Interplanetary MFD

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Project home: IMFD
Author: Jarmo Nikkanen

Interplanetary MFD (IMFD) is an Orbiter add-on created by Jarmo Nikkanen. It facilitates travel throughout the solar system by calculating and displaying a vessel's predicted trajectory. It is first released in 2002.


The current version is IMFD 5.1g released on March 28, 2008.

Key Features:

  • Map program can be used to display entire solar system and predict the actual course of the vessel with numerical trajectory calculator. The predictor can be also used to predict a hypothetical scenarios as well. This is very useful when planning a free-return trajectories.
  • Course program is a collection of minor navigation programs those will let you to navigate through the solar system to other planets, moons and comets. Primary programs are based on the Lambert solver. In the most simplest case only a date of ejection and the Date of arrival is required as an user input.
  • BaseApproach program is designed for Apollo style Moon to Earth return missions. It can be used to target a bases on the Mars and land directly without an orbit insertion. The program will also allow to establish an orbit right over a specific base on a planet so that it is possible to continue the descent on the base. That's very useful when landing on the Moon.
  • Surface Launch program is usefull when starting interplanetary or lunar missions from the planet surface. The program will compute the time to launch window and required launch heading. This program is the only one that doesn't compute any burn guidance data. A vessel specific ascent profile should be used to reach low orbit.
  • Orbit Eject program is required when starting interplanetary missions from the orbit. This program is used in a combination with the other programs to convert the Escape information into burn guidance data.

Version History

0.5 (2002)

  • Initial Release


  • Scaleability improved. Using without DG panels
  • Bug in Multibody calculations fixed also Calculation speed increased x3
  • Map: centering Periapis and Apoapis
  • Map: Now mode displaying ship position "Dot"
  • Map: Manual reference added
  • Map: Hyperbola position bug fixed.
  • Ellipse draw fixed

Orbital program added:

  • Circulate orbit at any point
  • Velocity Match
  • Find Target


  • Multi-body calculator rewrote it is now 10-20 times faster than the first one and it is much more accurate.
  • Plane change line added to Approach, Zoom, Update
  • Intersections are displayed on map
  • 50% Gravity Zone Circle
  • Information text to Map.
  • Continuing updating to approach-program.
  • Information display removed
  • Gravity references display removed


  • Orbital: circulate fixed


  • Approach: Time stepping improved
  • Map: Some Centering problems fixed. When current center is no longer available like apoapis on hyperbola.


Changes are unknown


  • Map: Intersections with hyperbola fixed
  • Calculation fixes and minor changes


  • Transfer program is now online. Little different kind of approach to transfers.
  • There is no dV. You can specify intersection longitude and that sort of things.
  • Hypothetic orbit is shown on the Map. Map will automatically go to HTO mode when transfer program is running in other MFD.

- Course correction program 1 ( Best launch time is when the time required for the burn is minimum )

- Course correction program 2

  • Map: Auto Zoom feature
  • Map: Mode indicators added
  • Map: Interceptions problem with inclination greater than 90deg fixed
  • Orbital: Program 7 removed. Same maneuver can be done with transfer programs.
  • Approach: Time stepping improved
  • Approach: Plane change calculations fixed


  • Map: reference bug fixed.
  • Map: auto centering when selecting targets from some where else. Ship orbit will be disabled.
  • Transfer: calculation error fixed
  • Transfer: reference bug fixed. ( Transfer is now using same reference and target as map)
  • Approach: realtime calculation improved, many fixes
  • Transfer: Program 1 replaced with new program.
  • Transfer: Time to burn added.
  • Map: line brightness increased


  • Same programs can be used in both MFDs at the same time. There is still only one trajectory calculator that can be used in a single MFD at a time.

Primary Changes

  • MFD won´t lose it´s state when changing between panels.
  • Work´s with add-on star systems.
  • Advanced Transfer system
  • Aerobreaking program
  • New layout

Other Changes

  • SOI calculation fixed.
  • Map: Traget selection fixed.
  • Map: Performance improvements.
  • Map/Approach: Periapis altitude added (Alt).


