Space Simulator  1.0.9
space flight simulator
Coplanar Orbits

Coplanar orbits are orbits that are in the same plane. In Space Simulator all the planets orbiting the Sun are coplanar, ie, they lie on the same plane. In order to perform any useful orbital maneuvers, you will generally need to align the orbit of your spacecraft with your destination orbit.

Here we will learn to use the Orbit Planner to change the angle of an orbit in order to align it with a particular planet.
Below is a typical scenario of a spacecraft orbiting around the Earth at an arbitrary inclination. We know that the orbit of the spacecraft is not coplanar to the ecliptic plane because it has an inclination of 39 degrees.


To make our orbit coplanar to the ecliptic plane, we can follow these simple steps:
1) Drag and rotate the view so that you visually align the ecliptic plane so that all the orbits are overlapping on one level. This step is not necessary but it later helps to see clearer the points of intersection.
2) Our aim is to tilt our orbit until it becomes coplanar with the ecliptic plane. The correct time to tilt our orbit is when our spacecraft intersects with the ecliptic plane.


Once you have arranged the view so that you can clearly see where your spacecraft is in relation to the ecliptic plane, hit Delta-T until your shuttle intersects with the ecliptic plane. In the above image the intersection is indicated by the yellow rectangle.
3) Once in that position, change the Normal up or down until your orbit becomes coplanar. The aim is to get the inclination as close to 0 as possible. How close you get to 0 will depend on how well you chose the position of intersection. The more accurately you choose the position of intersection with the ecliptic plane, the more coplanar your orbit will be. You can fine-tune the inclination by adjusting the Delta-T and Normal+/-.


Once you are satisfied with the result, hit "Select" to save the changes and you will be on the new orbit.