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Orbital Construction Joints


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Essentially, industrial-strength docking clamps for orbital construction.  They'd differ from docking ports in a few key ways:

  • Keyed - Square or hex shapes which only match at a few fixed angles.
  • Rigid - it ought to have strength equivalent to a joint made at the VAB.
  • Semi-Permanent - No 'undock' button.  At best, possible with EVA.

They might even be asymmetric, with plug and socket parts.

Are there any modded parts like this?

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I have seen one or two but I can't remember where from at the moment. NF construction has keyed ports which fit the bigger truss system that mod has, but I think they're still undockable.

This seems to have been talked about a lot recently, but I'd like to see a docking port which just removes itself when docked to another one of it ( possibly after a bit of user translation/rotation ), so it just attaches the part tree of the docking vehicle to the part tree of the one being docked to at that point. I suspect that's fairly close to what KAS does, although KAS has no in-place movement.

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I would certainly like to see these in the game. Docking ports just feel too temporary for building permanent buildings like stations. Perhaps also strut endpoints which auto-attach when you combine parts with these clamps, kind of like EVA struts or the KIS/KAS attachable struts but more automatic to just skip the EVA bouncing part of the build. Extending or folding out arms that lock parts into place would be even cooler and they would anchor things better.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Van Disaster said:

I have seen one or two but I can't remember where from at the moment. NF construction has keyed ports which fit the bigger truss system that mod has, but I think they're still undockable.

In what sense are they keyed, then?  Just shapes that look wrong if you don't line them up?

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Keyed: These would look quite nice but as docking ports.

Rigid: They're adding rigid attachment and autostrut in 1.2 These make everything, even stations very rigid.

Semi-permanent: Hmmmmmm. This however is an interesting idea. I'd like to see versions of the docking port like this or just an option in the VAB that allows docking ports to be like this.

I believe what we have now in the stock game is enough. Maybe some different shaped docking ports that have to be rotated the right way to dock would make things look nice but I'm not sure this is needed.

Nice idea though!

Fire

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On 29/09/2016 at 9:37 PM, Corona688 said:

 

In what sense are they keyed, then?  Just shapes that look wrong if you don't line them up?

They only attach if they're correctly aligned. I think they only attach at one angle, but I can't rememeber for sure right now.

Edited by Van Disaster
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Keyed or set angles would be great for assembling stations etc in orbit.  As it is you can only eyeball the alignment,  a fraction out and stuff doesn't line up enough for docking ports to dock and join. 

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12 hours ago, Firemetal said:

Keyed: These would look quite nice but as docking ports.

Rigid: They're adding rigid attachment and autostrut in 1.2 These make everything, even stations very rigid.

Semi-permanent: Hmmmmmm. This however is an interesting idea. I'd like to see versions of the docking port like this or just an option in the VAB that allows docking ports to be like this.

I believe what we have now in the stock game is enough. Maybe some different shaped docking ports that have to be rotated the right way to dock would make things look nice but I'm not sure this is needed.

Nice idea though!

Fire

+1 for semi-permanent "welding" docking ports used for orbital construction. I always imagine these as a set of docking ports which are lined with thermite-explosive bolts, so the parts weld themselves solid when triggered, forming a single part similar to a small Structural Fuselage.

I don't think the parts removing themselves is a good idea, it would mean that other parts in the station would have to move into the gap, which would collapse part of your station. The "welded" part should occupy the same space as two docked ports. Otherwise, construction planning and the order of assembly becomes a very tedious task, and parts in the tree vanishing into thin air may be a very good feed for Krakens.

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I always thought it would be cool to be able to build an entire construction in the VAB, break it into parts, launch each separately, and when you got them all near enough to each other the game would rcognize you had the complete "set" of station pieces, and you could assemble them via some sort of menu or something. Somehow.

*waves hands in air*

Don't ask for details, I'm an idea guy.

Edited by 5thHorseman
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1 hour ago, Stoney3K said:

+1 for semi-permanent "welding" docking ports used for orbital construction. I always imagine these as a set of docking ports which are lined with thermite-explosive bolts, so the parts weld themselves solid when triggered, forming a single part similar to a small Structural Fuselage.

I don't think the parts removing themselves is a good idea, it would mean that other parts in the station would have to move into the gap, which would collapse part of your station. The "welded" part should occupy the same space as two docked ports. Otherwise, construction planning and the order of assembly becomes a very tedious task, and parts in the tree vanishing into thin air may be a very good feed for Krakens.

Do welded parts exist Irl? Or at least a concept for the near future? If it is, I'd have no problem adding them. But remember, KSP is trying to be as close to the future as possible. If these don't exist, it would cross the boarder of Sci-fi.  

 

Fire.

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2 hours ago, Stoney3K said:

I don't think the parts removing themselves is a good idea, it would mean that other parts in the station would have to move into the gap, which would collapse part of your station. The "welded" part should occupy the same space as two docked ports. Otherwise, construction planning and the order of assembly becomes a very tedious task, and parts in the tree vanishing into thin air may be a very good feed for Krakens.

You're thinking in terms of existing ports - you only want them as a guide so they can be as thick as paint, nothing moves whrn they disappear then.

Scifi? what are Rapiers? there's nothing high tech about welding ( even welding with glue ). Would be interested to know if anything *has* been welded, doesn't sound much fun in a spacesuit.

