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Rocket Farmer

Pro tips

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So, I'm pretty stubborn about getting unfeasible rockets into orbit. I never know when to give up. I'll put rockets on sideways, whatever it takes.

What I have discovered is, no matter what kind of stupid unbalanced rocket you have, if you stage your engines with SAS on and not touch any controls after that, your rocket will stay straight! I don't think the physics kick in until you touch something. So what you can do is fly straight up until about 30km, and then flatten out in the direction of your gravity turn. It's not the most efficient way to get to orbit, but you can get some ugly payloads up there this way.

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HA HA Yes all of my probes have there battery turned off. That last 10 e is normally enough to reorient solar panels.

I have another one for space planes. Use 2 rocket fuel tanks turn off oxidizer on the front one. This keeps the CG centered and the plane stable. When the engine stops firing simply enable oxidizer fuel flow.

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Design your own general method of assigning control groups, and stick with it!

I tend to build a lot of vessels designed to dock with each other, and most can be categorized into "main craft" (space station, orbital tug, interplanetary mothership, etc.) or "sub craft" (lander, satellite probe, cargo pod, transport skiff, spaceplane, etc.). To keep the controls consistent and prevent interference, I generally reserve control groups 12345 for "main craft" and 67890 for "sub craft."

My usual control group scheme:

1: toggle all solar panel arrays on main craft

2: toggle all high-efficiency engines (nuclear or ion) on main craft

3: toggle all other engines on main craft

4: run all repeatable science experiments on main craft

5: run all non-repeatable science experiments on main craft

6: toggle all solar panel arrays on sub craft

7: deactivate all engines on sub craft

8: activate all engines on sub craft

9: run all repeatable science experiments on sub craft

0: run all non-repeatable science experiments on sub craft

I also often use Brake to toggle ladders on landers with no wheels, and Abort to deploy parachutes (vital for parachutes intended for multiple uses).

For vessels that don't have solar panel arrays or science experiments or multiple engines, I often re-allocate those control groups to other purposes (drills, converters, etc.).

Spaceplanes use 6 to toggle all the air-breathing engines AND air intakes (closing the air intakes reduces drag, or so I've been told), and 7/8 to deactivate/activate the rocket engine(s). I usually don't have science stuff on my spaceplanes (I use them primarily for transporting crew), so I reroute 9 and 8 for toggling ladders and shielded docking clamps.

The consistency makes it really easy to remember which button does what, no matter which craft I'm flying. It also means that, for example, if I have several small ships docked at Starbase Alpha and I realize that some of them have their engines turned on, I can just press 7 to deactivate all of them--then, when I want to use one, I can undock it and press 8 to spark the engines on just that one.

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ALSO:

Whenever you're taking a ship on a short trip up to orbit and back (maybe to get some science, maybe to deploy a small satellite, maybe to deliver crew or supplies to a space station, whatever), if you have any extra unoccupied seats in the command module, fill 'em up! Find a tourist who wants to orbit (free money) or send a rookie astronaut for easy basic training (low Kerbin orbit will get a fresh hire up to Level 1).

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So, I'm pretty stubborn about getting unfeasible rockets into orbit. I never know when to give up. I'll put rockets on sideways, whatever it takes.

What I have discovered is, no matter what kind of stupid unbalanced rocket you have, if you stage your engines with SAS on and not touch any controls after that, your rocket will stay straight! I don't think the physics kick in until you touch something. So what you can do is fly straight up until about 30km, and then flatten out in the direction of your gravity turn. It's not the most efficient way to get to orbit, but you can get some ugly payloads up there this way.

Not completely true. Physics activate when the vessel loads. You can have builds so unstable that the explode shortly after that.

If your thrust doesn't point towards your COM, then the rocket will also crash.

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Using the cursor controls in the VAB and SPH to move the vessel or parts. When holding onto a vessel in the VAB press and hold the right or left cursor keys and this will re-orient the camera and place the vessel in alternative positions (getting past the edge of the circle painted on the VAB floor). While in the SPH this is useful for building long vessels and allows parts to be placed rapidly from one end of the SPH to the other.

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For me my tip is this.

Know where you will land on Kerbin when you are returning directly to Kerbin without orbiting in between accurately and with little dv cost:

For accurate landing in Kerbin know that the Kerbin day is 6 hours long. So when returning from a high aopsis (mun, minmas or any other planet) as soon as you get into Kerbin's sphere of influence fast forward to the nearest multiple of 6 hours before your projected landing time (6, 12, 18, 24 etc). Check out where you will be landing on kerbin at that time (ie let's say 30 hours before you actually get to Kerbin).

Your landing point shown will be your actual landing point geographically as Kerbin will exactly rotate 5 times before you land (6x5 = 30). Simply adjust your course slightly to pick your preferred landing site. Given you are so far away dv costs are minimal.

You can also use this on any other body as long as you know how long their day is. This usually allows me to land those early missions within 5-10km of the space centre with little do cost.

There's also this: Landing Site Prediction on Return from Deep Space

Unfortunately that page hasn't been revised since version 1.0. Early testing suggests that, with the new aero, the targeted periapsis altitude should be about 9-10% lower than before; however, I don't have enough results yet to verify that with confidence. Furthermore, there are now additional variables in the game (drag coefficient & air density) that make it impossible to come up with an accurate 'one-size-fits-all' solution to the problem.

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