British astronaut sent back to space by St Albans VR firm

PUBLISHED: 16:36 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:44 14 November 2017

Tim Peake with the VR headset. Photo: REWIND

Tim Peake with the VR headset. Photo: REWIND

REWIND

British astronaut Tim Peake has given the thumbs up to a VR space simulation created by a St Albans company.

Tim Peake with the VR headset. Photo: REWIND Tim Peake with the VR headset. Photo: REWIND

At a lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society last week, Major Peake found himself back among the stars on the International Space Station (ISS).

It was all thanks to local firm REWIND, based in French Row, and their award-winning programme: Home: A VR Spacewalk.

The 15-minute virtual reality programme is inspired by Major Peake’s training programme for his mission to the ISS.

Users can traverse the ISS, use the robotic arms attached to the station, and jetpack through space.

Tim Peake with the VR headset. Photo: REWIND Tim Peake with the VR headset. Photo: REWIND

After the programme, the European Space Agency astronaut said: “That’s brilliant, really good graphics. We don’t have the ability to control our movement like this in Houston.

“I’m moving faster than I could in real life, but this is great for orientation. This would be perfect for training.

“Exploring space is something that motivates a lot of young people to enter careers in science and technology.

“This is a really exciting time because the new generation will have unprecedented opportunities to really fly into space.

“The Home experience brings that opportunity even closer, in a very authentic and accessible way.

“I hope that having this chance to engage in such a realistic spacewalk experience will help inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.”

The programme incorporates a haptic feedback system to replicate some of the vibrations an astronaut feels through a spacesuit.

A Bluetooth heart rate monitor also recreates the sound of the user’s heartbeat.

REWIND founder Solomon Rogers said: “Over the past 
five years of working at the forefront of virtual reality, our stand-out piece of content has been Home.

“Not only does it entertain and delight audiences, but has been considered ‘as close as it gets to being in space’ by NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, and now Tim Peake has given it the thumbs up!

“The release of this piece of content to audiences around the world will hopefully encourage and enhance the public’s interest in space.”

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