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Orbiter (

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Open Source








Orbiter is a spaceflight simulator emphasizing real physics above all. The problem with nearly all games that involve flying around in a spaceship is that realism in flight and aerodynamics is almost always sacrificed for easy playability for laypersons not well-versed in the skills involved in atmospheric flight or spaceflight. Orbiter makes no such compromises.

Orbiter is a game inasmuch as the player creates their own goals and missions which involve solving the logistical problems related to navigating from one celestial body to another in our solar system. More than a game, orbiter is a simulation and educational tool giving anyone an accurate feel for the physical laws in play when navigating in space.

For the patient and imaginative dozens, if not hundreds, of adventures await amounting to the closest experience that common folk like you and I will ever come to a realistic depiction of space travel. While the physics are real, playability is maintained by incorporating technologies that don't yet exist. Orbit comes with ships like the DeltaGlider and the ShuttleA.

Hardcore simmers, of course, have the Space Shuttle Atlantis that Orbiter comes with standard, but also have access to dozens of other ships created by third parties, the most notable of which are ships like the Mercury and Gemini capsules and the hardware, including the lunar lander, of the United States' Apollo missions to go to our home planet's moon and back.

An issue which may be impossible to solve for many years due to the complexity of the calculations that would be involved is that eventually the effects of relativity need to be taken into account, though for now only modelling Newtonian physics will suffice as noticeably relativistic effects don't come into play in the majority of circumstances in which the player will find themselves.

The greatest drawback for now is interstellar spaceflight or being able to start out at a location in orbit relative to any arbitrary object in the simulator, or the modelling of objects outside our solar system, like, for instance, Proxima Centauri b, the closest known planet to Earth outside our home solar system at a mere 4.25 light years away, or Barnard's Star.

Orbiter Official Resources

Orbiter Third-Party Resources

Orbiter Mods

Orbiter Keyboard Shortcuts

Auto HoverA
Auto LevelL
Cycle Cockpit ViewsF8
Cycle ShipsCtrl-F3
External View Move Camera DownCtrl-Down Arrow
External View Move Camera LeftCtrl-Left Arrow
External View Move Camera RightCtrl-Right Arrow
External View Move Camera UpCtrl-Up Arrow
External View Zoom InPageDown
External View Zoom OutPageUp
FOV Decrease by 10 DegreesCtrl-Z
FOV Decrease by 1 DegreeZ
FOV Increase by 10 DegreesCtrl-X
FOV Increase by 1 DegreeX
HUD Toggle On/OffCtrl-H
Kill RotationNumpad-5
Landing Gear Extend/RetractG
Object InformationCtrl-I
Orbit Normal (-)'
Orbit Normal (+);
Quit ScenarioAlt-F4
Radiator Extend/StowD
Seat LowerUp Arrow
Seat RaiseDown Arrow
Show Camera PanelCtrl-F1
Show Custom Functions PanelCtrl-F4
Show/Hide Visual HelpersF9
Show Left MFD ModesLeftShift-F1
Show Lower PanelCtrl-Down Arrow
Show Main Menu PanelF4
Show Right MFD ModesRightShift-F1
Show Select Ship PanelF3
Show Ship ControlsCtrl-Space Bar
Show Upper PanelCtrl-Up Arrow
Show Visual Helpers PanelCtrl-F9
Switch HUD ModesH
Throttle DownNumpad--
Throttle Down and HoldCtrl-Numpad--
Throttle FullNumpad-+
Throttle to IdleNumpad-*
Throttle Up and HoldCtrl-Numpad-+
Time Rate DecreaseR
Time Rate IncreaseT
Toggle Cockpit/External ViewF1
Toggle Nose Cone Open/ClosedK
Toggle Rotation Mode/OffCtrl-Numpad-/
Toggle Rotation/Translation ModeNumpad-/
Translate BackwardNumpad-9
Translate ForwardNumpad-6

Orbiter Reviews

Orbiter in the Media

Orbiter Videos

YouTube's "Orbiter2016" video

Showcasing the features of Orbiter2016

YouTube's "Orbiter: The shape of things to come" video

A demonstration of some of the new features of Orbiter 2015

YouTube's "By Gemini to the Moon! - Orbiter Space Flight Simulator" video

YouTube's "Mission to Mars: Orion nuclear propulsion" video

YouTube's "Orbiter 2010 - KSC to Habana - Take Two" video