HoloLens headsets blown up in SpaceX mishap

UPDATE: NASA's unmanned rocket doesn't reach the ISS
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Update: The story below was reported last week. Unfortunately, the SpaceX CRS-7 Falcon 9 rocket didn't make it to the ISS.

"We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station," read a NASA statement. "However, the astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months. We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight. The commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles. We will continue operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we continue to use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system."

There were two HoloLens headsets on board. Oh dear.

Original story:

Microsoft's augmented reality headset HoloLens is being flown up to the International Space Station this weekend, which could make it the first consumer wearable in space.

Project Sidekick (because 'Project Minecraft in Space' doesn't sound so futuristic) is designed to give astronauts augmented reality assistance, to help them fix complex equipment and communicate back to Earth while performing tasks.

Hands on: Microsoft HoloLens review

According the press release HoloLens is being used for its Remote Expert Mode "where an astronaut can have a holographic Skype window projected in their field of view, so a technician back on Earth can guide them through complex task".

Yes, you read that right. International Space Station technicians will be fixing potentially critical life supporting systems using Skype. In the last team meeting Wareable had over Skype, we couldn't even coherently decide which Apple Watch picture to use thanks to the interference. Good luck with that, ISS.

A second Procedure Mode "overlays animated holographic illustrations displayed on top of the objects with which the crew is interacting." If they can stop playing Minecraft for five minutes, like the guy below.

The aim is to reduce the amount of training required on the ground by giving crew more support when they're in space.

"HoloLens and other virtual and mixed reality devices are cutting edge technologies that could help drive future exploration and provide new capabilities to the men and women conducting critical science on the International Space Station," said Sam Scimemi, director of the ISS program at NASA Headquarters in Washington

Essential reading: Best VR and AR headsets

"This capability could lessen the amount of training that future crews will require and could be an invaluable resource for missions deep into our solar system, where communication delays complicate difficult operations," said NASA.

The pair of HoloLens headsets will be blasting off into space on Sunday aboard a SpaceX Dragon resupply mission.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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