The allure of space is strong with me. When I was thinking about stories, I was playing out a scene within my alternate space history story, where a woman, whose father was involved with Soviet Space program from the mid-50′s until the early 1980′s, is recollecting watching Valentina Tereshkova and Irina Soloviyova prepare to lift-off on Vostok 6.
That time Tereshkova flew and became Seagull, but her recollections covered two more important memories. The first was standing at a launch pad two years later and saying goodbye to Tereshkova and Soloviyova as they prepared to lift-off on Voskhod-5, and how she felt a year later after Yuri Gagarin did everything he could to keep his best friend Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov from flying Soyuz 1, where upon he suffered the same fate his friend suffered in this reality.
Where is this taking me? Yesterday I became interested in a program I downloaded last year, a simulation program named Orbiter. The person who created set it up so that it would be as realistic a space flight simulator as possible, and given the number of times I’ve already crashed, I’d say, yes, it very much is.
While most of the simulation is taken up by the space shuttle Atlantis, and the ISS, there are a few fictional craft that will let you experience things that you might not ever do in real life. One craft, the Dragonfly, allows you to take off from the ground, fly into orbit, and even fly off to and land upon the Moon if you so desire. There is another craft called the Saturn-A that is used on the Moon and Mars, but last night I managed to lift-off from Earth and fly into orbit–for a little bit, that is. I did something bad, and I ended up putting the ship into an uncontrollable flat spin (or, in the vernacular, I entered an excessive yaw-right maneuver, and exhausted my RCS fuel trying to correct) and reentered the atmosphere somewhere beyond Africa. One moment you’re trying to fix your situation, and the next thing you know there’s all this glowing red mist just outside your window . . .
Trying to figure out what you’re doing is half the battle. I’ve gotten good enough that I can figure out how to get into orbit without burning too much fuel (I’ve still gotta learn those angle of attacks so I don’t rocket straight up and out), but I’m still learning the fine points of trying to go from the Earth to the Moon. Tried that today, and ended up getting to the moon’s orbit–only the moon wouldn’t show up at that point for a couple of weeks. Oops. It’s that sort of “accident” that leaves you gasping for air, wondering what the hell happened.
The best part of this: addons. There is a very large community out there that’s constructed all sorts of simulations, from historic flights to flights that are happening today. But if you prefer, there are modules that’ll let you fly craft that exist only in your imagination . . .
I’ve already got my eye on a few adons, but first I’m going to figure out how to fly better than I am, ’cause these ships cost a lot of money, and I don’t want to spend my time crashing them, or ending up lost in space for eternity–
Hey: Lost in Space. Sounds like a good title. I wonder if I can do something with that?