March Unto Torment

Jool System Mining

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So, I recently experimented with a Vall mining lander, in preparation for an upcoming Jool-system space station.

Research informed me that at least 2,500m/s of dV was necessary to land and then ascend to orbit. This seemed like far too great a number (and rendered efficient mining impossible), so I hyperedited my lander into a 10,000x10,000 orbit and commenced landing operations.

Landing took, near-as-makes-no-difference, 1,000m/s of dV. Proper suicide burning could probably get that down to 850 or so, although I've yet to locate the suicide burn calculator on MechJeb.

After (yet again - in my defence, this was a test run and I didn't feel like waiting months for the drill to work) hyperediting in a full 3,000 units of ore, I commenced the ascent, convinced that my lander - now stuck with only 1,016 m/s of dV - wouldn't make orbit. However, despite hugely inefficient burning and accidentally winding up on a 30-degree orbital tilt (I need more TWR on my lander), I still managed to ascend much higher than thought - into a roughly 40,000x29,000 orbit (like I said, it was a pretty crude burn). Magic!

So, it seems that Vall is significantly more practical for mining operations than previous. If you plant your refinery in low orbit (say, 30,000x30,000) you won't have too many woes bringing ore back at a profit. Additionally, whether due to more precise measurement or simply due to changes in how the game calculates things since the 1.0 release (although the latter seems unlikely to me), the net dV requirement for Vall landing/ascent is only 1,850m/s or so, much lower than previous indications.

The trip used a total of 4,800 units of fuel; I suspect that a bit more practice could shave off 300 units of fuel, give or take. The return offers 6,000 units of fuel, thereby giving an approximate net gain of 1,500 units of LFO per trip. While not outrageously practical - you'll need to mine a lot of fuel to get anything back to Kerbin - this does prove the viability of Jool-system mining landers, which I've seen a lot of people dismiss as impossible or impractical.

So, does anyone have a more practical way of mining fuel within the Jool system? I considered a Pol or Bop-based lander, but both of took so much dV to reach and get back from that you'd never successfully provide enough fuel for system exploration. And what's the most ore you can 'bring back' in a single trip?

Edited by March Unto Torment

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Blaarkies    234
1 hour ago, March Unto Torment said:

... in a full 3,000 units of ore, I commenced the ascent, convinced that my lander - now stuck with ...

That is doing it the hard way. I started out doing the same method and quickly realized my folly:

- You need to land with enough leftover fuel to lift 30ton of ore

- To do that, you need more fuel to do the landing(so that you have some left over)
- In the end you need to use some of the ore(after ISRU processing) as fuel for the next batch, this cuts into your profits

Build a refinery on-site on Vall with ISRU, drill and electricity(Fuel cells work if the ore concentration is above 2% i believe?(someone did calculations on the forums)). Then send a lander with near empty fuel tanks to land there, connect to the ISRU base station and start filling up...take full tanks back to orbit(only needing drop of fuel to land for the next batch).

To connect, the easy way is The Claw(2 of them on a rover, or have a claw on station...you'll find a way:wink:). The hard way is docking ports(I use a crawler rover that drives stuff into position). EVA Resource Transfer - v3.0 is a lot easier(connect a yellow pipe between independent vessels with an engineer, in real-time) but keep in mind the ISRU can only process if it has an empty output tank(LFO fuel tank, or MonoProp tanks, etc.)

To take it a step further, use a modular lander:

-Design a lander that can lift a dead 30ton payload into orbit

-Leave a docking port on top

-Bring different fuel tanks and leave them at base station(like a LFO tank with a docking port and some RCS control)

So one lander can bring up any type of fuel efficiently(without carrying empty LFO tanks while we actually want MonoProp back in orbit)

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Warzouz    584

Well, I use a similar system (see the like below). I land a 40T heavy lander with 3200 unit of liquid fuel. It drill for 3000 ores and get back to the orbiting station where it. On Vall, the system is able to refill 43% of an orange tank. The station assembly is compatible with every bodies, thus is some situations the refill is not the orbited body (Ike for Duna, Gilly for Eve with orbit constraint, Pol for Tylo). I've only issue with Laythe.

the heavy landed is rated with 4000m/s, but it's worst effective range is 1300m/s both ways (including ore load on return trip)

e4402384-66b4-4982-9cff-b9ec6edb33ce.jpg 18e042d2-2a7b-4898-b32a-bc8255211771.jpg
Miner landing on Eeloo / Miner landed on Bop on a 27° slope.

