Spaceflight SSO A: Latest News – Videos, Photos about Spaceflight SSO A, The Economic Times – Page 9


Russia may train Indian Astronauts for Gaganyaan at its Space Centre

Many Russian cosmonauts, past and present, train and stay with their families in this facility, which is run by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.

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India has long way to go for human space flight mission: Former ISRO chief

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NASA seeks nickname for New Horizons’ next flyby target

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NASA seeks nickname for New Horizons’ next flyby target

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NASA extends Juno’s Jupiter mission until July 2021

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Unidentified satellites reveal the need for better space tracking – The Verge

Why the Air Force still cannot identify more than a dozen satellites from one December launch

The case of the unknown satellites

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On the afternoon of December 3rd, 2018, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from the southern coast of California, lofting the largest haul of individual satellites the vehicle had ever transported. At the time, it seemed like the mission was a slam dunk, with all 64 satellites deploying into space as designed.

But nearly four months later, more than a dozen satellites from the launch have yet to be identified in space. We know that they’re up there, and where they are, but it’s unclear which satellites belong to which satellite operator on the ground.

They are, truly, unidentified flying objects.

The launch, called the SSO-A SmallSat Express, sent those small satellites into orbit for various countries, commercial companies, schools, and research organizations. Currently, all of the satellites are being tracked by the US Air Force’s Space Surveillance Network — an array of telescopes and radars throughout the globe responsible for keeping tabs on as many objects in orbit as possible. Yet 19 of those satellites are still unidentified in the Air Force’s orbital catalog. Many of the satellite operators do not know which of these 19 probes are theirs exactly, and the Air Force can’t figure it out either.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that carried the 64 satellites on the SSO-A mission Image: SpaceX

For a good portion of these satellites, it’s possible that they have experienced some kind of technical problem, preventing the operators from contacting the spacecraft in orbit. But part of the identification issue stems from the SSO-A mission’s structure. This was a rocket ride-share, a type of launch that’s become popular in the industry. As satellites grow smaller, operators can pack a bunch of these tiny probes together on larger launch vehicles, sending them into space all at once. But with so many satellites going into orbit at the same time, it can be hard for the Air Force’s technology to distinguish the satellites from each other. And that, in turn, can make it hard for satellite operators to decipher which satellites are theirs.

“When you have objects that are in a cluster, so to speak, it’s very difficult to disambiguate which one is which exactly,” Moriba Jah, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Texas who specializes in space tracking and oversees a tracking site called AstriaGraph, tells The Verge.

Not knowing the exact location of a spacecraft is a major problem for operators. If they can’t communicate with their satellite, the company’s orbiting hardware becomes, essentially, space junk. It brings up liability and transparency concerns, too. If an unidentified satellite runs into something else in space, it’s hard to know who is to blame, making space less safe — and less understood — for everyone. That’s why analysts and space trackers say both technical and regulatory changes need to be made to our current tracking system so that we know who owns every satellite that’s speeding around the Earth. “The whole way we do things is just no longer up to the task,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard and spaceflight tracker, tells The Verge.

How to identify a satellite

Up until recently, figuring out a satellite’s identity has been relatively straightforward. The Air Force has satellites high above the Earth that detect the heat of rocket engines igniting on the ground, indicating when a vehicle has taken off. It’s a system that was originally put in place to locate the launch of a potential missile, but it’s also worked well for spotting rockets launching to orbit. And for most of spaceflight history, usually just one large satellite or spacecraft has gone up on a launch — simplifying the identification process.

“For more traditional launches, where there are fewer objects, it’s fairly simple to do,” Diana McKissock, the lead for space situational awareness sharing and spaceflight safety at the Air Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron, tells The Verge. As a result, the Air Force has maintained a robust catalog of more than 20,000 space objects in orbit, many of which have been identified.

One of the Air Force’s tracking stations on Diego Garcia, which helps to catalog space objects Image: The Air Force

But as rocket ride-shares have grown in popularity, the Air Force’s surveillance capabilities have sometimes struggled to identify every satellite that is deployed during a launch. One problem is that most of the spacecraft on board all look the same. Nearly 50 satellites on the SSO-A launch were modified CubeSats — a type of standardized satellite that’s roughly the size of a cereal box. That means they are all about the same size and have the same general boxy shape. Plus, these tiny satellites are often deployed relatively close together on ride-share launches, one right after the other. The result is a big swarm of nearly identical spacecraft that are difficult to tell apart from the ground below.

Operators often rely on tracking data from the Air Force to find their satellites, so if the military cannot tell a significant fraction of these CubeSats apart, the operators don’t know where to point their ground communication equipment to get in contact with their spacecraft.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22, though. The Air Force also relies on satellite operators to help identify their spacecraft. Before a launch, the Air Force collects information from satellite operators about the design of the spacecraft and where it’s going to go. The operators are also responsible for making sure that they have the proper equipment (in space and on the ground) to communicate with the satellite. “It’s really a cooperative, ongoing process that involves the satellite operators as much as it involves us here at the 18th, processing the data,” says McKissock.

The struggles of the SSO-A operators

Technical glitches seem to be plaguing at least some of the lost satellites from the SSO-A launch, such as Audacy Zero — a communications CubeSat launched by the company Audacy. “There are still a couple of communication methods we are exploring, but it is looking likely at this point that we have a technical anomaly on the satellite,” Amanda Chia, head of business development at Audacy, tells The Verge.

Another complication to Audacy’s communication efforts is that the company still doesn’t know where their satellite is. Ralph Ewig, Audacy’s CEO, says his team has narrowed it down to five satellites from the launch, but they still aren’t certain which one is theirs. “Having been on the launch of that many other satellites made our diagnostics and troubleshooting a whole lot more difficult than we had originally anticipated,” Ewig tells The Verge.

For some operators, it seems that they were able to get in touch with their satellite at the beginning of the flight when all the satellites were in one big blob and close together in space. But as the probes have spread apart in the last few months, it’s become more difficult to know where to point their communication equipment, since so many identities are still unknown. Some operators have had trouble hearing back from the satellites in recent months.

An artistic rendering of what the fully deployed Orbital Reflector satellite would look like Image: The Nevada Museum of Art

That seems to be the case for Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector — an art project that’s supposed to deploy a giant reflective balloon capable of being seen from Earth. In January, the team behind the satellite said that they had been in contact with the spacecraft, but that the government shutdown had impacted their ability to deploy the balloon. The website for the project states that the team still doesn’t have accurate orbital data for the satellite. “We are working to resolve these issues and will have more conclusive information to share in the near future,” Amanda Horn, a representative for the Nevada Museum of Art, said in a statement to The Verge.

