Boeing DigitalSpace Raytheon
SimStation (NASA Ames)
NASA JSC-Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
NASA Ames Research Center
K. Foley B. Damer T. Cochrane T. Cochrane M. Shirley

Title: “Sim EVA” Virtual Environments for EVA/IVA Procedure Planning & Training

The partners submitting this white paper have been using modeling and testing with 3D visualization to produce SimEVA, an advanced EVA/IVA design simulator and training environment that can be used collaboratively before and during flight for Shuttle and Space Station. We are developing this 3D environment to enhance design and planning of procedures, lower training times and costs and enhance safety for current missions. Support long duration missions and complex assembly and repair procedures that will be required for Project Constellation/2014 CEV, Station, Moon and Mars operations will require extensive use of EVA/IVA procedure planning and simulation well before vehicle construction. In fact, all aspects of human activities aboard new vehicles, station and surface outposts will have to be simulated in advance to determine optimal designs, reduce risk, compute likely maintenance loads, estimate life support loads and to train for and validate the flight vehicles and systems when they fly.

Relevance to New Exploration Mission
NASA began to use virtual environments in support of tele-operations and astronaut training in the 1970s culminating in the extensive use of VR in crew training for 1993 STS-61 Hubble Repair mission (figures 1, 2 below)  [1,2]. The JSC VR Laboratory, projects at other NASA centers [3] and the ARC/JPL use of a virtual environment for the 1997 Pathfinder Mars mission [4] suggested that synthetic environments would become key training and operations tools in all aspects of future missions.
Recent work [5] by some of the submitters of this proposal has focused on producing prototype internet-based, collaborative 3D virtual environments in support of astronaut procedure planning and subsequent refresher training for the upcoming STS-114 Shuttle return to flight. From this work, a new tool set, SimEVA is emerging as a part of the larger SimStation platform being developed collaboratively at Ames, JSC and Langley. Derived from video captured at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) at JSC and on-orbit photography and real station CAD models, these simulation environments are being designed to supplement NBL crew training to permit astronauts and mission control to view the procedures virtually with real geometry and lighting consistent with on-orbit activities, and to allow multiple camera angles in the virtual scene and the ability to reconfigure the training procedure sequences on the fly. 3D re-construction of NBL training featuring Control Moment Gyro (CMG) change out procedures for STS-114 is illustrated in figures 3-6 below.

Going far beyond Hubble and current ISS operations, project Constellation/2014 CEV, Prometheus and future Lunar and Mars surface presence will all require extensive astronaut crew training for EVA, IVA and other activities. Beyond this obvious need is the opportunity to model astronaut activities in advance and in parallel with the design and construction of vehicles such as the CEV. Human activities will reach a new order of complexity within crew transfer vehicles, construction component delivery vehicles, human/robotic systems for station, CEV and surface base construction and maintenance. We believe that collaborative modeling and simulation of human activities must occur during the design phase of all of these systems, in addition to serving as a component of training for systems already in operation.

This application domain represents a cross-cutting technology with the potential to reduce time-to-flight for complex human/machine systems and improve operational success and safety for all flight systems. An analog from the commercial aircraft industry is Boeing’s creation of a fully featured flight simulator for the 777 aircraft prior to construction of the first airframe. This early simulator promoted both the vehicle design evolution and the first flight crew training and comparison with real aircraft flight characteristics.

Proposed Follow-on Program of Research and Development

It is proposed that the use of rapid prototyping to capture astronaut activity simulation from actual training video, motion capture and CAD models is an effective way of creating a library of virtual environments for training and for visualization of future human/machine activities.

A library of such environments, astronaut models, gestures, parts and procedures should be created in open, industry standard formats for use by any NASA center, contractor and/or individual within the community.

Standards for EVA re-construction and virtual operations could be promoted to allow any vehicle, even in its initial CAD “sketch” stages, to be integrated with EVA procedures re-constructed from NBL or on-orbit. This resource should allow designers to determine the EVA crew time budget, and to manage the overall complexity of keeping vehicles and habitats operating safely. In conclusion, SimEVA and this open library of models and procedures, will support both a spiral development approach and enable a number of cooperating organizations to engage in state of the art system-of-systems human-in-the-loop design simulation.

[1] Loftin, R.B., and Kenney, P.J., "Training the Hubble Space Telescope Flight Team," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 31-37, Sep, 1995.
[2] Engelberg, Mark[Ed] (September 11, 1994). Hubble Space Telescope Repair
Training System [WWW document]. URL
[3] Cater, J. P., and Huffman, S. D. Use of Remote Access Virtual Environment Network (RAVEN) for Coordinated IVA-EVA Astronaut Training and Evaluation. _Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments_ vol. 4, no. 2 (Spring 1995), p. 103-109. (Training for Hubble Space Telescope repair.)
[4] Mars Pathfinder JPL site:
[5] Access SimEVA at the DigitalSpace Corporation home page:

Virtual Environments for past astronaut training: STS-61 Hubble Telescope Repair (1993).
Figure 1: STS-61, the 1993 Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Repair mission team using VR training Figure 2: Computer generated scene depicting the HST capture and EVA repair mission for mission planning

Images of current SimEVA work (NBL CMG Changeout procedures for STS-114)
Figure 3: Simulation produced in April 2004 for NBL refresher training tool Figure 4: EVA modeled from NBL video re-creates training for CMG changeout, Shuttle cargo bay procedures Figure 5: Detailed view of virtual EV procedure showing attaching of ball stack for attachment of CMG

Figure 6: SimEVA environment showing web interface for procedure checklist