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Space flight simulator tips


Spaceflight Simulator by Stefo Mai Morojna

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How to take screenshots

Press the Windows logo key +PrtScn. The file is saved to the Screenshots folder in your Pictures folder. You can also us the Snipping Tool which is available in all versions of Windows Vista, 7, and 8 except the Starter and Basic editions.

To take a screenshot with your Mac, Command + Shift + 3 and then release all keys to captuer the whole screen, or press Command + Shift + 4 and press down and drag the mouse over the area you’d like to capture.


To take a screenshot with your iPhone or iPod Touch, press and hold the sleep/wake button and then click the Home button.


Take a Screenshot with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) just press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time.

Recent Activity

  • Price: Free
  • Genre(s):Games, Role Playing, Simulation, Education
  • Version: 1.406
  • Release Date: November 29, 2017
  • Description:

This game is about space explorations, its about building your own rocket, and going out to explore and see whats out there, all while following real life physics.

• Realistically scaled universe, with planets up to hundreds of kilometers in size and millions of kilometers of space between them.
• Realistic orbital mechanics
• Open universe, if you see something in the distance, you can go there, no limits, no invisible walls.

Current planets:

Fixed crashing
Fixed bug that teleports players to the sun
Fixed terrain sinking on load
Fixed old saves compatibility, old parts are replaced by a placeholder
Fixed loading menu
Fixed terrain bumps bug
Fixed rockets velocity at launch bug
Fixed arrow-keys disappearing

F-Sim Space Shuttle for iOS: A Superb Flight Simulator – The Mac Observer

F-Sim Space Shuttle for iOS: A Superb Flight Simulator

Sometimes there are apps that are so amazing, so well done, so technically pleasing, that one is in awe. Such is the case for F-Sim’s Space Shuttle landing simulator. The graphics on a retina display are astounding. The technical depth is amazing. If you’ve ever wanted to experience what it’s like to land the Space Shuttle orbiter, this is it.

Just as background, the Space Shuttle orbiter, on final approach, is a glider. No thrusters are active, and the pilot, when the program was active, always had just one chance to safely land the two billion dollar orbiter with glider aerodynamics and a lot of skill. And if he or she wanted to ever fly again, there better not even be a blown tire. Shuttle astronauts had to practice about 1,000 landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft, and many more in the Space Shuttle Mission Simulator before being allowed to attempt a mission landing.

275 mph, 200 ft altitude. (KSC)

If you’ve followed the Space Shuttle program, if you have a technical interest in space flight, you will want this app. It’s a mere US$3.99, vastly underpriced, and a work of art and science. There is passion, technical skill, and huge enthusiasm behind this app, and it’s great fun for us.

Addictive in fact. I’ve logged 2h25m of flight time, nearly a hundred landings, and I’m still learning. Once again, I’m late night hooked, and you will be too.

Two Approaches

There are two ways to approach this app. You can dig right in and treat it as a game with the defaults and autopilot set to full. You’ll have a good chance to familiarize yourself with the operation of the app, and maybe even execute some decent landings. The initial fun and great visuals should hook you right away, especially the multi-view replays — which are incredible. However, if you don’t have a technical interest in flight, that mode will quickly become tiresome.

Replay mode, external view.

The next step for those with a technical interest in the Space Shuttle program, and perhaps some flight experience, from private pilots in Cessnas to commercial and military pilots, is to read the documentation (under Help, top left), familiarize yourself with the nomenclature, and learn about the Heads Up Display (HUD). The more you learn about the HUD and the landing aids on the ground, the better your landings will be. And the more geek fun you’ll have.

If you don’t move to that second level, then this simulator may not be for you. I won’t call it a game because the technical level of sophistication is more like a real flight simulator. Some have playfully asked, “Do you have the right stuff?” Here’s a chance to try your flying skills, not just stick control, but using the HUD effectively.

Replay mode, external view. Note progress bar at bottom. You can jump around.

That personality trait, loving a technical challenge, learning aeronautics, finesse, patience, and accomplishment is what drives the fun factor. If you don’t have some of that, this app might be dead to you.

Having flown the simulator almost a hundred times, with a few early terminations for the purpose of the review (called “bailouts” in the statistics), I have some ideas about how to approach it. (By the way, only the first few Shuttle flights, flown by the best test pilot pairs, had ejection seats. They were then removed for sunsequent, full crew flights.)

  1. Start with some introductory landings with defaults. Look at the replays.
  2. Then read the docs and watch the demo. The demo flight gives you a feel for a proper flight path.
  3. Then start playing with the settings. You might want to switch to analog instead of tilt controls right away for a more authentic control experience.
  4. So. You can land the orbiter on a calm, sunny day at Edwards AFB with no cross winds and no turbulence? Can you do it at night landing at KSC, cold and rainy, with turbulence turned on?
  5. Ready for a real challenge? Go full manual and select some failure modes to see if you and your crew can even survive the landing.

Night landing, clear weather, KSC runway 33. Note analog controls in red.

Flying F-Sim Space Shuttle

The splash screen has two important buttons at the top: “New Flight” and “Settings.” In the New Flight section, you’ll select the landing site, the weather, the time of day and possible failure modes. Or, if you’re skilled, you can select random settings. Then press the green botton on the bottom, “Start Flight.”

During the descent, touch the top of the screen to bring up a transparent overlay of view modes and the Pause button. The one on the left is the most appropriate, the cockpit view, but you can also watch the orbiter from different locations — with the HUD still visible.

During the landing, you’ll be in radio contact with the ground, and you’ll hear some NASA-speak chatter, including some prompts for you when to turn into final, confirmation that gear is down, etc. Some users have complained about the repetitiveness of this chatter, but I din’t have a problem with it. It would be nice for future updates to throw in some variation here, but as it stands, if you’re highly focused on the job, it kinda fades into a routine. I wouldn’t let that criticism sway you.

After you’ve landed and rolled out (or crashed), you can run a “Replay,” again from all those viewpoints (top right button) or get a Landing analysis (it’ll be severe), or “End Flight” on the top left.

New Flight options. Also after flight ground track. Blue arrow is wind vector.

One note here. In this version, if you select “Flight” again you’ll see your ground track on the map, and the options will be dimmed, since the flight isn’t over. You need to select “End flight” before you can change the settings and start a new landing. Until you do select “End flight,” you can go back and look at the replay.

Just before touchdown. 90 ft altitude. Analog pitch and roll control visible on right.

The cockpit view is very flexible. Right after you start a landing, touch the top of the display and pause. You can do a two finger pinch to expand the view out the cockpit window. You can single finger swipe to pan around the cockpit. None of those controls you’ll see are active, but they’re cool to look at.

Finally, you can do a three finger swipe to change the positioning of your head with respect to the HUD. Users who’ve accidentally invoked that, like me, will see a possibly annoying offset, but it’s easily fixed. The developer has had a lot of users encounter that unintended offset, and the feature may be removed. But now that I know it’s there, I kinda like it.

One thing to note here is that while the physical cockpit controls are not active, the windows are, and if you prefer a different perspective, for example, getting a glimpse out the side window as well during your turns, that can be helpful.

Settings are in keeping with the iOS philosophy of simple rather than extensive so that the app is easily approachable. Even so, with these settings, there’s plenty of room for challenge. Here is where you’ll change from Tilt to Analog controls, change autopilot settings, and set some other viewing options.

There are three tabs of settings.

Under “Other,” you can select a song from your iTunes Playlist to accompany your piloting skills, say, “Danger Zone” from Top Gun or Zefram Cochrane’s favorite “Ooby Dooby” by Ray Orbison used in First Contact.

If the piloting skill is the cake of this app, then the icing is the replays. Here’s where you can watch yourself from various viewpoints. It’s the ultimate, “hey honey, watch this!” video. With the update for the iPad’s Retina display, the video is breathtaking. Just knowing that it was you doing that flying, is amazing fun. So long as it’s not a post-mortem.

Drogue chute deployed, note reflection in water.

I asked the developer about the possibility of saving the replays as movies to the iPad camera roll, and he said that would be very difficult, but he’s pondering it.

In the external view replays, if you’ve been in the cockpit a lot, you’ll see amazing visuals. Reflections from the water on the ground, wingtip vortices, the gentle deflating of the drogue chute, beautiful floodlights during the night landing, weather, clouds, and terrific terrain views.


The “Help” function is amazing, complete, and technical. If you’ve worked for NASA in orbital related matters, some of it will be old hat. For newbies, it’ll be pilot school. There’s that element of challenge again. This app, if you want it to, can absorb your life. You’ll be up late night, the house dark and cold, the lights out, spouse gone to bed, and the iPad will be glowing on your lap. You’ll be reading about the Outer Glide Slope (OGS) and when to do your preflare to manage your energy. Geek heaven.

There is a detailed explanation of the HUD.

You can fly this simulator alone and review your performance in the “Statistics” tab. Or you can get more involved socially with OpenFeint and Game Center leaderboards to compare yourself to others and obtain rankings. The app store page has more on that.

Depressing stats for a beginner.

Requirements and History

F-Sim Shuttle Simulator requires iOS 3.0 or later, and it runs on any iOS device. The first version was released January 28, 2010. On April 3, 2012, it was updated to version 2.4 to add support for the Retina display, wingtip vortices and new view angles.

The app was developed by Sascha Ledinsky in Vienna, Austria and a small team of contributors.

I took dozens of beautiful screen shots, and there are just too many to show in this review. But I’ll show you two more for fun.

A view out the side can help in turns.

296 mph and 1200 ft alt., flaring, KSC runway 33, with analog controls.

