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Smithsonian’s First VR Exhibit Puts You ‘Inside the Astronaut’s Helmet’

The Smithsonian launched its first virtual reality attraction at The National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. The four-person ride, called the “VR Transporter,” tests if you have what it takes to be an astronaut.

“Most of us can only dream about being in space, but now Smithsonian visitors can have the sensation of actually going there,” said Zarth Bertsch, theaters and entertainment director at The Smithsonian, in a press release.

The ride’s motion platform pitches, elevates and rolls so you feel like you’re floating through space from the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station. Users wear unnamed headsets that render 400 million pixels per second with dual OLED displays and a 90hz refresh rate.

It “puts guests right inside the astronaut’s helmet,” Bertsch said.

The VR Transporter is a “permanent installation” at the National Air and Space Museum’s Simulator Gallery and will run “indefinitely,” a Smithsonian spokesperson told VRScout.

Smithsonian VR

Pulseworks, an Atlanta-based motion theater company, built the VR Transporter for the Smithsonian. The company, which has a “longstanding relationship” with the museum, is working with the Smithsonian to install more VR attractions, a Smithsonian spokesperson told VRScout.

“The VR Transporter offers a ‘wow’ moment for museum visitors unlike any other, and will allow guests to imagine themselves in almost any space or aviation scenario,” said Raj Deshpande, Pulseworks CEO, in a press release.

VR Transporter Smithsonian

Although the exhibit is the museum’s first foray into VR, we can expect to see more VR attractions “quite soon,” the Smithsonian spokesperson said.

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