NASA ‘Holoported’ a Surgeon Onto the ISS

3 min readApr 20, 2022

by Adrianna Nine

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(Photo: Thomas Pesquet, European Space Agency)As it’s wont to do, NASA has taken the stuff of our sci-fi dreams and made it reality. The agency has revealed that it used ‘holoportation’ technology to cast a surgeon onto the ISS last fall, when he was really present here on Earth.

If you haven’t heard of holoportation before, you’re not the only one. The term (a combination of “hologram” and “teleportation”) refers to a newer capture technique that “allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted live anywhere in real time,” according to NASA flight surgeon Dr. Josef Schmid. The technology can be stacked with mixed reality displays like Microsoft’s HoloLens, allowing the user to see and interact with the holoported individual as if they were actually sharing the same space.

(Photo: Thomas Pesquet, European Space Agency)

NASA used the technique last October to holoport Schmid onto the ISS along with AEXA Aerospace’s CEO, Dr. Fernando De La Peña Llaca. The European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet, who was physically aboard the ISS, used Microsoft Hololens Kinect camera and a PC fitted with custom AEXA software to “receive” a live, 3D image of Schmid, De La Peña, and their teams. Together they performed the first-ever holoportation handshake between individuals located on Earth and in space.

Microsoft has been working on holoportation for a few years now, having first showcased the technology in 2016. The company originally planned for holoportation to be used for advertising and medical training. Now, it’s clear the possibilities are much bigger.

“We’ll use this for our private medical conferences, private psychiatric conferences, private family conferences and to bring VIPs onto the space station to visit with astronauts,” Schmid said in NASA’s statement. The agency says it will someday combine holoportation with augmented reality to enable tele-mentoring, which would provide an added layer of safety (and peace of mind) during critical operations. Physically bringing a…


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