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12 minutes ago, Van Disaster said:

You're thinking in terms of existing ports - you only want them as a guide so they can be as thick as paint, nothing moves whrn they disappear then.

Scifi? what are Rapiers? there's nothing high tech about welding ( even welding with glue ). Would be interested to know if anything *has* been welded, doesn't sound much fun in a spacesuit.

Rapiers are near future. Skylon engines? Rapiers. They haven't been developed yet due to the cost it would take to build and test them. I really don't think these are a good idea. If it was, wouldn't these have been built and used for spacestations by now?

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21 minutes ago, Firemetal said:

Rapiers are near future. Skylon engines? Rapiers. They haven't been developed yet due to the cost it would take to build and test them. I really don't think these are a good idea. If it was, wouldn't these have been built and used for spacestations by now?

Current space stations are not intended as "permanent" installations. They are intended to be disassembled and de-orbited into a decaying orbit once their life cycle is completed.

Constructing really big stuff in orbit isn't really something that is on our spaceflight radar, but that is more due to economic reasons than it is because of technical challenges. Decoupler-like parts that can weld stuff together chemically are very feasible (and similar tech is used in fx. railway engineering) but Earth-based space programs have no use for them. Why would you want to permanently attach an American module to a Soyuz?

Nuke engines are just as much estabilished tech (NERVA was built in the 60s and 70s) but these as well are simply unused because they have a very limited usage window. In the defense of ISS though, the Russian, European and American docking ports are somewhat stronger than the ones simulated in KSP :wink:

There are two very solid arguments to make for a "weld-a-dock" style part in KSP: Increasing joint strength of the connected parts, and decreasing part count for performance reasons.

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2 minutes ago, Stoney3K said:

Current space stations are not intended as "permanent" installations. They are intended to be disassembled and de-orbited into a decaying orbit once their life cycle is completed.

Constructing really big stuff in orbit isn't really something that is on our spaceflight radar, but that is more due to economic reasons than it is because of technical challenges. Decoupler-like parts that can weld stuff together chemically are very feasible (and similar tech is used in fx. railway engineering) but Earth-based space programs have no use for them. Why would you want to permanently attach an American module to a Soyuz?

Nuke engines are just as much estabilished tech (NERVA was built in the 60s and 70s) but these as well are simply unused because they have a very limited usage window. In the defense of ISS though, the Russian, European and American docking ports are somewhat stronger than the ones simulated in KSP :wink:

There are two very solid arguments to make for a "weld-a-dock" style part in KSP: Increasing joint strength of the connected parts, and decreasing part count for performance reasons.

Alright. I see the point. Still docking ports are strong, put together with autostruts and rigid attachment in 1.2. And if you are never going to undock, never undock! Docking ports can be permanent if you want them to be. I just don't think we need parts like these but that's just my opinion.

Fire

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28 minutes ago, Firemetal said:

Rapiers are near future. Skylon engines? Rapiers. They haven't been developed yet due to the cost it would take to build and test them. I really don't think these are a good idea. If it was, wouldn't these have been built and used for spacestations by now?

I went & checked - welding in space, ie actually outside the pressure vessel, has been a thing ( if not a very popular thing ) for about 30 years. Most types of earth welding should work in space, there's just not really been any need so far. I haven't investigated gluing things yet, glues can be quite surprising... SABREs on the other hand are in proof-of-concept phase, same as every other LACE over the years.

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3 hours ago, Van Disaster said:

I mean their rotation has to match when you dock.

I completely misunderstood you when you said 'undockable' - I thought you meant they didn't act as docking ports!  Excuse me.

I'll have to look into that then :)

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The "keyed" idea - i.e. the magnets not only pull the docks together, but also assist by aligning them to 45 degree angle increments (or maybe a user adjustable increment). This would help a lot when assembling things in orbit. I'd imagine you still have to be close to the right orientation, but as long as you're within say a few degrees the dock would rotate the pieces to align

Edited by tjt
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1 hour ago, tjt said:

The "keyed" idea - i.e. the magnets not only pull the docks together, but also assist by aligning them to 45 degree angle increments (or maybe a user adjustable increment). This would help a lot when assembling things in orbit. I'd imagine you still have to be close to the right orientation, but as long as you're within say a few degrees the dock would rotate the pieces to align

It doesn't need to even be as coarse as 45 degrees - being keyed at the small rotation angle of the build scene (what is it - 1/40 of a rotation, or 10 steps per 90 degrees?) would be close enough to force two units into the correct alignment most of the time. Getting two units almost aligned isn't the hard part - it's the final few degrees or tenths where the trouble is.

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21 hours ago, Corona688 said:

what's truly missing is keying, for fixed angles.  If the shape of your structure is at all important, ordinary docking ports won't do.

Some versions ago, Squad already build in the possibility to do this into the docking module code. It can be enabled and configured for the stock ports through an MM script.

What the stock ports are missing is tweakables to access these configuration options in-game. (and let the discussion begin regarding basic vs advanced or editor vs in-flight).

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37 minutes ago, swjr-swis said:

Some versions ago, Squad already build in the possibility to do this into the docking module code. It can be enabled and configured for the stock ports through an MM script.

But not through the part configs?

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