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How many people will Endeavour need to make it into deep space? That’s a question several teams have been working on recently, for a number of reasons.

It’s a question of crucial concern to the vessel design team, who need to balance the number of people necessary to operate the ship’s systems with the amount of living space needed to ensure safety and comfort on long cruises. Endeavour’s systems will be complex but many functions can be managed by artificial intelligence built into the command and control systems, reducing the number of crew needed.

It’s also a question of interest to recruiters, who must decide who needs to be recruited when and what training support will be necessary. A relatively small number of the best trained will go on to become Endeavour’s bridge crew, appearing on screen and leading the mission into deep space. But many roles will also be filled by virtual crew. These will be participants watching the action from home where they will operate consoles and monitor systems, analyse sensor data and provide advice to the bridge crew.

Virtual crew will need to be trained on the systems they use, and work is underway on creating online programs incorporating video tutorials, online exercises and mentoring. In reality, crew would probably train for months or years before they were proficient enough to join the mission, but in our simulated universe training timelines are a lot shorter. A few minutes over a couple of evenings should be enough to get most virtual crew on their way.

Who Will Be First?

The first crew to be recruited and trained will be for the navigation and tactical departments – the teams that maneuver the ship through space and keep an eye on who else is in the area. Simulated hunt/kill exercises will begin soon which will put these teams through their paces, tracking down and “killing” opponents while protecting their own mission goals. This is a common type of naval exercise and will build up the operational and tactical experience of teams on these very critical functions before they face the real thing.

In the meantime, work continues building out Endeavour’s critical systems. Anyone with an interest in impulse engines, Faster-than-Light (FTL) drive or weapons systems should check out the available roles and sign up to help get us closer to launch.

More information on all the options available for participating with Endeavour’s mission can be found at the ISDC career site.