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Cortona3d Improves Logistic Operations in Space for the European Space Agency

15 May, 2006

Cortona3D, a leader in provision of interactive 3D-powered solutions, introduces a 3D-powered configuration tool that allows for effective planning and maintaining of the cargo storage in the European Space Agency's (ESA) Automatic Transfer Vehicle (ATV). The Automated Transfer Vehicle is an unmanned vehicle which is put in orbit by the European Ariane 5 launcher. It provides the International Space Station with pressurized cargo, water, air, Nitrogen, Oxygen and attitude control propellant.

Arranging cargo storage and tool layout inside a spacecraft is an extremely complex task - a variety of items of different shapes, sizes and purposes should be placed into a confined area providing easy search and access to stored items during the mission. All procedures associated with the cargo require detailed planning. To increase the efficiency of the logistic planning and execution processes, ESA commissioned Cortona3D to develop the ATV IntraVehicular Configuration Tool (ATV ICT), based on ISO standards.

ATV ICT provides an expandable library of 3D items extracted from CAD models, which are manipulated in a 3D interactive interface to plan the internal configuration of the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) part of ATV. The user can try various combinations, analyze the benefits preventing unnecessary rework. The optimal layout is then transferred to Cortona3Ds' Virtual Training Editor where SCORM compliant 3D interactive training material is developed to support the cargo operations, loading and unloading procedures, etc.

"With ATV ICT, the personnel responsible for logistic operations on ground at the ATV Control Center can easily try different storage and tools layout configurations and select an optimal one before the real operations start. Keeping up-to-date specification of the Integrated Cargo Carrier configuration and by allowing the development of ad-hoc visual procedural manuals, ensure that on board operations are executed more smoothly by the astronauts. This is a really time-saving and error-reducing solution," said Marco Arcioni, Simulation Engineer, ESA.

"During the past fifteen years Cortona3Ds' 3D technologies have a proven track record in driving cost-efficiency for its customers in various application areas - from visual technical documentation to improved interactive training. This solution is a good example of how 3D visualization dramatically improves logistic and support processes," said Connell Gallagher, President of Cortona3D.

Cortona3D has been working with the European Space Agency developing innovative solutions since 2002. Starting with the creation of 3D simulations for technical procedures associated with the ATV, to a 3D-powered CBT solution used by the ESA Astronaut Training Center for the space-crew training both on-ground and on-board the International Space Station.