katateochi

All craft from my Constellation mission vid

149 posts in this topic

Constellation Mission Craft

These are all the craft from my Constellation Mission Vid (and the vid if you've not seen it)

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These are not exactly the original craft from the vid. The vid was done in 20.2 but I've now updated them to work in 21.1, they are essentially the same, some small parts have been replaced and the versions of the mods they use have been updated.

You can still download the 20.2 versions (two versions, one for old mechjeb and one for the new)

The download links are at the end of this post, as zips that contains all the craft and all the parts/plugins that are needed

(There is also a table that shows all the action groups for the craft)

I will try to explain a bit about how to operate them and there is also a table that details the action groups for all the craft further down.

Hab Module

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The Hab module is lander with a max capacity of 9 crew, but it is intended to be a 6 man lander with a 3 man ascent module. It also has a teeny weeny science rover slung underneath it.

Its ascent module is a small craft which can shuttle 3 crew from Duna's surface to orbit and can also bring crew down from orbit. In the vid I landed the ascent module back inside the hab module and redocked it, a maneuver that I spent nearly a week practicing before I could pull it off reliably. It can also land near the hab module and be refuelled by connecting KAS lines to it (there is a moveable KAS connector under the KAS winch on the hab module for doing this).

Cargo Module

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The cargo module is an unmanned lander that carries 3 separate modules and a rover which can unpack the modules from the lander and position them. The rover also has a number of different attachments for its arm so it can do different tasks. The modules are a set of Kethane mining equipment that can't function independently, they need to be connected together with KAS lines to function. (see lower down for more about the rover and modules)

LV-T45 Transfer Stage (For the Hab and Cargo modules)

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This is the transfer stage used for both the Hab and Cargo lander modules to make the transfer to Duna. Its is launched unmanned and docked with its module in LKO. The docking connection is recessed inside a set of fairings which will cover the modules' small de-orbit engines once docked.

Using the Lander Modules

Both these lander modules are launched on Aries V style LVs which will take them all the way to LKO and have enough fuel left to deorbit the final ascent stage. The Transfer stages will need to complete the orbit on their own engines. (All these craft are designed to not leave a scrap of debris in orbit).

!!ARES V WARNING - DO NOT EXCEED 2 thirds throttle during SRB burn!! You will have a national disaster.

My launch profile for these is to launch at 66% throttle. rotate craft 90 degrees so the SRB's will be either side when you start the gravity turn (you could rotate them in the VAB so you don't need a roll program, but I like doing it).

I start Gturn at 5km with a pitch to 70 degrees, at an alt of 10km pitch to 55degress. Shortly after this the SRB's will burn out. Once they are released pitch to 45 degrees and throttle up to about 80%. Once the AP is at 30km I pitch to 35, when the AP is at 40km pitch to 25, when AP is at 60km pitch to 15. When your Ap is 70-75km pitch to 5 and stay on that pitch till the AP is at 100km. That should result in a wide ascent path with the PE somewhere around -200 to -150km, so not much effort is needed to complete the orbit.

They are meant to be launched unmanned (I use the CrewManifest mod to remove the crew) and are joined by LV-T45 transfer stages that will take them unmanned to Duna. They use RemoteTech so you need to have a satellite network in place for it to work without a crew. In the nose cone of each module there is a 50Gm dish so they can remain in contact with ground control all the way to Duna. I recommend having a RemoteTech command station at Duna otherwise landing the cargo module will be very hard. The 50Gm dishes are activated once in orbit with action group 4. (or you could launch and transfer them with a crew if you don't have a remote tech satellite network).

Before docking the two lander modules to their transfer stages you need to hit action group 7. This will deactivate the 2 small engines on the modules.

Action group 8 will cycle you through a number of cameras inside the dock between the main module and the transfer stage.

Hab and Cargo modules docked to their LV-T45 transfer stages.

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These use LV-T45's so the burn time to transfer to Duna is about 3m15s, short enough that both modules can depart at a similar time. (The hab module is a bit heavier and when I ran this mission I didn't quite have enough fuel in the transfer stage. But you can take some fuel from the lander itself as it has more than enough).

