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Spacesim is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to teaching people about space, as well as fostering a love and respect of the "final frontier." Explore our site to learn more about Spacesim, and we hope you enjoy your visit.


Visitor Information



Member News

Welcome to Spacesim.org!

Mission Forms and Sign-up Schedules
Each participant should complete a permission form and return it to the teacher advisor prior to the mission.

Commander Applications
Instructions for submitting apps are included in the application forms.

2012/2013 mission news release

About Spacesim
We welcome you to the official website of the Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation (OCESS for short).
— Informally called Spacesim, OCESS is a non-profit organization that promotes a greater understanding of space exploration and research in students of all ages.
— By conducting a 96-hour simulated mission to a chosen planet, moon, or asteroid, Spacesim strives to foster initiative and responsibility in its members, while instilling love and respect of space and science.
— Feel free to explore our site. There is always something new and interesting happening at Spacesim.org. Click on any of the links below to start exploring:
About Us: Contains information about Spacesim's Mission Statement, History, Contact Information and more.
Education: Features descriptions of space-related programs offered to school-children of all ages.
Archives: Contains information about past missions, downloadable files and images, and previous meeting minutes.
Mission: Features details about Spacesim's simulated mission to Mars in the 2007-2008 school year, as well as information about past missions
If you would like to visit our facilities on Albert St., please contact us. In the Downloads section you can find maps to help you get there.

Parents please read:
  - the Letter to Parents and
  - the more about space sim document.

Map of 440 Albert Street, ground floor
Our room is W027
Street map for 440 Albert St

OCESS Mission Permission Form

OCESS Procedures Manual (not updated)
OCESS Procedures Manual MSWord version

Orbit software (not updated)
Subsim software for Europa ocean exploration
Notes for TRANSORB transfer orbit planning software.
Integrating software and hardware primer
Europa return planning document
Mission Iapetus planning document
Flight training(updated Dec. 13, 2013)
  • note the following changes to file names
    1. the training flight software (MC's flight mirror software) is now called mirror.exe
    2. the piloting software is called flight.exe
    3. start the hab engineering software with engSThab.exe
    4. MC telemetry software is telem.exe; MC engineering starts from this application
  • there are a number of changes to software that may alter the way some of the training procedures work
  • each of the specific training sessions has a pdf file which provides an overview the goals and procedures as well as specific instructions
  • the full-screen applications require WIN98 or XP to run
Parallax Software and Data (updated Nov. 2, 2012; updates to database and additional features in software, download and overwrite all files)

Oct. 25, 2013

There was a regular work session this day.
New orbit training files were uploaded on Sunday, Oct. 27
  • modified software (replace all files in your folder)
  • a new training scenario for a return from the moon to earth
  • new training document (moon to earth procs.pdf)


Sept. 6, 2013

There will be a regular work session today.
It will begin at 3:30 PM and run to 10:00 PM.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful summer and that we are all ready to accomplish great things, terrific things rather than terrible, but quite definitely great!

Adult Supervision Schedule

Mission Update: April 1, 2013 (in all seriousness)

I would like to thank all the people who have volunteered for supervision duties. It was most heartening to see the chart nearly full. I will volunteer for the Tuesday night shift, as I am sure that there will be many things that need attention at the start of the mission.

I will have an outline of duties and responsibilities for supervisors on site. My cell phone also will stay on site with the supervisor so that there is continuity in the contact number for both parents, students, and the custodians.
The most important thing to take care of at the start of your supervision shifts is to sign in your vehicle at the main office if you are there during the day. At night, we will just make sure that the custodians know where your car is parked.

Some of the astronauts have academic obligations to take care of during the school day on Tuesday, so I thought it best to delay our official arrival at Albert St. until noon. I will get there as close to 11:30 as I can manage, and if any parent needs to drop off students a little early, this should not pose a problem. We will spend the afternoon making final preparations for lift-off:
  1. Stowing all personal and other items in the spacecraft and gowing over checklists.
  2. Verifying the functioning of the VPN network with MC at Lisgar and running some short simulations to ensure that all software and communications are working as they should.
  3. Starting the countdown process to verify that all spacecraft systems are functioning properly and ready for lift off.