And sometimes, time is of the essence for operators. A satellite may need more immediate communication in order to work properly; perhaps the vehicle needs to be told to orient itself in such a way to keep its batteries charged. “Depending on the design, some satellites, you might not contact them for two years and then you contact them and they’re fine,” says McDowell, who provided detailed tracking information about SSO-A to The Verge. “And other satellites, not so much.”

Where did SSO-A go wrong?

The SSO-A launch isn’t the only example of mistaken satellite identity. Five satellites are still unidentified from an Electron launch that took place in December last year, which sent up 13 objects, according to McDowell. And in 2017, a Russian Soyuz rocket deployed a total of 72 satellites, but eight are still unknown, says McDowell. The SSO-A launch is perhaps the most egregious example of this ride-share problem, as nearly a third of the satellites are still missing in the Air Force’s catalog.

The Air Force says the launch posed a unique challenge. One difficulty had to do with the way the satellites were deployed, according to McKissock, who says it was hard to predict before the launch where each satellite was going to be. The SSO-A launch was organized by a company called Spaceflight Industries, which acts as a broker for operators — finding room for their satellites on upcoming rocket launches. Spaceflight bought this entire Falcon 9 rocket for the SSO-A launch, and created the device that deployed all of these satellites into orbit. One satellite tracker, T.S. Kelso, who operates a tracking site called CelesTrak, agreed with the Air Force, saying that Spaceflight’s deployment platform made it hard to predict each satellite’s exact position. “[Spaceflight] had no way to provide the type of data needed,” Kelso writes in an email to The Verge.

The infographic Spaceflight released before the SSO-A launch, detailing the diversity of satellites and operators. Image: Spaceflight Industries

Another hurdle revolved around the diversity of operators launching on SSO-A. Other launches have sent up even more satellites than the SSO-A mission did, but often the satellites primarily come from one operator. SSO-A boasted a wide range of operators, many of which were newcomers to spaceflight, and the Air Force had the complex task of getting necessary orbital information from each group on the flight. “There were so many different owner operators from 15 different countries, many of whom we hadn’t worked with before,” McKissock says. “That was a unique challenge — harnessing all of that information in an effective way.”

And in the end, the Air Force is sometimes at the mercy of the operators’ information. It’s possible that some of the owners of the unidentified satellite got in touch with their vehicles recently and just have not informed the Air Force where they are. “A lot of what we do is based on the information they provide, but that’s all we can do,” says McKissock. “So if an operator doesn’t want to support the identification process, they don’t have to.” In fact, Kelso, the satellite tracker, says he was able to identify an additional seven satellites of the 19 unidentified ones, by working with the satellite operators. “That suggests 18 SPCS is either not receiving the same reports or discounting them for whatever reason,” he writes.

The Air Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron has other priorities to consider, too. While identifying spacecraft is something the team always hopes to accomplish on every flight, the main function of the 18th is to track as many objects as possible and then provide information on the possibility of spacecraft running into each other in orbit. The identification of satellites is secondary to that safety concern. “I wouldn’t say it’s not a priority, but we certainly have other mission requirements to consider,” says McKissock.

How do we fix this?

For now, not knowing the identities of all the SSO-A satellites is mostly an inconvenience to the operators that aren’t able to get the full benefits of their satellites. Additionally, if these CubeSats did pose a threat to any nearby spacecraft, there isn’t much that could be done — even if we knew all the vehicles’ owners. CubeSats are too small to have any thrusters, so they wouldn’t be able to move out of the way of an imminent collision.

But there are still safety concerns with unidentified satellites, especially if we cannot identify probes from other countries that pose a threat to US satellites. “If you’re talking about safety, what you really care about is: Where is it? And who do I call if it’s coming close to my satellite?” says Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation focusing on space operations and policy, tells The Verge. That way, if another country’s spacecraft is getting close to, say, the International Space Station, the US knows who to contact to get it moved out of the way.

The SSO-A flight also demonstrates an issue that has plagued space tracking for decades: the ambiguity of what’s happening up above Earth. If a satellite breaks apart in orbit, for instance, sometimes we know why — and sometimes we don’t. Establishing causality in space, with numerous unidentified satellites around the planet, is even more complicated. “When something happens in space, there are multiple things that could have caused it, and they’re equally unknown,” says Jah. “And that’s a problem. We’d love to get to the point where when something happens, you could say, ‘This happened because of this,’ with near absolute certainty.”

The best way to get to that future is to identify everything. And one thing most experts agree on is that the Air Force should be able to name satellites without requiring input from anyone else. “The best case scenario is if the object can be tracked, independent of the owner operator,” says Jah. One idea is to have all operators add uniquely identifiable features to their satellites, something akin to an RFID tag or a license plate that can be read from Earth. Such a regulatory change could come about thanks to Space Policy Directive-3, signed on June 18th, 2018, which focuses on creating guidelines and best practices to help the US figure out what is going on in space at all times.

An AGI visualization of the amount of debris and active satellites currently being tracked around Earth Image: AGI

The problem is this would only work for the US spaceflight industry. There’s no way to force other nations to put license plates on their satellites. The United Nations came up with a set of best practices in 2018 that describes ways in which countries can make their satellites easier to track, except there is no way to strictly enforce these measures. There have already been numerous Chinese launches, for instance, in which multiple satellites have launched on one rocket and the Air Force has been unable to identify some of the probes.

That’s why some argue that the Air Force should improve its identification abilities by turning to the private sector. “There are a lot more potential sources of data that could be leveraged, in addition to the traditional military owned and operated radars and telescopes,” says Weeden. Companies like AGI, LeoLabs, and more are developing new algorithms, radar, and telescopes that the Air Force could use for tracking and identification. In fact, some of these companies helped a few of the satellite operators on SSO-A, such as Audacy, attempt to track down their satellites.

Having better technology options may be helpful, since the Air Force will soon be tracking more objects in space than ever before. Soon, the military will activate what is known as the “space fence,” a new radar system located on an island called the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific. It’ll be able to track even smaller objects, which could be difficult for the 18th Space Control Squadron to process. “They’re suggesting anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 new objects that have never been tracked before that are going to get added to the catalog,” says Weeden. “And their existing computer systems at the 18th just can’t deal with that.”