Here are my stats.

sal_miner.png

 

As for @Blaarkies, It's solution seems to be more efficient (yet it has to prove it with a final fuel ratio), but the procedure is much more complex. It requires precise landing and landed docking, which is supposed to be very hard.

On the other hand a totally lifting system is so versatile, you can even move it to other bodies into Jool system. My spacestation can fly on it's own to other places. It even don't need any interplanetary stage, if you are cool with low TWR burns, for Kerbin SOI, Duna and Eve, and maybe even Jool if you do gravity assists (not tested).

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oglommi    33

In one of my games I have a huge station and a fuelminer/refinerlander around Vall. I just put the ISRU unit on the lander with a small Ore tank and converted ore to fuel as i drilled for  it. Does not take many ore tanks to outweigh a ISRU.

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23 minutes ago, March Unto Torment said:

So the going suggestion is to use a compact ISRU to refuel my lander on the ground, then lift the rest of the ore into orbit for refining?

Why lift ore?

Lift fuel.

My new expermental ISRU platform is two large drills, one small ore tank (300 units) one small refinery and empty tanks for 40 tons of fuel.

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ShadowZone    776

Stupid question: Why Vall and not Pol? The dV requirements for getting ore and/or fuel into orbit are miniscule.

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3 hours ago, Warzouz said:

As for @Blaarkies, It's solution seems to be more efficient (yet it has to prove it with a final fuel ratio), but the procedure is much more complex. It requires precise landing and landed docking, which is supposed to be very hard.

I've been playing around with a system similar to @Blaarkies partly because the procedure is more complex :)

But I have to admit that I gave up on the super precision landing docking issues and installed EVA Resource Transfer - v3.0 instead.

So now I just have to land my tanker near the refinery and fill 'er up.

It also allows for having tanker rovers scuttling around. Which I find is more likely. Landing a big tanker shuttle right next to a big ground installation sounds a bit dangerous ;)

I'm currently working on having mobile (even rocket hopping) drill platforms feeding ore to a large refinery using ore trucks and then tanker rovers and landers shipping the gold fuel to an orbital station/fuel depot.

Not sure how efficient it'll be in the end. But it's a blast designing, launching and operating it :)

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Jetski    463

My method is to make an all in one drilling and ISRU miner with big fuel tanks and a Klaw on the top, so it can dock to anything.  Strap a rhino to the bottom or 4 nukes, add tanks until Pol full tanks TWR is down to about 3-4. Launch it, fly to Minmus, mine. Use that fuel load to fly to Pol, land and mine. Profit!  I can get 3-4 orange tanks full to anywhere in Jool system, and still make it back to Pol.

Edited by Jetski

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Plusck    377
56 minutes ago, ShadowZone said:

Stupid question: Why Vall and not Pol? The dV requirements for getting ore and/or fuel into orbit are miniscule.

Quite.

Or even Bop. Yes, the inclination change to go elsewhere in the system reduces the profitability a touch, but it's still better than landing and lifting from Vall.

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Some experimentation has given my vehicle new life!

Changing out the capsule for a drone core and the small ISRU has given it massive effectiveness. It's now able to mine ore, convert some of that ore to fuel, mine more ore, carry full tanks into orbit and then still have enough fuel to land again; effectively reducing my 'profit ratio' to zero.

(As for why I want to hang onto my ore instead of fuel, a dedicated ISRU lander/tanker hybrid would be absolutely gigantic, and I lack the patience and the landing skills to maintain a surface mining outpost.)

My only consideration is whether I want to re-engineer a little to change the small ISRU for a large one, which would save me massive amounts of time (since it has a 1:1 conversion ratio, not a 10:1 ratio). That may, however, result in the lander spiralling out of control in terms of sheer size.

To answer the questions about Pol or Bop, it's twofold; firstly, the inclination change is massive and costs a lot of dV for the amount of ore I can haul, and secondly, I like my space station to be rather centrally-placed in the system, instead of lying at the outskirts.

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Warzouz    584

If you're in orbit of Vall, I think it's better to refuel on Vall because Bop or Pol are "far". Landing on Pol is cheap, but getting there is quite expensive (and long).

If you still want to refuel from Vall, I think you need to be strict on what you bring along. Only a fuel tank and little engines, not more. That may be worth it. But again, it's more manoeuvres. I prefer making refuelling simple and quick so I can focus in my mission.

