Kerbal Space Program is a game about a green humanoid species known as the Kerbals as they start a space program. Superficially similar to Orbiter, the difference between the two has been likened to the difference between making to-scale miniatures for architectural design and playing with LEGO bricks with rocket fuel in them, which you then hurl with glee at your sisternote Although the Real Solar System and Realism Overhaul mods let you be more like the former.
The game offers three game modes to suit your style of play. The first is little more than a sandbox. You're set loose upon a space center complete with a vehicle assembly building and a launch pad, a bin full of rocket parts, ground personnel composed entirely of yes-men who build and wheel onto the launch pad anything you design no matter how crazy it is, and some astronauts to crew your creations. The second version is Science, in which you have to conduct experiments in order to unlock various piece parts, as you start off with just the very basics. The third mode is full-blown Career mode, and you have to juggle a budget, job offers, your Kerbonauts and conduct Science similar to the Science mode (which used to be the old Career mode, prior to 0.24). Essentially, you have to manage the entire Space Program. The number of parts has risen dramatically in later releases, and the community is cranking out fanmade addons at an impressive pace on top of that.
* Tracking of vessels now works for creator defined vessels that undock and get created during a mission from another vessel. Mission creators can now assign parts that have had vessel rename and priority set to test against in mission nodes.* Moved localization files to base game.* Add checkbox to FlyThrough Test Node to allow the map marker to be hidden* Added a new icon for Test Grapple node in Mission Builder.* Add setting (MISSION_NAVIGATION_GHOSTING) to show nav marker ghosting when the target is behind you. Defaulted to on for all mission games (including ESA).* Added a new Grapple test node to verify if a grabbing unit took hold of a space object.* Space Objects can now be selected in the Distance to node.* Test vessel velocity can now be compared relative to vessels, kerbals, and space objects instead of just the orbited CB.* Nodes in Making History support comets the same as asteroids.
Kerbal Space Program features three gameplay modes. In Science Mode, perform space experiments to unlock new technology and advance the knowledge of Kerbalkind. In Career Mode, oversee every aspect of the space program, including construction, strategy, funding, upgrades, and more. In Sandbox, you are free to build any spacecraft you can think of, with all parts and technology in the game.
Rob Davidoff has a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace. In other words, he is a rocket scientist. Ian Mitchell is a physics Ph.D. student at the University of Houston studying experimental particle physics. Together they are currently working on a fascinating alternate history of the NASA space flight program called Eyes Turned Skyward. It diverges from our history at the point where the Apollo program comes to an end, and in our time line NASA decides to go with developing a space station, instead of the Space Shuttle. The consequences of not having a reusable launch vehicle in the 1970's are interesting, to say the least.
David Portree is the manager of the Regional Planetary Information Facility, Astrogeology Science Center, US Geological Survey. His blog DSFP's Spaceflight History Blog is full of great articles on the history of spaceflight. But recently he has been applying his encyclopedic knowledge to crafting an alternate history that he calls "Imagining Another Apollo". Last I checked it was up to part 5, it is interesting reading.
The Steps to Space Series is in the close future, where small groups and even individuals start taking over the job of space colonization & industrialization from nation-based government space programs and megacorporations.
Planetes is a hard-science manga (official website, in Japanese) which was adapted into a television anime. It follows the downtrodden crew of the spacecraft "Toy Box" of the Space Debris section of the Technora Corporation. Their job is to sweep Earth and Lunar orbits of tiny but dangerous satellite bits and pieces, hopefully preventing the dreaded Kessler Syndrome. The scientific accuracy is top-notch, the Japanese space agency JAXA served as a technical consultant.
The accents spoken by the people living in Ceres is delightfully different. To my untrained ear it did not sound like stock Chinese or middle European, it sounded like a realistic mix of several nations. Which makes sense for Ceres. The Belter creole was spot-on perfect. As was the ASL-like hand gestures for certain words, this grew out of communicating when one or both of the people are in a space suit with no working radio. You see this in the first episode when Miller has the slum-lord in the airlock.
One of the authors mentioned that the Atomic Rockets website was quote "a hugely important resource for use while developing Diaspora" unquote, and it shows. The space combat is streamlined (since this is a role playing game, not a full blown simulation) but the scientific accuracy is all there. The ships even have heat radiators!
Kerbal Space Program (wiki) is a jaw-droppingly amazing educational computer program (Windows, Macintosh, Linux; requires a 2.0 GHz dual core cpu to run well) that teaches astronautics and space exploration. Do not be fooled by the cute little green men, this game will painlessly teach you some serious spacecraft and mission design. Not to mention piloting. Science fiction authors please take note.
One of the trials resulted in a most amusing error. The idea was that one of the ways the Orion is different from a conventional rocket is how it shocks the entire spacecraft, instead of giving a steady pressure. So I programmed the plug-in to instantaneously transmit the shock of each nuclear explosive to all the other parts of the spacecraft. Therefore a spacecraft with inadequate bracing would get shaken to pieces.
Modeling the engine in Blender was relatively easy. Doing the pusher-plate animation was not too hard. Learning to program in C# was not a challenge. Writing the plug-in was a nightmare because the programmers of Kerbal have not gotten around to writing full documentation for the Kerbal API (they are concentrating their efforts on finishing programming the game, as is right and proper). The only way to figure out how to do anything is by sifting through the on line forums, examining other mod's code, and asking lots of questions. And by doing lots of trial and error.
The Orbiter Space Flight Simulator is a stunning computer program (for Windows only, alas) that allows the user to fly various spacecraft around the solar system. And there is a thriving community of cunning programmers making new spacecraft plug-ins for you to use (everything from the International Space Station to the Serenity from the TV show "Firefly"). If you too are cunning, you can create your own add-ons. And did I mention that the program was free? 2b1af7f3a8