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This page contains all information about the first OpenSpace beta release version 0.11.0 as released in January 2018. Please note that the software is as-of-yet incomplete and may be unstable. The downloadable package (see download link above) contains all necessary data to run the application, but separate download links provide additional, optional content. As of yet, only a Windows binary is available, but the source code is freely available on GitHub. The commit of this version is 6e9697946. In case of any questions or issues, send us an email or join our Slack support.


After installing and unzipping the package found here, the OpenSpace application (OpenSpace.exe) is located in the bin folder. The full package includes all necessary data for running OpenSpace, where as the smaller package is missing this data. In case the data is missing our outdated, it can be updated using the Sync application found in the bin folder. This application will recreate the sync folder and will download all necessary data in the case only a subset of the data is to be copied to a different computer. In the case of a missing sync folder (download), this synchronization can take a long time as a large amount of data (>8 GiB) has to be downloaded over the internet. OpenSpace requires the installation of the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable package, which is included in the zip folder that you downloaded. A subset of optional Mars datasets are also available here with installation instructions for these datasets below. For the technically minded persons, there are PDB files available for debugging for OpenSpace, Sync, TaskRunner, and Spice. Our YouTube channel contains a set of tutorial videos that explain the usage of OpenSpace in greater detail.


This package contains five scenes that are of interest, the Default, New Horizons, Rosetta, OsirisRex, and Voyager scenes, described below, with an additional variant of the default called Default_full with more optional content. The scene can be selected by editing the openspace.cfg file, which is found in the base directory. In this file, the Asset parameter points to a *.scene file in the data/asset folder that is executed and defaults to default, which means that data/asset/default.scene is loaded. This can be changed to, for example newhorizons or /rosetta.scene, before starting OpenSpace. The scene files describe all the assets that are loaded for that particular scene, in the case of the default scene, it loads all planets, the moons of Mars, and the entire Digital Universe catalog.

After the application has been started, F2 and F3 open menus through which features of the software are accessed. Notable settings in these menus are the Scene Graph Properties which control parameters of individual elements of the loaded scene and the Space/Time window that is used to control the object the camera is focussing on, as well as the passage of in-game simulation time. In each scene, the keys 10, Shift 1Shift 0, Ctrl 1Ctrl 0 determine the Delta Time, that is the time at which the in-game simulation runs compared to the real world speed. Space pauses and unpauses the time. The ` key opens an interactive Lua console through which detailed settings can be set, see the documentation/LuaScripting.html for a list of commands. Also in all scenes, the left mouse button rotates the camera around the selected Origin, the right mouse button zooms in and out, and the middle mouse button rolls the camera. By pressing CTRL and using the left mouse button the object can be moved off the screen center. Pressing the F key, disable rotational friction, which will cause the camera to rotate around the object forever, whereas Shift+F performs the same operation for the zooming of the camera, and CTRL+F the same for a rolling motion.

After starting OpenSpace with a specific scene, the documentation/KeyboardMapping.html file contains a list of all the available keyboard commands, including a short description.


This scene is enabled on default and provides the ability to look at detailed terrain models of Earth, the Moon, Mars, other planets, and the American Museum of Natural History’s Digital Universe. The view defaults on Earth at the current date. The currently displayed terrain can be changed by opening the GUI (F3), selecting the Scene Graph Properties (or using the Featured Properties), navigating to Earth -> RenderableGlobe -> Layers -> ColorLayers. On default, the ESRI VIIRS Combo is enabled, which uses the Suomi VIIRS daily images when viewing the whole Earth, but switches to a high-detail image from ESRI when zooming in. A layer can be enabled by opening the tree view of the object and selecting the Enabled checkbox. Additional Overlays are also available.

These layers are also available on the Moon and Mars to which you can navigate using the Space/Time GUI window.

On Mars, of special interest are the CTX Mosaic ColorLayers which are composite images of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s CTX instruments. These show a large area of Mars with 6 m per pixel resolution and are available for about 70% of the surface. If the additional Mars package was downloaded, it is recommended to open the data/assets/customization/globebrowsing.asset before starting and adding the CTX and HiRISE subfolders at the top of the file to the Mars table in line 11 (see example in the file). This will automatically make a subset of CTX and HiRISE terrain models available in the Layers list.

New Horizons

This scene shows the acquisition of New Horizons’ images of the Plutonian system in July 2015. The scene starts at around 10:00 on July 14th, around 10 minutes before a new image campaign starts. By selecting Pluto in the Origin dropdown menu in the GUI (F1) and moving time faster using the number keys, you can see the imprint of the instrument’s field-of-view on the planetary surface and see the images being projected. The images that you see are not aligned, since old positional information of the spacecraft is used to calculate these pictures. Newest information should be available to the general public soon and we will update OpenSpace accordingly.

In the top left part of the screen, a timer shows when the next image is being taken.

Additional keybindings: A: Focus the camera on the New Horizons space craft S: Focus the camera on Pluto D: Focus the camera on Charon L: Toggle the visibility of the labels of New Horizons’ instruments T: Toggle the visibility of Pluto’s and Charon’s shadows F8: Remove the already projected images from the surface Keypad 8, Keypad 2: Increase and decrease the height exaggeration on Pluto to show the terrain structure Keypad 9, Keypad 3: Increase and decrease the height exaggeration on Charon to show the terrain structure


The Rosetta scene shows the entire mission of ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft around the comet 67P. Also here, the spacecraft’s images are being projected onto the comet. In addition, the separation of the Philae lander is visible as well.

Additional keybindings: A: Focus the camera on the 67P comet S: Focus the camera on the Rosetta space craft I: Toggle the visibility of the free-floating image plane P: Toggles the image projection of Rosetta; useful if making long time jumps and not wanting to wait for the image projections to occur


This scene demonstrates the entire lifetime of the OsirisRex space craft on its way to the asteroid Bennu and it’s subsequent journey back to Earth. The scene starts out at Earth around the time of the spacecraft’s launch and has information throughout the entire mission until it’s landing back on Earth in Utah. The models of OsirisRex and Bennu are available, as well as a preliminary instrument timing, which uses the same image projection technique as employed in the New Horizons and Rosetta cases to show where images of the asteroid will have been taken.


This scene contains the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions as they were launched from Earth in the 70s and visited all the gas giants in the solar system. The spacecraft models are included and are pointed accurately throughout the mission. Position and orientation information are available until the second half of the 21st century.