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Plusck    377

There is one advantage to lifting ore not fuel, which is the ease of converting the right fuel mix. With a fuel lifter (assuming it doesn't use nukes), you need more calculations to determine the amount of oxidizer to carry up while maximizing the load of fuel for your orbiting nukes, and monoprop.

My system for Moho uses a full-scale ISRU miner and a wheeled docking fuel lifter. Works quite well. Only problem for Vall would be that I remember it being hillier than Moho.

Spoiler

7CVkoVq.png

EpAMlcx.png

More pics here

 

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Warzouz    584
6 hours ago, Plusck said:

There is one advantage to lifting ore not fuel, which is the ease of converting the right fuel mix. With a fuel lifter (assuming it doesn't use nukes), you need more calculations to determine the amount of oxidizer to carry up while maximizing the load of fuel for your orbiting nukes, and monoprop.

Indeed, that's very true. In fact, this is my main reason to design a lander that only gets ore. The refueling need may be to the science landers (LF+Ox), or return vehicles (LF only) or monoprop. Figuring that from the ground seemed too complex.

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samstarman5    201

This brings the idea to mind of a large shipment of ore from Jool returning back to Kerbin, only being diverted to Duna due to a crashed ship...

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KerikBalm    1524

For larger and larger quantities of fuel, the % of your dry mass that is an ISRU goes down. Even on Moho its far better to take the ISRU with you than to go down to the surface and just bring up ore without refining.

The new small ISRU makes it even better... ideally you'd have 1 refinery on the surface that stays there, and 1 in orbit, but mostly I can't be bothered, and I just build a large tanker and take the ISRU everywhere.

Actually, ideally you have a ISRU and drills on the surface, so your fueling ship is just engines tanks, and control system, no drills, and you don't haul up any ore, so you don't need an orbiting ISRU as well.

When youre fuel tanker is carrying up over 6 orange tanks equivalents of fuel (216 tons), and 4 large ore tanks of ore (68 tons?) with a KR-2L as its engine (9 tons)... and in some variants, 4x LV-Ns and extra LF... the 4 tons of an ISRU aren't very significant.

I've got a Jool mission nearly ready to depart (1 ISRU ship in minmus orbit full fuelled, another ISRU+other stuff docked package on the surface filling up, the main mission in LKO attached to a reusable ejection stage that stays in kerbin SOI)... I plan on having the fuel depot in laythe orbit, as laythe will be the primary focus of the mission.

I plan on sourcing material from Val

dV from body orbit to low laythe orbit with:without aerobraking

Val - 260 : 819

Bop - 435 : 1359

Pol - 519 : 1381

(bop and pol depend on the particular trasnfer window, due to inclination changes)

Including the dV needed to get to low orbit (860/220/130):

Val - 1120 : 1679

Bop - 655 : 1579

Pol - 659 : 1511

If your ship can't handle aerobraking, Val isn't so different from Bop and Pol, but the transfer times are shorter, and there's no inclination changes. Bop and Pol launch windows come more often, because the difference in orbital period is greater, there's essentially a launch window for nearly every laythe orbit... ie nearly 1 window per Laythe day... but not all windows are equal due ot inclination. Val windows are 3-4 days apart...

Val transfers: about 1 day

Bop transfers: about 7 days

Pol transfers: about 11 days

I chose Val because its *faster* to get fuel to Laythe... even if you have to wait another 2-3 days for a transfer window, you'll arrive earlier (assuming you do efficient hohmans), and the aerobraking is less intense so if you're using exposed parts with low heat tolerance (like exposed RTGs), the val aerobraking is much nicer. If your ship can handle an aerobrake from val, but not bop or pol, val will be the most efficient.

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Mikki    1391

This was my "Superperformance" stock Jool-5 Challenge system miner: 
(Vall, Bop, Pol capable fully fueled and full of ore, three aerospikes kicked this vessel sufficiently :wink:)

le1BO3Y.png

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ksp_colin    0

@KerikBalm

 

You are awesome! I know this post is a year stale, but after about an hour of searching google, the forums, reddit, this post answers my questions the best.

 

I am finishing up my first "convoy" to Jool.  The end goal is to get a space station in Laythe Low Orbit (the cool views, duh!), while establishing a Drill/Fuel Station setup on a moon. I want to link the two with an Ore-Hauler between the Base station on a moon, and the refinery at the SS orbiting Laythe.

The First of Five vessels is a ship that will deploy into 10x relays, two of which are RA 100s, going around Pol and Laythe. It has already been fitted with a major booster and been refueled to the brim. It is good to go and ready in LKO.

