Simulators, National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum

One Museum, Two Locations

Visit us in Washington, DC and Chantilly, VA to explore hundreds of the world’s most significant objects in aviation and space history.

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Learn how aviation and spaceflight transformed the world.

Lunar Module LM-2

The lunar module represents one of humanity’s greatest achievements: landing people on another heavenly body.

STEM in 30

Don’t miss our fast-paced webcasts designed to engage students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in 30 minutes.

Share Your Story

Apollo 11 was a global event. What did that historic mission mean to you? Share your story and read what others have to say.

Our scientists are involved in current research focused on the Martian climate and geology. Find out what we’re discovering.

Wall of Honor

Recognize your favorite air or space enthusiast. Add his or her name to the Museum’s Wall of Honor.

We continue to welcome guests to our museums and programs as we closely monitor the coronavirus situation. See our message to visitors.

You are here


Things to Do

Virtual Reality, Interactive and Capsule Simulators

Try our motion-based Virtual Reality space adventure (VR Transporter) or Fly or Ride in our capsule (Ride Simulator) or interactives (Flight Simulators) and experience the thrill of being a part of the action! Located in the Go Fly Zone (Gallery 110).

VR Transporter

Be ‘transported’ into space and see the Earth as never before with our state-of-the-art motion-based virtual reality ride using the latest visual display technology! With our electronic VR goggles, you will be immersed in the action as you look in any direction during the adventure. The VR Transporter makes you feel as though you are there!

Apollo 11 & Beyond: Climb aboard a massive Saturn V rocket and blast off for adventure to witness humankind’s first inspiring steps on the Moon. Glimpse how small steps will lead to giant leaps in the future as the exploration of Mars begins!

Spacewalk – Danger in Orbit: Leave the safety of the Space Shuttle cargo bay on an exciting extravehicular activity (EVA) as you tour around the International Space Station. Your mission is to test out a new manned-maneuvering unit. Witness the dangers of living and working in space.

Cosmos Coaster: Take a white-knuckle journey at fantastic speeds from the Earth to the Moon and to many worlds beyond. Your futuristic rail car careens through the cosmos to show you many VR vistas you could only dream of, including the Earth, Moon, Venus, Mars and Neptune!

Interactive Flight Simulators

Fly combat sorties in simulators that let you control the action and perform 360-degree barrel rolls!

Try your skills in many aircraft, including the P-51 Mustang, F-18 Hornet, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, P-40 Warhawk, F-4 Phantom II and more!

Ride Simulator

Choose your adventure and take an exciting trip in our passenger ride simulator. Ride experiences include*:

Wings: Flights of Courage: From the first powered flights to the supersonic speeds of the jet age, many courageous pilots have pushed the limits of technology. Envision the thrill of flying along with the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Blue Angels and other daring aviators!

Destination: Black Hole: Travel aboard a futuristic spacecraft through the Universe and glimpse planets, stars and the mysterious black hole, Sagittarius A*, at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Red Baron: Hop into the open cockpit of a triplane and head into danger with the most infamous ace of World War I. Experience barnstorming and heroic engagement in this intense aerial dogfight over European towns and battlefields.

Discovery: Space Mission Hubble: Join a crew of brave astronauts and blast off into space to witness the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope! Glimpse far-away galaxies, stars and nebulae and brace yourself for a fiery re-entry to Earth.

Moon Mission: A futuristic moon mission turns from “routine” to “crisis” when a meteor shower strikes. Survival depends on a fast emergency evacuation. Stay calm and remember your training! Join other astronauts in this thrilling escape from the collapsing surroundings of their Moon base.

* Additional ride experiences available. Ride menu subject to change.


You may purchase tickets at the Simulators or IMAX ® Theater box offices. No reservations are required.

VR Transporter:
$11.00 with the purchase of an IMAX ticket

Interactive Flight Simulators:
$9.00 with the purchase of an IMAX ticket

Ride Simulators:
$7.00 with the purchase of an IMAX ticket

Payment Options:
Cash, VISA, MasterCard and Discover


Gallery 110 on the first floor, east end of the Museum.

For more information call

Simulator Ride Safety Requirements

VR Transporter and Interactive Flight Simulator riders must be 48 inches tall. Ride Simulator passengers must be 42 inches tall to ride unless accompanied by an adult.

All simulators are full-motion rides. Do not ride if you have back, neck, or heart trouble or if you are pregnant.

Launch trajectories – Do simulator games use a realistic trajectory to get into orbit? Space Exploration Stack Exchange

Do simulator games use a realistic trajectory to get into orbit?

In videogames (such as KSP or Spaceflight simulator) people put rockets in orbit with the following procedure:

Turn on the engines and move vertically for a bit.

Start a roll program to turn the vertical trajectory into a ballistic one.

Keep going until the Apoapsis of the trajectory reaches the desired height.

Turn off the engine and wait until the rocket (almost) reaches Apoapsis.

Burn prograde to increase periapsis until orbit is achieved.

I understand the reasons behind each of this manouveurs, however I’m wondering if this is how real rockets get into orbit.

Cutting off the engine and letting the rocket loose vertical speed looks counter-intuitive to me (you basically spend a lot of fuel to accelerate and then you let the rocket slow down).

So my question is: how do real rockets go in orbit? Is there somewhere an explanation of the manouveurs and trajectory the they follow to get in orbit?

6 Answers 6

I understand the reasons behind each of this manouveurs, however I’m wondering if this is how real rockets get into orbit.

Cutting off the engine and letting the rocket loose vertical speed looks counter-intuitive to me (you basically spend a lot of fuel to accelerate and then you let the rocket slow down).

In most real launches to low Earth orbit, the burn continues from liftoff until orbital insertion, without a coasting phase. Some (like Antares) do coast between the first stage and second stage burn; the exact design of the launcher determines which approach is more efficient.

In flights to higher orbits, for example geosynchronous orbit, a coast phase is always used; this approximates a Hohmann transfer orbit.

In KSP, neither the trajectory nor the rocket design, typically, is optimal, and the planet is much smaller than Earth, so the tradeoffs are different.


In regards to the physics, KSP is fairly realistic, other than it not modeling n-body physics (which isn’t really relevant in scope of orbiting Earth/Kerbin).

In regards to the engineering, KSP makes its parts much stronger than the real life components. The tradeoff here is that when something finally breaks in KSP, it explodes and disappears. Engines are also more powerful, and fuel is (slighly) less heavy. This is all done to “round the numbers” in favor of the player to make sure that the limited part set can get most reasonable jobs done.

In regards to the controls, KSP’s control system is not as fine-grained as a real world spacecraft. Given a keyboard and mouse and moslty eyeballing the thrust gauge, there is only so much precision you can reasonably expect from a player.

In regards to the ascent profile, due to the stronger craft and less fine-grained controls, KSP spacecraft are able to ascend using sharp(er) turns than is realistically possible in real life. In KSP, a simple ascent profile is to go straight up for about 10km, and then make a 45° turn and start building horizontal speed.

In real life, a rocket won’t be as easy to turn (e.g. a 45° turn) due to the stress that puts on the vehicle; most importantly it’s the incoming wind from still moving straight upwards (due to inertia) that is going to start beating down on the side hull (which you expose by orienting your craft away from its prograde vector).
To avoid that, the best approach is to orient your spacecraft as close to its prograde vector as you can, because that minimizes exposure of the less aerodynamic side hull compared to the aerodynamic nose.

This means that in reality, spacecraft tend to make their 90° (from vertical to horizontal) turn slow and steady (i.e. pretty much immediately after launch). And this is actually not that hard to do: even a minor (but consistent) deviation over a long period can do most of the work for you and doesn’t require active steering (other than necessary corrections due to imperfections in the initial setup).


In KSP’s defense, there is a boundary of realism that you should avoid when it negatively impacts gameplay. The level of precision required (for both thrust and attitude adjustment) to achieve a “real” ascent profile is quite high, requires a lot of calculation, and any imperfection in the simulation would render any calculation impossible to get accurate anyway. So rather than risking the player’s calculated approach being useless after all that effort, KSP opted to simplify things slightly to keep things much more intuitive.