The Air Force acknowledges that processing the new data will require a lot of extra work. “We are fully aware the exponential increase in. data will make an already complex process more challenging,” Major Cody Chiles, a spokesperson for the Air Force’s Joint Force Space Component Command, said in a statement. “We are preparing for this challenge by actively working with our commercial, interagency, and military partners to identify ways to effectively and efficiently manage the influx of data.”

Adding to the problem is that thousands of new satellites are set to be launched in the years to come, thanks to companies like SpaceX, OneWeb, and more looking to beam internet from space. Earth orbit is going to get crowded, increasing the need for clarity and identification. That means something needs to change soon before the amount of satellites in space quadruples — and we’re faced with the possibility of even more unidentified objects flying around our planet.

Correction April 2nd, 12:55PM ET: An original version of this article noted that an Indian PSLV launch had deployed 72 satellites in 2017, but it was a Russian Soyuz rocket, and the piece has been changed.

Spaceflight herded 64 cubesats onto a single Falcon 9 and has the scratch marks to prove it

Spaceflight herded 64 cubesats onto a single Falcon 9 and has the scratch marks to prove it

This article originally appeared in the August 19, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine under the title “Herding cubesats: Spaceflight’s SSO-A mission a logistical headache.”

The concept of large-scale rideshare missions, where dozens of cubesats or other smallsats are launched on a single rocket, has clear benefits for some smallsat users. Because larger launch vehicles usually have lower costs per kilogram of payload than small vehicles, users can get cheaper prices for launching smallsats, provided that rideshare mission is going to their desired orbit at their desired time.

But such missions are not without their challenges, both for the launch provider and satellite operators. Pulling together large numbers of satellites from many customers creates technical, logistical and regulatory issues for the launch provider, while operators are often uncertain about exactly where their satellites are after deployment.

A case in point is the SSO-A mission organized by Spaceflight Inc. and launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in December 2018. Spaceflight purchased the entire Falcon 9, rather than excess capacity that might be available for secondary payloads, allowing it to carry 64 satellites for 53 customers, including U.S. government agencies, companies and other organizations.

That manifest was “constantly changing” in the months leading up to the launch, recalled Jeffrey Roberts, who managed the SSO-A mission at Spaceflight, during a presentation at the annual Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University Aug. 7. “We knew that we were going to have customers that were changing in and out. We didn’t quite anticipate as many as we did,” he said.

A manifest that changed on a weekly basis, he said, required a flexible approach to accommodating the payloads as they joined or left the mission. There were ultimately 22 changes to the architecture of the mission, and a far larger number of engineering tests and customer reviews.

So, how do you integrate 64 satellites for a single launch? “Well, it’s one at a time,” Roberts said. Most of the satellites were integrated at a Spaceflight facility near Seattle, then trucked down to the launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base. About a dozen larger smallsats were integrated at the launch site.

The launch itself, he said, went as expected. “All planned deployments occurred,” he said, done in a carefully choreographed sequence to prevent the satellites from colliding with one another.

There was, though, a last-minute change to those plans. One customer, he said, had its cubesat locked in its dispenser, remaining attached to the payload adapter. “They were unable to get the appropriate licensing,” he said. “They swore they were going to get it, and we integrated them under the condition that they have to show their licensing. They didn’t, so we sealed the container.”

Spaceflight didn’t identify that satellite, but industry sources said it was Elysium Star 2, a one-unit cubesat from Elysium Space, a company that offers to fly cremated remains into space. Thomas Civeit, founder and chief executive of Elysium Space, confirmed their satellite remained attached to the payload adapter. “Elysium Space did receive a license for its cubesat but I guess Spaceflight made its decision based on multiple factors, which included its relationship with all the agencies involved in the process,” he said Aug. 13.

However, he added that he was satisfied that the cubesat made it to space. “Everybody wanted to find an effective way to achieve the mission objective, having our ash capsules in Earth orbit, and this was a good way to do it.”

The complexity of the mission did pose problems regarding identifying and tracking satellites. Roberts said four of the cubesats failed to make contact after deployment. Eight others, he said, remain “unclaimed” in that their operators have yet to notify the U.S. Air Force’s Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC) which of the objects it’s tracking from the launch is their satellite.

Roberts said later that unclaimed cubesats aren’t necessarily dead, only that their operators, for whatever reason, haven’t contacted CSpOC. “There needs to be a discussion about how to enforce cooperation with CSpOC,” he said. “Spaceflight is exploring options to strongly encourage compliance.”


Satellite operators often struggle to figure out which satellite is theirs, especially right after launch. On a rideshare mission with dozens of satellites deployed around the same time and the same orbits, determining which satellite is which can be a challenge, making it difficult to determine which one to transmit commands to.

“We’re not against doing another SSO-A type mission. If the market demands it, we know how to do it.” Jeffrey Roberts, Spaceflight’s SSO-A mission manager. Credit: Spaceflight

It can also be a race against the clock. “The first 24 hours after you launch are critical,” said Kasandra O’Malia of Millennium Engineering and Integration (MEI) during an Aug. 4 presentation at SmallSat. “You need to make contact with your spacecraft as soon as you can to address any anomalies.”

MEI was supporting a U.S. Coast Guard mission called Polar Scout that flew two sixunit cubesats on the SSO-A flight. They were able to identify their satellites within a day of launch thanks to a network of ground stations; using their best estimate of the orbits of the satellites, they transmitted commands whenever the satellites were expected to be in range. When the satellites received the commands and started transmitting, sending back data from GPS receivers on board, they were able to refine the orbits.

While that approach allowed them to contact and identify the two satellites within a day, they waited 20 days before formally notifying CSpOC. “We were super-confident that we had identified which of the IDs were us,” she said of finally contacting CSpOC, citing past experience of misidentifying satellites that were “not trivial” to correct with the Air Force.

The Technical University of Munich also used radio transmissions to identify its MOVE-2 cubesat on SSO-A. Sebastian Rueckerl said the satellite could have been one of several objects in the CSpOC tracking data. His team was able to determine which one was MOVE-2 by measuring the Doppler shift of its transmissions as it passed over a ground station and comparing it to the expected Doppler shifts from each of the candidate objects. The measured signal “perfectly matched” the expected signal from one of the objects.

Other approaches, though, don’t rely on the radio transmissions from the satellites itself, offering a potentially more robust way to identify a satellite that might have problems transmitting, or not designed to transmit at all.

