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Kerbital

Has anyone figured out an elegant way to carry a rover to the surface of another planet?

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Has anyone figured out an elegant (or even semi-elegant) way to carry a rover to the surface of another planet other than having it attached to the outside of a lander or using a weird space crane contraption? I tried to mess around with the stock cargo bays but they seem rather useless.

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A spaceplane is a rover when you land it somewhere. So fly your spaceplane to the surface of another planet.

(Or, similarly, modify your rover until it's a spaceplane and then do the above.)

Edited by bewing

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I am greatly looking forward to misusing these new parts from the upcoming expansion/DLC:

to make rovers that integrate into cargo bays more elegantly.

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Folding rovers anyone? Using 4 Jr docking ports, antennae/truss hinges it is easy to build a stock folding rover that will easily fit inside a MK3 cargo bay, but unfolded to double it's width. It could work in fairings too i guess, I only tried it with dropships

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Stock , non-folding rovers seem pretty useless.      The widest one that will still fit the largest cargo bay (mk3) still has a track width that's so narrow it will be prone to tipping over/flipping.   Try to build with a lower Cg, then you have body parts hitting the ground because it rides so low.

The mk3 cargo plane i built to carry it, with the largest size landing legs,  had much longer wheelbase, much wider track, better ground clearance, and stronger wheels.   It could drive safer at higher speeds over the surface than the rover could, and used minimal fuel to do so.

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I like to use KAS and build my rovers on site. If you think ahead and cut your design in pieces manageable by one or two kerbals ( < 2 tons ) you can carry the rover in a streamlined shape, land it without a sky crane and rearrange the pieces once there. I usually assemble my bases with huge cranes I build this way. For nthe counter weights, I use ore tanks Bille Kerman can carry when empty, fix them to the back of the crane and fill them. And here you get a crane able to lift 20 tons without tiping, hand made!

KAS also comes very handy to put back on their wheels rover less than 1 ton when they tip over.

Another approach I used successfully was inspired from Mars Pathfinder: using infernal robotics, you can put your rover in a box, have it land quite roughly on difficult terrain, fall on any side but get back on the correct orientation when it opens. It's still a sky crane design, but much less delicate to land. 

 

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I like Ike errm i mean i like the eggdrop:
 

Spoiler

5HNWkB4.pngqMG4HpM.png

...it does have a crane to stop sufficiently and it does have chutes. For max safety reasons:wink:.

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I'm pretty sure there are many solutions around. I made a rover in a box that's kept boxed up until after the landing. Not everyone will agree with that; the box is heavy, and so on, but it does allow you to transport your rover inside a protected "bubble" (and not exposed to interstellar radiation, etc).

It's a tiny rover though. You'll have to build yourself something similar if you want it larger.

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Mk3 bay with chutes or power ( or both) depending on destination. Only constraint is width to allow rover to free itself.

screenshot89_zpsdeqiv9pg.png

Worked really well when Buffalo still had the narrow/wide wheel setup. Nowadays a bit more of a fiddle to make a stable rover, or take an engineer along and rejig on arrival. Pointy bit can also be configured as a habitat/mini base.

screenshot168_zps3asjogz4.png

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Depends where you're going, how big your rovers are, and what else you're planning to do there, to be honest. Parameterize the problem. :)

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This used to work before 1.1.3, and then started working again after 1.2.0 and later.

Spoiler

 

 

 

The larger wheels didn't like being clipped into the RoveMate body in 1.1.3.

The catch with the RoveMate is its navball orientation is strange for its appearance. Even as you load it into the Spaceplane Hangar, it stands up on edge to indicate its intended orientation. You can work around that by placing a controllable object on one of its short edges; Reactordrone suggested a Jr docking port.

You could instead build a chassis out of short I-beams or girders behind an OKTO2 or QBE to get a similar effect.