The Space Review: Orbiter 2016 and other space flight simulators

Orbiter 2016 and other space flight simulators

by Bruce Irving
Monday, October 31, 2016

More than ten years ago, The Space Review published my enthusiastic review of a freeware space flight simulator called Orbiter (see “Review: Orbiter space flight simulator”, The Space Review, November 14, 2005). In the intervening years, Orbiter development has continued, and the 2016 version was recently released. Many things have changed since 2005: for example, smartphones and tablets now exist, and I’ve become a grandfather. But I remain a space and flight simulator enthusiast, happy that Dr. Martin Schweiger is still working on Orbiter. The Orbiter community also remains strong, creating add-ons, tutorials, and videos, and supporting one another through the Orbiter Forum and other sites. I’m also pleased that there are more options for space sim fans, and I will briefly discuss two of them I have tried, Kerbal Space Program (KSP), and a tablet-based app called Space Simulator by Brixton Dynamics.

Although it is fun and challenging in many ways, Orbiter 2016 truly is a space flight simulation, or what some might now call a “sandbox game.”

Most of what I wrote about Orbiter in 2005 remains true in the latest version: it’s free, runs on Windows PCs, accurately models the physics of space and atmospheric flight, uses clever time acceleration to allow even long journeys in a realistically scaled solar system, supports a wide array of add-on spacecraft, and much more. So I won’t repeat all of those details here. Instead I will focus on discussing where Orbiter fits in a world where there are so many more gaming, simulation, and educational “solutions” and platforms than we had in 2005, as well as on the cumulative improvements from three major updates in 2006, 2010, and 2016.

Although it is fun and challenging in many ways, Orbiter 2016 truly is a space flight simulation, or what some might now call a “sandbox game.” In its level of detail and learning curve, it is something like Microsoft Flight Simulator or X-Plane, where the “game” is mainly the challenge of learning to fly, or of mastering advanced skills such as instrument approaches. Orbiter too supports atmospheric flight, but with the major addition of space flight with accurate orbital mechanics. There is plenty to learn and do, but there are no requirements, characters, weapons, or scores, only the unforgiving rules of Newtonian physics, a wide range of tools and techniques to master, and the full solar system to explore. Learning to launch a spacecraft to orbit, dock with the ISS, land on the Moon, or navigate to Mars: all of this, and more, is possible in Orbiter. You can choose from a variety of built-in spacecraft and scenarios, download and fly add-on spacecraft and scenarios, or even design and fly your own spacecraft, although doing so requires some external tools. There is no “rocket builder” mode as there is in KSP.


One broad area of improvement since 2005 is in the user interface. Although the PC keyboard remains nearly indispensable for controlling engines and thrusters in Orbiter (joysticks are also supported), you can now do much more with mouse-based on-screen controls, making it easier to learn, and easier to work with add-on spacecraft, many of which lack dedicated cockpit graphics and controls.

Orbiter has always had beautiful graphics, but the biggest visible change in Orbiter 2016 is its support for detailed 3D surface terrain for the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and several other solar system bodies.

The flight recorder is a great learning feature that was added in 2006 and improved in later releases. It’s not a video recorder, but an event recorder, such that when you record and play back a flight within Orbiter, all the control inputs, flight paths, and forces are recreated, allowing you to interrupt the playback and take over control of the flight at any time. This is useful for recording and studying your own progress, but it is especially great for recorded tutorial flights which feature detailed on-screen annotations to explain what is happening. Several of these “live” tutorials are included with Orbiter.


Orbiter includes a number of default spacecraft, including the late, great shuttle Atlantis and the powerful but still physically limited “Delta Glider,” a futuristic spaceplane. It also includes all the instruments you need to control and navigate your spacecraft through configurable multi-function displays (MFDs). But much of the fun of Orbiter comes in the form of optional (and always free) “add-ons” created by volunteer developers in the Orbiter community. Add-on spacecraft range from historic to contemporary to futuristic and even include fictional spacecraft from popular space movies. One notable example is called AMSO: it recreates the Apollo Program in astounding detail. Non-spacecraft add-ons provide MFDs for many tasks, including interplanetary flight planning. And while space may be silent, rocket boosters and cockpits generally are not. Orbiter Sound is an essential add-on to complete the Orbiter experience.

Note that when there is a major update to Orbiter, some add-ons may not work completely (or at all) until their authors update them for the new version. Of course there is no obligation for any volunteer developer to do this, although many do. Many users keep previous Orbiter versions installed to access add-ons that may not yet be available for the latest version. While there are some differences, it’s not hard to switch between the 2010 and 2016 versions, depending on what you wish to do.

Full 3D terrain

Orbiter has always had beautiful graphics, but the biggest visible change in Orbiter 2016 is its support for detailed 3D surface terrain for the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and several other solar system bodies. In previous versions, all planets and moons are perfectly smooth, with surface features “painted on.” This is hardly noticeable from a 300-kilometer orbit, but when you are flying or orbiting down low, it’s great to have realistic mountains and valleys to fly around and through. While the Earth terrain is nice, I especially enjoy zooming low over the accurate terrain of the Moon and Mars. It makes me feel like an Apollo astronaut. It’s also the best Moon or Mars globe you will ever own, because you can fly around and virtually explore the terrain (with labels if you like), not just look at it. The only cost for all this added beauty is the time it takes to download gigabytes of terrain data. I should also point out that to experience the best looking graphics and the best frame rates, you should use the so-called “no graphics” version of Orbiter that links to a separate “graphics client” that maintains the display.

Climbing the learning curve

With its many playful touches and multiple play modes, KSP is as much a game as a simulation, and as such, it certainly appeals to people of many backgrounds and ages. It’s not easy to master, but it’s lots of fun.

There is a lot to learn before you can plan a flight to the space station, the Moon, or Europa. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources to help you. Orbiter comes with a manual and with several pre-recorded and annotated training flights that represent a good starting point. My own free tutorial ebook Go Play In Space is written for the 2006 version, but much of it remains relevant for all versions (a Wiki version is here). There are also many excellent tutorial videos available through YouTube, notably those of David Courtney and TexFilms. These videos can help you get started and some will walk you through advanced interplanetary flights complete with gravitational slingshots. The Orbiter Forum is the best place to find out about tutorials and everything else about Orbiter.

Kerbal Space Program

In the last few years, Kerbal Space Program (KSP) has emerged as a popular way to “play in space.” How does it compare with Orbiter? KSP is simpler than Orbiter in some respects, and more comprehensive in others. It operates in a reduced-scale alternative solar system where real Newtonian physics still rules but where “Kerbin” is much smaller than Earth and the “Mun” is much closer than the Earth’s Moon. It has cartoon-like graphics and characters (“Kerbals”) to pilot the spacecraft you build. That is one of the biggest differences: in KSP, you have a great drag-and-drop 3D rocket-building workshop. There, you can construct simple or fantastically complex spacecraft and have your Kerbals risk their lives on your test flights while you learn to fly to orbit, reach the Mun, and achieve other goals. In KSP, rockets can explode or crash and Kerbals can die (while some add-on spacecraft for Orbiter feature damage modeling, simulated crews, and life-support issues, most Orbiter spacecraft just bounce when they crash). There are many tutorials and videos for KSP and a lot of enthusiastic players. With its many playful touches and multiple play modes, KSP is as much a game as a simulation, and as such, it certainly appeals to people of many backgrounds and ages. It’s not easy to master, but it’s lots of fun. KSP is also flexible and expandable, so while it might serve as a valuable and fun “Orbiter training camp” for some space enthusiasts, many others will continue to find plenty of fun and challenges in KSP.

Space Simulator (iOS)

I’m always on the lookout for space-related apps and games for the iPad, although with the exception of FSim Space Shuttle (landing simulation), most have fallen short for me. Space Simulator by Brixton Dynamics is an exception. It is a true solar system space flight simulation, similar in many respects to Orbiter. It features a variety of built in spacecraft, some of them historic (Apollo, X-15, Space Shuttle) and some futuristic (NASA’s Space Launch System and fictional craft from 2001: A Space Odyssey). The graphics are beautiful and the physics models seem to be quite heavy duty, but I have found the touch-screen interface to be awkward to use at times. Like Orbiter, it has cockpit and external views and uses configurable MFDs to display orbital information and to plan maneuvers. But with no keyboard or joystick, the screen can feel cluttered and the “workflow” seems unclear. But the program is improving quickly and I’m sure these user interface issues will be solved. It’s already the most powerful space flight simulation I have seen for the iPad, and it is definitely cool to tap VERB 37 NOUN 11 ENTER (launch autopilot) on a virtual DSKY and see and hear the majestic Saturn V send Apollo 11 into Earth orbit en route to the Moon, while I am en route to Beijing (headphones recommended.)


Space flight simulation is not exactly a mainstream area for computer gaming, but fortunately there are a few options for space enthusiasts who wish to move beyond books, movies, and websites. Orbiter 2016 is an educational experience with beautiful graphics, practically a dynamic coffee-table space book—with rocket engines. Kerbal Space Program has a playful vibe and a somewhat gentler learning curve but can still teach you a lot about physics while you have fun building and flying your own rockets. Space Simulator is pretty close to “Orbiter for iPad,” and while it is not free, it’s an app, so it’s pretty close to free.

Bruce Irving (bruceirvingmusic [at] pobox [dot] com) is an optical engineer, lapsed 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, music, and other things.

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.

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

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

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

The Spaceflight Simulator App

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

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

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

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

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

Your Rocket Components

How to Build a Rocket

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

Basic Parts

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

Aerodynamic Parts

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


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

How to Use the Rocket Parts for Your First Launch

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Build More Advanced Spaceships

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Reach Low Earth Orbit

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

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

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

What You’ll Need to Reach Low Earth Orbit

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

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

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

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

How to Complete Your Orbit

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

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

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

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

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

How to Land on the Moon

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

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

How to Prepare Your Rocket for the Moon

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

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

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

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

How to Perform a Moon Landing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Land on Other Planets (And More)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tricks You Can Perform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Purchase Extra Parts (Plus Sandbox Mode)

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

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

Expansion Pack Features

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

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

You’ll also get a new game mode.

Sandbox Mode

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

Additional Tools & Settings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expansion Pack Add-ons

Your Turn!

Would you try Spaceflight Simulator?

Questions & Answers

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

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

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

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

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

How do I download another rocket in Spaceflight Simulator?

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

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

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


“The Sims 4” Walkthrough and Guide to Exploring Space

Why is Kerbal Space Program So Hard?

“Call of Duty: Black Ops – Zombies”: How to Build the Navcard Table in Buried

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Zombies”: How to Build the Head Chopper in Buried

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Zombies”: How to Build the Zombie Shield in Alcatraz: MOTD


“Archero” Equipment Types, Perks, and Upgrades Guide

The Ultimate “Covet Fashion” Guide: Tricks, Tips, Cheats, and How to Get Free Diamonds!

Kim Kardashian Hollywood Game: Cheats, Tips, & Tricks


Christopher Smith

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

Krzysztof Willman

21 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

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

Krzysztof Willman

21 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

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


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

Liz Westwood

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

Krzysztof Willman

22 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

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

Liz Westwood

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

Copyright © 2020 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages ® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.

HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc.

Mobile Games

Connect with us

About Us

Copyright © 2020 HubPages Inc. and respective owners.
HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc.

Launch a rocket from a spinning planet, NASA Space Place – NASA Science for Kids

Launch a rocket from a spinning planet

Launch a rocket from a spinning planet

This movie shows the Deep Space 1 launch.

Deep Space 1 blasted off at 8:08 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on October 24, 1998. It rode atop a Delta rocket.

How do space engineers know when to launch?

Well, nothing in space stands still. Everything either orbits around something else, or moves toward or away from something else. So how do space engineers aim a spacecraft so it lands on Mars or meets up with a particular comet or asteroid? Not only are Earth and the target constantly moving in their different orbits around the Sun, but our Earthly launch pad is spinning at about 1,000 miles per hour when we launch the rocket!

If you don’t think this is a hard problem, try this:

Gather up whatever small balls you have. They can be tennis balls, softballs, whiffle balls, golf balls, or bean bags. Or you can make small “paper basketballs” by tightly wadding up pieces of notebook-sized paper.

Put the balls in a bucket or bag to make them easy to carry.

Find another empty container like a bucket or wastebasket or laundry basket to be the “basket.”

Take the paper balls (in their container) and the basket to the nearest park or playground that has a merry-go-round. (Not the kind with horses, but the kind you push around then hop on and ride.)

Place the basket on the ground about 3 or 4 meters (9 to 12 feet) from the merry-go-round. Then, step up on the merry-go-round with your container of balls.

Without moving the merry-go-round, try tossing a few balls into the basket on the ground.

Now, leaving the container of balls on the merry-go-round, hop off, push it to get it going slowly (or have someone else push it), then hop back on.

Now, try tossing the balls into the basket on the ground as you go around.

Adding the motion makes it a lot harder to hit your target, doesn’t it? Now imagine the target is on another spinning merry-go-round on the other side of the playground. Even if your paper balls were real basketballs or baseballs, you’d have a lot of trouble.

What you will probably find out is that . . .

Timing is everything!

In picking a time to launch, space engineers and scientists have to consider quite a number of things. Most of them have to do with getting the biggest boost possible from the big launch pad called planet Earth!

Earth goes around the sun at a brisk 107,000 kilometers per hour (66,000 miles per hour)! If our interplanetary spacecraft is aimed in the same direction Earth is already going, it will get a big head start.

Also, Earth rotates eastward on its axis, one complete turn each day. At the equator, Earth’s surface is rotating at 1675 kilometers per hour (1041 miles per hour)!So if we launch the rocket toward the east, it will get another big boost from Earth’s rotational motion.

Now, we launch eastward. We pick the time of launch (in Deep Space 1’s case, early morning) to give the rocket time to accelerate as it goes partway around Earth. Then, when the spacecraft is headed in the same direction as Earth’s orbital motion around the sun, the rocket gives it a final boost out of Earth orbit and on its way.

Using both the rotational motion of Earth on its axis and the orbital motion of Earth around the Sun, we can save a lot of fuel and a lot of time in getting to our far distant destination!

Ready . . . Aim . . . Blast off!

Where do we want to go? Once we know that, we figure out the best time of year to launch based on where Earth will be in its orbit around the sun. Deep Space 1 will actually end up in orbit around the sun, too, but farther from the sun than we are. The launch was timed so that, after eight months or so of thrusting from Deep Space 1’s ion engine, the spacecraft’s orbit crossed the orbit of Asteroid Braille on July 29, 1999.

Launch windows

The best times to launch the rocket are called “launch windows.”

As a glass window is an opening in a wall, a launch window is an opening in time.

Usually, engineers will try for the beginning of the first launch window. However, several things can delay a launch. For example, the weather might be bad. Or something might suddenly look a little funny with the spacecraft or the rocket or the ground communications. Or a boat or airplane might appear, even though they’ve been warned to keep their distance. Any of these could cause a delay until the next launch window or later in the same launch window.

Ellipticall Orbit like Spaceflight simulator – Unity Answers

Ellipticall Orbit like Spaceflight simulator

I’m making a game relying on 2D rockets that orbit planets and shoot each other. I would like to be able to predict and draw the rockets trajectory from the positions of the planets, the velocity and mass(within a sphere of influence) like in spaceflight simulator. it doesn’t need to be exact, but a closed loop when it comes to the elliptical shape would be nice, so I’m guessing this is more geometry that physics. I have looked everywhere and can’t find a simple, strait-forward formula. And I’m sure it’s out there because so many simulators predict orbits from current state vectors. I’m not a physics or algebra wizz, but I am always happy to learn(so an explanation would be awesome if possible). Could someone help me out? or just provide me with a formula and ill try my best to figure it out.

