Spaceflight Simulator on the App Store

Spaceflight Simulator 4+

Rocket science made simple!

Stefo Mai Morojna



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

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

What’s New

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

I plan to do weekly updates from now on

Ratings and Reviews

Great Handheld Rocket Science

This game is an awesome space flight simulator. I downloaded the free game and have played it for a week now. I was looking for something similar to “Kerbal Space Program” which I play on my laptop. This was the answer for my IPhone. The free version has a great level of creativity involved and if I continue to play this enough I will definitely purchase the full version.
What I like about this game is that it’s got just the right amount of controls for a Mobile app. It’s just enough to feel challenging but not so much that I’m overwhelmed. I love that I can transfer fuel to different modules! It’s perfect for creating a space station fueling center. This 2D flight sim has helped me understand space flight a little bit better. So when I go back to playing KSP, a much more complex 3D space sim, I think I’ll actually be able to make it to the “Mun” and back. And make docking maneuvers with other ships!

If you like science games like KSP then this is a great find. My only wishes for this game are that an option to switch between space ships is added to the close up view and not just the map. There are also some minor bugs that needed to be addressed; app closing itself, ships undocking and unable to fly away from space stations, ships clipping through each other and getting stuck. These errors are small and easy to overcome. Just make sure you save before making risky maneuvers.

Very Fun

Extremely fun game, super addictive. Finally a game that has a wonderful sandbox mode where you have few limitations to what you build. It would be nice to see a bigger building space, and different settings, like instead of just zero gravity, maybe include Jupiter’s gravity, and maybe add in a small game mode where you get to do missions assigned by “NASA” I’m game space exploration company. I really enjoy the game, but it would be nice to see some more parts, maybe add some of the parts that were on the Saturn V heavy launch rocket, and like maybe some parts to build the Space shuttles like the Discovery, and game modes like dealing with engine failure or parts falling off and teaching how to improve tactics to land safely after vehicle failures. Maybe even additional stuff, like a launch station and a launch tower, and then a short animation of an astronaut getting out of the capsule. Also like when it’s in space, the sound of the rocket dying down and sounding more like a revved engine when in space because up close in space you can hear, like in the capsule, but outside, it just barely sounds like a rumble. I love everything about the game, and any improvement is a good improvement, keep up the great work with the game. I know it would take a while if you were to take any of these suggestions, but if you do, it would be amazing. But by far, more parts is what I’m looking forward to the most.

Really well made Sim, expansion pack is worth it

I really enjoy this game a lot – I spend exorbitant amounts of time studying aerospace and orbital mechanics because I would love to study astrobiology once I finish my bio degree. After studying these concepts for a while, a friend recommended Kerbal Space Program to me and I fell in love. Realistic game engine, great stuff. The problem is I hated car/subway rides when I had a new idea for how to approach a maneuver like a gravity assist or something that I wanted to try, so I took to the App Store and ended up here. It’s a great little thing to play on the go. I love seeing little blurbs at the end of all of the things I’ve done like landing on the moon or orbiting mars, it’s really nice, and the mechanics are real nice. I also love that there’s no need to worry about stabilization, especially in atmosphere while trying to ascend because that would be way too hard on a phone. Overall, this game is perfectly suited to play on a phone and really good if you want to dabble in orbital mechanics and vessel aerodynamics (aka “rocket science”) and have fun at the same time!

The one suggestion I would have would be to add an interface that lets you view your thrust to weight ratio and deltaV so you know approximately how much further you can travel at any given time. Aside from that, great stuff I love it!


Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 3 Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 4 Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad Pro (12.9‑inch), iPad Pro (12.9‑inch) Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Pro (9.7‑inch), iPad Pro (9.7‑inch) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad (5th generation), iPad (5th generation) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad Pro (12.9‑inch) (2nd generation), iPad Pro (12.9‑inch) (2nd generation) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad Pro (10.5‑inch), iPad Pro (10.5‑inch) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad (6th generation), iPad Wi‑Fi + Cellular (6th generation), iPad Pro (11‑inch), iPad Pro (11‑inch) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad Pro (12.9‑inch) (3rd generation), iPad Pro (12.9‑inch) (3rd generation) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad mini (5th generation), iPad mini (5th generation) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad Air (3rd generation) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPad (7th generation), iPad (7th generation) Wi‑Fi + Cellular, iPod touch (6th generation), and iPod touch (7th generation).