Edited by Gordon Fecyk

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A very small and lightweight 2 Kerbal rover. With only 0.314t it is small enough to carry on ANY manned lander.
It comes in three parts that can be assembled on the surface by an engineer with the help of KAS.

screenshot57.png

When not in use the three pieces can be stored underneath a lander.

screenshot56.png

Edited by Tex_NL

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I'm partial to the rover-in-a-can solution myself. A 2.5m service bay will just fit a rovemate probe core with one of the smaller wheel types. If you get fancy, you can add a docking port to the top of the can and dock/undock the rover from it.

Without mods, the only options are really cargo bays, fairings, and making your rover look so darn cool that you're not embarrassed to fly it through space out in the open. Arguably that last one overlaps with just using a spaceplane.

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Why bother separating the lander and the rover. This thing has aerospikes beneath the fuselages. The outer fuselages crossfeed into the center one for additional dV

nLCReWT.jpg

Edited by juanml82

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I like rovers with small fuel tanks and a single engine. You never know when you're going to want to hop somewhere. Frequently just an ant and a round-8 will give you all the hopping range you'll ever need.

But for carrying a rover along I tend to prefer sticking it on the bottom of my lander with a 0 force decoupler so it just drops to the ground when detached.

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When I sent my rover to the Mun I did it by attaching a small hardpoint to the rover, a structural fuselage to the hardpoint, a docking port to the fuselage and a fairing to the docking port. After launching it to LKO, I opened and decoupled the fairing and attached a tug to take it to the Mun, then detached the tug and attached a lander to take it to the surface, ejecting it using the hardpoint once it was low enough to land safely.

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I'm a sucker for micro-probes and micro-satellites, so if I'm doing a rover I prefer the round cargo bays with the rover neatly tucked inside and a skycrane built on the top of the cargo bay/storage container. It's usually a pretty straight forward and cookie cutter design, but it pleases me aesthetically. I like to take the realistic looking approach with my rockets and payloads though, that's just my personal preference.

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The drag isn't good but I've had success with a skycrane type setup.  I build my rover in the SPH and place a docking port on top of the COM--tweak the placement of things to get it as balanced as you can.

Now, dock this to the underside of something that's fatter than your rover at that point.  Landing rockets are strapped to the sides of of this and the booster are either put under the landing rockets or strapped to them.

I haven't noted exactly what my loss to orbit is but I actually lose more to the late gravity turn than to the drag.

I've landed an 8-wheel monstrosity on Minmus that way (very hard to tip over even there.)

Make sure the wheels aren't too far above the bottom of the landing rockets as the rover will freefall when you undock.  After undocking simply fly the booster away.

Beware that the game will like to control this from the rover rather than the rocket and that will work very badly indeed.  (Although amazingly after one such failure that I was distracted while launching it (MechJeb) somehow the Kerbal in the rover ended up standing on the runway with a few rocket bits laying around.  How is a Kerbal ever ejected from a crash??)

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Thanks for all the ideas! Sorry, for not responding sooner, a bit sick.

After some thinking, I also realized it would be good to be able to pick the rover up and transport it somewhere else.

I deleted my screenshots accidentally (again!) but what I did was to attach the garage module from Planetary Base Systems to the bottom of a vessel with side mounted engines. Installed a Junior docking port inside and a port on the front of the rover.

Drive the rover inside, dock and take off.

After landing, retract the gear so the bottom of the garage touches the ground. Open the ramps and Taa Daaaa!!!! Well, not really... Baby Kraken awakes the moment you undock the rover inside the garage. Unless you have damage turned off in Cheats the rover is destroyed instantly. With the cheat on, the rover is often ejected off to space. Kind of like Mammoths in Skyrim:) So that isn't working.

One of my problems is that I can't precision-land things manually and have to relay on Mechjeb. There are many aspect of KSP I'm just too stupid and too lazy for :D And Mech Jeb is having issues landing some unorthodox vessels.