Well, if you have multiple planets (bodies) affecting the spacecraft, it will not be a closed loop.

1 Ответ

Ответ от Pangamini · 17/09/19 08:08

Well, if you have multiple planets (bodies) affecting the spacecraft, it will not be a closed loop. If you want to get something like kerbal space program, then you should know that kerbal is simplifying gravity in a way that the spacecraft is affected by a single body (moon, planet, sun) and its whole simulation frame moves with that body, so you get perfect elliptical orbits. The way Orbiter does it (a really cool spaceflight simulator btw) is that they predict an elliptical orbit, but it gets gradually affected by the other bodies. So even if you see an ellipse drawn, it might be changing over time (even within a single orbital period) in complicated multi-body systems, such as Jovian.

One way is to calculate the elliptical orbital function using the kepler text. While those may sound simple, the mathematical implementation is quite tricky, and as I remember, the one I used was only iterative approximation anyway (I didn’t come up with it, found it online). The other way would be to actually simulate your universe ahead of time and sample the predicted rocket trajectory. For that, you might want to have some kind of copy of your universe (ideally if you can separate it from the monobehaviours / unity physics) so you can create a copy of the physical universe, fast-forward it some time, read the trajectory and ditch it (so your actual game state stays unaffected)

Thanks for your answer! and yes in my simulator/game gravity will only affect a rocket within a certain radius so, making it only affected my one planet at a time. How did you implement the Kepler laws in an iterative approximation way? (I’m just looking at the Kepler laws, and as you say, the implementation seems quite daunting ), The copy of the physical universe method seems good, but then I still need the formulas, and I don’t know where to start with those. what I really want is something like this

will only affect a rocket within a certain radius so, making it only affected my one planet at a time

ok, so it does not always have to be close looped, I just wanted to make sure that when it was a normal elliptical orbit, the formula would not create slight imprecisions so that the two endpoints would meet. but yeah, I definitely understand the hole in my logic now(i was thinking of one planet, and thought i could just “make it work” with the others). There is a workaround though, I can stop predicting the outer trajectory once it’s in the sphere of influence of another body, as in “rendering trajectory from the earth, and if it hits the moon’s sphere of influence, stop rendering” and when you(the rocket) are in the moon’s influence, do the same but relative to the moon. But then i need to predict where the moon is, so thinking a little deeper about what you said regarding having a hard copy of the physical solar system, it’s definitely the best way because I can also predict the interception of the rocket with planets during its its course. But how would I go about doing that? thanks so much for your help so far!

Ваш Ответ

Welcome to Unity Answers

The best place to ask and answer questions about development with Unity.

To help users navigate the site we have posted a site navigation guide.

If you are a new user to Unity Answers, check out our FAQ for more information.

Make sure to check out our Knowledge Base for commonly asked Unity questions.

If you are a moderator, see our Moderator Guidelines page.

We are making improvements to UA, see the list of changes.

Подписаться на вопрос

189 пользователей подписаны.

