Manage To Mars: Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager

Creepily-named publisher Slitherine send word that they’re going to be launching a space-project management game with Buzz Aldrin’s name on it later this year (and his advice was sought in researching the development, apparently). In Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager you will be tasked with a sandbox management scenario in which you must train astronauts and their support staff, while at the same time doing R&D and dealing with politicians. It’s going to be heavy on the realism, of course, but there’s scope for fantasy too: “Develop the X-15 Space plane, the Sputnik satellite, the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo manned spacecrafts and in later episodes on to Mars! You are not limited to the missions that did launch – you can also try out many that were planned but that never left the drawing board. For example, instead of sending men to the Moon using the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) approach used by Project Apollo in the late 1960s and early 1970s, you will be able to rewrite history and use either the alternative Earth Orbit Rendezvous (EOR) or Direct Ascent schemes.”

So basically giving us the space history we should have had. Sigh.


  1. Eraysor says:

    They should combine this with Kerbal Space Program!

    • Jekhar says:

      They should leave out the training part then. Jebediah Kerman needs no training!

    • Fox89 says:

      Buzz Kerman is the scardiest Kerman ever. I stranded him on Mun for a while to toughen him up.

    • DannyMB says:

      Roadmap for KSP does include a story mode, with mission goals, budgets and astronaut training. And the best bit is that we actually get to build and fly the missions in KSP.

  2. frightlever says:

    Nazi Scientist Tycoon?

  3. Tom De Roeck says:


    • SocraticIrony says:

      That’s exactly why we spend trillions on space. If we optimise every process on earth to perfection we still wouldn’t solve the population boom. Extra-planetary settlements are the future for those hungry kids.

    • Ansob says:

      Not even one trillion: link to

      • Kapouille says:

        Now here’s a depressing chart. I guess you could also solve world hunger quickly with LOTS OF WEAPONS.

      • LionsPhil says:

        You can’t have high-falutin’ science projects if your country is being overrun by the reds, boy.

      • Garg says:

        That chart is conveniently disingenuous. In comparing the 2011 science budget next to defence budget like that it omits that a very large chunk of total research output in the US is funded by the defence budget.

        Check any paper that comes from a US academic institution and you’ll likely find in the acknowledgements either DARPA, US Navy or US Airforce as funders. And it’s not just for papers on killing stuff either.

        • x1501 says:

          Conveniently disingenuous? The overall budget for the RDT&E (Research, Development, Test & Evaluation) components of the military is about $73 billion, or less than 11% of the total military spending of $708 billion or so. The vast portion of this funding is spent on very specific military stuff in Operational Systems Development, System Development & Demonstration, and so on.

          The actual Defense Science and Technology budget (all the programs in Basic Research, Applied Research, and Advanced Technology Development combined) generally only receives a fraction, about 15% of the overall RDT&E funding (or less than 1.8% of the overall military budget); and I highly doubt that most of the work done in these areas is completely benign and has nothing to do with the military whatsoever.

          Edit: corrected the numbers for FY 2012.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          Indeed. This very internet we’re using right now exists thanks to the efforts of defence research departments like DARPA during the Cold War as do a lot of the things we take for granted in modern life but since DARPA et al don’t have a poster boy like Steve Jobs constantly reminding everyone what they invented & created over the last 60 years most people have no idea.

          • x1501 says:

            The objections have less to do with DARPA not having “a poster boy like Steve Jobs” and more with the fact that, since 1946, the average yearly amount spent on defense by the US government has been around $400 billion dollars:

            65 Years Of Defense Spending

            Had these tens of trillions been spent on the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, the Department of Education, and so on, we would have probably had a more sophisticated version of today’s Internet—not to mention offset global warming and a Mars settlement—back in the 80s.

    • secuda says:

      but how can you defend a “Masterchef program” on random TV channel when there is hungry kids out there?

  4. Tunips says:

    ‘Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space’ was and remains a fascinating, tight, and difficult game. A bigger, broader take on the theme is to be applauded. I hope they keep the space race element, with its attendant fear, espionage and reverse engineering.

    • Fede says:

      I also hope they’re working with the designer of the original game, Fritz Bronner; I heard he had plans for a sequel covering mars and the 80s-90s.

