Visual Simulation Training At Marshall Space Flight Center

During the late 1960s, a fixed-base visual simulator was developed by the Simulation Branch of the Computation Laboratory at the Marshall Space Flight Center to aid in the development of Lunar Roving Vehicle concepts prior to the eventual LRV design finally chosen. This simulator was designed to be used in conjunction with the Bendix Corporation and Boeing Company Lunar Roving Vehicle designs. The system was designed to present the driver with a reasonably accurate simulation of the lunar terrain. The basis of the simulator was a U.S. Air Force SMK-23. When the design direction for the Lunar Roving Vehicle moved away from the enclosed, pressurized vehicles to the open, unpressurized concepts, the simulator and software was modified to integrate the new human factors involved in the scaled-down Lunar Roving Vehicle.

''We had the full LRV and mission support teams, along with the support teams in Houston and Huntsville and the astronauts working on the 1-G trainer at KSC, involved in these joint integrated simulations,'' recalled Ron Creel. ''These 'sims' were a very important part of working through potential problems and solutions before the flights. To check out my real-time Forward Chassis thermal model prior to the Apollo 16 mission, I actually had my own integrated simulation performed in conjunction with the computer model, using playback of the Apollo 15 video tapes. This verified that the computer thermal model was ready to support the mission and perform analyses of potential alternate procedures, like turning off batteries and opening dust covers during EVAs.''

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