I give this app my highest recommendation. I’ve spent some time on it because it is right up my alley*, it’s an awesome app, and the technical work in the flight mechanics and graphics rendering are first class. It may be the most technically sophisticated iOS app $4 can buy — but the caveat is that you have to be interested in flying, even if you aren’t a pilot.

Because this app is so visually exciting, so technically deep, so sophisticated, so beautifully done in its realism, effects, and documentation, it earns a 5/5. I wish I’d known about it sooner. Also, had I known how good this app is, before I tried it out, I would have paid significantly more. But then, I understand the “Laffer’s curve” of iOS financials.

Prepare to become obsessed.

Product: F-Sim Space Shuttle v 2.4

A visually intensive, accurate and realistic flight simulator. Replay mode. Extensive settings for cockpit view. Detailed renderings including reflections from the water on the ground, wingtip vortices, the gentle deflating of the drogue chute, beautiful floodlights during the night landing, weather, clouds, and terrific terrain views. Challenging options for advanced pilots. Multiple control modes. Extensive, technical documentation.

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Orbiter 2016 Space Flight Simulator

Orbiter Space Flight Simulator 2016 Edition

Explore the solar system on your PC!

Fed up with space games that insult your intelligence and violate every law of physics? Orbiter is a simulator that gives you an idea what space flight really feels like – today and in the not so distant future. And best of all: you can download it for free!

Orbiter Space Flight Simulator 2016 Edition

Explore the solar system on your PC!

Fed up with space games that insult your intelligence and violate every law of physics? Orbiter is a simulator that gives you an idea what space flight really feels like – today and in the not so distant future. And best of all: you can download it for free!

Launch the Space Shuttle from Kennedy Space Center and rendezvous with the International Space Station.

Recreate historic flights with addon spacecraft packages: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Vostok and more.

Plan interplanetary slingshots and tour the solar system with futuristic spacecraft.

Find and explore new worlds. Orbiter contains high-resolution models of many celestial bodies.

Design your own rockets, or download addons created by other users.

Learn about the concepts of space flight and orbital mechanics by playing and experimenting.

You are the commander of your spacecraft. Welcome to the flight deck!

Planetary bodies now support terrain elevation maps for modelling mountain ranges.

Write your own Orbiter plugin modules, and learn the basics of C++ programming along the way.

Thanks to the cloud, Microsoft Flight Simulator is back, and it – s real – GeekWire

Flight Simulator is back, and it’s real: Microsoft uses cloud to help classic franchise soar again

by Alan Boyle on September 30, 2019 at 12:01 am September 30, 2019 at 12:02 am

RENTON, Wash. — Thanks to Microsoft’s hyper-realistic new version of Flight Simulator, I now know what it’s like to fly a Cessna 72SP Skyhawk airplane over my neighborhood … then crash it into the next street over.

And in connection with a daylong preview of the pre-alpha version of the simulation software, I got to fly a real Cessna almost as close to my real neighborhood. Thankfully, without crashing.

Both adventures were eye-openers for a guy like me — a guy who had never taken a flight lesson before, and whose only previous experience with flight simulation programs has been to crash (or nearly crash) virtual spaceships.

But even a newbie like me can appreciate the effort that went into the first full refresh for Microsoft’s classic Flight Simulator in 13 years.

“Flight Simulator is actually older than Windows,” Jorg Neumann, head of the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise for Xbox Game Studios Publishing, told me. “It’s the oldest franchise we have. So there’s always a desire to revitalize something like this. … This was just the right moment in time. It’s what I call convergence: We needed the right tech, we needed the right tools, we needed the right partners to really bring this back.”

Rendering tools have come a long way in the past decade, putting Hollywood-level graphics within the reach of game developers. Earth imagery has taken off, thanks to aerial and satellite-based reconnaissance. And cloud computing has opened new vistas for dealing with the massive mapping databases that have been created.

All those trends converged in 2016, when Neumann and his team started remaking Flight Simulator.

The project represents a renaissance for a title that served as an early demonstration of the potential of personal computers. First unveiled for the IBM PC in 1982, Flight Sim, as it’s known to its many fans, was effectively grounded as an active project a decade ago when Microsoft closed the Redmond studio that made Flight Simulator.

Microsoft went on to launch a spin-off called Microsoft Flight in 2012, but it never really took off and was shut down after several months. Another sequel, Flight Sim World, was made by Dovetail Games under license from Microsoft and launched in 2017, but it went off the market last year. A version of Microsoft Flight Simulator X is available on Valve’s Steam platform, but its underlying technology dates to 2006.

Much has happened in technology since then. The revitalized Flight Simulator, whose advent was announced in June at the E3 expo in Los Angeles, takes advantage of Bing Maps’ global imagery and the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Then it adds artificial intelligence to flesh out the details, right down to populating the skies with clouds and putting leaves on the trees that I crashed through.

“We plant 1.5 trillion trees every day,” Neumann joked.

The result? Realistic re-creations of landscapes ranging from the city centers of Paris, New York and Seattle to the water tower and the recently rebuilt elementary school in my Eastside neighborhood.

That goes for everyone’s neighborhood, including Neumann’s.

“When I fly over my house, my car is parked in front,” he said. “It’s not just a simulation. It’s the real world.”

Creating a world to fly over

This month’s sneak preview, presented at Rainier Flight Service in Renton, was aimed at showing off the pre-alpha version of the new Flight Simulator for journalists, bloggers, influencers and seasoned users of Flight Simulator (known as “simmers”). Attendees were required to hold back on their reviews, their photos and even their tweets until the embargo lifted today.

One room was set aside for computer workstations, equipped with a Logitech simulation yoke and throttle as well as a Thrustmaster set of rudder pedals and a David Clark headset. Each workstation was emblazoned with an attendee’s call sign. (I made mine up specially for the meet-up: “AlienBoy.”)

The workstations for our pre-alpha tryout of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator were personalized with call signs. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

“You’re the first people in the world to get a hands-on today,” Neumann told the standing-room crowd. But before they set us loose, Neumann and other developers in charge of the project explained how they kicked Flight Simulator’s level of reality up several notches.

Developers used a variety of strategies to create a virtual planet. They relied principally on 2 petabytes’ worth of Bing Maps’ aerial imagery, stored on Microsoft Azure servers. To re-create the 3-D look of 400 cities around the world in even finer detail, Flight Simulator draws upon high-resolution photogrammetric scans.

But wait … there’s more: Flight Simulator uses rendering tools that draw upon AI to fine-tune the 3-D imagery and fill in the gaps, ranging from remote stretches of terrain to buildings that are obscured in Bing’s pictures.

“Sometimes some aerial pictures can be covered with clouds,” said Lionel Fuentes, lead programmer at Asobo Studio in France, which partnered with Microsoft on the graphics. “Some areas are blurred on purpose.” (Fuentes later told me that the blurred-out areas are filled with generic graphics rather than, say, accurate renderings of missile silos.)

Asobo’s developers also dug deep into the physics of how light is scattered by hazy skies, how clouds are built with multiple layers of moisture, and how those clouds reflect and refract light. If you dial Flight Simulator’s settings just right, you can spot a double rainbow shining through a rain shower as you fly over a virtual Seattle.

A virtual rainbow shines amid sprinkles during a Flight Simulator flyover, with South Seattle College at the center of the image and downtown Seattle in the background. (Microsoft Pre-Alpha Illustration)

The same attention to detail was devoted to replicating the physics of flight — right down to the way raindrops stream across the windshield, and the way air flows around a mountain to create turbulence.

“It goes down to very small things, like trees, buildings. They also create turbulence when you fly over, like, downtown areas,” said Sebastian Wloch, co-founder and CEO of Asobo Studio. “So we simulate all that.”

The developers made high-resolution scans of cockpits as well, ranging from the trim little Cessna that I flew to big commercial jets.

Because so much data resides on the cloud, you’ll need a high-throughput connection to enjoy Flight Simulator to the max..”The better your bandwidth, the better your experience,” Fuentes said.

But if you’re bandwidth-challenged, don’t fret: The software is programmed to take maximum advantage of the connection that’s available. There’s even an offline simulation mode that’s based on real-life data, as well as a provision for pre-caching terrain data on your hard drive.

Thin blue lines trace how air flows over a mountain in Flight Simulator. (Microsoft Pre-Alpha Illustration)

Simulated flying vs. real-world flying

The new Flight Simulator is designed to let hard-core simmers dig deeply into the minutiae of instrument checklists, or allow newbies like me to skip the preliminaries and dive right in. High-fidelity audio replicates the sounds associated with takeoff, landing and in-air maneuvers. The controls let you display the full cockpit view, turn your virtual head to look out the windows, go to an outside-the-plane view or even get rid of the plane and look straight down.

Is the experience true to life? Wloch swears that it is.

“All of the aircraft have been designed and/or reviewed by people who have a lot of hours on the aircraft,” he said. “Every aircraft is different. We wanted them to not only be right on the numbers, but also feel right.”

To do that reality check, Microsoft partnered with airline pilots who put in tens of thousands of flight hours comparing the simulation with real-world flying. In one case, flight data readings were compared with the virtual plane’s performance in Flight Simulator — and pointed up a previously overlooked discrepancy in how the software calculated fuel consumption.

Since I’m a newbie, I can’t compare the new Flight Simulator with previous versions. But I can confirm that even a newbie can get a Cessna off the ground. I took off from a virtual version of Renton’s airport, and in just minutes I was flying over Seattle and Bellevue. Sure, I crashed when I tried to land back in Renton — but I marveled that I was able to stay up in the air for as long as I did, the first time around.

