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Shielded docking port - add a node in the VAB


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This is a pretty corner-case gripe, I suppose, but I've gotten really annoyed with the fact that I cannot mount things on top of the shielded docking port, unlike all the other docking ports, during construction. That may have made sense in the era before VAB tweakables letting you close and open it, but now that you can set it to open I'd like there to be a node there. This is particularly annoying for a resuable lifter, which might well want to a. deploy something from its nose that it has carried up and b. want clean aerodynamics going down.

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I guess this might be a problem with the animation and the node appearing/disappearing. So how about having all retractable docking ports (the Mk1 inline hasn't been mentioned yet) start in extended mode in the VAB/SPH? (Maybe even make them non-retractable if that would cause issues)?

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I tend to make a new reusable mothership the first time I visit every planetary system, and I like to minimise the number of launches that need to be done by putting landers inside of cargo bays when I can. This is fine for DEVs (Duna Exploration Vehicles) because Duna's atmosphere is negligible anyway, but for destinations like Laythe, Tekto, or Mios it often becomes an issue that I can't attach the shielded docking port to the cargo bay docking port. There are workarounds but they're not ideal.

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That'd be quite pleasant to have indeed.

On 8/23/2016 at 1:41 PM, eloquentJane said:

I tend to make a new reusable mothership the first time I visit every planetary system, and I like to minimise the number of launches that need to be done by putting landers inside of cargo bays when I can. This is fine for DEVs (Duna Exploration Vehicles) because Duna's atmosphere is negligible anyway, but for destinations like Laythe, Tekto, or Mios it often becomes an issue that I can't attach the shielded docking port to the cargo bay docking port. There are workarounds but they're not ideal.

I have a Mk2 Lithium-fueled cruiser that fits into an extra-large cargo bay, and an SSTO of 1.25m sections that aims to stylishly cling to the back of its mothership, both with shielded ports for noses. The Mk2 cruiser is attached backwards, by its engine via an inline separator. The SSTO is ugly with the unshielded port for its nose and is doomed to meet the fate described below if I try to keep a shielded port for its nose.

Another instance of the workaround, the ugliest and the only that's gotten a real mission, gets another mothership to hold its lander with shielded nose in its cargo bay and with proper orientation.... The lander danced with the Kraken several times and ultimately corrupted the mothership. This corruption + the lander's suddenly ceasing its existence, killed everyone in both ships. That made my first ever trip to Eeloo unforgettable to say the least.

Spoiler

The way I bridged them, I assume, resulted in invalid root parts when the bridge is broken and the ships separated for the proper attachment. Everyone who died were the orange suits...except Jeb. Paranoia from Jeb alone (or was it everyone) mysteriously MIA at Pol in KSP 1.0.5., saved him from this attack.

 

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Yes please give us this! This especially would be awesome as I have a little rule of thumb for designing military spacecraft: all free docking ports should be retractable. Having a node on them could make construction easier as I wouldn't have to use different (non-retractable) docking ports for VAB/SPH mockups and different ones for the orbiting craft.

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