(US AIR FORCE ACADEMY, CO/CAMBRIDGE, MA) – The US Air Force Academy (USAFA), responsible for educating cadets for service in the officer corps of the US Air Force and US Space Force, is now using the augmented reality suite KWYN™ SOLAR developed by Charles River Analytics to facilitate training and research of orbital mechanics and situational awareness in the space domain.
A result of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Hallmark program, Space Operations Visualization Leveraging Augmented Reality (SOLAR), a KWYN product, delivers an immersive, 4D environment in which trainees can visualize and interact with satellite assets. The program builds users’ spatiotemporal understanding, proximity and threat assessment skills, and experience with maneuver options.
With tens of thousands of objects in Earth’s orbit, understanding a satellite’s mission, history, and military operations has become increasingly complex. SOLAR helps US Space Force Guardians quickly develop situational awareness of how space assets fit into multidomain operations. The application’s novel visualization and interfaces give Guardians scalable capabilities to enhance their understanding of 3D and 4D space concepts, such as satellite structure, terminology, fuel usage, orbital elements, mission and health status, threats, and offensive and defensive space control course-of-action options.
KWYN SOLAR was used as one of the primary space immersion pillars for the Azimuth capstone course this summer. Azimuth is a nationwide joint undergraduate space education and training program. Cadets from the US Naval Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps, and—for the first time—the US Military Academy, will join USAFA cadets for the three-week program.
This year Azimuth was greatly expanded to three sessions of the three-week program throughout the summer. KWYN SOLAR supports Azimuth’s overall goal to inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead in the Space Force, and to help prepare our future Guardians to prevail in competition and conflict through innovative education, training, doctrine, and testing.
The Azimuth program includes (but is not limited to) cadets touring local military space bases, meeting with active-duty Guardians to learn about opportunities, visiting commercial partners in the space industry, building and launching model rockets, exploring space domain awareness challenges through augmented reality, executing a neutral buoyancy mission (using scuba equipment), training at the FalconSAT ground station, running an electronic warfare simulation, and even partnering with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to design and execute zero-gravity experiments.
“Our goal with KWYN SOLAR is to provide an intuitive, engaging, and reliable tool for everyone in Space Force career fields,” said Rob Hyland, Principal Scientist and Director of Transition at Charles River Analytics. “It’s gratifying to see our solution advance our future warfighters’ research and understanding of a new and evolving battlefield. The academy’s cadets quickly understood and applied SOLAR and were teaching others after just one training session.”
For more information about SOLAR, please visit https://cra.com/kwyn-solar.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.