Adventurous fliers can try their hand at stunt aerobatics in Flight Simulator. (Microsoft Pre-Alpha Illustration)

That first flight turned out to be a classic case of beginner’s luck. For the next dozen times after that, my plane spun leftward into the trees just as it rose from the runway. I had to ask for help, and found out I should be using the rudder pedals to push the plane toward the right. (I totally ignored those pedals until I asked.)

I must have gone up in the air 40 times in all, and landed successfully just once. Several times, I crashed into the virtual trees of my own neighborhood in Bellevue while trying to get a close look at my house. It was pure frustration — and pure fun.

Then it was my turn to go up in a real Cessna with Justin Fancher, a flight instructor at Rainier Flight Service. He insisted that I take the left seat, which usually goes to the pilot in command. As we strapped in, Fancher told me Flight Simulator helped him prepare to be a pilot. “When it was time to actually train, I was less overwhelmed,” he recalled.

Fancher handled the controls from the right seat for the takeoff, but once we were in level flight, he let me take over. I’m sure I gripped the yoke a little harder than I needed to, but I successfully steered the plane through a turn over the Issaquah Alps for a close-up look at Snoqualmie Falls. Then I continued westward to Seattle.

I found that flying the real Cessna was easier than flying the simulated version. For one thing, Fancher adjusted the trim wheel so that the plane naturally stayed level. Heeding his advice, I led each maneuver with a push on a rudder pedal and followed up with a turn of the yoke — the opposite of what I was doing in the sim.

Fancher took back control of the plane so I could snap some pictures of the Seattle cityscape, plus shots of my neighborhood as we flew over Bellevue.

After Fancher landed the plane back in Renton, I found out why so many of my simulated takeoffs took a bad left turn. It turns out that Flight Simulator takes account of the slight weight imbalance when there’s just one pilot sitting in the cockpit’s left seat.

“If you’re alone, it’s going to have a small tendency to roll left,” Wloch told me. “It’s pretty subtle, but it’s there. If you fly the plane in the real world and you’re alone, you’ll notice you constantly have to push it right a little bit.”

If that bugs you, you can change the settings to balance the weight.

What’s next for Flight Simulator

Flight Simulator fans will get their first chance to sample the new version en masse as part of Microsoft’s “Tech Alpha” test program, which is due to begin in late October. To start the application process, head on over to

Microsoft will be fine-tuning the software and moving into beta mode over the next few months. The finished product will be released in 2020, starting with the PC version and following up with Xbox. There’ll be a multiplayer option as well.

“The baseline is, you can be online with friends,” Neumann said. But he and his team at Microsoft are still debating how much farther they’ll take the multiplayer concept.

“Somebody in the audience today said something about a co-pilot,” Neumann said. “We actually had that idea two years ago. We looked at it, and it didn’t seem like a high priority. But if the community tells us it is a high priority, then we will certainly look at that again.”

In one sense, Flight Simulator 2020 will never be finished. Because so much of the terrain imagery is stored in the cloud, it can be regularly updated with new construction and shifts in geography.

“The world is a living place, and it always evolves,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes and his colleagues at Asobo Studio have already seen that evolution in action: They’ve noticed shifts in the beaches around France’s Arcachon Bay on the Atlantic coast, possibly due to climate change and sea level rise.

Flight Simulator’s version of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk airplane soars over the simulated terrain of the Cascade Mountains. (Microsoft Pre-Alpha Illustration)

Flight Simulator will reflect those and other changes in the years ahead, with Microsoft making adjustments to keep pace with the real world and the world of cloud computing.

“We think of this whole thing as a 10-year journey,” Neumann told me.

Based on my one-day tryout, I’m ready to sign up for the journey — not so much to learn to fly, but to travel the world that Flight Simulator has built. And I’m probably not the only newbie in that frame of mind.

“Because we have reached a level of definition of the world that is so great you can actually enjoy the world as it is in real life from home, there is in this Flight Simulator iteration probably something that speaks to anyone,” David Dedeine, chief creative officer at Asobo Studio, told me.

“It’s what I call the tourist dimension,” he said. “Everyone is interested in seeing the beautiful places on Earth. Now, for the first time, this will be possible in the sim.”

Could there be new types of simulations from Microsoft that let you walk through those beautiful places, instead of flying over it? Neumann had a cagey answer.

“There are discussions about all kinds of things, almost overwhelmingly so,” he said. “Anything could be done, once you have the entire Earth.”

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10 Tips from a Pilot on Building a Flight Simulator Rig, B&H Explora

10 Tips from a Pilot on Building a Flight Simulator Rig

There are few things in the world of flight simulation as frustrating as flying an aircraft with a keyboard. If you like flight simulation, or want to get more immersed in it, there are simple ways of making the experience of being a home pilot more realistic and enjoyable. Here are some thoughts from me—a former military aviator who has flown in many full-sized aircraft and helicopter flight simulators, as well as spent hundreds of hours in front of a home computer zipping around Meigs Field, KSEA, and the rest of the world in high (and low) performance flight simulator aircraft.

1. Before You Begin

I would recommend starting with the basics before you take off head-first into making a comprehensive flight simulation rig. Flight simulator peripherals aren’t always inexpensive, and they take up space on your desk and in your room. Also, if you are thinking you might get more into flight simulation as you move forward, make sure that your initial investment is something you can build on instead of something you’ll need to replace with better gear in the future.

2. It Starts with the Stick

For many home pilots, a joystick is all you need. This goes back to controlling pitch and roll with the keyboard—it is not fun. The joystick has been ubiquitous since the early days of arcade gaming. In the olden days, you might have a joystick with one button—and that button was usually on the base—not on the stick. Flight simulation helped push the design of joysticks to the ergonomic and amazingly super-programmable models we have today.

3. What Type of Joystick?

Depending on your need for realism, there are two basic types of joystick design: universal and realistic. The universal type sticks are sleek and modern-looking, with superb ergonomics and tons of programmable buttons and switches. A perfect example of the modern joystick is the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Flight Stick. One advantage of the universal joystick is maximized programmability.

The other joystick type is molded and patterned after a real-life tactical aircraft control—in the case of the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick—a Fairchild A-10 Warthog. The Warthog flight stick is also programmable and has an extra-macho cool factor working in its favor, as well.

4. Yoke or No Yokes?

I always found it odd to peer into the cockpit of a modern Airbus airliner and see a sidestick controller. When I fly flight simulator aircraft, especially a big Boeing or even a Cessna 182, I like to fly with a traditional control yoke. For me, flying with a yoke on which I can place two hands, and push and pull to pitch my aircraft, gives another level of realism. Oppositely, flying a Boeing F/A-18 Hornet with a yoke instead of a joystick does not work for me. But, if you are planning on spending hours in the virtual cockpit of a heavy, consider a control yoke.

5. Increase Throttle!

The next peripheral a home pilot might want to add is a throttle. Many joysticks have desk-space-saving built-in throttle capabilities, like the Thrustmaster T.Flight Stick X joystick. However, there is another gain of realism by having a separate throttle quadrant. Another advantage of a throttle is additional programmable buttons for more HOTAS work. The Thrustmaster T. Flight HOTAS X has a detachable throttle quadrant, and the previously mentioned T.16000M is sold with a stick and throttle combo.

To match the Warthog stick, check out this dual-engine HOTAS Warthog throttle quadrant. Maximum awesomeness with toggle switches, afterburner detents (not on the A-10!), buttons, autopilot controls, and more. Save a good chunk of change by getting the Warthog Stick and Throttle together.

6. Yaw is No Yawn

One region of flying with which I never really was satisfied in the world of flight simulation is maneuvering the aircraft in the yaw axis. In an airplane, the rudder controls yaw and the rudder is controlled by pedals. Some joysticks allow a twisting action to control yaw in the simulator, but this takes away from the realism for me. I believe the canceled Comanche helicopter had a twisting cyclic for yaw control, so maybe this is the future.

If you want realistic rudder control, the way to go is with pedals like the Thrustmaster T.Flight Rudder Pedals. Not only do you have yaw control at your feet, you now have realistic wheel brake action for after you land your Boeing 757 long at LaGuardia! The T.16000M can also be had as part of a comprehensive stick, throttle, and pedal combo.

7. Sit Down!

Want to step it up by sitting down? A wheeled office chair would never find its way into an aircraft cockpit, but the Playseat Air Force Flight Simulator Seat might. The seat includes “arm rests” for your joystick (now a side-stick controller like in the F-16 Fighting Falcon or an Airbus) and your throttle quadrant. You can also mount the control stick or yoke conventionally in the center. It also has provisions for hiding wires from your peripherals.

8. I Can’t Hear You

Another way to increase your immersion is through sound (and speech). Speakers are great, but if you want to really feel the hum of the turbofan engines behind you, the chatter on simulator air traffic control frequencies, and not be a bother to your roommates or significant other, headsets are the way to go. Now you can crank up the engine volume, hear the landing gear horn in stereo and, if you have a boom mic, return to base following ATC vectors.

9. Screen or Goggles?

In the past, all at-home flight simulation was done on the screen before you. Now multiple-monitor rigs allow you to completely immerse yourself in simulation with screens dedicated to the outside view and interior control panels. The options are too numerous to mention here, but feel free to fill your room with flat-screen monitors and go flying!

Or, if you want to truly immerse yourself in the 3D world of flight simulation, skip the monitor and strap on a pair of VR gaming goggles over your leather flight helmet! Now you can look down into the cockpit or over your shoulder to see if the enemy bandit is closing in for the attack.

