Launching astronauts into space is just part of a mission. One of the most important parts involves docking with the International Space Station (ISS). In celebration of the NASA SpaceX Demo-2 space mission, ScienceWorks has produced a docking simulator that lets users pilot a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and attempt to dock with the ISS in orbit above Earth.
To dock successfully, the user must design and execute a well-timed set of Reaction Control System (RCS) operations to move the spacecraft into the correct orientation and dock it squarely onto the front docking port of the ISS with a final velocity in all directions as close to zero as possible.
The user can change the view camera to judge the best path and to watch their progress visually while keeping track of the distances, rotations, and velocities in all 3 dimensions. Attempt to dock too quickly or with large angle differences and you may spin out of control or crash into the ISS. As the user’s skills improve, they may try new starting positions and orientations of increasing complexity to really test their understanding of maneuvering in space.
Note: These applications run on Chrome, Edge, recent Safari or Firefox browsers on Mac and PC (but not Windows Explorer, sorry).