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Texas A&M University, College Station
SpaceCRAFT is a new concept for collaborative space system and mission design.
It is a Virtual Reality (VR) ‘Sandbox’ environment designed to enable students, government and commercial entities to collaborate, design, evaluate and experience the technology for future operations in Space.
SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Future missions of exploration and settlement in Space will involve many systems and capabilities working together on a solar-system scale, including spacecraft, habitats, rovers, robots, satellite constellations, communication arrays, space suits, landers, science instruments, life support systems, and tools such as teleoperation and advanced autonomous systems for robotic construction and other remote operations.
At present, it is essentially impossible to test complete Space mission architectures in an integrated fashion, especially one with components designed and developed at different institutions worldwide.
Quite frequently Space operators are required to work around system deficiencies, or to execute missions with suboptimal or degraded capability, due to oversights in the initial design or integration.
An important lesson learned from past Space operations is that the integration of operational concepts should occur early in the mission and technology design process.
SpaceCRAFT provides the capability for system design and scenario-based operational testing of integrated mission concepts in the actual intended environment using detailed physics and engineering models in VR.
For students of any age, it offers the opportunity to explore and participate in the universe of future possibilities, such as visiting other planets, piloting spaceships, controlling robots, exploring deep space habitats, spacewalking, building your own colony or designing a mission.