When you're on approach to Duna put yourself on a sub-orbital trajectory and hit 7 again. This will activate the modules engines and undock the transfer stage, then you can raise the modules Pe to aerobrake into orbit while the transfer stages go bye bye into the planet.

Descent and landing;

The cargo module lands unmanned and then deploys its modules with the rover, the Hab waits in orbit for the crew to arrive on Kopernicus. I recommend deploying the cargo modules before landing the Hab module because once both craft have landed it can get a bit laggy.

The cargo module has an extra step before landing. After its de-orbited and on course to the landing site the next stage will release the rear engine section (@4:50 in the vid). This is done to help it's balance, the hab hangs onto its engines as it has more SAS and can correct the imbalance. Once the modules are on a descent course you need to change the control point. Inside the Cargo lander there is small docking port, zoom inside the fairings and select "control from here" on that port (@5:00 in the vid). The hab landers control needs to be set to the 3 man pod on its ascent module (you can select it thou the fairings if you click in the right place). As you approach the landing site hit stage to release the upper two fairings and deploy chutes. The next stage will drop the other fairing, fairing mount, fire the 50Gm dish off the nose and start the landing engines. You must get the landers under 100m/s before the parachutes open or the force will rip them to bits.

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When landing the cargo lander you must not use G to lower the legs, there are a lot more legs on all its modules and hitting G causes a spaghetti of legs and problems, instead hit action group 5 to lower its legs. The hab landers legs are on the standard G control. Both craft have landing lights on action group 2 (other lights on standard control) and if you want to hover before landing and adjust your landing site the parachutes can be cut with action group 4. On the Hab module 9 will toggle its ladders. Once landed the landing engines can be deactivated with 1.

About the Cargo lander's Rover and modules

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The rover used to unpack the modules is a fairly small but very versatile little beast. To deploy it from the cargo lander hold down 9 until it has rotated and moved into position, then press 0 to release it.

It uses DamnedRobotics, KAS and docking ports to connect to the modules and move them. If you put a docking port on the end of a DR hinged arm, when you dock the hinges stop working and some parts get misaligned (save/reloading gets the hinges working but parts remain misaligned). In this rover there is a KAS winch on the DR arm and the docking port is connected to the winch, when the rover is deployed you need to first release the winch (tap numpad 1) and wind it back in again (numpad 3), then you need to change the KAS mode from docked to undocked via the KAS menu (or with action group 0) You can only change the mode once the winch has been released and retracted again. This makes the docking port on the end of the arm a separate 'craft' to the rover so when you dock it doesn't affect the DR hinges. You also need to change the control point as initially the nav ball will be on its side, select "control from here" on the front command pod and switch to docking mode for driving.

The arm controls use action groups 1-7. 1 & 2 raise and lower the main arm, 3 & 4 changes the angle of the connector. 5 & 6 rotate the connector. 7 will undock the arms docking port, but because of the above setup you need to switch to whatever the rover is holding and then hit 7 to release it. The other advantage of the docking port being a separate 'craft' from the rover is the action groups for controlling the arms won't interfere with any action groups on whatever its holding.

The rover has 3 other attachments that is can wield. The two standard KAS ones (grappling hook and magnet) are held on the side of the rover. The 3rd one is a command chair attachment that also has a lazor built in (for good measure). That is found ontop of the cargo lander and once released should just fall down and then a kerbal can connect it to the winch (@19:17 in the vid).

I modified the .cfg for the winch to give it 200m of cable instead of the standard 100m. This is to help speed things up when using the grapple hook attachment to climb hill (see vid @20:50 for change over and climbing process).

The modules are sections of a Kethane mining system and they need to be connected together with KAS lines in order to work. The power generator module has 3 winches and the other two modules and the cargo lander have connectors to plug the KAS lines into. Once connected together they form a fully functional mining setup and the cargo lander acts and the fuel depot.

