This report covers three different topics that have influenced and defined simulation. Prior to 1965 the Space Race, with its lofty goals of orbital missions and lunar landings, required the development of simulators that were of sophistication previously unheard of. Beginning in the 1980’s simulation continued to mature, especially in networking, and achieved measureable results starting with the Canadian Armor Trophy Competition in 1987 and culminating in the success of the United States and its allies in Operation Desert Storm. Finally, due to a push by the United States military, the field of medical simulation has seen huge growth since the 1980’s and has helped to save countless lives. These three topics, among many others, have contributed to massive growth in the simulation field. With simulation it is possible to plan, practice and analyze at a much lower cost than was previously possible.
THE SPACE RACE
Beginning in 1959 when the Project Mercury astronauts began training in Langley, VA it was immediately apparent that unlike typical testing where one can test and then make adjustments, to get an American in space meant that every possible contingency had to be thought out in advance. For America’s first venture into manned space flight, examining every contingency meant developing simulators that were on a whole new level of sophistication. The simulators that were developed for Mercury were state of the art, they featured analog computers with fully functioning displays and gauges that reacted to input from the astronauts; “when an astronaut fires thrusters, the simulator must activate readouts and lights showing the thrusters firing, fuel reducing, velocity changes, and also show movement in the scene outside the cabin window.” (Tomayko) Simulators were also created on top of hydraulics to simulate the motion an astronaut would experience during a mission. “NASA required hundreds of training hours in high fidelity simulators....