Boeing Launches Australian-Based Space Research Initiatives
- Boeing introduces new virtual reality trainer for CST-100 Starliner, announces Melbourne space VR company Opaque Space as new supplier
ADELAIDE, September 26, 2017 - During the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, South Australia, Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced efforts by its Australian team to support the company’s global space and defence business including its first virtual reality (VR) system developed by employees outside the United States.
“Space exploration is a human endeavour that has brought nations together, like we’ve seen with the International Space Station,” said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Missile Systems. “Having Boeing’s Australian team work together with our US team will benefit NASA and the international space agencies it works with as well as the Australian Defence Force.”
Boeing Australia’s first major space research and development initiative on display at IAC 2017 is a virtual reality solution developed in Brisbane that provides a high-resolution, interactive, real-time simulation for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule. Supplementing Boeing’s physical Starliner simulator, the VR technology is a low-cost training alternative for astronauts to familiarise themselves with operating Starliner and perform training procedures including how to dock with the International Space Station.
Boeing signed an agreement with Australian space VR supplier, Opaque Space, a small enterprise in Melbourne. Opaque Space will collaborate with Boeing’s Brisbane team on future virtual reality space training scenarios for the Starliner. “We’re proud of our journey: from virtual reality gaming to working with NASA to now partnering with Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company,” said Opaque Space CEO Emre Deniz. “It’s especially gratifying to demonstrate Australian technical leadership in an emerging area like virtual reality.”
Boeing Defence Australia will explore space situational awareness capabilities as part of its growing command, control and communications business. The Australian Defence Force currently has Boeing-built satellite communications supporting its operations. Australia became the first international participant in the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Air Force in 2007; WGS provides flexible, high-capacity and resilient communications capabilities. The Ultra High Frequency hosted payload on the Intelsat 22 satellite delivers critical connectivity to Australian forces.
Other Australian-developed space technologies include a weather server that can analyse locations on the surface of the earth and objects in space, an application to connect teams during live test events such as space launches, and spacecraft cabin anti-microbial polymer research.
With more than 3000 employees, Boeing in Australia has a broad portfolio of aerospace capabilities across the country, including advanced manufacturing of commercial aircraft components, complex defence systems design and production, research and development, training and sustainment services, and unmanned systems.