human perspectives on life in space

the astronaut
ethnography project

The Astronaut Ethnography Project’s mission is to democratize access to human-centered insights on life in space.

Informed by archival research, primary source accounts, and astronaut interviews, this platform presents a curated collection of perspectives on life in space from a diverse group of astronauts, cosmonauts, and spaceflight participants. Its goal is to reach a broad audience of people interested in envisioning the future of space — designers, researchers, engineers, and policy makers, presenting multiple pathways to learn from today’s spacefaring humans to imagine the future of life in space.

We provide four ways to explore our human-centered data on this site, through Narratives, Design Principles, Insights, and Sources

Design Principles provide actionable recommendations on how to incorporate human-centered thinking into the design of space environments.

Insights are individual observations, thoughts, and opinions from spacefaring individuals, which taken together illustrate the breadth and depth of space experiences.

Narratives showcase broad themes, connections, and patterns found across qualitative and experiential accounts from a diversity of spacefaring individuals.

Our source repository contains over three hundred journal entries, debriefs, diaries, and other primary accounts of space, for those who wish to examine the original materials.

We are at an inflection point for how we live and work in space. With the increased access to space by new groups of people, we need to find ways to understand the ephemeral, embodied, and hard-to-quantify aspects of life in space, to inform better, more diverse space futures.

The project’s focus on human-centered insights reflects its commitment to design-education pedagogies, emphasizing the value of human contributions to how we design, build, and test future technologies and environments for space. As space increasingly opens to include a more diverse group of individuals and institutions, this resource will add experiential knowledge to a wealth of existing foundational research on human health, psychology, and technical innovation.