BFG Sleeping Compartment Is a Student Design Already Tested by ISS Astronauts

Humans have been fiddling around in space only for the last few decades, which means there’s a lot more to learn about being exposed to zero gravity. But the effects we are aware of we combat with inventions such as the Bed For Goldilocks sleeping compartment.
BFG Sleeping Module on ISS 15 photos
Photo: BFG, NASA
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Folks, it’s simple, humans need to rest no matter where they are, even more so in space as life up there can be quite demanding. As a solution to help astronauts rest properly and under optimum conditions, a group of students from Pratt Institute has gotten together with a NASA mentor to bring about an easy to use, compact and effective sleeping module.

The main idea behind the project meets several criteria that astronauts need while in space. Objects like this need to be small, if modular, even better, able to clean the air inside and capable of storing personal effects.

As it stands, the compartment occupies a volume of 53 cu ft (1,500 liters) and includes a workspace, storage area for belongings, room to change your clothing, and of course, the possibility to sleep. One other feature included is ventilators as stagnant CO2 is an issue in space and can even lead to suffocation. All that’s solved, and then some.

BFG Sleeping Module
Photo: BFG via Core 77 Design Awards
Now, the Bed For Goldilocks (BFG) isn’t necessarily for use on the ISS (International Space Station), even though the project was tested there, but rather on future spacecraft meant for traveling through space with very limited capacity. With that, the final trick this module can perform is that of being reduced to the size of a small suitcase or cube.

The design revolves around the use of something known as Acoustic Multipurpose Cargo Transfer Bags (AMCTBs), which are then filled with materials to be used in the construction of the module or the journey.

To build the module, an astronaut must take six AMCTBs, empty them out, and unfold four of them. Once unfolded, the four AMCTBs are connected using an intermediary segment and zippers, lots of zippers. In some cases, Velcro and snaps can be used.

BFG Sleeping Module
Photo: BFG via Core 77 Design Awards
Once the main structure is set, the remaining AMCTBs are to be attached to the door. This way, once you’re ready for bed, you can easily grab your accessories and head inside the module. When not in use, these compartments can be easily broken down into their original components and stored.

One final feature the team included was being able to anchor the module down to the aircraft it’s in. By making use of simple carabiners, the compartment is secured in place and won’t be floating around the ship while you’re asleep.

Inside the module, not much is found; after all, it’s mostly meant for sleeping. But astronauts can find room for a couple of AMCTBs, a light, Velcro walls, and a folding workstation that's out of the way until you need it. Here, the inhabitant can place a laptop or a mug of morning coffee. Oh wait, never mind. I don’t think that last one will be in a mug; astronauts usually have foods and drinks stored in pouches to prevent spilling.

BFG Sleeping Module
Photo: BFG via Core 77 Design Awards
As for the sleeping itself, the designs show that an astronaut will be in a sort of sleeping bag, which is strapped to one of the walls of the module. Why? Kind of the same reason why foods and drinks are in pouches, and the module is anchored to the spacecraft: to keep the astronaut from floating around while sleeping and possible getting injured.

It's a simple idea, easy to use, and offers astronauts the necessary equipment they need to get a good night’s rest. Come to think of it, why didn’t I think of it. Maybe this summer is a good time for me to come up with something similar and sell it to NASA. Why not?
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Editor's note: Project team includes:
Ellen Zhengyi Ren - Team Member
Jihun Kang - Team Member
Andrew Lee - Team Member
Professor Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman - Professor
Captain Robert Trevino - NASA Mentor

About the author: Cristian Curmei
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A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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