Two of those approaches — each described by their developers as “license plates” for cubesats — flew on separate missions in late 2018. SRI International developed the CubeSat Identification Tag, or CUBIT, as a small add-on to cubesats that transmits a signal identifying that satellite. The system, weighing only about 20 grams, is designed to operate independently from the rest of the cubesat, including its own battery.

“In essence, CUBIT is a radio-frequency license plate for cubesats,” said Samson Phan of SRI in an Aug. 8 conference presentation. “It allows us to provide each cubesat a unique ID.”

Credit: Spaceflight graphic

SRI worked with two organizations flying “passive” cubesats that lacked radios on SSO-A to incorporate CUBIT into their satellites. One of them was Elysium Star 2, which was not deployed from its dispenser. The other was Enoch, a threeunit cubesat developed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art featuring a bust of the late African American astronaut Robert Lawrence Jr.

Phan said they got a signal from the CUBIT on Enoch the day after launch, confirming that the satellite had been deployed. A month later, SRI detected the CUBIT signal from Enoch again, allowing them to link Enoch to a specific object in the CSpOC catalog. “CUBIT actually works,” he said.

Los Alamos National Lab tested a different cubesat license plate, called the Extremely Low Resource Optical Identifier (ELROI), on another cubesat called NMTSat that launched on a NASA-sponsored Rocket Lab Electron launch in December 2018. ELROI flashes a pattern of lights identifying the satellite that can be detected by small telescopes on the ground.

The student-built NMTSat was equipped with radios, but failed to contact ground stations following launch. David Palmer of Los Alamos said in an Aug. 8 conference talk that they tried to look for the optical signal from the ELROI on the cubesat based on the orbital elements of the various unidentified objects associated with the launch, but failed to see anything.

“Maybe ELROI is not working, or maybe we just need to look harder, so we’ll look harder,” he said, adding that the lab will fly ELROI devices on two other cubesats in 2020.

Smallsat developers see promise in both CUBIT and ELROI, although both are still experimental. “I don’t think there’s anything that’s really COTS — ready offthe-shelf — at the moment,” said O’Malia, “but I anticipate that, in the next two to five years that these will be commonplace. We’ll be putting something on our cubesats that will probably allow CSpOC to identify those spacecraft much quicker.”

As for Spaceflight, the company doesn’t have plans for a mission similar in scale to SSO-A for the near future. “Keeping 50-plus customers on one mission is extremely hard,” Roberts said, with the company instead focusing on smaller rideshare missions.

But, he added, “we’re not against doing another SSO-A type mission. If the market demands that, we know how to do it.”

Spaceflight Industries raises more cash for its final frontier – GeekWire

Spaceflight Industries is raising more cash as satellite deals heat up on the final frontier

by Alan Boyle on November 15, 2019 at 8:45 am November 15, 2019 at 8:45 am

Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, which has taken on a string of high-profile satellite missions over the past year, is in the midst of a new funding round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Nov. 14 filing indicates that nearly $39.5 million of the offered amount has been sold to 33 investors, leaving $389,580 remaining in the round.

We’ve reached out to Spaceflight Industries for comment on the filing, and will update this report with whatever we can pass along from the company.

Founded in 2010, Spaceflight Industries has two subsidiaries: Spaceflight Inc., which handles pre-launch logistics for small satellites; and BlackSky, which is building a satellite constellation to flesh out its geospatial data service.

Both subsidiaries have been in the news lately: Spaceflight is arranging the launch of a Japanese shooting-star satellite from New Zealand later this month, which would mark the latest in a series of rideshare missions. Spaceflight’s biggest moment came last December when it helped send 64 satellites to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

BlackSky, meanwhile, has four Global satellites in orbit for its Earth-observation constellation, and it’s aiming to have four more launched within the next few months. Just this week, the subsidiary announced that it’s receiving $50 million in financing from Intelsat, a leading telecommunications satellite operator, to build up its infrastructure and boost a strategic relationship.

It’s not clear exactly what the new funding would be used for, but it’s a safe bet that Spaceflight Industries is boosting its capital to execute on its ambitions. The company has also gone through some financial restructuring over the past year.

Last year, Spaceflight Industries completed a $150 million Series C investment round that was tied to cooperative agreements with two European aerospace companies, Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio. One result of those agreements was a satellite-manufacturing joint venture between Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space called LeoStella, which is producing the spacecraft for BlackSky.

Other backers of Spaceflight Industries have included Vulcan Capital, the investment company created by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen; PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management; RRE Ventures; Razor’s Edge Ventures; and Mitsui Co. Ltd.

The list of directors included in the Nov. 14 filing suggests that some of those backers are participating in the newly reported funding round as well. The named directors include:

  • William Porteous, general partner and chief operating officer of RRE Ventures.
  • Ajay Royan. managing general partner of Mithril Capital Management.
  • Mark Spoto, co-founder and managing director of Razor’s Edge Ventures.
  • Alan Kessler, a board member and adviser to Thales Defense & Security, which is a corporate cousin of Thales Alenia Space.

One of the named directors, Shawn Dougherty, hasn’t shown up in previous filings.

The filing also mentions Brian O’Toole, who’s a director as well as president of Spaceflight Industries and CEO of BlackSky; Brian Daum, CFO and COO for Spaceflight Industries and BlackSky; and Eric Kronman, the general counsel for those two business entities.

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ICEYE-X2 SAR Satellite to Be Launched on Upcoming Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express Mission

ICEYE-X2 SAR Satellite to Be Launched on Upcoming Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express Mission

ICEYE-X2 to become ICEYE’s second satellite deployment and the first Polish-Finnish satellite to-date.

Helsinki, FINLAND – November 8 – ICEYE, an Earth observation company creating the world’s largest Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite constellation, today confirmed it is launching the company’s second SAR satellite, ICEYE-X2, into low Earth orbit on Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission. The mission is currently targeted to launch on November 19th from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. ICEYE-X2 will further showcase the capabilities of ICEYE’s SAR technology. This launch follows the success of ICEYE’s first satellite mission ICEYE-X1 earlier this year. The ICEYE-X2 satellite has recently finished all tests, and it has been shipped to the launch site.

“After the success of ICEYE-X1, we are excited to move forward with the launch of our second satellite ICEYE-X2 with the help of Spaceflight,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder of ICEYE. “The commercial satellite industry is changing and moving toward improved collaboration between new space and traditional companies, but it’s also speeding up collaboration between various space programs of governments, such as between Finland and Poland.”

Spaceflight’s SSO-A dedicated rideshare mission will the launch ICEYE-X2 into a sun synchronous low Earth orbit, along with more than 60 other spacecraft from 34 organizations. The ICEYE-X2 satellite mission is aiming for further improvements in ICEYE’s SAR imaging technology.

