BBC and VR production studio REWIND have released their much-lauded interactive VR experience inspired by real NASA and ESA astronaut training programs. The experience, called Home – A VR Spacewalk, supports HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift and is now available for free to the public.
Only 217 people have gone as far as the VR experience takes you into space; 250 miles above the Earth’s surface. As an astronaut, you’re not here for a sightseeing tour though. There’s work to be done. You’re tasked with making a repair on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS), when a terrifying emergency situation develops.
British astronaut Tim Peake, who spent more than half a year in space, tried the experience for himself. He remarked that although real astronauts don’t move as fast in real life, it’s “great for orientation” and would be “perfect for training.”
“Exploring space is something that motivates a lot of young people to enter careers in science and technology. This is a really exciting time because the new generation will have unprecedented opportunities to really fly into space. The Home Virtual Reality experience brings that opportunity even closer, in a very authentic and accessible way. I hope that having this chance to engage in such a realistic spacewalk experience will help inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.”
The experience has won multiple awards since it started making the rounds in limited public engagements, the most prestigious of which was a Cannes Lion.
If you’re looking for more realistic space-themed experience, Mission:ISS is also free to download, which takes you on a trip into orbit on the inside of the ISS to get a glimpse at what astronaut life is like.