Six months in space without seeing Earth … However, Thomas Pesquet would not be completely isolated from the terrestrial landscape during his stay on the International Space Station. Thanks to a virtual reality headset and sports software developed by the startup Immersion suitHeadquartered in Hérault, he will be able to ride a virtual bike in the midst of a landscaped landscape, as if he were on the ground.
franceinfo: What does the virtual reality program you develop for Thomas Pesquet consist of?
Dmitry Prikhodko, General Manager of Fit-Immersion : We will try to reconnect with Earth by making it travel on roads, in France and Russia, as if it were already there. For this, we photographed the roads with a specific camera. This then allows Thomas Pisquet to see the images moving at speed, synchronized with his pedals.
Which path would he be able to take?
For this experiment, three tracks were chosen. There’s a tourist circuit in Paris, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre back from the docks. There is also a road on the coastal road between Marseille and Cassis, as well as a road in Russia, in the historical center of Saint Petersburg.
Can a virtual reality headset operate in space the way it does on Earth?
No, because the sensors and accelerometers do not function without the Earth’s gravity, so we can feel confused and the speed is no longer constant. To meet this technical challenge, we specifically conducted zero-gravity flight tests to find a technical solution. We had to use different sensors and make specific adjustments.