10. Push Realism

Are you a casual home pilot who likes to dabble in the world of flight simulation? Or, are you logging dozens of hours every week flying around the world for a virtual airline? It is completely up to you how much realism you want to add via peripherals and even die-hard flight sim pilots can make due with just a single joystick while others convert entire home offices into a virtual cockpit. How have you immersed yourself in flight simulation? Let us know, in the Comments section, below!

15 Space Travel Tips from an Astronaut, Space

15 Space Travel Tips from an Astronaut

An Astronaut’s Video Guide to Life in Space

For wannabe astronauts and space tourists, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield offers a lengthy video guide that goes over the intricacies of spaceflight. In more than 9 hours of content, Hadfield’s MasterClass series covers everything from basic orbital mechanics and rocketry, to how to train as an astronaut, to what the future holds for space exploration.

“This class is for anyone who’s interested in exploration, and not just exploring space,” Hadfield says in the video series. “That’s the obvious core, being an astronaut, but you learn a lot of things along the way.” He adds that, as an astronaut, you learn “how to turn yourself into somebody different than you used to be” through diligent practice, observation and thinking about how to mitigate problems.

Here are some of his key spaceflight tips.

In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield flew three times in space and commanded the International Space Station during Expedition 35 in 2013.

Start astronaut life as an expert, and become a generalist.

Astronauts need to manage danger and do delicate tasks at the same time.

Hadfield’s final mission in space was his longest — five months on the space station, including commanding the orbiting complex during Expedition 35 in 2013. But no matter how long the mission, astronauts must always be aware of the danger and be able to work effectively through it.

Astronauts always need to be ready to spring into action if an emergency happens. On the other hand, an astronaut must also fully focus on the experiment at hand, which could represent a scientist’s lifework. So while working under demanding conditions, every astronaut also must take responsibility for the experiment that people on the ground are hoping will go well.

“You just have to recognize that this is worth doing; exploring the rest of the universe is worth taking a risk for,” Hadfield said, adding that the key is to “get ready for the things that would otherwise normally unnerve you, or make you afraid or nervous. Astronauts overcome fear through constant practice.

In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holds a radiation experiment made up of bubble detectors during Expedition 34 in 2013.

Survival training will forge the right astronaut team.

Hadfield went into space three times with astronauts from all over the world. He said he always tried to behave in the Astronaut Office as though anybody there would be on his crew. This meant trying to predict the best way he could behave to improve interpersonal relations, no matter what the other person’s personality.

Astronauts are also required to undergo survival training and use the time to not only figure out how to survive in extreme conditions but also practice leadership techniques with prospective crewmates.

For example, Hadfield recalled a rural Utah expedition in which one crewmember practiced “silent leadership,” meaning they commanded the others without saying anything. (For example, that leader could have used gestures such as pointing to accomplish a task.) This situation could happen in spaceflight if crewmembers were in a situation in which they couldn’t hear one another. Hadfield said the practice was valuable under a relatively safe set of circumstances on the ground. [What It’s Like to Become a NASA Astronaut: 10 Surprising Facts]

In this photo: In 2013, then-NASA astronaut candidates Anne McClain (left) and Josh Cassada build survival gear during a three-day wilderness session.

The moment of launch feels totally unreal.

Hadfield spent three years preparing for launch day as an astronaut, and 26 years from the time he decided to be an astronaut, at age 9. He spent most of his life practicing and preparing for the moment when he would take his seat on a space shuttle, which was the world’s first reusable spacecraft and carried astronauts to space from 1981 to 2011. He described his first launch day in 1995 as an unreal experience.

“You’re in the final stages of doing something very demanding, but you try to be as ready for it as any human being can be,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing to come around that corner at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida,” he added, saying the view of “your spaceship” was a magnificent sight.

“You don’t actually believe you are leaving Earth today,” Hadfield said, adding that the reality grew clearer as the crew completed the normal prelaunch checks and everything appeared fine. When Atlantis finally lifted off, he said, the noise and vibration made him feel like a leaf in a hurricane. “You are puny compared to what is going to happen,” he added.

In this photo: The April 2001 launch of space shuttle Atlantis during mission STS-100 to the International Space Station. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was one of the crewmembers.

Use the right tool for the job.

Astronauts can only carry so much into space with them, which means they have to know how to improvise. (3D printing is now available on the space station to help with that issue, but the tool may not necessarily be ready if the need is urgent.) Hadfield encountered that need himself during his first spaceflight, in 1995, during STS-74. His crew had docked with the Russian Mir space station, and it was Hadfield’s job to open the hatch.

“Some very strong and well-meaning technician from Russia had decided that his part of the station was going to be secure, and he had strapped down that hatch and put a webbing across it, and wire tires. It was almost impenetrable to get through this hatch,” Hadfield recalled.

With few tools available in the space shuttle and the clock ticking away, Hadfield improvised with a jackknife and successfully sawed the webbing away. “I felt like I was breaking into the Russian space station all by myself,” he joked. “The moral of the story is, when you’re going into somebody else’s spaceship, bring a jackknife.”

In this photo: NASA astronaut Sunita Williams uses a pistol grip tool during a spacewalk on Expedition 14 in 2007.

Visualize how Earth looks when you get ready for a spacewalk.

Astronauts spend hundreds of hours practicing spacewalks at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near Johnson Space Center in Houston. It’s a huge pool that holds 6.2 million gallons (23.5 million liters) of water. While the crew is surrounded by safety divers, Hadfield said he tried to keep the simulation as high-fidelity as possible. He urged the astronauts around him to use correct radio protocols and to otherwise behave as though they were far from help, working on the space station.

One thing he practiced repeatedly was the overwhelming view he would face upon opening the hatch for the first time. By pretending Earth was in front of him when he opened the hatch, he felt better prepared during his first spacewalk, in 2001. “It’s as if the next time you come out of the bathroom … you are standing on the top of Mount Everest,” he said of the view of our planet, upon leaving the space station. “It’s that sort of weirdness of juxtaposition of one place to another,” he added.

In this photo: NASA astronaut Clay Anderson on a July 2007 spacewalk during Expedition 15.

One-pagers will get you through.

Astronauts need to be learning machines, mastering everything from how to fix the ISS toilet to how to capture a visiting spacecraft using the robotic Canadarm2. Procedures and safety protocols for each system can easily fill textbooks. Hadfield’s solution? He created a manual for his STS-100 shuttle mission full of one-pagers, such as one for how to operate the pistol grip tool during a spacewalk.

Hadfield created his short guides by envisioning how he — the operator of a specific system — would turn dials, view displays or otherwise complete the functions of that system. And he would remember to write everything with a goal in mind, such as how to dock with a space station. This method came in handy during the approach to the Russian space station Mir, he recalled, when two sensors on the shuttle showed different distances to the hatch. Hadfield had a one-pager for manual dockings on hand, and with that procedure, the crew arrived safely. [Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s Guide to Writing ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth]

In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield shows a training manual for STS-100, his space shuttle mission in 2001. This included several one-pagers for tools, procedures and other vital spaceflight information.

Astronauts mourn lost crewmates but realize fear is a choice.

Hadfield was close to Rick Husband, the commander of Columbia space shuttle mission STS-107. Columbia broke up during re-entry due to a breach in the shuttle’s protective tiles on its belly, killing all seven astronauts on board. Hadfield and Husband were test pilots together and shared many interests; Hadfield said he expected they would have been friends through the rest of a natural human life span.

Hadfield, along with the rest of his colleagues and friends, deeply mourned the loss of Husband and all of the other astronauts on STS-107. But, Hadfield said, “what really matters — of course, in life — is what do you choose to do next.” Hadfield imagined what would have happened if he had died and Husband remained alive. “It never occurred to me for a second that I would expect Rick would quit — or to say, ‘Wow, I never knew there was danger with this job and someone’s been killed. I need to run away.’ That would be ridiculous,” Hadfield said.

So Hadfield remained an astronaut. He added that all pilots are familiar with “boldface” sections in their manuals — the sections that are critical to safety. “That section of the book is written in blood,” Hadfield said. He, along with all of his colleagues, tried to remember the “boldface” added to the manuals after Columbia to improve safety on future spaceflights.

In this photo: The STS-107 shuttle crew that died during shuttle Columbia’s re-entry in February 2003. Bottom row, left to right: Kalpana Chawla, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Ilan Ramon. Top row, left to right: David Brown, William McCool, Michael Anderson. All of the astronauts were from NASA except Ramon, who represented Israel.

There’s a reason they put astronauts in Mission Control.

There are at least four “mission controls” that space station astronauts talk to, Hadfield said. Along with the most famous one in Houston, there are mission control centers near Moscow, near Munich and near Montreal. But it was the Houston Mission Control with which Hadfield was most familiar. He served as a “capsule communicator,” or “capcom,” for 25 space shuttle missions and was also NASA’s chief capcom for a while.

Traditionally, the capcom is an astronaut, and Hadfield said that is a necessary item for astronauts in space. When people are away from home for months at a time, he said, they become so focused on the mission that they need to put away thoughts of home and family much of the time.

So the astronaut capcom on the ground acts as a trusted colleague to consider Earth’s priorities. This “trusted agent,” as Hadfield called the capcom, makes decisions that the capcom knows will benefit the crew, because the capcom is an astronaut, too. “We don’t have to question it, [and] we don’t have to argue about it; this is a person we trust in Mission Control,” Hadfield said.

In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield (center) worked as a capcom during space shuttle mission STS-106 in September 2000.

