PaleBlue Technology Trains Astronauts

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ESA astronaut Marcus Wandt is training in the PaleBlue Zero G simulator for the ISS. Image copyright ESA.

PaleBlue VR Zero G simulator is used in training of ESA astronauts. The ESA class of 2022, including career astronauts and members of astronauts reserve, have been going through PaleBlue simulator training. Among them is Marcus Wandt, a Swedish astronaut, who has been training at the European Astronaut Centre on the PaleBlue VR systems for the International Space Station.

The following in an excerpt from the ESA publication. Read the full announcement at the ESA website.

Marcus, to the right in this image, wears a headset with the latest generation of mixed reality to immerse himself in a simulated 3D environment of the International Space Station. The mixed reality setup allows users to interact with both digital and physical objects.

I am doing the training backwards. I am completing the mission and the necessary basic training parts in parallel, but starting at the end because that is the most important for the actual mission. The biggest difference with my pilot training is that spaceflight lessons are super tailored to the astronaut and more one-to-one. Marcus Wandt, ESA Astronaut

Using hand controllers, he grasps objects, find his way around the modules like in microgravity, and takes a look at Earth from the European-built Cupola. Before virtually floating inside the Space Station, Marcus went on a simulated spacewalk to improve his orientation in outer space.

Marcus Wandt VR training session with instructors. Image copyright PaleBlue.

This ESA training prepares him for life and work in space, practising how to orientate himself between modules – there is no up or down in orbit – operating payloads, extinguishing a fire and closing hatches in zero-gravity, all while never leaving the ground. Marcus navigated a digital environment that reflects the current configuration of the International Space Station.

The virtual reality experience was the first of its kind and involved five other users connected across Europe and interacting with Marcus in real time.

The software, co-developed by Norwegian company PaleBlue, has been tested on parabolic flights. These flights reproduce zero gravity conditions in an airplane that executes repeated roller coaster parabolas.

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PaleBlue provides XR training systems for astronauts, crews and engineering, allowing to design spacecraft and train personnel in a digital immersive environment. Learn more about PaleBlue Space Simulators.

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The Swedish project astronaut will travel to the Space Station on Axiom Mission 3 no earlier than January 2024. Marcus is the first of ESA’s new astronauts to jump on a commercial spaceflight. His mission, called Muninn, is supported by ESA and the Swedish National Space Agency.

Selected as a member of the ESA astronaut reserve in November 2022, Marcus embarked on intensive training for his mission in May 2023, travelling to training facilities and space centres across the globe.

Marcus Wandt VR training for fire extinguishing in zero gravity. Image copyright PaleBlue.

About PaleBlue
PaleBlue is a simulator 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 ESA
The European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, the launch and operation of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science and telecommunication, designing launch vehicles, and maintaining a spaceport.