Language selection


Top of page

Good night HALO!

In this activity, you will design a multi-functioning sleeping compartment for astronauts on the HALO (Habitation and Logistics Outpost).

Grade level

11 to 12

Text version of infographic entitled "The engineering design process"

The engineering design process

  • Problem or challenge
    • Define the problem
    • Identify the constraints on your solution (e.g. time, money, materials) and criteria for success
    • Brainstorm multiple solutions for the problem
    • Select the most promising solution
    • Prototype your solution
    • Test and evaluate your prototype
    • Iterate to improve your prototype
    • Communicate your solution

Infographic entitled "The engineering design process". (Credit: Canadian Space Agency [CSA])


The Lunar Gateway will orbit the Moon and serve as a stepping stone for future lunar exploration. Unlike the International Space Station, which is about as wide as five hockey rinks, the Lunar Gateway will be much smaller, or about the size of two small school buses. Astronauts will have limited space while stationed at the HALO. The HALO module will be quite small and the astronauts will need to perform experiments, command the Gateway, eat, rest, exercise, etc., while in an area no larger than one small school bus. These sections need to be designed while keeping efficiency and flow in mind. Multi-functional and modular components are essential for maintaining a small footprint in these areas.

Your challenge is to design a multi-functioning sleeping compartment on the HALO.

Learn about Canada's role in the Lunar Gateway!

Suggested materials

Text version of infographic showing a few cardboard cutting and folding techniques

A few cardboard cutting and folding techniques

  • Flange
  • L-brace
  • Tabs
  • Slot + cut
  • Slot + tab
  • String

A few cardboard cutting and folding techniques. (Credit: CSA)


Constraints – How do astronauts sleep in a microgravity environment? Where do they go to take a break from the other person they have been living closely with? What other purposes can your limited space serve? Can you integrate a simple machine in your prototype here on Earth to simulate an expected behaviour in space and microgravity?

Table example of items and or objects and their functions in the HALO compartment
Number Item/Object
in compartment
Function 1 Function 2 Function 3 Function 4
1 - - - - -
2 - - - - -
3 - - - - -
4 - - - - -
5 - - - - -
6 - - - - -
7 - - - - -
8 - - - - -



Example of a design sketched out on isometric paper and a model of a sleeping compartment for the HALO. (Credit: CSA)


  1. Gather a variety of recyclable materials.
  2. Sketch and label your design from different angles on paper or isometric paper.
  3. Share your design with others and get feedback on your concept and ideas.
  4. Integrate any feedback that you feel can help improve your design.
  5. Build a model of your design.
  6. Add labels to identify the various components that would be housed in that sleeping compartment.


How will your selected compartment and its components fit within the HALO? How is your design conducive to a good work/life balance for the astronaut? How does your compartment balance well with other compartments created? What's missing? What's duplicated? What simple machines were you able to incorporate? Would your design component be more cost-effective to be fabricated on Earth or in space? Why?


How could you add another function to further reduce the space used in the Lunar Gateway? How can you ensure your multi-functional components can be portable for use in other compartments? What are some of the limitations when trying to combine feature sets? If you were to redesign your solution, what changes would you implement?


Create a how-to video on how your multi-functioning components would work aboard the Lunar Gateway. Share your project on social media and tag the CSA accounts. You never know, a real astronaut or engineer might see your creation! Share with friends and family and ask for feedback.

Taking it further

Curriculum links

Explore further

Date modified: