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ForScience6686

surface refueling ideas

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Good day everyone. My new challenge is refueling my space plane from my previous post. Unfortunately my design has the only docking port on the top and in between the wings. This has presented an issue with surface fueling, as my options are limited.

My current idea is to make a fuel boom that would attach to the miner. The end of the boom would have the docking port as well as an empty tank. The tank purpose is to add weight to lower the boom to dock. This presents an issue of assembling this boom. My best option is to send it up stacked and then dock the boom to the support before dropping it down to duna. Which is a bit odd looking, and landing it on the surface has been tricky unless I land then stand it up.

I am away from the game so no pictures yet, I'd really just like to see what you guys have come up with.

Edited by ForScience6686

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Claw tanker truck FTW

p47IPa1.png

(the claw may summon the kraken anytime, you may want to put the claw on the active docking vessel only to minimize the effect)

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TBH I never save the two vessels "clawed" anymore. I had several (gazillions...) issues with claws being then stuck forever or unexpected explosions.

I did warn about the kraky living in the claw :D

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If you use KIS and KAS, you could always attach a connector port to the underside of your existing plane and equip the surface miner with a winch cable. KAS/KIS would actually save you a number of headaches - the two craft could be up to about eighty meters apart from one another (still a precision landing required but not a precision surface docking) and the needed parts could be attached after the craft are deployed if need be (which would require an engineer with the tools for the job). Only possible downside there is that a Kerbal would be required to go out and plug the damn cable in. It would certainly lend itself well to the notion of an extendable refueling boom.

Stock solution - probably what's already been suggested to you.

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If you use KIS and KAS, you could always attach a connector port to the underside of your existing plane and equip the surface miner with a winch cable. KAS/KIS would actually save you a number of headaches - the two craft could be up to about eighty meters apart from one another (still a precision landing required but not a precision surface docking) and the needed parts could be attached after the craft are deployed if need be (which would require an engineer with the tools for the job). Only possible downside there is that a Kerbal would be required to go out and plug the damn cable in. It would certainly lend itself well to the notion of an extendable refueling boom.

Stock solution - probably what's already been suggested to you.

Yah, KAS is by far the best connect-two-things-on-the-surface solution that I've seen thus far.

You don't actually need to connect a winch-- all you need is two connector ports, one for the plane and one for the mining rover. Then just take a kerbal on EVA to link the ports.

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I would like to avoid the claw, and no mods please. I'm looking for some creativity here. My boom solution has been the beast I can come up with in terms of delivery to duna and functionality, however landing and standing it up is showing some issues still.

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A boom could work, whether with in-orbit assembly or launched intact. Just has to reach.

I would suggest building it so that the docking port on your truck is a bit high to connect, to handle terrain and varying suspension deflections, and add landing legs to the back of your fuel truck - drive it over with the ports lined up, lower the gear to lift the back of the truck and drop the boom.

I've found that adding a pair of Clamp-O-Tron Jr.s inline gives a lot of flexibility (ie, wobble) to a structure - you might want to back your regular Clamp-O-Tron with those to give it some flexibility on the connection angle.

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Yah, KAS is by far the best connect-two-things-on-the-surface solution that I've seen thus far.

You don't actually need to connect a winch-- all you need is two connector ports, one for the plane and one for the mining rover. Then just take a kerbal on EVA to link the ports.

What's the maximum distance on that? I landed two craft with connector ports 130 meters apart the other day and tried to move one of them because I thought it was too far away; it tipped over on the second landing (still usable, it's just not going anywhere ever again).

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What I've used to do, on Minmus, was to standardize heights: all my mobile bases and vehicles would have a 1.25 horizontal fuselage, a regular sized girder would come out horizontally out of it at the exact vertical center and another girder would hook vertically at the end of it. At the base of that girder, I'd put the wheels.

And, and the end of the fuselage where those girders were attached (or at the same height), I'd put a docking port.

