In space, Thomas Pesquet will be able to “teleport” by bicycle to Earth

Estimated read time 3 min read

To combat the negative effects of weightlessness, and keep fit during his next mission, Thomas Pesquet will practice cycling sessions in particular. These will be embellished with the device of a French start-up that will allow it to “teleport” on real urban or country routes.

Thomas Pesquet will experiment with a system based on virtual reality giving the impression of pedaling on the roads of France while being 400 km above the Earth in the International Space stationinternational Space Station. The Frenchman is scheduled to fly to the ISS on April 22, 2021, for a new 6-month long mission.

Thomas Pesquet will have the honor of commanding the Space Station during his next stay

Between two experiences, Thomas Pesquet will have to take care of himself in order to return to Earth having lost as little muscle mass as possible. For this, he intends to do sports and in particular cycling. A modern process will help him to pedal while having the impression of being well on Earth, starting from a virtual reality headset (Oculus Quest) and a technology, called Fit Immersion, developed by the French start-up, Perform VR.

Every day, the members of the ISS spend about two hours doing sports, which is absolutely essential to keep their muscles in shape in an environment without the slightest gravity. However, virtual reality today offers new perspectives and makes this activity even more attractive.

In total immersion on real routes

The idea is to be able to do sports (or simulate) like on Earth even when you are so far away from it. The device set up thus makes it possible to simulate a bike ride on real routes. If everything goes according to plan, Thomas Pesquet will therefore have the sweet sensation of pedaling through the streets of Paris or those of Saint Petersburg, but also of climbing the Gineste Pass, near Marseille, all more than 400 km above the Earth. Each session lasts about 30 minutes.

The French start-up Perform VR specializes in sports training based on 360-degree video capture of a very real environment. Thanks to this technology, it therefore becomes possible to “teleport” while doing physical andphysical exercise. In addition to the virtual reality headset and in order to be able to record his performances well, Thomas Pesquet has all a dedicated equipment, such as pedals emitting a power sensorsensor.

It should be noted that this will be one of the 12 French experiments operated by Thomas Pesquet for the Center for assistance in the development of microgravity activities and space operations (Cadmos) as part of this new mission.

The virtual reality headset with which Thomas Pesquet will carry out his training sessions on board the ISS. © Perform VR

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