A New Real-Time Flight Simulator for Military Training Using Mechatronics and Cyber-Physical System Methods, IntechOpen

A New Real-Time Flight Simulator for Military Training Using Mechatronics and Cyber-Physical System Methods

By César Villacís, Walter Fuertes, Luis Escobar, Fabián Romero and Santiago Chamorro

Submitted: September 11th 2018 Reviewed: April 29th 2019 Published: July 5th 2019


So far, the aeronautical industry has developed flight simulators and space disorientation with high costs. This chapter focuses on the design and implementation process of a low-cost real-time flight simulator for the training of armed force pilots using mathematical models of flight physics. To address such concern, the mathematical models of a Cessna type aircraft have been developed. This has been followed by a flight simulator, which operated with a new construction using a Stewart scale platform and operated by a joystick. Specifically, the simulator has been developed using an approximation of a physical cyber-system and a mechatronic design methodology that consists of mechanical, electrical and electronic elements that control the Stewart platform with three degrees of freedom. Based on software engineering, the algorithms of mathematical and physical models have been developed. These have been used to create an interactive flight simulator of an aircraft based on the Unity 3D game engine platform. The performance of the algorithms has been evaluated, using threads and processes to handle the communication and data transmission of the flight simulator to the Stewart platform. The evaluation of the developed simulator has been validated with professional pilots drilled with the Microsoft Flight Simulator. The results demonstrated that this flight simulator stimulates the development of skills and abilities for the maneuver and control of an aircraft.


  • flight simulator
  • mathematical models of aircraft
  • flight training
  • Stewart platform
  • real time simulation
  • mechatronics
  • cyber-physical system
  • kinematic control

chapter and author info


César Villacís

  • Computer Sciences Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
  • Mechanical and Energy Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
  • Walter Fuertes *

    • Computer Sciences Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
    • Mechanical and Energy Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
  • Luis Escobar

    • Computer Sciences Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
    • Mechanical and Energy Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
  • Fabián Romero

    • Computer Sciences Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
    • Mechanical and Energy Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
  • Santiago Chamorro

    • Computer Sciences Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
    • Mechanical and Energy Department, University of the Army Forces-ESPE, Ecuador
  • *Address all correspondence to: [email protected]

    From the Edited Volume

    Edited by George Dekoulis

    1. Introduction

    Modern flight simulators meet two main aviation objectives: (1) to provide pilot training at the instructor’s level, and at the student’s level to learn to fly and to earn virtual flight hours that are useful for flying real aircrafts and (2) to simulate normal flight conditions, as well as adverse situations and spatial disorientation such as navigation instrument faults, power losses, loss of control of the aircraft, confusion illusion of references, illusion of the effect of black holes, among others, that would be dangerous and even catastrophic in a real flight; so, they must be well analyzed, controlled, and learned.

    Real flight simulators with full movement generate movements and images where pilots feel an almost 100% level of realism of what would happen in a real plane. These simulators combine a series of technological aspects such as the Stewart platforms that reproduce real-time movements of the simulator software at hardware level and allow stimulating the visual and vestibular system of the pilots, reaching a maximum level of knowledge of various types of favorable and adverse situations and spatial illusions.

    The main objective of this research was to design and build a flight simulator as a cyber-physical system, both at the software level and at the hardware level; based on mathematical models and programming algorithms that allow us to recreate a Cessna 172 type airplane in a virtual world and to prove its correct functioning. For that purpose, the Unity 3D gaming engine has been used as a developmental tool, together with the LabVIEW graphical programming environment to access the hardware and data information of the built-in Stewart platform with three degrees of freedom.

    The flight simulator as a cyber-physical system composed of software and hardware was evaluated in terms of its functionality with a group of Ecuadorian aviation pilots who met basic training flight hours with the Cessna 172 and the ENAER T-35 Pillan, and also met virtual flight hours using a personalized license from Microsoft Flight Simulator.

    The main contributions of this study were: (a) design of a mathematical model of front velocity, vertical velocity and lateral velocity of an airplane, as well as the application of the physical forces involved in an airplane such as lift, weight, thrust, and drag; (b) implementation of a dynamic Cyber-physical system, where the Mechatronic system was part of it and consisted of a software flight simulator programmed with the UNITY 3D framework. It allowed to include 3D objects such as terrains, buildings, airplanes, cities, sea, etc.; as well as, to model the cockpit in 3D as it looks in the reality and a Stewart platform (hardware) to scale with three degrees of freedom that reproduces the movements of the simulator plane in relation to the roll, pitch, and yaw, operated by a joystick.

    This research has been organized as follows: Section 2 talks about the mechatronics systems design based in V-Model. Then, Section 3 explains about mathematical foundations of Stewart-Gough Platform with 3-DOF. Later, the flight simulator construction has been clarified in Section 4. Next, Section 5 presents the experimental results. Finally, Section 6 gives the conclusions and future work.

    2. Mechatronics systems design based in V-Model

    2.1 Philosophy

    The philosophy of designing mechatronic systems has evolved over the years along with its definition, applications, and boundaries. Since its origins, mechatronics has tried to analyze systems holistically, with a synergic point of view integrating heterogeneous components (mechanics, electronics, and informatics) and subsystems to create more complex systems. This method requires a development that delivers products independently of their domains.

    The V-Model allows the design and development of complex mechatronic systems with an interdisciplinary approach, where the VDI guideline 2206 can be applied to obtain systems that are more flexible and adaptable to the needs of users [1]. This model considers different factors, components, and the synergistic behavior of the different parts of a mechatronic product and its integration.

    The implementation of mechatronic systems has a great reception in the military area. The development of vehicles is one of the most obvious examples due to the high variety of functions that must be fulfilled, according to [2] the idea of using mechatronic systems in the design of combat vehicles arrived with the twenty-first century when the basic architecture of electric and electronic components was developed, a clear example of these systems can be observed in [3, 4].

    The framework given for that methodology has as main objective to generate a product based on the client requirements. In order to accomplish their requirements, the characteristic method to design and develop mechatronic systems is composed of four phases: (1) requirements phase—requirements and specifications analysis is customer oriented and defines the start and end of the project; (2) functional characteristics phase—the functions that are directly or indirectly visible by the user are defined; (3) design phase—the hardware and software components are defined, as well as the architecture of the system; (4) implementation phase—all the unit elements or system programming modules are developed [5]. Then, in the present study, this methodology contributed in the design and implementation of hardware for a simulator.

    2.2 Cyber-physical system (CPS)

    Cyber-physical system (CPS) is a new concept around the revolution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Embedded Systems, and it refers to the integration of computing, data networks and physical processes to become intelligent objects that can cooperate with each other, forming distributed and autonomous systems. A CPS can include several disciplines related to software (Systems Engineering, Computation, Communication, and Control) and hardware (Industrial Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Electronic) [4].

    Nowadays, thanks to the internet of things, there is a greater development of products that have computing and communication. These products need an intimate coupling between the cyber and physical components and will be presented in the nano at large-scale world. CPS may be considered a confluence of embedded, real-time and distributed sensor systems as well as control [6, 7].

    As it can be seen in the military [8] the modeling of present physical systems has several challenges, such is the case of fuel tanks in airplanes. Maintaining a correct monitoring of the level of fuel is a complex job since it requires the use of several sensors and the consideration of several external factors, but when generating a solution with CPS has advantages in the monitoring of it that helps to prevent accidents such as the case of Air Transat Flight on August 23, 2001; where due to a maintenance failure, the aircraft was left without fuel for the landing. This type of systems can be implemented in various systems of military vehicles such as jet aircraft, helicopters, etc.

    By having a CPS, it is possible not only to monitor, but to implement an autonomous control; this can be done in any sector such as factories, transportation, aerospace, buildings and environmental control, process control, critical infrastructure, and healthcare. As indicated by [9], CPS projections will have a great impact in a wide variety of areas, and [10] states that Networked autonomous vehicles could dramatically enhance the effectiveness of the military and could offer substantially more effective disaster recovery techniques.

    The biggest opportunity for implementing CPS is given by the opportunity to decrease costs and simultaneously increase capacity of sensors and actuators; in addition to the access to high capacity, smaller formed computing devices, wireless communication, increased bandwidth and continuous improvements in energy. The advantages and opportunities offered by the cyber-physical systems (CPS) have allowed innovation and improvement of the principles of engineering as Rajkumar mentioned in his research [9]. One of the main challenges that arises in the design and development of cyber-physical systems is the development of new methods of science and system design engineering to obtain a CPS that is compatible, reliable, integrated and synergistic in all the five-layers of functionality architecture with other cyber-physical systems. This research contributes to the design, development and implementation of a CPS following engineering principles.

    2.3 Mechatronics and CPS

    Naturally CPS and mechatronics systems are different, each one follows different goals, but its subtle differences characteristics make those systems complementary; since CPS consider the mechatronic system as an integral part of them. Table 1 shows the differences between mechatronic systems and CPS.

    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 FlightSimulator.com.

    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.”

    Love space and science? Sign up for our GeekWire Space & Science email newsletter for top headlines from Alan Boyle, GeekWire’s aerospace and science editor.

    San Diego Air – Space Museum – Historical Balboa Park, San Diego

    Space flight simulator online

    The Dual-Seater is ready to duel! The FS2000 Two-Seat Flight Simulator is part of an all-new, sleek squadron of indoor full-motion multi-role aircraft rides. Each is poised for the sharp banks, sky loops and screaming dives of pulse-pounding aerial combat and is completely controlled by the pilots themselves! The 360-degree pitch, roll, spin and spiral action is real while riders fly any one of Max-Flight’s combat and flight training programs on a huge 58” screen in the cockpit.

    Faster, sharper and more exciting than any indoor thrill-ride on the market, the FS2000 lets guests be pilot or gunner or both as they engage in interactive dog fighting, carrier landings, flight training and aerobatic maneuvers with the finest, most realistic graphics available. You must be at least 44 inches tall to be able to go on the Interactive Ride.

    Aerial Combat Experience

    Our four flight simulators offer a level of realism in simulated flight. Previous flight simulators seem archaic by comparison. For even more realism, the flight simulators feature a flat panel display depicting the flight instrumentation found in the actual aircraft. The seats mimic the motion as if you are actually flying the plane. Don’t miss it!