Once all of the astronauts are on board and all systems are ready, we will start our 'final countdown' and commence our mission. We have a couple of launch windows around 4PM and with luck, we will lift off shortly after 4 PM. The final countdown schedule will be posted here early tomorrow afternoon.

Dec. 21, 2012

There will be a regular work session today.
It will begin at 3:30 PM and run to 10:00 PM.
Please note: it may be necessary to end early if weather conditions deteriorate too much.
Please ensure that you make weather-appropriate transportation arrangements for regular and possible early departure.

Dec. 14, 2012

Please note that there will be NO WORK SESSION this week.

The senior students and I are working with the school administration to get adult volunteers approved for the work session next week (Dec. 21). I am very sorry that our teacher labour action is interrupting our program. It is not something that I am happy with, but we will try to get a team of volunteers ready for 2013 so that we can have our normal set of work sessions in January and February (and for the mission as well). We also will be exploring other strategies to keep our mission preparation on schedule. Please check in to the forums and this website for news related to next week's work session.

Nov. 23, 2012

The science team has completed the calculations
for the X,Y coordinates of M-2012A.
They are currently working on estimating a reasonable albedo so as to
calculate a radius and then a mass.
Once these provisional attributes are calculated, the object
can be placed into the ORBIT database.

Nov. 16, 2012

Spacesim will run as normal from 1530 to 2200 hours this evening. Details as to activities will be set out at the start of the work session.

Oct. 27, 2012

The science team has completed some of its data analysis tasks. I encourage all spacesim members to try out these calculations. The one thing that I don't like to hear is the use of phrases like: "using math stuff" when considering how to do this. Many of you are guilty of this sort of thing. We need to treat this job as a serious learning opportunity. Mersereau-2012A will be entered into the orbit inertial database when a more general effort to complete these calculations is evident.

The blue shift data has yielded a closure speed with Earth of approximately 1.11x106 m/s (data from the initial news release). This analysis was based on amount by which the reflected solar absorption spectrum lines were blue-shifted using the equation:

speed = speed of light x ((stationary wavelength / blue-shift wavelength) - 1)

Preliminary calculations of the object's distance from earth and from the sun have been completed for two different dates using parallax calculations.
The mini-mission to Jupiter of 1 week ago allowed the deployment of a space telescope into orbit around Jupiter. The parallax software displays the downloaded data from this telescope and an OCESS telescope in orbit around earth. The software can be used to measure the angles between Earth, Jupiter, and Mercereau-2012A. The Earth-Sun-M2012A angle also can be measured using the parallax software. Initially, it was thought that the orbit software could be used to calculate this angle, but the teacher advisor and science team were mistaken in this. The orbit software does display the Earth-Sun and Earth-Jupiter distances. These distances and angles can be used to calculate the Earth-M2012A distance and the Sun-M2012A distance using the sine and cosine laws as demonstrated in the following graphic.

The Sun-M2012A distance is needed to enter M2012A into the orbit software inertial database.

The Earth-M2012A distance calculated for 2012 day 297 and day 300 (yesterday) will permit a calculation of the object's closure speed which can be compared to that calculated from the blue-shift data.

The other paramater that must be estimated for entry into the orbit software inertial database is the radius and mass of the object.
The radius can be calculated if we make an estimate of the objects reflectivity (albedo). An average albedo for rocky objects could be used for a first estimate. This, and the object's distances, permit the calculation of the radius according to the procedure in the following graphic. The solar output is approximately 3.8x1026 W.