Spaceflight’s SSO-A mission has the unique opportunity of launching a record-breaking number of smallsats from a US-based launch vehicle, ICEYE-X2 being one of them,” said Melissa Wuerl, Vice President of Business Development, Spaceflight. “We are eager about the technological advancements coming out of the smallsat industry. This launch is a most momentous occasion for all.”

Earlier this year, ICEYE launched the world’s first SAR satellite under 100kg, ICEYE-X1, on-board India’s PSLV-C40 rocket. ICEYE-X1 successfully collected more than 600 images throughout its mission. By the end of 2019, ICEYE is on track to launch a total of 8 additional satellites after ICEYE-X2.

Media Contact:

ICEYE empowers others to make better decisions in governmental and commercial industries by providing access to timely and reliable satellite imagery. The company is tackling this crucial lack of actionable information with world-first aerospace capabilities and a New Space approach. ICEYE’s radar satellite imaging service, with coverage of selected areas every few hours, both day and night, helps clients resolve challenges in sectors such as maritime, disaster management, insurance, finance, security and intelligence. ICEYE is the first organization in the world to successfully launch synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellites with a launch mass under 100 kg. For more information, please visit:

About Spaceflight
Spaceflight is revolutionizing the business of spaceflight by delivering a new model for accessing space. A comprehensive launch services and mission management provider, the company provides a straightforward and cost-effective suite of products and services including state of the art satellite infrastructure, rideshare launch offerings and payload integration that enable commercial and government entities to achieve their mission goals on time and on budget. A service offering of Spaceflight Industries in Seattle, Wash., Spaceflight providers its services through a global network of partners and launch vehicle providers. For more information, visit


Other assets available at
Download images by right-clicking and selecting “save link as”:

“ICEYE-X2 SAR satellite mission concept art.”

“An artist’s depiction of ICEYE-X2 SAR satellite in orbit.”

ICEYE-X2 SAR Satellite Mission Logo.

ICEYE’s mission is to enable everyone to make better decisions based on timely & reliable Earth Observation data.

Spaceflight Simulator 1

Spaceflight Simulator 1.4 on Windows Pc

Developed By: Stefo Mai Morojna

Last Updated: September 04, 2019

Compatible with Windows 7/8/10 Pc & Laptop

Game Details

Game Permissions:
Allows applications to open network sockets. [see more (4)]

What’s New:
Limited ads to not show more often than every 3 minFixed crashing, you guys can chill now with the bad reviews, I fixed it ;)Fixed bug that teleports players. [see more]

Description from Developer:
This is a game about building your own rocket from parts and launching it to explore space!• Realistically scaled planets, with some up to hundreds to. [read more]

Game preview ([see all 24 screenshots] / [view video])

About this game

How to play Spaceflight Simulator 1.4 on Windows?

Instruction on how to play Spaceflight Simulator 1.4 on Windows XP/7/8/10 Pc & Laptop

In this post, I am going to show you how to install Spaceflight Simulator 1.4 on Windows PC by using Android App Player such as BlueStacks, Nox, KOPlayer, .

Before you start, you will need to download the apk installer file, you can find download button on top of this page. Save it to easy-to-find location.

[Note]: You can also download older versions of this game on bottom of this page.

Below you will find a detailed step-by-step guide, but I want to give you a fast overview how it works. All you need is an emulator that will emulate an Android device on your Windows PC and then you can install applications and use it – you see you’re actually playing it on Android, but this runs not on a smartphone or tablet, it runs on a PC.

If this doesn’t work on your PC, or you cannot install, comment here and we will help you!

Step By Step Guide To Play Spaceflight Simulator 1.4 using BlueStacks

  1. Download & Install BlueStacks at:
  2. Open the apk file: Double-click the apk file to launch BlueStacks and install the application. If your apk file doesn’t automatically open BlueStacks, right-click on it and select Open with. Browse to the BlueStacks. You can also drag-and-drop the apk file onto the BlueStacks home screen
  3. After install, just click Run to open, it works like a charm :D.

How to play Spaceflight Simulator 1.4 on Windows PC using NoxPlayer

  1. Download & Install NoxPlayer at: The installation is easy to carry out.
  2. Drag the apk file to Nox and drop it. The File Manager will show up. Click the Open XXX Folder button under the file sign that turns blue.
  3. Then you will be able to install the apk you just download from your computer to Nox or move/copy the file to other locations in Nox.


Download older versions

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I’m aware of the crash/terrain/loading bugs, working on fixing them! Will upload patch soon.
– Adaptive parts
– Part skins
– 8, 10, 12 wide parts + some other new parts
– Jupiter and its moons
– Planet editor
– New planet textures
– Better graphics, visual effects and lighting
– Added more free content (In exchange for a few ads, full version users do not get ads)
– Improved menus
– Improved map
– Reworked entire saving system, better load times and files are public

Rocket sharing (It might be buggy for the first few days, will get stable with time).
Electric system.
Ion engine, Big panels, 3 Batteries, RTG, big strut, and 6×2 tank.
Fuel Transfer.
No gravity and Unbreakable parts settings.
New flame effects.
New expansion sale page.
Directional arrow.
Sandbox settings bug.
Fixed many other small bugs.

Added a new wheel (free version).
Added sandbox mode options (Parts Expansion).
Adjusted prices for other countries ( Russia: 270 > 200, Brazil 14 > 8, Poland 16 > 12, India 260 > 200, etc etc).
You can now move camera in game view.
Added a new docking tutorial.
Added community links.
Fairings now detach from any non fairing part when deployed.
Fixed: ground teleport bug, extra velocity bug, undock bug etc etc.

Added: Fairings, Probes, RCS, Solar panels and one new engine [Free].
Increased build space height by 2 [Free].
Added option to get a parts extension with: Docking, Rovers and Big parts and Extra build space (The extension also includes ALL future parts), I really tried to make this the best deal I can 😛
Quick fix: Fixed problem with purchase, if your problem is still there, try restarting or reinstalling.
Major performance improvements.
Added clear all debris button.

This update brings improvements to the build system.
Parts now smoothly snap to each other.
Parts now try to not be placed one on another.
This an many other small changes I made should make building a LOT easier.
Please keep giving me feedback about the build system, I still read all the reviews.
Added side facing nose cones (under utility).
Fixed performance issues.
Fixed bug that caused some parts to load incorrectly.
Sorry for so many updates, but this are things that I need to fix.

