I’ve just found a new tool/toy this past week. It’s a space flight simulation freeware program called Orbiter and it permits the user to fly various spacecraft on missions … well, in space. It’s favorably reviewed here. a 2006 version was just posted online a few days ago.
Currently, I’m practicing rendezvous in lunar orbit with an imaginary wheel station. Last week, I was able to land a few times from sub-orbital flights, but crashed another mission in Australia after a wildly unsuccessful de-orbit. I need to solve those re-entry problems.
Years ago, I heard about Microsoft’s Space Simulator, but it went out of print, probably because it didn’t have shooting and blasting and killing and popular stuff like that. I spent years looking for a realistic space flight simulator. This program has it.
Orbiter is very educational. I find it interesting to attempt to recognize Earth geography from about a thousand miles up. The moon even more so. The physics of getting into orbit and flying around in space are extremely realistic. It has no shooting, no blasting, and no killing of any kind. Just space stuff. So if you see a bit less of me in the blogosphere, you’ll know I’m aiming for different horizons.