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[1.2.2] Phoenix Industries ³Sat (CubeSat mod) (v2.2, compatible with TweakScale and MechJeb)


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Hey everyone! Following my work and a lot of studying on CubeSats recently, I figured I would go ahead and make a small mod to include the little buggers in KSP.

This mod is based on the real-life CubeSat standard. It utilizes MechJeb, but can be enjoyed without it installed.

There are two sizes - tiny and small. Each size contains its own battery supply, SAS level, and antenna.

However, neither sizes include reaction-wheels or any form of attitude control. 

The inside of the chassis for each ³Sat can be stacked (like stacking reaction wheels and fuel) or surface-attached (like attaching batteries or instruments inside.)

Those that have tried my "PEST" mod and used the Dawn-style probe body will be familiar with the idea.

Oh, and the name is pronounced "CubeSat" because... the "³" is the symbol for "cubed" and I'm not that clever.

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License:

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Recommended mods:
MechJeb

TweakScale

Download:

SpaceDock

Spoiler

Changelog:

v2.2
-Switch all textures to .DDS

v2.1

Added config lines for antenna and probe control features in KSP 1.2

v2.0

Tweaked stats, fixed solar panel issue, added decouplers and science module for both sizes.


v1.1

Includes compatibility with TweakScale for those that want to make them even smaller!

v1.0
Release!

Spoiler

Fun fact: the code and the PCB designs in the background of the main image are actually the same code and PCB designs I am currently using for my own CubeSat prototype project. The circuitry represented on the mod's textures represent a simple battery circuit, 3.7-5v step-up/regulator, and a multiple sensor circuit.

 

Edited by -ctn-
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I'll toy with the idea. I had a lot of comments on a Facebook group about including a decoupler - apparently people don't want to use a circular decoupler with a square probe. 

The problem is size, the "tiny" size is still 0.625m on the inside, which may throw off your CoM if radially mounted on a rocket. 

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59 minutes ago, Tristonwilson12 said:

question. Can you make a tweakscale config, they both are a little to big for my needs

How small would you like them? I'm not sure how to write a TweakScale config, however I can use the rescaleFactor line in the part's configuration to scale them down.

I had considered making them smaller in the first place, but I thought allowing things to be put inside of them would greatly increase the versatility of them.

Edited by -ctn-
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If you open the configuration files (small3sat.cfg / tiny3sat.cfg), near the top of the file is a line that says;
 

PART
{
	name = 3Sat_small
	module = Part
	author = -ctn-
	mesh = small3sat.mu
	rescaleFactor = 1
	CrewCapacity = 0
....

Change the rescaleFactor for the small3sat.cfg to 0.075. Then open the file, tiny3sat.cfg and change the rescaleFactor to .145.

This will make both ³Sats approx. 0.125m.

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1 hour ago, -ctn- said:

I'll toy with the idea. I had a lot of comments on a Facebook group about including a decoupler - apparently people don't want to use a circular decoupler with a square probe. 

The problem is size, the "tiny" size is still 0.625m on the inside, which may throw off your CoM if radially mounted on a rocket. 

I recall from the first successful space x landing podcast that they had a dummy load to balance the 11 orbsats. So in that spirit could you make a dummy payload that is very inexpensive and the same format factor?  I don't know if you can use the code from that procedural  dummy testing weight mod.

 

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Love em! 

18 hours ago, -ctn- said:

CB designs in the background of the main image are actually the same code and PCB designs I am currently using for my own CubeSat prototype project. The circuitry represented on the mod's textures represent a simple battery circuit, 3.7-5v step-up/regulator, and a multiple sensor circuit.

That was the first thing I noticed and wondered about. I'm assuming this is a private venture? What software are you using for PCB design? I'm half tempted to say they look like Fritzing schematics. What Arduino board are you using and what thermo/hygro/barometer components are you using?

I would love to hear more about your project via PM's if you're willing to share. I've been working on a project as well to prove that with some relatively simple modification and code you can use a RockBlock Mk2. SatComm device to easily "hack" into a satellite datalink, even those not in the Iridium constellation. 

Edited by Rybo
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Sounds like I'll be doing an update soon, then. By making the cubesats so small, they would really just be antenna relays  

Should I include science instruments inside them as well, or just leave them as little (basically antenna only) satellites?

UPDATE: v1.1 includes compatibility with Tweakscale, allowing you to scale each part to your liking.

