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InterCity

Drill, baby, Drill! (How to run a large mining corporation)

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Hello, Kerbonauts,

i was thinking to run a new career save as a sort of oil company. Now I just need to figure out how to mine as efficiently as possible. 

So my questions are: Which place in the Kerbol system is the best for mining? Should I convert to LF/O/Monopropellant? Use orbital refinery/storage stations?

Thanks in advance.

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1 hour ago, InterCity said:

Which place in the Kerbol system is the best for mining?

Minmus and Ike are generally the best places to start.  Low enough G that it makes designing your landers/lifters easier, high enough G that you're not trying to run a mine in a bouncy house.
 

1 hour ago, InterCity said:

Should I convert to LF/O/Monopropellant?

I generally convert to LF, as by the time mining is attractive I'm tossing big heavy nuclear powered wessels all over the Solar system.  I also refine a little mono to refuel my RCS systems.
 

1 hour ago, InterCity said:

Use orbital refinery/storage stations?


My architecture:  A) a mobile miner that can land, refuel itself, and return to orbit stuffed with ore.  B) Since the miner is heavy and ungainly, an OTV that picks up the ore and transfers it to an orbital refinery/storage depot.  C) The OTV doubles as a tanker by dropping off the ore container and picking up a fuel tank.  (Because the OTV+tank generally maneuvers better than the big heavy vehicle it's re-fuelling.)

Mobile miner:

za2BFzt.png


OTV with ore container. (It's hard to see, but there's RCS on the container to help with handling when it's loaded.)

CTUKuh4.png

Orbital refinery/storage depot, capable of self-ferrying to Minmus or to Ike if I rejigger the tankage, initial configuration.  (I used Modular Fuel Tanks to reduce the oxidiser storage, add monoprop storage, and increase the liquid fuel storage...   this cuts down on parts count.)  The leftover oxidiser is just margin from transit.  The leftover liquid fuel is actually an important part of the system - it lets you refuel the OTV after it's boosted from LKO to Minmus and before it sets off to haul the (very heavy) ore container.

MtPVc9l.png

Orbital refinery/storage depot, final configuration.  Ore storage tank in use, fuel tank (also rejiggered to 100% fuel storage via Modular Fuel Tanks) with the OTV docked ready to fill and head off to service customers.  The refinery and power systems are modular, and here they've been moved to a position that's up and out of the way of the main docking hub.

1NM7TX2.png

(The non stock structural parts pretty much all come from Nertea's Near Future Construction pack.)

YMMV, others may have other ideas.

 

Edited by DerekL1963

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1 hour ago, Loren Pechtel said:

Why are you lifting your ore to space for refining?

You're moving the same weight whatever way you do it...  And ore, being more compact, makes for a smaller miner and transfer vehicle making it easier to boost from Kerbin.

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Thanks everyone, your help is much appreciated. Exxon shall tremble before me now!

Edited by InterCity

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If your plan is to drill for money by recovering fueled ships, consider refining to mono which is denser than LFO so you can carry more of it on a smaller craft (albeit hevier, but hey, aerobraking).

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Yep, for commercial operation with ore, Kerbin is the site and even then ROI is lousy.

If you want off-planet challenge, install the latest Pathfinder mod and try to find Aurum. One lode can produce something of order of 30,000,000 funds, but finding it is quite a challenge. Never mind landing it safely at KSC (you really don't want to take the 50% recovery penalty for recovering on the other side of Kerbin!). It has murderous density, not much volume but it's really, really heavy.

Or go with Karbonite and Karborundum mods. Karborundum is very valuable but can only be found on Eeloo and Eve.

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On 2/21/2017 at 10:17 PM, Loren Pechtel said:

Why are you lifting your ore to space for refining?

You don't have to take the refinery down to the surface and it's more convenient to have the fuel available in orbit

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On 2/21/2017 at 11:42 AM, Benjamin Kerman said:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=an3ZEMFCQpk

Marcus house demonstrated that the launch pad has a great ore content. 

Ore concentration is randomly generated when you create a new save - it's different in everyone's games, and different between your own saves on the same KSP install.  Also, ore concentration is HEAVILY affected by the resource abundance slider in the difficulty options.  Point being - if you play a harder-than-default setting, it's entirely possible to have zero ore on the launchpad. It's happened to me a couple times, and it's a PITA for testing mining rigs before launching them.