    3D/4D Zable Theater

    The 3D/4D Zable Theater uses advanced 3D technologies but takes it to the next level of experience; employing interactive seats and unique special effects built into the theater itself. By creating a set of “4D” effects synchronized to the film production, the 3D/4D Zable Theater adds another layer of immersive and experiential fun for audiences of all ages. Click here to view currently playing movies.

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    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 (www.orbitersim.com) 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 www.orbithangar.com, 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 (http://www.shatters.net/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.

    Space Mission Simulator – Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee

    Space flight simulator online

    The Tiny Explorers program is for our early learners ages 3-5. Two programs are available: Space themed activities and viewing One World, One Sky in our Downtown Digital Dome or Light and shadow activities and viewing In My Backyard in our Downtown Digital Dome. You can choose between a two hour program at the CLC that features hands-on activities and the dome show ($10 per students, $200 minimum for up to 40 students) or our off-site program where we come to you. The off-site option features one and a half hours of hands-on activities and demonstrations and each student will also receive a ticket to come see a show in our Downtown Digital Dome ($15 student, $200 minimum for up to 40 students)!


    The Space Mission Simulator is the perfect setting for students to suspend their disbelief and travel to space. During the K-1 “Mars Explorer” mission students use simple words and pictures to achieve their mission. The “Asteroid Explorer” mission for 2nd and 3rd graders uses beginner reading vocabulary and easy to follow directions. Fourth graders become “Comet Explorers” and have a blast doing hands-on activities and working in space. All missions include standards-aligned STEM activities. All programs feature a grade-level appropriate planetarium show with a “pre-show” presented by one of our instructors in the Downtown Digital Dome.

    In all missions, on-board astronauts in the spacecraft simulator conduct science experiments related to a space theme. A two-hour program for up to 44 students is $350 and includes 30 minutes in the spacecraft simulator, one 30 minute hands-on activity and a planetarium show. A three-hour program for up to 66 students is $500 and includes 40 minutes in the spacecraft simulator, two additional hands-on activities and a planetarium show.

    NEW! Moon Explorers (K – 5th grade)

    Go forward to the Moon in our new Moon Explorers mission highlighting the Artemis Program of 2024. During the mission, students will blast off to the Moon and conduct hands-on science experiments in our spacecraft simulator.

    Kindergartners and first graders program Ozobots to perform tasks on the Moon. A paper model build of the Space Launch System is included in the 3-hour program.

    Second and third graders program Sphero robots to perform tasks on the Moon. A paper model build of the Space Launch System is included in the 3-hour program.

    Fourth and fifth graders experience a space science demonstration. A lunar geology activity is included in the 3-hour program.

    Mars Explorers (K – 1st grade)

    During the spacecraft simulation, students blast off from the “Red Planet” and launch into space and complete science experiments before launching CubeSats to the moons of Mars. A paper model build of the Space Launch System is included in the 3-hour program.

    Asteroid Explorers (2nd – 3rd grade)

    Modeled after NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission to the asteroid Bennu, students travel to the asteroid to collect a sample using the TAGSAM (Touch and Go Sample Arm Mechanism). The mission includes a paper model build of the Atlas V rocket used in the mission. A model TAGSAM build is available in the 3-hour program.

    Comet Explorers (4th – 5th grade)

    Comet Explorers honor the Challenger 51L crew and continue their mission to study Comet Halley. In the spacecraft, student astronauts build and launch a probe to gather data on the comet. Problem solving skills are necessary, as new events occur that can change the mission. A space science demonstration is included. A LEGO build of a Saturn V rocket model is included in the 3-hour program.

    Earth Explorers (6th grade and up)

    Students are sent on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) to complete hands-on experiments and make Earth observations. A major hurricane is heading towards Florida and the ISS crew is tasked with gathering data and sending vital landfall information back to Earth. Emergencies may occur that require teamwork and critical thinking. The 2-hour program includes a Dynamic Demo. The 3-hour program includes a Dynamic Demo and a gyroscope build.


    The Space Mission Simulator offers the next best thing to actual space flight with a Mission Control room and an orbiting Spacecraft laboratory. During a simulation, students work together as astronauts, scientists and engineers to complete one of four scenarios outlined below. What seems to be a routine exploration becomes filled with exciting challenges and emergencies.

    A two-hour mission (flown in both Mission Control and Spacecraft) is $400 for up to 32 students and includes teacher in-service training, classroom curriculum materials and follow-up activities. One-hour mini-missions are available for $250 for up to 16 students that are flown in the Spacecraft.

    Rendezvous with a Comet (5th Grade)

    Embark on a mission to Rendezvous with Comet Encke and send a probe to gather data on the comet. Students use their problem solving skills to determine if the mission should continue as planned or if a different course is necessary.

    Return to the Moon (6th Grade)

    For the first time since 1972, a crew of astronauts is returning to the moon. Their mission is to establish a permanent base for Earth observation and determine whether off-Earth settlements are possible. Teams work together and ensure a safe lunar arrival. Sponsored locally by Shell.

    Voyage to Mars (7th Grade)

    It is the year 2076. A crew of astronauts has been living and conducting research at Chryse Station on Mars for the last two years. The replacement crew is on a nine-month journey to Mars to replace the existing crew of astronauts and continue their mission.

    Expedition Mars (8th Grade and up)

    Set in the future when humans have established mission control on the Martian Moon Phobos, spacecraft astronauts are on a mission to the surface of Mars to search for water and evidence of life. The astronauts find themselves in a high-risk situation and must work together to solve the problems and complete the mission.


    Photo Credit: Bow Stern Marketing Communications

    Space travel is for all ages at the Challenger Learning Center! Become engineers and astronauts in our Mission Control room designed after NASA Johnson Space Center and an orbiting space station modeled after the laboratory on the International Space Station. Adult group missions are great for church groups, neighborhood associations, sororities & fraternities, business teams or other civic groups.

    Looking for a unique and fun way to boost employee communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills?
    Bring your team to the Challenger Learning Center where crew members work as scientists and engineers to fly a simulated space mission in our space station lab and mission control room. The missions are tailored to meet the specific needs of your group.

    • Up to 32 adults (2 hours) – $400
    • Mini-Mission: Up to 16 adults (1 hour) – $250

    Extend your experience by renting one of our facilities or add on IMAX or Planetarium shows!

    To book your Space Mission Simulation, please call our Sales Coordinator at 850.645.7777.

    IMAX and Planetarium shows and Dynamic Demos & Learning Labs can be added to your mission for added learning and fun!

    Signal simulator helicopter

    Signal simulator helicopter

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Left arm horizontal in front of body, fist clenched, right hand with palm turned The pilots flew three flights in a Black Hawk flight simulator, each with a different headset configuration and with varying flight workload levels and varying air traffic control (ATC) communication signal quality. Helicopter marshalling is visual signalling between ground personnel and pilots on a helicopter. Helicopter Flying Handbook (PDF, 170. And to test the program in real-time or study purpose they work well. A optional marker shows the position of the helicopter on the ground. Featuring FlySky’s unique AFHDS transmission protocol, the FS-TH9X 9-Channel RC Transmitter is definitely not a helicopter toy remote control! This powerful 9-channel RC remote control is developed for all radio controlled models and can stack up against any competition. Reminder: EPISODE 7 – HAS BEEN MOVED BACK; EPISODE 8 – HAS BEEN MOVED UP Portable Dual Frequency GPS Simulator. SonSim is a crucial part of ASWTT. 2 MB) Chapter 02: Aerodynamics of Flight (PDF, 12. The second safety-of-life signal will enable significant benefits above and beyond the capabilities of the current GPS Full Flight Simulators (FFS) FAA FFS Level A – A motion system is required with at least three degrees of freedom. Today, FLYIT Flight Training Devices (FTDs) are used by HEMS, Military, Law Enforcement and Professional Training facilities in the U. WL Toys Drone V686G 5. Redback Aviation Helicopter Store is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. co/SVvL0qxzaG. The helicopter is a simple graphical game; one might say a classic game. It is not a fancy game but it is very interesting and highly addictive. com. signal uact refers to the output of the actuators, whereas measurement signal y refers to the. Aug 02, 2018 В· SonSim can be delivered as standalone simulator, composed by several stations for classroom training, or embedded in STT (Submarine Tactical Trainer), warship simulator, air components ASW units (dipping Sonar, sonobuoys). Part of the survival training at Falck involves a Modular Egress Training Simulator, which is the hull of a helicopter suspended by a crane over 16 feet of water. That simulator required a simulator of its own to keep the crews from crashing it. We do recommend the use of the RCWare RX2SIM Wireless Multi-Sim Adapter which offers up to 8 proportional channels and works with all common transmitters. Control massive Radio Antennas by using interactive control in your source of vibrations in helicopters is the main rotor, simulation codes such as TruckSim, CarSim and next steps: a) detection of vibration signals on the. Transporf Delay is the total simulator system processing time required from a pilot primary flight control input signal until a motion system, visual system, and instrument response. It can transfer the PPM signal to PC internal channel Fire Indication electronic warfare system designed to protect helicopters and The Countermeasures Signal Simulator is a lightweight test set that meets 5 Jun 2011 6. As the owner of the historical museum of military equipment you have to find abandoned tanks of the last century, repair them and completely restore. Fire Helicopter: Rescue Game, Take control of this cool copter and find out if you’ve got what it takes to become the ultimate firefighter. The manual is informative and complete. In this Extreme Snow Emergency Rescue you a heroic pilot ready to brave the danger from Tank Mechanic Simulator — tank mechanic simulator dedicated to armored vehicles of the Second World War. Look for the signs. Waving a chemlight in a certain pattern at night is used to signal the helicopter. 5th Alpini Regiment, 2nd Engineer Regiment, 32nd Tank Regiment, etc. Developing a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test bench for the rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicle (RUAV) platform at the University of Bologna (UNIBO) to emulate a real UAV system for safe and risk-free preflight testing. we have added a very interesting flight recording of 2018 Mirko Cesena’s music flight where you can watch his stick movements on the screen. 8 MB) (Full Version) By Chapter. No. Objective flight performance parameters of heading, altitude, and airspeed deviation and ATC command readbacks were measured. Wheel configs added: – Firestone: Wide Singles, Wide Single Weights, Wide Rear Twin wheels, Wide Rear Twin Weight, Wide Twin Wheels All, Narrow Singles, Narrow Single Weights, Narrow Twin Rear, Narrow Twin Rear Weights, Narrow Twins All Helicopter Batteries 3. I refer to your above confirmation of provision of PPM port. 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    Space flight simulator game

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    Title: Space flight simulator game
    Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
    Language: English
    Subject: Simulation video game, Kerbal Space Program, Construction and management simulation, Life simulation game, Social simulation game
    Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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    Space flight simulator game

    A space flight simulator game is a genre of flight simulator video games that lets players experience space flight. Examples of true simulators which aim at piloting a space craft in a manner that conforms with the laws of nature include Orbiter, Kerbal Space Program and Microsoft Space Simulator.