Mechjeb orbit

Mechjeb orbit

(英文原文:Opposes any force on your rocket, keeping you pointed to the same direction you are going. der Mun Oberfläche bin,… * Improve the KSC grass and asphalt texture and shader to reduce tilling. It was like a huge light blub going on. J’avais aussi essayer avec Mechjeb de faire la mise en orbite en automatique, et les corrections d’orbite. Download ksp mods 3 4 3. So, that landing method was used instead of the parachutes (which added more mass to the vehicle and weren’t as effective at slowing the craft before it reached the ground). 쏘아올릴 궤도 높이 (아마도 최소가 80km) Orbit inclination. MechJeb and Engineer For All Automatically includes a MechJeb computer, Flight Engineer and Build Engineer on There’s no code, yet, to estimate downrange angle to the insertion in the orbit or to target the true anomaly of the target orbit. Nov 29, 2017 · Download >> Download Mechjeb 2 manual Read Online >> Read Online Mechjeb 2 manual mechjeb translatron mechjeb svel mechjeb 2 ascent guidance mechjeb 2 how to use how to open mechjeb menu mechjeb landing guidance mechjeb 2 career mode mechjeb ascent guidance missing I honestly believe mechjeb is the best training tool or tutorial system you can currently get for KSP. Craft Sharing Simplified. But the game has evolved and so have the MODDERS: If you add Real Progression 1 + Realism Overhaul (and all of its dependencies), Real Solar System (Extended), Principia, I could hug you, Wernher Von Kerman. This page is powered by a knowledgeable community that helps you make an informed decision. Enter the altitude of the orbit you wish to establish around your destination body. Launches can also be timed to rendezvous with a specific target or can simply be launched when ready. * Increased precision for eccentricity in advanced orbit info display. The Ascent Guidance of Mechjeb allows to easily get a rocket into a stable, circular orbit with a variety of options. S to control pitch during liftoff and the ride to orbit is easily equal to the task for even the largest, laggiest, ships. I don’t know if I’m just having a brain fart here, or not understanding the mod, or what. Ideally, in a 3-satellite constellation, you want to be at 777 km with identical velocities, and a separation of 120 degrees per … Continue reading KSP Tips: RemoteTech, MechJeb, and Flight Engineer → The most popular Kerbal Space Program mods 2020 for Mods Orbit Portal Technology [OPT] is a Research and Development company dedicated to space plane and trans-atmospheric propulsion technology. – Too much Solar, since I don’t lose much charge, it only takes a second or two of sunlight to refill the battery. Innit. Ich nutzte jetzt Mechjeb 2. How do I install HyperEdit? Kerbal Space Program chronicle — part one: achieving orbit for science. Can’t disagree. In orbit around Kerbin, it’s Kerbin. edu. In each 1. De studio neemt de ontwikkeling over van Star Theory Games. Orbit altitude (km) MechJebはターゲットを指定しながら軌道変更中に軌道が他の天体(Munとか)の影響圏に入るとバグる Kerbal Space Program – Mun Base Tutorial – Part 3 – Rover Landing. While in low orbit, make sure your new satellite has a dish pointed at the previous satellite in the network, and vice versa. KSP 2009 R3 Free download and software reviews CNET. Welcome to the Spacetux Agency, where contracts are created! This is a collection of mods which use the Contract Configurator mod to generate contracts for Kerbal Space Program. I tried it this evening and all I can say is WOW!It takes some getting used to because there are some major differences, but the overall capability of MechJeb is greatly enhanced. ” I surmised that to the extent that Intelligence has been promoting and publicizing analysis of media fakery (and e… Take-Two’s uitgeeflabel Private Division heeft een nieuwe studio opgericht in Seattle voor de ontwikkeling van Kerbal Space Program 2. 22 – MechJeb Autopilot v2. This is useful for setting up things like 17 Dec 2019 MechJeb (Essential); kOS (Essential); Kerbal Engineer Redux (Essential); Kerbal Interstellar Extended in the construction buildings to the eventually unlockable ability to effectively pilot a ship to orbit entirely by itself from 14 Jul 2015 First Orbit and EVA – A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial. Mechjeb mac – emucohrid. TLDR: Launch to inclination of 86, then do some fine-tuning once in orbit. Use it to plan out maneuvor nodes that’ll circularize your orbit to as perfect as you can, then use your throttle and such to get it to an acceptable level. Everyone is different I installed mechjeb, to make the mundane task of launching into lower kerbin orbit less boring and more precise. i tried to get a good orbit in height of 150km but when he is circulizing he disengage himself and stops running, but the middle of the orbit is the KSC instead of the middle of Kerbin so the rocket goes straight back to kerbin and hit the ground Orbit altitude. Also works fine. I can get into a 100 km orbit, but then how do I get an orbit around the Mun? (using mechjeb of course) EDIT: I mean 2. Mine didn’t for some reason that’s probably my fault. Kerbal Space Program features three gameplay modes. Orbiter-Forum > Orbiter Addons > Addon Requests [Request] Mechjeb like addon? Aug 04, 2018 · As for the default installation it is much like everyone previously stated. tinygrox on GithUb took on the huge work required to add localization to MJ. It provides purposes to launch and operate satellites in the space. You can add one or more dishes to the design if you want to contact, say, the Mun. Need a Rover at your Mun Base? Then this tutorial will show you a simple rover to build and how I land the Rover at the Mn base with Pin point landing. When piloting manually, MechJeb continues to offer assistance. If you seeking special discount you may need to searching when special time come or holidays. I understand the reasons behind each of this manouveurs, however I’m wondering if this is how real rockets get into orbit. Resonant orbit. One of my favorite mods, MechJeb , is one I’ll be using for its excellent information readouts. Pre-shrunk, anti-pill fleece in lightweight and heavy-and-warm options. Usage instructions: Add either the AR202 surface-attached case from the Control tab or the MechJeb pod from the Pods tab to one of your vessels. May 22, 2014 · As a community, Kerbal Space Program’s fans are as dedicated to the mission as Squad, providing feedback and actively participating in the game’s evolution, shaping it into something that even The first thing you need to do when using RemoteTech and you plan to get some probes usable in orbit and beyond is to set up a basically communications constellation with three satellites. Shop from 1000+ unique Ksp Hoodies and Sweatshirts on Redbubble. S系统. Works fine. Instead, I let MechJeb fly my rocket into oribit and circularize it. 5-hour orbit, a satellite will experience up to 775 seconds of darkness. S 选项(方向控制): OFF – 关闭Smart A. The most popular Kerbal Space Program mods 2020 for Gameplay — Script modified from FlyMeToTheMun by Jontu– Original script by R4m0n–function KMunODriver (alt, malt) If this happens, just re-run the calculator with the new orbit data to determine the required course correction. sorry, this has been archived and can no. Jul 30, 2013 · – Too much fuel to get this payload into Kerbin Orbit. * Improve textures for the VAB building on level one. The Multi Function Display (“MFD”) included in B9 is based on the “Super Hyomoto” version of the RPM monitors with influences from a mix of Kerbal Space Program RPM monitors and real MFDs/PFDs. Along with the command pod, rocket, and fuel, all I needed was an Advanced S. W Description % Build stability: No recent builds failed. The cockpits are especially swish. Holy crap–I wasn’t sure if I needed to plug in a good LPA or what, but I launched, let the thing correct orbit a couple times (burning more fuel than necessary no doubt), and it put me within 100 meters at matching speed, no problem. All contract mods require the Spacetux Shared Assets mod, which includes both the Spacetux agency, flag, thumbnail and contract group needed by the other mods. The one thing that threw me from this video is the navball switching to “target” mode when you’re close. What are the best Kerbal Space Program mods Sometimes it bugs and the textures are a bit hard to install Great for those times when you’re 3 hours into a mission and realize simply forgot to add a parachute or you were like 2 drops? 通常のマニューバが使えなくなったりMechJeb等の自動化MODが正確な軌道を描けなくなるが、代わりに専用のマニューバ作成機能が追加される。 またラグランジュ点が存在するようになる。RSSにも対応しており同時に1. First Orbit and EVA – A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial. Just one tiny aid isn’t much to ask for once in a while. On the plus side, having turned it over, I discovered that Introduction RemoteTech is one of the popular mods for Kerbal Space Program. Share your Kerbal Space Progam craft, with automatic detection of mods, search by mod & craft attributes Dec 11, 2017 · Porkchop plots are an easy, quick, reliable means for planning interplanetary (or inter-lunar) travel. So what had happened was. 0. I try and change the orbit using the Mechjeb ascent autopilot and nothing happens. Dies ist der Sammelthread für Themen die kein eigenes Thema verdient haben. If we change one we will also change other, doesn’t matter if we want it or not. – Launch the next satellite and follow from. S. 다만 이것만으로도 쏘아올릴 수 있으니까 쏘아올리기 전에 Examples taken from the videos posted by the mod author, Kevin Laity: Example – Simple Autolaunch, Example – More Complex Launch Sequence, Example – Launch Sequence Utilizing Loops Other sources of scripts kOS Data Store (WIP) Other Clients, Services and Scripts¶ This page links to clients, services, scripts, tools and other useful things for kRPC that have been made by others. It has been long believed that the orbit suffers circularization due to the dynamical 2018年9月13日 今回はMechJebを紹介。 公式フォーラムはこちら。 MechJebは打ち上げや着陸、 マニューバ・ランデヴー・ドッキングなどを半自動化してくれるModだ。 その有能さ故に MechJeb先生と呼ばれることも。 またMechJeb(メックジェブ。Mech:”機械” . OK, I Understand Breaking Ground, the second expansion for Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition is now available for players to enjoy on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4!. This is useful for setting up things like CommNet and GPS constellations. If Aug 17, 2014 · Then, once it achieved a stable orbit, I set MechJeb for a 5,000 meter rendezvous with the space station. Kerbal Space Program – Mun Base Tutorial – Part 3 – Rover Landing. Calculate the resonant orbit needed for a carrier craft to inject craft it carries, like satellites, into equidistant positions of a shared circular orbit. 56 km, beyond the Mun’s sphere of influence. 