Every space machine has a design trade-off.

There can never be a perfect machine in space; every design has a trade-off. There will always be something designers have to give up, whether it be fuel efficiency, time, performance, safety or some other metric.

Hadfield used the space shuttle as an example. The shuttle had wings and a large payload bay, which allowed it to bring satellites into space and return them home. It also could carry large facilities such as Spacelab, a reusable scientific laboratory. But the design also complicated re-entry — so much so that astronauts preferred to use a computer rather than fly in manually.

Today, the next generation of spacecraft are a bit of a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s capsules NASA used, Hadfield said. Although the Boeing Starliner and the SpaceX Dragon commercial crew vehicles have more advanced electronics than their predecessors, their shape resembles the gumdrops of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. It appears that sending the crew and cargo separately into space might be the best way to go, Hadfield said.

In this photo: Chris Hadfield with a mock rocket.

Orbiter Space Flight Simulator Guide, GamersOnLinux

Orbiter Space Flight Simulator Guide

Daerandin Active Member

Orbiter is a freeware Space Flight Simulator, primarily developed by a single person. The first version was released in November 2000, and it is still in development with a new version released now and then. The emphasis is firmly on realism, so you should be prepared to learn orbital mechanics to be able to properly play this simulator. The number of add-ons available is staggering, ranging from historical vessels and missions, to pure science fiction.

This guide will explain how to set up a virtual drive in PlayOnLinux to run Orbiter with the popular Orbiter Sound add-on, and the DirectX9 graphical client since the OpenGL client seems to no longer be in active development and the current version is getting old. Towards the end of the guide will also be instructions for the popular XR fleet as extracting the archives proved to be slightly problematic under Linux.

To learn more about PlayOnLinux and Wine configuration, see the online manual: PlayOnLinux explained

Arch Linux 64-bit
PlayOnLinux 4.2.8
Wine 1.7.47

The main website for Orbiter is located here: Orbiter

However, the archives we will be using are located at:

On that website, click on “Orbiter 2010 Downloads”

There is a download there called “Orbiter 2010 BigFile Download”, which includes all improved textures with the game, however for this guide we will download the files individually since a 2 GB download might be too large for some people.

For the base game, we want the zip archive under the “Orbiter 2010 Base Downloads”, so click on “Download” for the “Orbiter Base | zip |” line.

Below are texture downloads for greatly improved visual quality which I strongly suggest downloading. Download all the following to get high quality textures:

  • C Sphere
  • Dione L7
  • Earth L11, L14
  • Mars L11
  • Moon L11
  • Planets, Moons

For consistency with the rest of this guide, open your home folder and create a new folder there named “Orbiter_files” and then move all the downloaded archives for Orbiter into that folder.

Do not worry if you do not have all the same files in your folder that you see on my screenshot, my screenshot is simply from after I have downloaded the game files as well as the add-ons I like.

Now we need to download the DirectX9 client. This is not required, but it provides much better visuals than the default graphical client, as well as greatly improved framerate. It can be found on this link: D3D9Client Development

Just follow the link there to download it

Now we are going to download the hugely popular and pretty much mandatory add-on that provides sound. While we are at it, we will also download two add-ons from the same developer that provide a couple of cool ships while also providing a basic code framework that many other add-ons require.

Here you should download all three add-ons:

  • OrbiterSound 4.0
  • DeltaGliderIV-3 + UMmu 3
  • UCGO 2.5 + UMmu 3

Setup PlayOnLinux

Launch PlayOnLinux and select ‘Tools’ and ‘Manage Wine versions’

In the new window that appears, scroll through the ‘Available Wine versions’ box to find ‘1.7.47’ and click on the right pointing arrow to install it, now it will be visible under ‘Installed Wine versions’ on the right side
If you have a 64-bits system, make sure you have selected the ‘Wine versions (x86)’ tab above, although it will also work well with 64-bit wine according to my own testing.

Just close the window. Back at the main PlayOnLinux window, select ‘Install’

Click on ‘Install a non-listed program’

Select ‘Install a program in a new virtual drive’ and click next

Name the virtual drive “orbiter” and click Next

Select “Use another version of Wine”, “Configure Wine” and “Install some libraries” before you click Next

On the wine selection window, select 1.7.47 and click next. Make sure you select ’32-bits window installation’ if you are on a 64-bit system, although it should work equally well with a 64-bit virtual drive

When the wine configuration window appear, select the ‘Graphics’ tab, and click the checkbox for all four options, just like in my screenshot. You should set the resolution to your desktop resolution. I have a desktop resolution of 1920 x 1080, so I set the wine virtual desktop to the same resolution.

Note: Even though the language is Norwegian in my screenshot, the layout will look the same for you

When you come to the selection of libraries to install, select:

  • POL_Install_corefonts
  • POL_Install_dxfullsetup
  • POL_Install_vcrun2005

When it asks you for the install file to run, click on ‘Cancel’

The virtual drive has already been set up by this point and there is no need to run any install file.

Now it is time to extract the the content of the archives into the virtual drive we just set up. Orbiter does not touch the windows registry in any way, so there is no need to run any installer. First we will create a directory for Orbiter within the virtual drive, so open a terminal and type

This will create a folder called “Orbiter” on the C disk in the virtual drive. Then it is time to extract everything. For this guide we will use 7zip to exctract. The Linux version of 7zip is usually called p7zip. It is available in the official repositories for most Linux distros, so just search for it in the software center for the distribution you use. Once you have it installed, open a terminal and type the following:

This way everything we extract will by default extract to the Orbiter folder in the virtual drive, now in the same terminal, type:

Check my screenshot to see how it is supposed to look.

It is very important that you don’t close the terminal between typing these commands, otherwise it will not extract into the correct folder.

To avoid having to type the full name of the orbiter archive, you can simply start typing “orbiter” and then press TAB on your keyboard and it will automatically fill in the rest.

In case you downloaded the additional texture archives, don’t close the terminal, but use the following commands for the rest of the archives:

If you are asked if you want to overwrite files when extracting the additional texture archives, you can safely do so. Orbiter comes with some basic textures, and some of these optional archives simply replace the default texture files.

Finally, extract the Directx9 graphics client, still in the same terminal

Note: The version numbers may change if they release new versions, so you should check the files you downloaded in case my guide is not up to date with the most recent releases.

Now you can close the terminal window and go back to the main PlayOnLinux window. Click on ‘Configure’, it does not matter what game shortcut is selected when you click ‘Configure’ so don’t worry about that.

On the left side, find the virtual drive which we named “orbiter” and select it. Then click on the “Display” tab and change ‘Video memory size’ to reflect your GPU memory. Reference my screenshot above if needed. Keep in mind that it is very important that you select “orbiter” in the left side before perform the other steps.

By this point, Orbiter is actually fully playable, however without sound it is quite boring, so let us install those add-ons now.

Click on the ‘Miscellaneous’ tab, and click on “Run a .exe in this virtual drive”

When it asks for what file to run, browse to the Orbiter_files directory in your home folder, and find the installer for Orbiter Sound. At the time of writing the exact version name is: OrbiterSound40_20121120_setup.exe

When you run it, it will ask for your Orbiter folder. Click on ‘Browse’

Expand “My computer”, then expand “C:” and select the folder named “Orbiter” and click “Ok”

Now you can click “Install Orbiter Sound 4.0”

Once the installation is complete, exit the installer. Back at the “Miscellaneous” tab, click to run another .exe in this virtual drive. This time select the installer for Delta Glider IV, at the time of writing named: DeltaGliderIV-3_2010_20140109.exe

Same as with the Orbiter Sound installer, you need to select your Orbiter folder first, then simply Install it.

When it asks you to patch outdated UMmu dll, just click on “No” since this is only required if you have already installed older add-ons. Then exit the installer when done.

Click to run another .exe in this virtual drive and select the installer for UCGO 2.5, currently named: UCGO25_2010_20140109.exe

This works just like the other installers, select the Orbiter folder and click Install, and click No when it asks you to patch outdated UMmu. Exit when it is done installing.

Now select the “General” tab, and click “Make a new shortcut from this virtual drive”

Find “Orbiter_ng.exe” and select it. This is not the default Orbiter executable, but the “no graphics” executable which let you choose an external graphics client, like the D3D9 client we downloaded. You can simply name this shortcut “Orbiter”

Next make a shortcut for “Dg4config.exe”, this is the configuration utility for the Delta Glider IV, it lets you set fuel amount, and oxygen reserves. The default settings will NOT last a trip to Mars for example, so this is useful to specify for certain trips. It is useful to prefix the name of this shortcut with “Orbiter – ” so that it will be listed by the Orbiter shortcut in PlayOnLinux.

Lastly, make a shortcut for “SoundConfig.exe”, this is the utility which let you change sound settings. You should also prefix the name for this shortcut with “Orbiter – ” to make it appear by the Orbiter shortcut in PlayOnLinux.

Lastly select “I don’t want to make another shortcut” and click on Next

Now you can close the “Config” window, and launch Orbiter Sound from PlayOnLinux. You will see this

There is no need to change anything in particular. Personally I prefer no mp3 playing, so I just change that. When you are done with this, just click “Save and exit”

If you launch the DeltaGlider IV config, then you will see this

You may want to avoid touching too much here until after you’ve tried it a bit and know what you want to change. The settings here are only for the DeltaGlider IV ship, and does not affect any other ship.