    Other games involving space flight in 3D space, without restricting movement to a physics system and realistic behaviour, are also commonly called “space flight simulators”. They aren’t simulators in the strictest sense of the word. These games do differ from space-based arcade oriented shoot ’em up games that use side-scrolling or top-down perspectives. When the genre appeared in the early 1980s, the use of 3D graphics and 1st person perspective, with the player viewing out of the cockpit, gave a sense of realism. This the designation of space flight simulators, even though a better name for these games would be “pseudo simulators” or “space flight games“. Most space combat simulators and space trading simulators can be placed in the “pseudo space flight simulator” category.

    Space flight games and simulators, at one time popular, had for most of the new millennium been considered a “dead” genre. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] However, open-source and enthusiast communities managed to produce some working, modern titles (see the free Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator), and 2011’s commercially released Kerbal Space Program was notably well-received, even by the aerospace community. [6]

    Some games in the genre have the aim of recreating a realistic portrayal of space flight, involving the calculation of orbits within a more complete physics simulation than pseudo space flight simulators. Others focus on gameplay rather than simulating space flight in all its facets. The realism of the latter games is limited to what the game designer deems to be appropriate for the gameplay, instead of focusing on the realism of moving the spacecraft in space. Some “flight models” use a physics system based on Newtonian physics, but these are usually limited to manoeuvring the craft in its direct environment, and do not take into consideration the orbital calculations that would make such a game a simulator. Most of the pseudo simulators feature faster than light travel.



    Realistic simulation

    Realistic space simulators seek to represent a vessel’s behaviour under the influence of the Laws of Physics. As such, the player normally concentrates on following checklists or planning tasks. Piloting is generally limited to dockings, landings or orbital maneuvers. The reward for the player is on mastering real or realistic spacecraft, celestial mechanics and astronautics.

    If the definition is expanded to include decision making and planning, then Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space (1992) is also notable for historical accuracy and detail. On this game the player takes the role of Administrator of NASA or Head of the Soviet Space Program with the ultimate goal of being the first side to conduct a successful manned moon landing.

    Most recently Orbiter and Space Shuttle Mission 2007 provide more elaborate simulations, with realistic 3D virtual cockpits and external views.

    Kerbal Space Program can be considered a space simulator, even though it portrays an imaginary universe with tweaked physics, masses and distances to enhance gameplay. Nevertheless, the physics and rocket design principles are much more realistic than in the space combat or trading subgenres.

    The game Lunar Flight simulates flying around the lunar surface in a craft resembling the Apollo Lunar Module.

    Space combat game

    Most games in the space combat [8] genre feature futuristic scenarios involving space flight and extra planetary combat. Such games generally place the player into the controls of a small starfighter or smaller starship in a military force of similar and larger spaceships and don’t take into account the physics of space flight, usually often citing some technological advancement to explain the lack thereof. The prominent Wing Commander, Tachyon: The Fringe, X-Wing and Freespace series all use this approach. Exceptions include the first Independence War and the Star Trek: Bridge Commander series, which model craft at a larger scale and/or in a more strategic fashion. It should be noted that I-War also features Newtonian style physics for the behaviour of the space craft, but not orbital mechanics.

    Space combat games tend to be mission-based, as opposed to the more open-ended nature of space trading and combat games.

    Space trading and combat game

    The general formula for the space trading and combat game, [9] [10] [11] [12] which has changed little since its genesis, is for the player to begin in a relatively small, outdated ship with little money or status and for the player to work his or her way up, gaining in status and power through trading, exploration, combat or a mix of different methods. [13] [14] [15] The ship the player controls is generally larger than that in pure space combat simulator. Notable examples of the genre include Elite, Wing Commander: Privateer, and Freelancer.

    In some instances, plot plays only a limited role and only a loose narrative framework tends to be provided. In certain titles of the X series, for instance, players may ignore the plot for as long as they wish and are even given the option to disable the plot completely and instead play in sandbox mode. [13] Many games of this genre place a strong emphasis on factional conflict, leading to many small mission-driven subplots that unravel the tensions of the galaxy.

    Games of this type often allow the player to choose among multiple roles to play and multiple paths to victory. This aspect of the genre is very popular, but some people have complained that, in some titles, the leeway given to the player too often is only superficial, and that, in reality, the roles offered to players are very similar, and open-ended play too frequently restricted by scripted sequences. [13] As an example, Freelancer has been criticised for being too rigid in its narrative structure, [14] [16] being in one case compared negatively with Grand Theft Auto, [16] another series praised for its open-ended play. [17]

    All space trading and combat games feature the core gameplay elements of directly controlling the flight of some sort of space vessel, generally armed, and of navigating from one area to another for a variety of reasons. As technology has improved it has been possible to implement a number of extensions to gameplay, such as dynamic economies, cooperative online play, Overall, the core gameplay mechanics of the genre have changed little over the years.

    Some recent games, such as 2003’s EVE Online, have expanded the scope of the experience by including thousands of simultaneous online players in what is sometimes referred to as a “living universe” [13] [18] [19] —a dream some have held since the genre’s early beginnings. [20] Star Citizen, a 2016 (est.) title in open, crowd-funded development by Chris Roberts and others involved in Freelancer and Wing Commander, aims to bridge the gap between the EVE-like living universe game and the fast action of other games in the genre. [21]

    Kerbal Space Program, which has a realistic physics simulation, has some characteristics of a space trading game in some way. For example, it include a career mode, in which spaceship parts are unlocked through “Science” and has funds, contracts and a reputation system.

    An additional sub-class of space trading games eliminate combat entirely, focusing instead entirely on trading and economic manipulation in order to achieve success.

    Control systems

    Space flight games

    Most modern space flight games on the personal computer allow a player to utilise a combination of the WASD keys of the keyboard and mouse as a means of controlling the game (games such as Microsoft’s Freelancer use this control system exclusively [16] ). By far the most popular control system among genre enthusiasts, however, is the joystick. [4] Most fans prefer to use this input method whenever possible, [16] but expense and practicality mean that many are forced to use the keyboard and mouse combination (or gamepad if such is the case). The lack of uptake among the majority of modern gamers has also made joysticks a sort of an anachronism, though some new controller designs [4] and simplification of controls offer the promise that space sims may be playable in their full capacity on gaming consoles at some time in the future. [4] In fact, X3: Reunion, sometimes considered one of the more cumbersome and difficult series of to master within the trading and combat genre, [22] [23] was initially planned for the Xbox but later cancelled. [24]

    Realistic simulators

    Realistic simulators feature spacecraft systems and instrument simulation, using a combination of extensive keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks on virtual instrument panels. Most of the maneuvers and operations consist of setting certain systems into the desired configuration, or in setting autopilots. Real time hands on piloting can happen, depending on the simulated spacecraft. For example, it’s common to use a joystick analog control to land a space shuttle (or any other spaceplane) or the LEM (or similar landers). Dockings can be performed more precisely using the numerical keypad. Overall, the simulations have more complex control systems than game, with the limit being the physical reproduction of the actual simulated spacecraft (see SimPit).


    Early attempts at 3D space simulation date back as far as 1974’s Spasim, an online multi-player space simulator in which players attempt to destroy each other’s ships.

    The earliest known space trader dates to 1974’s Star Trader, a game where the entire interface was text-only and included a star map with multiple ports buying and selling 6 commodities. It was written in BASIC.

    The modern space flight game genre emerged at the point when home computers became sufficiently powerful to draw basic wireframe graphics in real-time. [15] The game Elite is widely considered to be the breakthrough game of the genre, [15] [25] [26] and as having successfully melded the “space trading” and flight sim genres. [7] Elite was highly influential upon later games of its type, although it did have some precursors, and games similar to Elite are sometimes called “Elite-clones”. [27] [28] [29] [30]


    Elite was named one of the sixteen most influential games in history at Telespiele, a German technology and games trade show, [38] and is being exhibited at such places as the Barbican Art Gallery. [39] Elite was also named #12 on IGN’s 2000 “Top 25 PC Games of All Time” list, [40] the #3 most influential video game ever by the Times Online in 2007, [41] and “best game ever” for the BBC Micro by Beebug Magazine in 1984. [42] Elite’s sequel, Frontier: Elite II, was named #77 on PC Zone’s “101 Best PC Games Ever” list in 2007. [43] Similar praise has been bestowed elsewhere in the media from time to time. [44] [45] [46] [47] [48]

    Elite is one of the most popularly requested games to be remade, [23] and some argue that it is still the best example of the genre to date, with more recent titles—including its sequel—not rising up to its level. [14] [15] It has been credited as opening the door for future online persistent worlds, such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, [41] and as being the first truly open-ended game. [17] [49] It is to this day one of the most ambitious games ever made, residing in only 22 kilobytes of memory and on a single floppy disk. [18] The latest incarnation of the franchise, titled Elite: Dangerous was released on the 16 of December 2014, following a successful Kickstarter campaign.

