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Orbiter Basic Training

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It's time to brake out the manual and learn how to help yourself. You can find the manual in your Orbiter folder. Orbiter\Doc\Orbiter.pdf

Print out the Section on Docking, and the Section on Spacecraft Controls. These are some of the easiest reading pages in the whole manual. They have lots of pictures.

    From the Orbiter Main Menu "Launchpad" select the Space Stations\Blue Danube scenario.

    Let's go inside and take a look. [ F1 ]. With panels you can use [Ctrl] up arrow to view the top panel. Switch open the dock port. Toggle out of VC or panels to get a clear view with any blind spots.The HUD should already be in DOCK mode. Check the top left of the screen.

    Notice the stars ahead. We are rotating relative to the station already. So what ever you do, resist the temptation to use the kill rotation key.

    We should change our attitude thrusters from rotational mode ( engage opposite thruster pairs ), and put them into linear ( engage parellel thruster pairs ). So toggle the attitude thruster mode key, numpad [ / ],  and notice the change on the top left corner of your screen. Just below the indicator bars. Make sure they end up in linear mode for docking.

    For fun or frustration: Try docking without reading any further. When your ready to give up reload the scenario and continue.

    Note: If you have sound, you may hear the target warning ping if you start driffting off. If you don't have sound go out on the web and download. See Related Links below.

    Go for dock. There is no hard connection port, so we simple set our ship inside and Luna-OB1 Station will hard dock and refuel you. Final closing speed must be < 1.0m/s.

    Notice the left MFD is set on docking, but it has no target. Select VIS dock with the closest visual port. The info for Luna-OB1 is now in the MFD. Also notice you have the velocity vector indicator again. Also notice the green docking square. 

    Now simple place the velocity vector indicator in the inner most square. Here's how...

    Give one short burst of forward thrust numpad [ + ]. You don't want to leave thrust on,  with no air friction you would begin to accelerate. For fine control  of attitude thrusters, use [ Ctrl ][ - ]numpad key combinations. The 9/6 numpad keys are fine thrust as well.

    When in dock mode the velocity vector indicator will show the way to synchronise speed with the target.  Normally you would thrust in this diection until speed relative to target is bled off. But in this senario it should be there now. Since you don't want to just hang out in the distance, you can aim toward the target and fine thrust in it's direction. The velocity vector indicator will then turn into crosshairs + to show direction of your velocity.

    Work the fine thrust keeping the crosshairs in the box. The HUD center aim symbol will eventual follow. Trust me on this.

    Tip! When trying to slow down to a stop,  use fine retrothrusters, numpad [ Ctrl ][ - ] , when the velocity is almost zero, cut it off, [ * ].


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