Now you can play Orbiter. When you launch the shortcut, you will see the Orbiter launcher. First you should click on “Parameters” on the left side. Here you can set realism. Make sure to deselect “Focus follow mouse” because it is not very clear in wine what window is in focus, and it has a tendency to suddenly hide a dialog window you don’t want it to hide. You should also change “MFD refresh (sec)” to a small number, like in my screenshot. Otherwise instrument panels will update slowly which might make it difficult to perform precise course corrections.

Next click on the “Visual effects” tab. Here you can define visuals. I would suggest to keep “Ambient light level” on something low like 10. Otherwise you will not have true night and dark side of planets. For Celestial Sphere Background, I will strongly suggest selecting the “Visible (DSS2/Wikisky)” and setting Intensity to 20. This combined with the settings for “Stars” as in I have in my previous screenshot will give a very nice looking sky.

Now select the “Modules” tab and click “Expand all”, now you should select the following


Transx is a very useful tool for planning interplanetary trips, and I really consider it a must as the other basic tools available really are not up to the job.

ScnEditor allows you to add ships while running Orbiter, or remove ships, or simply place a ship on another planet in case you simply want to experiment a bit.

Now select “Video”. Make sure you have selected to run the game in a Window. You can set fixed aspect ratio for your screen. In any case, make sure you set the window resolution to the same as your desktop resolution to make it appear almost fullscreen.

GDI compatibility should not be needed. Older wine versions would not draw the MFD displays in Orbiter without this option, but it appears to work correctly on newer wine versions so there is no need to select this option.

Now click on “Advanced” in the “Video” tab. There is really only one thing you need to do here. Click on “Create symbolic links”, it might indicate an error when you do it, but according to my testing, things appear to work well. At least Orbiter does not complain about the missing symbolic links when you start it.

You may also wish to set anti-aliasing and anisitropic filtering to levels that you feel your hardware can handle. Anti-aliasing in particular is a demanding option, and you may wish to set it low or off if you don’t have a powerful GPU.

Click “Ok” to close the window.

Now select the “Scenarios” tab, and find a scenario you would like to try. You press ‘F4’ on your keyboard to bring up the in-game menu, which you use to exit the game. You should always Exit the launcher too after stopping playing, even if you intend to try another scenario, because it has a tendency to crash under wine when running several games from the same launcher.

There are many add-ons for Orbiter. Since Orbiter is a windows-only program, the add-ons are stored in archives created in Windows. Sometimes you may encounter problems when extracting the contents of archives and the following example will provide a solution to such a problem that may arise. We are going to download and install the XR fleet.

You can find the XR fleet here: Altea Aerospace downloads

Download all three ships, the XR5, XR2 and the Delta Glider XR1. Be sure to place the downloaded zip archives in the Orbiter_files folder as you can follow this guide to the letter.

These archives are stored with windows specific paths, that means that unpacking them using 7zip on Linux will not result in files being placed in their proper sub-directories, but instead having weird file names that include the directory structure. to circumvent this, simply unpack the archives with the unzip command.

Now, open a terminal and type the following

Now the version number for the DeltaGliderXR1 archive may change if the developer updates it, so check with the actual name of your downloaded archive.

In the same terminal, go ahead and type:

You may be asked if you want to overwrite already existing files, you may safely do so as these are files that all the XR ships use. Now extract the last XR5 ship:

Again, simply select to overwrite files when prompted.

You now have the very detailed XR fleet available to use in Orbiter. These ships focus a lot on realism, and even include some basic autopilots that can make planetary reentry easier, as well as landings on bodies without oxygen.

Orbiter is made for people willing to spend a bit of time to learn about orbital mechanics, and it really is required to read the documentation to get a proper understanding of how it works and what you can actually do. To access all the documentation, open your home folder, then navigate to:

PlayOnLinux’s virtual drives/orbiter/drive_c/Orbiter/Doc

There you will find documentation for Orbiter, for TransX, DeltaGliderIV, the XR fleet and some of the stock vessels.

If you would like a much easier introduction to orbital mechanics, and explained in easier terms, then I would suggest having a look at this free ebook written as a beginners guide to Orbiter: Go Play In Space

The Space Review: Review: Orbiter space flight simulator

Review: Orbiter space flight simulator

by Bruce Irving
Monday, November 14, 2005

I have to start this review with a warning and a disclosure. For anyone with an interest in space flight, the Orbiter space flight simulator can be addictive. And the disclosure: I’m already addicted. In spite of this, I will attempt to deliver a fair evaluation of this powerful freeware program for Windows PCs.


Orbiter ( is a space flight simulator, something of a cross between a conventional PC flight simulator and a planetarium or astronomy program. It features accurate physics (for both orbital mechanics and atmospheric flight), excellent 3-D graphics, and a first-person astronaut’s perspective. Aimed at space- and physics-related education and recreation, Orbiter is not a typical PC game. There are no weapons, explosions, or scores in Orbiter, and currently no built-in multiplayer capability. Because of its realism and detail, Orbiter is certainly educational—but it is also a lot of fun. You can think of it as a toolkit for simulating many aspects of space exploration, or as a virtual world for playing in space.

As with Microsoft Flight Simulator and similar “civilian” flight sim software, the fun in Orbiter comes in several forms. You can enjoy the beautiful solar system scenery; plan and carry out short or long flights (with the help of extreme time acceleration), orbiting or landing on planets and moons; master the intricacies of rendezvous and docking; recreate historic space missions; re-enter and land the space shuttle; and much more. You can also collect and fly detailed 3-D models of hundreds of historic, current, futuristic, and fictional spacecraft and space stations. If you are of a 3-D graphic design or programming bent, you can create your own Orbiter add-ons: spacecraft, space stations, planetary surface textures, 3-D surface bases, new navigation instruments, and more. You can find or share add-ons and discuss Orbiter and space flight issues through several very active web forums. The Orbiter on-line community includes space flight enthusiasts from all around the world.

Orbiter is a space flight simulator, something of a cross between a conventional PC flight simulator and a planetarium or astronomy program.

Orbiter is developed by Dr. Martin Schweiger of University College London. Dr. Schweiger started the Orbiter project in 2000 as an exercise in orbital mechanics programming and as an educational application for physics. Since then, he has brought out several major revisions, improving the technical breadth and depth of the program as well as the quality of the 3-D graphics. Recognizing that he could not develop every feature that every space fan would like, Dr. Schweiger also defined a powerful and flexible programming interface (SDK and API) to allow other programmers to extend the program in various ways. Although Orbiter is not open source, its open architecture has allowed the development of the huge online library of add-ons that exists today.

Using Orbiter

That’s all very nice, you might say, but what is it like to use? And how hard is it to learn? Orbiter operates much like a flight simulator: you have a simulated cockpit with multi-function displays (MFD’s) and other controls, and you click on-screen buttons with the mouse or use keyboard commands, like G for landing gear. You can use a joystick, which is nice for atmospheric flight in airplane-like spacecraft, but basic control of the spacecraft is usually done with the numeric keypad. This includes main and hover engines (if available) as well as attitude control thrusters (they toggle between rotation and translation) and aerodynamic control surfaces for atmospheric flight (for winged spacecraft).

Orbiter comes with several standard spacecraft, including the shuttle Atlantis, and many more are available as free add-ons. For training purposes, most people use the futuristic “Delta Glider” spaceplane, a powerful but still physically-limited craft that can take off from a runway, re-enter and land like the shuttle, and has sufficient fuel capacity to fly to Mars and beyond. It also has hover engines and fully mouse-active instrument panels (both 2-D and a 3-D “virtual cockpit”). It’s a pretty nice ride that will allow you to learn all the basic and advanced orbital maneuvers you will need.

Orbiter was developed originally with physics education in mind, and it offers an accurate and fun way to explore forces and motion, orbital mechanics, aerodynamic flight, and more.

As one example scenario, in “DG ISS Approach,” you are in a Delta Glider in low Earth orbit, 600 meters from the International Space Station and lined up for docking. Guided by the special docking MFD and HUD instruments, you need to slowly close the range while maintaining translational and rotational alignment with the docking port. This requires some practice and finesse, and when you finally manage to dock, you have a new appreciation for the astronauts who do this for real. Other scenarios require you to adjust your orbit to “synchronize” or rendezvous with the target instead of starting just 600 meters away. There are instruments for this too, as well as some very useful tutorials on the web.

Other tasks and missions

Orbiter comes with many pre-defined scenario files, which define one or more spacecraft and their states (e.g., landed on the Moon, orbiting Mars, docked with the ISS, etc.). You can fly any of the spacecraft in the scenario, and even switch between them during the mission. Although people often start out learning to fly the Delta Glider from KSC to Earth orbit, many scenarios start in space or on the Moon, where you can begin to learn orbital maneuvers before tackling the somewhat trickier tasks of atmospheric flight. Examples of tasks you can do with supplied spacecraft and scenarios:

  • Rendezvous and dock with the ISS or with the Mir space station (which is still in orbit in the Orbiter world)
  • Fly to the Moon, enter orbit and land at “Brighton Beach,” the default Moon base
  • Perform an EVA from the Atlantis, using your MMU to fly to and inspect a satellite
  • Take off from Olympus Base on Mars and go visit Phobos
  • Land the Space Shuttle from final approach to KSC’s runway 33
  • Use the Shuttle robotic arm to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Fly Voyager 1’s historic trajectory through the Jupiter system and on to Saturn


Add-ons for Orbiter are also free and cover a wide range of spacecraft, space stations, surface bases, planetary textures, and MFD’s (plug-ins for the instrument panel). Many of these reside on the web site, and others can be found through the Orbiter forums. Add-ons usually include documentation and predefined scenario files that demonstrate and make use of the new tools. Here are a few examples.

