The Mission Update blog provides background and information on the latest developments across all aspects of the ISDC's mission.

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Remote simulators are now available that allow crew to get valuable hands-on time with vessel systems without leaving home.

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Crew training will be critical to mission success, but technical manuals and operating procedures aren’t enough. Simulating deep space operating conditions as closely as possible will allow the crew to go beyond basic technical knowledge and begin developing tactics and strategies.

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Even more important than the technology and resources behind Endeavour’s construction is the preparation of the crew who will carry out the ISDC's deep space mission.

Every successful space program has recognised the training and preparedness of its crews as critical to the success of the mission. This has typically been achieved by beginning training and simulation programs well in advance of completion of construction and the ISDC is doing the same.

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Meet the flight operations console - more commonly referred to as “the helm”. It’s a multipurpose workstation that will allow a Quartermaster to fly the ship across three navigation modes. The current focus is on the most commonly used mode – impulse navigation.

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Maintaining awareness of what’s happening in space around the ship is one of the most critical functions performed by the tactical team. Unlike in science fiction other vessels don’t just automatically appear on “long range sensors”. They can only be detected and tracked by the radiation they emit, ideally before they have a chance to detect your own ship.

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Trainee quartermasters (helm operators) are now able to experience what it will be like to have a starship under their control. Engine prototyping has provided sufficient data to enable simulations of vessel maneuvering at impulse (sublight) speeds.

“We were anticipating the experience to be more like operating a large submarine,” says Master Chief Sonya Akakios, the ISDC’s most senior quartermaster. “What we’re actually seeing isn’t too far off that, with the most obvious difference being momentum.”

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With design and prototyping of key vessel systems well advanced, attention is being turned to the skills and training Endeavour’s crew will need to carry out our deep space mission. The most fundamental skills are maneuvering the ship and maintaining full operational awareness of the surrounding space.

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How many crew does Endeavour need to successfully carry out her deep-space mission? This is a question being asked throughout the vessel development team, not least because they need to ensure room for everyone to sleep. The question is also critical to the design of vessel systems that will need crew to support them. Automation and AI built into the command and control system significantly reduces the number of crew needed to operate most systems, but there must still be sufficient crew to cope if systems malfunction or are damaged and manual intervention is required.

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The development of propulsion, navigation and tactical systems has begun to cast light on what combat in space will look like. System teams have shared their thoughts on what might happen if Endeavour goes to battlestations.

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Being able to assess the status of a system at a glance is vital for managing the complex systems aboard Endeavour. While most core functions are automated, there’s still a lot for the crew to keep an eye on.

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