Living the moment – Synced launch

November 13th, 2009
Shuttle launches are always exciting to us space junkies, whether we are on site (you lucky bastards! :)) or watching it live on NASA TV. SSM allows us to take the watching to the next level. it is not a secret that you can sync up your SSM launch to the live feed, the SSM community is doing it for the last six months in a very organized way. Now with the Release of the new Demo version of SSM, and the upcoming launch of STS-129 we are “revealing our secrets” to allow everyone to enjoy the experience.We will start with the requirements for the operation.
1. Shuttle on the launch pad, ready to go.
2. Computer capable of running SSM2007 (game requirements)
3. A running copy of SSM patched up to the latest release OR a copy or the latest DEMO version of SSM2007.
4. A TV with NASATV channel OR a second computer capable of playing RealMedia or windows media streams
5. (Optional) Team-speak client software to connect to the SSM-Fans TS server.
The first step in a sync launch is getting some save points ready, it’s recommended to do that a few hours before launch, so that you will have time to make several save points. our BEST point for the sync is when the countdown is resumed going out of the T-9 Min hold. Why you ask? because the shuttle crew needs to start the countdown timer themselfs, which means that the CAPCOM counts down for the resume.
so we need to choose a mission from the game, usually you will select an ISS mission with a launch time similar to the current mission. but it this article I will refer to the DEMO as a guide – so STS-1 is our only option.
STS-1 is not the optimal mission for the job, we have a day launch, in 28.5 degrees inclination (ISS are 51.7 degrees), we have OMS-1 burn (current missions are direct insertion), it doesn’t roll heads-up and it’s Columbia (that isn’t around anymore :() with a white tank. But! it’s better then nothing! 🙂
We need to make several savepoints along the countdown:
End of T-9 Min hold – this would be our default point, all the rest are “failsafe”
T-10 seconds
T-6 seconds – SSME start
T-0 – lift off.
So lets begin.

 

Step 1 – SSM2007 preps:
Demo Saves for synced launch
start the mission of choice at T-01:50:00, and run on the pre-launch as fast as you can (use timeskip whenever possible).
when ordered to resume the countdown we first PAUSE the game, that will allow us to load the save and wait without scrubbing the simulated launch by waiting too much. the we will SAVE the s
ituation.
we will now UNPAUSE the game and continue our launch. on T-10 seconds we will again pause and save.
we will do the same on SSME start and on Lift-off. we will pause and save. at the end your saves will look something like the image on the right.

 

Step 2 – NASA TV:
if you have the channel on your TV. your DONE! GJ! 🙂
If not, we have some preps to do.
the Best option for online viewing is the Real-Media stream available on NASA website.
you can download it to your desktop and launch with a click 🙂 the RM offers minimum latency, so if you watch it with friends around the globe, the timing is very close to everybody, it also offers a cross platform support, the Real player is available for  Windows, Linux and OSx – so any computer would do the trick. the Real-Player is available at real.com
And you should also hold a backup, http://www.nasa.gov/55644main_NASATV_Windows.asx
You have native support for this format on any windows PC, Mac and Linux might require some additional tweaking, codecs or software.
the drawback is a greater latency and significant delays caused by buffering.. sometimes a two minute delay between this feed and the realplayer feed.

 

Step 3 – Teamspeak:
the SSM-fans teamspeak server address is ts.ssm-fans.info:51107
connection instructions are available at http://ts.ssm-fans.info
if you are running the TS on the same computer as you run the game on it is recommended to run a software likeTeamSpeakOverlay, such a software shows you who is speaking while in the game (you can’t expect to recognize everybody’s voice, after all :))

 

Step 4 – Rock and roll!:
We have everything set up, and the real shuttle is in the T-9 minutes hold. 30 to 20 minutes prior to the launch time, load everything up (if not already loaded) and launch the game.
T-9 hold, paused and ready to go
remember the T-9 min save we’ve done? this is his time to shine.
load it up, verify that the game is paused and wait. once NASATV announces that the T-9 hold is about to end, and count down would be resumed get ready 🙂
you would hear the launch control calls out time for resume, usually they start the count at 5 seconds, but you should have a heads up of about 15-30 seconds before that to get into the correct panel, unpause the game and wait.
the count should be something like “Resume count down in.. three.. two.. one.. MARK..”
on the mark, flip the switch and off we go! from here on both the mission and the game will count down from T-9.
you can switch to any view you like especially the views unavailable for you on NASA TV, such as from inside the cockpit, or external view of the shuttle as it climbs up higher and higher.
Just keep in mind that you need to perform some actions in the cockpit, and that you cannot pause the game in order to do them (you will loose sync), so you need to be fairly proficient in the launch actions. so if you are new to the game, I would recommend running the final countdown (from T-9 to lift-off) a couple of times before the “main event”.

 

Good luck!
And we hope to see you all on the upcoming STS-129 launch on our TS server 🙂
Uri_ba and the ssm-fans team

Posted by uri_ba

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