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Surveillance Satellite


This OXP adds satellites to the main planet, plus any secondary planets that may be available through Additional Planets.

Ideas with a revolutionary potential sometimes remain underestimated or just unnoticed!

This is the case for the Satellites OXP (author – Rorschachhamster). Seemingly just a nice exercise in coding and just one more OXP in the Ambience category.

But, it is a jolly hard task to simulate true orbital dynamics in Oolite:

In the real world, the calculation of orbital dynamics is based on the integration of acceleration vectors and on the energy conservation law. If you have no acceleration produced by a propulsion engine, your total energy (sum of kinetic and potential energy) would have a constant value. So on an elliptic orbit you’ll trade velocity for altitude and vice versa.

In Oolite we have no gravity nor energy. Acceleration is limited to propulsion acceleration/deceleration parameter thrust and this is not a vector value – it is just the rate of change of ship speed. So we need some trick to simulate true orbital dynamics – calculating the ship's position for the next frame and placing the ship directly into it.

Unfortunately JavaScript is not a suitable instrument for smooth dynamic simulations! It generates only 4 fps, so you’ll see the jerky sequence of frames instead of a decent illusion of smooth movement.

Bad idea. Forget it.

Satellites OXP uses a more elegant approach, based on AI behavior. It generates a realistically looking pattern of circular movement around a planet without sophisticated mathematics.

Source: Stranger's introduction to his Orbital Stations OXP
COMLR Satellite

Satellite Types

There are 4 different types of satellite that can be added to a system.

Surveillance Satellites

These satellites are designed to map and scan planetary regions, down to a very fine detail level.

COM and COMLR Satellites

These satellites aid and facilitate intra- and inter-planetary communications.

Satellite Telescope

These satellites are designed to scan deep space for anomalies (like Thargoid invasion craft or rogue comets and asteroids).



This OXP is released under the Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike 3.0 license. To view a copy of this license, visit

Version History


  • Fixed small bug that was preventing 2 satellite types from having their beacons hidden on secondary planets.


  • Fixed bugs with Library interface.


  • Destroyed satellites will stay destroyed in the current system until you leave.
  • Small bugfix in the save game routine.


  • Small bugfix in the new populator.


  • Reworked populator methods to use new functions, and to make the number and types of satellites the same in each system.
  • Added satellites to any extra planets in the system.
  • Added Library config options to turn off beacons and control the number of satellites spawned.


  • Added check if mainplanet is existent, in case of nova system... and corrected versions in scripts.


  • Added AI-code by Dr.Tripsa, that will let spy-sats work as police, and reduced texture size with Optipng thanks to a tip from Shipbuilder. Cleaned up the shipdata.plist, as well.


  • ...and if you change the texture names, you should change the names in the model.dats as well... and I should probably test before I release a "fixed" version. Sorry.


  • --and deleted a paste and copy error...


  • Changed the roles, models , textures etc. to more unique names to avoid compatability issues, thanks again to Eric Walch. Corrected the demoship.plist, so that all 4 satellites can be seen...


  • Original release.


Quick Facts


Minimum Oolite versionCPU usage lowMemory usage lowGPU usage lowisConfigurable

Config options available through 'Library'
Version Released License Features Category Author(s) Feedback
1.10 2017-10-12 CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Satellites Ambience OXPs Rorschachhamster, phkb Oolite BB

Gameplay and Balance indicator