• Space archaeology is defined as the study of “the material culture relevant to space exploration that is found on Earth and in outer space (i.e., exoatmospheric material) and that is clearly the result of human behavior” (Gorman & O’Leary 2013: 409). The aim of space archaeology is to understand the interaction of technology and human behaviour in off-Earth environments. It fits within the larger field of contemporary archaeology (O’Leary & Darrin 2009; Gorman 2013; Harrison & Breithoff 2017) and adds to the growing literature on the human experience of space (Connors et al. 1985; Landfester et al. 2011).

    This paper presents the methodology of the first archaeological study focused on human habitation in outer space (Gorman 2017; Gorman & Walsh 2017; Walsh 2017). The International Space Station Archaeological Project (ISSAP) aims to extend the purview of archaeology, and provide critical insights about humanity as it moves into the wider solar system. Now at the end of its first funded year, ISSAP is in the process of establishing the data analysis structure to support the methods described this paper. This is the first stage of a much longer project which will offer space agencies and commercial entities evidence-based ideas about how to design space habitats to promote stable societies, and thus mission success.