Orbiter 2005

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Orbiter 2005

Postby bigbob » Tue Dec 20, 2005 6:46 pm

[font="arial"]Hello
The new magazine arrived yesterday, with Orbiter on the CD. I wondered how long it would be before Orbiter was included. If you haven't tried it already, I can tell you that Orbiter is a superb space flight simulator. Written by Dr Martin Schweiger, it has a pretty steep learning curve on account of its depth, but don't let that put you off. As you learn Orbiter you learn lots of stuff about orbits, space flight, docking etc etc. It can get addictive!
BTW the salt mine is closed over Christmas so I spent this morning flying between the moons of Jupiter - and landed on Io!
If anyone needs any advice on Orbiter, I'll try to help.[;)]
[/font]
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RE: Orbiter 2005

Postby braddito » Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:30 pm

I'm hoping to get a chance to load this over the holiday weekend. It's an excellent 'bonus' as it should appeal to my son as well.
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RE: Orbiter 2005

Postby harmsway » Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:30 pm

This is a great space simulator. I have used it for more then three years now and have got to say I have learned so much about space flight through this sim. It is an excellent educational tool for yourself and for teaching others.

But it is basicly a barebones space sim in that there are no cheats, hands off autopilots or slewing controls. Although you can observe any major object in the solar system using the camera view, the real joy is in using the "flight sim" style features.

It is difficult to get started with it though. It takes a lot of reading to learn what to do. In the end though you will come away with a much better understanding of space and space travel.

I have added some webpages about this sim on my Astronomy website.

[url=http://www.eharm.net/shop/freeware/orbiter/orbiter.html]http://www.eharm.net/shop/freeware/orbiter/orbiter.html[/url]



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RE: Orbiter 2005

Postby NWSAcaster02 » Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:30 pm

Orbiter is really great, and Harmsway's web site is one good resource for getting started. The Orbiter Forum (http://orbit.m6.net/v2/boardtalk.asp ) is also very useful as there are several "sticky" posts that list information about various tutorials around the web, and you can also ask questions of the various experienced users who hang out there.

I might also point out that there is a free 136 page tutorial guide called "Go Play In Space" (written by me) that is specifically aimed at helping people get started with Orbiter. Don't let the 136 pages scare you -- the first 34 pages really cover the basics, while chapter 4 has you flying to the Moon. The rest of the book covers free add-ons (such as Apollo), learning more, questions about space flight, etc. The PDF is hosted by my friend and fellow Orbiter user Andy on his Virtual Spaceflight web site (http://www.aovi93.dsl.pipex.com/play_in_space.htm ), which has a lot of other Orbiter resources as well. I also write a blog which often discusses Orbiter add-ons and tips, http://flyingsinger.blogspot.com/

-Bruce Irving

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RE: Orbiter 2005

Postby bigbob » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:13 pm

Bruce's "Go Play In Space" is the best intro I've seen. Taught me a load of clever stuff. Every Deltaglider should have one.
Bob(big)
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RE: Orbiter 2005

Postby astrokev » Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:53 pm

"Steep learning curve" - you're not kidding. In fact, this phrase seems over-used in any article or mention of this program - I wonder why this is!?
I consider myself fairly technically minded and computer literate (I program in VB for example), however, I confess I've lost interest in Orbiter before really getting started.
I'm sure the power and content is as excellent as the reports say, but this can only be enjoyed once you're up and running.
For something so "good" I think it's a great shame that rather more effort wasn't put into the start-up user interface, with a little more guidance on actually getting started. The accompanying help/manual seems almost as difficult to navigate as the program itself.
Because of this I really can't see it grabbing a large audience, which is a great pity.
[:(]
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RE: Orbiter 2005

Postby NWSAcaster02 » Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:26 pm

AstroKev,
You are certainly right that Orbiter presents a tough learning curve even if you are technically minded and somewhat interested in space. When I discovered it in March or April of 2005, I was astounded by what it can do, but despite the fact that I have a degree in physics, am a private pilot and experienced flight simmer, and have dabbled in "space stuff" for 30+ years, it took me many hours to master the "basic" tutorials in the manual. Fortunately there was a lot of help on the Orbiter forum, and a few good tutorials around the web -- but none truly aimed at the beginner (most insisted on using key commands for everything, while the 2005 version can do most things with the mouse). That's why I decided to write "Go Play in Space" - because I thought Orbiter was too good to be available only to total fanatics. It took me a good 3 months to write it, and I think I did OK.

If you're not totally frustrated, and assuming you didn't already find "Go Play" to be part of the problem - I encourage you to download it and try out the first ~35 pages. It has gotten a lot of people past the starting friction, which is very real indeed (in fairness, Dr. Schweiger set out to write an orbital mechanics program for physics education, and I think he got it mostly right -- he's one person doing a freeware program in spare time, but now there are users helping to develop add ons and tutorials so it's becoming much more accessible all the time). I've gotten a few emails from people who said they tried and gave up, and that "Go Play" was the key for them. I'm sorry to sound like I'm "blowing my own horn" (I hope that's not one of those expressions that means the wrong thing in British English!). But there are very few resources for people who want to experiment with space flight (as opposed to many for astronomy), and Orbiter is the best there is in this category.

I hope to offer "Go Play in Space" to Sky at Night for inclusion on a future CD -- I'm working on a second edition now. But you can get it at the Virtual Spaceflight site which also has many links to other tutorials and even to useful threads on the Orbiter board (which is very slow to search), http://www.aovi93.dsl.pipex.com/play_in_space.htm

I hope you'll give Orbiter another chance -- it really is a lot of fun.

Good luck,
Bruce Irving
Email: bruce.irving [at] marsdrive.com

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RE: Orbiter 2005

Postby astrokev » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:03 pm

OK, so maybe I was hasty.
Your reply has re-motivated me to have another go; I'll seek out "Go Play" and give it another try!
Regarding your expression - I think "trumpet" is perhaps more appropriate!
Regards
AK
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