I have read all of your reviews, yes all of them! (I can’t reply to all of them, sorry), I’m aware of the issues with the new build system, and working like crazy on fixing them.
Fixed rocket not launching (sorry about that).
Added zoom buttons.
Parts now appear above your finger, this should help you see where you are placing your part.
Added a auto correct system that helps with parts snapping.
Landing legs and parachutes now turn automatically to stick to surfaces.

Fixed bug where rockets would teleport to 25 km when time warping (I really hope its fixed now).
Fixed bug that caused rockets to fall trough terrain.
Fixed bug that cause rocket to disappear when leaving time warp.
Added settings:
Option to set game to 30 or 60 fps.
Option to disable automatic screen rotation.

This is a game about building your own rocket from parts and launching it to explore space!

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

Current planets and moons:
• Mercury
• Venus ( A planet with a extremely dense and hot atmosphere)
• Earth ( Our home, our pale blue dot 🙂 )
• Moon ( Our celestial neighbour)
• Mars ( The red planet with a thin atmosphere)
• Phobos ( Mars inner moon, with rough terrain and low gravity)
• Deimos ( Mars outer moon, with a extremely low gravity and a smooth surface)

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 best PC simulation games, PCGamesN

The best PC simulation games

From tending your crops to flying planes in World War 2, let us guide you through the weird and wonderful world of sim games

What are the best simulation games on PC? From the all-time greats that are still worth playing; the sims with modding communities who breathe eternal life into them; the facsimiles of an aspect of reality so niche you can barely fathom their existence, we have everything you need here.

Sims differ from other PC games in that their raison d’être isn’t necessarily to entertain, at least not primarily. You want fun and excitement? Tough. Operating a submarine is not that. It is, however, fascinating, terrifying, and hugely satisfying as a long-form experience.

Such is the nature of the genre that seeking out the best PC sims is like asking for the ‘special’ stock the shopkeeper keeps in the back room. They’re not all best-sellers, but these are the titles with dedicated communities offering deep tutorials and incredible mods, that let you get as close to hauling a trailer full of plumbing parts across Europe, driving an F1 car, or piloting a military aircraft as national security laws will permit.

The best simulation games on PC are:

  • War Thunder
  • Train Sim World
  • Farming Simulator 19
  • Flight Simulator X
  • F1 2018
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Assetto Corsa
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2
  • Silent Hunter: Wolves of the Pacific
  • Railway Empire
  • Dirt Rally
  • X-Plane 10 Global
  • Insurgency: Sandstorm
  • IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover
  • ARMA 3

War Thunder

Perhaps the best thing about this free MMO is that it’s very easy to just plunge into it, get a decent idea of its systems and start having fun right away. Try saying that about Flight Simulator X with a straight face.

If you’re after sheer volume of machinery, War Thunder’s WW2/Korean War era roster exceeds 300 aircraft. Each can be piloted using arcade (boo!) or simulation physics models to blast away at airborne adversaries playing on both PC and consoles – its servers know no platform boundaries. Which, of course, means there’s usually plenty of easy meat for PC players to pick off.

If War Thunder’s skies offer an opportunity for a quick joyride and a bit of sightseeing, ground combat offers the exact opposite – the steel beasts in this tank game move at such a glacial pace that you’re constantly on high alert, scanning for enemies in the scrubland. Whoever fires first in this free Steam game almost always carries away the spoils.

The USA, Russia, Britain, Germany and Japan all wage war here, each with their own particular mechanical strengths (there’s a long-running argument concerning Soviet machinery bias in this area), weaknesses… and convoluted upgrade paths. If you’re averse to grinding, this might not be the simulation game for you. If you’re after a WW2 sim with an enormous community that you can start playing with no financial outlay, though… well, your demands are very specific, and War Thunder’s your sim.

Train Sim World

The humble train simulator has been around for almost as long as there’s been PC simulation games, and while the latest iteration of Train Simulator is the traditional choice, Train Sim World offers something a mite more ambitious – and it’s by the same developer, Dovetail Games, so fans of one should appreciate the other.

Well trained: The best train games on PC

It’s certainly the most realistic train sim game around – for example, you can’t even leave the station without priming the battery first. The whole game’s played in first-person, so all the driving, management, and upkeep is done from the ground level – just as if you were serving and running the train yourself. The whole point of simulation games is to make you feel like you’re actually doing the job, and Train Sim World does that better than any other – as we found while documenting our Train Sim World travel diary adventures.

While it started off a little bare-bones when it released, Dovetail has consistently updated the game with new features, trains, routes, weather, and more. There’s also an array of DLC packs, too. It may all be a bit pricey for some, but the option to expand is there if you find yourself tiring of the same routes, and you certainly won’t be able to find a more in-depth and realistic train sim for your money.

Farming Simulator 19

When it comes to farming simulator games, look no further than, er, Farming Simulator 19. The clue’s in the name, frankly. Please excuse our facetiousness, but believe us when we say that if you’re looking for the closest one-to-one recreation of truly living off the land, Giants Software’s latest agricultural outing is for you. And we’re experts, as our Farming Simulator 19 diary eloquently (read: sort of) shows.

Considering you’ll most likely be losing many hours to tending your crops and livestock, it’s great that Farming Simulator gives us a graphical overhaul. That doesn’t help the smell of the manure, though. With more vehicles and detail than ever before, Farming Simulator is the kind of management title that teaches you new skills as you get away from the big smoke. Or just lets you make creepy crop circles.

Flight Simulator X

When people say the word ‘simulator,’ Microsoft’s imperious and encyclopaedic aviation behemoth is the first game that springs to mind. It’s inevitable – like picturing a Christian Bale in a clear raincoat flecked with blood whenever you hear Huey Lewis and the News.

Read more: Our guide to the best airplane and flying games on PC

It’s rare for a sim to be so all-encompassing that it can provide both light entertainment to the curious casual gamer who wants to fly fighter jets under bridges with a gamepad, and valuable education to a budding pilot ensconced in a home-made cockpit – but such is FSX’s scope.

In a recurring theme throughout this feature, mod support plays a huge role in its prolonged lifespan. At this point, all FSX’s best planes and environment maps come from third parties, which means to get the most out of it you’ll need to invest a fair few hours gathering .zips of high-res textures before you fly.

F1 2018

If you’re a fan of F1 games, you should already be aware of the official F1 series from Codemasters and the studio’s annual entries. The pinnacle of Formula One simulation racers gets as close to the experience as you’re likely to get without actually being there, and the latest entry is the best yet – simply put, it’s deeper, the handling is far superior, and it looks better than the 2017 entry.

