I have purchased and flown flight simulators of various types for many years. They are a reasonable substitute for actually piloting a Cessna or Schweitzer.
Several years ago, I found the Orbiter space flight simulator. This is of similar complexity to the commercial flight simulators I’ve tried, but free to play and developed by one man: Dr. Martin Schweiger, a computer science researcher at University College London. Dr. Schweiger (or martins, as he’s known on the Orbiter Forum) retains control of the source code of the core program, but has published interfaces for use of its facilities by add-ons developed by others.
A robust community of users and developers has grown up around the program, using the Orbiter Forum for exchange of news and analysis of issues, and answering the questions of newcomers to this complicated topic. In addition, the community maintains (sporadically) the OrbiterWiki for longer-term articles.
I have ambitions to fly some of the highly realistic spacecraft add-ons (NASSP and Space Shuttle Ultra), as well as some of the science fiction add-ons (Firefly and World of 2001). I’d also like to develop scenarios for certain types of missions, and develop add-on ships to support Two Years At The Hot End. I also think more could be done on the educational side, and have initiated a section of pages on OrbiterWiki under the umbrella title Rocket Science For Amateurs. I hope to expand my own and others’ contributions to that.
Now that I have a mostly-reliable Windows 10 installation (dual boot via Bootcamp on a MacBook Pro), I can restart some of my Orbiter tasks:
- Appointment in the rings – two DGs, polar and equatorial orbits intersecting in the Cassini gap
- Appointment with rocks – same as above, but with a cloud of rocks/asteroids around one or both DGs
- NASSP Apollo 7
- NASSP Apollo 12 (when available)
- Figure out how to make Orb::Connect::Web work in Windows 10, and develop phone/tablet-based panels
- Asteroid mining
- RSFA – other articles by Keithth G
- 2015-12-02: started.
- 2016-02-15: Added Keithth G’s symplectic integrator article to RSFA on Orbiter-Wiki