Robust and high-performance visualizations are especially important during trajectory optimization for interplanetary and asteroid missions. Enabling visual interactive trajectory design (VITD) in GMAT allows users to 'drag and move' trajectories intuitively, which greatly reduces the time required to create optimal trajectories for complex mission design problems. Furthermore, combining VITD with VR technologies such as the Oculus Rift and Power Gloves creates a never-before-seen application for mission design; designers now fully engage their visual analysis expertise to design the energy-constrained trajectories needed for asteroid tours such as Lucy, low-thrust CubeSat missions such as Lunar Flashlight, and Discovery-class planetary missions such as DAVINCI. Therefore, our integration of OpenFrames will make GMAT even more effective as a primary mission design tool for NASA's upcoming flagship Discovery-class missions in which cutting-edge trajectories must be designed to meet increasingly complex science requirements.
Small space startup businesses will also benefit from the advanced mission design technologies made possible by our research. For example, CubeSat missions are becoming increasingly affordable for small businesses, due in part to technology demonstrations from NASA's public CubeQuest challenge. GMAT will enable the design of low-cost CubeSat ventures such as asteroid mining and planetary science missions, for which low-thrust limitations necessitate designing complex long-duration trajectories. Our implementation of visual interactive trajectory design greatly reduces this effort by allowing mission designers to visually create and intuitively alter the trajectories, and immediately see how the changes affect the mission. Additionally, the VR industry is getting ready to explode. It is reasonable to predict that in the near future, mission designers will want immersive simulations that have, until now, only been seen in science fiction. By integrating advanced visualization and VR technologies such as Oculus Rift and Power Gloves, we enable GMAT to bridge the gap between science fiction and reality. Furthermore, the low cost of these VR technologies, coupled with the cutting-edge visualizations we implement in GMAT, will eliminate several of the major hurdles associated with space mission design and open the door for small businesses to create novel missions.