Constellation Mission Craft
These are all the craft from my Constellation Mission Vid (and the vid if you've not seen it)
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.
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).
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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)
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 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
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.
(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;
BobCat - American Pack
DRobotics(0.20.2) - actually, its infernal robotics
TAC fuel balancer
and several parts are from older legacy packs;
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