The handling model in the F1 series is the best around and 2018 offers the finest iteration yet – accurately and perfectly conveying the sense of driving one of these ridiculously fast beasts. You can even feel when the back end of the car is starting to twitch out, and the difference between modern and classic vehicles can be felt just through handling and feedback.

You don’t just have to manage your (officially licensed) vehicles either, instead you have to interact with the pit crew, and gain their trust, which translates to better morale, and more efficient car servicing on the track. It’s a small touch, but – combined with the realistic feel of the cars, tracks, and F1 world – it all adds up to what is still the greatest F1 sim around.

Kerbal Space Program

You know a space flight simulator’s doing something right when NASA and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk start getting interested. Despite the cutesy appearance of its astronauts, Kerbal Space Program is an incredibly detailed physics-based space game which lets you design and construct your own spacecraft before launching it into orbit and then doing impossibly complicated things like docking with other vessels or landing your wobbly phallic construct on the moon.

Since the earliest version of KSP released in 2011, its community sprang into action with mods, written and video tutorials, a cornucopia of user-created spacecraft to try out for yourself, and a recreation of The Martian. Its popularity prompted NASA – as in actual NASA – to reach out to developers Squad and collaborate with them to create new in-game content based on real missions.

Is it 100% realistic? Given that it’s simulating one of the most complicated human endeavours ever undertaken and letting you have a go with your mouse and keyboard, there’s an element of creative licensing. However – it’s about as close as the medium has produced. Every physical object in the game abides by Newtonian dynamics, which is why that rocket you built to look like Gary Busey’s face collapsed and burned itself to cinders the second you hit the thrusters. Its model of orbital mechanics has also been praised by those in a position to assess that sort of thing.

Assetto Corsa

While the likes of Project CARS and Grid Autosport may offer a more coherent driving game experience, with a sense of career progression and other such bells and whistles, Assetto Corsa recreates the sensation of driving a fast car better than any other. It’s simply magnificent in its purity, delivering an all-encompassing sense of realism and immersion with stellar sound design and a physics model that justifies that £300 you spent on a force feedback wheel while your children starved. It was made using lasers, apparently.

Kunos Simulazioni made their racing game tremendously tweakable, too, which has given rise to a host of custom profile settings for those aforementioned force feedback wheels, and allows all manner of visual customisation. A few minutes adjusting sliders, and Assetto Corsa is as comfortable as an old shoe. A shoe that can lap Spa Francorchamps in under two minutes and leave your hands numb from trying to wrestle its 500 BHP engine through Les Combes.

Crucially, it’s also proved a fantastic platform for the racing sim community’s most talented modders. The car and track roster available at launch is respectable if not voluminous, but the sheer breadth and quality of its user-created additions turns Assetto Corsa into an endless playground of automotive hijinks.

Euro Truck Simulator 2

An oft-vented argument about Euro Truck Sim is that it isn’t aspirational; people play flight simulators because it’s incredibly difficult and financially prohibitive to become a pilot, and relatively easy to get a job driving lorries by contrast. The counter argument? Euro Truck Simulator 2 exists so you don’t have to get a job driving lorries.

On one hand, it’s therapeutic. Cruising the dual carriageways of Northern Italy at just below the legal speed limit while a local radio station plays unintelligibly is pure nourishment for the soul. On the other, it’s a supreme challenge. Defeated the Fume Knight in Dark Souls II, have you? Come back when you’ve parallel-parked a Scania R Highline carrying a yacht after a night drive from Luxembourg to Budapest.

Related: Find your next time sink with these new MMOs

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of SCS Software’s simulation is that it is ostensibly driving, but not quite as you know it. Forget everything racing games taught you about turning circles. Forget what they taught you about mirrors, too – no longer do they exist simply to illustrate the crash you caused with your reckless weaving. Now they’re an essential component of your driving experience, crucial to turning any corner greater than 10 degrees without scraping thousands off your salary.

As with any sim worth its salt, Euro Truck Simulator 2 has a considerable haul of mods, crafted by the loving hands of its community. The base game offers thousands of kilometres of real estate and no shortage of vehicles, but there’s a wealth of additional trucks, maps, liveries and sound packs out there.

Silent Hunter: Wolves of the Pacific

Contrary to their depiction in film, submarines aren’t sleek, agile instruments of death. They’re vulnerable at sea level, and all but blind below it. They hunt for freighters in the incomprehensibly vast ocean for days at a time, and when they do engage in combat it moves at a kind of perpetual bullet time. If ever a subject matter didn’t lend itself to videogames, submarine combat is it.

But Silent Hunter 4 isn’t a videogame. It’s a ruthlessly realistic WW2 game for only the most sun-averse naval commanders, complete with a control room full of unfriendly dials and crew members whose admiration for their superior prohibits them from emitting as much as a whimper when you guide your sub towards certain death. Mother nature’s just as deadly as your Axis opponents down here at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Related: Check out the best submarine games on PC

Released way back in 2007 when YouTube was in nappies, SH4 almost eligible for a state pension at this point. Although later iterations have modernised its visuals, they haven’t bested its atmosphere and tension, and its freeform career mode, played from the Allied perspective in the Pacific theatre of war, is still the best simulated submariner experience on offer.

Released way back in 2007 when YouTube was in nappies, SH4 almost eligible for a state pension at this point. Although later iterations have modernised its visuals, they haven’t bested its atmosphere and tension, and its freeform career mode, played from the Allied perspective in the Pacific theatre of war, is still the best simulated submariner experience on offer.

Railway Empire

Railway Empire is a train sim with a difference – it’s a historical one, focused on the early days of train travel across the United States, during the tumultuous years of the Wild West era. You have the whole of North America to build on, and the goal of leading your company into the 20th century.

Railway Empire isn’t just a train game, it also simulates the management side of the job, too, making it a spiritual successor to the classic Railroad Tycoon series. The game’s got dozens of accurately-modelled trains from that era, and you can ride and control any of them. The real joy of the game is in handling the company, from laying down tracks and building stations, to managing the workforce and researching new technologies.

Railway Empire is a realistic management game though, so don’t expect to just plop these things down Theme Park-style – you have to consider switches, terrain, water, and many other factors if you’re going to be successful. Like any simulation game there’s a lot of detail to take in at first, but once you get going it’s a lot of fun.

