Jump to content

(1.1.x) Build a Kerbal scaled ISS


Recommended Posts


@sgt_flyer and myself have been busy beavering away on this, it's not fully complete but we have most major components finished. If you would like to help us test released components, please provide your feedback in this thread.


The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, and the ISS is now the largest artificial body in orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth.[7][8] The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays, and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles.

Our version of the ISS has been Kerbalised to 64% scale. All the components and craft are made from stock parts and tested to work together. It is built to be not only an exacting replica but user friendly and performant as well. We will update this thread as components and systems become available.

Just a note for those who wish to use MechJeb, we don't recommend it, everything works better manually with just SAS engaged except where it is explicitly stated to use Prograde Hold or some other mode

Current dev ISS at 1032 parts (this was hyperedited into orbit briefly for promotional use, we have not progressed this far with launching yet)


Introduction Video

Edited by selfish_meme
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ISS Component Schedule Table
Element Launcher Mass (kg) Picture reserved reserved
Zarya (FGB) Proton-K 19,323 iXfaIKCm.png    
Unity (Node 1), PMA-1 & PMA-2 Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS 88) 11,612 MbbvzTEm.png    
Zvezda (Service Module) Proton-K 19,051 iXfaIKCm.png    
Progress M1-3 Soyuz U   J8idNXH.jpg    
Soyuz TM-31 Soyuz U 6,680 J8idNXH.jpg    
Z1 Truss & PMA-3 Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-92) 8,755 MbbvzTEm.png    
P6 Truss & Solar Arrays Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-97) 15,824 MbbvzTEm.png    
Destiny Lab Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-98) 14,515 MbbvzTEm.png    
External Stowage Platform-1 Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-102)   MbbvzTEm.png    
Canadarm2 (SSRMS)

Space Shuttle Endeavour(STS-100)

17.6 MbbvzTEm.png    
Quest (Joint Airlock) Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-104)   MbbvzTEm.png    



Edited by selfish_meme
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Craft Downloads

Launchers and Payloads

Proton-K (subassembly)

Proton Zarya

Space Shuttle (Empty)

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-88 (with Unity and PMA-1 and PMA-2)

Proton Zvezda

Soyuz U with Soyuz TM

Space Shuttle Discovery STS-92 (with Z1 Truss and PMA-3)

Soyuz-U (Progress M-SO1) with Launchpad

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-97 (with P6 Truss)  New


Soyuz 2.1b


Stations Modules





Z1 Truss

P6 Truss and Solar Arrays

Destiny Lab  Updated




ELC (1,2,3,4)

ELM-PS, JEM-PM, JEM-EF, and modules for JEM-EF


ISS (several versions, start where you want - Planned)


Saved Files

Canadarm STS-88 practice save with Unity and Zarya

ISS 2 modules : Zarya and Unity docked together


ISS 3 modules : addition of Zvezda to ISS


ISS STS-92 Discovery docked to PMA-2 with Z1 Truss and PMA-3 in cargo bay

ISS 4 Modules: addition of Z1 Truss and PMA-3


ISS with Deployed P6 truss, prior to attachment of Destiny Lab  New

ISS STS-97 Endeavour docked P6 Truss in Cargo Bay  New

ISS with 5 Modules + Progress  New


Operating Instructions

Launch of Zarya


Zarya is a very well behaved craft and even MechJeb can fly it, you can turn on RCS before staging as it is behind the fairing and not working anyway, but it will be on straight away when the fairing deploys giving you attitude control when the engines stop. Do not use prograde hold, the induced oscillations will destroy the first stage.

Once you are in your desired orbit (I go for 150 km) and you have discarded the 3rd stage and engaged Zarya's engines it is time to deploy the solar panels. First hit the stage buttons you will see the Solar Panels move outwards into their proper position, the Action group 1 to extend the panels. Do this before quicksaving or exiting, if you return to the craft afterwards and try this it might explode :0.0:

Canadarm Operation Instructions


Action groups :

AG 1 : toggle the OMS engines fuel. (you can disable the fuel flow if you want to be safe during canadarm's operation, and not risk any accidental throttling messing things up :p)

AG 2 : toggle the shuttle bay doors.

AG 3 : toggle the canadarm's reaction wheels.

AG 4 : decouple / undocks the canadarm from the shuttle.



Canadarm's operations :

important : do not use timewarp while elements of the canadarm are undocked.

Before decoupling the canadarm :

quicksave ! this level of miniaturisation comes with some fringe cases in physics, which can break the arm. so always quicksave before :)


- Activate the shuttle's SAS (the shuttle must keep it's SAS active at all times during canadarm's operation, else the canadarm's movement would alterate the shuttle's attitude).

