NASA Game Lets You Manage Space Communications
October 5, 2012

New App And Game Lets You Be A Space Communications Network Manager

April Flowers for - Your Universe Online

NASA has released a game for your mobile device, just in time for World Space Week. Gamers are challenged to take on the role of a space communications network manager as the game puts them in charge of building a communications network to support scientific missions.

October 4 — 10 is World Space Week, the "largest public space event on Earth" according to the United Nations. An international celebration of science and technology, World Space Week started in 1999. Both the opening and closing date of the festival have significance: October 4, 1957, was the launch of the first human-made Earth satellite from Russia, Sputnik I; and October 10, 1967, was the signing of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

NASA's new application, "Space Communications and Navigation: NetworKing," was developed to be an educational game. The team at NASA's Ames Research Center created it for the iPad and iPhone, to provide an interactive, 3D experience with an insider's perspective. The player learns how mission controllers and scientists communicate with spacecraft and satellites using space, deep space and near Earth networks.

"This game introduces the complex world of space communications to gamers," said Barbara Adde, policy and strategic communications director for the Space Communications and Navigation Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "It gives players the opportunity to enjoy a challenging game while absorbing the basic concepts of space communications. The game provides an engaging way to increase interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and opens minds to potential careers in these fields."

Players build increasingly large and complex communication networks, supporting client satellites that are conducting scientific missions. Those who upgrade their networks can acquire more complex clients, such as the International Space Station or the Hubble and Kepler space telescopes.

NetworKing provides insight into the complex world of communications between astronauts, mission controllers, scientists and satellites in real mission scenarios. This makes the game challenging and entertaining, simultaneously.

The game is also available to be played online, or downloaded to your computer. It can be accessed on the NASA 3D Resources website, and is available in either Windows or Macintosh OS platforms.

Unfortunately, it does not seem to be available for Android devices.