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Constance Adams, architect of space habitats, is dead at 53



Constance Adams, an architect who has given up designing skyscrapers to develop structures that would help travelers to live on the International Space Station, Mars or the Moon with adequate comfort, died Monday in their home in Houston. She was 53 years old.

MaryScott Hagle, a friend and guardian of Ms. Adams' daughters, said the cause was colon cancer. Adams interviewed for an architectural job in Houston in 1996 while touring NASA's Johnson Space Center. The tour aroused her curiosity and led to two decades of work challenging her to create living facilities for people in the scarce environment of space.

"How could the child of a historian fight back?" She said in an interview with Metropolis in 1999. "This is a great historical effort of our time."

The prototype included 12,000 cubic meters of living space, common areas, a galley, infirmary, and labor and exercise areas, all protected by dense, bullet-proof Kevlar fabric. Adams' role focused on the human and performance aspects of interior design.

"She was very persistent and determined," said Mr. Kennedy, who had recently resigned from NASA, in a telephone interview. "She was a strong, independent thinker who did not shy away from sharing her thoughts and views and advocating for what she saw fit."

Marc M. Cohen, another former NASA space architect, added in an interview, "It has transformed the concept of a dinghy – essentially a flat tire – into a viable interior structure."

Although TransHab never got into space, Ms. Adams claimed that the design and tests of it were successful.

"Their formal goal was simply to prove the virtues and viability of the inflatable option," told the website HobbySpace 2003.

(A smaller version of TransHab has come to life.) A private firm, Bigelow Aerospace, licensed the technology from NASA and attached its expandable activity module to the space station in 2016. It is not used as a living space, but to store cargo.)

Constance Marguerite Adams was born in Boston on July 16, 1964. Her father, Jeremy, was a professor of medieval history at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; Her mother, Madeleine de Jean, is a writer and champagne expert. The young Constance often traveled with her parents to Europe and after her divorce in the 1970s with her father and stepmother Bonnie Wheeler, a professor of medieval studies at the University of St. Moritz.


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