Black Horizon

Challenges

Many warfighters struggle to visualize the space domain and understand how satellites maneuver in that domain. Potential adversaries are developing counter-capabilities to degrade American advantages in space. Our space operators require immersive training tools that help them understand what they need to do to deny our adversaries those capabilities and continue to operate in space. Air University and MGMWERX issued a challenge to design an app to provide an immersive training experience. Sonalysts was selected as the winner of the challenge.

Solution

BLACK HORIZON is a mobile-friendly spacecraft engagement simulation developed for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force that integrates an immersive storyline, quick mission cycling, realistic graphics and physics, and instructional scaffolding to teach the complexities of space vehicle maneuvers in a contested environment.

The player, as a member of the secret multi-national BLACK HORIZON organization, must first learn to control individual satellites, then constellations of sensors, communications, and hunter-killer vehicles. Players learn and apply increasingly complex orbital maneuver skills as they advance through four eras of play: The Space Race, The Shuttle Age, The Modern Age, and The Future.

Detailed instructional design provides a solid training foundation to support the BLACK HORIZON storyline and mission progression. Each mission is designed to exercise skills that were identified as critical for space warfighters, and mission goals are tied to learning objectives that reflect those skills. The accomplishment of goals reflects learning objective mastery.

The Space Training Acquisition Office (SMC STAO) is now funding further development and training use of BLACK HORIZON.

Benefits

"Through the MGMWERX challenge, the team was able to quickly solve an Air Force problem set," said Lt. Col. Edward G. Ferguson, a Blue Horizons fellow at Air University. "In a matter of months, Airmen have a tool in their hands to begin addressing operational needs."

"Our goal is to enable a result that is faster, better, and cheaper than that of the traditional acquisition cycle," said Steve Werner, MGMWERX director.