I’m an industrial designer. In most cases, this means designing products and services centered around human interaction. Uncrewed spaceflight is just that, not crewed. Humans do not physically interact with the spacecraft during the mission. There is no need to make the craft ergonomic or look pleasing to the eye; it just needs to be able to complete mission objectives.

So what business does an industrial designer have in an uncrewed mission?

To answer this, let me take you through my experience helping to design an unmanned mission to Saturn’s moon Enceladus, as part of the 2019 Caltech Space Challenge.

“The Caltech Space Challenge brings 32 talented and highly-motivated students to the…


Imagine being able to glide across the room with a flick of your foot or move heavy objects with one finger. Imagine having no sense of up or down. Things that seem natural and necessary for existing on earth are alien and useless in this environment. There is no walking, no floor, no ceiling, no real sense of direction. This seems like a fun existence, for a while anyway. However a whole host of problems come into view when the effects of Earth’s friendly gravitational pull is taken out of the equation. …

Sam Zaref

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store