Dirt Rally

Codemasters’ first foray into early access development has proved fruitful: DIRT Rally currently has 136,000 players and a Steam user score of 92%, and that’s thanks in no small part to a renewed focus on the actual driving and a shift away from console-style presentation.

Like F1 2015, it’s the proud owner of an all-new handling model which feels infinitely more granular and weighty than the quasi-arcade physics of previous DIRT games, and it brings the best out of a good force feedback wheel.

The UK studio’s always been adept at bringing the knife-edge balancing act of rally driving to sim racing – let’s not forget it was they who developed Colin McRae Rally back in 1998 – but not until now have they been able to strip away all the interactive motorhome menus and Californian voiceovers to concentrate on simply delivering the best all-terrain driving model since Richard Burns Rally.

There’s no doubt those among you who’d report that RBR is still the superior rally simulation game, enriched by some 14 years of mod development. And while it’s true that the sheer volume and quality of user-generated content is beyond formidable at this point, there’s a lot of hoop-jumping involved to get RBR running properly, with mods, on a modern PC at 1080p and above. It’s time to move on and accept that DIRT Rally is the future of low-traction motoring mayhem.

X-Plane 10 Global

There are two very distinct schools of thought when it comes to commercial flight simulatior games. Some prefer Flight Sim X’s all-you-can-eat buffet of add-on content, other swear Laminar’s blade element theory-based flight model (which actually simulates air) makes for a livelier, more realistic journey. Trying to ascertain superiority between the two is a fool’s errand, really. It’s a matter of personal taste.

X-Plane 10’s physics model definitely feels different. Wings bend more visibly and weight is conveyed more tangibly than in FSX, thanks to an underpinning system that calculates a plane’s behaviour according to its 3D model and engine output, then simulates the air’s behaviour as that model tears through it.

While its ATC and traffic AI are often derided in comparison for guiding you into suicidal manoeuvres, its helicopters are regarded as much more convincing by those in the know.

Its chief drawback is the low-detail landscape textures you’ll find in the base game, drawn by an autogen system that can leave some areas disconcertingly unpopulated and big cities/airports lacking realistic details. However, it makes for much more spectacular night-time flying, cities glimmering on your windshield as you descend through the clouds.

Insurgency: Sandstorm

The second Insurgency game wonderfully straddles the line between hardcore soldier simulator and arcade multiplayer games. Anyone can pop in a game and have fun, but try to play Insurgency Sandstorm like Team Fortress 2 or Counter-Strike and you won’t advance very far.

Instead, Sandstorm is more like a condensed version of ARMA 3. Sure, there may be capture points and XP, but at its heart this war game is all about simulating the ferociousness of modern conflict. A couple of gunshots will down any enemy, although aiming and actually hitting them is far more difficult. There’s a large range of realistic guns to choose from, and they all feel distinct, especially once you start modding them with attachments like new barrels, grips, and scopes, which can completely change the feel of the weapon.

There are no grenade warning flashes, reloading changes the whole magazine, you have to take weight into account when managing loadouts, and there’s no scoreboard for tracking kills. When it comes to UI and on-screen distractions Insurgency: Sandstorm keeps things simple – as we found in our Insurgency: Sandstorm review – it’s all the better for it.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover

Cliffs Of Dover wasn’t anything like the supreme fight-and-flight extraordinaire it is today when it first rumbled apologetically down the runway in 2011, but a series of staggeringly high-quality patches from Norway-based collective Team Fusion now leave it worthy of its IL-2 Sturmovik moniker. Performance issues have been ironed out, and the original, notoriously dodging AI fixed with more sensible routines.

There are new aircraft variants in the modern-day Cliffs Of Dover, too, and the original planes enjoy a physics rework that improves ground handling (much more challenging than in 1C’s base game, but much more realistic). Airborne manoeuvrability has been tweaked for realism and more engaging dogfights, too. In short, it’s an immeasurably better game than the one that appeared, sniffling and coughing, four years ago – all thanks to Team Fusion. Their patch is now up to version 4.312, and you should definitely download it before playing.


ARMA 3 doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t care if you’re having fun, and it doesn’t care about your k:d in Call Of Duty. ARMA 3 cares about one thing, and one thing only: realism. So much so that it was once accidentally used in place of real warzone footage.

As we found in our ARMA 2 launch impressions, It’s the kind of shooter in which you spend more time looking at your map and compass than down the ironsights of your TRG assault rifle, and gunfights play out with hundreds of metres separating combatants – this is the thinking person’s sniper game, in other words. When you see a tank, your first instinct is to pull out your radio, not an RPG launcher. Every single key on your keyboard has its own unique function. It’s basically terrifying.

But from your first petrified footsteps through its enormous theatres of war, when you see the chopper in the sky above you and realise someone’s flying that, ARMA 3’s hardcore appeal permeates. There’s a reason so many of its Steam reviews come from players with thousand of hours of play time.

Those reviewers will mention its myriad annoying bugs, and they’ll also all agree that they don’t ruin Bohemia’s fantastically large-scale combat simulation game. There is a solo campaign, but it’s in the multiplayer sandbox that the real long game lies. It’s here, under the scrutiny of dozens of other players, that you’ll try to pilot a helicopter for the first time and take to the skies with the finesse of a daddy long legs. It’s here you’ll learn to move as one infantry unity, and use voice comms not for blaring Belgian techno or schoolyard insults, but useful, concise communication. On the internet. That’s ARMA 3’s power.

More like this: Save your cash with the best free PC games

And there you have it, the best simulation games on PC. We hope that over the course of your pilot, driver, or roller coaster architect training that you’ve learned a thing or two, and had just as much fun in the process. But, if the World War 2 games on this list have given you a taste for boots-on-the-ground action, check out our list of the best FPS games on PC. In the meantime, we’re on the lookout for a games media simulation game, since we absolutely don’t have enough to be getting on with already.

Spaceflight Simulator Free Download

Spaceflight Simulator 1.4.06

Retread and go beyond!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Space Simulator в Steam

Игра в раннем доступе

Приобретите игру и начните играть — примите участие в ее развитии

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

Почему ранний доступ?

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

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

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

Сколько примерно эта игра будет в раннем доступе?

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

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

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

Каково текущее состояние версии в раннем доступе?

Изменится ли цена игры после выхода из раннего доступа?

Как вы планируете вовлекать сообщество в разработку игры?

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Об этой игре

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Included also is the mobile version content with:

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

• Space Transportation System

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

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

• Custom Free Roam Missions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Системные требования


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

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

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