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Proceedings Paper

Virtual prototype interface for the Air Force Manned SpacePlane project
Author(s): Martin R. Stytz; Sheila B. Banks; John Lewis; Troy D. Johnson
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Paper Abstract

The advent of requirements for worldwide deployment of space assets in support of Air Force operational missions has resulted in the need for a Manned SpacePlane (MSP) that can perform these missions with minimal preflight preparation and little, if any, in-orbit support from a mission control center. Because successful mission accomplishment will depend almost completely upon the MSP crew and the on-board capabilities of the spaceplane, the MSP user interface is a crucial component of successful mission accomplishment. In recognition of this fact, the USAF Phillips Laboratory in conjunction with USAF Space Command initiated the Virtual SpacePlane (VSP) project. To function effectively as an MSP interface development platform, the VSP must demonstrate the capability to simulate anticipated MSP missions and portray the MSP in operation throughout its entire flight regime, from takeoff through space operations and on to recovery via a horizontal landing at an airfield. Therefore, we architected, designed, and implemented a complete VSP that can be used to simulate anticipated Manned SpacePlane missions. The primary objective of the VSP is to be a virtual prototype for user interface design and development, the VSP software architecture and design facilities uncovering, refining and validating MSP user interface requirements. The Virtual SpacePlane reuses software components developed for the Virtual Cockpit and Solar System Modeler (SM) distributed virtual environment (DVE) applications, the Common Object Database (CODB) architecture, and Information Pod (Pod) interface tools developed in our labs. The Virtual Cockpit and Solar System Modeler supplied baseline interface components and tools, 3D graphical models, vehicle motion dynamics models, and DVE communication capabilities. Because we knew that the VSP's requirements would expand and evolve over the life of the project, we use the CODB architecture to facilitate our use of Rapid Evolutionary and Exploratory Prototyping to uncover application requirements and evaluate solutions. The Information Pod provides the paradigm and architectural framework for the user interface development. To achieve accurate and high fidelity performance for the VSP throughout its operational regime, the system integrates aerodynamics and astrodynamics models from the VC, SM and other sources into a single seamless high fidelity model of the VSP's dynamics. In this paper we discuss the background to the VSP project, its requirements, and the current user interface design. We summarize the VSP's current status and outline our plans for further VSP interface development and testing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 August 1998
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3367, Modeling and Simulating Sensory Response for Real and Virtual Environments, (13 August 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.317569
Show Author Affiliations
Martin R. Stytz, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Sheila B. Banks, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
John Lewis, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Troy D. Johnson, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3367:
Modeling and Simulating Sensory Response for Real and Virtual Environments
John D. Illgen; Edwin A. Trier, Editor(s)

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