During last year’s Christmas break, we ran DOOM in space onboard the OPS-SAT satellite. My co-researcher Ólafur Waage made a great video about the whole experiment, check it out in his YouTube channel:

We ran DOOM a few more times before the mission came to an end by atmospheric re-entry on the night of 22—23 May, 2024 (CEST). During that time, we received some fun media attention from Norway, Sweden, USA, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Italy, and France:

🇳🇴 digi.no. “‘Doom’ for Doom-satellitten [‘Doom’ for the Doom satellite].” digi.no, 23 Mar. 2024.

🇸🇪 NyTeknik. “Frågan till programmeraren: ‘Jag har en satellit. Vill du spela Doom på den?’ [The question to the programmer: ‘I have a satellite. Do you want to play Doom on it?’].” NyTeknik, 21 Apr. 2024.

🇺🇸 Lane, Rick. “Doom played in space by satellite computer ‘ten times more powerful than any current ESA spacecraft’.” PC Gamer, 22 Apr. 2024.

🇺🇦 Гусар, Максим. “DOOM запустили на супутнику ЄКА OPS-SAT [DOOM was launched on ESA’s OPS-SAT satellite].” Blessed Esport, 22 Apr. 2024.

🇭🇺 Esport1. “Nem fogod elhinni, hol és min futtatta a Doomot az Európai Űrügynökség [You won’t believe where and what the European Space Agency ran Doom on].” Esport1, 23 Apr. 2024.

🇵🇱 Woźnicki, Zbigniew. “Doom odpalony na nowoczesnym satelicie. Eksperyment z kultową strzelanką trwał kilka miesięcy [Doom launched on a modern satellite. The experiment with the cult shooter lasted several months].” GRYOnline, 23 Apr. 2024.

🇵🇱 Chrzuszcz, Filip. “Doom został pierwszy raz odpalony w kosmosie na nanosatelicie [Doom was first launched in space on a nanosatellite].” CD-Action, 24 Apr. 2024.

🇮🇹 Michaelis, Lee. “Doom è stato lanciato su un satellite moderno. Il progetto ha richiesto diversi lunghi mesi [Doom was launched on a modern satellite. The project took several long months].” Gaming Deputy, 24 Apr. 2024.

🇫🇷 Meydeey. “Doom joué dans l’espace par un ordinateur satellite dix fois plus puissant que tout vaisseau spatial actuel de l’ESA [Doom played in space by a satellite computer ten times more powerful than any current ESA spacecraft].” Gamerush, 24 Apr. 2024.

🇫🇷 Sébum, L.F. “Love on the Orbite [Love on the Orbit].” Canard PC, 25 Apr. 2024.

OPS-SAT DOOM packs a punch!
OPS-SAT DOOM packs a punch! This screenshot was captured and downlinked from one of the DOOM runs onboard the European Space Agency (ESA)'s OPS-SAT-1 satellite.

My favorite highlights from the whole experiment:

  • The images captured by the onboard camera were automatically processed and integrated into the game as custom background scenes.
  • Onboard AI optimized the images during flight using k-means unsupervised machine learning to fit DOOM’s 256-color palette.
  • For a successful image acquisition during a DOOM run, the spacecraft had to be in Nadir mode, which increases atmospheric drag, thereby accelerating the satellite’s inevitable DOOM!

Explore the results on our GitHub repo and, as Ólafur would say, “Never stop learning.”