Meeting European Space Agency

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The previous week PaleBlue was invited for a meeting at the European Space Agency (ESA). We have visited two of its offices, the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, and the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Columbus, science laboratory at the International Space Station (ISS), contributed by ESA

The workshop we had at the European Space Operations Centre focused on the applicability of VR technology for steering today’s space operation. As the Centre is actively engaged in launching and operating European satellites, technologies like VR and 3D are of high relevance for better planning of upcoming operations and understanding of the ongoing ones.

VR & AR developments at the European Space Operations Centre

During the 2-days visit, PaleBlue saw also the control rooms and the satellite interfaces. VR lab of the Centre has demonstrated the latest developments for using VR and AR in rover-related operations.

European Space Operations Control Room

Additionally, PaleBlue has visited European Astronaut Centre, the facility that conducts training of astronauts, and also houses neutral buoyancy facility for conducting in-water rehearsals and training for astronauts, with replicas of ISS modules in a giant pool.

European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany

While in both sessions, PaleBlue has demonstrated its distributed VR simulation platform, both for in-chambers operation rehearsal and emergencies, and for EVA (extravehicular activity, or spacewalk). In these demonstrations, PaleBlue has connected the VR stations from its offices around Europe to one joint training session, where VR users could see each other, communicate with voice, and interact.

PaleBlue NASA Neemo VR
PaleBlue VR system developed for NASA

PaleBlue’s light-weight wireless VR setup, based on Oculus Quest, allows for easy setup and operation of VR and rapid connection to ongoing distributed simulation with other participants.

Lionel Ferra, Astronaut Instructor at ESA, using PaleBlue VR

Felix Gorbatsevich, the Managing Director of PaleBlue, said: “Our company has been working on a robust VR simulation platform for a number of years now. Having done a project for NASA in VR training, we are very much willing to utilize the same technology foundation to empower astronauts of the European Space Agency as well. The Norwegian Space Agency plays an important role in supporting this development”.

NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations Habitat, digitalized by PaleBlue

The demonstrations were received very positively by the participants of the sessions in both Space Operations Centre and Astronaut Centre, and PaleBlue is looking forward to further enhancing its VR technology stack with features for space-related activities. 

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