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NFunky

Targeting contract orbits?

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Hey, so I posted a similar thread in the mods category, but I'm not sure that was actually the best place for it.

I have a simple question here.  I it possible, stock or with a mod, to target contract orbits?  My vision isn't that great, so I've always relied on Kerbal Engineer to tell me when I have a launch window.  Now that I've been running a career game, I'm starting to get orbit contracts, but I can't for the life of me seem to launch close enough to a node so I don't have to do a huge correction in orbit.

Any ideas or suggestions?

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I'm not aware of a way to target an orbit, but using MJ or KER will give you data of your orbit and using the contract details you can work out what you need to adjust. I.e. The contract may ask for a 100km orbit, MJ and KER will tell you what your orbit is, from there you can plan what adjustments you need to make.

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If you have a mod that'll tell you your position relative to the universal reference direction, it'll let you work out when you're under the Ascending Node of the orbit. The Longitude of the Ascending Node is given in the contract description, but in stock there's no indication what this is relative to. When your universal Longitude is similar to the LAN of the contract, launch and turn Northwards the appropriate amount for the target inclination.

I've been writing a kOS launch script that will calculate this (and launch in the right direction at the right time) but I've not tested it yet and this is probably more complicated than what you're after. It does show that the information you need is available to mods, though. I don't know what other mods expose this information but hopefully it's given you a target to search for.

 

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You can't target a contract orbit directly.  I've wished for this feature myself :) ... but alas.

If you want to try to launch directly into the correct inclination, here's one way (not sure how practical it is for you, given that you mentioned vision problems):

  1. Launch your ship but don't take off yet, so you're just sitting on the pad.
  2. Switch to map view.
  3. It's centered on your ship, by default.  Double-click on Kerbin so that the map view centers on the planet.
  4. Adjust the map zoom so you can see the contract orbit.
  5. Rotate the camera so that you're looking at the contract orbit perfectly "edge-on", so that it looks like a thin straight line passing through Kerbin's center, instead of like an ellipse.
  6. Then, without moving the camera, turn up timewarp.  You'll see your ship start to move as Kerbin rotates.
  7. Keep timewarping until your ship is directly under the target orbit (i.e. when the ship icon is right smack dab on the thin-straight-line which is the target orbit seen edge-on).
  8. Stop warping.  Your ship is now directly under the orbit you want.
  9. Launch in the appropriate direction.  You'll have an approximate inclination match with the orbit, you can fine-tune with maneuver nodes after getting to orbit.

 

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28 minutes ago, Snark said:

9. Launch in the appropriate direction. 

 

One small thing to add, is make sure that you not only launch north/south in the correct direction, but also east/west. Most contract orbits are prograde to Kerbin's rotation, so you would launch to the east like normal. 

But more than a few have been caught off guard by a retrograde orbit. This means not only that you need to launch to the west, but also pack a few hundred extra dV, because you not only lose the boost that the planet's rotation gives you, you actually have to fight against it. 

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I have a geostationary satellite on top of KSC. Then for each contract with inclined orbit, I just set maneuver node on the geostationary satellite and then let KAC manage the launch time.

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Thanks for the suggestions guys.  Seems I may end up having to do the map eyeballing thing.

 

I did wonder if I was missing something obvious because of that "Logitude of Ascending Node" detail in the contract, but I guess it's mainly there for show.  Anyone here know KE well enough to tell me if it has a universal reference buried in there somewhere?

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