NASA gravity offset rig

Johnny Depp, Chris Leps

Q: What do Captain Jack Sparrow, the Mandalorian, and SAM have in common?

A: Christopher Leps, Hollywood stuntman, coordinator, and filmmaker

Most assume that stunt people are dare devils who do not fear pain, broken limbs, or worse. Yet those who double for the actors are focused on safety first, and understand the physics of two or more bodies in motion at a visceral level. This is why renowned Hollywood stunt double and coordinator Christoper Leps is working with the SAM team to design and build a gravity off-set rig for the SAM Mars yard.

This overhead 3 axis rig will enable visitors to SAM to experience reduced weight with or without donning a pressure suit. In addition, we envision a series of classes for school-age students who desire to learn more about human space exploration and perhaps becoming an astronaut. The result will be a breathtaking, memorable experience for learners of all ages.

Gravity off-set rigs were used in training the Apollo astronauts and are employed in a variety of manners in Hollywood films, from simulating space walks to human travel in freefall, and martial arts films in which a powerful punch sends someone spinning through space.

Here are three examples of how NASA has used similar rigs for research and training:

NASA reduced gravity walking simulator
NASA Active Response Gravity Offload System

Chris has been working with lead developer for SIMOC Ezio Melotti who has extensive experience in developing physical rigs for interactive virtual reality simulations. Together they are exploring the technology and systems Chris has used in his work combined with some creative, hi-tech means to provide the kind of self-guided, reduced gravity simulation experience we intend to offer.

Chris’ career began with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Disney and has culminated as a top-tier Hollywood stuntman, coordinator, and independent filmmaker with current work on the renowned Star Wars Mandalorian series. Watch hi-lights of Chris’ work in the Mandalorian, Season 2 and ‘A Pirate’s Life For Me‘, a tribute to how Chris’ career has been shaped by unique opportunities.

Welcome Chris! We hope that with SAM we can take you beyond pirates and storm troopers to the red planet Mars where the greatest danger is yet more isolation in a sealed habitat!