    Trade Wars

    Trade Wars has shown an extraordinary reach and longevity. As of 2013, nearly 30 years after its original release, multiplayer Trade Wars games have been hosted on over 20,000 sites in 59 different countries, with hundreds of game sites hosting thousands of players in 2012. [55]

    Other examples

    Elite was not the first game to take flight game mechanics into outer space. Other notable earlier examples include Star Raiders (1979), Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space (1982), Rendezvous: A Space Shuttle Simulation (1982), [7] and Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (1982), [56] which featured five different controls to learn, six different enemies, and 40 different simulation levels of play, making it one of the most elaborate vector games ever released. [57] Other early examples include Nasir Gebelli’s 1982 Apple II computer games Horizon V which featured an early radar mechanic and Zenith which allowed the player ship to rotate, [58] [59] and Ginga Hyoryu Vifam, which allowed first-person open space exploration with a radar displaying the destination and player/enemy positions as well as an early physics engine where approaching a planet’s gravitational field pulls the player towards it. [60] Following Elite were games such as The Halley Project (1985), Echelon (1987) and Microsoft Space Simulator (1994). Star Luster, released for the NES console and arcades in 1985, featured a cockpit view, a radar displaying enemy and base locations, the ability to warp anywhere, and a date system keeping track of the current date. [61] [62] [63]

    Some tabletop and board games, such as Traveller or Merchant of Venus, also feature themes of space combat and trade. Traveller influenced the development of Elite (the main character in Traveller is named “Jamison”; the main character in Elite is named “Jameson”) and Jumpgate Evolution. [25] [64]


    The seeming decline of the space flight simulators and games in the late ’90s coincided with the rise of the RTS, FPS and RPG game genres, with such examples as Warcraft, Doom and Diablo. [4] The very things that made these games classics, such as their open-endedness, complex controls and attention to detail, have been cited as reasons for this decline. [4] [5]


    Some recent franchises such as the X series [4] and EVE Online, may end a decade in which no new title of the genre was published. The open source community has also been active, with recent projects such as FS2 Open and Vega Strike serving as platforms for nonprofessional efforts. [5] Remakes of Elite and Privateer [65] are even being made using the Vega Strike engine, and the latter has reached the stage where it is offered as a working title to the public.

    In November 2012 Star Citizen set a new record for crowdfunding. It has managed to raise more than $83 million as of April 2015. [66] Elite: Dangerous was also successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in November and December 2012. Born Ready Games also closed a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2012 raising almost $180,000 to assist with the completion of Strike Suit Zero which was released January 2013. Another open ended space sim in development is No Man’s Sky.

    On March 10, 2013, the space flight simulator Kerbal Space Program reached the top 5 best selling games after its release on Steam.

    HobbySpace – Space Simulators

    Space flight simulator online

    Space Simulators
    Like being there.

    Screen shot from the Mars Colony Simulator from Hyperkat.

    A space simulator can be as simple as a spacecraft simulation program running on your PC or as elaborate as a detailed, full scale hardware simulation of a shuttle cockpit.

    Or perhaps it’s a large scale group simulation carried out over the internet in which the participants play different roles, e.g. mission controllers or astronauts, in carrying out a mission scenario such as launching a satellite from the shuttle.

    This section provides links and descriptions of all sorts of web resources related to both software and hardware space simulations.

    Simulation News Sources

    • Avsim.com – mostly aviation simulation but some space-sim related info
    • Fly Away Simulation – a flight simulation web portal
    • Half-Life Radio – Gaming News & Info
    • Meadville Space Center – Orbiter sim forum
    • Weblogs:
      • SpaceSimCentral | Your space and scifi gaming resource
      • Fly me to the Moon – Darthvader
      • International Spaceflight Museum Blog – Second Life
      • Music of the Spheres – weblog with space sim emphasis
      • Space Shuttle Mission 2007 Ground Crew Corner blog
      • Spindrift, in SciLands, Second Life

    MacMission Control
    space shuttle simulation software for the Apple 68k Macintosh and Power Pc machines.

    Detailed simulation of shuttle main engine and solid rocket booster performance gives realistic shuttle launch and ascent simulations. Detailed cockpit display and function provided.

    MacSPOC (SPOC = Spacecraft Personal Orbit Computations)
    Orbit computation engine and teacher that can also be used for simulated space missions.

    Documentation and demo software available for downloading.

    Microsoft Space Simulator
    This program is not longer available from MS. In fact, it was apparently the last DOS game published by MS. You might find it at a garage sale or used software exchanges.

    There are often discussions on the news groups about it.See also the FAQ at GameFaqs for help on the program.

  • MS Flight Simulator 95, 98, etc. d
    Doesn’t come with any spacecraft simulations but some third party sources provide space related add-ons.
    • Models: the Simviation misc page offers a free Discovery Shuttle FS model. (The flight characteristics are not realistic, i.e. it can do a fly around if the landing is going wrong which the real shuttles can’t do.) There are also an X-15 multi-player and a simulator of the Spacecraft Orion as seen in 2001 Space Odyssey
    • Xtreme Prototypes – X-15 simulation addons.
    • FlightSim.Com! – another FS site that might have some space / rocket related resources.
    • Fly Away Simulation, Flight Sim #1
    • LunarPilot – A things-to-come Flight Simulation – Due Fall 2004
  • OpenUniverse: A Free Space Simulator
    Raъl Alonso’s program to simulate “the Solar System’s bodies in 3D on your Windows or Linux PC ” and “it does so in realtime.”

    Still available but Alonso has shifted his efforts to working on Celestia (see above.)

    Space Games
    Some space adventure games of note:

    • Homeworld at MigMan’s
      • Real Time Strategy game set in space, with full 3D combat modelled. Originally published by Sierra and released in 1999.
    • FrontierAstro – astronomy and Frontier Elite 2/Frontier First Encounters – space adventure game now in its third generation and a fourth due out soon.
      • Frontier Astro – “dedicated to astronomy and Frontier Elite 2/Frontier First Encounters”

      Oolite – “Oolite is a space sim game, inspired by Elite, powered by Objective-C and OpenGL, and designed as a small game that is easy for users to pick up, modify and expand upon. Almost every aspect of the game can be changed by using simple, free graphics packages and text editors.”

      Classic space games:

        Elite (video game) – Wikipedia – “a seminal space trading computer game, originally published by Acornsoft in 1984 for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers. [. ] Elite’s open-ended game model, advanced game engine and revolutionary 3D graphics ensured that it was ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system, and earned it a place as a classic and a genre maker in gaming history.”

    • Wing Commander (video game) – Wikipedia – “Released by Origin Systems in 1990, the game was a marked departure from the standard formula, bringing space combat to a level approaching the Star Wars films. Set in the year 2654 and characterized by Chris Roberts as ‘World War II in space,’ it featured a multi-national cast of pilots from the ‘Terran Confederation’ flying missions against the predatory, aggressive Kilrathi, a feline warrior race. Most impressively, cockpit performance affected gameplay: going above and beyond the call of duty resulted in medals, promotions in rank were awarded at regular intervals, and success or failure on certain critical missions would even decide the player’s plot progress, ‘winning’ or ‘losing’.”

    Flight Simulators with Space Options
    These programs are intended primarily to simulate airplanes but some include suborbital vehicles (X-15 and SS1) and/or have a shuttle landing sim:

  • PRE-Flight – This simulator is apparently aimed towards RC hobbyists who can configure their system to operate the simulator with RC transmitters to test the flying of their models. However, it wll also work with a joystick or keyboard.
    • Fly the Scaled Composites White Knight with SpaceShipOne – Download freeware PRE-Flight 2.00 from Simtel and SS1 Model from PreflightSim.com. After installing the simulator, open the SS1 zip file into the Model subdirectory. Run the simulator and click on the Model menu and then choose Load and select the ss1.3dm file. The SS1 can be dropped and its engine fired.
    • New Model For Free Download – SpaceShipTwo – FlightSim.Com – NOTAMS – Oct.20.10 – WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo flights with the WK2/SS2 model

  • The Observatory – Rick Robinson
    • Aircraft Specification Simulator – “This Excel workbook allows you to specify the dimensions, power plant, and maximum takeoff weight of an aircraft; the workbook then computes its weights and allows you to explore its flight performance envelope. (It’s not a flight simulator, but tests what speed and altitude the aircraft could attain. Provisions include simming orbital spaceplanes and airships, as well as conventional airplanes.”
    • Starship Specification Spreadsheet – “An Excel workbook for spacecraft mass, propulsion, fuel, etc. The filename says “space warships,” but it can be used for civil cargo/passenger ships as well.”
  • X-Plane.org – add-ons for the X-Plane simulator
    • Searcg add-ons for rocket and space related simulations
  • X-Plane.com – where you buy the X-Plane simulator created by Austin Meyer.
    • Space Combat -“free spaceship simulator by Austin Meyer, author of X-Plane” . “space simulator where all of the laws of physics are accurately applied to your vehicle.”
    • Global Mars Scenary CDs
    • How To Fly The Space Shuttle
    • Special: Mars Flight – The Martian Chronicles
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator – see above
  • Space City One
    Developed by Jerome L. Wright aims to create a

    “. virtual 3-D environment of a realistic space city, allowing visitors to experience life in an orbital city. As parts of the city are completed and tested, they will be added to the virtual city. Likewise, data bases available to visitors will be added as they are compiled. The pace of development will be determined by the level of success in raising the necessary development capital. Space City is being developed by a group of astronautical engineers with many years of industry experience. They are determined to make Space City One as accurate and detailed as practical to provide a high-fidelity environment for visitors. “

    MMO Space Games
    Massively multiplayer on line (MMO) games with near future space scenarios are under development.

    The game is described as follows:

    “Moonbase Alpha is a game scenario with both single-player and multiplayer options set on a hypothetical lunar outpost in a 3-D immersive setting. Players step into the role of an exploration crewmember and deal with realistic mission challenges and choices. Timelines in the much anticipated Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond MMO will be set even farther in the exciting future (2035+), but you can already explore our own near-future moon missions thanks to the NASA Learning Technologies and Innovative Partnerships Programs.”

    Space Simulator в Steam

    Игра в раннем доступе

    Приобретите игру и начните играть — примите участие в ее развитии

    Примечание: Данная игра в раннем доступе находится на стадии разработки. Она может измениться в будущем, а может остаться в текущем состоянии, так что, если вам не по вкусу то, что игра может предложить сейчас, рекомендуем дождаться её дальнейшего развития. Узнать больше

    Почему ранний доступ?

    “Our community has expressed strong interest to play the game in its current form on PC and we would like to make it available as soon as possible. Mobile user have been playing our game since 2015 so we are definitely ready to make it available on Steam. Many of our users have been waiting for the Steam version since 2015.

    However, from a development perspective there is still a lot of content we’d like to add before we can consider the game complete. Ultimately we want to have all the Apollo Project missions and other space programs such as the Space Shuttle program, Soviet programs and current space programs as optional downloadable content.

    The scope of the game is quite ambitious, so Early Access is the perfect way to start rolling out content, testing it and getting live feedback while we complete the content.”

    Сколько примерно эта игра будет в раннем доступе?

    Чем планируемая полная версия будет отличаться от версии в раннем доступе?

