Here’s a challenging little diversion for you, and it’s right out of the tech playbook of Elon Musk’s SpaceX space exploration company.

The Falcon 9 rocket is massive: 224 feet high and weighing 557 tons. Price per launch: $61.2 million.

As you know, SpaceX is already getting well established at launching spacecraft for cargo runs to the International Space Station. Now one of its stated goals is to be able to return a spacecraft back to earth.

But instead of just letting the spacecraft parachute down and land in the ocean (as is usually done), SpaceX hopes to be able to land the craft onto a floating barge in the ocean.

Required: Pinpoint Precision, Nerves of Steel
In Tom Wolfe’s classic book (and movie) The Right Stuff, the extremely difficult process of landing a fighter jet onto the deck of an aircraft carrier was described like, “trying to land a brick inside a frying pan.” In other words, the pilot had one chance to stick the landing, and that pilot had to safely land with little room for error.

It was made even trickier because an aircraft carrier is constantly pitching up and down due to ocean waves, sometimes ten feet or more. When landing, the pilot is really trying to hit a moving target.

As bad as that is, SpaceX’s goal is even more difficult to achieve, and now you can find out for yourself, with a free SpaceX Falcon 9 Lander game.

We will warn you: This is not as simple as it may sound.

Remember these game tips:

    • Game Objective: You want to slow down the Falcon 9 enough to safely land the spacecraft on the platform.


    • Propulsion Sources: Your spacecraft has two sources of propulsion. The rocket’s thrusters use monopropellant, while the main engine relies on engine fuel. Running out of either will jeopardize your ability to meet the game’s objective.


  • Speed Up: Press the H key to toggle the velocity vector.

Like many games made in Scratch, it’s a simple-looking game, but that doesn’t detract from the game’s suspense of landing that rocket onto that barge.

Don’t let this happen to you…

Get Your Science On!
If you want to learn about rockets next summer, the place to be is a Digital Media Academy tech camp.

DMA tech camps are held on North America’s most prestigious college and university campuses, with expert instruction and the latest software programs and hardware tools.

Send your future into orbit next summer at DMA!