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The Kethane drill has two small Kethane tanks and the converter has one, once connected together all these tanks will fill at the same rate. When converting kethane (which you can start with action group 8) RCS will automatically fill the RCS tanks on the cargo lander. But Liquid and Oxidizer fuels need to be pumped. The converter has an oscarB tank which it will fill as it converts, attached to the tank is a TAC fuel balancer device (which I call the fuel pump). You can set it to constantly pump fuel out of the oscarB tank to the tanks on the lander and it will continue pumping fuel even when you switch to another craft. (unfortunately the whole operation shuts down when you go over 2.4km away)

Kopernicus

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Kopernicus is the vessel used to bring the crew out to Duna. It has a total crew capacity of 13 but is intended for a crew of 6. 3 lander cans make up the main crew quarters and they are joined by a crew tunnel that can hold a single kerbal. It also has a 6 man landing/escape pod that is used to return the crew to Kerbin on return and can be used as an emergency escape module.

It is intended to be launched unmanned and then joined by its LV-N transfer stage. Once assembled the crew are brought up in the Orion craft, one of which travels with Kopernicus and is used to transfer the crew to the Hab module in orbit. It's also used to return the crew to Kerbin.

Both the satellite dishes and solar panels on Kopernicus are toggled with action group 3.

Kopernicus has a couple of contingency systems in case things go wrong. The 6 man escape/landing pod section can be ejected by pressing action group 1. Once its clear of the ship, hit abort (or backspace) to fire its short burn engines (obv. once your facing the right way!). In 100km orbit its engines have enough power to de-orbit it, from higher orbits it has a healthy stack of RCS to compete deorbiting.

Right next to the escape pod is another module that can be turned around and docked with the escape pods. It has a set of engines and with 2/3 fuel it can make it back to kerbin. It also has the capacity to land if it was already low on fuel and it make it back to orbit on 1/3 of its fuel. If you need to land and refuel it you need to leave the escape pods behind, but (which I forgot to explain in the vid) one of the crew will need to get in the ascent (/descent) module and come down too, in order to connect the KAS lines to refuel it.

The engines of this emergency return module can be toggled with 5 and 7 will deploy its solar panels.

Once returned to orbit around Kerbin, Kopernicus can be refitted with a new transfer stage and the landing/escape pods and emergency return module can be brought up and docked to it. I've not built the craft to bring those up again yet, as tbh just re-launching a fresh Kopernicus is just as easy (as we don't yet care about cost!)

LV-N Transfer Stage (For Kopernicus)

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The transfer stage for Kopernicus. With its much more efficient engines this module has enough fuel to take Kopernicus to Duna and back and to do powered captures of Duna and Kerbin orbits (as Kopernicus isn't designed for aerobraking). The burn to transfer Kopernicus to Duna takes ~15 minutes and ~5 minutes to return to Kerbin from Duna.

Orion

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Orion is the craft I used to bring the crew up to Kopernicus. It launches on an Ares 1 and has an escape tower in case the launch goes wrong.

Its 2nd ascent stage can deliver it to LKO, but I drop it off before completing the orbit and use orions own engines to finish the orbit.

Action group 4 will eject the escape tower, which I do while costing to AP so it doesn't end up in orbit. 4 then has the role of undocking Orion from Kopernicus or the hab module. 3 will toggle its solar panels.

In the event of an early launch failure action group 9 will deploy chutes (so you don't have to wildly hit space to get thou a load of empty stages).

Orion docked with Kopernicus

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Considering it's small size Orion has a high density of odd design packed into it. To get a kind of orion shape 4 fuel tanks are placed around a central one, but they are rotated so they are partly inside each other (btw this was done without using part clipping in the developer menu). There are several fuel lines buried in there too and some RCS tanks. This does mean it can be a bit explosive when decoupling its command pod during descent.

Action Groups For All Craft

I put all the action groups into a table so I could see what things would interfere with each other as several of the craft have to dock.

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(click img to download this as a word-doc, or click here for a pdf version)

Edit - Action group Bug

I found an odd issue with the action groups while testing these slightly upgraded versions. I can't remember this issue being there before, but I guess it must have been and I just hadn't being doing this kind of test.

I was just doing a quick test landing, launched without SRB's and headed west, then dropped the ascent stages after a short burn so I'd land a few km west of KSC. None of the actions groups worked, not even the basic ones for light and gears. Staging, throttle and all other controls worked, just action groups were non-responsive. But if I launched to full orbit and then de-orbited and landed, everything worked fine. The action groups also were working before launch, it just seems flying a short distance was not to their liking. No idea why this is (maybe something to do with needing to timewarp?), just a heads up to save you getting frustrated if you're also trying a short test like that.

Mod's and Mod Bundle

The craft use a whole load of mods;

KWRocketry

NovaPunch2

BobCat - American Pack

RemoteTech

Qunatum Struts

KAS

DRobotics(0.20.2) - actually, its infernal robotics

Kethane

TAC fuel balancer

Protractor

B9_Aerospace

KOSMOS

Romfarer

CrewManifest

and several parts are from older legacy packs;

Girder pack

Bobcat Jool rocket (just a decoupler - should prob change that

the head from the Curiosity (Pandora) mod pack

A previous version of KSPX - current_version

MechJeb 1.9.5 - current_version

Because getting exactly the right parts is a mission especially as some might not be available for DL anymore I've put together a bundle of all the parts, plugins etc that are needed for these craft to function. All the craft are included in the bundles too.

New 0.21.1 Compatible Version

The older 20.2 versions;

Download the Mod Bundle (with MJ 1.9.5) - 42.1Mb

Download the Mod Bundle (with MJ 2.0.8) - 42.7Mb

Bonus Satellite network (20.2 only)

B0bby suggested that I make a remotetech satellite network so those of you who don't have a remote tech setup can use these craft unmanned.

My Satnet is ancient, its nearly 20 years old and made out of some very old parts. So I've made a new one, just 4 satellites in a 600km orbit round Kerbin which is enough for other craft in orbit to maintain constant contact with ground control.

You can download the persistent file with the sat-net here. Either use that persistent file, or what I'd do is just copy out the 4 satellites and paste them into your persistent. It uses parts that are already in the parts bundles for the main Constellation craft.

I also have made another persistent file that has all the craft in orbit and docked with their transfer stages, both Cargo and Hab modules and Kopernicus. There is also an Orion craft with Jeb, Bill and Bob in it about 50km away from Kopernicus. Because that persistent has active crew I'm not sure how it would work if you copied the crewed craft into an existing one, but you can just using it as it is for a quick test of the craft. - Download for Full Setup

Edited by katateochi
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I have loved watching you play this. I love the crafts too. Thank you!!!

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aha you were too fast on posting it on the forum for me to test it before Kat' :P

anyway i've got all i need now to test your baby. thanks and congratz again.

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This is Awesome, I'm gonna try and recreate a mission from a recreated Mission that should have been created. :0, Thanks Kat your Videos are the very best. So much care for detail, I'm gonna have to watch the video a few more times so I can complete it. Ill let you know

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Will this work on .20.0? I decided to wait till I update for when the new version comes out. This also saves having to download all the mods separetly. Are the mods complete or is it just the parts needed for these craft to work?

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This set looks absolutely great, although if I could suggest anything, it'd be that you could try and simplify the design in how many different mods and parts you're using to maybe just a few of the most important and relevant mods since having to download over a dozen different mods, not to mention all the legacy parts complicates it a bit much.

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Thanks Guys! Glad you like these. I really enjoyed building them and doing the mission. I'm just a little unsure what to do now.

aha you were too fast on posting it on the forum for me to test it before Kat' :P

anyway i've got all i need now to test your baby. thanks and congratz again.

Sorry b0bby, but you had done a V important test for me, and that was making sure the part bundle worked for someone else. I'd be interested to hear how you get on using this craft.

I'm also def going to do what we talked about in PM and build a small satellite network that folk who don't have a working remoteTech network can use.

Will this work on .20.0? I decided to wait till I update for when the new version comes out. This also saves having to download all the mods separetly. Are the mods complete or is it just the parts needed for these craft to work?

I think it will, but I'm not 100% certain.

The part bundles are just the parts/plugins/resources that are needed, so not the complete mods (they also don't include stock parts). In the zip is a readme that has a list of the mods used if want to get the full ones (and there is a list in this thread with links).

