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February 13, 2014 / carlispina

Launch a Spacecraft with Rocket Science 101 from NASA

Rocket Science 101 LogoSTEM has been increasingly emphasized in education and in libraries that are looking to create engaging programming for children and teens. One fun new option for getting kids excited about STEM is Rocket Science 101, an app from NASA. The app tasks users with assembling a variety of rockets that NASA uses in various situations.

The most basic level of the app is focused on building one of four types of rockets. Once you select a rocket to build, you are presented with a description of it and a picture of the fully assembled rocket. After this first stage, you are then shown the pieces individually and have to drag and drop them into the proper configuration to launch the rocket. The app is fairly forgiving at this stage, meaning that your placement doesn’t have to be perfect to successfully complete the rocket, but you do need to have a basic understanding of where the pieces fit together. If you properly configure the rocket, you are then given the option to launch it, which shows an animation of a typical launch from the first moment of takeoff to the final entry into orbit. The next level of the app presents you with information about various NASA missions and tasks you with choosing the right rocket to launch the equipment for that mission. Only once you have selected the correct rocket will you be able to you build the rocket and launch it together with the necessary equipment. The final section of the game is also focused on selecting from one of several real NASA missions and offers the most involved assembly requirements and the most precision in assembling the final project.

This app is an interesting option for students interested in NASA and space exploration in general. The information included in the app offers users a more complete understanding of the rockets that NASA uses and the process of putting them together will highlight how the pieces function together. The animations of actual launches are also helpful in understanding what each of the pieces does over the course of an actual mission. This is a fun app for space enthusiasts of all ages, but will be particularly appealing to young students. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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