Family Sharing

With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

Why does everyone call ED a space flight sim, Frontier Forums

Why does everyone call ED a space flight sim?


It’s always a justification given for certain less entertaining elements of the game. It isn’t a space sim. Have you seen what astronauts do? Elite is NOTHING like reality so can we please just get FDev focussing on making an enjoyable and engaging space game?

That’s all I had to say really. Feel free to agree or disagree at your own leisure.





Not that many, only about 3735928559 times..

(convert it to hexadecimal)


Not that many, only about 3735928559 times..

(convert it to hexadecimal)



It’s been the standard thing to call these types of games since the 90s.

Wingcommander series were called space sims.
X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter series were called space sims.
Freespace series were called space sims.

None of the above were realistic. Heck, they didn’t have 6 degrees of freedom.

Gaarp Kobayashi


Well. the fact is. I started playing ED in 2015 and it is now 2018 and in a few weeks, it will be 2019 and I’m still playing it.

Who cares what people call it?


You’re right. It’s a space flight sim.


I would be exceedingly disappointed that if in 3304, humans still have the level of technology as in 2018. It would mean humans haven’t advanced at all.

It’s always a justification given for certain less entertaining elements of the game. It isn’t a space sim. Have you seen what astronauts do? Elite is NOTHING like reality so can we please just get FDev focussing on making an enjoyable and engaging space game?

That’s all I had to say really. Feel free to agree or disagree at your own leisure.

Commander Danicus


IMO, the least entertaining aspects are the ones that are least well simulated. All those placeholder mechanisms that are barely even abstracted, like the sorry excuse we have for the economy, or the painfully slow improvements to NPC behavior (though I will admit they are improving).



Gun Star

Its a game. get over it. I have yet to see a game labeled as a SIM get actually realistic. There is always a couple things off. Except maybe a real military flight simulator and I’ve seen some of those do some crazy things.


It’s always a justification given for certain less entertaining elements of the game. It isn’t a space sim. Have you seen what astronauts do? Elite is NOTHING like reality so can we please just get FDev focussing on making an enjoyable and engaging space game?

That’s all I had to say really. Feel free to agree or disagree at your own leisure.

Elite has made a lasting impression on developers, worldwide, extending even into different genres. In interviews, senior producers of CCP Games cited Elite as one of the inspirations for their acclaimed MMORPG, EVE Online. Þórólfur Beck, CCP’s co-founder, credits Elite as the game that impacted him most on the Commodore 64. Developers of Jumpgate Evolution, Battlecruiser 3000AD, Infinity: The Quest for Earth, Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars and Flatspace likewise all claim Elite as a source of inspiration.

Elite was named one of the sixteen most influential games in history at Telespiele, a German technology and games trade show, and is being exhibited at such places as the London Science Museum in the “Game On” exhibition organized and toured by the Barbican Art Gallery. Elite was also named #12 on IGN’s 2000 “Top 25 PC Games of All Time” list, the #3 most influential video game ever by the Times Online in 2007, and “best game ever” for the BBC Micro by Beebug Magazine in 1984. Elite’s sequel, Frontier: Elite II, was named #77 on PC Zone’s “101 Best PC Games Ever” list in 2007. Similar praise has been bestowed elsewhere in the media from time to time.

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

This is a comprehensive index of commercial, indie and freeware space flight simulator games. The list is categorized into four sections: space flight simulators, space flight simulators with an added element of combat, space combat simulators with an added element of trading, and unreleased space flight simulators.

A space flight simulator game is software that allows the operator to experience spacecraft space flight in outer space with the added elements of gameplay. There are many different types of simulators. These simulators range in purpose from pure simulation to sheer entertainment. Space flight occurs beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, and space flight simulators feature the ability to roll, pitch, and yaw. Space flight simulators use flight dynamics in a free environment; this free environment lets the spacecraft move within the three-dimensional coordinate system or the x, y, and z (applicate) axis.

7 Space Simulators That Let You Explore the Universe

7 Space Simulators That Let You Explore the Universe

7 Space Simulators That Let You Explore the Universe

1. Space Engine

This outstanding simulation is free to download and runs on Windows PCs. It uses real astronomical data to recreate the universe, from planet Earth to distant galaxies. In patches where data is lacking, the program generates star systems and planets procedurally.

