Space: 1999 simulation

I'm really having fun with the Eagles and all the Space: 1999 stuff. While the repaints still have a long way to go for the command module, the body is almost complete. Following discussions on Orbit Hangar Forum, I'm also building a dedicates solar system configuration for the Space:1999 world. This way I can integrate better the available addons and create some interesting scenarios.

So far, I have:

- Two periods of Moon exploration.

A pre-1990's where I only have the Spacedock in Moon orbit and a single "first stone" pad of Moon Base Alpha. Following the series time-line and universe, the Moon is used for Nuclear waste storage. So missions of this early period will feature exploring the Moon surface to identify suitable sites for landing (flat, no high mountains, low altitude, etc.) and placing structures (waste storage).

The latter period has Alpha completely built and at least one Nuclear waste disposal area. I might add the Mars base and a few interplanetary vehicles seen on the series and already available.

The early period is fun because the surface exploration is being done in Orbiter. I'm creating the start situations and flying them, saving my progress along the way. I don't know exactly what will come out of this or what type of release I might do in the future, but its been very very fun do to.

In a moment of pure geek fan boy hapiness, here's the first mission report:


Start location:
Space-dock (Moon Orbit)

End location:
Moonbase Alpha

Eagle transporter

a) Low altitude close inspection of the lunar surface.
b) Identify a suitable location to place waste disposal areas.
c) Land on the chosen area and detach the passenger module (modified for unmanned autonomous survey) to perform long term dedicated studies of the selected location.
d) Liftoff and land on Moonbase Alpha.

Leaving spacedock.

This looks like a smooth place ahead, let's land there!

Descending to the surface for a manual landing.

Landed! It's a nice scenic view, but we are in a hurry, so let's leave the pod and head to Alpha.

It's night at Alpha's location, so we use LOLA to perform and automated liftoff and landing, due to lack of visual reference. As we are landed on a nice flat area, there's no problem of crashing into mountains at lift off.

Enroute we enjoy a nice view of Earth and the lunar surface near the terminator.

All went well and we landed on Alpha! Only the pad is built at this early stage, but the base will be built over the next few years.

This first mission took only about 2hours to complete, as the Eagle is a very very fast spacecraft! The landing took place in crater Compton at Lat 55.3º Lon 103.8º.


Space:1999 Eagles

Been having fun repainting the Eagles from Space:1999 Orbiter meshes with textures from the original models used on the series. A great level of detail is possible but the spacecraft start to look as what they are in reality, just models!

I'm working on all Eagle variants and were are some images:


Earth with rings

Roy has sent me a nice email sharing his latest animation for Youtube. It features some research into what would an Earth's ring system look like.

The surface views in the video look good and everything seem to be well researched.

Regarding simulation, imagine a space station located on the rings... perhaps to harvest some water! It would be a nice activity to try to simulate a space shuttle flight from the ISS to the ring station and back. Perhaps I'll do it for Orbiter some day!

Project Gemini updated realistic textures

Finally released the Project Gemini updated realistic textures add-on for Orbiter Space Simulator!

Add-on Description:
Photo-real texture repaint for the magnificent Project Gemini add-on based on actual photos.
Texture files only, no meshes or other new files are included.

Update includes:

High resolution (2048x2048) Titan rocket
Better Agena docking target texture
Improved virtual cockpit detailed control panels


Get it here.

(This repaint doesn't include the work in progress capsule repaint you see in previous posts, as they are very rough and only look good from some angles)


Venera 9 mission simulation released!

(nice video preview by rseferino)

My Venera 9 add-on for Orbiter Space Simulator is available at Orbiter Hangar:


Here's the documentation:

Venera 9 (Венера-9, 4V-1 No. 660) USSR unmanned orbiter and a lander mission to Venus.

by 4throck – 4throckrn@gmail.com

Spacecraft description and implementation in Orbiter space sim.

The Venera 9 is implemented as two spacecraft (Orbiter+Lander). The meshes are as accurate as I was able to model them. I tried to follow authentic flight hardware photos as much as possible. Please take into account the fact that Russian hardware on display doesn’t have the thermal covers that were actually used for spaceflight and is sometimes painted with different colors for aesthetic purposes. Therefore, my models will look different from some of the Venera 9 replica photos you might see. Texturing could be improved to give a more uniform thermal cloth cover to the orbiter bus, and other small mesh bugs are present. Nevertheless I think that those small issues don’t detract from the addon usability and can always be corrected at a latter stage.

The general addon organization and vessel parameters come straight from the Venera-D addon by kodiak. Masses and fuel were changed to reflect the Venera 9 values but the lander’s aerodynamic parameters are unchanged. The generic Venera orbiter mesh came from the model available for Celestia by Jack Higgins, in turn based on a VRML by Alexander Chernov. All credit goes to them for the base model used. I did a lot of adaptations so that it would represent the Venera 9 configuration. I added new solar panels with the right dimensions and shape and removed some non-existing instruments. Also, the engine bell and RCS jet hardware was added and the dimensions were scaled to match the entry sphere.

Scenarios for Venus transfer and orbiter insertion were provided by rseferino :

”Launches from the earth with great accuracy because the fuel probe is very limited, only allows mid-course corrections of 30 m/s in total, and after separation of the lander is 250 m/s and 940 m/s for orbital insertion Venus. Arriving at 3% fuel.”

Launch scenarios require the Proton Launch Vehicle v.1.0 by thorton.

Hardware configuration


The orbiter consisted of a cylinder with two solar panel wings and a high gain parabolic antenna attached to the curved surface. A bell-shaped unit holding propulsion systems was attached to the bottom of the cylinder, and mounted on top was a 2.4 meter sphere which held the lander.

It’s implemented in Orbiter as a spacecraft3 vessel with the lander’s entry sphere as a payload and RCS thruster exhaust visible.

The “J” key will jettison the lander’s sphere if still attached.


The lander spacecraft separates from the orbiter. A system of circulating fluid was used to distribute the heat load. This system, plus pre-cooling prior to entry, permitted operation of the spacecraft for 53 minutes after landing. During descent, heat dissipation and deceleration were accomplished sequentially by protective hemispheric shells, three parachutes, a disc-shaped drag brake, and a compressible, metal, doughnut-shaped landing cushion.

It’s implemented in Orbiter as a series of spacecraft3 vessels and payloads, starting with the entry sphere that is released from the orbiter and ending with the lander itself. As in reality, no fuel or any kind of control is possible. The entry sphere simply follows the path it was released on.
Use the “j” key to control the deployment of parachutes and release of the protective sphere.

Mission sequence:

I’m providing 5 scenarios that cover all of the mission stages. Descriptions folow the actual mission events and not necessarilly the values you will see in Orbiter. Nevertheless, you can try to follow them as guidelines.

Situation 1 –Venera 9 Launch (requires Proton K)

1975 June 8 -The Proton booster (8K82K) with Block D upper stage blasted off from the "right-hand" launch pad at Site 81 in Baikonur Cosmodrome at 0237 UTC. (press “o” to launch)

After the vehicle reached a low circular orbit around the Earth and Block D engine fired for the second time sending the probe toward Venus. (use whatever instrument you prefer to perform the escape burn)

Situation 1b – Venera 9 on transfer orbit to Venus (requires Proton K )

During July to September there were two course corrections. The first (11.93 m/s dv) placed the trajectory of the probe within 1,600 kilometres from the surface of Venus, and the second (13.44 m/s dv) refined the landing region and time of the entry for the lander.

(use whatever instrument you prefer to refine your Venus entry)

Situation 2 – Entry capsule separation

October 20: The Venera-9 lander separated from the orbiter. Immediately, after the separation, the orbital module conducted a manoeuvre (247.3 m/s dv) which sent the spacecraft on a swing around the opposite side of the planet. (press “j” to release the entry sphere containing the lander. Manouver the orbiter using whatever instrument you prefer and prepare for the orbital insertion burn)

Situation 3 – Orbital insertion

October 22: Immediately after the Orbiter’s closest approach to Venus, the main propulsion unit fired (922.7 m/s dv) injecting the spacecraft into a 1,510 by 112,200 kilometer orbit around Venus, with the inclination 34.10 degrees and the rotation period of 48 hours 18 minutes. The selected orbit around Venus was designed to provide at least 115 minutes of communications between the lander and the orbiter, during the latter's descent and landing. (perform the orbital insertion burn trying to achieve the indicated orbit)

The Venera-9 lander plunged into the atmosphere of Venus an entry angle of 20.5 degrees and a speed of 10.7 km/s. (switch to the lander using “F3”)

After initial aerodynamic braking, covers of the parachute compartments were jettisoned at the altitude of 65 kilometers, the speed of 250 meters per second and acceleration of 2G. It was followed by the deployment of a small "pullout" parachute and jettisoning of the top hemisphere of the protective reentry shell of the lander. The descent velocity then decreased to around 150 meters per second. (press “j” to deploy the droge chute at 65Km)

At the altitude of 62 kilometers above the surface, three main parachutes with the total area of 180 square meters open. After working for 15 seconds, they reduced the descent speed of the lander to 50 meters per second. (press “j” to deploy the main parachute at 62Km)

Four seconds later, the lower half of the protective sphere separated from the lander and fell off under its own weight, while the lander continued slow descent through the layers of clouds under main parachutes for some 20 minutes, providing wealth of atmospheric data. (press “j” to release the protective sphere)

Main parachutes were jettisoned at the altitude of 50 kilometers above the surface and the lander was then in a free fall, slowing down only with the help of a disk-shaped aerodynamic break. (press “j” to release the lander at 50km)

Situation 4 – Landed on Venus

The Venera-9 lander hit the surface of the planet with the speed of around seven meters per second at 0513 UT on October 22, 1975. It was the daylight local time on the side of the planet not visible from Earth. The landing site was determined to be 32 degrees north latitude and 291 degrees longitude in Beta Regio.

