Augmented reality to improve space maintenance outcomes


Future space farers will benefit from improved maintenance and equipment monitoring outcomes, even in the demanding conditions of space, thanks to a new augmented reality tool developed by an international project.

The Engineering Data in Cross Platform AR (EdcAR) project for the ESA was led by the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). The team envisage that in the future, astronauts will be able to use the augmented reality tool to perform maintenance tasks and real-time equipment monitoring, with the first practical tests carried out at ESA's European Astronaut Centre producing excellent results.

The project aimed to address the challenges involved in maintenance and the provision of work instructions, which have been an issue for more than a decade. Since maintenance and other work tasks in space are critical, they must be carried out without errors and at the right time.

Add to this the complexity of performing maintenance tasks in space, which requires in-depth practising and the coordination of the activities of various experts, there is a critical need for unambiguous and accessible maintenance instructions and documentation.

The new augmented reality system resulting from the EdcAR project is intended to improve the performance of manual tasks. It is expected to reduce mistakes, speed up tasks, and improve the clarity of the instructions by using AR technology.