Want to build your own rocket like billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos? Maybe you want to take the Howard Hughes approach and design your own like he did with state-of-the-art airplanes back in the 1930s and 1940s. It could be you're aiming to explore Mars or distant galaxies, or you're looking for tools to help your Earthbound business.
NASA has just made these dreams and more a little closer to reality. It's released an updated version of its Software Catalog, which includes computer programs that NASA actually uses for its projects. And you can get them for free, both for personal or commercial use.
Some of the exciting programs available are the OpenVSP or Vehicle Sketch Pad, which helps you design aircraft. As described in the catalog:
The Vehicle Sketch Pad (VSP) is an aircraft geometry tool for rapid evaluation of advanced design concepts. Fast and accurate geometry modeling allows the designer to use more complex analysis methods earlier in the design process and reduces reliance on empiricism in conceptual design.
Then there's the Maestro Science Activity Planner for Mars. This is what NASA uses to chart out the proposed paths of the Mars rovers. It include a fully rendered environment with images that are true to how the rovers collect pictures.
If you're a bit more mathematically inclined, you might like the Quick Plot General-Purpose Plotting Tool. It accepts data in a wide variety of formats and churns out time-based charts. NASA uses it to plot flight test and simulation data.
That's just a few of the 1,000+ programs available. Download the NASA catalog PDF today and see which ones you want to get.