Launching from Earth

Press the 'VW' button (sh-W). This will switch your view from the Sun-centred view we've been using so far to an Earth-centred view. The green line is the orbit your craft would have if the Earth were magically contracted to a point. The curve of the Earth's surface is also there. The other, yellow orbit is constructed for you by the TransferX MFD. If you fly that orbit, you will end up leaving Earth exactly as you planned on the previous page!

Naturally, there are a few things about this hypothetical orbit you can adjust. The first is the distance of Periapsis from Earth's centre. The default value is below the surface - increase it to about 6.55M. This altitude is high enough to avoid the atmosphere, but not much higher. This is the ideal place to have Periapsis in this case.

The other thing you can adjust is the orientation of your hypothetical orbit. The only fixed thing about this hyperbolic orbit is that it must leave Earth in a specific direction. The whole orbit can be rotated around the axis of this specific direction without affecting the final outcome, and this is what the 'Ej Orientation' variable does. On this occasion, most orientations are OK.

The grey line is the intersection of the plane of your existing orbit, and the hypothetical one.

The other thing you can adjust is the projection. Other than the ecliptic plane, craft orbit and hypothetical orbit centred modes, there is also an equatorial mode. This looks down at the Earth with the North pole at the top, and the equator horizontally across the middle. From this viewpoint, you can easily follow the Earth's rotation around.

If you still haven't picked the 'Ej orientation', choose one that seems to lie as close as possible to Earth's equatorial plane, and allows a takeoff in a reasonably Easterly direction. Often none of them seem particularly close - this is something I may help with on future versions. 

Setup is now complete! Now the space travel can finally begin.

The first step is to wait on the ground for a little while longer. Our intention is to take off straight into an orbit which is in the same orbital plane as our planned one. To do this, we have to take off at the right time - just before the Earth carries our craft into the orbital plane. I took off at this point, which turned out to be a bit early. The key thing to watch is the grey line - you should take off (in this projection) before it's completely vertical.

The heading you need to take off in is an easy calculation. You can see visually that the required direction is North-East. The actual heading will be 90 minus the relative inclination - this works out to a heading of about 25' in this case.

Everything is set - it's time to take off.

If you prefer, you can close the TransferX MFD at this point - it will retain its settings if switched off (although currently not if you leave the simulation). However, it is quite practical to use it for taking off instead of the orbit MFD.

This is what my orbit looked like after a fairly poor takeoff. I didn't manage to get the relative inclination  down as far as usual, and I had some problems guiding myself through the atmosphere, side-slipped a bit and generally used about 1% more fuel than really necessary. Not a great takeoff. However, it will certainly be more than good enough.

Ejecting from Earth