I have to cut these mod packs down anyway, with full NovaPunch, B9 and KOSMOS (never mind all the others) my poor comp struggles. That's partly why I'm building the mod bundler program that made these bundles, so I can quickly generate a part bundle for a set of craft. I still have work to do on it, but I hope to have something I can release for the community to use before too long.

This set looks absolutely great, although if I could suggest anything, it'd be that you could try and simplify the design in how many different mods and parts you're using to maybe just a few of the most important and relevant mods since having to download over a dozen different mods, not to mention all the legacy parts complicates it a bit much.

Believe it or not this is a simplified version. The original hab lander was more complex and the Cargo lander had more parts too. To reduce lag I really stripped them down, there is not a lot that could be removed while still maintaining all the functionality.

But anyway you don't need to go and download lots of mods, everything you need is included in the parts bundles, including all the legacy parts.

If anyone has issues with these craft do let me know, I think I included most of their quirks in the instructions. I've been working on them and flying them for a long time I prob have just got used to some of their quirks. For me they are very reliable but I've got used to them and some aspects might be odd for others, like the landing process where you need to switch the control point during descent and maybe other things.

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Believe it or not this is a simplified version.
Yes, I noticed you hadn't indulged your usual fetish for colored lights. :D

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This is one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen come out of KSP, I wish I could shake your hand. Realistic and very well thought out, great video too, I liked the contingencies.

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You sir are my new favorite person! this project was AMAZING especially since you based it of the constellation project <3. all the footage was well done and you made every moment enjoyable and funny! this is by far the best project i have seen on the forums so please please please keep up the good work! i really enjoyed this, so start on part 2 :)

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Wow.. just wow. AMAZING engineering and flying. :)

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Video was amazing.

Question: how did you assemble the cradles on the Kopernicus and Hab modules? Ive tried to make a Constellation-style craft before, but those cradle sections gave me too much trouble.

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Thanks for yet more awesome comments guys. :)

Yes, I noticed you hadn't indulged your usual fetish for colored lights. :D

I knew I'd forgotten something!

You sir are my new favorite person! this project was AMAZING especially since you based it of the constellation project <3. all the footage was well done and you made every moment enjoyable and funny! this is by far the best project i have seen on the forums so please please please keep up the good work! i really enjoyed this, so start on part 2 :)

Part 2, hmmm, well I did intend to have the base as a reusable one and bring another crew out, but I can't think of what the purpose of the mission should be? (aside from being an excuse to do more tricky landings! which is almost a good enough reason!) One thought I had was to bring out a new crew and a bigger rover that was better at hill climbing. But tbh the hill climbing is a little tedious to do, I was thinking of making further changes to the KAS lines and extending them to 500m or even a km, but I'm not sure. Would you guys consider that cheating? I guess if I make the ropes ten times longer I could increase the winch weight by 10 also.

This is possibly the rover I might send out (it has some issues atm thou)

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Video was amazing.

Question: how did you assemble the cradles on the Kopernicus and Hab modules? I've tried to make a Constellation-style craft before, but those cradle sections gave me too much trouble.

The cradle section on the hab module was hard and I went through quite a few different versions before arriving at that one. In the early versions I'd thought that it was too hard to have the ascent module fully inside the hab and still have it strong enough. This was one of the early ones which had the ascent module perched on top.

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(btw I built both the landers in the SPH which made things easier and used the Subloader mod to move them to the VAB when ready.)

This is the final version with the ascent modue lifted out the way and one of the side panels removed;

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In this one I've taken the engine mounts off so you can see how the cradle connects to the main fuel tank

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Close up of the connection (looking from inside the fuel tank)

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In my initial attempts I tried radial mounting so I could get the right height of parts. The problem with radial attachment is its ok connecting things to the fuel tank and working away from it, but then at the other end it was impossible to attach the fuel tank with the same join so it was alway unbalanced. So I changed to have all the connections as stack connections. The little cube parts are used to join the large structural struts (where as before I'd used small struts to enable a radial attachment). One of the cubes is inside the downward large strut so the other strut connects higher up. The central bit is one of those long I beam parts which has attachment points at either end and in the middle so that helped a lot. And obviously a healthy dose of struts in key places. You may be able to see in that the docking port where the ascent module connects is actually two docking ports on top of each other, this was just to raise the height a little.

