Author: Dr. Martin Schweiger
Windows OS: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
Description: ORBITER is a free flight simulator that goes beyond the confines of Earth's atmosphere. Launch the Space Shuttle from Kennedy Space Center to deploy a satellite, rendezvous with the International Space Station or take the futuristic Delta-glider for a tour through the solar system.
Scientifically based space ship simulator. Many real historical models, and also fantasy vehicles. You can choose the Vostok 1 mission and follow Jurij Gagarin and be the first man to orbiter the earth, starting from the space center in Baikonur. Or choose a fantasy spaceship and start from a fantasy spaceport and travel to Jupiter.
Comment: Steep learning curve, because it is a reality based simulator. It helps if you study the pdf file: "GoPlayInSpace_2dEdition.pdf", which is available at the Orbiter web sites. Learn the most common keyboard shortcuts from that file.
But you can also make it easy, by giving the ship unlimited fuel and fly as you like through the atmosphere or above it. Travel to any planet as you like.
A graphically beautiful program, with realistic effects of rockets exhausts, re-entry flames around the ship, and very detailed surface maps of the earth and most planets.
Hundreds of spaceships, rockets, aeroplanes included, and even more available as addons from Orbiter web sites and wikis.
It is easy to install an addon file. Unzip it into the Orbiter folder. Make sure the unzipper respects the subfolder structure in the zip file so that files are automatically placed in the correct subfolders in the Orbiter directory.
A joystick is nice to have for this program, but it is usable with just keyboard and mouse too. Control camera position with the right mouse button, hold and drag in different positions. F1 is used to quickly shift between the view from inside the ship and the ship seen from outside. Start up the engines by holding down ctrl-plus (on the numerical pad) for a few seconds which turns up the engines to full power.