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The SpaceX Crew Dragon made history when it docked at the International Space Station (ISS) this weekend. It inspired people the world over with dreams of exploring space and becoming an astronaut, my kids included.
Now anyone can pretend to be an astronaut with a docking game created by Elon Musk’s company.
How to Play the SpaceX Docking Game
The SpaceX docking game actually uses the same interface that the NASA astronauts used when the Crew Dragon needs to be manually piloted. (The Crew Dragon is designed to autonomously dock, but astronauts need to be able to jump in and use the controls if something goes awry). How cool is that?
The goal of the game is pretty simple, but it’s also pretty tough to accomplish: dock the spacecraft on the ISS.
As the start of the game reminds users, “Movement in space is slow and requires patience and precision.” In other words, this is pretty much the opposite of a racing game.
The docking game simulator includes two sets of controls that users can use to veryyyy slowly move their way toward the ISS without running into it. One set controls rotation and guides the spacecraft’s movement, including the roll (front-to-back axis), pitch (side-to-side axis), and yaw (rotation around the vertical axis).
The other controls guide movement forward, backward, up, down, right, and left. All the controls allow docking game users to make very really fine movements, because the ultimate goal is a tough one. Only once all the green numbers go below 0.2 has the user beaten the docking game and successfully docked.
Sound tricky? That’s because it is! But it’s also a fun way to teach your kids about one of the things that astronauts learn before heading out into space.
The game can be accessed here.