space Day event in Cologne, and several visiting astronauts who toured the habitat. All feedback received was quite positive

Potential Impact:
From its inception, the SHEE project has been actively engaged in promoting and disseminating the project across a range of outlets.

SHEE Public Website

The publicly accessibly SHEE website contains a large quantity of information about the project from its inception to completion in a variety of media. This includes but is not limited to:
• Description of the Project and Objectives
• Information about the Project Partners and the European Commission
• News about progress on the project
• Press releases and News clippings about SHEE from across the Internet and EU
• List of Publications
• Contact information
• Links to SHEE Social Media accounts
Multiple language versions of the website are available in: English, French, German, Czech, Estonian, and Chinese in order to maximize the impact of the project on the countries represented by the Consortium and other interested parties across the globe.

Additionally the website provides free access to a virtual reality model of the SHEE habitat. This model, developed specifically for the Oculus Rift DK2 headset, allows researchers and members of the public to tour a virtual reality model of the habitat. Users can explore the living space, pack and unpack the habitat, open and close the doors and truly get a feel for how it would be like to live and work in the SHEE.

Media Days

Throughout the course of the project, SHEE Consortium partners opened their doors to the media and general public to explain what they were working on and the significance of their work. Press and media days were held at the University of Tartu, COMEX, and the International Space University. Turnout for these Media days was quite high with both local and national news organizations in attendance. Once word of the media day got out, even a member of the European Parliament stopped by to see the SHEE in exposition.

These media days and interviews resulted in articles about the habitat appearing in print, television and internet articles. Follow up interviews were also held, with one member of the Estonian contingent being interviewed on a popular Estonian language show.

German Space Day

The SHEE Consortium was honored to be invited to exposition the SHEE prototype at the German Space Day event held every year in Cologne, Germany on the premises of DLR and the European Astronaut Center (EAC).
During this one day event, tens of thousands of members of the general public had an opportunity to see the SHEE prototype, right next to the Astronaut stage outside the EAC. Those interested got to tour the inside of the habitat and hear from members of the project staff about how the habitat was designed and how it would be like to live and work on Mars.

Feedback from Industry

To obtain objective feedback about the SHEE design and generate ideas for its future utilization, the SHEE Consortium has reached out to subject matter experts from ESA, NASA, MIT, and other organizations. Several astronauts both past and present have toured the habitat at both the International Space University and during the German Space Day in Cologne, Gemany.
To date all feedback has been resoundingly positive, with most users commenting that the habitat is a lot bigger on the inside than it first appears, and is a very livable space.

From the beginning of the grant program, the SHEE Consortium has received expressions of interest in utilizing the SHEE prototype from researchers across the European Union.

The first SHEE research excursion will be in April of 2016 as part of the European Commission H2020 Project called “Moonwalk”. SHEE will provide logistical support to the analog astronauts and researchers in studies on the interaction between humans and robots in lunar and Martian exploration scenarios.

After its journey to Rio Tinto the SHEE will be in exposition in both the Czech Republic and Austria before returning to Estonia where a large part of the habitat was built for two events exhibiting science and entrepreneurial projects.
In between projects the SHEE prototype will be stored at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, where Master of Science students will use the habitat between excursions for educational projects as part of their degree program.

Dissemination Material

To aid partners in presenting the SHEE module to multiple audiences, dissemination material was produced and distributed to all partners including:
• SHEE Flyers and Information Handouts
• SHEE Stickers
• SHEE Posters (Conference variety)
• .STL file of the SHEE for 3D printing
• Two SHEE Newsletters
• Press Releases / Announcements

For the more visually inclined, two documentary videos were produced of the SHEE project, one in English and the other in Estonian. These documentaries served to document the progress of the SHEE habitat from conception to implementation and included interviews with all of the SHEE partners.

LUNA Study

Three of the SHEE partners (LSG, COMEX, and SAS) have published a study titled "LUNA" under the ESA 2014-2015 General Studies Program (GSP) conceptualizing a lunar mission analogue simulator. This simulator, named the European Surface Operations Laboratory (ESOL), would integrate the SHEE prototype into a larger simulator complex within the European Astronaut Center (EAC) in Cologne, Germany. The facility would also include a full motion simulator and a regolith testbed / suitport system for simulated EVA activity. All together these components would allow for ESA to conduct simulated lunar missions in support of future human lunar exploration missions. ESA has expressed interest in the study and integrating the SHEE into such a facility in the future and has invited the SHEE Consortium to discussions in 2016 on this usage scenario.

Future Work

From the beginning the SHEE prototype has only been seen as the first step. In the original concept designs multiple SHEE units would be developed and linked together to form a “SHEE village”. At present the SHEE Consortium is in discussions with different European organizations to decide on the next development step. Whatever decision is reached, the future of the Self Deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments looks bright!

List of Websites:
SHEE Public Website:

Consortium Partners:

International Space University (ISU)
SHEE Role: Project management
Contact Person: Dr. Barnaby Osborne

Liquifer Systems Group GMBH (LSG)
SHEE Role: Project technical coordinator
Contact Person: Dr. Barbara Imhof

Space Applications Services NV (SAS)
SHEE Role: Systems engineering and detailed
Contact Person: Jeremi Gancet

Tartu Ulikool (UT)
SHEE Role: Manufacture of habitat test bed
Contact Person: Priit Kull

Compagnie Maritime d Expertises SA (CO)
SHEE Role: Assembly, integration and testing.
Contact Person: Peter Weiss

Sobriety SRO (SO)
SHEE Role: Numerical simulations, virtual
testing, design optimization.
Contact Person: Dr. David Sevcík

Space Innovations VOS (SI)
SHEE Role: Dissemination and outreach
Contact Person: Ondrej Doule