CosmoScout VR

CosmoScout VR is an open source virtual Solar System, primarily aimed at interactive visualization of huge remote sensing products in conjunction with large-scale simulation data.


Cite this software

What CosmoScout VR can do for you

CosmoScout VR is a modular virtual universe developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
It lets you explore, analyze and present huge planetary data sets and large simulation data in real-time.

Build Status REUSE documentation license DOI

The software can be build on Linux (gcc or clang) and Windows (msvc).
Nearly all dependencies are included as git submodules, please refer to the documentation in order to get started.



Below is a rough sketch of the possibilities you have with CosmoScout VR.
While this list is far from complete it provides a good overview of the current feature set.
You can also read the changelog to learn what's new in the current version. There is also an interesting article in the DLR magazine, and several papers which provide some insight into the ideas behind CosmoScout VR.

  • Solar System Simulation
    • Positioning of celestial bodies and space crafts based on SPICE
    • Rendering of highly detailed level-of-detail planets based on WebMapServices (with csp-lod-bodies)
    • Rendering of configurable atmospheres (Mie- and Rayleigh-scattering) around planets (with csp-atmospheres)
    • Physically based rendering of 3D satellites (with csp-satellites)
    • Rendering of Tycho, Tycho2 and Hipparcos star catalogues (with csp-stars)
    • Rendering of orbits and trajectories based on SPICE (with csp-trajectories)
    • Rendering of shadows
    • HDR-Rendering
  • Flexible User Interface
    • Completely written in JavaScript with help of the Chromium Embedded Framework
    • Main UI can be drawn in the screen- or world-space
    • Web pages can be placed on planetary surfaces
    • Interaction works both in VR and on the Desktop
    • Clear API between C++ and JavaScript
  • Cross-Platform
    • Runs on Linux
    • Runs on Windows
  • System Architecture
    • Plugin-based - most functionality is loaded at run-time
    • Network synchronization of multiple instances
  • Hardware device support - CosmoScout VR basically supports everything which is supported by ViSTA and VRPN. The devices below are actively supported (or planned to be supported).
    • Mouse
    • Keyboard
    • HTC-Vive
    • ART-Tracking systems
    • 3D-Connexion Space Navigator
    • Multi-screen systems like tiled displays or CAVE's
    • Multi-screen systems on distributed rendering clusters
    • Side-by-side stereo systems
    • Quad-buffer stereo systems
    • Anaglyph stereo systems
Logo of CosmoScout VR
Programming languages
  • C++ 76%
  • JavaScript 6%
  • GLSL 5%
  • HTML 5%
  • CMake 3%
  • CSS 2%
  • Batchfile 1%
  • Cuda 1%
  • PowerShell 1%
  • Shell 1%
  • MIT
</>Source code

Participating organisations

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
University of Bremen