Expo Notes: Star Walk, Solar Walk to track rocket launch in future update

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The next time SpaceX launches one of its rockets into space, you should be able to track its flight via a pair of popular star-gazing apps from Vito Technology.

Vito Technology makes the Star Walk and Solar Walk iOS apps. The former lets users locate and identify objects in the night sky, while the latter provides a 3D model of the solar system. (Star Walk comes in an iPhone version as well as the iPad-optimized offering; Solar Walk is a single app that runs on both devices.)

In addition to showing you stars and planets in the night sky, the Star Walk and Solar Walk apps also feature satellite trajectories and tracking. To that end, the company told me this week at Macworld | iWorld that a forthcoming update will add the ability to track the next SpaceX rocket launch from either of its star-gazing apps. SpaceX, the informal name for Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, is a private company founded by former PayPal cou-founder Elon Musk that’s pursuing commercial space exploration and transport.

Adding the SpaceX rocket tracking capability is consistent with Vito’s ongoing efforts to routinely add new features to its iOS apps. But it also appears to be part of the developer’s goal of adding to the educational aspects of its apps. Vito Technology is using this week’s Macworld | iWorld event to highlight the educational aspects of its apps—a timely push given last week’s Apple press event focusing on the use of the iPad in education.

Expect more on that front from Vito in the near future. The company has been working with the European Space Agency to expand the already impressive amount of content in Star Walk and Solar Walk, and Vito representatives told me this week that those efforts should pay dividends in future versions of the apps.

Vito has also been busy improving its Geo Walk visual encyclopedia. Recent updates have made subtle though significant enhancements to the app’s distinctive interface, and the recent 2.4 update added content from publisher Dorling Kindersley that’s available through in-app purchase.

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