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Docking Problems


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So, I'm having terrible (seeming) issues docking. I have my 2 modules on a perfect line, a closing speed of about 2 m/s, and once i get about 40m away, they just seem to rocket apart from each other. I've spent about 3 hours this morning trying, and I'm going to take a break.

I have spent a decent amount of time getting their orbits to match up, to the point that the 2 encounters are .1km apart, and relative speeds of >5m/s. What else am I missing in trying to dock? This is my first time trying this maneuver, so I'm sure I'm doing something wrong. I've looked up several tutorials, but they all seem to leave me guessing on my own a bit. 

Thanks for help, in advance.

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I think the max relative speed to dock safely is 0.3 m/s.

I strongly recommend using the Docking Port Alignment Indicator mod done by NavyFish.  No parts are required.  It is an awesome mod that gives visual indicators for the position of all axes of movement and rotation as well as guidance for translation thrust needed to get the proper alignment.  The guy is a US Navy submariner and I believe he applied docking concepts to the mod.

Docking Port Alignment Indicator

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@Kickn4fun Which ship are you controlling when you try to dock them together? I noticed that on your ship with the cupola module that the docking port faces in the opposite direction of your cupola. Make sure you are selecting the docking port on the ship you are piloting and chose "Control From Here". Otherwise your maneuvers could be reversed. And as others have said, be sure to click the navball where it says "Orbit" and change it to "Target" so that you can see your relative velocities. Others have explained the rest fairly well.

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OK, then I can't really add much that the other posters here haven't already covered. It's most important to match relative velocity with your target craft when you get near your closest approach. Have you been able to do that yet? When you click that orbit velocity readout on your navball it should switch between orbit, surface, and then target velocity (as long as you have selected your target) to show you how fast you are going relative to the target craft. In target mode the prograde and retrograde markers actually switch to show you the directions to point in order to speed up or slow down relative to your target not your orbit.

If you have matched velocity properly then your blue orbit in map view will perfectly line up with the yellow orbit of your target. If the orbits aren't aligned then you will zoom past your target before you can dock.

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Thank you everyone for your tips/tricks/pointers/advice. I have temporarily abandoned the space station in my pictures, and have started a different one at the moon. I was able to complete a docking maneuver there. Very rewarding! Many re-loads to learn how, and I finally figured out what I needed to do to get my crafts in relative position, speed, and orbit to use the control thrusters to bring the 2 parts together. I will probably take a second look into my first craft to recover it soon. Thank you all!!

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Great job!

And now you know that you can it.

Try it furthermore and you will see it becomes a great ability to build something unic.

Have a good playtime!

Funny Kabooms 

Urses 

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Just now, Urses said:

Great job!

And now you know that you can it.

Try it furthermore and you will see it becomes a great ability to build something unic.

Have a good playtime!

Funny Kabooms 

Urses 

Thanks!

I found out through trial and error, that the stock docking indicator is only good until you're about 10m away. after that, I had to dock by eye-balling it. It was kinda fun, and kinda annoying that I had to figure out to just ignore the nav ball and wing it. How necessary / helpful are mods? Do they change the gameplay much, or just really enhance it?

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3 hours ago, Kickn4fun said:

Thanks!

I found out through trial and error, that the stock docking indicator is only good until you're about 10m away. after that, I had to dock by eye-balling it. It was kinda fun, and kinda annoying that I had to figure out to just ignore the nav ball and wing it. How necessary / helpful are mods? Do they change the gameplay much, or just really enhance it?

If you right click the docking port of the vehicle your docking with, and click set as target, then do the same with docking port on your craft, and click control from here.

 

This will line up the indicators for precise close-in control.

 

And also, you can hit the caps lock key for a more fine control of your rcs thrusters, so you can go nice and slow.. helps with stability imho, especially if your center of mass is not perfect. gives more time for rcs and reaction wheels to compensate each other.

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5 hours ago, Kickn4fun said:

I found out through trial and error, that the stock docking indicator is only good until you're about 10m away.

Personally I use only the navball to dock and never had a problem. 

About mods: how much they change the gameplay varies from mod to mod.  And how acceptable is a given change varies from player to player. So,  we can give our opinions but it's up to you choose which ones, if any, to add to you game 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Spricigo said:

About mods: how much they change the gameplay varies from mod to mod.  And how acceptable is a given change varies from player to player. So,  we can give our opinions but it's up to you choose which ones, if any, to add to you game 

Great commentary!

@Kickn4fun

And the variety of modes out there is overhelming. They can change the game entirely or give you only a small helpful gizmo at hand. You decide wich way and how far you go. As little advice, make you a standallone copy of the game for modding. The modders have mostly the mods up to date, but like actually some decide to skip a upgrade and wait for next big release. Look in the Library Tread. Your best treads for modded plays are following:

Read, ask for help or advice and find a way for have fun and get you a personal expirience and have a great playtime!

Funny Kabooms 

Urses 

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No thread about docking should fail to mention NavyFish's 'Docking Alignment Indicator' mod. All it does is give you the information you need to dock. Docking is a hundred times more fun that way, I can't recommend it enough.

It will be crystal clear if something is getting in your way such as a rotating target or poorly placed RCS engines.

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6 hours ago, cephalo said:

No thread about docking should fail to mention NavyFish's 'Docking Alignment Indicator' mod. All it does is give you the information you need to dock. Docking is a hundred times more fun that way, I can't recommend it enough.

It will be crystal clear if something is getting in your way such as a rotating target or poorly placed RCS engines.

Thank you for the recommendation. I have been pretty thoughtful in my placement of RCS thrusters, so I know those aren't the issue. I will have to look into getting that mod soon, if I plan to do much in the way of docking.

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If all else fails, go to the whiteboard and watch the videos by Buckeyemonkey on how to use the navball.  More than just basic tutorial, he demonstrates how to do correction burns towards the target.  Extremely helpful.

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Another useful thing to do is try to have your docking approach from the normal / antinormal directions.  This sort of keeps orbital mechanics from messing with your approach, and it's easy to put a hold orientation on that direction with an advanced probe core.

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The answer to your question is relatively simple. It's the velocities of both spacecraft at the same time. If the one which your trying to dock with, lets say, is going at like 2650m/s, and your craft is going at like 2700m/s, then you have a 50m/s velocity difference. Therefore, your craft will just basically pass the other one very quickly because you are 50m/s faster than it. You need the orbital velocity around the same, with only around a 5 or 7m/s difference if you want to get close, because otherwise the craft that your trying to dock with, because it is going faster than your craft is in the orbit, you will most likely miss it. Hope that solved your problem. Or, for an easy/cheating method, just use HyperEdit.

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Very useful thread. I am having big issues with docking as well, but my issue is around the 'target' as mt SAS does not have target control. I am playing in career mode. So I am having to use the target manually. Very hard. I have used sandbox and docked first time. No issue. But in the career game and without the advantage of the target control, it is really hard.

Any hints on docking without it?

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