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How Does Virtual Reality Contribute to Astronaut Training?

October 30, 2022 in

One of the most exciting emerging technologies today is virtual reality. Every day, virtual reality technologies are expanding to change the way that we work, play, and engage with others. In particular, many industries are adopting virtual reality to train and upskill their employees, especially those in high-risk positions like astronauts.

Virtual reality has powerful applications for astronaut training. Engaging in virtual training is often safer, more cost-effective, and more accessible than in-person simulations. As a result, virtual reality can make it simpler for astronauts to practice critical skills and prepare for space travel. 

An Overview of Virtual Reality Technology

Virtual reality, also known as VR, is a technology that uses 3D graphics to place a user in a virtual world. Users can interact with the environment around them with specialized equipment like headsets, tracking gloves, and hand controllers. 

VR is not to be confused with augmented reality (AR), which imposes graphics onto a real-world environment. With virtual reality, users are completely immersed in an artificial environment.

Using Virtual Reality for Astronaut Training

Virtual reality has wide applications for astronaut training, helping facilitate space exploration and making it simpler for astronauts to practice key skills. By adopting these technologies, space agencies can save the time, money, and effort involved in building physical simulations.

Practicing Low Gravity

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) operates the Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS) to simulate reduced gravity environments. In the ARGOS environment, astronauts are attached to cranes and other specialized equipment that moves them around in a way that matches the weightless environment of space. While there are some benefits to in-person environments, virtual reality can simulate the same experience of weightlessness in space without having to maintain these major facilities. 

Going Deeper into Space

Not only can astronauts use virtual reality to immerse themselves in low-gravity situations, but they can also explore different parts of space in a deeper way than they could before. Astronauts can dive deeper into space by training in the Milky Way, the International Space Station, or the orbits of different planets. This allows astronauts to experience space in a new and exciting way.

Practicing for Real-World Situations 

Additionally, astronauts can use VR training to simulate the actual conditions inside their spacecraft. They can practice critical tasks in low-gravity environments like opening up hatches and putting out fires. Astronauts can also engage in emergency simulations, improving their overall preparedness before going into space.

Implement Virtual Reality Training with HigherEchelon

With virtual reality training, astronauts can interact with and practice different scenarios at a more frequent, more accessible pace. However, virtual reality training has applications far beyond space travel. Multiple organizations can benefit from this technology, including sports teams, military units, and medical institutions.

If your organization wants to implement virtual reality training, the experts at HigherEchelon, Inc. can help. Our gaming and simulation specialists can help you design a custom, immersive training experience to engage and delight employees and customers alike. 

Contact us today to discuss your virtual reality training needs and learn more about how we can help you. You can call us at 866-469-9945, email us at solutions@higherechelon.com, or fill out this form for a free consultation.