  • Orbiter Sound 3.0 – Adds support for sound effects and music, greatly improving the Orbiter experience (Daniel Polli)
  • “Blue marble” high-resolution Earth textures (Jim Williams)
  • Interplanetary MFD (v4.2) – a powerful graphically-oriented orbital mechanics tool that runs within Orbiter, with many features for precise planning and control of flights to the Moon, Mars, or the outer planets (Jarmo Nikkanen)
  • Apollo Program (v6.4.2) – Detailed multi-spacecraft add-on that allows you to fly full Apollo missions or selected parts such as Moon landings (NASSP Team)
  • Shuttle Fleet (v3.8.2) – Greatly enhanced add-on version with better graphics, launch autopilot, configurable payloads, and more (Don Gallagher, Dave Hopkins)
  • Space elevator – Demonstrates the flexibility of Orbiter’s add-on architecture, introducing an entirely new class of propulsion (Yuri Kulchitsky)

Educational application

Orbiter was developed originally with physics education in mind, and it offers an accurate and fun way to explore forces and motion, orbital mechanics, aerodynamic flight, and more. Students can also visually explore the Solar System and study geography from space by turning on Orbiter’s configurable object labels. They can also learn about the history of rocketry and space flight by recreating historic missions (add-ons start with Robert Goddard’s early rockets and include Vanguard, Ranger, Mercury, Gemini, Viking, Voyager, Apollo, Soyuz, and many more historic craft). Orbiter is accurate enough to recreate actual eclipses, to perform gravitational slingshot maneuvers for interplanetary flights, and even to follow a shuttle launch in real time (as some enthusiastic shuttle fleet add-on users did for STS-114 in July). There are many user-written tutorials on the web, and some materials specifically geared toward teaching are beginning to arrive.

Any issues?

Orbiter is free and is easy to download and install, and it is remarkably stable for a program of its complexity. Because it is freeware, there is no formal technical support, although experienced users on the Orbiter Web Forum often answer questions for new users. One nice feature is that Orbiter installation makes no changes to Windows system files, so it can be uninstalled by simply deleting its installation folder. One issue is that many add-on spacecraft have no instrument panels, so you must use key commands for most operations, although there are other add-ons that partially compensate for this. The documentation is quite good, though it is mainly a reference manual. There is some in-simulation help available, and many tutorials are available to supplement the manual.

Many tasks in Orbiter are challenging at first—thinking and maneuvering in 3-D and zero-G are not familiar experiences for most people.

With its emphasis on accurate space flight simulation and orbital mechanics, Orbiter is not all things to all space and astronomy enthusiasts. For one thing, although it displays accurate star positions, you can only fly within the solar system, and detailed information for bodies outside the solar system is not included. People who are looking for a more comprehensive view of the Universe can turn to many commercial, freeware, and shareware astronomy and planetarium programs. Celestia ( is one such freeware program, and it is often compared to Orbiter. Celestia does model other stars and even galaxies, offers many user-developed add-ons, and features a “space ship” interface. It’s an excellent program, but to allow quick trips to distant stars, the Celestia space ship is more of a magic carpet than a physical spacecraft model as in Orbiter. Depending on your goals, this can be a plus or a minus.


I’ve been a space flight enthusiast since childhood, collecting and reading books, watching videos, and in recent years, keeping up with space developments through the web. I’ve even played with a few space-related simulators in the past, but these were so limited physically and/or graphically that none of them held my interest for long. Orbiter is different. The combination of realistic physics, a well-designed flight-sim-like user interface, outstanding graphics, and expandability has created a “sweet spot” in terms of the immersiveness, the variety of experiences, and the range of challenges. Many tasks in Orbiter are challenging at first—thinking and maneuvering in 3-D and zero-G are not familiar experiences for most people. These require learning, and to me, learning is fun—especially learning about space flight. If you or someone you know has similar feelings, and until commercial space-tourist flights become available, Orbiter could be your winning (and free) ticket to space.

Bruce Irving (bruceirvingmusic [at] pobox [dot] com) is an optical engineer, private pilot, and space flight enthusiast. He is the author of a tutorial ebook for Orbiter, “Go Play In Space”. His blog “Music of the Spheres” discusses Orbiter, space issues, and a little bit of music.

Spaceflight Simulator App Guide: How to Build Your Own SpaceX Rocket, LevelSkip

Spaceflight Simulator App Guide: How to Build Your Own SpaceX Rocket

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

The Spaceflight Simulator App

Spaceflight simulator is a free rocket simulator app available to download in the Google Play Store.

You can build your own rocket, simulate the moon landing, and use orbital mechanics to explore outer space. Every moon and planet shown is scaled to size, and they operate under the laws of physics.

This space sim is all about being creative and exploring the universe on your own terms. You don’t have to be a genius to play, and there are plenty of visual tutorials you can use to make that first planetary descent.

This app may not seem much at first, but it’s oddly addicting due to the rocket building mechanics. In fact, there are numerous parts you can use to customize your creation, and it’s a blast testing your rocket.

So if you love space and simulator games, then I highly recommend trying Spaceflight Simulator.

Your Rocket Components

How to Build a Rocket

The best part about this game is definitely the rocket building aspect, and luckily there are multiple parts you can use to construct your very own rocket.

Basic Parts

  • Command Module: Small capsule that carries one astronaut
  • Probe: An unmanned probe used for one way missions
  • Parachute: Used to aide in landing
  • Fuel Tank: Carries liquid oxygen and fuel
  • RB-48 Liquid Fuel Engine: High thrust, lower efficiency engine commonly used in the first stage of a rocket
  • Broadsword L.F. Engine: High efficiency, low thrust engine used in space when high thrust isn’t needed
  • Grasshopper L.F. Engine: Small engine used for small stages or landers
  • Separator (including side separators): Vertical separator detaches empty stages and side separators detach side boosters
  • Landing Leg: Retractable and extendable leg used for landing on the moon and other planets

Aerodynamic Parts

  • Aerodynamic Nose Cone (vertical, left, and right): Used to improve the aerodynamics of side boosters
  • Fairing (cone, trapezoid, rectangular): Light and aerodynamic fairing used to encase payloads during launch


  • Structural Parts: Light and strong structural pieces
  • RCS Thruster: Set of small directional thrusters often used for docking
  • Rover Wheel: Used to build ground vehicles
  • Solar Panel: Generates power when extended
  • Battery: Used to store electric power

How to Use the Rocket Parts for Your First Launch

Having so many parts may seem daunting, but many of them don’t serve a huge purpose beyond aesthetics.

What you really need to focus on when building your first projectile is the fuel tanks (each with a varying amount of liquid fuel), engines/boosters, separators, the aerodynamic nose cone, the parachute, and your command capsule.

When in your creation space, the first thing you should do is attach 2+ fuel tanks to your command capsule. From there attach a few side boosters using your side separators, and make sure they are even on both sides. Then, add your RB-48 engines on the bottom of your fuel tanks, and finally, add a parachute to the top of your capsule.

After you’ve done this, hit the launch button to be taken to the launch pad. You will then tap on your engines before turning up your power meter to start the launch.

You should be able to reach the Karman Line on your first attempt if you’ve built your spaceship correctly. Eventually you’ll run out of fuel and start plummeting towards Earth.

Once you’re below 2500 meters, tap your parachute to release it from the capsule. This will cause the ship to quickly slow down. At 500 meters tap the parachute again to fully deploy it and land safely on the surface.

How to Build More Advanced Spaceships

After your first rocket, try building more and more advanced projectiles that utilize things like landing legs, solar panels, and second stage engines. You’ll need those components to be able to securely land on the moon and other planets.

Remember that the second stage engines should only be used once you’re in space (less thrust needed in space). To add in your second stage engines, you’ll have to place vertical separators above the first stages of your rocket. Your separators should be placed right under the 2nd stage engines because everything below the separators (vertical and side) will detach when you tap on them.

If you plan on making a moon landing, then make sure you place two landing legs on both sides of your second stage rocket (above the separators) for even support. The landing legs will expand outward once you click on them.

How you choose to construct your rocket is up to you, but keep in mind that each rocket is grounded in real physics. For example, if you create a massive rocket with multiple fuel tanks, then your rocket will be weighed down heavily. It will also expend a lot of fuel/energy as it accelerates upward.

Try to erect your spaceships as evenly as possible. Even slight weight shift differentials could spell doom for your prized rocket, but do feel free to experiment.

This may be a realistic space flight simulator, but it’s also a game designed to test your creativity so don’t worry too much about messing up.

How to Reach Low Earth Orbit

One thing that’s great about the app is that the developer provides users with text and visual tutorials to help do things like reach low earth orbit and land on the moon.

Those tutorials are incredibly helpful if you want to accomplish each objective perfectly, however; I prefer a trial and error approach to these challenges and maybe you do too.

Still, you’re going to need a few things to complete this task.

What You’ll Need to Reach Low Earth Orbit

To reach low earth orbit, your rocket will need to be compromised of two stages. Having two stages will provide you with more than enough liquid fuel to form a complete circle or oval around Earth.

You should also pack enough fuel tanks and engine power in the first stage to quickly reach space.

After that the rest is pretty simple. When you liftoff, start turning your rocket gradually at around 3000 meters so that your orbital trajectory begins to shift horizontally. By the time you hit 15 km your rocket ship should be tilted between 45-65°.

You can see your current and future trajectory by clicking the “Map” button on the top left of your screen. That setting gives you a nice birds-eye view of your rocket as well as the Earth and other nearby celestial bodies.

