May 13th, 2021—
Becoming an astronaut is probably one of the top careers on any child’s list, but it’s not all that practical, especially when they’re still seven years old. That’s why Gordon Callison wanted to create a virtual shuttle mission control game that simulates a space shuttle launch with tons of different features for his kid to use.
The project he made is composed of many different panels that compose a box with three main surfaces that display/control various aspects of the shuttle’s journey. These include pre-flight checks on the right, launching the shuttle in the middle, and telemetry displays on the right. The whole thing fits neatly into a briefcase, but don’t let that relatively small size mislead you- it’s packed with plenty of LEDs and buttons. To control all of these, Gordon went with an Arduino Mega, along with a couple of shift registers for toggling a bank of 32 LEDs on and off. Sound effects can also be played through an Uno and Adafruit Sound Board whenever the shuttle takes off or is done orbiting.
This system is a great showcase of what is possible by just using a bunch of simpler components, and Callison plans on expanding it even more with a possible fourth panel to show mock interior data. More details on the mission control box can be found over on Instructables.