Sleep is one of the major issues facing astronauts in space. Soon, SAGAs Circadian Light will be tested onboard the International Space Station to assess whether the device can improve the sleep of the astronauts living on the space station.

Circadian Light.
For the ISS Crew Quarters.

In June 2023, the Circadian Light Panel - a lighting system designed by SAGA to help astronauts obtain a natural circadian rhythm - was loaded onto the cargo bay of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

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Andreas Mogensen, danish ESA astronaut in his Crew Quarters with Circadian Light.

Three light faces

The lamp has three faces that emit light at different angles each. Each of these faces emits different wavelengths to promote alertness or induce sleepiness. Unlike current light systems onboard the ISS which have some manually operated kelvin and brightness controls, SAGA’s light panel is programmed to automatically adjust the light accordingly to fit the astronaut’s planned sleep schedule.

Through the meticulous use of different hues of color to simulate intense sunrises, varied daylight, and calming sunsets, the Circadian Light can carefully regulate the astronauts’ circadian rhythms to ensure that they focus during the day and sleep during the night. Compensating for the monotonous environment of space, the lighting system emits custom light for each individual day to simulate the natural change in lighting of shifting weather on Earth.


Circadian Rhythm explained

You need light to be healthy.

We evolved on Earth with natural sunlight and our bodies rely on it to keep time. The right amount of light in the morning wakes us up. The lack of light in the afternoon and evening makes us sleepy. Furthermore, different kinds of light have different influences on us. Cold, blue light stimulates alertness while warm, red light is better suited for getting sleepy at the end of a long day.

The problem is, the way we live now has completely changed. Modern people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, where artificial light is typically 50-1000 times weaker than sunlight and natural light cannot easily help regulate our sleep. And we blast ourselves with artificial late into the evening hours when the sun has already departed. This is hugely disruptive to our sleep which in turn leads to being more grumpy, distracted, less focused, less alert, and even at higher risk of diseases, sickness, and a shorter lifespan.

A diagram of the circadian rhythm

A Carefully Engineered Spectrum

Trying to emulate sunlight is no simple task. Sunlight is a dynamic, ever-changing source of light that shifts in intensity and spectrum throughout the day. As with our former projects, teamed up with our long-term partner, YUJI, who makes exceptional LEDs both for circadian lighting and high quality color rendering.


A day in space


Space-grade design

  • Flame-retardant Cable management with Kapton Tape
  • Lockable Power Connector to prevent unwanted disconnection
  • Full Body Aluminium EN-AW 6082 with a surface treatment
  • Flame-retardant Makrolon light surface
  • Prism Film to make the light directional
  • Lamp hiding Film to diffuse the LED Arrays
  • Clear Polycarbonate display protector
  • Stainless A4 Screws, ISO 14581
  • Flame-retardant Velcro Pads for mounting
  • Loctite 271 and Epoxy 2216, to prevent loosening of fasteners and components during turbulent rocket launch
  • Thermally Conductive Adhesive Transfer Tape
  • Fan Enclosure to prevent fan blockage

Circadian Light

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