Steve Hillenius

Expertise: Human-Computer Interaction, User Interface Design and Software Development for Mission Operations
Affiliation: NASA Ames Research Center
Certification/Education: Master's of Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University

BASALT Research Objectives

Collecting data on mission operations and identifying emergent user needs to inform more usable software tools for exploration environments. Designing software tools to better serve crew autonomy and optimize science return for future deep space missions.


Steve Hillenius is a UX Manager and Designer at NASA. He takes passion in understanding the complex world of space flight and distilling it down into minimalist usable interfaces. Steve leads a team that has designed software for astronauts, scientists, and engineers to control the International Space Station, Mars Rover Curiosity, and LADEE, a cool little lunar orbiter that studied the Moon’s exosphere. Currently, he leads the design and development of Playbook, a mobile tool for planning and conducting mission operations.


These days his research involves designing and building software for astronauts to plan and run their own missions in deep space where connectivity back to Earth is limited and researching ways to build usable technology to make training and space operations more efficient. When he’s not thinking about space flight he has a passion for film photography, car design, and wearable computers.