Oct. 26, 2012

There will be a regular work session today.
The activities will include:
  1. signing up all remaining members who are without wiki and forum accounts
  2. starting up network and identifying software and hardware bugs
  3. starting up camera system and identifying hardware problems and features for the further evolution of the system.
  4. activate communications system and work out how to restore connection to MC speakers
  5. work out what modifications to the comm system need to be implemented prior to this year's mission
  6. carrying out task forces:
    • backpacks and helmets (continuing as before)
    • organizing supplies, especially in the store room
    • training on flight and engineering duties, especially co-operation between engineering and piloting
    • documenting wiring: this is a critical new project
    • astrometric data analysis for Mersereau-2012A: (existing data and the new download today); there is still room for new members on this team
    • any of the previous task forces can still work this week, if we have enough members present
  7. if time permits, we should try a short return-to-earth-from-Jupiter mini-mission; we need to do this eventually (or our astros will not so slowly cook in all that radiation), and we need the practice at re-entry and landing (hint: see task force #3)
The above list ought to keep all of us reasonably busy this week!

Oct. 22, 2012

During the Oct. 19 work session, the OCESS successfully sompleted a last-minute AYSE docking and a transfer orbit to Jupiter.
The Jupiter Orbital Telescope was deployed, not at the Jupiter L2 Lagrange point, but in an orbit around Jupiter, inside of the orbit of IO. This orbit will allow frequent line of sight to Mersereau-2012A. The first observation has been completed and transmitted to the OCESS base station.

The new telescope data is stored in the parallax data file linked to the left. Make sure to download the all the contents of the zip file as many of the data files contain critical modifications to accomodate the new parallax observation software.

The saved state of the mission to Jupiter (m2012ym) is stored in the flight training zip file. This file can be used to obtain the current distance between Earth and Jupiter, needed for the parallax analysis. A detailed drawing of the current location of Earth, Jupiter (distances and angles) and the Jupiter-Mersereau2012A parallax midpoint-Earth angle are all needed to correct for the fact that Jupiter and Earth do not currently form a perpedicular to the direction to Mersereau-2012A.

Oct. 19, 2012

Regular work session this week.
The last two weeks have seem two scrubbed attempts at initiating a transfer orbit to Jupiter to place an orbiting telescope at the L2 Lagrange point. This week I will have a training program for AYSE docking ready for astronaut and MC piloting staff (pilots, fidos, guidos). With a new server computer, we should be ready for a successful mini-mission early in the work session this week.

Taskforces also will have time to continue their work from the previous two weeks.

Oct. 10, 2012

2012/2013 mission news release
See bottom of left-hand frame for data.

Oct. 5, 2012

There will be a regular work session this week.
It will start and the normal time of 3:30 PM. It may end 30 minutes early.

Parents and new students should check out the two letters to parents in the left-hand panel for more information on what the work sessions entail and how they are structured. There also are maps of both the location of the Albert St. Education Centre (440 Albert St.) and the location of the spacesim room in the school.

This week we will be doing the following:
  • most new members have been to a work session at least once, but we can still conduct familiarization tours as needed
  • set out procedures to deal with planetarium presentation requests (who does what so no bookings get dropped)
  • several task forces will have materials to carry their projects forward:
    1. backpacks and helmets (make forms and mandrils and start fabrication of backpack shells, patch helmets)
    2. software and network bug tracing
    3. fixing radios and phone system
    4. start marking wall and ceiling access panel openings for spacecraft hardware
  • mission training:
    1. orbit flight training
    2. engineering training
    3. communications training
    4. carry out a sequence of short training mini-missions
    5. meeting to discuss details of intercept mission to Mersereau-2012A
      • how to calculate current position
      • how to calculate current speed
      • how to calculate current trajectory
      • mission objectives
      • possibility for robotic reconnaisance mission
  • organizing, cleaning, inventory of supplies

Sept. 7, 2012

Spacesim Worksessions begin this week (Sept. 7).

  1. Lunch Meeting
    • choose people to fill administrative and technical positions
    • plan for clubs day
    • talk about grade 9 presentations
    • talk about expanding membership outside of Lisgar
    • discuss mission destination
    • discuss sim office protocols and activities

  2. Work Session
    • Decide what modifications to carry out on Hab and MC areas this year (stuff we can start and complete early)
    • Try out some training activities
    • activate the network and other systems and make sure that everything works




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