Exploratory design methods and techniques in support of space mission concept development

Sept. 16, 2020


B. De La Torre, Lizbeth(Barrios De La Torre). "Exploratory design methods and techniques in support of space mission concept development," September 2020.


Designers are ubiquitous in the Consumer Product Industry, the Automotive Industry and Entertainment. Fields such as Product Design, Transportation Design and Entertainment Design emphasize finding solutions to problems using Exploratory Design Methods and Techniques. However, there is not a direct appreciation or understanding of how to utilize these Methods and Techniques within Aerospace. This thesis explores opportunities within the Space Mission Concept Development process where exploratory design methods and techniques may be supportive, and where these techniques are currently used. The work develops a design library of Methods and Techniques used outside of Aerospace that may help teams reach the goals of Space Mission Design defined by the milestones within the NASA Flight Mission Lifecycle. The thesis analyses Exploratory Design Methods used in other industries, such as Design Thinking, Human Centered Design, Imagineering and Science Fiction Thinking and shows how these methods can be subdivided into a common set of techniques, such as Storyboarding, Sketching and Prototyping. Interviews with employees within Aerospace and the Consumer Product Industry may shed light on opportunities and barriers to utilizing these Techniques. This thesis hopes to fill a gap in literature by framing the current state of Exploratory Design Methods and Techniques within Space Mission Development and laying the groundwork to begin utilizing a wider variety of Design Methods and accompanying Techniques. This thesis also contributes to documenting the roles that Designers have played in the Aerospace Industry throughout its history and argues for the benefits of including Design professionals within Aerospace teams as valued contributors.

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