Apollo 11 experience updated (Video)

by Ian Hamilton • July 22nd, 2015

A new build of the “Apollo 11” experience from Immersive VR Education shows significant progress recreating the historic mission.

The download available to Kickstarter backers, who donated nearly $42,000 in March, shows a series of six scenes beginning with an inspirational speech by John F. Kennedy and ending with a moon walk.

Here is a video of the current build:

The level of detail added in the four months since the project launched is substantial, with high quality flybys of the Earth and moon and detailed ship controls inside a cramped cockpit. As the rocket achieves orbit you can look out a window at the sun and moon or lean over to the left to peer out a window for a good look at the Earth below. There are even reflections of the astronauts visible in the windows.

The experience makes excellent use of leaning for increased presence. For example, the opening scene in a ’60s-style red half-egg chair lets you watch Kennedy’s speech on a TV to the left or projected on the wall to the right. You can lean forward to look around the sides of the chair at a lamp or posters on the wall.

The experience is produced by David Whelan in partnership with Nick Pittom and Drash. It represents the first experience from Ireland-based Immersive VR Education, which is in the early stages of developing an education system called Lecture VR loosely modeled on the one imagined in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One novel.

Whelan recently showed the experience to NASA astronaut Charlie Duke, who walked on the moon with Apollo 16. During the Apollo 11 mission he talked with the astronauts over the radio from mission control. (His voice can be heard in the experience.)

UPDATE: Here is Duke trying the experience. “That’s really something.”

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