Five years after his first mission aboard the International Space Station, Frenchman Thomas Pesquet is back in service. On April 22, it will fly aboard the Space X rocket to join the ISS in orbit 400 km from Earth. For this second mission in the stars, the French astronaut will have on board a new tool to help him in his daily sports sessions: an Oculus Quest virtual reality headset. A technology that will allow him, when pedaling his bike, to travel through real land landscapes shot in video and in 360 degrees. A French start-up, Fit Immersion, located near Montpellier, was chosen to develop the helmet application. "We are so proud and happy to see our technology soar into space", relishes its director Dimitri Prikhodko.
Three routes have been chosen to make the Pesquet sessions more enjoyable.
A 15 km trip to Paris, which passes by the quays of the Seine, the Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower, another by the sea, with the ascent of the Col de Gineste near Marseille and a third in the streets of Saint- Petersburg in Russia.
What virtually keep one foot on the ground!
In Toulouse, the Cité de l'Espace is mobilizing to follow the mission of Thomas Pesquet
Fit Immersion was already specialized in the creation of virtual reality kits for the practice of sport indoors or at home. In 2019, the National Center for Space Studies contacted them to develop the VR headset especially for Thomas Pesquet. “We couldn't believe it when we received the email from CNES. It was a big challenge for us too because it was not easy to make the VR work in an environment where there is no gravity. The sensors are normally designed to recognize orientation and movements with the earth's attraction, ”continues the entrepreneur.
So almost a year of research later, including tests during zero G flights, Fit Immersion finds the solution by activating other sensors to make immersion possible even from space. A hell of a spotlight for a small start-up created only in 2017 and which still has only six employees.