Where Space Engine really shines is its transition at scale. Seamlessly fly from the craggy surface of an alien moon to the reaches of deep space. The option to move with inertia makes it feel like you’re in a ship. Exploration is both satisfying and awe-inspiring.

2. Universe Sandbox

Any physicist will tell you that the most important force in the observable universe is gravity. This simulation lets you mess around with it using accurate Newtonian physics.

Add a black hole next to Jupiter and watch it swallow the solar system. Blow up the moon and ruin everyone’s day. Tweak the gravitational constant and send two galaxies hurtling toward each other.

Universe Sandbox lets you speed up time to watch your cosmic experiments unfold at a macro level. Please play God responsibly.

3. Orbiter 2010

Orbiter is focused on the mechanics of space flight, rather than re-creating the entire universe. Launch NASA spacecraft or build your own and simulate what it’s like to leave Earth’s atmosphere and travel to the distant reaches of the solar system.

You can dock with space stations, deploy satellites and land on any planetary surface. The physics and timescale are purportedly accurate, and you can compress time if you don’t have six years to spend on a trip to Saturn.

Like Space Engine, this is a non-commercial project, and thus free to download and run on Windows PCs.

4. The Solar System: Explore Your Backyard

More of a digital planetarium than a full-fledged space simulation, this one keeps to our celestial neighborhood and serves up a lot of granular and educational details.

It uses the Unreal game engine to generate an astronomically precise rendering. The model can recreate the movement of the solar system at any point in time, past or present. Slice open a planet to see a cross-section of its core (or a theorized representation for those on which astronomers have no data). “Country mode” gives you info and borders of every country on Earth, and 88 constellations are represented by the artwork of 17th century astronomer Johannes Hevelius.

An intuitive interface and beautiful design make this a great educational tool for six bucks.

5. Celestia

A veteran of the space simulation frontier, Celestia was originally released in 2001 and set the bar for scientifically accurate, open-universe exploration. You can fly between any of the celestial bodies in the Hipparcos Catalog of 118,322 stars. Scaling is fluid, and you can travel at speeds up to millions of light years per second, in case you need to hightail it out of the galaxy.

View the known universe from any vantage, and grab screenshots and HD movies as you swing through nebulae.

6. WorldWide Telescope

WorldWide Telescope is really an astronomical map that overlays real images of the cosmos on a 3D environment. It’s developed by Microsoft and utilizes imagery from both ground and space telescopes, including the Hubble. The program is even projected in some dome planetariums.

It’s free and also runs as a web client, provided you have the appropriate Silverlight browser plugins.

7. Kerbal Space Program

This one simulates a fictional universe, but it’s widely hailed as a great educational game about astrophysics.

Construct viable spacecraft that can overcome the effects of gravity and fuel consumption to get your little Kerbals into orbit. Sound easy? It’s not.

The position, size and quantity of components you add to your ship will determine whether it reaches the stratosphere or explodes on the scaffold. Timed rocket booster sequences and jettisoning depleted fuel cells are critical to success. Oh, and you’ll need to install a parachute to the capsule if you want your Kerbals to survive re-entry.

The game is still in the works, but improving and expanding all the time. Buy the in-dev version for $18, or try the older demo for free.

Why should Mars rovers have all the fun? If you’re tired of standing by while Curiosity rolls around up there, it’s time to head out on the open exosphere and explore the universe for yourself — digitally, of course.

A handful of excellent space simulators use real astronomical data to re-create the known universe in three dimensions. Fly through the galaxy at ludicrous speeds, map out humanity’s best hope for extrasolar colonization, or mess with physics to create your own cosmic recipes.

Some of these simulations stick to our own solar system, while others push the boundaries of our cosmological projections, procedurally generating star systems far beyond our galactic neighborhood. In layman’s terms: They’re friggin’ sweet.

If you take any of these for a spin, let us know in the comments where you traveled.

The best space games on PC, PC Gamer

The best space games on PC

Go beyond the infinite in these cosmic PC games.

