New Space and Tech

NASA and McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds team up to “launch” new space exploration game

By Keith Cowing
April 8, 2013
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Game development firm McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds recently announced the launch of the new NASA Space Terminology Deck, an add-on deck designed for use with the popular language game You’ve been Sentenced!

After McNeill Designs signed a Space Act Agreement with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the firm produced the new deck in conjunction with NASA’s Education Department. Together, the two chose words that reflected the rich history and future of NASA and space exploration. As an added learning tool, word definitions, individuals’ bios, and term definitions can now be found on the NASA websites, so that children and parents can learn about space exploration and NASA together.
Encouraging children to learn more about space and space exploration is a theme that resonates with McNeill Designs’ CEO Donald McNeill. As a child in the 1970’s, McNeill grew up in El Lago Keys Estates Houston, Texas — home to many of the pioneers of NASA’s space program. In fact, the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong (Gemini 8, Apollo 11) lived just up the street, neighbor Ron Evans (Apollo 17) lived a block away, and Fred Haise (Apollo 13) was quite literally just next door.

In fact, the “space culture” of the era and friendship with these national heroes made a permanent impression on the entire McNeill family. McNeill’s older brother Kevin Lee McNeill, co-author of the NASA Space Terminology Deck, was also profoundly influenced during his youth by close contact with these NASA legends. He has spent the majority of his professional life with Lockheed Martin and was the Program Manager for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) which launched successfully in August 2005. These brothers share a lifelong passion for space exploration and are eager to share this enthusiasm with children and families nationwide.

“Playing You’ve been Sentenced! in conjunction with the NASA Space Terminology Deck is a fun and memorable way to deliver and understand these terms and data,” says Kevin McNeill. “The NASA Space Terminology Deck also contains the names of past astronauts, missions and craft that will help teach the rich history of NASA to children in grades 5 – 9.”

Since its creation in 2005, the You’ve Been Sentenced! game has been recognized by both the gaming and education communities and is the recipient of numerous awards including:

* Creative Child Magazine, Seal of Excellence
* Dr. Toy Best Products
* Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Gold Seal Award
* Spewgie Award, Best Family Fun Game
* iParenting Media Hot Product Award
* FAO Schwarz Toy Auditions, Winner
* National Parenting Seal of Approval
* Mr. Dad Seal of Approval
* George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia magazine, Hot Media for Educators
* MENSA Society’s Parenting for High Potential magazine, Resource Roundup Pick
* Scholastic Instructor Magazine Teachers Pick Best of 2009
* Tillywig 2010 Laugh Out Loud Fun Award

The NASA Space Terminology Deck will be available nationwide through ACD, Alliance, Borders Books, Barnes and Noble, and at hundreds of independent retailers. The add-on deck retails for $7.95. McNeill Designs products are also distributed internationally in New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, and Canada. For a comprehensive store locator, please visit

For more information about McNeill Designs, its products, and people, or to request a media sample, please contact Susan McNeill at 302-478-2757 or visit

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.