Dream Flight Adventures traces its earliest roots to an experience I had several decades ago as a 5th grader attending an out-of-this-world field trip at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  Since that time the space center has grown and inspired several other locations to create similar immersive educational simulators.  Many of these locations are located in Utah and use a set of simulator controls called Thorium, and today we’re delighted to announce that DFA now supports integration with those controls!

Simulators running Thorium can now take advantage of DFA’s fully realized 3D virtual worlds, responsive character AI, streamlined Flight Director controls, and varied environments—including volcanos, oceans, rivers, asteroid fields, moonscapes, and more.

Connecting Thorium to DFA is easy, and we’ve set up a page with instructions to walk you through the process.

We hope our friends at these Utah-based simulators enjoy leveraging DFA’s unique offerings, and we look forward to working more closely with them down the road.

Today we’re excited to unveil the single-most significant upgrade to the Dream Flight Adventures simulator software since we launched back in 2013.  Dream Flight Adventures 2.0 is here!

After over 3.5 years in development and 49,435 lines of custom code, this massive update brings a wealth of new features to our simulators around the world.  Here are some of the highlights:

Expanded Crew Roster of up to 32 Stations

We’ve essentially doubled the number of crew stations, so entire classes and camps can now go on simulator adventures together.

The stations themselves have all been revamped, with an expanded command crew (consisting of Captain, XO, and three Squad Leaders), as well as a host of new STEM-focused stations, including Computer Scientist, Chemical Engineer, Surgeon, Electrical Engineer, Technology, Mainframe Technician, Roboticist, Nano Technician, and more!

Improved Mission Library

Our library of built-in missions has continued to grow, and making your own custom mission is now easier than ever.  Missions can be edited, customized, saved, and even shared with other simulators.

Streamlined Flight Director Controls

We’ve completely reworked the Flight Director controls, with a major emphasis on efficiency, easy of use, and automating complex tasks.  It’s easy for newcomers to hit the ground running, and advanced users can use the powerful scripting engine to weave fantastic custom scenarios of their own.  Check out our new training videos to see what’s new.

Multi-platform Support

Dream Flight Adventures is more accessible than ever.  The simulator software now runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux computers, as well as on iOS and Android devices.

The DFA 2.0 software is published in parallel with the original DFA 1.x software. This allows you to have copies of both version on the same device, allowing you to make the transition to the new system at your own pace.

Getting Started

There are way too many features to discuss them all here.  Check out the full release notes for all the juicy details.

To get started with DFA 2.0, you’ll need to register a user account.  Once it’s approved you’ll be given access to download the update.

We’ve prepared a DFA 2.0 Upgrade Guide to help you make the transition to the new system, and once it’s installed please refer to our Setup and Startup Guide to get it up and running smoothly.

Please join us on Discord to ask questions, share ideas, and discuss the shiny new system.  We look forward to hearing about your adventures!

It’s been a while since we posted on our blog—and the world is hunkered down to slow the spread of COVID-19—so we figure it’s high time we share some cheery news.  Today we’re delighted to showcase three brand new missions, which have been added to our library.

Malignant

MalignantThe first mission, Malignant, was actually added to our library about a month or so ago as part of our ongoing beta test for DFA 2.0.  Its inaugural flight was used to showcase the IKS Marvel to a group of educators in Michigan, who loved it.

It’s a fairly short-duration mission (about 30 minutes) that showcases a wide variety of different locations that are available in a Dream Flight Adventures mission.  These include outer space, the ocean, and the bloodstream.

Quarantine

QuarantineIf this isn’t timely enough for you, I don’t know what is.  Quarantine is a brand new mission based on current events, and it features a contagious virus that is spreading like wildfire.  The world has gone into lockdown, but with travel restricted and medical researchers in quarantine, finding a cure for the virus has become extremely difficult.

Enter the Infinity Knights—the renowned protectors of peace and justice throughout the universe.  Maybe, just maybe, their quick wits and advanced technology can produce a solution.

