Dad Builds Awesome NASA Mission Control Desk for Son

When Jeff Highsmith's son started school and needed desk, he decided that he'd build it himself. Instead of constructing the typical table, however, the handy dad provided a surface for homework but added in some major fun for once it's done. Inspired by a family trip to the Kennedy Space Center last summer, Highsmith researched NASA's Apollo Program and the Mission Control Center. Taking some visual cues from them, he designed a relatively simple hinged top desk that folds open to reveal an entire imaginative Mission Control, complete with look-alike buttons, triggers, covered switches, and an iPad display.

Now, after the math problems are complete, Highsmith's son can run his own mission control. Just like the real thing, he hooks up his headphones and mic, performs a launch sequence checklist, and observes the levels of things like oxygen and hydrogen in the “spaceship.” The desk is completely hand wired and programmed, so that means buttons really light up and make noises (including sound bites from NASA). Highsmith also included secret triggers and mission mishaps to shake up playtime, like a simulated lightning strike that happened to Apollo 12 in 1969. And, when it's time for bed, his son shuts everything down by simply pressing the “Abort” button.

It goes without saying that Highsmith put in an incredible amount of effort into building this desk. Watch the video below, created by MAKE, and you'll see all of the planning, wiring, and construction that went into it. At the end of
it, he laments that what his Mission Control is missing the most is an astronaut to control. But, don't worry – he already has that in the works.

Jeff Highsmith website
via [Laughing Squid and Make]

Thanks for the tip, Mikey!

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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