The year is 2020 and despite how futuristic that sounds, us average folks probably won’t be headed to space for a weekend getaway any time soon. Until such a day as we can all escape Earth on a whim, here are some of the best games set in space to take you out to the unknown without actually leaving your room.

Whether you want to explore strange new worlds, seduce weird aliens, or become a feared galactic bounty hunter, there’s a space game for everyone on PC, and the following are currently the best examples you can play right now.

Outer Wilds

(Image credit: Mobius Digital)

Year 2019
Developer Mobius Digital
Link Official site

A first-person open world game about exploring a small solar system full of weird planets and odd cosmic phenomena. The catch? You’re trapped in a time loop, giving you just 20 minutes to explore at a time. Outer Wilds is reminiscent of games such as Her Story and Obra Dinn in the way you piece a puzzle together by discovering and connecting small, often seemingly unrelated details.

The Outer Worlds

(Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

Year 2019
Developer Obsidian Entertainment
Link Official site

Not to be confused with Outer Wilds, which is also a space adventure and also on this list, Obsidian’s latest RPG is a comedic action RPG that hearkens back to the studio’s days working on Fallout. You and your companions will hop around a solar system full of literally colorful environments and figuratively colorful characters. Corporations are the big bads of the retro space future where you’ll shoot up aliens, choose dialogue, and generally make a mess of every planet you show up on if it suits your fancy.

Homeworld Remastered Collection

Year 2015
Developer Relic/Gearbox Software
Link Official site

One of the best singleplayer RTS campaigns ever made, and beautifully remastered by Gearbox. The sight of thousands of your ships streaking across the game’s vividly colourful space-scapes is hugely dramatic. And battles are tense and tactical, with many types of ship to command, including colossal battleships. The Remastered Collection looks great on modern PCs and comes complete with the original Homeworld and its sequel.


(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

Year 2019
Developer No Code
Link Official site

The space station Observation has broken away from its Earth orbit and is drifting somewhere near Saturn. Its systems are malfunctioning, a fire has broken out, and the on-board artificial intelligence, SAM, is acting strangely. Things are not looking good for Dr. Emma Fisher, the reluctant hero of this sci-fi thriller from the studio behind Stories Untold. But what’s interesting about Observation is that you don’t play as Fisher. Instead, you play as the AI.

Surviving Mars

Year 2018
Developer Haemimont Games
Link Steam

Leaving Earth behind, humanity heads to Mars to start a new colony: and you’re in charge of it. Your new civilisation will grow from one small dome in the Martian desert to a bustling, sprawling off-world metropolis. But just make sure you don’t run out of oxygen or power, because on this ruthless planet it’s a death sentence for every citizen under your control.


Year 2017
Developer Fullbright
Link Official site

The crew has mysteriously abandoned the Tacoma lunar transfer station, and you’ve been sent to investigate and recover its precious AI, Odin. This atmospheric sci-fi mystery from the makers of Gone Home is wonderfully written, with a cast of rich, nuanced characters telling a compelling story through interactive AR recordings. Exploring the hyper-detailed station is a delight thanks to the game’s extraordinary attention to detail, and the more you learn about Tacoma, the deeper the mystery gets.

Objects in Space

Year 2019
Developer Flat Earth Games
Link Official site

This unique twist on the space sim shares the trading and exploration elements of games such as Elite Dangerous, but feels more like commanding a submarine. You don’t see space itself; just a series of utilitarian rooms full of screens and machinery. There’s a lot to manage, and you play several roles at once: pilot, engineer, comms officer. But despite the limited view of your surroundings, you still feel like you’re hurtling through space in a starship.

Elite Dangerous

Year 2014
Developer Frontier Developments
Link Official site

An entire galaxy is your playground in this space sim. Starting with a basic ship and a handful of credits, you shape your own destiny. Do you become a fearsome pirate? A master trader? An explorer? The beauty of Elite is being able to play in a way that suits you. From thrilling dogfights to gentle exploration, there’s something for everyone. And its ships are all an absolute dream to fly, whether it’s a nimble fighter or a heavy duty cargo hauler.

EVE Online

Year 2003
Developer CCP Games
Link Official site

Live another life—in space! There’s nothing else like EVE Online on PC, a massively multiplayer RPG where everything is controlled by players. It’s a living galaxy in which thousands of capsuleers fight, trade, mine, and explore together. Break away from the relative safety of your police-patrolled starting system and you’ll find a ruthless, cosmic Wild West, where piracy, espionage and scamming are rife. Whether you’re fighting in a massive space war, where thousands of real-world dollars hang in the balance, or just exploring New Eden on your own, EVE is an unforgettable experience.