How to Complete Your Orbit

As you begin to turn and shift your orbit, you’ll need be aware of the two possible burns that must be executed to complete the low earth orbit.

Prograde Burn: An acceleration in the direction you’re heading (increases velocity). This burn will increase the opposite side of the orbit and increase your orbital trajectory.

Retrograde Burn: An acceleration in the opposite direction you’re heading (decreases velocity). This will decrease the opposite side of your orbit and lessen your orbital trajectory.

If you perform each of those burns correctly, then you should eventually reach low earth orbit. Remember to always look at your map to see where your upcoming trajectory will go and adjust it accordingly.

Low earth orbit is the easiest task to perform, and you don’t have to do it perfectly. Just make sure there’s a ring around the Earth and that your path is not on a collision course with the planet.

How to Land on the Moon

Your first moon landing attempt may be pretty rough, but the video tutorial above will help tremendously.

Again, you can experiment and do it your way as long as you perform these steps.

How to Prepare Your Rocket for the Moon

You’ll never land on the moon properly if you don’t have an adequate rocket to get there. Luckily the moon is not that far so you won’t need a massive spaceship, however; you’ll still need plenty of fuel and a few side boosters to assist you.

You should make good use of your side separators and attach a few large fuel tanks to each side (evenly) with aerodynamic cones on top. You’ll also need to build a well-loaded second stage rocket that uses anywhere from 10-15 tons of liquid fuel, and as always, attach vertical separators below the second stage engine/s.

Finally, be sure to place a couple of landing legs to the sides of your 2nd stage rocket (above the engine) because how else are you going to land softly. You can use the arrows on the build screen to rotate the parts. Rotating the parts will give you a left and right side landing leg.

For an added bonus, you can attach one or two RCS thrusters to the side of your ship. These can provide additional handicaps because of their ability to add low thrust in any direction. You should only use them as you get close to your landing target or if you’re docking with another ship.

How to Perform a Moon Landing

Once you have your rocket ready, then the next thing you’ll want to do is get into low earth orbit.

Getting into low earth orbit will make it easy to set up your destination without risking a collision with Earth.

These next steps are taken from the app’s text tutorial, and I’ll explain more afterwards:

  1. Set the Moon as a target by clicking on it in map view
  2. A transfer window marker will appear on your orbit, indicating the optimal time to perform a trans lunar injection burn
  3. Burn prograde inside the transfer window until you achieve a Moon encounter, a dotted line will indicate the closest approach to your target
  4. Burn retrograde at your closest approach to enter Moon orbit
  5. Perform another retrograde burn to deorbit
  6. Decelerate as you get closer to the lunar surface
  7. Reduce your horizontal velocity as much as possible for an easier landing, then try to softly land on the lunar surface (use RCS thrusters to assist you)
  8. Tap the landing legs so that they extend to make the landing even softer

If those steps are too confusing to follow, then watch the video tutorial above or via the app to get a better idea of how to perform a lunar landing.

The tutorials included are a lot of help, and I wish I had used them when I first started playing. The hardest part of the moon landing is definitely the final encounter because you’ll often descend too fast and crash into the Moon. Also make sure you have enough liquid fuel available so that you don’t run out while decelerating.

This may appear tricky at first, but if your rocket is erected fittingly and you’ve followed these tutorials closely, then you should have no problem landing on the Moon.

How to Land on Other Planets (And More)

Once you know how to land on the moon, then landing on other planets should be pretty simple.

All you’ll need to do now is apply those lunar landing steps on a much larger scale. Just don’t forget to get into a low earth or moon orbit first before targeting other planets in the inner solar system. Currently you can target Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and several moons (Phobos).

Also keep in mind that each planet is scaled to size, which will have an impact on your orbit and velocity/acceleration. Every planet has a different atmosphere as well, which could make landing on them a bit tricky.

The easiest planet to land on is Venus because of its very thick atmosphere. Its atmosphere will slow your rocket down substantially, limiting your risk of a collision. Like on Earth, you can also use your parachute (tap once to release, tap twice to fully deploy) to slow down even more when you reach low altitude.

Other planets like Mercury will be a lot harder to land on due to little or no atmosphere though it shouldn’t be any harder than landing on Earth’s moon.

The only thing you really have to worry about is whether or not you’ve got enough fuel to make the trip. If you feel your rocket isn’t well stocked, then you can always click the “back to build” option in your settings. Unfortunately doing this will reset the launch so be careful.

Other Tricks You Can Perform

There are a few other things you can experiment with while playing. One thing you can attempt to do is dock your ship with another one in space.

You might be asking yourself, “What other ship?”.

Well the cool thing about this simulator is that every time you test a new rocket, stages of the old rocket will continue to orbit other bodies in space.

In fact your entire previous rocket may be orbiting other planets, which can then be targeted as a destination for your new rocket. You can then attempt to dock your current ship with an older one. This is a very complex procedure, and a full docking video is included on the app in the main menu.

I won’t explain how to dock as I feel that seeing a video of the process will be a lot more helpful.

Another thing you can try to do is land on a moon or planet and then return to Earth. This is essentially a repeat of the lunar landing steps except done twice in one mission. Out of all the tasks you can do, this is one that you’ll have to perform perfectly due to your limited liquid fuel supply.

Getting into low orbit around multiple planets is key to completing this mission, and which destination you choose matters greatly.

Those are the main challenges you can try to do, but there’s a lot more that this game has to offer. So if you’re interested in even more parts, modes, and cool features, then keep reading.

How to Purchase Extra Parts (Plus Sandbox Mode)

You may have noticed that some parts can’t be accessed right away. Well that’s because additional parts can only be obtained through an expansion pack.

The expansion pack is available under the “Full Version” tab for $4.

Expansion Pack Features

  • Bigger Build Space
  • Heavy Lift/Ion Engines
  • Rocket Skin Customization
  • Large Rovers and Fairings
  • Docking Parts and Probes
  • Large Engines and Fuel Tanks
  • Jupiter & Jupiter’s Moons
  • No Ads
  • Planet Editor & Customization
  • All Future Parts and More

That’s right, along with premium components you’ll also have access to any future parts with the expansion pack. For more information about some of the extra rocket parts, I’ve included a table at the bottom of the article.

You’ll also get a new game mode.

Sandbox Mode

Sandbox mode allows you to experiment however you would like without worrying about the laws of physics holding you back.

Additional Tools & Settings

There’s a lot that this game has to offer including a few practical settings that I didn’t even mention.

One thing that’s very helpful is that you can save and go back to your missions at any point in your journey or even upload/download rockets from previous missions. Additionally you can clear all rocket debris on the ground, in space, and during build mode if you prefer less clutter.

Furthermore, you can view additional tips or discuss upcoming features with other users online. Information about Spaceflight Simulator can be found on platforms like Discord, Reddit, YouTube, and the game’s own forum where you can participate and gain more insight about the app.

Spaceflight Simulator has a growing community of players, and they’ve been able to propel this game to over 1 million downloads in the Google Play Store. With space exploration being such a hot topic due to the recent launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, it’s no wonder why people are so interested in building their own rockets.

This app allows anyone to develop the spaceship of their dreams with ease, and it’s one of my favorite and most addicting apps to play.

So if you really want to build your own SpaceX rocket and shoot for the moon, then you have to try out Spaceflight Simulator for yourself.

Expansion Pack Add-ons

Your Turn!

Would you try Spaceflight Simulator?

Questions & Answers

Do you believe getting the Spaceflight Simulator expansion is worth it?

I think it’s worth it if you’re interested in experimenting with new items and features. I like that you’ll have access to future features with the expansion pack, which is a huge plus. So it’s really up to you, but I think it’s worth it.

Good question. I haven’t been able to change the skins either. On the build section it says “hold a part to change its skin,” but I haven’t been able to do so successfully. Unless I’m missing something, this sounds like an app error that will hopefully get fixed soon.

How I can land on the Sun in the Spaceflight Simulator App?

You’ll have to do a retrograde burn once you’ve escaped Earth’s gravity. You’ll also need to build your rocket so that you have sufficient fuel to make it. The best way to land is to purchase the extra pack ($4) so that you’ll have infinite fuel otherwise it’ll be really difficult to get close without running out of fuel.

How do I download another rocket in Spaceflight Simulator?

You have to buy the expansion pack for extra rockets and rocket parts. Click “get expansion” on the bottom of the menu page, keep scrolling right until you reach the end, and hit “get expansion” again to buy.

Can you land on the Sun in the Spaceflight Simulator App?

I’ve tried and technically you can make it to the sun, but you’ll never really land on it and you won’t be able to get off. It’s easier to get to the sun if you’ve purchased the premium pack ($4) and received the infinite fuel.


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Christopher Smith

As I take off my fuel seams to move from tank to tank. How do I control this or stop it?

Krzysztof Willman

21 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

I think that’s why I gravitated towards it more. It can teach you some things without losing the fun and creativity of similar apps.

Krzysztof Willman

21 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

Thank you, I wanted users to have a good idea what the app was about.


This is very promising entertainment and a learning opportunity for any space nerd. I was impressed at the sheer range of options and the detail of your article.

Liz Westwood

This app appears to have much more of a dual purpose than other apps so that the educational element is stronger than I’ve seen in other apps.

Krzysztof Willman

22 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

Thank you so much, I think he may enjoy it especially if he’s into space or exploration. I like how grounded this app felt compared to other space simulators, and how you actually understood how things like gravity and orbit worked.

Liz Westwood

This is a really detailed and helpful article. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from this. I would be happy for my grandson to spend time using an app like this, as I can see that it has a lot of educational potentials.

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