That way, every vessel ends up with the docking port at the same height. Buuuuut... this is Minmus and its flats we're talking about. Do it on rolling terrain and your docking ports may not properly align.

You can use landing gear and lower/raise it when the ports are pretty much kissing each other. Someone had designed a very low rover - sort of a skate - which docked beneath the vessels and used it to move the ships and standardize the docking ports heights.

It's complicated. The Klaw or KAS are far simpler solutions.

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The boom truck might be the best bet. Standardization is out the window at most of the fleet is on the way to duna already, but I will keep that in mind next journey. I'll see what I can come up with tonight and get some pictures up.

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KAS/KIS may still be an option - how far along is your fleet already?

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Sorry capi, I'm vanilla al the way. My goal is to create a fueling method that I could taxi my plane through, attach to the docking port on top, and bring my crew home. The boom I think will be the easiest solution, especially if I can make it mobile.

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You need to invert the docking port so it's facing downwards. Then you can dock with something very flat, very low, that has an upwards looking docking port. Not easy, but doable. You'll probably need to retract the plane's landing gear to get the ports to connect.

Sounds like a cool idea, but the implementation isn't going to be easy.

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You might need the boom to have some wiggle-room. You could mount some flexible parts at the base of the boom and perhaps at the end before the docking port.

Imho the most flexible parts are docking ports, the junior variety in particular. Try to put one on your truck, mount another facing that, and put your boom on that last one.

It would enable you to decouple the boom, so be careful, but will allow it to flex. If it's not enough, try add another set.

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Sorry capi, I'm vanilla al the way. <snip />

Fair enough, and more power to you for taking that route.

So here is my design so far, redesigned as a fuel truck. I am having trouble getting it to actually dock though. Must the alignment be perfect? If so I'm not sure how to get more precise, maybe leave the boom straight and elevate it slightly. Any ideas?

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=538974873

Hmmm....have you consider attaching the docking port to the rest of the boom via a set of Cubic Octagonal Struts? In my experience, those things let you get away with stuff in the stock game that you might not expect (for example, I made a trebuchet once using them as a stock bearing). They should give your port a bit of additional flexibility when it comes time to dock up. It's worth a shot, anyway.

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Do you mean stack the cubic then the port?

One other thing, I haven't used the wheels before, they seem horrible. No option for locking suspension and the brakes are so weak.

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Using stock parts, simple solution:

Low gravity worlds, not a factor, you can dock anything with anything, on ground.

High gravity world. Very difficult to align docking ports with precision, so build a "hose" consisting of a series of small docking ports attached together, back to back, front to front, something like 6 to 10 jr. Ports will do. This will create a somewhat flexible duct that will adjust for small mis-alignments of ports. Attach this host to your refueling truck. It will look like an ardvark :) but it will work!

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That kind of wheels behave more like camouflaged crawlers than proper wheels: I found them more reliable and functional if used in low G environments like Mun and if operated exaclty like crawlers - just do not brake, input the opposite direction to have a better result.

It seems to me that that kind of wheels are too much for the weight they are carrying around - if the load is too low you will miss traction, leading to difficult braking and easy lateral slides.

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As I noted before, Clamo-O-Tron Jrs are good for adding flexibility:

[...]

I've found that adding a pair of Clamp-O-Tron Jr.s inline gives a lot of flexibility (ie, wobble) to a structure - you might want to back your regular Clamp-O-Tron with those to give it some flexibility on the connection angle.

Somewhere in your boom structure, join two pieces together with a pair of docked Jr's, and you will get some flexibility. I would recommend right before your current docking port, so that it can flex in angle to better match your landed ship - I suspect that you're matching the port but that your truck can't align the plane of your port with that of the craft. Even a small angle can prevent a dock.

You can even add more than one pair at different points (say, halfway along your boom as well as right behind your current docking port) and make the boom even more bendy if desired.

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