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On 2/24/2017 at 10:40 AM, Lunar Sea said:

You don't have to take the refinery down to the surface and it's more convenient to have the fuel available in orbit

It is less efficient to bring along the ascent fuel with each landing. If you bring the ISRU to the surface, you only need enough to land(waste less fuel from your orbital supply) and then fill up all tanks on the surface. Due the minimum size/mass of an ISRU, this is not viable with small ships.

Dont worry i am not dictating how it should be done:P For me, i like the least amount of effort. A lander ship built with a small loan of a few funds, like 240t that is mostly nuclear powered. Basically a fuel depot, with an ISRU, engines and landing legs. It goes down, refills in about 10 days, then back into Minmus orbit to supply fuel...it all takes probably 10 minutes of IRL time

Anyway, back to topic: This seems very fitting...

 

Edited by Blaarkies

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10 hours ago, Blaarkies said:

It is less efficient to bring along the ascent fuel with each landing. If you bring the ISRU to the surface, you only need enough to land(waste less fuel from your orbital supply) and then fill up all tanks on the surface. Due the minimum size/mass of an ISRU, this is not viable with small ships.

Dont worry i am not dictating how it should be done:P For me, i like the least amount of effort. A lander ship built with a small loan of a few funds, like 240t that is mostly nuclear powered. Basically a fuel depot, with an ISRU, engines and landing legs. It goes down, refills in about 10 days, then back into Minmus orbit to supply fuel...it all takes probably 10 minutes of IRL time

Anyway, back to topic: This seems very fitting...

 

While it isn't efficient I'm beginning to think it would be more time-efficient.  I'm going to investigate such a bird.

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it's worth looking at asteroid mining too. Grab a decent sized asteroid, circularize it into Kerbin orbit and bring the fuel supply to you. I'm using mining to fuel ships rather than selling, but I'd imagine it would work well for that too.

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On 3/5/2017 at 9:26 PM, Blaarkies said:

Dont worry i am not dictating how it should be done:P For me, i like the least amount of effort. A lander ship built with a small loan of a few funds, like 240t that is mostly nuclear powered. Basically a fuel depot, with an ISRU, engines and landing legs. It goes down, refills in about 10 days, then back into Minmus orbit to supply fuel...it all takes probably 10 minutes of IRL time

Right now I've got robo-tankers on orbit and mining/refiner landed shuttling back and forth. I never considered a giant all-in-one. I can cut a bunch of landings and rendezvous out this way. Thank you for my next idea!

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20 minutes ago, Rowe said:

Right now I've got robo-tankers on orbit and mining/refiner landed shuttling back and forth. I never considered a giant all-in-one. I can cut a bunch of landings and rendezvous out this way. Thank you for my next idea!

MechJeb can run an orbital rendezvous on it's own assuming your rockets are built right.  Trying to land a fuel shuttle next to a mining rig is another matter.  Thus I'm going to try putting everything needed on the lander--needlessly hauling stuff back and forth but it will save time.

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8 hours ago, Rowe said:

Right now I've got robo-tankers on orbit and mining/refiner landed shuttling back and forth. I never considered a giant all-in-one. I can cut a bunch of landings and rendezvous out this way. Thank you for my next idea!

I used to do that, ISRU base on the Mun, an orange tank with 2 NERVs and a kind of a forklift claw truck that assembles the base, and is later used to pickup the shuttle and port dock it to the base for refueling.

Then i found the EVA fuelpipe mod. Made this stuff much easier. The closest stock gets to this is a claw field to land on with the shuttle.

The worst problem is still the Kraken itself: After the 10th landing or so, your base is suddenly slightly below the surface, only to jump up and break a vital component. You can fix that, but something worse is bound to happen next. Thats when I decided: I need 100t of fuel in orbit, I can spend 15 minutes to make that happen, so what cuts out all the stops, all the docking, rendezvous and coordination?

I know it's half the fun taken away right there, but it allows you to go ahead and build a Laythe base constructed via unfolding crawler rovers, delivered in pieces by a VTOL dropship, and a scout jet with a closed-wing design as a bonus! :D

Edited by Blaarkies

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