7. In KSP, it simplifies orbital mechanics to reduce the CPU workload. Cutting off the engine and letting the rocket loose vertical speed looks counter-intuitive to me (you basically spend a lot of fuel to accelerate and then you let the rocket slow down). Multi Function Display Manual. I added mechjeb first, to automate the repetitive stuff that I’d done manually more than Jebediah himself. * Model revamp for the level one and level two Research and Development nissen huts. 9 und habe noch immer keinen Weg gefunden via Mechjeb einen Orbit zu machen welcher nicht um Kerbal geht. If you’ve discovered a cheat you’d like to add to the page, or have a correction Kerbal Space Program (KSP) is a critically acclaimed, bestselling space flight simulator game. Aug 28, 2018 · I have written in the past about what I call “Operation Fantasy Land. By continuing to use Pastebin, you agree to our use of cookies as described in the Cookies Policy. I installed mechjeb, to make the 2018年7月26日 MechJeb先生を使うには、ロケット組立棟にてMechJeb 2を取り付ける必要がある。 すると画面右上 Orbit inc. KILL ROT – 使火箭停止转向. This extra mod enables MechJeb on all 23 Feb 2018 I’ve been playing the stock game for years, and have no problem using maneuver nodes to adjust my orbit, and manually land or complete missions where I please. This calculator searches for constant-velocity manoeuvers that, after aerobraking, result in an orbit with the desired apoapsis. They display, in 3 dimensions of data, the time to a node on the X-axis, the duration of transfer on the Y-axis, and the color of the plot indicates the relative amount of dV needed for that node to make an encounter from your orbit to the target planet. I get into space using Mechjeb to get into an orbit, but then I realize that it’s not orbit I want. MechJeb can do it all Build spacecraft, fly them, and try to help the Kerbals fulfill their ultimate mission of conquering space. I then added kethane to set up a fuel depot on Minimus and Duna. Ich habe wider einmal ein Mechjeb Problem. It also does some other stuff. But then I had two Launch your Kerbal crew into orbit and beyond (while keeping them alive) to explore moons and planets in the Kerbol solar system, constructing bases and space stations to expand the reach of your expedition. 1. Mar 06, 2013 · As you already know, circular orbit is not only defined by altitude, but also speed. Danke- Das Team Download ksp mods 3 4 3. . ” I surmised that to the extent that Intelligence has been promoting and publicizing analysis of media fakery (and e… 28/08/2018 · I have written in the past about what I call “Operation Fantasy Land. The CKAN is a metadata repository and associated tools to allow you to find, install, and manage mods for Kerbal Space Program. A. This is useful for setting up things like CommNet constellations. Yeon. The orbit is like 5º offset and the apoapsis and May 15, 2016 · How to Build a Space Station in Kerbal Space Program (KSP). HyperEdit is a plugin for Kerbal Space Program, that allows you to teleport any ship, and edit any orbit – even the planets! Just choose your desired position, and POOF! – you’re there. Added Kerbal Attachment System to create a hauler/worker. This is single/upper-stage guildance only. Special Thanks: Stone Blue Starwaster *M_Ouellette – For their help with the model side of things. Egal wie tief ich schon über z. A normal 25 km orbit can be achieved using around 800 m/s delta V. Этот мод позволит сильно облегчить игровой процесс, с его помощью можно проводить сложные операции в автоматическом режиме. Breaking Ground is all about exploration, experimentation, and technological breakthroughs. Important parameter to this mode is the desired orbital ratio, which is the ratio between period of your current orbit and the new orbit. This mode should be used starting from a orbit in the desired orbital plane. In areas around Mun, it’s Mun. Kerbal Space Progam: Rocket science is harder than it looks! Circuralizing orbit should work via MechJeb (or you can burn retrograde manually), unless you have The creators of MechJeb have been hard at work, completely rewriting the mod from the ground up. Synchronous orbit around the Mun is not possible, since it would have to occur at an altitude of 2 970. I installed mechjeb, to make the mundane task of launching into lower kerbin orbit less boring and more precise. Oct 02, 2015 · MechJeb probably won’t perfect your orbit, as it is a computer. ReflectionTypeLoadException will now list the DLLs that are the actual source of the exception in the log. Before starting a countdown at the launch pad, how about planning and visualizing the satellite network that you aim at with this web-based planner? On the bright side, MechJeb 2 has made rendezvous options insanely easily. Sorry about the 720p and nearly illegible text, didn’t realize the screen recorder was set to that. For Kerbal Space Program. Specifically, I want it for when I need my initial orbit to match the plane of another object, or to meet a satellite contract. How to get to the Mun using MechJeb 2. KerbalX is a free service without adverts and I want to keep it that way. Until 4m30s it is following a preprogrammed gravity turn. Mais je n’ai pas réussi, ça partait tout le temps en cacahuètes à un moment ou un Автопилот для Kerbal Space Program 0. Important parameter to this mode is the desired orbital If you get value from this page and can afford it, I’d really appreciate it if you could help me make more content like this 🙂 I had absolutely NO trouble pushing it into orbit (though MechJeb basically refused to calculate dV while I was attached to the asteroid) from its current escape trajectory. krpc_MechJeb_TimeReference_t This mode should be used starting from a orbit in the desired orbital plane. Kerbal Space Program – Tutorial For Beginners – Part 10 – Space Stations & Rendezvous. Suggested mods to find include: MechJeb Embedded [2] . If you want your own project added to this page, please feel free to ask on the forum. submitted 9 months ago by monkeysee2003 · 5 comments, share. That means we can’t just get so same orbit then speed up/slow down to reach our target. Build History. 22:28. So, if you click where it says “orbit” or “surface” and your velocity, it will switch between them. What are the best Kerbal Space Program mods Sometimes it bugs and the textures are a bit hard to install Great for those times when you’re 3 hours into a mission and realize simply forgot to add a parachute or you were like 2 drops? Take-Two’s uitgeeflabel Private Division heeft een nieuwe studio opgericht in Seattle voor de ontwikkeling van Kerbal Space Program 2. Resonant Orbit Calculator For Kerbal Space Program . Thunderbirds are Go! Don’t forget to share pictures of your creations on this thread. Link We use cookies for various purposes including analytics. Например: стыковка, посадка Mechjeb mac – emucohrid. * Upgrade VPP and improve wheel and landing leg function. With those added to the algorithm and some improvements in the time-to-launch code it should be possible to have MechJeb do an entirely automated direct launch to lunar orbit. 궤도 각도 (각도인데 다르게 설정하면 북반구쪽으로 궤도 만들거나 그럼) autostage 스테이지 자동 실행 (끄세여. 5 Tips MechJeb Tutorial FOR NOOBS (youtu. Then use the button on the right side of the screen to access MechJeb window selection interface, and click on the buttons to activate the windows. It only computes gravity based on the body controlling your Sphere of Influence. In real life physics, the Moon I could use wait until periapsis > x, but this seems inaccurate, because I can’t start the burn at the exactly right time, because I don’t know how much to burn. Along with landing on Eeloo, having a large Mun base and making an interplanetary satellite link coverage system, building an orbital space station is one of the most ambitious Oct 16, 2017 · Here’s what it does: when a ship is in low orbit around a planet, the backside of the ship will be softly illuminated by the planet’s reflected atmospheric light. The “Injection Δv” value is the delta-v required to move from the Launch each satellite into low Kerbin orbit as before. I enjoy the science mode with the unmanned-before-manned community tech tree, but I wanted to be a lot more relaxed and not have to manage electrical charge or mechjeb features. And use orbital data Resonant Orbit Calculator. Step 1 (First launch): – Achieve with MechJeb or Manual control an equatorial circular orbit at the desired altitude. I’ve tried using the same rocket with a variety of numbers in MechJeb’s ascent profile and once you’re in the upper Sep 06, 2012 · Omg, the Mk4 parts are so good. Now, I can do with or with out, but I like playing to build stuff, not so much fly. Bei kleineren Fragen bitte hier posten und kein neues Thema eröffnen. Nov 02, 2013 · It was realized that a powered descent using MechJeb’s landing autopilot only costed about 350 m/s in delta-v. Resonant orbit is useful for placing satellites to a constellation. The information used for the calculations was taken from the Kerbal Space Program wiki The formulas used to calculate the resonance orbit itself was posted by PakledHostage in his Figaro GPS thread. Reply and hitting even the smallest bump at anything over a walking pace almost puts the thing back in orbit. Dec 11, 2017 · Porkchop plots are an easy, quick, reliable means for planning interplanetary (or inter-lunar) travel. It is NOT The planetary phase angle is the angle your destination planet or moon needs to be in front or behind your origin along its orbit. Some mods will make the Enter the altitude of your parking orbit around that body. Assuming you bolt the MechJeb panel on to an appropriate craft (it’s a physical attachment), it can lift off into orbit, circularise that orbit, transit to and from moons and planets with Assuming you bolt the MechJeb panel on to an appropriate craft (it’s a physical attachment), it can lift off into orbit, circularise that orbit, transit to and from moons and planets with I haven’t played in probably 3+ years, and back then it was mechjeb and some kerbal engineer mod. ) 딴건 잘 모르겠습니다. [–]krazyrocketman 0 Place all of your satellites as a single craft in an initial orbit with the apoapsis at the synchronous orbit height, then adjust the periapsis so that your orbit’s overall period is either at the Synchronization Factor’s value or the Counter-Sync Factor. While MechJeb does After around 15 minutes of my kerbals going crazy over the insanely low gravity, I left gilly, even though getting into orbit required as much as a fire extinguisher’s delta-v, I ended up almost too low for timewarp to workwhen I was still in an orbit that intersected the ground, so I had to wait about five minutes to get high enogh for A historic mission to the Moon is approaching its crescendo, with the Israeli-built Beresheet lander today entering orbit around our biggest satellite and preparing to close in on its surface. 99% of the time using the Smart A. 3. At first, it seemed as if it was going to become another endless chase-and-maneuver. Make sure you have enough battery power! Kerbal Space Program. Mar 27, 2013 · I’m not embarrassed to say that if it wasn’t for MechJeb, I would have had to resort to YouTube to learn how to get into orbit. module to enable flight control, a decoupler to uncouple the command pod, and a parachute. When a satellite has a sun-synchronous orbit, it means that it has a constant sun illumination through inclination and altitude. Never once used MechJeb or alarm clock or a any quality of life mods. This is assumed to be a circular, equatorial orbit. However, putting your spacecraft just outside Mun’s SOI and having the same SMA would make it appear stationary. Hell, I’ve gotten to 100,000m, 100,