    “The full version will have more content. The Early Access version will feature only the Apollo 8 mission. In the full version we hope to have all the Apollo Program missions from Apollo 8 to Apollo 13. That means the full version will have not just the Apollo Launch Vehicle and capsule, but also the Lunar Lander and Rover simulated down to the switch.

    We also hope to formally introduce VR support in the full version.”

    Каково текущее состояние версии в раннем доступе?

    Изменится ли цена игры после выхода из раннего доступа?

    Как вы планируете вовлекать сообщество в разработку игры?

    Этот продукт не поддерживает ваш язык. Пожалуйста, перед покупкой ознакомьтесь со списком поддерживаемых языков.

    Купить Space Simulator

    Сообщайте об ошибках и оставляйте отзывы в обсуждениях этой игры

    Об этой игре

    Space Simulator is a realistic space flight simulator game featuring high-quality models, hi-res textures, IBL shaders, and a full-scale Solar System running on a proprietary purpose-built (double-float precision) physics library to create a better, faster and more realistic space flight simulator.

    Gravitational forces, including moons and distant celestial bodies, orbit instabilities, resonances, etc. are calculated with utmost accuracy. The physics solver computes and predicts real n-body trajectories that vary in real time, allowing -for the first time- the player to design and fine-tune very complicated orbital maneuvers, eg, orbital slingshots, etc.

    With the dynamic loading textures and multi-threaded physics running on GPU cores, the game reaches at 50-60 fps on most PCs with modest RAM requirements.

    We are also implementing VR support for a fully immersive flight experience as well as support for all major joysticks and flight controllers.

    We intend to release the game for an introductory price for a limited time only.

    Space Simulator features a mix of high quality Steam specific missions while also having a legacy mode with all the missions, models, etc of the mobile version included for the convenience of our mobile players.

    Steam Specific Missions: (Early Access) Chapter 1: The Apollo Days. Featuring a growing number incredibly detailed and realistic Apollo Program missions starting -at launch date- with Apollo 8 lunar orbit missions. In the following months, we will complete all relevant missions in the Apollo Program.

    Included also is the mobile version content with:

    Space Simulator features the complete Apollo 11 program missions. Players can choose to play particular missions or the entire Apollo 11 program from beginning to end: launch the Saturn V from Cape Kennedy; perform Trans-Lunar Injection, transposition rotation and docking; land on the Moon; power through the lunar ascent and rendezvous; and finally return back to Earth with reentry and splashdown.

    • Space Transportation System

    Space Shuttle fans can also enjoy a wide selection of Space Shuttle missions: launch from Cape Kennedy; rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station; return to Earth with reentry and play the final landing in day and night scenarios.

    Space Simulator also includes a number of contemporary spacecrafts, such as the SLS (Orion) .We also plan to include SpaceX vehicles in the near future.

    • Custom Free Roam Missions

    Space Simulator is a realistic simulator of the entire Solar System with all its planets and major moons. Players can also choose to play custom free roam scenarios with general purpose spaceships.

    All spacecraft cockpits will come with interactive multi-functional displays that provide information on every aspect of your flight data. We have orbit, surface, transfer, docking, flight, HSI and other display panels.

    For Apollo enthusiasts, we have fully emulated the Apollo Guidance Computer and DSKY running actual code from the 60’s. You can run and control the Apollo spacecrafts exactly as how the astronauts did during their flight.

    Ultimately, our aim is to create a realistic space simulator that is comprehensive yet easy to use and accessible to players at all levels with the most advanced graphics and rendering techniques.

    All planets in the game are modeled with hi-res NASA imagery. Selected planets such as the Earth, Moon and Mars have 3D surfaces modeled from NASA altitude data. We try to use original audio as much as possible for Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.

    Lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center; land on the Moon; enjoy the magnificent views of Earth from orbit; plan a trip to a faraway planet; practise your favorite orbital maneuvers ­doing gravitational slingshots, Hohmann transfer orbits; rendezvous and dock with the ISS; perfect your Space Shuttle landings or go to the edge of space and back with the hypersonic X-­15 space plane. The possibilities are endless and as unbounded as your wildest astronautic dreams!

    Системные требования


      • ОС: Windows 7 64 bit
      • Процессор: Intel Core 2 Duo
      • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
      • Видеокарта: SM3 512MB VRAM
      • DirectX: Версии 9.0
      • Место на диске: 4 GB

      • ОС: Windows 10 64 bit
      • Процессор: Intel Core i5 or newer
      • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
      • Видеокарта: SM4 1GB VRAM
      • DirectX: Версии 10
      • Сеть: Широкополосное подключение к интернету
      • Место на диске: 4 GB
      • Дополнительно: Microsoft Text-to-Speech required to hear spoken checklists and radio control commands

    © 2015 Brixton Dynamics Ltd. All rights reserved. Space Simulator, the Space Simulator logo, Brixton Dynamics, the Brixton Dynamics logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Brixton Dynamics Ltd.

    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.

    Space Simulation Projects
    A selection of collaborative simulation projects intended primarily for educational and entertainment purposes. Several simulators involve both software and hardware aspects to them.

    Flight Deck of the Audrey full-scale space flight simulator.
    Courtesy Jason Reskin

    Columbia Aeronautics and Space Association (CASA)
    Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri has been carrying out space mission simulations since 1988. These include underwater scuba activites to simulate EVAs. Organized under the ” target=”_d”>Columbia Aeronautics and Space Association (CASA) the program is described as follows:

    CASA, Columbia Aeronautics and Space Association, is a truly unique program housed on the campus of Hickman High School, Columbia, Missouri, USA. The largest student run space simulation in the nation, it uses an aerospace theme to provide a multidisciplinary learning experience which incorporates not only aerospace concepts, but also a knowledge of English, mathematics and science. The program utilizes themes in context curriculum which allows students to experience aerospace principles first hand, and develop life skills such as teamwork, responsibility, and leadership.

    The Traveling Space Museum “We Bring The Adventure Of Space To You!”
    This program brings ” full-scale and fully functional simulators into schools and using them as teaching tools.” The simulators include:

    • Odyssey Space Lab – “a 12 foot-long, full-scale replica of a space laboratory module that would be found as a part of the International Space Station.”
    • Orion Shuttle – “12 foot-long motion-controlled flight simulator that resembles the Space Shuttle and gives students the sensation of piloting a spacecraft in low Earth orbit. ”
    • Mission Control – “has a complete set of teleconferencing and Internet links that correspond with workstations aboard the Odyssey SpaceLab. Mission Control is also equipped to teleconference with cadets piloting the Orion flight simulator at a third school.”

    Red Rover, Red Rover
    The Planetary Society sponsors this ambitious educational project that allows students to simulate the experience of controlling robotic rovers on Mars.

    The students build small robots (from LEGO DACTA parts) with video cameras and a simulated Marscape for it to explore. Software is provided so that the students can control the robot and recieve the video from the robot.

    The robots can also be controlled over the internet so students can control the rovers at other student sites on the web.

    Equipment/software packages are available.

    Dean Shuttle Simulators
    Most of the following information was sent to me by Mr. Dean:

    James Dean worked at the Johnson Space Center from 1990 to 2001 first in the astronaut support office for five years and then the lead for the ISSP Outreach and Education group. One of the things he did on the side was to develop a high fidelity, hands-on Space Shuttle launch and on-orbit simulation program.

    The full environment includes;

    • Full size Shuttle flight deck
    • All NASA Shuttle training manuals
    • All Flight Data File manuals KSC launch procedure (all volumes)
    • JSC crew training CDs
    • Use of Mac MECO STK Precision Approach Launch videos
    • On-orbit full rev “out the window” Earth view videos.

    He has built functional flight decks for various museums and schools around the country. For example, he provided a Shuttle simulation program for the National Space Science & Technology Institute in Colorado Springs Colorado. He also completed a launch simulation course at his local middle school.

    He offers a package of materials that a school can use for Shuttle training and operations course. All they need is a PC, a Mac, a TV, a video cassete player and a stereo.

    All the NASA material was acquired through work at NASA and is all in the public domain.

    He does not take payment for his services but builds the simulators in his spare time. He gives them to organizations that cannot afford the museum quality versions that companies like Space1.com produce and doesn’t want don’t want to compete with them.

    He offers plans for construction of the shell, framework, and interior panels. The power system, caution and warning system, lighting system, and AC power distribution system are patterned from Shuttle schematics.

    All this is available to anyone that would like to undertake a project like this.

    Here is an article on one of Dean’s projects:

    • West Middle School students train to be astronauts – KXRM FOX 21 [Colorado Springs, CO] – May.27.09
    • Psst! It really is rocket science: Space shuttle simulator so fun, kids don’t know they’re learning – Recordnet.com – July.11.08
    • Students get lift with donated space simulator – Stockton (CA) Record – Apr.17.06
    More Simulation Projects

    • Discovery Shuttle Simulator – full sized simulator of the shuttle crew cabin
      • Have Shuttle, Will Travel: Endeavour Takes Shape at Discovery Science Center – ad Astra/Space.com – June.2.05
      • Discovery Science Center – Orange County, California
      • Orange County Space Society

        Mars Academy was a a wondeful and elaborate site that supported

        “. an educational collaborative project to design and simulate a manned mission to the Red Planet. Browse through our extensive collection of Mars related resources at the Academy and participate with our members from all over the world in the design of the mission at the Mars Mission Design Center.”

        “. engaged students on four continents in an extended space simulation covering many months. This project sought to overcome some of the limitations inherent in short-term educational space simulations by increasing the duration of the simulation.”

      MoonCity – LunarSat * MoonCity at University of Innsbruck
      LunarSat was a European project to send a small spacecraft to orbit the moon to carry out several scientific tasks, especially to confirm the presence of water ice at the polar regions.

      Educational activities are intended to be a major part of the project. The MoonCity program involves students in to design and simulate bases on the moon.

      At the University of Innsbruck about “340 students worked for an entire semester to create a far future city on the Moon to host roughly 2000 people.”

      A follow-on to this activity was the MoonCivilization program that involved “. students from all over Europe are planning -in groups, so-called “MoonTeams” or alone – to virtually colonize the Moon.”

