PaleBlue and ESA Sign a 2-Year Contract

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Photo credit ESA - S.Corvaja.

PaleBlue and ESA, the European Space Agency, enter a contract for developing a VR Zero-G Engine for simulating Zero Gravity effects in a real-time virtual environment. This project will build on the success of the previous project phases run between PaleBlue and ESA European Astronaut Centre (EAC). The parties initially started working together in 2020, and since then have seen two revisions of the Zero G simulation engine released.

This new agreement outlines a commercial delivery, and is the largest project between PaleBlue and ESA so far by scope and duration: the project will last for 2 years until the end of 2024.

The goal of the project is to create a system enabling astronaut training and engineering design reviews. The parties plan to deploy the engine created in the project to the International Space Station (ISS) to enable astronaut operations with XR technology.

The project starts in Bordeaux, France, where PaleBlue and ESA together will conduct a number of Zero G experiments during a Parabolic Flight Campaign. The Zero Gravity flights will be used to capture real movement data in weightless conditions, and also configure and prepare XR equipment for the deployment to the ISS.

Felix Gorbatsevich, CEO of PaleBlue, said: “This joint project represents the best of what VR technology can make possible. Its been a pleasure to work with the passionate team at ESA and Astronaut Centre. By signing this contract, the total volume of our work with ESA is taken to a new level. It is gratifying to see that The VR training technology we produce continues to be an excellent fit for training for demanding jobs, such as those of astronauts.”

In this picture: View inside the ‘Zero-G’ A-300 Airbus during the 46th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign. Photo credit ESA – A. Le Floc’h.

Lionel Ferra, Crew Technologies & XR-Lab lead at ESA EAC, said: “Immersive technologies used by Earth users and gamers are now adapted to the benefit of space exploration. Not only it is a game changer for space module design but also for astronaut training. This promising Zero-G VR engine is an important milestone for the industrial and operational adoption of the
technology.”

The Norwegian Space Agency (NOSA) has been following and supporting this development from the start.

“We are excited to see this technology being further developed and brought into the space sector as a tool for training and engineering purposes”, said Arvid Bertheau Johannessen, Lead for Human Spaceflight and Exploration at NOSA.

About PaleBlue
PaleBlue is a VR technology company, which has established a unique set of capabilities within 3D, VR, and multi-user experiences, used in simulation training environments. The company builds on a 20+ years experience track of building 3D and training simulation systems for the energy industry, including crane training, underwater robot simulators, drilling operation simulators, and more.

About EAC
The European Astronaut Centre (EAC) was established in 1990 and is located near Cologne, Germany. EAC has established itself as a center of excellence for astronaut selection, training, medical support, and surveillance, as well as support of astronauts and their families through preparation for and during flight.

About ESA
The European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space.