The space environment is dynamic, and its complexity is increasing day by day, it’s increasingly becoming more congested and contested as time goes by. It is becoming an increasing challenge for the space institutes to be able to display and interpret these enormous amounts of data faster and accurately. The Wright Brothers Institute in collaboration with Air Force Research Labs Space Vehicles Directorate organized a challenge to develop a visualization user interface. This User Interface aims to assist in visualization of the space objects and predict future collisions of the objects and how to prevent the collisions. Among those who took part in the challenge was the MIT students, the team consisted of six individuals, and the group emerged as the winner of the challenge. MIT team came up with a virtual reality tool they branded CoSMIC (Command, Sensing, and Mapping Information Center).
CoSMIC is a visualization tool that applies the Virtual Reality Technology. It aims to assist satellite operators in the processing of large amounts of data which is limited when a standard 2-D screen is applied. With the application of this tool, the operators workload is going to reduce significantly. They will be in a position to maneuver quickly and focus on selected objects only. The MIT built this visualization tool prototype using components that are available commercially, and this included the hand tracking sensor and HTC VIVE Pro headset. According to Hinterman, a member of the MIT team, once an operator wears the headset, he/she will be immersed in a world of satellites, and the hand-tracking tool will enable the operator to grasp and move the objects virtually.
“Space is such a dynamic and complex environment that is becoming more and more congested and contested. We need to be able to display and interpret data faster and more accurately, so we can respond quickly and appropriately to any kind of threat, whether it’s adversarial, space debris, or satellites in close proximity. The VQ-Prize challenge is a prime example of how we’re thinking and sourcing, outside the box, to get after rapid, agile onboarding of new technology that will make space operations safer for everyone. ” Explained Gen. Jay Raymond who is a commander of the Air Force Space Command and Joint Forces Space Component
Image Credit: MIT