Space gamers have a chance to show their love of the physics-based spaceflight simulator Kerbal Space Program and celebrate the International Space Station, which will mark 20 years of continuous crewed flight on Monday (Nov. 2).
Private Division, the company behind Kerbal Space Program, has asked players of the popular space simulation game to send videos of the game's astronauts, dubbed Kerbonauts, doing activities that space station crews do for real.
"Send us a time-lapse video of Kerbals doing spacewalks, science experiments, eating snacks and everything in between aboard your most accurate recreation of the @Space_Station over its 20-year lifespan. We'll choose our favorites based on accuracy and creativity," Kerbal representatives said in a series of tweets posted on Monday (Oct. 26).
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"On November 2, join @Space_Station expert Dr. Gary H. Kitmacher for a @Reddit Ask Me Anything where they'll comment on the engineering accuracy of the top submissions and answer your questions about #SpaceStation20th — and if Kerbals are really out there in space," the company added.
Kerbal Space Program has been praised for its commitment to realistic physics since it was first released in 2011. The game mimics the effects of using multiple rocket stages to get payloads to orbit and the different speeds that spacecraft fly in at higher or lower altitudes above Earth, for example.
Do you play @KerbalSpaceP? Celebrate the #SpaceStation20th anniversary and reply to the thread below with videos of your recreations. One of our @Space_Station experts may review it during a @Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' on Nov. 2! 💫 https://t.co/M9BeL06AbROctober 26, 2020
Kerbonauts may remember that earlier this year, Kerbal and NASA asked players to recreate the first SpaceX commercial crew mission, Demo-2, which launched in May. Private Division asked users to share their footage on social media using the same hashtag that NASA used for its mission: #LaunchAmerica. Private Division then showed their preferred picks to NASA.
The space station has hosted well over 200 astronauts and cosmonauts since the first modules launched in 1998. The first long-duration mission, Expedition 1, launched to the orbiting complex on Oct. 31, 2000, and arrived on Nov. 2 of that year.
Over time, space station missions have increasingly focused on science research over the construction activities that dominated the station's early years. NASA is also ramping up partnerships with companies to run private missions in the near future, including permitting privately funded astronauts aboard the facility.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace