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Orbiter Basic Training

Here are some basic tutorials to get you off to a quick start with Orbiter - Space Flight Simulator.

Tutorial 1 - Takeoff and Hover

    Note: Although this training session is on the mars surface, you will learn many of the fundementals needed for manuvering in microgravity, space that is.

    From the Orbiter Main Menu "Launchpad" select the Shuttle-A\Olympus spaceport on Mars scenario.

    You should have an external view of the Shuttle-A with the Delta-Glider on the pad behind it. Switch to the Delta-Glider, press [F3] key to bring up availible spacecraft list. Select Delta-Glider by highlighting GL-01 in list and apply.

    Toggle [ Page up ][ Page Down ] keys to move your external cameras in and out. If  your using a joystick you can use the hat to rotate the camera around the ship, or [ Ctrl ] and arrow keys, rotate to the front until you have the Delta-Glider nose cone in view.

    Now move the camera in close, right inside until you are seated in the passengers section. More fun stuff later...

    Now lets take the pilot seat, [ F1] key.

    You should see the cockpit panel by toggling the [F8] key. There is also a vitual cockpit view but place it in panel veiw for now.You can move the panel down out of the way with the hat switch or keyboard as before. But leave it up for now. There is a top panel, [Ctrl] up arrow, flip the switches for the lights. Back to the main panel now, [Ctrl] down arrow, find and switch open Retro doors, it's on the right hand side.

    Note: If you are using low resolution the panel may be taking up all your screen space. Use your arrow keys to move around it. There are buttons on the panel to the right. Turn on the [ Level Horizon ] with your mouse pointer , or [ L ] on the keyboard. Then press [ H ] to bring up the HUD. You can toggle the HUD to get either SRFCE, Orbit, or Dock. We want SRFCE for surface. You should also notice on the top left side of the panel there are buttons for the HUD.

    Now slowly begin to hover by pressing the [ 0 ] key on the key pad,  bring it up to until you lift off the pad.  At this time don't try to fly with the joystick.  The Level Horizon will take care of you for the time being. As soon as you clear the buildings press [ A ] on the keyboard. 

    On the top left of the HUD you will see Velocity, exp. [ V20.5k ] On the right is a box with your Altitude, exp. [ A9.3k ]

    Give it a little forward thrust by pressing the [ + ] on the numpad. Press retothruster to bring you velocity down below 10, [ - ] on numpad or use panel buttons with mouse. You need to open the retro doors before the retros can be used. Press [ Ctrl ][ Space ] to open doors if you miss this step earlier.

    Go outside and have a look, [ F1 ],  Press [ G ] , landing gear. Press  [ F1 ] again and go back inside.

    The HUD has  a compass ribbon on top,  turn back around and look for the base. Press [ 1 ] or [ 3 ] on the numpad to turn your ship back toward base.  If your joystick has rudder control, you can use that.  Killrot key [ 5 ] on the numpad will become one of your most used keys. Give it a try. Make sure the Level Horizon button light stays on, killrot will turn it off so reactived it.

    Once your facing the base bring ship velocity up to speed and head back home. Use short burst, numpad [ + ], to do this, do not use constant thrust. You should notice a ball float up ahead of you on the HUD, this is the velocity vector. This ball is the direction your ship is moving towards. Use the thrusters to aim that ball to where you want to go. This takes some practice. You could find yourself chasing the ball all over the place. The trick is to keep your velocity down to minimize the number of vectors applied to your ship. When you begin closing in on base use reto thrust [ - ] to slow down again, below 10. This is much easier if you don't let your velocity get up past 50 to begin with.

    Now for landing. Slowly work your way over to a pad. Don't forget landing gear [ G ] .

    Note: This is much like landing a helicopter. You must balance between hover thrust and main/retro thrust.

    Release Automatic hover, [ A ],  Be on your toes now.  If you lower hover thrust [ . ] you will drop quickly. If you slow your velocity down [ - ] you also begin to sink, only more slowly.  The best way to descend is by using both systems, leaning more on lowering your velocity, almost as if your gliding your way in. Carefully remove all hover thrust until you are hard down.

    Don't worry if you missed the pad, just be glad your down.  The way to nail the pad is to manipulate the velocity vector ball onto the pad or any target. The ship will be sure to follow. The secret to comming down softly is watching the ball. Don't let it slip below your view or go up above the horizon. Keep it around -10 on the HUD. Once you're over the pad and close to the ground you can let the ball drop by decreasing hover thrust to zero.

    Press [ Ctlr ][ F4 ] to get back to the main menu. Select Exit to Launchpad .

    If this was your first time out you will want to redo this mission a few time until you get the hang of hovering. In the meantime you have learned quite a good number of keyboard controls.

    You can fine tune your landings with translational thrusters. Look for the dail in the upper right of the panel and change from ROT to LIN. Now use the thrusters to move the target ball over the pad.

Tutorial 2>>

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