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It all started simply enough.  Let's build a Station that is not only rigid, but holds huge quantities of fuel and is still all Stock!  Of course, it's been tried before and a couple of our more negative colleagues just had to dwell on past failures, but we pressed on.  We put something together in the VAB, but getting something like this on orbit is a bit tougher than mocking it up in the VAB, as you well know.  So we began work on how to loft this behemoth to 80km.  Many Launch vehicle prototypes were created, some results were entertaining and some were more like catastrophic.  One thing that could be guaranteed with this much drag is that a single launch would almost certainly flip, and flip they did.  In the end, two launch vehicles were successful, and both flipped before reaching orbit!

This craft file includes the kit version with its simplified Launcher (why have 80 docking ports on a vessel if you're not planning to assemble it in space, right?).  Though not required, use of GPOSpeedFuelPump is highly encouraged to make sure lower  tanks burn first and keep the CoM high.  When (not if - I need to work on that) the launcher decides to flip, cut the engines when pitch falls below 0 or increases above 90.  Reignite ASAP When she comes back around between 0 and 90.  Of course it would be easy enough to split into multiple launches, but I think getting it to orbit in a single launch shows more panache!  Especially when you recover from one or two flips on the way!

Assembly is a breeze.  There are four types of connectors.  The hub starts and stays in the center.  On each of its 6 radial ports, there is an assembly consisting of one spoke (with two ore tanks), one ring segment (just a tank with two end ports), and one vertex.  You will also find two RCS tugs attached to the bottom of the hub.  

For each assembly, you will want to use tug 1 to detach the ring segment and park it out of the way.  Then attach tug 2 to the vertex port opposite the hub and pull the vertex and spoke away from the hub.  Attach the free end of the spoke to the hub port just vacated.  Immediately detach the vertex from the spoke and attach the port opposite the tug to the free end of the spoke.  Detach the tug and park it.  Attach the ring segment to the port adjacent the recently attached spoke. Detach the tug immediately.  Repeat until the last assemble.  For the last assembly, attach the vertex last - spoke and ring can go in either order.

Without further ado Ladies and Gentlekerbs, I present to you a new Era in Low Kerbin Orbit refueling!

Download the craft file from KerbalX

As always, thanks for checking it out!  All warranties are void upon ignition except this one:  This craft is pretty much guarandamteed to flip between 10km and 15km, sometimes twice.  It is very recoverable if you follow the instructions above. :wink:

 

Danny

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5 hours ago, Matuchkin said:

Now just add a second layer...

I was thinking about that, but she's currently 269 parts of pure awesome once assembled on orbit.  I think double that would really hurt my PC.  Maybe I'll try to figure out the fully assembled launch and then pull out all the docking ports used for tinker toying it and then I could probably double it with the same part count... :wink:

 

Danny

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try maybe making it so that the stationy-bits are below the COM, sorta like the way Rune launches his ring stations

 

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Well, this one really doesn't have enough open space for that, but I did manage to make it not flip by pushing the COM much higher.  I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but that's usually the best solution if you have to push something heavy up from below...

Danny

By the by, this particular ring was severely ravaged by the Kraken once I hit about 80% fuel.  :(

Danny.  I hate Krakens!

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