TNO - Desdemona

Facility’s Capabilities

Equipment and know-how are available for exposing human subjects to various levels of gravity, and testing their effects on human physiology (e.g. space adaptation syndrome, cardiovascular parameters, eye movements), stress (mental workload), and control performance (piloting).


The facility “Desdemona” comprises an advanced six degrees-of-freedom motion base that is capable of unlimited rotation in three axes (yaw, pitch, roll), linear motion along an 8m track, and sustained centrifugation up to 3G. The human subject is accommodated in a gondola that is configured as a cockpit with flight controls and an out-the-window visual display (120x40deg) allowing for flight simulation.

For more information see TNO website.

The facility is located next to the RNLAF Center for Human Factors in Aviation, which operates a human centrifuge up to 9G, and hypobaric chambers.

Technical data

The facility is equipped with systems for physiological and medical monitoring (ECG, EEG, EOG, VOG, Portapress). Simulator flight data can be logged for the evaluation of the subject’s flight performance.

Mode of operation

The facility should be operated by experienced TNO personel. The time line for performing a series of experiments depends on the availability at that specific moment. It is recommended that the necessity for using Desdemona is discussed in an early stage between potential user, ESA and TNO.


TNO Human Factors, Soesterberg, The Netherlands


esdemona will be operational mid 2005. The facility is owned by TNO Human Factors. Access to the facility is compatible with granting access to it by way of Announcements of Opportunity at European level. At present we estimate an availability of 10% of the facility resources.

Contact person/address

Dr. E.L.Groen / Dr. W. Bles
TNO Human Factors
Kampweg 5
3769 DE Soesterberg, The Netherlands

Reference literature

Although no research has been done on the facility yet, the following references give an idea of studies on the space adaptation syndrome that could be accommodated in Desdemona:

Bles, W., R.J.A.W. Hosman, and B. de Graaf (2000). Desdemona: Advanced Disorientation Trainer and (Sustained-G) Flight Simulator. AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference. Denver, Co. August 14-17, 2000. AIAA 2000-4176.

Bles, W. (2001). Desdemona: Advanced Disorientation Trainer. HSIAC publication Gateway, SD-edition Fall 2001.

Bles, W., Graaf, B. de (1993). Postural consequences of long duration centrifugation. Journal of Vestibular Research, vol. 3: 87-95.

Graaf, B. de, Roo, A.J. de (1996). Effects of long duration centrifugation on head movements and a psychomotor task. Journal of Vestibular Research, Vol. 6, No.1, pp. 23-29.

Groen, E. (1997) Orientation to gravity: oculomotor and perceptual responses in man. Ph.D. thesis at the University of Utrecht.

Groen, E., Graaf, B. de, Bles, W, Bos, J.E. (1996). Ocular torsion Before and After 1 hour Centrifugation. Brain Research Bulletin Vol. 40, No.5/6.

Marcus, J.T., Bles, W., Holten, R. van (1991). Influence of gravitoinertial force on vestibular nystagmus in man observed in a centrifuge. Adv. Space Res. 9 213‑222

Marcus, J.T., Holten, C.R. (1990). Vestibulo‑ocular responses in man to +Gz hypergravity. Aviat. Space and Environ. Medicine 61 631‑635. Wertheim, A.H., Mesland, B.S. (1995). Subjectively perceived ego-motion and its relation to centrifuge induced motion sickness. In: T. Mergner and F. Hlavacka (eds): Multisensory Control of Posture. Plenum. 247-255.

Last update: 23 January 2012

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