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SpaceEngine's logo
SpaceEngine's logo
Original author(s)Vladimir Romanyuk
Developer(s)Vladimir Romanyuk
Stable release
0.990.42 / November 28, 2020
Written inC++
Operating systemWindows 7 and later (64-bit)
Linux (planned)
macOS (planned)
Size4 GB (software only)
50 GB (with all DLCs) (Solar System HD texture packs)
Available inMore than 20 languages
List of languages
English, Catalan, Croatian, Chinese, Czech, Spanish, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese, Korean, etc.
TypeSpace simulation
LicenseProprietary[1] (in Russian) (Official forum)

SpaceEngine (stylized as "Space Engine") is a 3D astronomy program[2] and game engine developed by Russian astronomer and programmer Vladimir Romanyuk.[3] It creates a three-dimensional planetarium representing the entire universe from a combination of real astronomical data and scientifically-accurate procedural generation algorithms. Users can travel through space in any direction or speed, and forwards or backwards in time.[4] SpaceEngine is in beta status and is currently freeware for Microsoft Windows. SpaceEngine's latest release, version 0.990 beta, is the first paid edition (released on Steam).

Properties of objects, such as temperature, mass, radius, spectrum, etc., are presented to the user on the HUD and in an accessible information window. Users can observe celestial objects ranging from small asteroids or moons to large galaxy clusters, similar to other simulators such as Celestia. The default version of SpaceEngine includes over 130,000 real objects, including stars from the Hipparcos catalog, galaxies from the NGC and IC catalogs, many well-known nebulae, and all known exoplanets and their stars.[5]


The UI of SpaceEngine, showing a procedural earth analog with planetary rings.

The proclaimed goal of SpaceEngine is scientific realism, and to reproduce every type of known astronomical phenomenon.[6] It uses star catalogs along with procedural generation to create a cubical universe 10 billion parsecs (32.6 billion light-years) on each side, centered on the Solar System barycenter.

Catalog objects[edit]

The real objects that SpaceEngine includes are the Hipparcos catalog for stars, the NGC and IC catalogs for galaxies, all known exoplanets, and prominent star clusters, nebulae, and Solar System objects including some comets.[7]

Wiki and locations[edit]

The software has its own built-in "wiki" database which gives detailed information on all celestial objects and enables a player to create custom names and descriptions for them. It also has a locations database where a player can save any position and time in the simulation and load it again in the future.[8]


Although objects that form part of a planetary system move, and stars rotate about their axes and orbit each other in multiple star systems, stellar proper motion is not simulated, and galaxies are at fixed locations and do not rotate.

Most real-world spacecraft such as Voyager 2 are not provided with SpaceEngine.

Interstellar light absorption is not modeled in SpaceEngine.[9]


Development of SpaceEngine began in 2005,[10] with its first public release in June 2010. The software is written in C++. The engine uses OpenGL as its graphical API and uses shaders written in GLSL. As of the release of version 0.990, the shaders have been encrypted to protect against plagiarism. Plans have been made to start opening them in a way that allows the community to develop special content for the game, with ship engine effects being made available to users who have purchased the game.[11]

On May 27, 2019, the Steam store page for SpaceEngine was made public in preparation for the release of the first paid version, 0.990 beta.[12]

SpaceEngine is currently only available for Windows PCs; however, Romanyuk has plans for the software to support macOS and Linux in the future.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vladimir, Romanyuk. "Space Engine - Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  2. ^ George Dvorsky (July 12, 2011). "New simulation is as close to traveling through space as it gets". io9. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Thomas Tamblyn (October 21, 2014). "Man Builds Massive Virtual Universe You Can Download And Explore". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  4. ^ Cara Ellison (March 11, 2013). "2012: A Space Engine". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Vladimir, Romanyuk. "Space Engine - Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  6. ^ Vladimir, Romanyuk. "Space Engine - Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  7. ^ Vladimir, Romanyuk. "Space Engine - Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  8. ^ Wilke, Stephan (10 May 2013). "Mit Space Engine 0.97 das Weltall erkunden: Faszinierende Ansichten des Universums". PC Games Hardware. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  9. ^ Vladimir, Romanyuk. "Space Engine - Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  10. ^ "Интервью с разработчиком SpaceEngine - Владимиром Романюком". Elite Games. 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
  11. ^ "0.990.41 Public Beta Release". Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  12. ^ Romanyuk, Vladimir (2019-05-27). "Steam Store Page is Live!". Space Engine. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  13. ^ Vladimir, Romanyuk. "Space Engine - Funding and Donations". Retrieved 2017-01-17.

External links[edit]