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.
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