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New NASA game lets you simulate a SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut launch

by Evelyn Arevalo November 27, 2019

New NASA game lets you simulate a SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut launch

New NASA game lets you simulate a SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut launch

November 27, 2019 

Source: Rocket Science: Ride 2 Station, NASA

SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, aims to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from American soil on their new Crew Dragon capsule in 2020. It will be the very first time SpaceX launches humans to space. They have been developing the Crew Dragon spacecraft under a $2.6 billion contract with NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Crew Dragon successfully docked with the space station on March 2, 2019, becoming the first American spacecraft in history to autonomously dock with the ISS on it's first demonstration flight. It was a huge milestone for the company, demonstrating the craft could one day transport astronauts to the ISS, and dock successfully.

Crew Dragon is a fully reusable craft that is currently going through a series of tests to ensure the craft can safely carry astronauts. It can carry up to seven passengers with cargo and dock automatically to the ISS.



An In-Flight Abort test is scheduled for December. This test will demonstrate how the capsule can escape, by flying away from a rocket, with it's integrated SuperDraco engine thrusters during a launch emergency.
If all testing is successful, we will see astronauts launch aboard Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket as early as the first quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, we can play a game to learn more about the mission!

NASA released an educational video game app named, "Rocket Science: Ride to Station." This game allows players to learn about spacecraft and missions like heading to the space station. Playing the game is like experiencing a rocket launch aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon. The game does have an option to select Boeing's spacecraft or SpaceX. (I selected SpaceX, of course.)



Source: Rocket Science: Ride to Station game

The game offers a good overview of how a crewed launch works. You can select what kind of mission you'd like to complete, like lab experiments, going on a spacewalk to repair solar panels as well as deploying satellites using the station's robotic arm. It also allows you to select your crew members. Real astronaut profiles are loaded in the game. These profiles include awesome summarized biographies for 10 real life astronauts you can select from to choose the crew for your mission. Which makes this new game a great one to inspire kids and teens because real people are the characters inside the game. 

As you play the game, it teaches the different parts of a rocket by letting you assemble a SpaceX rocket yourself.  As the rocket is in space, it also gives you a realistic demonstration of what would happen to the rocket upon space orbit arrival. It shows how the different stages in a Falcon 9 rocket separate, exactly how a real one separates during a launch.

Source: Rocket Science: Ride to Station game

The game basically takes you through the different stages of a real launch, from take off to heading to space orbit, even gives you the option of docking to the International Space Station in manual or automatic mode!

Parents and teachers can utilize this new NASA game as an educational tool. You can play the desktop version of the game here: Rocket Science: Ride to Station.

 




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