I found this website thanks to Scott Manley, and being a huge fan of DIY space sims from Indie developers, I found this one a pretty nice one to give a go and actually build myself.
As a software developer with a background in electronics (I am a bachelor in both ICT and Electronics) I found out that there were a lot of things that could be improved in your arduino protocol. What many don't realize is that the memory of an arduino is not unlimited, and eventually you have to resort to special memory tricks to get things going. Note that something like "AIRLOCKS_CLOSED_BUT_NEEDS_UNDOCK_PERMISSION" is already 43 bytes, and if you send a lot of things like this you can run out of RAM before you even realize it. Also, with power draw in the mix, I am pretty sure that when you do a full diagnostics test (powering all buttons, etc) it will end up in a "brown-out" (not enough power for your arduino).
I would love to help out with your arduino issues, give a good look at the code, maybe even create my own version. I do like to change a bit through: Instead of pushbuttons for trusters, what about adding a joystick and a slider for power?
Anyway, it looks like a great project and I would love to help out a bit I am pretty bad in design, but i can turn designs into nice pieces of art, and hopefully with a bit of help from the hackerspace community I can turn this into a beauty.