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Make a HALO component

Design a multi-purpose component to be used by astronauts while in the HALO (Habitation and Logistics Outpost).

Grade level


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 (ISS) whose size is close to a football field, the Lunar Gateway will be much smaller, or about the size of two small school buses. Astronauts will have very limited space while stationed at the HALO, which will only be the size of a small school bus. They will need to perform experiments, command the Gateway, eat, rest, exercise, etc. while aboard. Their living quarters need to be designed while keeping efficiency and flow in mind. To save on space within the HALO, many aspects will need to be designed with multi-purpose functionality.

Your challenge is to research, design, and build a multi-purpose component, device, or tool to be used by astronauts while they are stationed at the HALO. This device will be used by the astronauts to perform different tasks while aboard the craft.

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)


What will the astronauts be doing on the HALO, and how can you combine some of these tasks into multi-functional components? For example, can you design a sleeping area that transforms into an exercise station? What would you need to consider when designing multi-purpose components? Will the science experiments need to be undisturbed, or can you design some features that allow the research area to serve another purpose?

Constraints – Your design must be multi-purpose and meet the needs of astronauts while onboard the Lunar Gateway. Be sure to include how the component will be secured inside the HALO, and any special features to account for microgravity.

Research – Can you find out more about what astronauts do while in space to better inform your design? Begin your research by exploring their day-to-day life on board the ISS.

Investigate different scientific experiments, training, and even the maintenance that are part of the work astronauts are required to do in space.


What is the difference between living on Earth and living in space? What effect does living in microgravity have on how we perform everyday tasks like eating, brushing our teeth, using the bathroom, exercising, and even sleeping? The physical area of the HALO module is very small, but should accommodate the needs of the astronauts. Remember to support a healthy work-life balance for astronauts and try to think of components that will serve multiple purposes.

What are some limitations and challenges that you will need to overcome? Given a limited area, how can you optimize the area you have to provide multi-functioning space? How will the lack of gravity in outer space have an effect on your design?

Table example of limitations and challenges to overcome
Number Task Component Multi-purpose
1 Food storage - -
2 Sleeping - -
3 Robotic control - -
4 Communications - -
5 Exercise - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -


Following your brainstorming session, what is your most promising solution to be able to fit all of these essentials into your plan? Where does it make most sense to combine a component or area to serve multiple functions?

Sketch out your design on paper, or isometric paper. Try to include views from different angles.

Prototype example, including a bottle for pedal powered space smoothie

Prototype example. (Credit: CSA)


  1. Gather a variety of recyclable materials, including cardboard.
  2. Sketch out your design on paper and identify the important features. Be sure to include accurate measurements of your various parts (cm and mm).
  3. Get feedback from others on your ideas and your design.
  4. Build a model of your prototype from the materials available.
  5. Add labels as necessary to your design.


How many uses does your design fulfill? How does your design meet the needs of the astronauts while in space? How will it perform in a microgravity environment?


What changes need to be made to your design so it will perform tasks as required? What fastening system would provide a safer, easier-to-use device or component? If you iterated on your design what would change?


Create a video explanation of your design. Share your project on social media and tag the CSA accounts. You never know, a real astronaut or engineer might see your creation!

Taking it further

Curriculum links

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