I finally resorted to installing few junior docking ports on the bottom of a lander with side-mounted engines. I lower the lander's butt to the ground, let the rover dock and then take off. It's not even close to what I wanted, but it works and allows me to drop off and pick up rovers as well.

I'm surprised no modder came up yet with a proper rover cargo bay. Maybe it's not possible?

On 2/21/2017 at 0:44 PM, Voyageur said:

I'm a sucker for micro-probes and micro-satellites, so if I'm doing a rover I prefer the round cargo bays with the rover neatly tucked inside and a skycrane built on the top of the cargo bay/storage container. It's usually a pretty straight forward and cookie cutter design, but it pleases me aesthetically. I like to take the realistic looking approach with my rockets and payloads though, that's just my personal preference.

How do you make your rover stay inside? I tried that with small rovers. They disappear in flight, the bay is empty on arrival.

With my garage solution above, I had to have a docking port inside or the rover would disappear during the flight too. There is no room to attach a docking port inside the round cargo bays. I don't remember now, are these Tweakscale resizeable? I'll check in a bit.

My goal is to carry a fairly large Feline rover.

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Uff... I saved these ships. So here is what I did.

This is the one I liked, but it doesn't work. You can fit two rovers. I tried with one too, but it still explodes.

screenshot0.png

screenshot1.png

This works though.

Edit: NO IT DOES NOT work today, the rover flies away after being undocked on Mun:(

screenshot2.png

screenshot3.png

Edited by Kerbital

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1 hour ago, Wanderfound said:

F7K2ekC.jpg

 

hOpsEy8.jpg

 

9GUeq0e.jpg

 

Do you get asymmetric thrust when landing? It is a more elegant solution than my wide rovers, which are symmetrical in both axis, but I usually have to send to LKO in pairs due the drag

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On 2/23/2017 at 1:53 AM, Kerbital said:

 

How do you make your rover stay inside? I tried that with small rovers. They disappear in flight, the bay is empty on arrival.

 

I add a decoupler on to the rover itself, usually a very small one, and set it at the lowest separation force. I believe you have to add the decoupler to the rover on the desired connecting side, because if you add a decoupler into the cargo bay and try to merge the rover into the assembled rocket it won't connect. Usually a .625 decoupler will do the trick and a separation force of 1 will ensure your rover doesn't slam into the bottom of the cargo bay and destroy itself. Driving it out of the cargo bay itself can be a little tricky and usually takes a few mess ups to achieve. Hope this helped!

Edited by Voyageur

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11 hours ago, juanml82 said:

Do you get asymmetric thrust when landing? It is a more elegant solution than my wide rovers, which are symmetrical in both axis, but I usually have to send to LKO in pairs due the drag

A little fuel pumping before landing to ensure everything is balanced is sometimes necessary. It isn't hard to set it up with a stable CoM as fuel drains, though, and the Thuds have enough gimbal to cope with a bit of imbalance.

That particular one was designed to land nose-high, on the rear aircraft gear, then drop down onto the main wheels. Mining rig inside, enough TWR to regain orbit.

 

vVkTNIn.jpg

Edited by Wanderfound

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Still struggling with rovers. I think, I'll just give up.

So carrying the rover attached outside of a ship or under some sort of a crane, for a one way trip, works OK. But I want to be able to properly carry it in some sort of a loading bay.

I figured ways to carry them inside various cargo bays but they always EXPLODE when decoupled. Always. Even with low separation forces or when used with docking ports. Whether I add a rover via Merge in Editor or actually drive it in outside and load it up manually, once I undock it at the distention, they always get thrown around with great forces that, even with cheats enabled, result in damage to the rover and the carrier ship. No nukes and no ISRUs on the rovers. In one case, on the Mun, the rover was thrown into orbital course!

Getting really tired of the bugs in this game.

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using only stock parts i have by making a very slim rover to fit into the mk3 cargo and landing on another part of kerbin. My spaceship already does every task so the only thing i actually need to carry are satellites with data relay and communication.

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