Attention Aspiring Astronauts: Challenge Yourself With SpaceX's ISS Docking Simulator
SpaceX is preparing to send its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station on May 27. To get a taste of what the astronauts onboard will experience on their trip, you can test out SpaceX's ISS docking simulator at home.
As Popular Mechanics reports, this online game features the real interface used by astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, Dragon's first crew members. The instructions given at the beginning of the challenge seem simple: "Successful docking is achieved when all green numbers in the center of the interface are below 0.2" But as you'll discover after hitting Begin, reaching that goal is much harder than it sounds.
Things move slowly in space, so patience is required to coax the simulated spacecraft into the perfect position to dock. The controls on the left can be used to move Dragon in all directions. On the right, you'll find buttons for controlling things like roll (the movement around the front-to-back axis), pitch (rotation around the side-to-side axis), and yaw (rotation around its vertical axis). The game is slow-moving, but the stakes are high: Make a wrong move and you may glide past the ISS—or hit it.
If you fail the mission horribly, don't be too hard on yourself. The Dragon spacecraft is designed to dock autonomously, so the astronauts on board likely won't have to recreate this game in space. But they will have the option to dock manually in case something goes wrong, so having the skills to do so is still important.
[h/t Popular Mechanics]