Space on Earth

An immersive control center providing situational insight for critical uses

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Imagine you are a watch officer in the Joint Space Operations Center who witnesses a catastrophic space collision. A non-functioning satellite from a foreign country has collided with a small US satellite and has just greatly increased the already existing debris field in Low Earth Orbit. You need to move US and allied space assets into safe orbits, but you don't know where to begin or how to proceed without disrupting the current picture in the ops center.

THE CHALLENGE

In 2007, a Chinese anti-satellite missile destroyed a polar orbit satellite, sending debris in all directions. Traveling at speeds up to 17,500 MPH, the debris field threatened other US assets. Any similar event would do the same, potentially damaging millions of dollars worth of equipment and capability. The Immersive Dome provides a "battle cab" for commanders to visualize courses of action and the consequences of their decisions in the vast space arena, all without disrupting the current picture in adjacent operations centers.

WHY IT MATTERS

The space enterprise needs a capability where the leaders who are not deeply familiar with space can understand the space environment. Object behavior is highly counter-intuitive to humans whose evolution continues to be profoundly influenced by the forces of gravity. Poor decisions are likely to be made by leaders who have trouble visualizing how objects in space behave. The Immersive Dome could greatly impact decision-making and planning at the Joint Space Operations Center, US Strategic Command, National Reconnaissance Office, and Pentagon without disrupting the other assets in space.

THE SOLUTION

Working with AFRL in their effort to demonstrate the possibilities for the next generation Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), Applied Minds set out to build an unmatched visualization environment, pushing the limits of the state-of-the-art to present the most realistic simulation tool possible. The result is the highest resolution, seamlessly blended, eye limiting immersive environment in existence. The JSpOC Immersive Dome is useful both as a research tool to understand the problem set and as a scenario tool to evaluate extremely complex options and to test possible outcomes based on human intuition.

"In the Dome, the imagined quickly becomes real." — Story Musgrave

HOW IT WORKS

Imagery is projected on the dome from 50 high-definition projectors. Forty-six of these are mounted in 8 tiers in an aluminum tower centered at the base of the dome, and 4 are mounted in two sets on each side of the tower. Each high-definition projector outputs 1920 x 1080 pixels, so the total output is 103 megapixels (Mp) at 60 frames/second. By comparison, the previous highest resolution dome projection known is 32 Mp, while another immersive, cubical room displays 100 Mp, but uses tiled images which are not blended together. A three-seat command platform is mounted on top of the projector tower, placing the operator for the optimum field of view. An AMI-invented 3D “bowling ball” interface provides intuitive control of dome imagery, consisting of an illuminated sphere suspended on a cushion of air for free movement in any direction. Finally, the AMI Immersive Dome is fitted with the most powerful sound system ever installed in a projection dome, with a capacity of over 40,000 Watts. The audio system is used for directional cues and realistic sound effects which enhance the visualization experience.

IMPACT FOR THE FUTURE

Applied Minds, LLC developed a new technology for blending projectors that is infinitely scalable. The system allows all service members to understand the behavior of objects in space and the consequences of their decisions.

The project was positively received by senior leaders in government. The Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary of the Air Force, NSA Director, SOCOM Vice Commander, and NRO Director among others have all visited to see the dome for themselves.

The dome successfully synthesizes multiple technologies including auto alignment, massive parallel threaded processing, audio and display enhancement, all for the first time in one system. — Clint Hope, Executive Director, Experimental Systems at Applied Minds

A Remarkable Range of Applications

The Dome is equally useful for Mission Rehearsal, Cyber Visualization, GEOINT, Computer Aided Design, Electronic Order of Battle, Chemical and / or Molecular analysis, Illumination Studies, Acoustic Localization Studies, Flight Simulator / Ground Simulator, Underwater Visualization, and UAV Operations. The Dome can support multiple security domains and Multi-INT integration and can provide both temporal and relational views. Everything is Real Time.

Applied Minds, LLC

www.appliedminds.com

Burbank, CA

Applied Minds is a unique company, working at the crossroads of art, information, science, technology, design, and society. Applied Minds has creative individuals over a broad range of subject areas to help organizations establish and achieve innovative visions.

Bran Ferren Bran Ferren

Bran Ferren

Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Clint Hope Clint Hope

Clint Hope

Executive Director, Experimental Systems

Ira Lichtman Ira Lichtman

Ira Lichtman

Executive Director

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CONTRACT NUMBER:

FA9453-06-D-0103 0004

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