© blue tea Electronics Production | July 03, 2017
BlueTea helps send Boeing into space
BlueTea, a Dutch developer of modular 3D training simulations based in the Province of Limburg, will help Boeing send the astronauts piloting its CST100 Starliner spacecraft into orbit.
Boeing has contracted the firm to build a Virtual Reality system based on advanced Simulated Training technology and BlueTea’s own VirtualStudio software. Thanks to this system, astronauts can prepare for the unique challenges of their spaceflight while they still have both feet planted safely on Earth. Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is under development in collaboration with NASA's Commercial Crew Program to transport humans to low-Earth orbit destinations, such as the International Space Station. It takes extensive training for astronauts to learn how to handle any situation that could arise in the harsh environment of space. Through high-fidelity training simulations and now virtual reality systems, Starliner pilots will be equipped with the right skills to make split-second decisions and ensure mission success. Ultimately, the point of the system is to provide astronauts a safe and cost-effective training environment in the form of a fully virtual 3D cockpit. Ruud Dullens, CEO of BlueTea: “BlueTea’s experience in developing flexible, high-fidelity training simulations using the latest immersive technology, like virtual and augmented reality, enables clients to train at any time, place and circumstance.” Each and every component of the Starliner’s virtual cockpit, right down to the tiniest switch, must be digitally connected to the spacecraft’s physical simulator located in Houston. That way, astronauts can prepare for every possible scenario, both virtually and in the real world. Boeing will be integrating the software developed by BlueTea into its own systems and coordinating between Boeing’s Virtual Reality Lab in Philadelphia and the Starliner training systems in Houston. The first phase of the project involves creating a 3D simulation of part of the cockpit and linking it to the hardware simulator. For this, BlueTea uses VirtualStudio, a software package that it developed in-house. The software is unique in the world of 3D training simulations because its intelligent 3D models and training scenarios are completely separate. That means that the training manager can come up with endless combinations of controls, tools and events. The second phase of the project involves developing a full 3D cockpit and using VirtualStudio® to communicate with the hardware simulator. From that point on, the astronauts in training can use the scenarios designed by their training manager in the VR lab to practice in a real-time and fully interactive environment, no matter where they are in the world or what medium they have available (PC, tablet, VR glasses and other devices).