Spaceflight Simulator Free Download

Spaceflight Simulator 1.4.06

Retread and go beyond!

Spaceflight Simulator is a sort of a sandbox game, in which you get to design your own space rocket and explore the solar system. The game area doesn’t go much farther than Mars, but even so, there are plenty of challenges to overcome before you’d even consider going that far.

You start the game by building a rocket ship. You get several ship pieces, but there aren’t many ways in which you can combine them. Several fuel segments can be stacked on top of each other while a booster needs to be attached at the bottom. Yo can place several of these rockets in parallel using connectors but you can also stack rockets with detachable separation rings. The important thing is to place a command module somewhere on top, in order to have control over them.

The controls are rather simple, although the game itself poses a nice challenge curve. Unlike the Apollo astronots (typo intended), you are spared from analyzing a bunch of vector data to get your bearings. Instead, you can examine your vehicle and the surrounding space in two view modes. The regular view lets you admire it and gives you detailed control over individual engines, separation rings, connectors, landing gears, and parachutes. The map view lets you examine orbit trajectories, and also displays departure opportunities for reaching your designated destination target.

Spaceflight Simulator uses a simplified physics system that, albeit being completely 2D, still takes into account atmosphere, gravitational zones of influence and slingshot mechanics. The interface anticipates your trajectory for when it reaches a planet or moon’s area by showing a localized orbit curve. The orbit might not make sense if your ship is still too far off its way, but it will clear up once it meets the general trajectory line.

Letting aside the fact that you will certainly spend a few failed attempts at even reaching Earth orbit, getting to the Moon requires you to turn your circular orbit into an ellipse that’s wide enough to reach the path of the Moon. Even then, you will need to synchronize the ellipse’s apogee with the future position of the Moon so that you can have any chance at approaching it. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Luckily, the visual aids in the Map view are enough to let you know if you’re on the right track. However, whether you still have enough fuel to complete the job rest solely on your rocket design and your skill at conserving thrust. You can also save the game at any time, so, you can set up checkpoints, like having achieved Earth orbit, or being on a nice descent towards the surface of Phobos.

Now to some criticisms. Although the camera angle is mostly fixed, the direction indicator often turns up showing the wrong way, which makes it unusable, unfortunately. Some other problems include automatic detachment of the command capsule without any player input (more reason to save at key points) and graphical glitches during planetfall. These don’t happen on a regular basis however.


It is quite astonishing how a minimalist game can evoke such awe and recreate the heavy gut feelings that are associated with space travel. Too often space themed productions, be it movies or games, treat space transit like sailing the seas. Admittedly, although you need a real Faustian spirit to traverse the Atlantic with only a vague idea of what could lie beyond, launching yourself on top of a rocket to navigate through void and onto a moving orb is a whole different ball game. I suspect that if you enjoy games like Kerbal Space Program or Orbiter, you’ll most likely enjoy Spaceflight Simulator. It’s infinitely simpler than KSP, but it’s worth checking out. Godspeed!

Can SpaceX and Blue Origin best a decades-old Russian rocket engine design? MIT Technology Review

Can SpaceX and Blue Origin best a decades-old Russian rocket engine design?

The story of the RD-180, the big rocket engine that could

An hour before sunset on May 24, 2000, an unusual rocket took off from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Like most rockets, the Atlas 3 had inherited its design from an intercontinental ballistic missile—in this case, from America’s first such missile, designed to threaten the Soviet Union with nuclear annihilation. This was not unusual. But the rocket had a new first stage, one that was considerably more powerful than those it replaced. The RD-180, as the engine is called, was built by NPO Energomash in a factory outside Moscow. In a marriage that would have been unimaginable at the height of the space race, a Russian engine was powering an American rocket.

This story is part of our July/August 2019 issue

In the two decades since, 83 more such rockets have taken off from Florida.

On the Atlas 3 and its successor, the Atlas 5, the RD-180 carried at least 16 American spy satellites to orbit, along with 13 military communications satellites, a half – dozen GPS satellites, two military weather satellites, and three missile warning satellites, designed to detect rocket launches from, among other countries, the one where it was built. It launched four American Mars missions. NASA’s launch of New Horizons to Pluto in 2006 and Juno to Jupiter in 2011 were both made on the back of the RD-180.

The RD-180 is remarkable not only for the geopolitical peculiarities of its rise to prominence, but because it was in many ways simply better than any other rocket engine of its time. When, in February 2019, Elon Musk announced a successful test of SpaceX’s Raptor engine, which is intended to power the company’s next-generation rocket Starship, he bragged of the high pressures reached in the Raptor’s thrust chamber: over 265 times atmospheric pressure at sea level. Raptor, he said on Twitter, had exceeded the record held for several decades by the “awesome Russian RD-180.”

After Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014, the RD-180’s days as a staple of American rocketry were numbered. Defense hawks had long been uncomfortable with the arrangement, but the engine was both very good and, given its capability, cheap—and so it stayed. But as relations with Russia frayed, congressional opponents of the engine, led by Senator John McCain, succeeded in passing a prohibition against the engine’s use in American rockets after the end of 2022. This has forced the Air Force to find a new rocket to succeed the RD-180-powered Atlas 5.

All of which raises a question: How did a decades-old Russian engine become the bar against which America’s best rocket scientists measure themselves?

If you want to understand what made the RD-180 such a good engine, it helps to understand that there is a great deal of craft involved. Though hundreds of people collaborate on rocket engines, having someone with an instinct for good design in charge is vital: the trade-offs are too complex to be figured out by brute force or by committee. In the case of the RD-180, that someone was named Valentin Glushko.

After the USSR lost to America in the race to the moon, designing the best possible rocket engine became “a national priority,” according to Vadim Lukashevich, an aerospace engineer and Russian space historian. Soviet leaders wanted to build the world’s most powerful rocket, the Energia, to sustain their space stations in Earth orbit and to lift the Buran, a would-be Russian space shuttle. Glushko was given resources to build the best engine he could, and he was good at building engines. The result was the RD-170, the RD-180’s older brother.

The RD-170 was among the first rocket engines to use a technique called staged combustion. The US space shuttle main engine, also developed in the 1970s, was another. By contrast, the F-1 engines in the first stage of the Saturn V rocket, which launched Apollo to the moon, were of an older, simpler design called the gas-generator engine. The key difference: staged-combustion engines can be more efficient, but they’re at greater risk of exploding. As William Anderson, who studies liquid-fueled rocket engines at Purdue University, explains, “The rates of energy release are just extreme.” It takes someone with a really astute imagination, Anderson says, to understand the crazy stuff that’s going on inside rocket engines’ combustion chambers. In Russia, that astute person was Glushko.

“There was so much invested in the shuttle that no one at NASA wanted to talk about developing an oxygen rich staged-combustion engine . Oxygen will burn most things if you provide a spark.”

To understand why Glushko’s engines were such an engineering achievement, we need to get a little bit technical.

There are two key measures of a rocket’s performance: thrust, or the amount of force a rocket exerts, and specific impulse, a measure of how efficiently it uses its propellants. A rocket with high thrust but low specific impulse won’t reach orbit—it would have to carry so much fuel that the weight of the fuel would necessitate more fuel, and so on. Conversely, a rocket with high specific impulse but low thrust would never leave the ground. (Such rockets work well in space, though, where a steady push suffices.)

A rocket engine, much like an aircraft jet engine, burns fuel together with an oxidizer—often oxygen—to create hot gas that expands down and out of the engine nozzle, accelerating the engine the other way. Unlike jet engines, which get oxygen from the air around them, rockets need to carry their own oxygen (or other oxidizer), since in space, of course, there isn’t any. Like jets, rockets need a way to force the fuel and oxygen into the combustion chamber at high pressure; all else being equal, higher pressure means better performance. To do that, rockets use turbopumps that spin at hundreds of rotations per second. The turbopumps are driven by turbines, and they, in turn, are powered by pre-burners, which likewise burn some fuel and oxygen.

