Artemis is a NASA program to send humans back to the Moon. As you may have heard on the news, the first Artemis mission (Artemis I) is scheduled for launch on Monday (Aug 29) morning. This is a very big deal for human space flight. What you may not know is how big of a role OpenSceneGraph has played in the Artemis mission design and operations.
The Artemis I mission will send the Orion spacecraft on a 40 day mission to the Moon and back. The trajectory that Orion will fly was designed using a NASA software called Copernicus, which has 3D visualizations powered by - you guessed it - OSG. Not only that, but Copernicus is also being used for realtime operational support after launch, so OSG will there in the Artemis mission control room!
And it doesn't end there. Artemis I includes 10 tiny spacecraft, called CubeSats, that will perform secondary missions to glean information about how deep space affects organisms and systems during long missions, e.g. to the Moon and Mars. One of those CubeSats is called CuSP, which will travel 4 million kilometers away (10x the Moon's distance) and with a goal of better understanding solar wind. The CuSP trajectory was designed by another NASA software called GMAT, whose 3D graphics are also provided by OSG! GMAT is also being used for operational support of CuSP, so OSG will be all over the CuSP mission operations center too!
Being able to visualize complex spacecraft trajectories as they are being computed and as they are being flown is an important aspect of modern space mission design and operations, and OSG has been an important part of that. I wanted to thank Robert and all the other OSG devs for what they've created and tirelessly improved over the past 20+ years. And I look forward to eventually porting Copernicus and GMAT over to VSG!
Director of R&D, Emergent Space Technologies Inc.
Visualization dev lead, NASA Copernicus and NASA GMAT software.
Trajectory design lead, NASA CuSP mission.