Sorry if I'm not making much sense, its quite late and not easy to describe in words what's going on!

And with the ascent module back in place

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The small white structural 'tanks' are there to support the ascent module when it is undocked. *

The cradle section on Kopernicus was much easier to make.

This first pic shows the top of the cradle which is a bulkhead section from NovaPunch. It has connection nodes on either side (intended for fairings), but I've attached a long girder to each.

I've just put bulkhead with 1 girder next to it so its clearer to see.

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At the bottom it is the same thing, except due the the tree structure of the crafts the lower bulkhead is only actually connected to one of the girders. See the girder on the right which is highlighted, that is not actually connected to the bulkhead. It's just held in place with several struts (a couple of them are out of view in this pic).

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tbh I was quite surprised that this worked without causing lots of wobble seeing as solid connection runs down only one side of the craft.

Just if you're interested these are a couple pics from early testing of the craft;

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The rover didn't have command pods then and I was still using the KAS magnet to connect to the modules. That would work, but often it would either make the rover flip 90 or even 180 on connection, and quite often it would just rip bits of the modules.

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Early shot of practicing the on hab landing maneuver, back then it just landed on top which was a bit easier.

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Edit - Forgot to add, I've now added a couple links in the first post to download persistence files, one with a simple remote tech satellite network for those who don't have a remote tech setup and another one which has all the craft in orbit and docked to their transfer stages.

Edited by katateochi
missed a 't, can should have been can't. really changes the meaning! doh!

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Yes, I noticed you hadn't indulged your usual fetish for colored lights. :D

aha, i'm so used to see him using them too :)

thx for the pics of the making of Kat', it was really insteresting to see how you managed the building of this craft.

and thx also for that save files. now i'll be able to test it just like you did your mission.

oh, and that rover is really looking good also. it has a little alien-like something.. love it :)

i really love your craft.

if the part bundle doesnt count too much parts that i dont already have on my main saved game i even think about using this on my futur mun base..

i'm glad you get the recognition (? not sure about this word..) you deserve my friend.

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Thanks for the cradle explanation. Completely blew over me as well about the NP fairing bases having the side nodes.

Here is the cargo module I made last night thanks to your help. Tons of room in the fairing sections to store stuff with DR and KAS. Though it'll need procedural fairings to fit insinde without clipping, as the KW ones are just a bit too small.

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I am new to KSP and have been mostly lurking the forums for learning purposes, but I finally signed up to say WOW! I have watched countless KSP videos the last few weeks and while there were a lot of awesome ones, this one pretty much made me sh*t myself. Well thought out.. spectacular module design.. and amazing execution. I don't feel ready to put that many mods into my KSP yet, but I hope in the not too distant future I can be half as good as what I saw in the video. So much inspiration here. GREAT job!

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Thanks for the cradle explanation. Completely blew over me as well about the NP fairing bases having the side nodes.

Here is the cargo module I made last night thanks to your help. Tons of room in the fairing sections to store stuff with DR and KAS. Though it'll need procedural fairings to fit insinde without clipping, as the KW ones are just a bit too small.

*pic_snip

Glad that helped. That lander looks really good, I really like what you've done there. Yours is actually more true to the RL Constellation cargo lander both in the way the rover is held and that the ascent module is n the cargo lander. I wouldn't have had any room on my cargo lander for the ascent module as well. When I started making these two landers I hadn't actually intended it to be a Constellation mimic, I just thought hey, "horizontal lander" and started mashing parts together and ended up with first version of the hab module. The initial plan was to have two hab modules that would dock in a T shape once landed.

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That lander has the kethane mining gear underneath it but it was very heavy and two together lagged badly cos of the high part count.

Then I had the idea about the rover moving parts around and started on the cargo lander and it was around that point I thought "hey, this is kinda constellation-ish" and started adjusting them to make them more like the RL constellation landers.

I am new to KSP and have been mostly lurking the forums for learning purposes, but I finally signed up to say WOW! I have watched countless KSP videos the last few weeks and while there were a lot of awesome ones, this one pretty much made me sh*t myself. Well thought out.. spectacular module design.. and amazing execution. I don't feel ready to put that many mods into my KSP yet, but I hope in the not too distant future I can be half as good as what I saw in the video. So much inspiration here. GREAT job!

