PaleBlue VR Training at the Embry-Riddle US University

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Photo Credit: Connor McShane

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach is the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace. The university has started using PaleBlue VR Zero Gravity International Space Station simulator for research on intravehicular activity (IVA) studies and training with the students.

This training is a part of a program that aims at challenging the students to think and perform as if they were operating in Zero-G conditions, such as being onboard the International Space Station. The purpose of the research is to develop a training program for suborbital astronauts.

Photo Credit: Michelle Blake

A successful IVA requires psychomotor, cognitive and behavioral skills. Psychomotor skills range from the ability to move inside the spacecraft, move through the spacecraft and pass obstacles. Cognitive skills include navigating inside the spacecraft and identifying science racks and experiments. Behavioral skills include situation and spatial awareness, decision-making and problem-solving, workload management and efficiency, team-work and communication.

Erik Seedhouse, Assistant Professor for Spaceflight Operations, in the Applied Aviation Sciences department, stated: “Manned suborbital space flights are just around the corner. SpaceShipTwo, operated by Virgin Galactic and New Shepard, operated by Blue Origin, will most likely fly fare-paying passengers sometime in 2021-2022. Each passenger – most of whom will be scientists and NOT space tourists – will pay $250,000. And, with just four minutes (240 seconds) of actual microgravity time, that equates to about $1,000 per second! To reduce errors, a high-fidelity training environment is required. So, this research aims to determine the efficacy of a virtual reality (VR) neutral buoyancy training environment against an actual neutral buoyancy environment (NBE). Since PaleBlue developed such effective spaceflight analog environments, they were the obvious choice to provide the VR learning environment. If this research proves the utility of VR/NBE as a training environment for suborbital astronauts it is hoped that Blue Origin and/or Virgin Galactic may be interested in adopting VR as a training element, in which case PaleBlue could create a spacecraft-specific VR environment – this could potentially be used in a standalone VR environment or in a NBE.”

The VR training in this program has been conducted over a few months in 2020 and 2021.

Felix Gorbatsevich, the Managing Director of PaleBlue, said: “The high fidelity of environment and physical modeling in VR opens for many possible applications within Human Spaceflight training and beyond. The same simulation training principles have a proven track record in areas such as HSE, familiarization, and industrial operation training. We are excited to see PaleBlue technology to be used at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical  University, showing a clear potential of VR in the educational sector.”

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About Embry-Riddle University

Embry-Riddle was named as one of the best universities in Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering, and enrolled nearly 34,000 students in the 2017-18 academic year. The university offers more than 100 degrees associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs in arts, aviation, applied science, business, engineering, and space.

About PaleBlue

PaleBlue is the leading provider of immersive technologies and training solutions. Our focus is on achieving excellence by delivering value-driven solutions enabled with AR and VR technology. PaleBlue 3D simulators are built for the real world and help businesses worldwide better prepare for real-life situations and emergencies.

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