Year 2017
Developer Rockfish Games
Link Steam

When you die in roguelike Everspace, you’re dead. But money earned carries over and can be spent on upgrades, which means you’ll be more powerful for your next run through the cosmic gauntlet. And these perks keep adding up, allowing you to travel deeper into space, and more boldly, with every successive attempt. It’s a compelling loop, and when you die you’re never frustrated: just excited to start again, wondering how far you’ll make it this time.

Dead Space

Year 2008
Developer EA Redwood Shores
Link Steam

Space is the perfect setting for a horror game, and Dead Space is, next to Alien: Isolation, one of the best examples of the scary sci-fi genre. Engineer Isaac Clarke is sent to investigate a stricken ‘planet cracker’ ship, the USG Ishimura, and finds the craft overrun with hideous, fleshy monsters. Taking cues from Alien and, quite blatantly, cult favourite Event Horizon, the first game in the series is still the best. The increased focus on action in the sequels killed it.

Star Wars: Empire at War

Year 2006
Developer Petroglyph
Link GOG

Developed by Petroglyph, a studio founded by Westwood veterans, this real-time strategy is one of the best Star Wars games on PC. The streamlined interface and accessible systems might turn off some hardcore strategy fans, but in the thick of its chaotic, thrilling land and space battles the game is irresistible—especially if you’re a Star Wars fan. And hero units like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker only add to the excitement.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2

Year 2019
Developer Tindalos Interactive
Link Official site

A real-time tactics game about giant spaceships clashing in the Warhammer 40,0000 universe. Battles take place on a 2D plane populated by capture points and asteroid fields, and the ships handle like giant, deadly cruise liners. You can unleash fighter and bomber squadrons, launch torpedo barrages and laser attacks, and board other ships. The space battles are involving and spectacular and the campaign is satisfying—especially for 40K fans.

Endless Space 2

(Image credit: Amplitude Studios)

Year 2017
Developer Amplitude Studios
Link Official site

A stylish game of galactic conquest. Not the broadest or deepest 4X strategy game on PC, but an atmospheric afternoon-killer that blends strategic decision making with a beautiful presentation. Set in a vivid sci-fi universe, the game lets you explore mysterious star systems, discover the secrets of ancient races, build colonies on distant planets, and encounter aliens to meet and conquer.

Heat Signature

Year 2017
Developer Suspicious Developments
Link Steam

In this top-down sci-fi action game you board spaceships and use an array of weapons and gadgets to take out the crew. The genius lies in how much creativity you’re given to play your own way, inspired by the best immersive sims. And how you react to the chaos that erupts when your presence on the ship becomes known makes Heat Signature a powerful anecdote generator. Things might not always go to plan, but that’s just part of the fun.


Year 2016
Developer Misfits Attic
Link Official site

Despite being viewed entirely through a retro-futuristic computer interface, Duskers is one of the scariest, most tense sci-fi horror games on PC. In it you pilot a fleet of drones searching derelict spaceships for fuel, upgrades, and clues about why the galaxy is so mysteriously devoid of life. The ships you board are crawling with strange creatures, which makes looking for clues in those narrow, dark corridors an especially nerve-racking experience.

Destiny 2

Year 2017
Developer Bungie
Link Official site

Bungie’s addictive FPS/MMO hybrid features some of the prettiest alien landscapes on PC. From the forested ruins of Earth and the vast seas of Titan, to the red jungles of Nessus and the volcanic Io, every location is a pleasure to loot-and-shoot in. The endgame doesn’t have the iron grip it perhaps should, but sci-fi fans will get a kick out of this vivid, colourful setting.

The Dig

Year 1995
Developer LucasArts
Link GOG

A mission to divert an asteroid heading for Earth goes awry, sending a group of astronauts to a distant, seemingly abandoned world. Some of the puzzles are maddeningly obscure, even for a LucasArts point-and-click adventure, but the colourful, bizarre planet feels genuinely alien. Great voice acting too, with X-Files star Robert Patrick playing the lead character.

