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Shuttle Orbiter - Avalon Hill - Atari 2600    Manual Scan icon HTML Manual   

Shuttle Orbiter manual - Atari Age


A single player video game for the
Atari 2600 Video Computer System and Sears Video Arcade

Intended for use with the left joystick controller
and a color television


GAME BY: Bill Hood
Cover Photo: NASA
Graphics: Jean Baer
Typesetting: Colonial Composition
Prep. Dept. Coordinator: Elaine Adkins
Printing: Monarch Services

Any cartridge which fails will be replaced when returned to:
The Avalon Hill Video Game Company
4517 Harford Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21214

As with any video game, turn off
television and game when not in use

� 1983

The Avalon Hill Video Game Company

All Printed Material, Video Game and Audio Visual Display Copyrighted


Atari and Atari 2600 Video Computer System are trademarks of Atari, Inc.
Sears and Sears Video Arcade are trademarks of Sears Robuck and Co.



You are the pilot of the space shuttle Challenger. Your mission is to complete the construction of a space station in as short a period of time as possible. There are ten sections remaining to be transported to and installed in the space station. The sections are available at the orbiting Factory. Additional fuel is available at the orbital Depot.


Ensure the joystick you intend on using is securely plugged into the LEFT controller port. Insert the game cartridge and turn your game system on.


When first turned on or after pressing RESET, the title display will indicate game level 1. To play a more difficult game, move the joystick up (or down) to select game 2 or 3. For a practice session (no orbital debris), select game 0. When the desired game level is displayed, press the joystick fire button to initiate liftoff.


Once in orbit you will see the Orbital Display. At the top of the screen is a view of the earth and various objects in orbit. The white object represents the Challenger. The gold object is the Space Station under construction. The red object is the orbiting Factory, and the green object is the orbital Depot. Orbital debris is not displayed.

On the lower half of the screen is the Altitude indicator. The bars indicate the relative orbital altitude of the Challenger, Space Station, Factory, and Depot. This indicator is helpful in matching orbits for rendezvous.

The elapsed time since entering orbit and the remaining fuel on-board are displayed at the bottom of the screen.


Maneuvering between orbits follows one basic principle. If you are at a lower altitude than another object, you will orbit the earth faster than that object. If you are at a higher altitude than another object, you will orbit the earth slower than that object. The greater the difference in altitudes, the greater the relative orbital speed.

If you desire to rendezvous with an object that is ahead of you, you should choose an orbit with a lower altitude to gain on that object. When you are near the object, you should increase altitude to match the orbit. Adjust your position by moving slightly higher to drop back, or by moving slightly lower to move ahead. Then return to the same orbit as the object you seek.


When you are close to another orbiting object, you will automatically be switched to a maneuvering display.

You must first rendezvous with the Orbiting Factory in order to pick up a section of the space station. You maneuver the shuttle by changing orbits. If you pull down on the joystick the orbit will lower and the Factory will move upward and to the left on the display. If you push up on the joystick, you will raise your orbit and the Factory will move down and to the right on the display. To keep the shuttle and the Factory from drifting together or apart, you must adjust your orbit so that the middle of the Factory is horizontally centered with the shuttle. You can maneuver forward or backward in your orbit without gaining or losing altitude by using the Compensated Maneuvering Thrusters (CMTs). You control the CMTs by pushing the joystick left or right.

Once you have maneuvered the shuttle close to the Factory, press the fire button once to gain control of the astronaut. Note that the blue band above the clock shifts to white whenever the joystick controls the astronaut and returns to blue when the joystick controls the shuttle.

Move the astronaut out of the shuttle to the door at the top of the Factory. Safety precautions require that the astronaut be tethered and that he remain in sight of the cockpit. Additionally, the Challenger�s engines cannot be fired while an astronaut is outside the shuttle. If the astronaut cannot reach the door you will have to return the astronaut to the shuttle and maneuver the shuttle close. When the astronaut reaches the door he will be provided a section for the space station. Return the astronaut to the shuttle and press the fire button once to stow the section and regain control of the shuttle. If you choose to pick up a second section, press the fire button again to gain control of the astronaut and repeat the above procedure. Be sure you are controlling the astronaut so you don�t mistakingly drive the shuttle into the factory. When you have loaded the shuttle, press the fire button so that the band above the clock is blue and maneuver the shuttle away from the Factory toward your next destination. You will automatically be switched to the Orbital Display when you sufficiently clear the Factory.

When the shuttle is low on fuel, rendezvous with the Orbital Depot. You must line up the nose of the shuttle into the slot on the left side of the Depot without bumping into it. Maximum fuel load for the shuttle is 9000 kgs.

In order to complete the space station, you must properly insert the last ten sections into the proper place. After you rendezvous with the Space Station, move the astronaut out of the shuttle near to the rotating station. If you hold down the fire button while the astronaut is out of the shuttle the space station will slow its rotation to facilitate insertion of the section. The section must be inserted so that it properly fits one of the gaps in the left side of the space station. If the section hits the space station or is inserted into the wrong gap, it will be damaged and you will have to return to the Factory for replacement. If the station is inserted correctly it will remain attached to the space station. If you have carried a second section in the shuttle, return the astronaut to the shuttle and press the fire button TWICE to get the second section.

The earth recently passed through the tail of a comet and a ring of debris is forming around the earth. The ring is orbiting in the opposite direction of the shuttle. When you are near the ring the display will automatically shift from the orbital display until you have passed through the debris.


You win the game when you successfully install all ten sections of the Space Station. The elapsed time in orbit and game difficulty level will be displayed.


You lose when you run out of fuel, failing to complete the space station. The elapsed time in orbit is displayed above the game difficulty level and the number of sections successfully installed.


Any time the shuttle hits the Factory, Depot, Space Station, or debris it will be damaged and leak fuel. The greater the number of hits, the greater the rate of fuel loss.

Any time the Challenger hits an object there is at least a 25% chance you will damage your cargo. Due to packing constraints, if you are carrying two sections and hit an object, you will definitely damage one section � possibly both. You can only examine the sections at the Factory or Space Station. If the section has no prongs on the right-hand side, it is damaged and cannot be used. If one of the two sections being carried is damaged, the good section will be brought out first by the astronaut.

The shuttle consumes more fuel carrying two sections (damaged or not) than carrying one section, and more fuel carrying one section than with no cargo.

Only one refueling should be necessary for the truly proficient pilot.


No switches other than the ON/OFF, COLOR/BW, and RESET switches are used.

You can pause the game by pushing the COLOR/BW switch to the BW position. To resume, push to the COLOR position.

The RESET switch will start a new game.

Converted to HTML by Chad Hendrickson, [email protected] on 5/21/00