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Well, now what?


Imanukekaboom
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Hey people!

I bought KSP for PC 4 days ago, and I need some starting advice:

1) I understand basic vehicle building (well, except for aeroplanes. Nobody can build those right), but I REALLY want to send a spacestation into space in sandbox mode! Any suggestions on how?

2) It is INSANELY hard for me to get into a full orbit without undershooting it (running out of fuel) or getting an orbit but not going fast enough to stay in one, making me fall back to Kerbin. How do I solve this?

3) Is it possible to build a base on Kerbin? If so, any advice on how?

I want to try to do this in sandbox mode so there are no limits.

Any advice?

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Hi, and welcome to KSP!  :)

These are mostly gameplay questions, so I'll move this over to the Gameplay Questions section.

 

1 hour ago, Imanukekaboom said:

(well, except for aeroplanes. Nobody can build those right)

No, they're eminently buildable.  :wink:  Like rockets, it's a matter of "if you follow the rules, they work great"... it's just that the rules are different from rockets, so it's a separate learning curve.  There are lots of people who love flying planes in KSP.  But "how to build a plane?" is really a different topic-- suggest posting a separate question if you're interested in that.

1 hour ago, Imanukekaboom said:

I REALLY want to send a spacestation into space in sandbox mode! Any suggestions on how?

There's nothing really special about it-- a space station is just a big rocket that doesn't come down again.  :wink:

One thing you can do with a station is to build it in sections, if you like-- just like the ISS.  Launch the components one at a time and dock them in orbit.  However, orbital rendezvous and docking is a whole separate set of skills to learn; I'd suggest leaving that until after you get comfortable just launching rockets efficiently to orbit.

That said, you can always make a one-piece space station, so you don't have to dock anything together.  Probably the best way for us to be able to give you advice would be to show us a screenshot of your best attempt, then we can offer constructive suggestions of how to fix whatever might be wrong with it.

1 hour ago, Imanukekaboom said:

It is INSANELY hard for me to get into a full orbit without undershooting it (running out of fuel) or getting an orbit but not going fast enough to stay in one, making me fall back to Kerbin. How do I solve this?

So, taking a rocket to orbit is pretty straightforward and easy... if you "do it right."  However, there are many more ways to "do it wrong" than there are to do it right, which is why you're finding it hard.  (Don't feel bad, we've all been there!)  The good news is that once you learn the "rules", it'll get much easier for you.

However, since there are so many different ways to "do it wrong", it's hard to offer advice without more information (since we don't know which of those problems may be biting you).  Can you post a screenshot of your ship, and describe the flight path that you're taking to orbit?

(To post a screenshot, just put it on some public website like imgur.com, then copy the URL of the image and paste it into your forum post; it'll automagically get converted into an in-line image.)

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of problems getting a ship to orbit:

  1. Building it wrong
  2. Flying it wrong

A screenshot of your ship will help us diagnose whether you have design issues.  A description of your attempted path to orbit will help us diagnose piloting issues.  Roughly speaking, here's how you get a ship to orbit:

  1. Launch
  2. Start a gentle turn eastwards, just a few degrees, right off the pad.  Exactly how much depends on your ship design-- so you'll probably need to repeat this several times to get the hang of it.
  3. Then just hold prograde while you climb full-throttle.  Your ship will gradually pitch over as its path curves due to gravity.
  4. When you reach 10km altitude, you should be approximately 45 degrees from vertical.  If you're a lot less or a lot more than 45 degrees at 10km, it means you tipped too much or too little in step #2; revert-to-launch and try again.
  5. Just keep burning (jettisoning each stage as it runs out of fuel) until your apoapsis (the "Ap" marker in map view) gets up to your desired height.  90 km is not a bad height for low orbit, but you can choose.
  6. Then turn off the engine and coast until you get up close to Ap, and burn prograde until you're in circular orbit.

Those are just some general guidelines that work pretty well-- there are other variations on the theme.  Are you familiar with using maneuver nodes in map view?  If so, you can use one in step #6 to make it easier to time the burn.

