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Before These Astronauts Take Starliner to Space, They're Training in VR

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A Boeing CST-100 Starliner control panel, as seen through a virtual-reality training headset.

Astronauts are training for pre-launch, docking, and landing of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner in virtual reality.

Credit: Boeing

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner, whose first crewed launch is not planned until 2021, will undertake its second Orbital Flight Test in the fall, and the astronauts are training for pre-launch, docking, and landing using a new virtual reality (VR) system.

Boeing said crew members are training in their offices using the new system, which eliminates the need for physical simulators. 

The VR system is the first full-scale program that allows the testing of every part of a mission in one place.

Expected to be integrated into Boeing's overall training network, the new system was developed by Finland-based Varjo. It is comprised of Boeing-tailored laptops and hand controllers, along with custom Varjo headsets that have "human-eye resolution."

Final software tweaks are being done that will allow the crew to simulate and work through dangerous potential scenarios, to improve their decision-making abilities and response times.

From Popular Mechanics
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