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How to experience life on the International Space Station

Space Explorers: THE INFINITE is an immersive experience at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Posted at 8:28 AM, Jun 05, 2024


  • Run time is approximately 45 minutes (35 minutes of which are in VR).
  • The experience is accessible to those who are 8 years of age or older.
  • Tickets: $45 to $50 for adults, $35 to $40 for students, $25 to $30 for kids ages eight to 12.

A new, first-of-its-kind, virtual reality experience is blasting off this summer at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. It's a space odyssey where you explore a virtual 3D replica of the International Space Station (ISS). Space Explorers: THE INFINITE boldly connects you with 360-degree cameras, so you can see exactly what the astronauts experience.
Last weekend, I invited my bestie's twins, Enza and Alexa, from Jupiter and headed to a preview of the immersive exhibit.

We grabbed from a conveyor belt our virtual reality headset called an Oculus, which gets its information from a floor with green dots laid out in a ballroom. Felix Lajeunesse, chief creative officer of Felix & Paul Studios, is the attraction's director.

"So, that is really a giant tracking floor," Lajeunesse said. "It is made for us to be able to identify precisely where people are inside of the space, so that you have a perfectly tracked and fluid experience as you explore the International Space Station."

I explained to him how disoriented I was when I first put on the headset.

"So you know, it's black, and I'd like having trouble keeping my balance, because I'm not quite used to it yet," I said. "Is that something that's common for people?"

Lajeunesse told me it takes a brief moment to adjust.

"A lot of people that come here have never done a virtual reality experience in their lives, and so the first time they put it on, they need to first start walking," he said. "Sometimes it's a big leap for people but after first step, second step, you feel completely comfortable."

How do you avoid bumping into each other?

For 30 minutes you look for orbs and activate them to get a 360 video experience.

"Every time you actually activate a luminous orb, you see a scene that was filmed in space," Lajeunesse said. "Every time that scene is finished, there's an object that appears and you can play with that object in microgravity."

There are 60 different orb experiences. It's sort of like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

"It's exactly like that. You sort of walk around the International Space Station in any order you want, you go anywhere you want, and you discover those luminous orbs," Lajeunesse said. "You activate them and they reveal a 3D 360 cinematic VR scene that was filmed in space on board the real space station by the crew."

"You and I will probably will never go to space. And so far, so little people went really to space. So, I think this experience is really the closest you'll get to ever go into space," added Myriam Achard, chief of new media partnerships and PR at PHI. "Maybe the future generations will. There will be more people going go into space."

All the astronauts who worked on the project have experienced the virtual reality experience.

What is the overview effect?

"To be in this experience to have the sense of presence of being fully immersed in that environment makes them feel like they're going back to where they live," Lajeunesse said. "So, it's a pretty profound emotional experience for them."

"But this experience, recreates really, you know, some astronaut that came to the infinite in Montreal or in Houston," Achard said. "When they removed the VR headset, some of them were crying, because they said you draw us back. I said, goosebumps so I think what we were able to create is really like is incredible."

When you first come into the experience, you see these displays with astronauts that served on the ISS during the project.

"Those are the crew members, the astronauts that participated to the creation of the experience both as protagonist and as the onboard production crew, because they were on space and we were on the ground," Lajeunesse said.

The experience lasts 30 minutes then you make your way into a chair with your headset on. I was uncertain on how to sit but I eventually did it and felt "safe."

What does a hurricane look like from space?

"And then once you're safe sitting in your chair, we show you the finale of the show, which is a spacewalk, the first ever spacewalk that was filmed in cinematic virtual reality with two astronauts in the vacuum of space, as they were doing a repair missions on the outside of the ISS," Lajeunesse said.

"We've never seen something like that. We've never experienced something like that," Achard said.

As for the twins, Enza and Alexa, what did they think?

"It was fun!," they said in unison.

"I liked how it looked like we were in space," Enza said.

Space Explorers at the Kravis Center

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