Women in Space: Dr. Barbara Imhof
Dr. Barbara Imhof is an architect and co-managing director of LIQUIFER Systems Group Vienna and LIQUIFER Space Systems Bremen. Her companies are unique in Europe because of their focus on space architecture and design. Currently, the LIQUIFER team is prioritizing lunar exploration and using local resources to 3D print building blocks for habitats and other lunar infrastructure elements from lunar sand. They are also developing a habitation module for the next international space station, "Gateway." "Gateway" will orbit the moon in an elliptical orbit and is designed to provide a gateway to lunar colonization and exploration. As a representative of astronautical spaceflight and "women in space," Imhof is a member of the Advisory Board of the Aerospace Agency of the FFG and in this position advocates for exploration and a balanced distribution of women at all levels of decision-making in the space business.
When the architect developed the LIQUIFER space office together with Susmita Mohanty almost 20 years ago, few except the two believed that one could make a living with such an idea. There were many cautionary voices, but Imhof ignored them. This is exactly what is sometimes necessary, and this is exactly what Barbara Imhof advises young people in the space sector, whether in architecture or any other field: "Dare to develop big ideas and do everything you can to be able to implement them. Often you need staying power, patience and discipline. Sometimes you are not completely convinced yourself. But there are always friends or family members who support you in such a situation. Therefore, you should never forget your own biggest dreams or leave them to the left. There are always ways to pursue them."
In order to fulfill her dream, Dr. Barbara Imhof has traveled extensively. She studied architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, at the Southern Californian Institute of Architecture - SCI-ARC in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Applied Arts with Wolf D. Prix. This was followed by a Master of Space Studies at the International Space University in Strasbourg and an internship with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, USA, in the course of which the architect was also able to help design the Mars habitat complex - BIOPLEX.
Today, her knowledge is in demand worldwide, whether as an expert on space architecture at major conferences such as the International Astronautical Congress or as a visiting professor of architectural design at the University of Kassel.
However, she sees her greatest success in the team success of her company: that LIQUIFER can work together with the largest European space companies and the international space station partners on the interior configuration of the international habitat module of the next space station "Gateway".