Universe Sandbox 2

Year 2014
Developer Giant Army
Link Official site

This space simulator lets you become an all-powerful cosmic deity, manipulating replicas of real galaxies and solar systems and witnessing the (often catastrophic) results of your meddling. Increase the mass of Jupiter and you’ll see the rest of our solar system being sucked into it, or delete the Sun and watch Earth and the other planets drift away confused.


Year 2016
Developer Ocelot Society
Link Steam

Stranded alone somewhere near Jupiter on an old luxury starship, your only hope of returning home is an AI that has serious emotional problems. You interact with Kaizen using your keyboard, and sometimes it’ll be willing to help you. But then it’ll change its mind and decide the best thing to do is close the airlock and trap you outside the ship until you run out of air. A clever adventure with the understated mood of a ’70s sci-fi film.

Mass Effect 2

Year 2010
Developer BioWare
Link Steam

If you’ve ever fantasised about being Captain Picard, in command of your own starship, exploring the galaxy, meeting weird aliens, being confronted with cosmic dilemmas, then Mass Effect 2 is that in game form. It’s part Star Wars space opera, part brilliant Star Trek episode, and one of the best sci-fi games on PC. It doesn’t have the freedom of Elite and is largely a linear experience, but it takes you on an unforgettable journey around the galaxy, visiting bizarre planets and getting involved in the lives of the aliens who live on them. We love the whole series, but we all agree that this is our favourite.


Year 2016
Developer Paradox
Link Official site

Developed by Paradox, of Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis fame, this sci-fi epic puts the ‘grand’ in grand strategy. Explore the universe, form alliances with alien factions, and engage in the odd large-scale space battle. The multitude of systems makes Stellaris a powerful story generator, and you never know what strange beings you’ll meet among the stars.

Alien: Isolation

Year 2014
Developer Creative Assembly
Link Official site

Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen, is hunted through a dilapidated space station by a xenomorph in this incredible survival horror. Taking its cues from Ridley Scott’s original 1979 film, it’s a masterpiece of slow-burning tension. And the station itself, Sevastopol, is a great example of lo-fi sci-fi, with chunky retro-futuristic tech and eerie flickering lights. One of the most faithful movie adaptations ever, and a great horror game in its own right.

No Man’s Sky

Year 2016
Developer Hello Games
Link Official site

This is one of the most dazzlingly colourful sci-fi universes on PC, and being able to seamlessly transition from space to the surface of a planet is an impressive technical feat. The addition of features like base-building and a mission system in recent updates give you a lot more to actually do when you touch down on these worlds, and the procedural generation algorithm has been tweaked to make for weirder, prettier planet surfaces.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Year 1994
Developer Totally Games
Link GOG

A rare opportunity to be the bad guy in George Lucas’s beloved space opera. With a variety of Empire-themed missions—dogfights, escorts, attacking capital ships—and a story to follow, it’s one of the best Star Wars games LucasArts ever published. Of course, you can replace this entry with Star Wars: X-Wing if you’d prefer to play as the boring old Rebel Alliance.

FTL: Faster Than Light

Year 2012
Developer Subset Games
Link Steam

FTL mixes turn-based and real-time strategy together to capture the experience of captaining a Star Trek-style spacecraft. It’s a strong roguelike, too, with a backdrop of a familiar yet fun sci-fi universe that comes with its own semi-humorous lore and a neat set of narrative beats that make the journey to its finale endlessly exciting. Being able to name your ship and crew makes it all the more heartbreaking when they die together in enemy space.

Wing Commander: Privateer

Year 1993
Developer Origin Systems
Link GOG

Fans of the series will argue endlessly about which Wing Commander is the best, but we love Privateer’s darker feel. It’s a rich sandbox in which you can be a mercenary, a pirate, a merchant, or a mix of all three. You jump between systems looking for bounties to hunt and ships to rob, and the first-person dogfights are a thrill. There’s a linear story, but the real joy lies in doing your own thing and carving your own path through the stars.

EVE: Valkyrie

Year 2016
Developer CCP Games
Link Official site

If you have a VR headset, this is the game to play on it. In Valkyrie you get to experience EVE Online’s famous space battles from the more intimate perspective of an individual fighter pilot. The feeling of being strapped into a cockpit, hurtling through space at immense speeds, is a visceral one. And the combat has been tuned specifically for virtual reality.