  • Space Explorers, Inc. – commercial education firm that offers classroom mission simulation programs with lesson plans
    • Mission: Solar System – includes separate simulation missuons for Mars rover , Mars orbiter, Lunar Prospector, and Near Earth Asteroid rendesvous.
    • Orbital Laboratory

      Virtual Shuttle was a spectacular site created by students in the Space Club at St.Peter’s School in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The interactive real time simulation of a shuttle mission allowed one to

      “. participate in a simulation of a complete Space Shuttle mission together with other virtual astronauts and mission controllers from all over the world. “

  • NASA’s Shuttle Simulator (moved to Texas A&M after Shuttle program ended:
    • Retired space shuttle simulator to ‘fly’ again at Texas A&M – collectSPACE – Dec.29.11
    • Flying the Space Shuttle simulator – Matthew Stibbe/Aviator/Forbes – July.26.11
    • Armchair astronaut: flying the Space Shuttle simulator – Flight Global – Nov.21.10
    • One More Ride On The Space Shuttle (Simulator) – NPR – July.24.10
  • Amusment Park Space Simulation Rides
    + Space Theme Parks
    • Rides
      • Shuttle Launch Experience at at the KSC Visitors Complex :
        • Review: Shuttle Launch Experience – The Space Review – Apr.28.08
        • Into space – on a shuttle simulator: Our man has an exclusive first ride on Nasa’s ВЈ30m shuttle launch simulator near Orlando, Florida – TimesOnline – May.27.07
      • Mission: SPACE at DisneyWorld
        • Is space travel a reality? It is at Disney World – Travel Examiner – Jan.28.09
        • Thrills, chills on Mission: Space – Orlando Sentinel – June.25.06
        • Disney attraction simulates blastoff – The Washington Times – June.3.04
        • Astronauts Help Launch Disney’s ‘Mission Space’ – wnbc.com – Oct.10.03
        • “Mission: SPACE – Choose to go!” – collectSPACE – Aug.25.03
        • “Disney launches Mission: SPACE” – collectSPACE – Aug.15.03
        • Disney’s new rocket ride `very realistic,’ real astronaut confirms – HoustonChronicle.com – Aug.12.03
        • Mission: SPACE Ready to Take Guests on Flights to Mars – Space.com – Aug.4.03
      • Kennedy Space Center
        • Space Shuttle Launch Experience
        • Always wanted to know what flying in the space shuttle feels like? Now you can – Orlando Sentinel – Apr.18.07
        • Simulated Space-Launch Ride Coming To KSC – Local6.com [FLA] – Feb.12.07
        • “‘Shuttle Experience’ to launch tourists” – collectSPACE – July.6.05
      • Cosmodфme in Quebec offers a range of viirtual space mission experiences.
    • Parks
      • ‘Disney-style’ space park to open in Ashdod: Israelis will soon get to feel what it’s like to be an astronaut at a new hands-on learning center in the south – The Times of Israel – Feb.11.15
      • 4Frontiers Corporation – plans to open a Mars settlement theme-park in Florida.
        • Local company planning space-based theme park – AbcActionNews.com – May.11.10
      • Red Planet Expeditions, Inc. (RPE) – “setting out to build, market, and license the world’s first Mars-themed adventure resort that will authentically simulate what it will be like to be on an expedition on Mars in the year 2035.” John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society is a co-founder.
      • Spaceport – space theme attraction near Liverpool, England
        • Multi-million pound visitor attraction opens with a focus on the future British space programme – StarChaser/Space Race News! – July.27.05
      • Spaceport Leisure – plans space theme parks for Japan and South Africa
        • Spaceport Experience – attractions planned for SpacePortShenyang
      • Space World – Kyushu Japan – space theme park + space camp
        • John Spencer Discusses Mars On Earth, Yachts In Space And Space Tourism’s Future – Neon Tommy – Sept.8.10

          The following section lists various space related simulation programs. These can be in game or exploration formats. The simulators include commercial programs and others are freeware or shareware.

          A number of the following simulators are no longer sold commercially by the original companies. This has become quite common as technology moves on. However, many of these old programs are still quite playable and remain in demand.

          So a number of abandonware sites have arisen on the net that provide free downloads of copies of such orphaned programs. The legality of such services, though, is highly in dispute but some sites make an effort to state the legal status of a each program (e.g. Underdogs ).

          Check also these sections for online and offline space related programs:

          • fly complete missions (from lift-off to splash-down)
          • walk on the moon like a real astronaut!
          • 3D cockpits, like real, with working 3D switches!
          • discover the whole moon in 3D! (no flat surfaces!)
          • original landing sites as highly detailed 3D terrain!
          • EVA with 3D astronauts 1st + 3rd person point of view
          • more missions and features in future

          Apollo 18
          Detailed CDROM simulation of the Apollo modules from AIM Software. The AIM site has long disappeared but the game can still be obtained from some software retailers.

          Includes realistic command and lunar module controls, multiple landing sites, mission control radio transmissions, 200 page technical manual, etc. Now available in the US.

          • GameSpot: PC Home: Apollo 18

          Buzz Aldrin’s Race to Space

            This is a DOS game from Interplay, although no longer listed in their catalog. It became available on CDROM in 1994 and

          “..features over 20 historic and proposed plans to reach the moon”. ” The players’ mission is to be the first to put their nation’s flag on the moon”. ” resources include that of over 140 astronauts or cosmonauts from which the player will plan, manipulate and direct every possible mission: sub-orbital; orbital manned and unmanned; planetary and lunar fly-bys; lunar orbits; space-walks; LEM tests; lunar passes; and lunar landings”. “over 60 minutes of full-motion video.”

          Virtual AGC – Apollo Guidance Computer Emulation
          Detailed, faithful emulation of the Apollo guidance computer. Open source project with source code available. Executables available for Linux and Windows.

          Could be used as a module in a general Apollo/LM simulation. For example, Mark Grant is working to incorporate it into the Orbiter simulator. Developer Info

    Mercury Rocket Sims

      A-OK! The Wings Of Mercury
      “A-OK! The Wings of Mercury is a realistic simulation of the Mercury spacecraft. It features 3D graphics, fully functional control panels, networked simulations, and a complete manual.

      Version 3.5 is now available on Windows XP and Mac OS X. A-OK! WoM is so realistic, you will use the actual checklists used by the astronauts. Orbital and Sub-Orbital missions can be simulated. Orbital missions and a Mission Control Center simulator are available to registered users.”

  • MrKlingon’s Mercury Redstone Simulator – Joel Anderson, aka Mr.Klingon, offers a basic simulator of the Mercury rocket for Windows.
  • Binary Star LTD
    This company, founded by 2 former flight dynamics officers at NASA, offers several space simulation programs. Unfortunately, the programs are intended for museums and arcades settings and so are extremely expensive.

    • MS3 – Mission Simulation Software intended for large installations such as at museum or space camp situation.
    • Lunar Contact- Apollo 17 lander simulator
    • Discovery: Final Approach – Land the shuttle Columbia
    • Mission Satellite Rendezvous – rendezvous your shuttle with the Hubble Telescope for a repair mission.
    Celestia: A 3D Space Simulator
    “Celestia is real-time 3D space simulation which lets you travel through our solar system and to over 100,000 stars in our neighborhood.”

    It was developed as an open source collaborative project led by Chris Laurel – SourceForge.net: Project Info – Celestia.

    It runs on Windows, Mac & Linux. The architecture allows for on going expansion and add-ons

    See, for example, the spectacular planetary surfaces in the Celestia Gallery. More about Celestia in the Celestia Forum at shatters.net

    Claim Stake – The Official Site :: Do You Feel Adventurous?
    Become a Beltminer. Built around the concept of asteroid mining, this simulator employs 3-D graphics to display vehicles traveling and landing on asteroids”

    “. 3D dexterity game about asteroid mining in deep space. You are a Beltminer. You have been issued a Prospector mining craft in order to land on asteroids and stake a cliam on valuable minerals. These minerals will be used for the good of the space station Terra. Your ultimate goal is to find water. and construct an Ice-water extractor on an asteroid.

    At the end of each mission, you will will have to spend a percentage of you credits on repairing the Prospector, buying Mineral Beacons, and re-fueling your craft. Once you collect enough resources. you will be able to build an Ice Water Extractor.”

    • 3 vehicle models: Space Shuttle, Saturn V/CSM/LM stack (with escape tower!), Gemini/Titan stack.
    • 3D graphics of vehicles, planets, moons, etc.
    • Realistic Orbital Mechanics
    • Modular Spacecraft – can develop ones own custom vehicles.
    Kerbal Space Program
    This is a

    multi-genre game where the players create their own space program. In KSP, you must build a space-worthy craft, capable of flying its crew out into space, without killing them. At your disposal is a collection of parts, which must be assembled to create a functional ship. Each part has its own function and will affect the way a ship flies (or doesn’t). So strap yourself in, and get ready to try some Rocket Science!

    The program can be purchased in the KSP Store and Kerbal SpacePort sells add-ons.

    Several videos about the software can be found in the Kerbal Space Program YouTube Channel. For example,

    ” LIFTOFF is the first in a series of space simulations. There is almost no limit to what you can do with this long awaited – very cool – software!

    Take a virtual tour of the space shuttle, take it apart and reassemble it, manipulate it and experiment with weightlessness. You’ll even find detailed virtual reality animations.

    Discover the history of Space Exploration including the history of rocketry and the space race, a much-needed glossary of acronyms and a timeline extending from the 17th century.

    Plus you’ll find teacher material and resources included! And, last but not least and our favorite. astronaut training! Feel the power as you launch into space and take command of the Space Shuttle from launch through orbit, solve problems, deal with emergencies, talk to Mission Control and roam in weightlessness through the Shuttle cockpit and crew area.”

    Lunar Landers / Lunar Explorers
    Lunar landers were among the first of computer games and are still popular. Controlling the thrust and orientation of the vehicle for a smooth landing can be quite a challenge. Landing simulators are available at varying levels of realism.

  • Lunar Explorer – a “fully immersive, interactive, Virtual Reality simulation of the Moon. It is a vivid and stunningly realistic visual experience of being on the Moon”
    • Lunar Explorer at VirtuePlay
    • Lunar Explorer MMOG – Moon Society – Information on how the software is being expanded to allow it to become the basis for a massive multi-player online gaming environment:
    • Moon with a view – Cosmic Log – Oct.15.06

      Apollo Archive – Lunar Lander Simulator in menu

    • Eagle Lander – 3D
      • Hi-res 3-D simulation of ” final minutes of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon at the point that the automatic landing sequence was stopped and manual flight control began.”
      • Eagle Lander – 2-D version by Ron Monsen

    iRover 2010 is a Lunar Rover Simulator that “is a fun way to tour the Lunar surface and see some of the elements that make up NASA’s Lunar architecture”. It is “compatible with iPhone and iPod touch “.