Your mission is to investigate the disease, gather materials for a cure from the four corners of the Earth, and save the world!

Escape Velocity

Escape VelocityAnd last but not least, Escape Velocity is an exciting race against time to capture a devious Orion Pirate.

This mission is modeled after the classic Carmen Sandiego games. The crew moves throughout the solar system, and at each planet they receive clues pointing them toward the next location.  They must work quickly to stop a space pirate from stealing top secret technology.

 

We’re excited to have this lineup of three exciting new mission additions, and we look forward to the (hopefully not too distant) future when our bright-minded students return to their schools and can take them out for a spin.

It’s been a while since we broadcast a general communique on this channel, and that’s because we’ve been deeply involved in some top-secret testing of the latest Infinity Knights technology aboard our ships.

Our Chameleon-class vessels have been safeguarding the universe from threats across time and space since 2013, but now we’re excited to share that those ships are being upgraded to our new Komodo-class design—which boasts a variety of enhancements to take our crews on better missions than ever before!

The IKS Marvel, which launched earlier this year, is the newest ship in the Infinity Knights’ fleet and is the first ship to undergo this upgrade.  You might think that this is due to the ship’s newness and size (supporting crews of up to 32 students at a time), but the real reason is that the IKS Marvel is home to some of the bravest and best test pilots the galaxy has ever known.

These stalwart adventurers throw caution to the wind as they dive in with bleeding-edge inventions.  Their sharp eyes and clever minds are honed to use technology, assess its capabilities, and leverage it in high-stakes situations.

Thanks to their efforts, the Infinity Knights technology upgrade is nearing completion, and soon all the ships in the fleet will benefit.  We owe these diligent test pilots a debt of gratitude!

And don’t forget—after a day of hard work saving the world, the crew of the IKS Marvel knows how to unwind.

All these great dance moves and more, coming soon to a simulator near you.

Today we’re delighted to give a big shout-out to Debbie Reynolds, Flight Director of the IKS Highlander, for being selected for the very prestigious Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program!

As if this wasn’t impressive enough, as part of this program Debbie was selected as the very first Einstein Fellow to be placed at a Department of Defense location.  She will be going to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, in Maryland for 11 months starting in September.

Here’s a nice article with a lot more of the juicy details.

Congratulations Debbie!

You knew it was coming, but now it’s official.  The IKS Marvel has launched from Dansville, Michigan on an epic mission into the great unknown.

A local news crew was there for the lift-off, and they put together a nice story about it with some great footage too.

Here are some highlights straight from the inaugural crew:

“Knowing that I’m a gigantic role in the spaceship simulator really helps me calm down,” said Jillian Fishback, a sixth grade student. “I’m a huge control freak so knowing that I’m a huge role just kind of helps me say, ‘Okay, I’m really important to this. Everybody’s important. Everybody has their own important job.”

“It’s good because no one could run that by themselves. Everybody else has to do their job,” said Carter Tkaczyk, a sixth grade student.

“A lot of it is talking to that other person, finding out what they did and then adjusting. Adaptability is a big part of that,” said Fishback.

Major congratulations to Angela St.Amant and the team at Dansville Elementary School for putting together such a great simulator!

Back in September we announced the construction of the IKS Marvel at Dansville Elementary School in Dansville, Michigan.  Today we’re delighted to share some progress photos from the shipyards, where the shiny new vessel is quickly approaching its official launch.

There are still a few finishing touches left to be done, but the lucky students of Dansville Elementary will soon be blasting off to an out-of-this-world adventure!

A big shoutout to Mike Penn and Debbie Reynolds for their presentation at the Space Exploration Educators Conference at Space Center Houston!

Space Center Houston @SpaceCenterHou
In the sim classroom, we’re headed to Mars with our #SEEC25 team! Each group has been assigned a role, along the way they’ll need to fix the problems that arise…will they make it? #STEMeducation

Mike used a shrink ray to fit the IKS Titan simulator into his luggage.  They set up the ship, assigned the attendees roles, and sent them on a daring rescue mission to Mars.

