Back in June VRFocus reported on NASA and Microsoft announcing a partnership to send HoloLens mixed reality (MR) head-mounted displays (HMDs) to the astronauts based on the International Space Station (ISS). The project called Sidekick would help with crew training and efficiency, but unfortunately that re-supply mission carried out in collaboration with Elon Musk’s SpaceX company failed after takeoff. Now a new mission is on the cards this week, with SpaceX replaced by rival Orbital ATK, and more HoloLens devices.
Along with the HoloLens units, Orbital ATK will be shipping supplies and equipment essential for the astronauts. With the MR headset, project Sidekick will feature two modes to aid those on the ground work with the team on ISS. Those modes are Remote Expert Mode and Procedure Mode.
In Remote Expert Mode the devices allow an astronaut to communicate via video with a NASA ground operator, guiding them through specific tasks with visual aid. Previously communications for these tasks have been restricted to written and audio delivery.
While Procedure mode creates holographic illustrations on top of items that the astronaut is working with. The idea behind this mode is to provide yet more guidance, this time in deep space where communication is limited.
This latest mission is scheduled to commence today at 5:55 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Launch coverage will be on NASA TV and continuous countdown coverage on NASA’s Blog will begin at 4:30 p.m. EST.
VRFocus will continue to bring you all the latest news on Microsoft HoloLens, reporting back any new announcements.