The Virtual Advancement of Learning for Operational Readiness (VALOR) program at SimX, Inc. has been awarded a multi-year program by the U.S. Space Force (USSF) to develop a novel VR medical simulation training capability for the astronaut recovery and space launch missions. This program seeks to enhance the unique, mission-critical clinical training provided to U.S. Air Force (USAF) Pararescue Specialist, Combat Rescue Officers, and flight surgeons enabling them to identify and treat a variety of medical conditions not seen in other contexts.
The initial $1.7 million program commitment will focus on adapting the existing SimX Virtual Reality Medical Simulation System (VRMSS) to include space-specific components as well as unique medical scenarios outlined by the existing Pre-Hospital Space Medicine Care Course (PHSMCC). These will be developed in collaboration with and tested by the USAF 24th Special Operations Wing as well as the 1st Air Force, Detachment 3, Human Space Flight Support Operations. Funding for this program was provided through a SpaceWERX Phase II SBIR contract in partnership with Space Systems Command (SSC), with management of the effort by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Special Operations Forces and Personnel Recovery Division (AFLCMC/WIS), the Air Force program office supporting Special Warfare and Special Operations Command warfighters worldwide. Technical and subject matter expertise is provided by the 1st Air Force (AFSPACE). The simulation platform will run on the fully wireless HTC Focus 3 VR headset.
"The mission of the VALOR program is to adapt VR medical simulation training to enable high-quality, repeatable, and accessible clinical training for any scenario," said Karthik V Sarma, PhD, VALOR Principal Investigator and SimX CTO. "We're honored to have the opportunity to take the VRMSS to the next frontier by helping the DOD's elite medical personnel protect the health of our astronauts and space launch personnel."
These new capabilities aim to enable faster, more frequent, more effective and more cost-effective training for space operational medical support, enabling better medical outcomes for astronauts and space launch personnel. The developed capabilities will also be made available for commercial use to support the burgeoning commercial human spaceflight market and will initially include specific support for the Dragon and Orion capsules as well as a variety of launch scenarios and locations. A comprehensive training curriculum will be developed, including scenarios representing the unique physiological challenges of a deconditioned astronaut returning from a long-duration space flight.
"The mission impact of this project will be increased overall medical capability for global rescue forces responding to Human Space Flight contingency landings. These capabilities are critical for ensuring the highest standard of care is provided by our PJs as they prepare for the continued expansion of Human Space Flight operations," said Brent Maney of the Department of Defense Human Space Fight Support Office, and technical subject matter expert of the effort on behalf of the Department of the Air Force.