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Tips and Tricks for the Virtual Astronaut

Here We will cover various tips and tricks that will help you complete your missions with out any unnecessary problems.



  1. Always read the Comm before starting the task, and read it carefully. It usually “gives” you the solution to problems you may encounter (usually relevant in EVAs or RMS OPS).
  2. Stow the RMS before Going into the Deorbit phase. it will save you valuable time during the deorbit preparations.


  1. Try and plan your path before you move - it will help you avoid bumping into things during the EVA or hitting expensive equipment with the RMS.
  2. If you have trouble triggering a comm during an EVA or RMS OPS - stop, read the comm once more and try a different approach. come in from above instead of forward, from the right and not from below - try and cover all the possible approach routes before “giving up”. once you decide to give up. save, exit the mission, lower difficulty to low, re-load your save, and hit the “Z” key. if you wish you can go back to your original difficulty now.
  3. RMS “REACH LIM” soft stop can be at times a real show stopper, and it will not allow you to get the arm to where you need it to be without using the slow and complicated “SINGLE” mode. the “REACH LIM” can be over-riden by turning off “soft-stop” on the GPC. It is done from the OPS2 SM, SPEC 94 display - just hit ITEM 8 EXEC for “SOFT-STOP INH”.
  4. When Grappeling free flying objects EE attitude is much less restrictive. so just align the Cross on the Grapple target and you're good to go.
  5. When ordered to grapple free floating satellites after a rendezvous (such as the SMS on STS-41C, LDEF in STS-32, HST on STS-103 and similar) you should remember that you can maneuver the shuttle to an optimum grapple position (for example, yaw the shuttle until the HST grapple fixtures are pointing towards the shuttle).
  6. When Stowing the RMS keep the arm at UNL/ORB as long as possible - you can move the arm much faster this way. Keep the SINGLE mode for the final adjustments.

Attitude adjustments

  1. Usually it is easier to get to a certain attitude required by first rolling the shuttle to either 0 or 180 degrees (closer of the two), then set yaw to 0 degrees, next on the line would be pitching to the required pitch. last step will be rolling and shuttle to the required attitude if necessary. Yaw adjustment would not be required in most cases.
  2. If you need to get from 180, 180, 0 to 0,0,0. just yaw. once you cross 90 degrees yaw, pitch and roll will reset to 0.
  3. It is possible to have the DAP assist in many of the maneuvers. First you need to set the DAP to AUTO. Next initiate the maneuver. this can be done in two ways:
    1. on ORBIT MNVR EXEC (OPS202) use ITEM 27 (MNVR) - this will allow the shuttle to re-adjust the attitude in close proximity from almost every initial attitude.
    2. On UNIV PTG (OPS201) use ITEM 18 (START MNVR) - this will allow the shuttle to re-adjust the attitude. please note that this mode is more problematic regarding initial attitude and sometimes the shuttle starts tumbling out of control. to stop the automatic adjustment use ITEM 21 (CNCL) - this will allow DAP to stop the rotation. of this happens, it is recommended to manually adjust the Attitude.
  4. For fine-tuning attitude there are few tricks that are useful:
    1. On the F8 panel there are two switches ADI ERR and ADI RATE. on LOW setting the scales is 1 Degree, which allows a great accuracy in the maneuver. Flipping ADI ERR to LOW greatly enhances the needles sensitivity and allows you to trigger Comms that require attitude accuracy .
    2. On UNIV PTG (OPS201) display there is an ERR field. it is very accurate, and zeroing all values will trigger a problematic comm.
  5. You can switch DAP modes freely, Utilize them! PRI will allow you to make rapid attitude changes fast, VERN will allow more accurate inputs. PULSE will be useful on some rendezvous procedures, especially in translations. FREE mode can help when you are trying to simulate a TORVA or just roll 180 without the need to hold the “RHC” (keyboard or stick).
  6. On SPEC20 display you can adjust DAP rates, Dead-Bands an more. have a look there.



  • Turn on “Vertical sync” in your graphic settings. it will limit the frame rate to the screen refresh rate, the screen cannot display more frames a second then it's refresh rate, so You don't “loose” anything. the Up side is that some segments of the game “time” themselves on frame rate (such as Panel scroll speed), and locking the FPS to a reasonable value (60Hz is LCD refresh rate = 60Fps) will limit the scroll speed (in this example) to a comfortable speed.


  • Check to see if your Joystick is programmable. If the answer is “yes” you are in luck. You can teach your old stick some new tricks.. from Grapple, and translations to wheel breaks and chute jettison, you can do as you wish.


History Mod

  • Shuttle coloring scheme changed over the years, SSM only shows one of them by design. jerrydrake, a member of the SSM community has generated a bunch of coloring schemes users can switch between according to the mission they are flying. jerrydrake's Shuttle texture MOD download

Training scenarios

One Orbit Flight

Allows you to practice the launch and landing in SSM2007 without actually flying a mission.

General concepts states that after Comm 38 (ascent checklist) you immediately start the de-orbit checklists. You will have a “no-go” signal until after the Deorb-burn is complete (Comm 1017) and you proceed in flight for deorbit and landing.

Please note that the you don't do most of the ascent checklists and the payload-bay doors stay closed. You can use (almost) every mission in the game for playing the ONE-ORBIT-FLIGHT. The “HIGH” difficulty setting is preferable. Please read ADDITIONAL INFORMATION on “One orbit flight” forum thread by Boerhams

One Orbit Flight Checklist by Boerharms
Original "One orbit flight" forum thread by Boerhams

Working the RMS

SSM-Fans Article - Tips on RMS ops without using external views.

ssm-tips.txt · Last modified: 2011/09/05 12:03 by uri_ba