is a space shuttle simulator based on the actual commands and procedures used by NASA. It simulates the experience of launching, landing, and performing the delicate missions required of the NASA astronauts. Random problems such as mechanical failures will arise as you try to complete your mission and return safely. This will test your knowledge about the shuttle and mechanics of space flight.
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THE FULL TEXT from ORBITER's online help documentation, menu article "about Spectrum HoloByte", not just an excerpt :
First, thanks for purchasing ORBITER. I would like to
take this opportunity to provide a bit of background on
this product and our company, Spectrum HoloByte, a
division of SPHERE, INC.
The initial outline for ORBITER was begun in the Autumn of
1984, with full-time design and coding initiated in July
1985. During the nine-month development period between
design and marketing, we amassed a program source code of
over 600 single-spaced pages.
We've concentrated on realism in this simulation because
of the shuttle's high public visibility and because that
is what our GATO users said they wanted to see. Above
all, we wanted to create an entertaining vehicle for
making the world more aware of what really goes on in a
shuttle launch. ORBITER is a simulation, not an arcade
game, though we feel it is fun as well as instructional.
Holograms: The ORBITER hologram was done by Light
Impressions of Ben Lomond, CA.
Holograms are laser-generated "photographs" taken of solid
objects, using mirrors to provide a 360 degree view.
Laser-generated holograms require a direct light source to
be viewed properly, meaning either sunlight or an
incandescent lamp. Fluorescent lights are too diffuse to
provide sharp viewing of an image.
The ORBITER hologram, which was placed on the outside of
the first 10,000 boxes, is of a ceramic and metal model
which was set in isolation on metal mounts and allowed to
sit for one week to let the vibrations reach equilibrium
with its surroundings. If the object moves 1 millionth of
an inch during the 20 minute exposure, the shot must be
We are often asked about the origin of the name
"HoloByte." Essentially, it is our word for a
computer-generated hologram. We took the name because of
our interest in 3-D computer animation and because we
intend to come as close to on-screen holography as
For those of you not familiar with us, we were
incorporated November 1, 1983 as a computer software
publishing company specializing in graphics. While our
game, GATO, put us on the map, it has always been our goal
to maintain the same high quality in all of our products.
Through the Spectrum HoloByte product line, the company
introduced entertainment software products in several new
areas: mystery, strategy, relax and enjoy, graphics quest,
and arcade-style games. At the same time, Spectrum
Holobyte added several games to its traditional line of
high quality simulations.
SPHERE, INC. was formed in early 1987 with the merger of
Spectrum HoloByte, a company with several years of
experience in software publishing, and Nexa Corporation, a
highly respected group of software developers. The new
company was acquired by Pergamon Press of London, England.
SPHERE has a sister software company, Mirrorsoft, in
London to assist with the international market. All
operations for SPHERE, INC. are now consolidated into new
headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The direction of SPHERE, INC. will be to continue to
enhance the Spectrum HoloByte line by producing more top
quality simulations (in the tradition of FALCON and
PT-109) and other entertainment, productivity and
educational products. We remain dedicated to bringing you
the best possible software at a good value and prompt,
While we can't address every suggestion that is made, we
do listen. We've incorporated a lot of the suggestions
regarding GATO into ORBITER and FALCON. In case you
haven't already guessed, the reason ORBITER is not copy
protected is that we listen. While most games are copy
protected, we decided to experiment with ORBITER. Thanks
for proving that this decision was the right one.
Thanks for "listening."
Phillip G. Adam, President - Spectrum HoloByte
Gilman G. Louie, CEO - Spectrum HoloByte
2061 Challenger Drive
Alameda, CA 94501