Dock with the ISS over a flat Earth in this browser-based sim from SpaceX

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If you’ve been PC gaming for any significant length of time, then the idea of a virtual trip into space is probably old hat by now. We’ve even seen one of the world’s leading space agencies collaborate with Kerbal Space Program on educational materials, right? Still, it’s still exciting to try out some of the current hardware, and SpaceX has created an ISS docking simulator you can play right in your browser.

The sim puts you at the controls of a Dragon 2 spacecraft, a capsule that’s currently in use to transport crew and cargo to the International Space Station. Your job is to connect the hatch on the Dragon 2 with the NASA Docking System on the ISS, and you’ll be using the same control scheme found in the real-life capsule to adjust the craft’s roll, pitch, yaw, and translational movement.

Orbital spaceflight is deceptively slow and graceful when we see it in movies or television – everything looks slow and deliberate. While movements are certainly deliberate up there, they’re anything but slow – the ISS is always moving at about 4.76 miles /per second/ as it orbits Earth, and everything that wants to dock with it has to match its speed exactly.

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