The new XCOR Lynx simulator
XCOR Aerospace announced that it has completed work on its Lynx simulator system, built by Protobox LLC in conjunction with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
This simulator will provide XCOR invaluable training as the test pilot team prepares for Lynx flight test.
“Dedicated aerodynamic modeling of the vehicle in the LAMARS (Large Amplitude Multi-Mode Aerospace Research Simulator) at AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) in Dayton, Ohio has provided XCOR with valuable insight into Lynx spacecraft performance and handling qualities.” said XCOR Chief Executive Officer Jay Gibson. “As a result, we contracted with Protobox to provide an in-house version of the simulator at XCOR’s Hangar 61,” in Mojave, California.
AFRL-developed modeling and simulation software, including a Government Open Source Image Generation (IG) software package known as “SubrScene”, was integrated into a mockup Lynx cabin and nose at Hangar 61. Protobox provided integrated flight and engine controls, along with a representative pilot’s instrument panel. Four 80”, high-resolution LCD screens that mimic the pilot’s expected field of view throughout the mission profile provide a 180 degree field of view. A control station behind the simulator can create many different flight scenarios. It also has the ability to alter a variety of vehicle performance parameters that will help train the crew in hypothetical emergency situations.
Besides validating the simulation model of the Lynx vehicle, writing operational procedures and performing flight test rehearsals, our pilots are giving feedback on the pilot vehicle interface (PVI) during their flights in the simulator. Through this, engineers can optimize the interface design based on true pilot insight and simulation experience.
“The sim is a great asset and has awesome graphics,” remarked XCOR Experimental Test Pilot Harry Van Hulten. “I thought I was flying an F-16 test mission in the skies over Mojave and Edwards AFB again. This will significantly accelerate development of modelling and simulation and operational procedures.”
The simulator was made possible through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) that allowed XCOR test pilots and engineers to utilize AFRL’s unique simulator. The LAMARS is maintained and operated by the Aerospace Vehicles Technology Assessment & Simulation (AVTAS) Branch of AFRL. The day-to-day maintenance and operation of the LAMARS simulator is supported by Protobox LLC, which then built XCOR’s in-house version.
“We look forward to further collaboration with AFRL, AVTAS and Protobox. This is just the beginning,” Gibson noted.
Picture 1. XCOR’s Experimental Test pilot Harry Van Hulten in the Simulator
Picture 2. XCOR’s senior test pilot Brian Binnie and senior engineer Erik Anderson performing a Lynx mission in the Simulator