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VMS -- Vertical Motion Simulator

This unique flight simulation complex provides scientists and engineers with exceptional tools to explore, define, and solve issues in both spacecraft design and mission operations. The VMS aids the aerospace community in generating fast and cost-effective solutions using high-fidelity, real-time piloted simulation in the largest motion-based flight simulator in the world.

The Office of Exploration Systems can reduce program risks, reduce the design cycle duration, minimize cost, and maximize safety by leveraging the modeling, integration, and simulation capabilities available at the VMS.

At the VMS, high-fidelity, customizable systems and powerful tools offer scientists and engineers a path to generate quick and cost-effective solutions in aerospace vehicle design and mission operations. The VMS enables collaborative teams to produce tangible results by providing a cohesive and expeditious work environment.

Unparalleled Capabilities
The VMS offers an unequaled range of motion, moving as much as 60 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally. This is key to high-fidelity simulation, and along with other sensory cues, makes the VMS unsurpassed at simulating aerospace vehicles for the entire flight envelope— especially during the critical phases of approach and landing. The Space Shuttle Program continues to reduce program risk by leveraging the VMS’ capabilities for engineering studies, design validation, and astronaut training. While the VMS offers much that is unique, two capabilities stand out. First, engineers can customize the system to simulate any aerospace vehicle, whether existing or in the design stage. Second, simulations occur with high fidelity; that is, the simulator reproduces the flight characteristics of the vehicle with a high degree of accuracy. This entails delivering realistic cues to the pilot in real time, so the pilot perceives the behavior of the simulated aircraft in the same manner as the real aircraft.

Right: View of Cockpit and Vertical Motion Simulator.

Tools: Save Time, Save Money
To extend the capabilities of the VMS Lab to offsite locations, engineers have developed a Virtual Laboratory (VLAB). This unique technology gives remote researchers the same tools for monitoring simulations that are available to engineers in the VMS Lab. SimLabs is also home to the Rapid Integration and Test Environment (RITE), which dramatically reduces the design cycle. RITE enables a process that rapidly and seamlessly combines different types of data--including computational fluid dynamics (CFD) data, wind tunnel data, and flight test data--for immediate use in simulation. With RITE , high-fidelity simulation becomes an integral part of the design process.