New Mission:ISS VR app.
Oculus

NASA helped create the VR app.

By Jonathan Vanian
March 9, 2017

There’s now an easier way to visit space without being an astronaut.

Facebook’s fb Oculus Rift virtual reality unit debuted Thursday a new virtual reality app that lets people explore the cramped quarters of the International Space Station. Visual effects company Magnopus designed and built the app with help from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency.

Oculus said that the new Mission:ISS app was based on 3-D models of the International Space Station. Additionally, the app’s creators interviewed astronauts at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston to help make the virtual environment as close to the actual space station as possible.

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The app, which is only available on the Oculus Rift, lets people wearing the Rift headset float down the International Space Station’s corridors, step outside the station for “spacewalks,” and do an approximation of work typically done by astronauts like loading space cargo aboard—using the Rift’s Touch controllers.

People will also be able to watch through the VR app as astronauts discuss their experiences aboard the International Space Station. Additionally, Oculus said it is sending one of its Rift VR headsets to the International Space Station through a partnership with the French Space Agency CNES.

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“The Rift will be used for the first time in orbit by European astronaut Thomas Pesquet to test the effects of zero-gravity on human spatial awareness and balance using software developed by the space agencies,” Oculus said in a statement.

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