Human Spaceflight Laboratory, Department of Space Studies, University of North Dakota

Human Spaceflight Laboratory

The faculty and staff in the Human Spaceflight Laboratory at the University of North Dakota are pleased to welcome you.

Since 2004, dedicated individuals, including students, faculty, and experts, have contributed to incorporating a human spaceflight component to the Space Studies Department at UND. This website is a living tribute to the work those individuals completed, the work that continues today, and the work we are striving towards in the future.

The UND Human Spaceflight Laboratory provides relevant, real-world experience to students from all over the world. The Human Spaceflight Laboratory offers formal involvement in Graduate/Undergraduate Research Positions, NASA projects, and activities related to human spaceflight. This involvement contributes to an enriched education for all involved students and staff.

The main focus of our research is the design and production of space suit and habitat prototypes. UND is the first university with a NASA-funded laboratory dedicated to designing and constructing space-exploration and planetary surface exploration suits. Our first suit, the North Dakota Experimental-1 (NDX-1) suit, was designed for use on the surface of Mars. Our second suit, the North Dakota Experimental-2 (NDX-2) suit, was designed for testing in lunar simulations.

UND is also the first university with two fully-operational spaceflight simulators. These simulators, which are part of the Human Spaceflight Laboratory initiative, are based on real-life models. The first simulator is based on NASA’s Apollo capsule, while the other is a mock-up of SpaceShip One, the world’s first privately-owned, successful sub-orbital space vehicle.

Our recent efforts involve the design, construction, and testing of an Inflatable Lunar Habitat (ILH), with an attached electric rover. The ILH consists of a frame surrounded by a “bladder” that isolates the habitat from the surrounding atmosphere. The electric rover is built with two attached NDX-2 planetary suits. The mission behind the joined habitat, rover, and planetary suits is the testing of a conceptual planetary (Moon/Mars) base.

You will find within this website information about our past, current, and future projects. For information beyond what is featured on this site please get in touch with us. We encourage you to get involved in the human spaceflight activities here at UND.


Our mission at the University of North Dakota Human Spaceflight Laboratory is to:

  • develop state of-the-art space suit components and Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA) technologies for the space explorers of the 21st Century and beyond
  • collaborate with NASA on the development of space suits, their related systems, and support the space exploration objectives of the agency
  • cooperate with the aerospace industry and assist in the development of new-generation space suits for private spaceflight
  • be a part of educating the next generation of space engineers and space explorers in human spaceflight, human factors, and the design, construction, and operation of space suits

Education and Outreach

Group and individual tours of our facilities are available to students of all ages, as well as aerospace industry personnel. Attendees are shown the Space Suit Laboratory and Inflatable Lunar/Martian Habitat where they receive first-hand experience with the different elements of the Human Spaceflight Laboratory. These guests are also shown the simulators and are invited to fly a SpaceShipOne mission or dock with the International Space Station (ISS) at the Spacecraft Simulator Facility.

The Human Spaceflight Laboratory also gives graduate students hands-on experience providing opportunities for thesis and individual work. Many theses and conference papers have been produced as a result of the work with the Inflatable Lunar/Martian Habitat, simulators, and space suit prototyping conducted at this facility with UND professors.


We provide tours of the Space Suit Laboratory, Flight Simulator Facility, and the Inflatable Lunar/Martian Habitat for tours of all sizes and interests. Please contact us in advance to ensure availability.

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