Not every one of us will have the chance to watch a rocket launch in person, or explore the planet Mars in all its red glory.

Thanks to virtual reality, however, you can very well be in Cape Canaveral or on the dusty, red planet.

Watching A Rocket Launch

A VR app developed by United Launch Alliance (ULA) debuted this week at the 32nd annual Space Symposium, a space industry conference held in Colorado.

Attendees of the symposium were able to use an Oculus Rift VR headset and were virtually sent to the Air Force Station’s Cape Canaveral.

The fantastic 360 app created by ULA can transport you to an actual Delta IV rocket launch at night, giving you a tour of the launching site first.

Afterwards, you get to watch as the rocket blasts off into the sky, complete with smoke and pillar flame from the rocket’s boosters.

The rocket launch footage, made with the help of Koncept VR, is so close that if you were really in the same spot, you would be scorched with hot steam and debris from the combusting engine.

The ULA app can be downloaded from the company’s website. Users who don’t want to buy a VR headset can opt for Google Cardboard instead, a device you could assemble yourself. It’s less impressive, but it’s also less expensive.

Explore Mars With A Rover

ULA wasn’t the only one with a VR experience. American aerospace company Lockheed Martin also had its own brief VR tour.

Users were transported into the facility where NASA’s Orion capsule is loaded onto an airplane known as Super Guppy.

The massive aircraft is named that way because it resembles the tiny fish from up above while remaining an imposing sight on the ground. Incidentally, NASA’s Orion capsule is tasked to bring humans to Mars.


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