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Thread: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

  1. #1
    Spacecraft Engineer pebble_garden's Avatar
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    Pebble's Video Tutorials: orbital mechanics, rendezvous, etc

    Hey, everyone! I've made a 15 minute tutorial on the basics of orbital mechanics. It's a visual, uncomplicated presentation designed to help non-technical people wrap their heads around orbital navigation. I hope it helps! I recommend watching it at 720p (the highest resolution available).

    Orbital Mechanics 101 (HD) (v0.18.4, but still totally works with v0.2x)
    If the ads on DailyMotion bug you, try installing an ad blocker or you can just watch the YouTube version.

    I've also made many other KSP tutorials. Mind you, I don't always demonstrate the best or most efficient methods. I just want to give newcomers a leg up, as simply and quickly as possible.

    Oh, and I've scoured the internet for the very best Creative Commons music tracks to augment the visuals, complete with a track list and download information at the end of each video. I hope you enjoy the tunes!

    NOTE: YouTube now demands that I accept a Google+ identity to leave comments, or even access my channel's inbox. Since I won't do that, I'm going to turn off YouTube comments and move to Daily Motion. But if you post in this thread I can respond just fine. Thanks to all my supporters/subscribers!

    The Miranda Project (v0.21.1 and v0.22) - An updated, more comprehensive version of the earlier Phoenix Project series. (Work in progress)
    Lesson 01 - Intercept and Rendezvous <-- Comes with a lesson download with saved games and .craft files
    YouTube version.

    Maneuver Nodes (HD) (v0.19.1) - A quick, 10-minute introduction to the use of maneuver nodes.
    Maneuver Nodes
    YouTube version.

    Take Me To The Mun (HD) (v0.19.1) - A simple approach to reaching the Mun, complete with rocket assembly instructions.
    As a playlist
    Part 1 - Rocket Construction
    Part 2 - To The Mun
    Part 3 - Home Again

    Mission To Minmus (HD) (v0.18.4) - How to reach Minmus using a nuclear-powered Phoenix-variant.
    As a playlist
    Part 1 - Lander Construction
    Part 2 - Launch Vehicle Construction
    Part 3 - Launch to Orbit
    Part 4 - Transfer and Landing
    Part 5 - EVA
    Part 6 - Return

    The Phoenix Project (mostly HD) (V0.18.4) - A series of lessons in orbital rendezvous and docking, under a variety of conditions.
    As a playlist
    Part 1 - Rocket Construction
    Part 2 - Launch to Orbit
    Part 3 - Rendezvous (direct intercept from launch)
    Part 4 - Orbital Rendezvous
    Part 5 - Challenging Rendezvous (eccentric, inclined orbit)

    Mun Ferry (HD) (v0.18.4) - A complete mission played at 4x speed, showing the launch and operation of a Munar Ferry, to be based at Kerbin-orbiting station Gamma.
    Without commentary
    With commentary

    Gamma to Delta (HD) (v0.18.4) - An orbital transfer flight from stations Gamma to Delta, orbiting at 100 and 200km respectively.
    Gamma To Delta

    The Goddard Problem (HD) (v0.18.4) - A visual demonstration of the effect of different throttle settings/ascent profiles, showing the impact of aerodynamic resistance, gravity, fuel expediture, etc.
    The Goddard Problem

    I removed links to some very old KSP videos that no longer apply, but the truly adventurous can find them on my channel.
    Last edited by pebble_garden; 23rd May 2014 at 08:37. Reason: Offering YouTube versions of my most popular videos

  2. #2
    Space Station Kommandant
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    This should be stickied.

    I now know how you do orbital inclinations. Might make Minmus missions ever so slightly easier.
    Disclamier #1: Just because I want it in KSP does not mean I expect it in now.

    Disclamier #2: Just because I disagree with you does not mean I want to disrespect you.

  3. #3

    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Themohawkninja View Post
    This should be stickied.
    It definitely should. Anyone starting KSP with no knowledge of these concepts can get it done in fifteen minutes. I would have killed to have this tutorial a few years ago when I started orbiter 2006.
    Beats reading the first half of Go Play in Space a dozen times.

  4. #4
    Spacecraft Engineer pebble_garden's Avatar
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    I would have killed to have this tutorial a few years ago when I started orbiter 2006.
    You and me both! It took me many months to learn these concepts in Orbiter. The problem is, most of the people writing orbital mech tutorials are extremely technical. There\'s nothing wrong with that, of course. But using interactive visuals, I thought I could demystify the subject and spare newcomers some frustration.

    There\'s real beauty in the way orbital mechanics work, it\'s a blend of chess and ballet. Maybe a bit of trapeze artistry as well.

    Darn it, I just saw some text in the video I thought I\'d fixed. I\'ll have to reupload it. Fixed and reuploaded, relinked above.
    They should have sent a poet.

  5. #5
    E unum pluribus. Vanamonde's Avatar
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    That\'s really excellent work, both simple and clear. Nice choice of soothing music as well. Also, I think text on the screen works better than narration. It gives the viewer more time to think about what is being said.

    But am I missing something? How are you controlling throttle from the map screen?

  6. #6
    Spacecraft Engineer pebble_garden's Avatar
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Vanamonde View Post
    How are you controlling throttle from the map screen?
    The throttle keys still work in the map screen. At least, they do when you have the attitude ball up. (Not sure if they work when it\'s hidden.) I\'ll have to test that.

    Some things don\'t work in map view, like stage lock.

    And thank you for the kind words, Vanamonde!
    They should have sent a poet.

  7. #7
    Junior Rocket Scientist
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    Great work. I wish this had been up when I first started. A well made video that every new player should watch.

  8. #8
    E unum pluribus. Vanamonde's Avatar
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    Oh. My. God. With the navball up, you can indeed control throttle from map view. How the hell did I miss that? I\'ve been playing this game every day for 2 months! Do you know how much easier my life is going to be now?

    Apparently, it\'s not just newbies that can benefit from this tutorial.

  9. #9
    Spacecraft Engineer Tarmenius's Avatar
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    Excellent work! Simple and accurate with well-coordinated visuals. I have to agree that this should be stickied. Any plans to do more tutorials like this one?
    "Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas."

  10. #10
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    Re: Orbital Mechanics 101 - A Kerbal Space Program Tutorial

    I concur with previous statements - and might I say, lovely choice of music there.

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