British astronaut Tim Peake to address OPITO Global Conference

Source: press release, 17 September 2019

How simulation technologies are helping astronauts get mission ready – British astronaut Major Tim Peake will give the keynote speech at the OPITO Global Conference
How simulation technologies are helping astronauts get mission ready – British astronaut Major Tim Peake will give the keynote speech at the OPITO Global Conference (photo: Tim Peake)

British astronaut Major Tim Peake will give the keynote speech at the OPITO Global Conference on 6 November in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, sharing how he prepared for a six-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

Peake, who became the first British astronaut to walk in space, credits extensive virtual reality training during a 10-year programme with the European Space Agency for helping him to be ready for the unique and demanding experience.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, OPITO Global is the only international event focusing on energy industry safety and competency. Industry leaders and experts will share their insights on Safety 4.0, exploring how technology is helping to improve safety, health and wellbeing.

Tim launched into space in the Soyuz spacecraft on 15 December 2015 and within the first month of boarding the ISS embarked on a spacewalk to repair the station’s power supply. He also helped dock two spacecraft and took part in more than 250 scientific experiments.

Peake focused on educational outreach through his mission, digitally connecting with the public back on Earth and engaging with 2 million schoolchildren through a variety of projects.

He says, “My extensive training, particularly using virtual reality simulators, was undoubtedly the best preparation for launching into space and living there for six months. In space we speak about how you need to sweat the small stuff. If you’ve tested scenarios repeatedly it means you can quickly react to situations.”

Peake’s preparation included survival courses in extreme environments. He spent a week in an underground cave system in Italy and 12 days under water, learning to work in near weightless conditions. Using a fully simulated high-definition model of the space station, he practised tasks and learned to use a robotic arm to help dock spacecraft visiting the station.

He adds, “Our training helped us appreciate what it felt like to be cold, hungry and under pressure. You understand your capabilities and can be prepared for every eventuality. In any high-risk environment, preparing for the worst makes the reality easier. When you’ve spent hours simulating every possible outcome, you feel ready to respond as a team.”

As well as highlighting the training and operational aspects of life on the space station, Tim will give delegates a visual journey of his space walk and an orbit of the Earth.

John McDonald, CEO of OPITO says, “There are real similarities in how the energy and space industries prepare people to operate safely in demanding and extreme environments. We can learn a great deal from Tim’s inspiring space experience, how simulation technology helped him get mission ready and how these new techniques can be used in energy sector.”

OPITO Global this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, with over 400 delegates from Asia Pacific, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 6 November 2019. The event is free to attend, encouraging learning and knowledge sharing to support industry safety.

OPTIO Global is sponsored for a second year by global safety training, training management and competence management solutions company RelyOn Nutec. For more information on the conference as well as sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, visit the website.