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SimCEV | Overview

Payload LaunchIn 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).

The 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.

In its current form, SimCEV simulates life support, interior ergonomic design, astronaut interaction, supply needs, and flight configuration.

SimCEV 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 (MMOG).

Command Module and Lunar ModuleSimCEV 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.


SimCEV 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.

SimCEV 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.

The 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 egress.Crew Launch

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.

SimCEV 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.

Click on an image for a better look at SimCEV

Command ModuleLunar ModuleStage Two
Lunar Space StationGoing to the moonOrbiting the moon

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