the fall of 2005, Vision Systems was contracted by NASA to create the first interactive
simulation of the proposed Crew Exploration Vehicle, CEV (now Orion).
resulting software, SimCEV, is based on the multi faceted Renderware based SpaceStationSim
simulation engine and simulates both the Orion vehicle and the Lunar Surface Access
Module (LSAM) in flight, along with an interactive, partially autonomous crew.
SimCEV is demonstration level software, currently able to interact with NASA Strider
fault detection software, and eventually able to visualize high fidelity NASA
simulation engines like SimStation.
current form, SimCEV simulates life support, interior ergonomic design, astronaut
interaction, supply needs, and flight configuration.
is designed to eventually be a collaborative systems engineering and integration
platform, capable of running on server based networks, allowing multiple inputs
from individuals miles apart, similar to massive multiplayer online gaming systems
is useful in designing interior space systems (ergonomic design) and observing
how astronauts travel from point to point in micro or zero gravity. How the astronauts
interact with the environment and each other, and the level of their efficiency
is immediately clear.
Flight controllers can
practice interacting with crew members and timing their responses while studying
bottlenecks in equipment layout and interior configurations.
is useful in visualizing arcane data simulations, effectively turning masses of
numbers into living, breathing, functioning systems. Eventually SimCEV will be
able to visualize massively complex simulation engines, creating layers of accessibility
and making difficult management tasks easier.
currently integrates with Strider over a TCP/IP connection, giving the fault detection
software familiar system status conditions, including fault alert. When Strider
detects a fault on a component, an operator can click on the alert from their
control panel. When SimCEV receives the request from Strider, it takes over camera
control and zooms to that component location. Eventually, the controller will
be able to click on a component or even an orbital replacement unit (ORU) like
a power supply, and get a detailed status report.
SimCEV interior layout of the Orion module is derived from early NASA data, Apollo
images, images of the NASA Glass Cockpit, consultation with NASA engineers, and
our own ergonomic considerations. The layout was additionally modified after observation
of astronaut interactions and the need to create unique animations for entry and
The SimCEV interior layout of the LSAM module is entirely derived from our own
design criteria. The need for four lounges, astronaut visual communication, gravity/low
gravity orientation, entry and egress as well as the need to use standard mil
spec rack components were high on our list.
does not use the same game requirements of SpaceStationSim, therefore it is not
a game. It is an environment within which a set of operational conditions can
be established and then observations made. These observations then can help designers
and engineers better understand the dynamic interaction between and requirements
of astronauts and flight controllers.
on an image for a better look at SimCEV