1 hour ago, Imanukekaboom said:

Is it possible to build a base on Kerbin? If so, any advice on how?

Depends what you mean by "base", but the answer is yes.  Can you be a bit more specific?

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2 hours ago, Imanukekaboom said:

I bought KSP for PC 4 days ago, and I need some starting advice:

Good choice! Provided you want to learn rocket science, and are willing to invest some brain cells and effort and time.

2 hours ago, Imanukekaboom said:

1) I understand basic vehicle building (well, except for aeroplanes. Nobody can build those right)

Heh. There are many tricks to it, certainly.

2 hours ago, Imanukekaboom said:

but I REALLY want to send a spacestation into space in sandbox mode! Any suggestions on how?

As long as you can create a spacestation upper stage that satisfies you, then one answer that you will hear on the forums (that's basically a joke but it's not a joke at all) is moar boosters. There is a point of diminishing returns, but you can put some really gigantic things in orbit in stock KSP.

2 hours ago, Imanukekaboom said:

2) It is INSANELY hard for me to get into a full orbit without undershooting it (running out of fuel) or getting an orbit but not going fast enough to stay in one, making me fall back to Kerbin. How do I solve this?

Moar fuel. Moar boosters. Thrustier engines. As snark said, screenshots are invaluable if you want actual helpful suggestions.

2 hours ago, Imanukekaboom said:

3) Is it possible to build a base on Kerbin? If so, any advice on how?

You can't construct functional buildings without creating a mod. But anything that you can construct in the VAB or SPH and call a "base" can go anywhere you want. What do you want this base to do?

 

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The two "secrets" to getting just about anything to orbit are two numbers: TWR and dV. Install a mod that tells you these things, either Mechjeb or KER. Then find out what they mean in KSP and what they need to be to get a craft to orbit. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Imanukekaboom said:

2) It is INSANELY hard for me to get into a full orbit without undershooting it (running out of fuel) or getting an orbit but not going fast enough to stay in one, making me fall back to Kerbin. How do I solve this?

 

5 hours ago, Snark said:

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of problems getting a ship to orbit:

  1. Building it wrong
  2. Flying it wrong

Welcome to the forums! :)

Since Snark already went into detail about the "flying it wrong" part, I'm going to cover the "building it wrong" part here. I'm going to give you two things. The first may be a bit more advanced advice than you're looking for right now, but it may help you in the future. It is a link to a post I once made about mass fractions, which I like to share in such occasions.

The second thing I'll give you is the most simple of things: a practice rocket. Go into sandbox mode, and assemble a rocket out of the following things:

1x Mk1 Command Pod
1x Mk16 Parachute
1x TR-18A Stack Decoupler
2x FL-T800 Fuel Tank
1x LV-T45 "Swivel" Liquid Fuel Engine

(The list is provided in the order of attaching the parts.)

You now have a "single stage to orbit" rocket. In other words, this thing has so much fuel while lifting so little payload that it doesn't even need an upper stage. It arrives in orbit in the same form it lifted off in from the launchpad. The only thing that stages here is the decoupler that splits off the pod for reentry, and the parachute for letting it land. Make sure your staging order is sorted accordingly.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: using this rocket, and the advice provided by Snark, put a Kerbal into an 80x80 kilometer Kerbin orbit and return him/her safely to the ground.

Oh, and do note: this rocket is meant to train you, not to make things as easy as possible. It has enough fuel margin for an experienced player to pull this off without breaking a sweat, but not enough to recover from a crass mistake. It is stable as it is without guide fins, but not if you steer like a drunken lorry driver in an obstacle course. Also, because you don't stage to a smaller engine mid-flight, you'll have to throttle down more and more over the second half of the ascent in order to maintain precise control over where you're going. When and how much you throttle down is up to you to figure out. :wink: Good luck!

Edited by Streetwind
Typos, typos everywhere!
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Welcome! KSP has a pretty steep learning curve, so it's great you're getting advice from the forums. Your only question that hasn't really been answered in much detail is the base question.

You can build a base on Kerbin. It won't be very practical, but it could be some good practice for bases on other celestial bodies. I'd recommend using this guide:

 

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