An architect by training, Constance Adams gained notoriety for her design contributions to NASA's Transit Hub (TransHub), a three-level inflatable module that was designed to extend from the International Space Station for increased living space for astronauts. She died last week in her home in Houston following a battle with colorectal cancer. She was 53.
“She was very persistent and determined,” Kriss Kennedy, a recently retired space architect and former colleague of Adams', said in a New York Times interview. “She was a strong, independent thinker who was not shy about sharing her thoughts and views and stood up for what she thought was right in the design.”
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in social studies from Harvard University, Adams went on to study architecture at Yale University. She interned with Argentinian-American architect César Pelli, FAIA, later moved to Tokyo to work at Pritzker Prize winner Kenzō Tange's firm, and relocated to Berlin to work for German architect Josef Paul Kleihues.
According to a 2011 interview with Harvard Magazine, Adams returned to the U.S. around 1995 and after interviewing for an architectural job in Houston, she toured the NASA's Johnson Space Center facilities. She left her résumé, and ultimately Lockheed Martin hired her as a NASA consultant. During her time with NASA, Adams worked on the TransHub—which never received the funding needed to deploy into space—as well as BIO-Plex, "a prototype surface habitat that could support six people on Mars," according to the New York Times, and other structures for outer space environments. In the late 90s, Adams founded her innovation consulting firm, Synthesis International and in 2004, she was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for her work in "space architecture."
Adams is survived by two daughters, her mother, and her step-mother.