#177: Agata Soccini on using VR to train astronauts, visualize galaxies & analyze spaceship data

Agata-SocciniAgata Soccini is a Research Fellow Università degli Studi di Torino at Thales Alenia Space. She talks about how virtual reality is used to train astronauts, visualize galactic data, as well as analyze thermal data about space ships.

Specifically, she was at the IEEE VR conference giving a talk about doing aerothermodynamic analysis of the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) within VR. The IXV is an European Space Agency (ESA) experimental suborbital re-entry vehicle (spaceplane prototype) to validate European reusable launchers, and she says that when you match up the actual data to the the actual location on the space ship that even a layman could start to interpret the results. Overall, they were trying to see how well the data from their simulations matched up with the real-world data.

Agata also talks about some of the other procedures that astronauts need to be able to perform, and how they use Haption haptic devices to simulate interacting with zero-gravity objects. There aren’t a lot of astronauts in their program, but there’s been enough feedback to know that these simulations have been very effective to training the astronauts to go through these procedures.

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