The Station Manipulator Arm Augmented Reality Trainer

Period of Performance: 06/10/2016 - 12/09/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Systems Technology, Inc.
13766 Hawthorne Blvd. Array
Hawthorne, CA 90250
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


One of the most demanding and high-stakes crew tasks aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is the capture of a visiting spacecraft by manual operation of the Space Station Robotic Manipulator System (SSRMS, or Canadarm2). The cost of a missed capture or improper arm/vehicle contact is likely to be very high. Since these operations may be performed up to six months after the most recent ground-based training, crews aboard the ISS prepare for such manual robotic tasks with the Robotics On-Board Trainer, a laptop-based graphical/dynamic simulator using NASA Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphic (DOUG) software from Johnson Space Center's Virtual Reality Laboratory. This system, however, does not utilize any real-world, 3-D, out-the-window views. Building upon recent advances in head-mounted augmented reality systems, the team of Systems Technology, Inc. and Dr. Stephen Robinson of UC Davis propose the Station Manipulator Arm Augmented Reality Trainer (SMAART) that will offer ISS crews significantly more realistic on-board refresher training for vehicle capture by manipulating the actual SSRMS with real out-the-Cupola-window views, but with a graphically-simulated vehicle overlaid on the astronaut's non-simulated view via a head-mounted display. Providing multi-sensory realism in on-board training for such high cognitive-demand skills is expected to increase crew readiness and therefore reduce operational risk for visiting vehicle capture.