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ParallelGraphics - Software chosen for training astronauts

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: 21 February, 2008  (New Product)
Days before the launch of the first ATV 'Jules Verne' into orbit, ParallelGraphics, the global leader in interactive 3D visual communication for Equipment Maintenance & Training, announced that its cutting edge software is that chosen for spacecraft crew and astronauts training of the ATV.
The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is a fleet of 20 tonne space transport vehicles used to bring fresh food, clothes, water, fuel, experiments, and oxygen to keep the International Space Station (ISS) and its residents alive. With complex operational procedures, the challenge was to keep the astronauts’ skills and knowledge at a high level up to 1 year after receiving the initial training.

Cortona3D RapidLearning software from ParallelGraphics was used by astronaut instructors to create animated 3D simulations showing step by step procedures with new levels of detail and interactivity. The software teaches astronauts complex tasks prior to manipulating real equipment and enables them to practice these procedures learned at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC), on their laptops over and over again, even on orbit.

“The interactive learning tool has proven to be a big hit with astronauts and cosmonauts alike! When you impress an astronaut, you know you have done something really special,” pointed out the head of ATV training at EAC, Richard Moss. “Astronauts recognise the help ParallelGraphics’ interactive ‘Visual Know-How’ tool will give them. It will save time and mistakes, in an environment where errors cost lives. The current crew have already received training using the interactive animated lessons created in Cortona3D RapidLearning and will refresh their skills again and again during a series of on-board sessions on the space station computer after launching into orbit.”

“Research shows that the interactive 3D element improves comprehension, retention and on-the-job performance particularly in the operation of complex machinery or systems,“ said Connell Gallagher, President of ParallelGraphics. 'Following several large scale deployments over a six year period in the European Space Agency, we are delighted that Cortona3D ‘Visual Know-How’ software now has a proven track record in driving quality-critical training of space crews and astronauts as well as improving technical documentation and logistic and support processes.”

Cortona3D RapidLearning is a powerful authoring tool for building 3D-powered Computer Based Training (CBT) and requires no special programming expertise. RapidLearning guides trainers through the production process, prompting them to illustrate each step of the training scenario with an easily created 3D animation to build a complete RapidLearning procedure / lesson. The output is an animated interactive 3D training simulation that contains several training modes (demo, study, and exam) and is usable as a standalone application or integrated in any SCORM-compliant Learning Management Systems (LMS).

And what for the future? “There are not that many astronauts in the world and they form a tight community. Already the word has spread and there is great interest to copy the success of what the European Astronaut Centre instructors and ParallelGraphics engineers have produced,” said Richard Moss, head of ATV training with the ESA. “As the space community looks forward to a return to the Moon and sending humans to Mars, it is clear that interactive 3D learning tools such as that created by Cortona3D RapidLearning from ParallelGraphics will be critical in maintaining the success of such dangerous
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