Sign up for The Airlock — your gateway to the future of space technology

The crucial difference between staged-combustion engines like the RD-180 and gas-generator engines like the Saturn’s F-1 lies in what happens to the exhaust from those pre-burners. While gas–generator engines dump it overboard, staged-combustion engines reinject it into the main combustion chamber. One reason for doing this is that the exhaust contains unused fuel and oxygen—the pre-burners can’t burn it all. Throwing it away is a waste, which matters in a rocket that also has to lift every pound of fuel and oxygen it’s going to use. But reinjecting the exhaust entails delicately balancing the relevant pressures and flow rates so that engines don’t blow up. It requires a whole series of turbopumps to make it work. Teams of experts typically need a decade or more of simulation and testing to figure out how to get it right.

The RD-170 and RD-180 have another advantage. They are oxygen–rich, which means exactly what it sounds like: they inject extra oxygen into the system. (The space shuttle main engine, by contrast, is a fuel-rich engine.) Oxygen-rich engines tend to burn cleaner and to ignite more easily. They also make possible higher combustion–chamber pressures, and thus better performance—but they are more prone to explode, so for decades there weren’t any major efforts to make them work in the US. “There was so much invested in the shuttle that no one at NASA wanted to talk about developing an oxygen-rich staged – combustion engine,” says Anderson. “Oxygen will burn most things if you provide a spark.” This requires great care in the materials used to build the engine, and even greater care in making sure no foreign materials—such as specks of metal debris—ever make their way into it. “The more we learn about the physics of what goes on inside a combustion chamber, the more we realize how unsteady it really is,” says Anderson.

If the RD-170 was arguably the best rocket engine of its generation, the space shuttle main engine was arguably second best (and was substantially more expensive to make). Neither lived up to its potential. The space shuttle engine was stuck with a lemon of a vehicle, which was much more cumbersome than its designers had hoped it would be. The RD-170, on the other hand, flew only twice: once in 1987 and once in 1988. Though developing it had been a national priority, by the time Glushko proved that it worked, the Soviet Union was about to fall apart.

The 1990s were a turbulent time in Russia, especially for the space program. To survive without government financing, newly privatized aerospace firms turned to the commercial market.

That’s when Jim Sackett, an engineer who’d been working for Lockheed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, moved to Moscow. Lockheed became interested in using oxygen-rich staged combustion to power the next generation of Atlas rockets, with which it planned to compete for Air Force and NASA contracts.

Sackett, who was put in charge of Lockheed’s Moscow office, was tapped to approach Energomash, a post-Soviet space industry firm that came to own the RD-170 and related engine technology. Energomash enthusiastically welcomed Lockheed’s interest. But the RD-170 was too powerful: the Atlas rockets Lockheed was looking to send into space were considerably smaller than the Energia, for which the RD-170 had been designed. So Energomash essentially cut the engine in half—the firm drew up a proposal for a two-chamber derivative of the four-chamber RD-170 that could be used in the Atlas. This was the birth of the RD-180.

The relationship required remarkable integration between Russian and American military–industrial contractors. Lockheed set up an office at Energomash, in a Moscow suburb. It was a huge operation, Sackett remembers. “They’ve got a metallurgy plant there, so they forge their own metals,” he says. “They have all their own machine shops, all of their own test facilities. It is a lot of stuff, all of it under one roof. And eventually, all of it turns into a rocket engine.”

It took about a year of daily, in-depth technical meetings between Sackett’s team and Energomash executives and engineers to understand whether or not the proposed purchases of RD-180 engines would work. Lockheed wanted a small, no-commitment deal. Energomash held out for a long-term arrangement. The contract was signed at the end of a marathon six-hour session in 1996, Sackett says. The result: a 101-engine, billion-dollar deal.

The US Air Force, Lockheed’s main customer, demanded access to 10 key technologies needed to produce the RD-180, in case relations with Russia ever foundered and America had to make the engines itself. It was a big ask. The US was after a crown jewel of Soviet space technology, and the Russian government was not thrilled. “But they saw no alternative,” Sackett says, “because the country did not just have a change of heart, they went broke. They just went flat broke. This is how they saved the company.”

Though more attention has been paid to American-Russian cooperation on the International Space Station, in many respects the RD-180 collaboration went deeper. After all, the space station is not crucial to the national security of either country, while reconnaissance and communications satellites are.

Now that relations between the two countries have frayed, Sackett argues , the US could just manufacture the RD-180 domestically. The engine’s critics say it would be astronomically expensive to do so. But the cost “shouldn’t be astronomical!” Sackett says. “We have smart people here, and we have the recipe! This is exactly why we identified and negotiated for those 10 key manufacturing technologies, so that we could take the drawings and the notes and then go build them.”

That’s not likely to happen, in part because after decades of stagnation, American companies are finally working on engines that just might be better than the RD-180.

An engine’s performance has profound influence over the design of the rocket above it. So when Congress mandated that the Air Force stop using the RD-180, this provoked a competition not just for a new engine, but for a whole new rocket. Such a competition was inevitable—after all, designs don’t last forever. But because designing new engines and rockets is expensive and time consuming, the timing for making a switch is always politically contentious. The congressionally mandated RD-180 ban forced the issue.

There are four serious contenders to build that new rocket: SpaceX, Blue Origin, the United Launch Alliance (a Boeing–Lockheed Martin joint venture known by its initials, ULA), and Northrop Grumman. Two of them will be chosen, on the theory that having two winners creates ongoing competition, while naming one would result in a monopoly that could then turn around and gouge the Air Force. Thousands of jobs are at stake: if ULA loses, it may go out of business.

The New Glenn, Blue Origin’s entry in the competition, uses the BE-4, Blue Origin’s newest and most powerful engine. (As does ULA’s rocket—the two firms are simultaneously competitors and business partners.) The designs of both the BE-4 and SpaceX’s Raptor are informed in crucial ways by the RD-180. The BE-4 is an oxygen–rich staged – combustion engine, like the RD-170 and RD-180. The Raptor, meanwhile, resembles the RD-180 in that it feeds the pre-burner exhaust into the combustion chamber—ensuring that almost all the fuel and oxidizer stored in the rocket’s tanks are used to generate thrust. However, the Raptor relies on a tweak to Glushko’s approach: both fuel-rich and oxidizer-rich flows power its turbopumps—theoretically resulting in maximal efficiency.

In a way, the BE-4 and Raptor are like an attempt to build a better violin than Stradivarius did, using modern methods. Blue Origin and SpaceX have access to better diagnostics and more sophisticated simulation techniques than Glushko did. They also have another design feature important to the American Air Force: they’re made in the US.

Possibly the greatest technical advantage these new engines have over the RD-180 is that they use methane as fuel rather than kerosene, as the RD-180 does. Kerosene can gunk up the works of an engine after repeated use. Methane has higher specific impulse, and burns cleaner. It is also much easier (in principle) to synthesize on Mars, which Musk aims to do.

Neither new engine has yet reached orbit. SpaceX is planning test flights of its Starhopper rocket, which will eventually be powered by three Raptors, for this summer. These flights will be short hops, a few thousand feet in the air above SpaceX’s test site in Texas. Blue Origin is also testing the BE-4 in Texas, and has started building a factory in Alabama where it will manufacture the engines. It has rented Launch Complex 36, where the RD-180 first took flight, from the Air Force and plans to launch the New Glenn there in 2021.

Energomash, meanwhile, is desperately hoping that the Russian space program will again start using its engines. Some 90% of its production has gone to the US in recent years, says Pavel Luzin, a Russian space industry analyst. Like its American counterparts, Energomash now risks being made obsolete by Musk and Bezos—who, with their freedom from legacy design constraints and willingness to spend money and take risks, have finally jolted rocket engine design out of decades of stasis.

Matthew Bodner is a journalist in Moscow who writes about aerospace and the military.