Open new browser to Orbiter site

Space Navigation Tutorials & Tools

October 2007

Rendezvous MFD

This MFD helps you make a precise approach from "a long way" away (above or below) to a target, with just a single burn at the beginning of the maneuver. It includes an auto-burn computer that makes it very easy to get on the right rendezvous path. Included in the zip file are the MFD plugin, a sample Orbiter scenario (.scn) file, and a ReadMe document (which you really should read!). If you unzip this into the Orbiter installation folder with sub-folders preserved, the stuff will end up in the right Orbiter subfolders. Download.

Attitude MFD

Updated version of Chris Knestrick's Attitude MFD. This is version 3.0. Attitude MFD provides the user with attitude information (pitch, yaw, and roll) with respect to a pre-selected reference attitude. It also provides an "Attitude Hold" mode to automatically hold the desired attitude. Finally, it provides the ability to "trim" velocity relative to a target to zero in each axis separately or in various combinations.

It is really useful in the terminal phase of a rendezvous, where it can be used to orient toward a target and match its velocity precisely.

Version 3.0 is for Orbiter 2005/2006 only. Its attitude controller now uses the new APIs for thruster max force and torque, and it no longer uses any other outdated calls. It now supports MFD button control and contains built-in help pages. The thruster-level graphics update rate has been slowed to the selected MFD update rate to minimize impact on frame rate. Sources are included. Download

Video Tutorials

As of Fall 2007, I plan to produce a series of tutorials in video form. The first one, Europa to Callisto, shows how to use Interplanetary MFD V5 to transfer from Jupiter's moon Europa to its moon Callisto. This shows many of IMFD's great features, and should give you a flavor for the power and flexibility that it contains.

The older tutorial (below) is a written document that contains many details left out of the video tutorial. If you're really interested in making the most of IMFS, you might want to read through the older tutorial, even though the details and cheklists are for the older 4.2 version of IMFD.

Older Tutorial (2005)

Here are some (well one) tutorials for users of Martin Schweiger's free Orbiter 2005 Spaceflight Simulator. Tutorials are provided in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), combined with Orbiter scenario (.scn) files that permit the reader to synchronize their activity with the tutorial at key points. I hope to add more in the future! For Orbiter 2005!.


Each tutorial is supplied as a ZIP archive with sub-folders. As is customary with Orbiter installations, you should unzip with folders preserved into the main Orbiter installation folder (typically C:\Program Files\Orbiter). Documents and scenarios will be put under sub-folders named DC-3 Tutorials.


Transfer from Europa to Callisto
Transfer from an orbit around Jupiter's moon Europa to a chosen orbit around Jupiter's moon Callisto. All stages of the transfer are covered in extreme detail, including procedural checklists. Included in the document are over 30 MFD screen shots. Also included are 25 scenario files which contain the Orbiter state at which each MFD screen shot was captured. Also contains brief instructions for the auto-burn feature.

Tools Used in Tutorials

Interplanetary Multifunction Display V4.2
Required Jarmo Nikkanen's set of navigation instruments and flight computer wrapped up in an Orbiter multifunction display (MFD) plug-in. This thing is awesome!
Orbiter 2005 Spaceflight Simulator
Required Martin Schweiger's free spaceflight simulator. The tutorials on this page use Orbiter 2005, not older versions.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Required Adobe Systems' free reader for Portable Document Format (PDF). The DC-3 tutorials are provided in PDF.