Edited by -ctn-
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7 minutes ago, Delta_8930 said:

Science instruments definitely. Some small 1U cubesats have basic science instruments

I liked the versatility of adding the stock experiments inside them by surface-attachment, but for the next update, I'll try adding some of the more basic experiments into the config files so they can be used "standalone."

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Is it possible to add attachment nodes to all sides of the cube? Or at least both the top and bottom so they are stack-able? I'm wanting to make a cluster of 24 sats that can be individually decoupled. I'm envisioning a single launch rocket that can deliver 2 sats to each planet (1 in an equatorial orbit and 1 in polar orbit), 1 sat to each moon in a polar orbit, plus 1 solar orbit.

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Possible bug report: the mod, AmpYear (a power reserve manager mod), reports the standalone small cube sat (and maybe the tiny one too, didn't check) power usage at something like 20 a second, which is huge. When you take it on the launch pad, it records the actual number, closer to the 1.2/min or whatever is listed in the brochure for the satellite. This may actually be a bug with AmpYear and not your mod, but considering it's the first time I've seen that mod do that and it plays fine with a ton of other mods I have installed, I thought it might be an issue with your's. No idea though, either way it's pretty minor, but it made me sit up straight for a moment in the VAB.

Overall, I like the mod so far. I sent a small cube to Minmus (forgetting the decouplers for the fairing, so that's cool) and am now using another one for a science gopher package delivery vehicle since a tiny one perfectly fits the Sci Pak from Rover Dude's mods.

From a balance perspective, (and I hate being that guy), they might be a little cheap considering what you get. 200 kredits for reaction wheels and a data transmitter plus sas and solar panels? I bet I could fit an external command seat inside one and I'd be golden...(I joke, but you get the idea). Although, I'd hate it if you nerfed it on my say so alone, but they're a definite bargain. Granted, all the other parts you added seem to be very expensive (iirc), so maybe it balances.

Overall, cool stuff.

Cheers.

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I appreciate any help with cost balancing or tech tree balancing. I don't play Career mode, so anybody that does can help me with balancing. 

I wanted to keep these very cheap to reflect the comparison in real life between cubesats and more "space program sized" satellites. You're talking $10-100k USD for a cubesat versus  100-500 million for a regular satellite. 

On February 12, 2016 at 0:52 PM, Rybo said:

Is it possible to add attachment nodes to all sides of the cube? Or at least both the top and bottom so they are stack-able?

I can add them to the four sides, but adding a bottom stack node would ruin the ability to put things inside of them. 

I may make separate models, with everything integrated (i.e. Closed on all sides, no internal stacking) as it seems to be what most users want from this mod. 

With KerbalStuff closed down, it will take a little while to get the most recent version of all of my mods hosted somewhere. Pity. Loved that site, almost takes the fun out of modding. 

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17 minutes ago, -ctn- said:

 can add them to the four sides, but adding a bottom stack node would ruin the ability to put things inside of them. 

Sorry to barge in like this, but Goodspeed did it with two nodes and the one time i myself tried to model a hollow structure it did work that way...

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1 hour ago, -ctn- said:

I appreciate any help with cost balancing or tech tree balancing. I don't play Career mode, so anybody that does can help me with balancing. 

I wanted to keep these very cheap to reflect the comparison in real life between cubesats and more "space program sized" satellites. You're talking $10-100k USD for a cubesat versus  100-500 million for a regular satellite. 

I can add them to the four sides, but adding a bottom stack node would ruin the ability to put things inside of them. 

I may make separate models, with everything integrated (i.e. Closed on all sides, no internal stacking) as it seems to be what most users want from this mod. 

With KerbalStuff closed down, it will take a little while to get the most recent version of all of my mods hosted somewhere. Pity. Loved that site, almost takes the fun out of modding. 

That works for me. Thanks for the heads up.

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Yeah, I'm probably not the best person to be talking about balance, since I'm pretty new to KSP, but the cheapest (modded) probe cores generally seem to be around $450 (in my game), but that's fairly striped down, and these are fairly nice, plus you get the body.  Although, looking at the Apollo sub-sat from FASA, at $250 and 50kg, with included solar panels, sas, and reaction wheel, along with a built in orbital surveyor, these don't seem as unreasonably cheap. Either way, if you bumped the price up a few hundred, I still wouldn't hesitate to purchase them, but we're talking about a few hundred kredits here, so, meh. Not too big of a deal, either way.

Cheers.

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