During next 53 minutes, the lander streamed data to the orbiter, which in turn relayed it back to Earth. The transmission of priceless imagery started some two minutes after the landing and continued until the end of communications.

The lander ended up under a 30-degree angle and its cameras could only see as far as few dozen meters. Soviet scientists suggested that the material at the site represented remnants of rocks fractured as a result of the internal shifts and faults in the planet's crust. The tectonic process possibly caused a mass of debris to slide along the slope.

Another surprise was a relatively good visibility -landscape features could be discerned as far as 100 meters from the lander --despite enormous density of the surrounding haze. One Soviet scientist apparently went far enough to compare lighting conditions on Venus with a "cloudy day in Moscow."

October 26 / December 25 -The orbiter gathered further data.


Zvezda interior update

Some updated images. Texturing is moving along fine, with the basic walls covered and detailed main panels.

Earlier images of Zvezda interior and panels.:


Venera 9 update

Updated images from the Venera 9 add-on. It took a lot of time to export the models accurately to Orbiter's mesh format, but now I'm happy with the final results. I need to fix one parachute and to add the engine to the orbiter mesh, after which I'll be ready to make a first release.

Lander on surface:

Lander descending with main parachutes:

Part of the entry sphere still atached to the lander:

Venera 9 orbiter after lander release:

Venera 9 orbiter + lander:


ISS Zvezda interior model

I'm working on a 3D model of ISS Zvezda module's interior. It will eventually make it's way into Orbiter, but for now, here are some images.

Forward section with main panels:

TORU docking system control panel:

General layout of Zvezda's interior:


Venera 9 Orbiter add-on progress

Venera 9 for Orbiter screenshots. It will take some time to get the configuration right, but I'm making progress. I'm following the Venera-D add-on by kodiak as a guideline and because the landing sequence is similar.

Proton launch

Entry sphere separation




Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace

Some photos I took at the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace in Paris. It's well worth the visit for any space enthusiast, specially for the 1:1 models and real artifacts of ESA and Russian/Soviet space probes and rockets.

Venera 3 orbiter 1:1 model

Venera 7 lander

Lunakhod 1 model

Luna 10 orbiter 1:1 model

Soyus T6 reentry capsule (real object)


Venera model

I'm working on a Venera Venus lander model for Orbiter. It's based on Venera 9 with the surface lights, although not 100% accurate.

Also, here's the landing sphere (bottom portion). The lander enters the Venusian atmosphere inside it.


Mercury Little Joe add-on released

Mercury Little Joe (07-2009 beta ) by 4throck
(download from Orbiter Hangar - http://www.orbithangar.com/searchid.php?ID=4112 )

I made this add-on to learn about setting up 3D models inside Orbiter. I got it working and was lot’s of fun to develop.

This add-on recreates the Little Joe rocket and associated Mercury boilerplate capsule. The launch pad at Wallops Island is also present.

As it is my first work of this kind, involving multistage rocket setup, it’s somewhat rough. I consider myself more of a 3d guy, nevertheless I hope you will enjoy flying it.

Currently, the rocket starts on the pad at a 90º vertical angle and not at the real 70º~80º inclination. The guidance file then sets the rocket on the actual heading and inclination.

The performance parameters are based on reality but tweaked so that a ~88km apogee is achieved for the Little Joe 2 flight. Flight sequence follows real events, with a 40 second burn of the Little Joe rocket, followed by separation of the capsule with escape rocket attached After 2.5 second the escape rocket fires.

Separations and capsule parameters are very rough, and the water landing bag is missing. Also, there’s no recovery after splashdown.

Feel free to improve on this add-on if you wish.

Installation and usage:

Extract all the files to your Orbiter folder.

The Earth1962 (required) Wallops base will be changed, with the addition of the Little Joe pad structure. Other than that, no other files are changed.

Select the Little Joe situation folder and them open the desired flight (for now just Little Joe 2).

Press P to launch.

Press J to jettison tower at the end of the launch sequence.

Press K for capsule parachute.

Credits and usage conditions:

Free for non commercial use with Orbiter Space Sim.

You can use this add-on as a base for your own Orbiter add-ons and improvements, giving proper credit.

Little Joe rocket and Mercury boilerplate capsule meshes and textures created by 4throck – 4throckrn@gmail.com

Mercury boilerplate capsule parachute mesh and animation by Libber.

The Mercury escape tower mesh is duplicated from Estar's project Mercury.