The holiday shopping rush is upon us, and this year, one online vendor is offering something a little different from the rest: Rockets. No, not models. Bonafide commercial rockets, complete with available launch dates, that you can price and customize to your specifications on RocketBuilder, a site launched Wednesday by the private rocketry provider United Launch Alliance (ULA).
“RocketBuilder is a website, but it’s also a revolution in how you will purchase a ride to space,” said Tony Bruno, ULA president and CEO, in the above video. “It’s not just for our customers, it’s also a tool that will be available for educators and students and space enthusiasts.”
Indeed, RocketBuilder will be addictive to space nerds even if they don’t have the baseline $109 million it takes to lock down one of ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicles. Designing rockets a la carte feels like a game, like a real-world riff on Kerbal Space Program. The imaginative exercise of customizing a potential spaceflight mission and watching its price tag update with every click directly engages even casual customers in the process of securing a path off the planet.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.