 

The Second vessel of Five is the Laythe Space Station, a boring Science lab + plenty of solar panels, batteries + and the big refinery. It has already been fitted with a major booster and has been refueled to the brim. It is good to go and ready in LKO (after the booster gets it to Jool, it has over 4k dV).

 

The Third of Five vessels is the Base Station + Drills + 'scout' scanner, that is going to Pol. It has already been fitted with a major booster and has been refueled to the brim. It is good to go and ready in LKO.

 

This has taken me over three weeks in real life of designing and launching the major vessels, then the respective major boosters, and refueling each with my Minimis to K-SS refinery.  

Next up is for me to design the Ore Hauler tanker (Vessel Four) and the Laythe Re-Entry Vehicle((s), vessel Five).

The Re-Entry vehicles are kind of the cherry on top and am not too worried about them. I already wasted a week of my life learning SSTO planes for Kerbin, and I understand that if it works on Kerbin, it should work in Laythe. I have more to figure out there but I can handle that one.

 

The Ore Hauler, Vessel Four, has been daunting for me and I think your breakdown above helps me out. Ultimately, I want to pinch as many pennies as possible and get as much ore from Pol (or any moon) to Laythe orbit. Your tabular breakdown of the dV costs answer my questions! It looks like I need to design a Hauler that, at full Ore capacity/mass, can handle at least 2900 dV. For a little safe measures, I will call it 3k.

To make the ore profitable, this seems extremely difficult. The setup I have in Kerbin between Minimus and my K-SS delivers 12k ore to LKO with about 1700dV. I need to play with the numbers when I get more time to look at this, but I think running 9K ore might do it in Jool. I will keep you posted.

 

I just wanted to send you this novel to thank you for your tabular data. I checked your profile and can see that you are still very active in the community here. I literally made this account just now to rant and thank you. So, Thanks!!!

 

-Colin

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suicidejunkie    267
On 4/1/2016 at 10:46 AM, KerikBalm said:

I chose Val because its *faster* to get fuel to Laythe... even if you have to wait another 2-3 days for a transfer window, you'll arrive earlier (assuming you do efficient hohmans), and the aerobraking is less intense so if you're using exposed parts with low heat tolerance (like exposed RTGs), the val aerobraking is much nicer. If your ship can handle an aerobrake from val, but not bop or pol, val will be the most efficient.

Have you evaluated a Laythe mining operation?  Even less transfer time, and both launch and landing costs should be low if you use airbreathing engines.

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KerikBalm    1524

In the game version at the time the biomes didnt line up well withe the coast, so a lot of the land area was still ocean biome with precisely 0 ore. The particular game additionally had the next highest biome have only 0.2% ore.

Also the islands with ore are so small it doesnt show up on the stock scanner (the one that needs to be in a polar orbit). Also twr on airbreathers is lower on laythe, and big spaceplanes (since lower twr makes vtol airbreathing rockets less viable) can be a pain to land, particularly if the nice flat coastal areas have no ore - i think its better now but ore distribution is still random, so i consider laythe to be unreliable.

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suicidejunkie    267
On 5/4/2017 at 4:20 AM, KerikBalm said:

In the game version at the time the biomes didnt line up well withe the coast, so a lot of the land area was still ocean biome with precisely 0 ore. The particular game additionally had the next highest biome have only 0.2% ore.

That says to me that you need to make a very Kerbal offshore oil rig tall enough to push the drills down to the sediment :D

Or a submersible that can sink the entire craft to the bottom and drill there.

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KerikBalm    1524

I haven't checked if this has changed since then, but certainly before the water physics update, there always was zero ore in the ocean biomes. KSP allows for ore percentages to be defined by biome, and the liquid biomes for kerbin, eve, and laythe walways had zero.

Since so much land on laythe was still defined as an ocean biome, this resulted in a lot of the ground on laythe being entirely devoid of ore.

They've made the ocean biomes line up with the shores better since then, so maybe its not as bad now.

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steve_v    1125
50 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

I haven't checked if this has changed since then, but certainly before the water physics update, there always was zero ore in the ocean biomes. KSP allows for ore percentages to be defined by biome, and the liquid biomes for kerbin, eve, and laythe walways had zero.

Having just landed an outpost (MKS) on Laythe, I can confidently say that, in my game at least, there's rather little ore there and it's mostly in the ocean or at the poles... So polar base it is. Nice and flat at the poles too.
 

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