    ILM : Icarus, the Lunar Module: Ivan Scheers is creating this MS Windows based simulator of an Apollo Lunar Module with realistic flying behavior and mission types.

    The project is still in development but beta versions are available on request. He also will consider volunteer assistance in finishing it.

    Lunar Contact- Apollo 17 lander simulator – Apollo 17 lander simulator (priced for museums and exhibitions.)

  • MoonBaseOne
    • Federation of Galaxy Explorers (FOGE) organization has sponsored development of this educational game in which adventures are based around the building of a lunar base.
    • MoonBaseOne blog where you can get news on the game development and download the latest version.

    Ron Noteborn’s Lunar Landing Guidance & Control – see the Flight Dynamics section for several Java demos on LM orbital mechanics.

    John Donohue’s Lunar Lander – includes the Java source code. Also available at ExploreSpace.com – nice little Java applet lander

  • Game style:
    • Lunar Lander Landit – Nebula Aerospace – on line game
    • Play LunarLander Game by Seb Lee-Delisle
    • Games at the X PRIZE Lunar Lander Challenge 2007
    • StereoLander – a Java applet that does a very simple lander simulation (on Mars actually) but with a stereogram display.
  • Mars Simulations

    • Maestro Headquaters – download special viewer for Mars rover data. Home version of program used at JPL

      Drive on Mars – rover simulations, on line and offline

      GeoPlayer Mars Demo – “Navigate the whole planet of Mars, fly from location to location, explore the terrain, view the landing sites. Experience GeoFusion’s amazing visualization technology yourself!”

      Take On Mars – “Take On Mars places you in the seat of a Rover Operator, allowing you to control the various, fully simulated mobile Rovers and stationary Landers. With this scientific arsenal at your disposal, you will work your way through the numerous Science Missions in each location, unlocking the secrets of Mars’ distant past. ”

        Youtube video

    TerraExplorer 3D Tour of over Mars – NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Education Project (Univ. of Montana) and Skyline Software Systems use the free TerraExplorer software with Mars Rover data to allow you to “take a flyby trip around Mars and the Spirit landing site without leaving home.” Universal exploration – Missoulian.com – Jan.28.04

    Mars Simulation Project
    Open source Java project to create a simulation of future human settlement on the planet Mars.

      Another World Is Here: Mars Simulation Project – WorldChanging – Nov.12.05

  • Hyperkat Game
    • Mars Colony ETS simulation program “challenges the player with surviving and exploring an unknown planetary environment, in an immersive first person 3D graphics experience.” Provides simulation of habitat management, EVA, planet weather, and more, See screenshots.
      • HyperKat Games offers free Mars Colony simulation demo – Space-for-All – Mar.13.09
      • Mars Colony Simulator from HyperKat Games – Space-for-All – Jan.5.09

  • Planetary Rover – under development at HyperKat Games by Howard Dortch. Currently moves over a general planetary landscape but could be configured for Mars.
    • Screen captures here and here.
    • Rover Radiation Blues – Music of the Spheres – Jan.18.09
  • Orbiter – A free space flight simulator
    This simulator is quite sophisticated and realistic and has very high quality 3-D imagaery:

    “ORBITER is a realistic space simulation using proper physics for the modelling of planetary motion, gravitational fields, free space and atmospheric flight etc. As such, it is more challenging to master than an arcade game – you should at least have some basic idea about mechanics and planetary motion to get the most from it.”

    An example animation created by Orbiter.
    See more videos of Orbiter in action.

    • “Realistic physics. Planetary motion, gravitation effects, free space and atmospheric flight are accurately modelled.
    • You can land your ship at a space port on a planet surface, or dock to an orbital station.
    • High resolution planetary maps provide some nice visual effects.
    • Configurable environment. Users can add planets, space ships and space stations to the existing universe, or design a completely new solar system from scratch.”

    Resources for learning to use Orbiter and its many add-on features. See the Tutorials such as this one on simulating SpaceShipOne.

  • Virtual Spaceflight – Andy McSorley
    • Go Play in Space by Bruce Irving
      “‘Orbiter Manual for the rest of us’ – meaning that it’s an easy to read introduction to Orbiter, primarily aimed at readers who come from a non-technical background be they adults or children.”
    • Free presentation by Bruce Irving about Orbiter: Go Learn in Space v2 – (pdf, 2.8MB).
    • Orbiter Tutorials
    • Orbiter Links
  • Space Shuttle Simulations

    • Space Shuttle Mission 2007 – Highly detailed, realistic simulation of the Shuttle from launch to orbital operations to reentry and landing.
      • Space Shuttle Mission 2007 Ground Crew Corner blog
      • Space Shuttle Mission 2007 – FlightSim.Com Review – Feb.14.08 – positive review of the program.
      • Several SSM07 videos at YouTube, e.g.:
        • YouTube – Space Shuttle Mission 2007 movie contest STS-26
        • YouTube – Space Shuttle Mission 2007 STS-26 Part One

    Orbiter: Space Flight Simulator – see entry above.

    Space Shuttle Simulator – currently “10%” complete, it nevertheless displays impressive detail and strong graphics.

    Based on the actual software currently used for training at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Control Center, this software enables a launch countdown simulation with a networked system of computers. Materials are created by teachers for teachers and aligned with national education standards. There are five console stations for your student engineers: Main Engines, External Tank, BioMed, Weather and Environmental Control. While this is targeted for middle school students, it is easily scaled up to the high school level.

    This software is an interactive, inquiry-based method for your students to practice the materials they learn in the classroom. It also answers the age old question, “When will I ever use this stuff I’m learning in the classroom?”

    • NASA KLASS Program and Curriculum
    • NASA Enables Students To Launch Virtual Space Shuttle – NASA – May.10.10
    Space Sail Simulators
    Solar and laser driven space sails may provide a practical method of transport around our solar system and even outside of it. There are a number of simulators available and under development:

    • Interworld Transport SailAway Open Source Project – collaborative project that you can join.
    • Interworld Commercial Solar Sailing – Check out this site for more info on this fascinating method of space travel.
    • JPL Clipper Solar Sail – applet simulator
    • JPL Heliogyro Solar Sail – applet simulator
    • Olivier Boisard’s Solar Sails site includes a Java sail race game, a PC simulator and a 3D model of sails in VRML
    • More Solar Sail Links

    Space Station Simulators
    These programs deal large space habitats. The stations could be generic or specifically the International Space Station. Some are games dealing with the construction and operation of space stations.

    Others employ sophisticated 3D modelling to allow the user to move through the inside and/or outside of a station. Some also allow one to see the orbit and orientation of the station.

      Space Station Manager – Mistaril – From Mistaril Games this program provides “strategy game set in an immersive near future. Apply your creativity and imagination to solve problems as a manager for a newly founded space station orbiting earth. Face logical challenges as you balance your resources and your goals for the station.

    Or just sit back and watch the earth flow slowly underneath. The modules and technology are a mix of modern trends and futuristic vision. Feel the heartbeat of the station with vital statistics simulated in real time. Listen for the small signs in power, thermal control or life support to determine how healthy you creation is. ”

      Space Station Manager Demo – Download.com

    you’ll experience the thrill of conducting NASA repair work on the International Space Station. After negotiating your way through the airlock, you, the astronaut, will be tasked with four jobs critical to help power up the space station so it can continue to operate at full capacity. But you have to move quickly and carefully, with a limited quantity of oxygen you must complete your EVAs and get back into the airlock before your air supply runs out.

    This game features simulations of actual extravehicular activities (EVAs) conducted by NASA astronauts on missions to provide power to the space station. The graphics used in this game are based on real NASA missions and incorporate 3D graphics used by the Agency.

    Skybase: Space Station Simulator – design, build and explore a detailed simulation of the International Space Station. Make variations from the official design.

    The Piranha Interactive company is apparently no longer in business but this program can still be found. See, for example, Skybase at the Software Outlet. They include an image of the back of the box.

    Space Station Simulator – Focus Multimedia – Revised and updated version of the Space Station Simulator first released in 1996. The user interactively builds the ISS (or a custom version), can explore outside and inside the station, dock a shuttle or Russian Soyuz and Progress to the station, carry out EVA’s and more.

    SoftLab-Nsk is “one of main developers of visual simulation software for Russian spacecraft and aircraft training systems.” They have expanded into general software that includes simulations, games, graphics and other products. For example, they have a virtual model of the interior of the Mir module “Priroda”. This VR system is used by theYuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center to familiarize cosmonauts that will be working on Mir.

    Demos of their space simulators are available for PC. These include:
    Interior of MIR Space Station Module * Space Station Mir

    Virtual Astronaut – an educational web-based 3-D simulation of the ISS. Aimed at elementary grade levels, activities involve many aspects of space life. Quizzes and puzzles are included with particular tasks.

      Virtual Astronaut – Cool! – Music of the Spheres – Aug.10.08

    Windows on Earth : The Association of Space Explorers and TERC sponsor this cool on line program, which provides

    a rich, realistic digital simulation that lets you explore Earth from the window of the International Space Station—as if you were an astronaut. You can fly over the dramatic Himalayas, the vast Sahara, lush rain forests, or the impressive Grand Canyon. Explore and learn more.

    Space Academy GX-1
    Edmark program for young people (ages 8-12) is an interactive teaching program about space and astronomy but includes some flight simulations. See Review at SuperKids.

    Space Pinball
    Download this space simulator developed by as an outreach project:

    “Space Pinball is an educational package /software game (in development), that is [. ]downloadable from internet. It should offer users, aged between 12 and 21, knowledge on gravity and orbital mechanics. Each level of difficulty includes a 3D game in which the presented knowledge can be practised. You can actually take control of a satellite in space!”

    Version 1.0 now available. V2.0 in beta.

    This program is described as follows:

    is a free space simulation software that lets you explore the universe in three dimensions, starting from planet Earth to the most distant galaxies. Areas of the known universe are represented using actual astronomical data, while regions uncharted by human astronomy are generated procedurally. Millions of galaxies, trillions of stars, countless planets!

