What is the real value of digital twin simulations for operations in space

Key points

    Ensuring space travel security via digital twin

    Enhancing space shuttles via virtual twinning

    Maximizing space operation monitoring accuracy

By Carlos Miskinis
Digital twin research expert
Mar 2018

Contrary to all previous industries we have talked about that should embrace the capabilities of simulation technology, the space industry is by far the most adaptive one of them all. The equipment that is being used in order to execute successful space journeys and operations exceeds the expectations of even the most competent engineers out there. Despite all of the advancements in this sector, virtual twin technology will do nothing but enhance the work of astronauts even further, helping them ensure the safety of space traveling, ensure the success of space shuttle journeys and provide an extra layer of security in order to prevent failure. Due to our extensive knowledge in the tech industry, we are in a solid position to make a few accurate stipulations regarding how the concept of physical and virtual twin will impact the future progress we make in space. Let’s talk about that.


a photo of Nasa using virtual software for astronaut training


Ensuring space travel security using virtual twin simulations


At any given time before, during or after a space journey there are 1001 things that might go wrong. Because of this, astronauts are relentlessly focused and prepared for every single variable that might turn the wrong way and cause a catastrophic scenario when they venture through the orbit. However, what if 20%, 50% or even 100% of those potential risks could be quarantined and therefore avoided?


What if space shuttle pilots and all the other team members could rest assured that the potential scenario of failure is mathematically impossible and that they are bound to have a safe travel experience? For the average person who does not yet have enough understanding or doesn’t have “all the dots connected” about digital twins, the effort to accurately predict the future and eliminate failure conditions surrounding space travel might seem futile, however, it is more than possible to accomplish.


By correctly utilizing virtual twin simulations and fully digitalizing space shuttles, their stations and final destinations along with the journeys themselves, developers will be able to manufacture hundreds (if not thousands) of scenarios with different variables included in them to witness what will happen if different factors and variables are in place. Now, although it sounds complex, imagining how this technology would work in reality is not “rocket science” (well, technically it is because we are talking about space after all but you get my point) and it can be illustrated with a simple example:

Part 2

Extending space shuttle travel time and enhancing monitoring accuracy

Digital twin will greatly enhance space shuttle safety and space travel efficiency

We have already gone through this example in our live conference called digital twin for space, however, let’s suppose that the government is funding yet another space journey to Mars and in order to make the campaign a success, engineers must plan through the entire journey and ensure that everything will go exactly as they plan. A virtual twin that is connected to the rocket would simulate its journey and monitor crucial factors such as fuel combustion, air friction strength, heat levels and more.


using space simulations for training


Developing new space shuttle technology by utilizing the digital twin interface


As with any industry out there, development is a crucial process that determines the progress of any organization out there, however, it requires capital. But what if we can form our actions in the real world by trusting a virtual one? Mistakes in space shuttle development can cost hundreds of millions, however, by utilizing digital twin simulations, development work would become frictionless, the airship prototypes would get beta-tested in virtual programs and built in the real world, with no failure conditions included.


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