Kerbal Space Program

Year 2015
Developer Squad
Link Official site

Wrestle with gravity and the laws of physics as you build your own spacecraft and attempt to explore the cosmos. A robust, compelling sandbox of possibilities that’s as funny as it is clever. Escaping Kerbin’s atmosphere and landing on the Mun (without exploding) for the first time with a ship you’ve built yourself is about as satisfying as PC gaming gets.

Take On Mars

Year 2013
Developer Bohemia Interactive
Link Official site

If you like your space games a little more grounded, try Arma developer Bohemia’s Take On Mars. It’s a space exploration and colonisation simulator largely based on real astro-science. You can build a Curiosity-style rover and explore the surface of the red planet or construct your own Martian colony. A game for folk who want the sci without too much of the fi.

Sins of a Solar Empire

Year 2008
Developer Ironclad Games
Link Official site

Mixing real-time strategy with 4X elements, Sins is a game of galactic conquest. Choose a faction, gather resources and become a mighty space-lord. Commanding its real-time wars is thrilling, but combat isn’t always the answer: you can use diplomacy to conquer systems too. A refreshingly slow-paced RTS with some truly massive space battles to stare slack-jawed at.

Space Engineers

Year 2013
Developer Keen Software House
Link Official site

Harvest asteroids for building materials then craft them into floating bases, flyable spaceships, and more besides. You can hover around the map with a jetpack or build a gravity generator to walk safely on the surface of bigger asteroids. One of the best co-op build-’em-ups on PC.


Year 2013
Developer Chucklefish Games
Link Official site

Terraria-esque survival with a science fiction twist. Hop between randomly generated planets on a starship, hunt alien creatures for food, build colonies and underground bases, and try not to die in the process. A brilliant sci-fi sandbox with a charming art style. Playable races include robots, beings made of solar energy, ape-like creatures, and colourful wingless birds.


Year 2010
Developer Vladimir Romanyuk
Link Official site

Do you like feeling small and insignificant? Then play SpaceEngine, which features, incredibly, the entire universe. Or at least the bit we know about. Focus on Earth, then pull back at top speed, and you suddenly become aware of how you’re on a tiny speck of dust hurtling through an endless void. The tech is remarkable, allowing you to travel effortlessly between galaxies and land on planets. But besides exploring, there isn’t much else to it.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Space flight simulator game, Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing – eBooks, Read eBooks online

Space flight simulator game

Article Id: WHEBN0017431092
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Title: Space flight simulator game
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Simulation video game, Kerbal Space Program, Construction and management simulation, Life simulation game, Social simulation game
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Space flight simulator game

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

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

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

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



Realistic simulation

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

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

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

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

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

Space combat game

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

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

Space trading and combat game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Control systems

Space flight games

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

Realistic simulators

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


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

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

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


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

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

Trade Wars

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

Other examples

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

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


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


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

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

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

Space Simulator в Steam

Игра в раннем доступе

Приобретите игру и начните играть — примите участие в ее развитии

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

Почему ранний доступ?

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

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

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

Сколько примерно эта игра будет в раннем доступе?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Included also is the mobile version content with:

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

• Space Transportation System

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

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

• Custom Free Roam Missions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Системные требования


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

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

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

HobbySpace – Space Simulators

Space flight simulation games

Space Simulators
Like being there.

Screen shot from the Mars Colony Simulator from Hyperkat.

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

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

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

Simulation News Sources

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

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

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

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

Documentation and demo software available for downloading.

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

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

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

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

    Space Games
    Some space adventure games of note:

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

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

      Classic space games:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The game is described as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Equipment/software packages are available.

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

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

    The full environment includes;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Mars Academy was a a wondeful and elaborate site that supported

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • GameSpot: PC Home: Apollo 18

          Buzz Aldrin’s Race to Space

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

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

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

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

    Mercury Rocket Sims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Apollo Archive – Lunar Lander Simulator in menu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Drive on Mars – rover simulations, on line and offline

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

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

        Youtube video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Orbiter: Space Flight Simulator – see entry above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Space Station Manager Demo –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Version 1.0 now available. V2.0 in beta.

    This program is described as follows:

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

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

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

    Earth Impacts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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