SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams, and her crew of colleagues, have successfully tested a new generation of NASA simulators that will help prepare future star dwellers for launch, flight and return aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.
The Starliner is a joint-collaboration between Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace, and will be submitted as the two’s entry into NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program.
The craft’s primary use will be for transporting crew to and from the International Space Station, as well as other private space stations, such as Bigelow’s own commercial space station.
“These simulators have touchscreen displays, which means they are more versatile than previous spacecraft trainers,” Williams said in a statement.
“We can run multiple simulations by just changing software and then put that same software into a bigger crew simulator, which we will use to train the whole crew for a spaceflight,” she added.
The official simulators are still in development, but once completed, they will be wired into Boeing and NASA’s networks. From there, mission simulations will include contact with launch and mission controllers, running critical rehearsals to prepare crew for successful flight.
NASA selected four astronauts — Williams, Eric Boe, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — to train for test flights and simulations aboard the Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecrafts. The four will ship out to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston later this year to begin daily training in large simulators.
For a sense of how extensive the training is, astronauts typically spend hours in simulators for each minute they are in space in an effort to familiarize themselves with planned and unplanned events which can occur during flight.