    • udat says:

      I played the hell out of that game with a mate in my first year at uni (1993!) and it was unbelievably tense. I can still remember the russian countdown and some of the voice samples for various stages of the mission.

      We probably played it a hundred times and I don’t think either of us got a crew to the moon and back. I think I might have managed a one way trip once!

    • Canadave says:

      Agreed. BARIS was fantastic, and I’ve been long for a modern update for ages. KSP certainly scratches some of that itch, but it’s less of a realistic space program manager, and more of a fun sandbox for rockets and explosions. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one.

  5. Yargh says:

    but does it let you launch the super heavy, coke bottle factory dispenser/nuclear bomb powered Orion rockets?

  6. Rao Dao Zao says:

    He must be absolutely Buzzing about getting his own game!

  7. MSJ says:

    After Mass Effect 3 and Transformers: Dark of The Moon, I want Aldrin to cameo in every game and film that has to do with space.

  8. MiniMatt says:

    Rather strange though. Their press release notes “…said Ignacio Liverotti, Lead Developer at Polar Motion, developer of the game.”

    Now, Polar Motion, from their quiet-for-three-years twitter account – link to – appears to be a one man band previously credited only with an fondle-phone game called “FlipDisc” – link to

    • Lanfranc says:

      It’s not exactly the usual fare for Slitherine either, they almost exclusively do war games. But I guess we’ll see how it goes.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Indeed. Little bit of cyber-stalking around gamedev & unity forums seems to indicate it’s been worked on since 2007 as a part time solo project, moved into Unity (appears to have been largely feature complete at Christmas with optimisation work to do). At this stage I’m going to hazard a guess that the publisher managed to crowbar a quote or two out of Buzz Aldrin.

      Which all sounds like I’m rather down on the project which is absolutely not the case. Some of the best games in recent times have been small teams & one man bands. That this dev has managed to find a publisher able to inject some marketing muscle can only be a good thing.

      • Nacho says:

        Hello MiniMatt, I’m Ignacio, the Lead Developer behind SPM. Indeed, this game started as a solo project in 2007 and, as you can imagine, many things have happened during the last few years. The most important ones being securing a distribution agreement with Slitherine about a year ago and the partnership with Buzz a few months later, who I met a couple of times in person in order to discuss the game. If you liked Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space, I’m sure you’ll love Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager! :)

        Feel free to chime in to the Slitherine’s forums in order to ask more questions about the game. A special sub-forum for the game has just been created at link to

  9. fallingmagpie says:

    But can I build a space elevator out of carbon nanotubes? That’s all I want.

  10. Harlander says:

    Space Program Manager isn’t as cool a title as Race Into Space, but this still looks like it’ll be pretty sweet

    • Cinek says:

      Definitely. One nicest surprises so far in this year :) I’d love to try it out.

  11. Saiko Kila says:

    “…and dealing with politicians”? Like these ones: “We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon, and to prepare for new journeys to worlds beyond our own” (G.W.Bush, 2004) or “As president, I’ll make our space program a priority again by devoting the attention and resources needed to not only inspire the world with feats of exploration but also improve life here on Earth” (Obama, 2008)?

    Manned “space” exploration, including the shuttle program has always been a strictly political affair first and foremost. It wasn’t about science, it wasn’t about business. The true space program manager game should be “Dealing with politicians, and some other stuff”.

  12. Gnoupi says:

    Is it just me or does it graphically look a lot like a Positech product?

    link to

    Someone get Cliffski’s lawyer on the line.

  13. ethone says:

    Thanks a ton for the hint on the freeware version of Race Into Space! I enjoyed playing the original years ago and being able to run it again is soooo awesome!

  14. Saarlaender39 says:

    I remember a game on the C64: Apollo 18.
    I never got the f*****g Rocket into orbit.
    So I think, I better stay away from this.

  15. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I trust Slitherine abilities in coming with a very good AI. They make very interesting strategy and wargames and should definitely have more RPS coverage. Their games are a niche, but niches are meant to be broken.

    Check their forums if you want to learn more about their games.

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  17. cptgone says:

    i’ve been craving a game like this. too bad it’s confined to the Slitherine ghetto of overpriced games i can’t afford.
    i have high hopes for Kerbal Space Program though :)