Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Martin R. Stytz, PhD


The new Global Engagement vision places increased emphasis on the Air Force's ability to control and exploit space. A military spaceplane combining reliable access to space, high operational tempos, and multi-mission capabilities is in conceptual stages of development. Virtual environment technology provides an opportunity to investigate system requirements and unconventional interface paradigms for this unique vehicle. A virtual environment architecture and design based on support for a rapid prototyping development process, separation of concerns, and user interface development is presented. The rapid prototyping process allowed management of changing requirements via an evolutionary approach to implementation. Separation of the activities performed by the virtual environment into classes enabled high performance through computational distribution, prevented modifications from rippling through the system and impeding development, and promoted reuse of computation and geometric models. A technique was developed to reduce the flimmer induced by the large spatial extent of the virtual environment. The architecture succeeded in providing a flexible framework for the AFIT Virtual Spaceplane. The Virtual Spaceplane is a large-scale virtual environment within which an immersed user commands a military spaceplane through atmospheric and orbital regimes to complete several simulated missions via an unconventional virtual interface.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number