- turn on the canadarm's reaction wheels (AG 3)

- press AG4 to decouple the canadarm (the first time you use the canadarm it will instantly redock on two points - repress AG4 to completely free the canadarm)


you can now switch vessels between the various segments of the canadarm.

you can use your roll / pitch / yaw keys to control the various elements - the joints of the canadarms will make it so using one element will make it move accordingly to the other elements :)

turn on SAS on a specific part for 'locking' an element while you move others. the canadarm is susceptible to momentum, so make only short keypresses :) (or enter soft mode), else the SAS will have an hard time slowing down that kind of momentum :)

control specifics :

for all elements : the key to press to perform a specific movement can change depending on which part has a 'control from here'.

- Arm section (shoulder to elbow) : restricted to 2 Degrees Of Freedom. - using control from here on either the probe core (on the shoulder) or the docking port (on the elbow) can switch the pitch and roll controls.

using the Yaw or roll keys depends on how much pitch the canadarm has. (the higher in a vertical pitch above the shuttle the arm section has, the more you'll need to use Roll instead of Yaw to make it


- Forearm section :

only 1 DOF. the probe core and the docking port are lined up, so controls should stay the same.

use roll control to rotate the forearm around the elbow.

using other inputs will apply torque on the elbow, and can be used to have limited control onto the Arm section if the arm's section SAS is disabled, without needing to switch to it.


- Wrist and End effector section :

3 DOF. use pitch, yaw and roll controls to move the wrist section around. after you docked the end effector onto something, - you can switch 'control from here' to the payload carried by the wrist, if needed. (in this case, yaw / pitch / roll controls would be applied to the orientation of the controlling part on the payload)


for docking the wrist onto something : move the other elements of the arm so the wrist end up near the docking port jr you want to dock onto. adjust the wrist section's attitude, so it's correctly lined up with the docking port, then switch back to either the arm or the forearm to make the final approach into docking port magnetism range. - once magnetism has kicked in, it can be useful to disable the SAS on the various sections of the canadarm (helps the magnetism to correctly position the wrist for docking it)


Known problems : docking events can sometime rip off sections of the arm (they fly out of their joints) - to limit the risks of seeing that, avoid putting the canadarm in a position which would 'strain' the joints during docking. (ex, the arm section in contact with the cargo bay side) also, disabling SAS on the various elements just before magnetisation and docking also limit the occurences. (if it still happens, just quickload :p)

Docking Unity and Zarya


-  Unity :

use the canadarm to latch onto one of the docking port JR's of unity. once you docked the canadarm on unity, switch to the shuttle, and click on the shuttle's rear docking port and use the docking port decouple action to free unity.

gently move unity out of the cargo bay with the canadarm (even shorter keypresses with the addionnal weight - more momentum at the end of the arm) rotate unity to dock it onto the shuttle's topside docking port.

- Zarya :

use Zarya's RCS to approach the shuttle which now has unity.

Zarya has a docking port JR avaible for the canadarm to grab on, so place Zarya within the reach of the canadarm.

dock the canadarm's end effector onto Zarya.

you can now manoeuver the canadarm around to position Zarya onto the other Unity docking port :)

Progress launch and Operations


launch profile :

i start a 5° pitchover when i reach around 70 m/s, afterwards, Stability assist or prograde hold both works :)

i try to reach an angle of 45° above the horizon by 20000m. fairing ejection once the rocket reaches above 40000m (you can start heading for the horizon by this point)

once on the third stage, stage a 2nd time to eject the engine shroud. i generally aim the 3rd stage between 15 - 20° under the horizon - allows me to control the rate at which the apoapsis raises, allows me to make a single burn to spacecraft separation (with periapsis in atmosphere)

Action group 1 to deploy the antenna and solar panels once in orbit.


Edited by selfish_meme
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instruction Videos

Playlist of all Instruction Videos


Proton Zarya Launch



Space Shuttle Launch



Use Canadarm to relocate Unity on top docking port ready for Zarya



Use Canadarm to dock Zarya to Unity



Space Shuttle re-entry



Zvezda Launch and Docking



Progress Launch and Docking



Installation of Z1 Truss and PMA-3



Installation of P6 truss


Edited by selfish_meme
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Current Dev Images and Gifs

Dev ISS (not launched)



Progress docking with ISS




Older dev screenshots

Unity docked to Zarya





Shuttle Launch test gif












Z1 Truss and Unity












Booster Separation






Shuttle Comparison




Edited by selfish_meme
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Ooh wow looks better then mine!! :o Did you get the parachutes to work? it used to be such a hassle to get working parachutes inside the fairings in 1.05 And how did you make that last edge of the service module flair out? Grmbl now I want to start building again as well.. Stupid work :-(