  • Transfer program fixed
  • Text disappear bug fixed in Aerobrake
  • Reference selection improved.
  • Few minor bugs

1.4 (April 23, 2003)

  • Minor math optimizations
  • Some precision errors fixed
  • Orbit drawing improved, fixed
  • Equatorial geostationary orbit added GEO, Ecliptic & Reference orbits added (g,e,r)
  • If no target defined. Ecliptic is targeted
  • Input values are checked in transfer programs. No illegal values.
  • Low influence warning added to P2
  • Ecc, PeV added to Aero-brake (airspeed relative)
  • Link option changed to Auto LAN/Manual LAN in transfer program.
  • New planets hardcoded Europa, Ganymede, Callisto for aero-brake
  • Map zoom limits extended
  • Upd/Atm buttons removed from aero-brake. Automatic update begins when mfd is open.
  • Int / Slf buttons swapped in a Map. (Int) is used more often than (Slf)
  • PeV added to Map (planet relative)
  • Interception points (Pe, Ap) added, Interception can be displayed at PeT even if the lines are not crossing
  • Plane Change added to orbital programs
  • Line draw bug fixed
  • Usable range limited in AeroBrake. Update can not be started when the update is taking forever.
  • Some problems and bugs fixed in transfer program.
  • Interseption information fixed, RAV (Relative Angular Velocity) added
  • Transfer program P3 added
  • Program flags added
  • Better Manual

1.5 (April 26, 2003)

  • Orbit change problem fixed in P1
  • One crashing bug fixed

1.6 (July 12, 2003)

  • Bug fixes

2.0D (September 14, 2003)

D is noted as Devel

  • The first release of IMFD containing new trajectory engine.
  • Only a map feature is enabled.

2.0 Beta 1 (October 8, 2003)

  • Multible fixes and improvements in Map
  • Orbit ejection program added
  • MFD will save it's state in scenario files
  • Manual updated

Course program added (old P2)

  • Escape calculation mode added
  • Some interseption information added

AeroBrake program added (OLD)

  • Automatic atmosphere setup. (Using Hot Dog's 2101AD add-on)

Orbital program added (OLD)

  • New "Burn" vector mode added

2.0 Beta 2

  • More space for moons
  • Mass limiter added to configuration page
  • Minor Bug fixed from Orbit-ejection program

2.0 Final (October 15, 2003)

  • Orbit draw & calculation disabled from small moons
  • Auto reference when selecting target
  • Map periapis centering bug when loading a scenario. Fixed.
  • Auto zoom fixed
  • Escape vector saved in scenario
  • Node bug fixed (weak node displayed when it should have been strong one)
  • Course program: no interception information for special orbits (impossible)
  • Periapis is selected by reference planet (not changing anymore)
  • Ecliptic plane is targeted if no other target defined.
  • Periapis bug fixed when ship is going away from the reference planet on hyperbolic orbit.
  • Ship's orbital data displayed if no periapis information available
  • Legsize calculation improved on highly elliptical orbit (apoapis)
  • Legs/Frame, LegSize settings limited in usable range
  • Different programs may now have a different target and reference
  • Graphics syncronation added
  • Reference planet of periapis can be centered.
  • Centering problem fixed. Caused by changing periapis number.

2.1 (October 27, 2003)

  • Bugs fixed from trajectory calculator / Map program.
  • Course program: pro/retro-grade selector improved. Planned course doesn't change anymore it has been changeing because LPe is counted in a different direction on pro and retro grade orbits. Now the LPe is counter in pro-grade direction recardless the actual flight direction.
  • LanMode: Inclination has been added.
  • Apsides Modes: Ap-Line and Pe-Line has been added
  • Bug fixed from aero-brake program. Now works with earth also.
  • In AeroBrake program longitude and latitude coordinates of periapis added.
  • In Map program longitude and latitude coordinates of periapis added.
  • Eject position selector added in Orbit-Ejection program.
  • Orbiter won't crash anymore when changing a vessel
  • Maximum planet count returned to 512
  • Launch window added to Orbit-Ejection program
  • TEI Trans Earth Injection program added (beta)

2.2 (October 29, 2003)

  • GEO-Sync program added
  • Minor fixes in TEI program


Changes are unknown

2.4 (November 29, 2003)

  • New features of orbiter release 051103 is in use (planet rotation elements, atmospheric parameters)
  • MFD configuration file is used. Allows a color configuration. (Config/IMFD.cfg)
  • Bug in a interception lines fixed (founded and reported by Bob Denny)
  • EqI added in Map program
  • Leg length error fixed form trajectory calculator
  • Course/Inclination: now uses a EqI for orbit defination, Alt setting added.
  • Trajectory limiter bug fixed.
  • Minor fixes in all programs.
  • GeoSync program removed. Now available as a GEOSyncMFD
  • AeroBrake disabled. (work in progress)

By Bob Denny

  • Auto-intercept feature (Aut)
  • Auto repeat when pressing + or
  • Automatic program & vector selector

3.0 (January 29, 2004)

  • TEI/Approach: Setting of Lon & Lat fixed.
  • Trajectory oscillations reduced when transferring to the Jupiter, Saturn...
  • Periapis bug fixed allows more than 1 periapis per planet.
  • Aero-brake program is now on-line
  • GEO has been changed to the LEO (Local Equatorial Orbit)
  • TEI/Approach program can now target the opposite side of the base. (automatically)
  • Scenario save bug fixed. Now supports names with spaces.
  • Interception bug with hyperbolic orbit fixed.
  • Experimental trajectory stabilizator added. (turn-on from config page)
  • Re-entry zone information added in TEI program
  • Some Bug/Calculation fixes in Orbit-Eject program.
  • Course jumping problem fixed. Occurs at highly elliptical orbits.
  • Some Keyboard issues fixed

