Space Teams Academy: Virtual Astronaut Training Experience

RMIT University

Space Teams Academy uses an online platform to gives students the opportunity to design spacecraft, navigate to another planet, land their vehicle, build a planetary habitat and explore a new planet to find resources to sustain human life.

A group of 32 Year 7 and 8 students will take part in the program in 2023 and will have access to RMIT’s VX Lab featuring cutting-edge virtual reality technology.

Distinguished Professor Brian Falzon, Director of RMIT’s Space Industry Hub, is excited to inspire the next generation who are growing up at the brink of a new space revolution.

“The Space Teams Academy program to be delivered in collaboration with the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation is an amazing opportunity to develop the new generation of space engineers that will contribute towards the growing space industry in Australia,” said Falzon.

“We are aiming to inspire young explorers to further pursue STEM subjects in school and ultimately enable them to join the international community of scientists and engineers exploring the final frontier.”

The program has been conceptualised by former astronaut Dr Gregory Chamitoff. Through his experience and expertise, he has developed a collaborative platform for space systems and mission design that can be accessed remotely across the globe.

Known as SpaceCRAFT, the platform provides a high-fidelity simulation of the universe, including real planetary data from NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It also includes correct physics for models of spacecraft systems and planetary environments.

A virtual reality and 2D compatible space simulation environment, SpaceCRAFT is designed to enable users to collaborate, design, evaluate and experience the technology for future operations in space enabling users to simulate contributions to humanity’s future in space.

“Space Teams Academy is the closest thing you can get to virtual astronaut training! We are preparing students for an exciting future in space exploration,” said Chamitoff.

The chosen Victorian school students will form eight teams of four and will be treated to lessons on topics ranging from planetary science, orbital mechanics and robotic exploration.

With the help of industry and tertiary student mentors, the students will delve into all aspects of space exploration through firsthand, experiential learning.

Jackie Carpenter, One Giant Leap Australia Foundation, is proud to launch the only virtual spaceflight training STEM program for young people.

“We are looking forward to identifying the young space explorers and delivering a program that is truly out of this world,” said Carpenter.

Watch a Space Teams Academy video .

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