An underwater habitat for space mission
training and researching our oceans
Unparalleled Underwater Resarch
SAGA has gone underwater, as we aim to establish a new high-tech habitat for astronaut training and ocean research.
How do humans survive in the most extreme environments? More people are going to outer space than ever before on longer missions, and knowledge of our home planet’s ecosystems is more crucial than ever due to climate change. We set forth a project to design, construct, and operate an underwater habitat for up to 3 crew members to live in, providing a facility that opens the door to novel approaches in marine ecosystem research that are not possible with current technology. Equally, it will serve as a high-fidelity astronaut training facility, due to the underwater environment’s similarities to outer space, enabling mission preparation and spacewalk training.
Living and working in the highly operational, isolated and extreme environment of the aquatic realm has provided significant science and engineering for the benefit of human spaceflight. It has also clearly proven to be as close to spaceflight as is possible here on Earth.
Bill Todd, Project Lead, NEEMO (NASA)
As a technology demonstrator, we built a simple pilot habitat to test the basic subsystems necessary to support life submerged in water. It includes all of the same technology that is necessary for a full-scale underwater habitat, but at a small scale. One of SAGA's founders, Sebastian, tested it in September, 2023.
To lower and raise the habitat
To fill ballast tanks with air and breathable gas as a backup air supply
1800L of livable volume ~ 1.5m²
Thick polycarbonate windows for external view
Counteract buoyancy of main tanks
Accommodates uneven terrain
SAGA Space Architects is a multidisciplinary team, specializing in designing habitable environments for outer space and planet Earth by approaching design from a human perspective, prioritizing well-being and sustainability as integral components of the life support equation
Co-Founder | Lead Architect
Co-Founder | CTO
Senior Developer & Partner
Senior Architect & Partner
Rose Emilie Brorsen
Space Technology Intern
Aerospace Engineering Intern
Space Technology Intern
Cyril De Raeymaeker
Student Architect & SoMe
Business Development Intern
Psychologist & Research Director
Tuva Cihangir Atasever
Turkish Space Agency
Dr. Lonnie Petersen
Professor Aerospace Engineering, Physiology in Spaceflight
Diving Instructor and Safety advisor
Dr. Bjørn Arenkiel
Hyberbaric unit Rigshospitalet
Consultant in anesthesiology, specialist in diving and hyberbaric medicine
Nordic Marine Service A/S
Managing Director & Underwater Operation Expert
Dr. Patrizio Mariani
Professor, Marine Technology, Marine Ecosystem Research
OUR DESIGNS FOR SPACE
SAGA Space Architects have previously designed and built habitats and products for outer space. Our designs feature the world's tallest 3D-printed polymer structure, a living space surviving 100 days in complete isolation in Greenland, and a circadian light used at the International Space Station.
Targeting 2026, SAGA aims to build the full-scale underwater habitat in European waters, which will support a crew of 3 to carry out activities for longer durations than possible when diving.
It will serve primarily as a training facility for astronaut and space mission training, which is only possible in the USA. The habitat will also serve as a marine research facility.
In a rapidly growing space industry, with more private ventures than ever before and NASA planning its return to the Moon, the need for innovation in space habitation is steadily increasing (Landon et al., 2023). Also, in the context of astronaut training, the habitat can provide great value as current options for analog training habitats are extremely limited. By simulating isolated and extreme environments similar to those encountered during space missions, underwater habitats can provide valuable insights into the physical and psychological challenges faced by astronauts during long-term missions due to its similar small, closed environment, as well as the necessary advances in technology and engineering, ultimately contributing to the success of future space missions (Geological Society of America, 2011; Landon et al., 2023).
The accelerating degradation of the natural environment presents significant risks to the access of future generations to the invaluable goods and services offered by marine ecosystems. In order to combat climate change and biodiversity loss in the ocean, it is crucial to establish long-term marine observatories. However, these observatories often imply high costs since research vessels are the sole multi-purpose platform for comprehensive process-based exploration of the sea in four dimensions. Therefore, the proposed development of underwater habitats for humans can demonstrate new standards for ocean exploration, long-term monitoring, and technology development and to acquire the essential knowledge needed for the sustainable utilization of the sea (Sebens et al., 2013).
TRL Growth Platform
It will be a technology test platform to increase TRL levels for human-rated spaceflight hardware and technology for underwater environments.
Habitation countermeassures for long-duration spaceflight;
Respiration, growth and carbon sequestration in plankton (with novel processing of samples in-situ);
Drivers of oxygen dynamics at the interface between seabottom and water column;
Marine habitat dynamics under multiple pressures (warming, acidification, noise, light, etc.);
Adaptive sampling with autonomous and robotic devices (e.g., ROVs, autonomous cameras, etc.);
Long-term monitoring of underwater environments in four dimensions.
PILOT HABITAT (2023)
FULL HABITAT (2026)
What do the bottom of a blue ocean and the surface of a Red Planet have in common? Imagine being in an environment with no air to breathe, no sun exposure, pressure differences, poor visibility, and isolation. Staying underwater is the closest feeling to being in space, and sets high demands on our architecture to perform, be stimulating, and non-claustrophobic. Underwater habitats can provide valuable insights into the physical and psychological challenges faced by astronauts during long-term space missions.
By studying marine life, we can develop sustainable solutions to address environmental issues. Prioritizing the preservation and enhancement of our oceans is crucial to understand the ecosystems of our planet and combating climate change, as the oceans are responsible for approximately 50% of global oxygen production. Living in a fully submerged underwater habitat offers divers and researchers the opportunity to extend their time on the ocean floor without the need for decompression after each dive. Additionally, research samples can be analyzed immediately within the habitat.