Space Center Houston @SpaceCenterHou
Our #SEEC25 team has had some trouble on their way to Mars! From security alerts to environmental warnings, they’ve got a lot to do if they’re going to make it! It’s going to take a lot of teamwork! No pressure! #STEMeducation

Space Center Houston @SpaceCenterHou
Mission success! In an incredible display of teamwork and perseverance, the #SEEC25 team completed their mission to Mars while learning of the usefulness of sim classrooms to facilitate #STEMeducation!

Despite a few bumps and bruises along the way—no Dream Flight mission is complete without a hair-raising emergency, after all—the crew successfully completed their mission and rescued an astronaut stranded on Mars.  Well done to Mike, Debbie, and the entire crew!

Hey everybody, Mike Penn needs our help!  He’s doing science at the South Pole, so he needs everyone to think warm thoughts and send them his way.  Brrrrr!

If you haven’t been reading Mike’s journals from his Antarctic expedition, you’re really missing out.  This past week he’s shared all about:

Station Life at the South Pole

How to use Black Magic and Trigonometry to Find the South Pole

Student Q&A and South Pole Station Tour

Flat White and Leafy Green

I’m not going to explain what that means… just check out the video and journal.  You won’t regret it.

 

 

I have a confession to make:  I’ve been naughty.  I’ve been excitedly following Mike Penn’s bold adventures in the Antarctic, but I haven’t been as diligent in relaying them here on our blog.

That said, I’m sure this doesn’t affect any of you, because you’ve undoubtedly been following Mike’s journals yourself.  If not, you’re even more on the Naughty List than I am.

But for those who want to share Mike’s adventures with their friends and family over this holiday season, here are some of the major highlights:

  1. Mike departed Pennsylvania on Nov 23, leaving the IKS Titan in the capable hands of Admiral Perseverous, a.k.a. Heather Oros.
  2. Mike traveled into the future on his way to New Zealand.  He’s been one day ahead of us for quite some time now (until very recently, when he attained full-fledged Time Lord status).
  3. He received his Extreme Cold Weather gear, as is the kiwi fashion these days.
  4. Mike took an Ice Flight onboard a Boeing C-17 military transport plane…
    and then rode in Ivan the Terra Bus!
  5. Mike’s amazing boondoggle skills

    attracted the attention of some scientists working on the Automatic Precipitation System,

    who kidnapped him and carried him away for forced labor on the Ross Ice Shelf.
    I’m pretty sure at least half of that is correct, but I can’t say which half.
  6. Mike escaped, found his way back to McMurdo Station, and hid among the really exciting vehicles.
  7. He teamed up with an impressive gang of scientists to study seals…pressure ridges
    and extreme Antarctic weather.
  8. Details on this are admittedly sketchy, but it seems that while waiting for a flight Mike and his colleagues engaged in open war against New Zealand.
  9. Duty called, and Mike set to work repairing and upgrading a network of Automatic Weather Stations,
    hoisting them high above the frozen maw of the ice plains, which gradually try to engulf them.
  10. Antarctica’s weather didn’t take too kindly to being automatically monitored, so it retaliated by thwarting Mike’s plans to travel south for the winter for over a week.  But eventually, warmer heads prevailed and Mike flew south until he couldn’t any more.
  11. It was there, at the southern-most tip of the globe, that Mike Penn walked around the world and bent time and space to his frostbitten will.

    “I stepped from TODAY into YESTERDAY (that is where you are…just so you know). Then I stepped from yesterday BACK INTO TOMORROW!” – Mike Penn, Time Lord

The South Pole is absolutely fascinating, and I strongly recommend that you read Mike’s full journals about it.  They’re doing some really exciting science there, and I can’t wait to tell you all about the top-secret government research that [TRANSMISSION TERMINATED]