When world-renowned entrepreneur and designer Burt Rutan founded Scaled Composites in 1982, he created an environment where the best ideas thrive¬†from collaborative efforts of small, close-knit project¬†teams. Today Scaled Composites has a broad range¬†of aerodynamic analysis and design capabilities.¬†Scaled‚Äôs experience rests in air vehicle design, tooling¬†and manufacturing, specialty composite structure¬†design, analysis and fabrication, and developmental¬†flight tests of air and space vehicles.
To be a competitive force in the ongoing race to¬†create the world‚Äôs first commercial space line Virgin¬†Galactic, a company of the Virgin Group, envisioned¬†the opportunity to build the world‚Äôs first sub-orbital¬†spacecrafts, providing the private sector access to¬†space. Knowing that they needed the best avionic¬†manufacturer to create this innovative spacecraft,¬†Virgin Galactic partnered with Scaled Composites¬†to create these historic spaceships that use an¬†environmentally responsive launch system.
Given this incredible opportunity, Scaled Composites¬†visualized the possibilities of commercial spaceflight¬†and began the burgeoning process of ultimately¬†designing the future for space travel. Scaled had the¬†capable knowledge and experience behind building¬†the actual spacecraft, but needed a displays system¬†throughout the craft‚Äôs instrumentation that met the¬†same caliber of their quality designs.¬†When evaluating software to display the quality of¬†avionics in these spacecrafts, Scaled perused the¬†market for a single display development toolkit that¬†could support prototyping, training, and embedding¬†capabilities. DiSTI‚Äôs GL Studio, an award-winning¬†suite of tools that enable developers to build high fidelity¬†graphics and fully¬†interactive controls,¬†was ultimately selected¬†in 2006.
The VMS Eve Aircraft¬†and the VSS Enterprise¬†Spaceship were¬†designed with the¬†general public in mind,¬†giving the ability of¬†ease in flight. The VSS¬†Enterprise Spaceship¬†is the first of five¬†suborbital spacecrafts¬†being constructed for commercial use. The VMS Eve¬†Aircraft acts as the mothership and launch platform¬†for the VSS Enterprise, which boosts the spaceship¬†into orbit at an altitude of over 50,000 feet. The¬†VMS Aircraft can also operate as a zero-g aircraft for¬†passenger training or microgravity science flights. It¬†can handle missions in high-altitude testing or be used¬†to launch essential payloads other than SpaceShipTwo¬†aircrafts.
Scaled Composite‚Äôs engineers implemented the¬†intuitive GL Studio software¬†tool to rapidly prototype the¬†complex avionics displays¬†and seamlessly integrate¬†them into the training¬†simulator for extended¬†human factors testing.¬†After its success, the same¬†displays were generated into¬†the VMS Eve Aircraft and the¬†VSS Enterprise Spaceship,¬†supporting the prototyping,¬†testing, training, and¬†embedded models for each¬†vehicle.
With the GL Studio-based displays integrated into¬†the spacecraft, the VMS Eve has performed over 40¬†successful flights since December 21, 2008. GL Studio¬†was used for the avionics interface development and¬†its 3D capabilities made it possible to develop displays¬†for the carrier, spacecraft and ground equipment.
The VMS Eve carried the VSS Enterprise on its inaugural¬†flight on March 22, 2010. The inaugural solo flight of¬†the spaceship was October 10, 2010. Before, a person¬†had to have years of intensive training to enter space,¬†but soon anyone can have access to have a suborbital¬†journey.