VR-HADES is a development project led by ATG Europe together with TUDelft and in cooperation with a consortium of Bremen organisations, including DLR and Radiusmedia. The project is performed in the context of a regional cooperation between the Hansestadt Bremen (Germany) and the province of South Holland (The Netherlands). This cooperation, endorsed by a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019, is specifically aimed at the space sector and has a number of specific focus areas. The project is co-funded by the province of South Holland (The Netherlands).
Concretely, the project aims to develop a Virtual Reality HARnessing DESign tool.
Cabling is a challenge within the space domain for many reasons. This is partly due the limited role cabling often plays in the entire development of that satellite. Cables often still need to be implemented at the end of a development process, when in the mass and space allocation budget of the satellite there is little margin left. This can lead to unforeseen complications and even to redesign of surrounding parts of the system.
Having a virtual reality-based design tool allows companies to perform conceptual design at an earlier stage in the development than currently by using the digital models of the systems rather than the phsyical hardware. The use of a virtual reality-based design tool in this has significant advantages in multiple areas compared to a standard design tool:
Virtual reality offers the opportunity to design a cabling in the “real” environment. This environment, a digital twin of real hardware, is a digital replica of the complex system that needs to be wired, or at least a version of it. This digital twin can therefore be a geometric replica, but it can also simulate certain functions of the system related to the cabling.
By shaping the cabling in a three-dimensional environment, it is possible to appreciate important aspects such as access in a more direct sense. In other words, in a virtual world, it is immediately clear whether a technician can install a designed cable routing where it should fit.
Standard design tools are often not built specifically for this application and therefore unnecessarily complex and expensive. A virtual conceptual tool can be simpler and less accurate than a detailed design software tool usually is. The output of the tool is mainly an indication of feasibility and impact on system aspects such as weight. If necessary, a detailed design can still be created later via the standard design tools where the conceptual design forms the basis.
Recently, a first demonstrator of the tool has been released. In the demonstrator cabling of a drone is simulated.