PaleBlue has been featured in the 2020 September issue of Teknisk Ukeblad, a Norwegian engineering magazine.
In August we shared the news that PaleBlue delivered the first phase of the Zero Gravity Training Simulator project for the European Space Agency, or ESA. As a follow up we were asked for an interview with the Teknisk Ukeblad magazine. The article covers PaleBlue’s journey from starting in offshore technology to this project with ESA.
The following is an excerpt from the magazine.
The special thing about our platform is that multiple people can collaborate via VR. Felix Gorbatsevich, Managing Director of PaleBlue
When PaleBlue was established in Stavanger in 2013, the oil & gas and offshore diving industry were the original target market. The next step was taking this technology from the seabed to the International Space Station, or ISS.
Norway is one of 22 member countries in the European Space Agency. Therefore, it was natural for the Norwegian Space Center to support PaleBlue’s “space travel”.
The reuse of VR technology, so-called spin-in, is common in our sector. Offshore has a lot in common with the space sector with extreme requirements, such as external influences and temperature. Arvid Bertheau Johannessen, Norwegian Space Agency's Specialist Manager for manned spaceflight and exploration
Astronauts wear 3D VR glasses during the training. For the scenarios to flow naturally, the VR image must be updated up to 90 times per second. It requires a lot of computational power, the 3D model and the program, must be optimized to cope with the large amounts of data.
“However, the simplification of the image should not go beyond the perceived quality”, says Egil Thomas Andersen, Account Manager at PaleBlue.
PaleBlue’s Dive Control Simulator is already approved as a digital simulator solution for a certification in offshore diving by International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). PaleBlue’s project with ESA concerns the delivery of a VR-based simulator, where up to six astronauts can train together.
Today, emergency ground operations are practiced in 1:1 models at NASA in Houston, at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City by Moscow, and at ESA Astronaut Center in Cologne.
It requires physical presence. An opportunity for VR-training can ease both the schedule and the astronauts’ travel burden. It can also reduce cost , since it is expensive to practice operations in space. Dr. Rüdiger Seine, Head of the Space Training Team at ESA’ Astronaut Centre in Cologne
“Being able to prepare this with realistic simulations on Earth is therefore of great value”, says Johannessen, who also points out that the realistic technology that will have new benefits in space.
“The Armed Forces Research Institute georadar RIMFAX is on its way to Mars and is part of NASA’s Mars Rover to see several meters down into the surface”, he exemplifies.
PaleBlue’s virtual technology can be used for many projects beyond offshore diving and aerospace.
“We are currently developing a VR platform where employees of the Oslo municipality can train in interacting with the community of the Alna district. A new town hall is being built in 2022, but its digital twin is already up and running”, says Gorbatsevich.