Seamless Space Communication:

VCOM Empowers Carnegie Mellon's Lunar Rover Triumph

How VCOM Enabled Flawless Communication in CMU's Iris Mission to the Moon

Carnegie mellon university student speaking in front on monitors showing vcom


Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) made a significant leap in space exploration with the launch of Iris, a student-built lunar rover, and MoonArk, an innovative collaborative sculpture. This groundbreaking mission marked a series of firsts in planetary exploration. Intracom played a key role in this mission’s success by providing VCOM, which functioned as the primary communications platform for the project.


The Iris mission, led by Raewyn Duvall and involving hundreds of students, was a complex endeavor with numerous challenges. One critical aspect was ensuring seamless, real-time communication among the large team of students and faculty. The mission required a robust communication system capable of handling intricate operations, monitoring, and control from the CMU Mission Control on the Pittsburgh campus.


"We needed a way for our operators to communicate with each other during our mission. We chose to use Intracom's VCOM system to support the clear and efficient communications we needed for a successful mission."

- Nikolai Stefanov, CMU Student


Solution: VCOM Virtual Matrix

VCOM, a leading intercom product designed for high-stakes and technologically complex environments, was chosen to facilitate communications for the Iris mission. Key features of VCOM that made it ideal for this mission included:

High Reliability and Clarity:

Essential for the precise communication required in space missions.

Scalability and Flexibility:

Adapted to accommodate the large number of students and varying communication needs.

User-friendly Interface:

Enabled efficient training and usage by students of varying technical backgrounds.

Real-time Communication:

Critical for immediate response and decision-making during the mission.

  • Carnegie mellon student in front of monitor showing moon surface
  • Two monitors showing VCOM WebRTC Control Panel and the moon's surface
  • Carnegie mellon students in a control room
  • Carnegie mellon student using VCOM WebRTC Control Panel
  • Carnegie mellon student in front of monitor using VCOM WebRTC Control Panel


"The biggest advantage is the ability to listen to multiple channels. This allowed us to have a much more natural communication flow for the operators and have a far easier time developing our mission operations. We also found the UI to be incredibly easy to use, so it didn't take much onboarding for new students to start training to become mission operators."

- Nikolai Stefanov, CMU Student



The successful launch and operation of Iris, the first American lunar rover and the first student-developed rover, underscore the capabilities of VCOM in supporting innovative and complex missions. VCOM proved to be more than just a communication tool; it was a vital component in the orchestration of a historic space exploration project. This case study exemplifies VCOM's versatility and reliability in facilitating groundbreaking research and exploration, solidifying its position as an indispensable asset for the aerospace industry.

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