This is Rocket Science! I am a self-confessed data nerd and when you combine this with a hardcore Space Simulation that is also free i had to try it out.
I have been interested in most things “Space” from the natural wonderment a kid enjoys. I’m not a Star Trek fan. My fascination stems from the Apollo Missions and the Shuttle. I am also interested by Mission Control and have always wanted to know what all the numbers and data mean on the hundreds of screens you see.
Orbiter is a space flight simulator based on Newtonian mechanics. Its playground is our solar system with many of its major bodies – the sun, planets and moons. You take control of a spacecraft – either historic, hypothetical, or purely science fiction. Orbiter is unlike most commercial computer games with a space theme – there are no predefined missions to complete (except the ones you set yourself), no aliens to destroy and no goods to trade. Instead, you will get a pretty good idea about what is involved in real space flight – how to plan an ascent into orbit, how to rendezvous with a space station, or how to fly to another planet. It is more difficult, but also more of a challenge. Some people get hooked, others get bored.
So i have been learning about apoapsis and Periapsis and finding out what all those numbers mean. It turns out it’s not as hard as i first thought it would be. That is to say i know i am only scratching the surface but to have an understanding of the data and for it to be of actual use is very satisfying. It took me the best part of a day to get into an orbit and dock with The International Space Station. After much cursing and swearing it was incredible to glimpse the twinkling of the ISS out of my cockpit after many hours spent checking and refineing all that data with calculated burns and lots of pro grade retro grade turns.
It’s free give it a go.
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