Ridiculously Accurate Mission Control Panel

space panel

We are absolutely blown away by the level of detail that went into this amazing mission control panel that [Jeff Highsmith] made for his son.

His kid just started school and needed a desk to do homework on. They had recently visited the Kennedy Space Center, and his son found a new interest in all things space – So [Jeff] took the opportunity to make the desk into this mind-boggling control panel. 

We saw a similar project recently, but this one seems to take it to the next level. The desk itself is hand-made from MDF sheet and with oak boards making up the structural members. He’s cut out over a dozen individual control panels, added switches, LEDs and potentiometers, and printed the labels on transparencies which give the whole thing a very professional and finished look. An iPad sits in the middle which plays a curated collection of space videos.

As far as we can tell, all the buttons actually do something. He’s using an Arduino with four I/O expanders (MCP23017) to take care of all the inputs and outputs, and a Raspberry Pi to add sound effects to the simulation.

Now all he needs is a spaceship to monitor — which apparently is in the works as well!

[Thanks Nick!]

32 thoughts on “Ridiculously Accurate Mission Control Panel

    1. It would be great for KSP, BUT….. Judging from the pictures and the video a lot of the wiring would need to be completely redone. The micro controllers would need reprogramming. Oh and some of the panels would probably need to be replaced. After all of that a mod would have to be created to interface all the inputs from the panel to the pc for use with KSP. Normally a mod for KSP is a fun proposition. This however is completely untapped waters for KSP modding and I would not know where to begin.

      All that being said I now have a kid of my own and by the time I finish figuring out how to make it all work together she will be old enough to enjoy it. I look forward to the challenge.

          1. 997 is Polish equivalent of 911 phone. Kia Cee’d is a popular police car over here. And by googling this it turns out to be lyrics of some rap song

    1. The video implied that mission control isn’t activate until after the homework is finished. As always it remains up to the parents to enforce any rules they create.

  1. Holy crap, that looks better than the control consoles he North Korean space program uses, but then again this guy probably had a bigger budget. This is amazing but after all these years haven’t they fixed the cryo tanks YET!?

    1. Heh. Of course they’ve fixed the stirrers, but Murphy keeps finding new ways to make them go wrong.

      I’m hearing soma.fm “mission control” in my head while looking at this.

  2. Mental note: DO NOT LET MY KIDS SEE THIS. very cool, but I suspect it cost way too much to build. of course, anything worth doing is worth going completely overboard doing.

  3. And in a few years (months?) he can pull out one of the panels and replace it with a breadboard and STM32 Development board for his son to keep exploring.

  4. Ho-lee-cow. This is amazing. I can only hope I can come up with something even half this cool for the mini carbon units (if my wife and I ever spawn)… amazing!

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