I'm honored that your first post on here is to comment on my vid :) Glad you liked it and Welcome to the Party!!

Yeah I run with a load of mods, its was causing me problems recently cos I had too many parts for my poor comp to handle. but I've removed quite a few parts and just kept the bits I like from various mods and things are stable again. I'd always recommend using mods, just be careful which ones you pick, and your right not to jump into using too many to start with.

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I have gotten the habitat and cargo in orbit docked with the transfer stages, I ran a little low on monoprop docking, but that was just my inexperience, I just have to get my remote satellite system up and running then I will send them off to Mars, I cant wait until I have to try and land in the lander woo.

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I have done a few practice landing most of them successful, thankful that Duna has an atmosphere for those parachutes, and I tried that little trick you did landing in the lander, that's ridiculous, So you execute a 90 degree pitch and roll so you stay on a rail straight up? I kind of fell in a little crooked gas it to get out that wasn't a good idea, I pretty much cut it in half, i wish I had it on video or pictures for you all hehe.

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Practicing on Kerbin still not left for Duna. The ships are ready, I am not.

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I have done a few practice landing most of them successful, thankful that Duna has an atmosphere for those parachutes, and I tried that little trick you did landing in the lander, that's ridiculous, So you execute a 90 degree pitch and roll so you stay on a rail straight up? I kind of fell in a little crooked gas it to get out that wasn't a good idea, I pretty much cut it in half, i wish I had it on video or pictures for you all hehe.
Practicing on Kerbin still not left for Duna. The ships are ready, I am not.

practicing the general landings of the two landers on Kerbin is good, just to get a feel for the sequence of things, and they are a bit harder to land gently on kerbin.

I practiced the maneuver of landing the ascent module back in the hab module a lot. First on kerbin, where I'd just lift of from the hab module, hover a little and then drop back in again.

But I did most of the practicing for that on Mun, left the hab on the surface and put the ascent module in orbit (and refuelled it). Then did the deorbit and (attempt) landing again and again.

I used MechJebs SURF function to set the crafts pitch to 90 so it stays level, the engines should not be exerting any horizontal force, only vertical. With the old MJ you can then manually roll the craft to get the right orientation with the hab, but the new MJ I think you have to enter the value for roll.

Then it's all about the navball, in the vid I was hardly looking at the craft, just a bit on approach to see that it was rolled the right way to line up with the hab and in the very last few seconds. The rest of the time I was pretty much glued to the navball. As you come in for approach, select the hab and set the docking port on it as the target (that's important otherwise the navball marker is for the front of the hab module).

Then you need to look at where the navball markers are. because you set the craft to pitch 90 the crosshairs will be perfectly in the center, your goal is to get the pink and green markers perfectly aligned with the cross hair using the RCS thrusters. If the pink target marker is above the crosshair, you need to move the green marker above the pink marker by about twice as much, if the pink marker is off to the left, then move the green marker left by about twice as much. In other words keep the pink marker directly in-between the crosshair and the green marker and so the three points form a straight line. That will push the pink marker towards the crosshair, once its there you need the green marker directly on top of it too and then you know you are perfectly lined up and descending straight down directly ontop of the docking port.

I practiced doing that on Mun because it is easier and you can get a feel of what you need to do with the navball. On Duna with the atmo its a bit harder. I practiced with a crew in the ascent module, but when I came to do it in the mission I was landing without a crew. Because its a remote tech craft, even with no signal delay it is more wobbly than when it is crewed and mechjeb makes that worse. So once I set the pitch to 90 and got it rolled the right way I switched the SAS on which overrides MJ and makes it more steady.

GoodLuck!

If you run low of fuel, you can land the ascent module on the ground near the hab module and still be able to refuel it. There is a movable KAS connector underneath the KAS winch on the hab module, get a Kerbal to pick it up and bolt it to the ascent module and then you can plug the KAS line from the hab module into it for refuelling.

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Gonna fly to the Mun, do some practicing there, maybe ill get to Duna this weekend.

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