    GrandTour: Voyager and Giotto Space Mission Simulator
    “simulate space as seen from the Voyager and Giotto spacecraft. In addition, . generate scenes from arbitrary points in space or the Earth, with the spacecraft visible to the observer. The planet, moons, and rings of interest (or comet, nucleus, and tail), stars, the sun, and the spacecraft are all accurately drawn with wireframe representations. “

    “developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by John D. Callahan to assist in the analysis of science and optical navigation data..program was filmed by the BBC as part of a NOVA documentary on the Voyager Uranus encounter. ”

    Earth Impacts

      Earth impact effects simulator – on line program gives the damage on earth for a hit by asteroid or comet of a chosen size, density, etc.

  • John Lewis’s Asteroid Impact Modelling The 1999 book: Comet and Asteroid Impact Hazards on a Populated Earth : Computer Modeling by John S. Lewis comes with a program on a diskette that allows you to bombard the earth with objects of various sizes and types to estimate the resulting death and destruction. Read the Space.com review.
  • More Simulators, Space Games & Related Resources

    • iPhone, iPod touch, iPad apps
      • iRover 2010 is a Lunar Rover Simulator that “is a fun way to tour the Lunar surface and see some of the elements that make up NASA’s Lunar architecture”. It is “compatible with iPhone and iPod touch “.
      • NASA Lunar Electric Rover Simulator
    • Space Camp for Nintendo Wii and DS
      • 3.. 2.. 1.. Blast Off to Space Camp! – GeekDad/Wired.com – July.20.09

        “a game for your iPad, Android tablet or computer. It lets you fly in space, learning hands-on the lessons of orbital mechanics that confounded the early astronauts. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, but you are going to need perseverance! You’ll cover simple lessons, like how and when to fire your engine to make your elliptical orbit circular. How do you transfer from one circular orbit to another? How do you get back to Earth? That’s kind of important, to your family at least, and all space odysseys start with training!

    • L.V. Sim (Launch Vehicle Simulator) – English Trans – by Stйphane Querry – simulates launch of single or multi-stage rockets to orbit.
    • Outer Planet Mission by Pete Huges – a fun Flash simulator to control the orbit of a spacecraft.
    • The Genesis Project – Terraform simulatior – Astrobiology Magazine – numerical program to test various parameters that affect the temperature and air pressure on Mars.
    • Tether simulations:
      • TetSim at Jaqar Space Engineering
    • Shareware for Space Simulations – The Educational Space Simulations Project provides this software that is useful for collaborative space simulations.
    • EMRR’s Rocket Games
    • Space Game Design Tips – Developer Quest Magazine
    • The Abandonware Ring – Your ring to find Abandonware related material.
    • EdGCM – ” software that allows teachers and students to run a 4-D climate model on desktop computers. The GCM at the core of EdGCM was developed at NASA and is currently in use by researchers to study climates of the past, present and future.
    • MPL3D – Multimedia Program Library 3D (MPL3D) Solar System simulation:

      MPL3D Solar System is a 3D interactive simulation of the close universe in real time. Explore more than 10,000 mapped objects, including Solar System, +120 known extrasolar worlds, +250 multiple star systems, nebulae, star clusters, galaxies and more!

      Space Tourism Market Simulation (STMS) is an interactive simulation covering various disciplines such as rocket engineering, economics, design, laws, ethics, art, etc. around space tourism to understand and practice coherences about this topic. Participants can choose one out of eight specific groups such as passenger, manufacturer, organization, space travel agency, investor, government, opposition or own created group. They can either cooperate or compete with other groups. The idea of STMS is to improve participant’s knowledge and skills of space tourism in the fields of strategic decision-making, engineering, teamwork, marketing and entrepreneurial activities.

  • RockSim – Apogee Rockets – allows the amateur rocket maker to design rockets “by pointing and clicking at the parts”. Then the rocket can be run through a flight simulation which will describe how fast it will travel, how high it will go, when and where during the flight the parachute is deployed, and most importantly, it determines if the model will be stable and therefore safe to fly.”
    • More rocketry software
  • Balance – the game
  • Models and simulations related to the Kepler Telescope project

  • NASA:
    • Eyes on the Solar System – online 3D space exploration.
    • Spacecraft 3D – device app that allows you to simulate various space missions with 3D visualization.
      • NASA 3-D App Gives Public Ability to Experience Robotic Space Travel – NASA – July.11.12
    • NASA Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) – interactive demonstration program shows how the ground and space based facilities of the agency’s SCaN system interacts with the agency’s spacecraft.
      • Available for free download for both Windows and Mac platforms.
      • NASA Launches Interactive Simulation of Satellite Communications – NASA – Mar.9.10

        Instead of controlling a spacecraft or running a game, these simulations try to immerse you in a 3D environment and let you move around and interact within it. The environment might be a space station, a lunar colony or the surface of Mars.

        Some of the Space Station Simulations listed above use 3D modeling. See also the Multimedia – Interactive section for more space programs including VR both online & off.

        Massively multiplayer on line (MMO) games with near future space scenarios are in development, some sponsored by space agencies.

        ActiveWorld’s Mars Sites
        ActiveWorld is an online virtual reality universe that has grown to involve hundreds of thousands of users with over 1000 unique worlds.
        Included in this VR universe is a whole Mars world with spaceports and colonies.

        “Originally designed in 1997 as a demo project for NASA, the virtual world Mars has been open for colonization by Active Worlds’ residents since 1998; and is one of the more popular hang outs for adventurous humans and extra-terrestrials alike.” – Mars tour homepage.

        The independent site Elysium Mars [Last update: No Date] gives overview of the Mars world, including a map, description of the spaceports, and recommended sites.

        Second Life
        This on line virtual world includes Spaceport Alpha, which has sites like the International Spaceflight Museum shown below

        • International Spaceflight Museum
          • ISM Blog
        • Spindrift, in SciLands, Second Life
        • Astro21C
        • Moon World: One small step for an avatar – Short Sharp Science/New Scientist – Mar.10.09
        • NSS Chapters News: NSS in Second Life – NSS – Feb.14.09
        • Virtual Worlds: Virtual Space Travel, Part 2: Surfing to Mars – Linux News – June.14.08
        • Virtual Worlds: Virtual Space Travel, Part 1: One Small Step – Linux News – June.7.08
        • Virtual reality and participatory exploration – The Space Review – June.25.07
        • Be a virtual rocket scientist – Cosmic Log – May.1.07
        • Virtual-space gurus build final frontier: NASA collaborates with rocket enthusiasts on real-world applications – MSNBC.com – Mar.30.07
        • A guide to Second Life’s space frontier – MSNBC.com – Mar.30.07 – images from the space exhbits in Second Life
        • See also
          • Extropia: “Extropia is an online community in the world of Second Life, built around a positive, near-future science fiction theme.”
  • Lunar Explorer
    A “fully immersive, interactive, Virtual Reality simulation of the Moon. It is a vivid and stunningly realistic visual experience of being on the Moon”

    • Lunar Explorer at VirtuePlay
    • Moon with a view – Cosmic Log – Oct.15.06

    Colony ET
    This program from HyperKat Games, which offers the Virtual Rover Simulator (VIROS), began alpha tests in the summer of 2008 of its Colony ET simulation. It is described as follows:

    Colony – ET puts you on an alien planet in full survival mode. The game / simulation is a mini online 3D first person style role playing game where you are a character in a persistent world. The current state of the simulator allows one person to set up a server and invite their friends to join in the colony. We can have as many as 32 players but most people would be comfortable with 4 to 8 close friends.

    The minark company creates 3-D virtual environments that includes the Entropia Universe on line virtual world. These include space related features. The company has also carried out a study for ESA that investigated the use of such virtual world/game systems as space simulations for education. See articles and video below:

    Moon Tycoon Simulator
    Experience virtual lunar reality at this new 3D Sim/Strategy Game for the PC/CDROM. Download demo.

    “. Players can build and manage their own 3-D lunar colony, controlling all aspects of colony life – from building colonies and creating industries, to trading with Earth and alien races.”.

    “..includes a game tutorial, an open-ended “sandbox” mode and 3 exciting campaigns with 30 challenging missions. The game features more than 60 3-D buildings including Spaceports, Lunar Golf, Military Bases, Nuclear Power Reactors and much more – there’s something for everyone! Players can manage 4 customizable industries (mining, manufacturing, research and tourism) to create their own unique playing experience. 16 devastating disasters keep players on their toes, including Asteroids, Moonquakes, Meteor Showers, and much more!”.

    The MOON Project – Benjamin J. Britton
    Unfortunately, this site disappeared from the net. The ambitious project used VRML to provide a simulated experience of lunar exploration:

    “The MOON Project is a full-screen, immersive mutual reality Internet DVD made on the event of the 30th Anniversary of Humankind’s First Manned Moon Landing. The purpose of the MOON project is to bring viewers into personal contact with humanity’s cultural tradition through participation in the exploration of the Moon. As an historical source document and as an artistic interpretation of cultural context, the MOON project is made to connect viewers in our collective global culture.” – MOON project homepage.

    “Vision Videogames’s initial efforts have landed it a Space Act Agreement contract with none other than The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) in a cooperative effort to develop its first PS2 based video game. This game will create in millions of young people a sense of ownership in the worldwide effort to explore space and improve life on Earth. ” – About Vision Videogames

    A description of the ISS simulation is at SpaceStationSIM. In the fall of 2004 they announced that they would like volunteers to beta test the program: SpaceStationSIM Game Tester Application.

    DigitalSpace Commons
    This company develops sophisticated 3D modelling and simulation tools and applications. Many of their projects are space related.

    • Games Join Space Race – Wired – Feb.3.05
    • SimEVA, Extravehicular Activity Training Simulator for International Space Station Astronauts
    • Concepts for Lunar Exploration Staging Rack
      • A Multi-Function “Service Station” for Lunar Telerobotic Base Preparation
    • 3D Visualization Environments showing Lunar Bases and Habitats
    • “Service Station” for Lunar Telerobotic Base Preparation
    • Drive On Mars: with 3D environments from Digital Space
      View Movies of the Drive On Mars 3D Real-Time Simulations
    Star Peace
    Multi-user, continuous online game and virtual world, somewhat similar to ActiveWorld. Relies on an exotic “portal” transportation system, but otherwise is a near-future mileu.