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Slingshot Aerospace launches educational space simulation tool

The tool brings the space domain into the digital world, and is designed for workforce preparation, training, and education

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Slingshot Aerospace, Inc. has announced Slingshot Laboratory, an intuitive and interactive space simulation tool designed to bring space understanding within reach—regardless of technical expertise, is now available for customers. Slingshot Laboratory lowers the barrier of entry to space education and organisational training making it possible to inspire the next generation and prepare the workforce to meet the demands of the New Space economy.

The tool is basic enough for novice users with no scientific background because it was designed with ease-of-use in mind and packaged with expertly curated content, which is available as a web-based application. At the same time, the technology advances alongside the user, and can be leveraged to sharpen the skills of the most advanced astrodynamicist.

Slingshot Laboratory: The Next Gen Space Simulation & Training Platform

Slingshot Aerospace tapped the world’s leading Hollywood visualisation studio THE THIRD FLOOR to help create compelling interactive visualisations for Slingshot Laboratory, which teaches students and professionals the fundamentals of astrodynamics by providing a visual representation of complex mathematics and theories. This removes the initial complexities of the curriculum and provides a modern and engaging way to learn and train spaceflight and orbital scenarios.

“The growing space industry needs top talent but many are not trained in fundamental spaceflight astrodynamics, which creates a barrier to entry. We’ve created a tool that enables companies to incorporate astrodynamics into their training curriculum, blasting the doors wide open on recruiting,” says Melanie Stricklan, co-founder and CEO, Slingshot Aerospace. “At the same time, young students who are interested in space can more easily understand complex methodologies through visual and collaborative learning empowering them to develop concepts through investigative and explorative means—making space for everyone!”

Workforce preparation & organisational training

As space continues to democratize, so does the demand for space operators and engineers. Commercial companies are struggling to fill roles that require an astrodynamics background. With Slingshot Laboratory, companies can now incorporate the curriculum into their in-house training programs. Users can learn about satellites and their behavior within the platform, and quickly gain the knowledge and skillset to explore space fundamentals and easily build their own orbits based on accurate mathematical properties. With Slingshot Laboratory, companies looking to tackle the New Space economy don’t have to rely on hiring increasingly hard-to-come-by employees with an astrodynamics background, ultimately broadening the recruitment pipeline.

Education

The traditional tools for astrodynamic analysis are largely targeted for domain experts executing real-life space missions or space research, leaving basic learning as an afterthought. Learning to work with such complex tools often requires a substantial investment of time exceeding the core objectives of a course or training program. In contrast to these applications, Slingshot Laboratory lowers the barrier of entry to allow more students at the undergraduate, high school, and middle school level to quickly and intuitively begin engaging in interactive space scenarios as a complement to their curriculum or STEM program. The tool takes students on a journey from learning about space and scientific concepts, to building out their own missions.

Slingshot Aerospace recognises that a robust and prepared workforce must begin at a foundational level and has partnered with StemAcademy, a school dedicated to students who have an aptitude for STEM-related fields. Slingshot Laboratory will be leveraged as part of a high school curriculum to help students visualize the relationships of objects in space.

“The future of work demands that students be trained in a variety of technical areas and be able to think critically and analytically in order to solve contemporary problems,” says Dr. Ellis Crasnow, director of STEM community partnerships and special projects, StemAcademy. “Slingshot Laboratory’s immersive, virtual classroom enables instructors and high school students to collaborate, model and visualise real-life scenarios with physics accuracy. The educational tool is a cutting-edge technology that is invaluable to any student who is interested in space and space exploration.”

Features & Functionality

Slingshot Laboratory enables an agile learning environment that emphasizes flexibility and speed to provide a collaborative and continuous approach to learning. It allows users to interactively adjust orbit parameters and receive instant visual feedback on the impact of their explorations. It also introduces multiple orbital perturbations with a simple digital on/off switch and dynamic visualization and manipulation of timelines. Users have complete control over their virtual environment, empowering them to learn foundational theories that will lead to better and faster comprehension.

These features can be used to easily create orbits; learn the laws of physics in space, how it impacts objects in orbit, and how it differs from physics on earth; quickly and easily build complex scenarios that illustrate the fundamental tenets of concepts such as orbital transfers, rendezvous, constellations, conjunction modeling and more—all within a state-of-the-art, immersive visualization environment.

In addition, Slingshot Laboratory provides a premier level of software support and includes engaging content with robust in-app tutorials and introductory videos empowering users with a self-paced experience. The technology’s functionality becomes more advanced as the user’s knowledge of astrodynamics increases.

Slingshot Laboratory is accessible from the web and mobile devices, mitigating complex setups and the need for specific downloads or hardware to run the program. Slingshot Aerospace deploys, maintains, and automatically updates the software, making it ideal for large workgroups, organizations, and classrooms to collaborate and train together. Slingshot Laboratory provides superior, secured customer experiences by leveraging AWS services, including AWS Fargate on ECS, AWS S3, and AWS Elastic Load Balancing for seamless site hosting and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for high-speed data storage.

Slingshot Aerospace initially secured a contract to develop Slingshot Laboratory for the U.S. Space Force, and delivered an initial version in July 2021. The company identified a broader use of the technology, and is now providing it to commercial customers. Since inception, Slingshot Aerospace has seen rapid growth by earning millions of dollars in revenue from early customer contracts.


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