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eXtended Reality applications for human spaceflight: the ESA-EAC XR Lab

Costantini, Martial and Rometsch, Flavie and Casini, Andrea Emanuele Maria and Cowley, Aidan and Ennis, Stephen and Scott, Christopher and Ghiste, Stephan and Scott, Jonathan and Ferra, Lionel (2021) eXtended Reality applications for human spaceflight: the ESA-EAC XR Lab. 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2021), 25.-29. Oct. 2021, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ISSN 0074-1795.

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The European Space Agency (ESA), and its European Astronaut Centre (EAC), located in Cologne, are currently preparing for human exploration of the Moon and, ultimately, Mars. EAC is the centre of excellence for astronaut training, operations and space medicine with more than 30 years of experience. The centre currently supports International Space Station (ISS) missions, and also prepares for humans to fly again beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). To advance human spaceflight, ESA investigates the applications of eXtended Reality (XR) technologies such as Augmented (AR), Virtual (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR). In order to use XR to benefit astronauts, instructors, developers, researchers and operators, the EAC created the XR Lab in 2015. Today, the portfolio of EAC’s XR activities covers missions to the ISS in multiple ways. The XR Lab developed a VR application to train astronauts in manipulating the ISS’s 17 meters-long robotic arm, and familiarize them with the station’s layout. Further XR Lab projects allow to train astronauts for spacewalks in orbit or on a planetary surface. Recently, the XR Lab also started the development of a medical training program to familiarize astronauts with human anatomy. In parallel, the XR Lab covers upcoming human space exploration missions. The next step is the new Lunar Gateway Program, where EAC enables collaborative design reviews in VR. The design of the Lunar Gateway benefits from early reviews of human factors involving astronauts and industries, thanks to high quality simulation of weightlessness in VR. Regarding surface operations, the XR Lab replicated landscapes of the Moon for upcoming robotic missions and outreach activities. Training astronauts to explore the Moon will require new methods, justifying a collaboration between space agencies. The ESA XR Lab, the German Aerospace Center, and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre are cooperating on project focused on advancing training technologies. This cooperation aims to develop and evaluate a new interactive and collaborative astronaut training framework using MR and VR technologies. Future activities will study applications of haptics technologies such as vibrotactiles or exoskeletal devices. The roadmap will also cover virtual rover operations and MR telemedicine support for astronaut flight surgeons. The present paper provides an overview of the XR Lab and how it is exploiting AR, VR and MR technologies to address new exploration challenges related to LEO and beyond.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/144773/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:eXtended Reality applications for human spaceflight: the ESA-EAC XR Lab
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Costantini, MartialEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Rometsch, Flavieflavie.rometsch (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5827-431X
Casini, Andrea Emanuele MariaAndrea.Casini (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3608-9724
Cowley, AidanEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8692-6207
Ennis, Stephenstephen.ennis (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Scott, Christopherchristopher-tim (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Ghiste, StephanEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Scott, JonathanJonathan.Scott (at) wylelabs.deUNSPECIFIED
Ferra, LionelEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Human Space Flight, Moon, Training, Lunar exploration, eXtended Reality, Virtual Reality
Event Title:72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2021)
Event Location:Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:25.-29. Oct. 2021
Organizer:International Astronautical Federation (IAF)
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - FLEXhab miXed Reality (FLEX-XR)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Space Operations and Astronaut Training > Astronaut Training
Deposited By: Casini, Dr.-Ing. Andrea Emanuele Maria
Deposited On:21 Oct 2021 11:30
Last Modified:13 Dec 2021 09:58

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