Btw I don't think the soyuz uses the truss segment anymore, I thought that was the old ones (see image)081014.jpg



Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/29/2016 at 6:58 PM, WooDzor said:

Ooh wow looks better then mine!! :o Did you get the parachutes to work? it used to be such a hassle to get working parachutes inside the fairings in 1.05 And how did you make that last edge of the service module flair out? Grmbl now I want to start building again as well.. Stupid work :-(

Btw I don't think the soyuz uses the truss segment anymore, I thought that was the old ones (see image)

Yes I think they used the Soyuz TM series without the truss, this is one of @sgt_flyer dev shot's, so not the final version.

Edit: I think the structure is the same, they just added a covering to the truss.

Album from sgt_flyers post below about progress on the Soyuz


Edited by selfish_meme
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@WooDzor the parachute works :) (it's a single blue radial one) - gives the soyuz roughly 10m/s of landing speed @ sea level - so i also have separatrons as retrorockets tuned to help slow down :) (5/6s of retrorocket at slightly below 1TWR)

it's very cramped too ^^ 3 kerbal capable (though it's also heavy, at 7 tons ^^)

the flare of the fairing is an open ended fairing creation technique :).

basically, you can actually close a fairing onto thermometers placed in radial symmetry, with the correct angle for the thermometers - and you can even remove the thermometers afterwards, the fairing don't disappear ^^

for the truss, the soyuz truss is still present even on recent ones, it's just hidden :) - remember soyuz is 'wrapped' in blankets until it separates ^^ the problem, using a fairing would disable the RCS ports there :) 

i might use an inverted BZ-52 radial attachment point to cover the gap instead (and still retain RCS functionnality) :)


Edited by sgt_flyer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, sgt_flyer said:

snippy snippy


The original is cramped as well. :-P Did you put seats or clipped in 3 mk 1 command pods? Still does my head in though - Funny Russians; 'Space is cold, let's make our mighty Soyuz wear a sock'

I just had a look at mine (yay! for lunch breaks and running KSP inside a dropbox folder) - I closed that gap with the heat shield's cover - doesn't look great nor terrible, but WHY are some of these textures so horrible for making stock replicas? It drives me nuts sometimes

Oh and thanks for the thermometer tip, I haven't been able to spend much time building things in the latest KSP, grmblifeandwork :-|, maybe this weekend. :-)

BTW I would probably try to simplify your crafts here and there. I am on 651 parts for my ISS and it's still not great, even though everything runs a lot smoother in 1.11


Link to comment
Share on other sites

@WooDzorhere's a small WIP gallery on my updated soyuz with twin heatshields shrouds - one on the descent module, the other on the service module. (when separating, the shroud of the descent module's heatshield stays with the service module) :) (and yup, i have 3 MK1's in there ^^) - hopefully, without the struts, the soyuz partcount dropped to 70 :) - and it's lighter too ! :) (6.2 tons instead of 7 ^^)

also block I and fairing WIP's (at this size, will be difficult to replicate the grid fins ^^', plus some of the fairings limitations prevent me from doing everything i want ^^)

as for staying under 651 parts for ISS, i think it'll be difficult, even if the fairings help a lot :)






Edited by sgt_flyer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

here's a WIP on S0, S1 and P1 trusses. (click the images for full size)



and yup - the cart can actually move along the whole length of the thing (and redock in the middle afterwards) ! and the new wheels work in orbit too in 1.1 :) (in 1.05 they got destroyed unless using them in a geostationnary orbit)
32 minutes ago, WooDzor said:

Oh woow looks great! Is that a stack decoupler on the heat shield? (heat shield ejection pic)? No longer necessary, heat shields have them included in 1.1 (it's a bit hidden under the RMB in the VAB.

thanks - i thought it was for ejecting whatever was on the shroud side :)


Edited by sgt_flyer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, sgt_flyer said:


we have our own stock canadarm :wink: - this ISS pack is meant to be stock ^^ - afterwards, people are free to do what they want :)


Oh, i didn't noticed that it was made from stock parts... i thought they where IR parts...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A small sneak peek of how the various WIP modules look when put together :)

(yes, zvevda and poisk are not made yet ^^ - and yes - the packed P6 truss can actually fit inside a cargo bay ^^)

on the pictures : Zarya, Unity node, PMA 1, 2 & 3, Z1 truss, P6 truss, Quest joint airlock and some modules (+ ESP2),  Destiny Lab (+ ESP1) S0, S1 and P1 trusses, Mobile Servicing system + canadarm 2 - All stock !






Edited by sgt_flyer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...