By Robert B. Denny

  • Auto-burn feature in all programs
  • Approach Pro/Retro-grade programs. (with in TEI/Approach program)
  • Orbit-Insert program. (with in TEI/Approach program)

4.0 Beta 1 (January 15, 2005)

  • New Orbit-ejection program. Performance problems fixed in long burns.
  • Key-press/repeat problems fixed when using keyboard for (+,-) inputs
  • New attitude control code for Autoburn.
  • Accuracy / stability improvements in trajectory engine. (Tidal forces included)
  • Some scenario load bugs fixed
  • New color scheme created.
  • Program menu added. Button [PRG] changed to [MNU]
  • IMFD can be used in one single MFD screen and optionally the data can be shared with multiple screens.
  • Map program will notify the plane-changes maneuvers in prediction.
  • Sling-shot program added.
  • Auxiliary vector input added in Orbit-Eject and Sling-Shot programs for SBC input parameters. (_V and C3)
  • Aerobrake program removed. Will be published as AeroBrakeMFD with some feature enchangements.
  • Approach and Orbit insert removed from TEI. (Now included in course program collection)

New course program containing folowing sub programs:

  • Target intercept using co-planar transfer. (Lambert's problem solver)
  • Target intercept using off-plane transfer. (Lambert solver)
  • Tangential transfer for finding launch windows and low energy transfer orbits.
  • Planet Approach program. (efficient change for orbit altitude and inclination)
  • Standard dV-program.
  • Orbit approach

4.0 Beta 2 (January 17, 2005)

  • Autoconfiguration of Target Intercept fixed while using hyperbolic orbit.
  • Button labels changed SBC->AUX as used in manual.
  • "Invalid Target" message added in Intercept program. Invalid Orbit is not displayed anymore.
  • Intercept Time Bug fixed from Target Intercept programs.
  • Time to burn fixed while using pro-grade burn in Co-planar Target Intercept.
  • AutoBurn bugs fixed. Shouldn't miss the burn position. Higher time accelerations allowed.
  • Other minor fixes

4.0 beta 3 (January 18, 2005)

  • Map program reconfigured for Orbiter 2005
  • Removed some unnecessary items from map config
  • Course program will display a program menu if no active configuration present

4.0 Beta 4 (January 18, 2005)

  • Critical bug fix. Map wont plot when the reference is Sun

4.0 Beta 5 (January 20, 2005)

  • Default setup bug fixed from Planet Approach program
  • Negative inclinations can be used in Planet Approach program
  • Non spherical gravity component J2 included in predictor (Orbiter Update for 2005 Required)
  • Data lose while changing panels fixed
  • Setup of MJDs from keyboard fixed from Intercept and Tangential programs.
  • Solid planet with equator created in Planet Approach

4.0 Beta 6 (February 9, 2005)

  • Trajectory plotting bug fixed. Map program will now compute periapis information for reference and target only.
  • Ghost item removed from Navigation Menu
  • Launch Heading information added in Orbit-Eject program
  • Orbit Insert program added
  • Equator added in map program. Visible for centered planet only
  • In a case of major attitude failure Autoburn will go back in the attitude state engines shutdown.
  • AutoBurn Item removed from Orbit-Eject, TEI, Sling-Shot programs. [AB] button added. Now uses same layout as Course program.
  • Attitude control code now uses new Thruster Management functions from OrbiterAPI. (Requires 050126_
  • Periapis Altitude added in Sling-shot program
  • Pro-Grade is now a default mode in Orbit-Eject
  • Pro-/Retro-grade selection added in sling-shot program.
  • Automatical source object selection added.
  • Intersection lines added in Delta Velocity program
  • Autoburn wont go on-line in escape mode
  • Map Centered in reference planet by default
  • Error between Target orbit and perturbated planet position fixed
  • New Trajectory Engine added in map program (Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg)
  • Burn bug fixed from Delta Velocity program
  • Surface launch added in Non-coplanar intercept program
  • Plane alignment added in Non-coplanar intercept

4.0 Beta 7 (February 10, 2005)

  • LegSize and Legs/Frame used in Multibody predictor. Default values defined in IMFD.cfg. Not saved in scenarios anymore.
  • LegSize control improved.
  • In Non-coplanar intercept a pro-grade mode can be used when the time to burn is more than one orbit period.

External Links

Jarmo Nikkanen's Orbiter page