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Seeking suggestions on Duna ISRU operations

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Hi all!

The short question: I'd love to hear recommendations on orbital altitudes for a refinery operation that will mine ore on Ike and refine it in Dunan orbit.

 

The longer explanation:

For the last week or so I've been playing in Sandbox, working out how to most effectively set up logistical infrastructures all around the stock solar system.  I started by setting up a full-coverage Comm relay and ScanSat (the mod) network around every body on the stock game.  I've done all this before, of course, but never as methodically and efficiently as I'd like.  So far the four inner planets are covered, and various satellite carriers are nearing their destinations at Dres, Jool, and Eeloo.

Now I've turned my attention to setting up fuel depots and ISRU operations, and have two flotillas of fuel stations, mining landers, in-system tankers, interplantery tankers, etc. headed to Duna and Dres.  All un-Kerballed and drone-controlled, but with enough modularity to be turned into crewed vessels in the future.

(Before it's mentioned, I know depots and ISRU aren't necessarily the easiest or most efficient ways to explore the system, but for the purpose of this save game, that's what I'm playing with.)

I already have a clear plan for Dres; with an ore miner tailored for landing on the planet and another dedicated to the asteroids surrounding it.  They'll bring raw ore to an orbital refinery/tankage station.

The reason for this post: I'm not sure exactly what I want to do at Duna.  The mining lander is large (by my standards) and can bring 10,000 units of ore from Ike to anywhere in the Dunan system.  The depot will refuel Kerballed missions to Duna, and a few re-usable Duna Lander/Ascent vehicles that will remain in-system for surface explorations.  It may also be used to send re-fueling tankers further afield, particularly to Jool, though a full Kerballed expedition to that system is still only a drawing-board notion.

 

SO...  any suggestions, tips, or other observations?  Specifically, will I be better served to keep the main Fuel Depot/Refinery station in orbit around Ike, or should it orbit Duna?  If the latter, will a high (near the SOI margin), medium (outside Ike's orbit), or low (inside Ike's orbit) altitude work best for my purposes?  Keep in mind the station itself has no propulsion, but is configured so the Mining Lander itself can propel the entire depot (and is in fact doing that right now, toward a Duna intercept in a few hundred days).  There are also several fuel carriers around Duna (most of them leftovers from the Comm/Scan satellite missions) that can move fuel from the depot to vessels that need it.

I'm asking not just in terms of absolute efficiency (as in launch costs and fuel consumption) but also in terms of my convenience and "playability" (i.e. avoiding days-long warping to rendezvous various vessels from high orbits), and finding a satisfying balance between the two.

I hope I've laid out enough to explain what I'm looking for in terms of feedback, without droning (no pun intended) on too long.

Note: I'm playing with a smattering of mods, but mainly for aesthetics.  All my craft are (virtually) analogous to stock vessels, so a full mod list  doesn't seem necessary.  Beyond that I rely heavily on KER and KAC to design and keep track of all the (40? 50?) missions ongoing right now.

Your thoughts appreciated.

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Duna is a good transit point for any mission heading beyond it. For ISRU, I suggest you did a surface one instead on orbit, since a full tank of ore that you get is producing less than a tank of fuel, for a sake of convenience, have it refined on surface to fill a tank before transporting it to orbit. For location, it's up to you, having duna as the location means you can easily have a vessel set an orbit for orbital refueling, however, duna have attmosphere and it's gravity is higher than Ike, so your refuel vessel had to deal with it. Ike, however, have a lower gravity and no atmosphere, which makes it easier for your refuel craft reaching orbit at the cost of having you to do additional burn for target vessel to set orbit around Ike. There are advantages and disadvantages on each location, pick what you deemed best for your preference

If you don't mind installing another mod, then the gold standard mod is a good mod to encourage you to explore dres and beyond (it spawns 2 additional resources: gold and unobtainium, both can be sold for large amount of cash) I've just returned from mining unobtainium, having filled 4 medium tanks of it, and I got 18 million (my craft cost 250k). It's a good addition to have more to do at distant worlds other than exploring

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Random thoughts:

  • It's up to personal preference, but I like to put the ISRU unit on the mining ship and skip a step in the process.  
  • It is very cheap, easy and fast to get from Duna to Ike and vice versa, so either option ought to work fairly well.
  • If you can line up the timing right, you can use less delta-v to other destinations if you leave directly from Ike.  So that argues in favor of refueling interplanetary ships there in order to maximize fuel at your destination.  
  • Maneuvering in Duna's SOI is slightly annoying because Ike tends to capture and fling around your ships, whether you want it to or not.  So going straight to Ike and then doing your maneuvers there is likely safer.
  • It also takes marginally less delta v to do orbital rendezvous maneuvers in Ike's SOI.  
  • It may depend on how many ships (science landers or whatever) you have active on Duna vs. Ike.  If most of your activities are in Duna, it's probably easier to send one huge mining ship back to a central depot at Duna, and vice versa.  
  • You can certainly put tankers on both, for not that much money.  The Duna system is easy to get to, and tanker ships are very efficient to transport if you burn their initial fuel load in transit (they effectively have no payload).  

Bottom line, if I had to pick one location for a fuel depot, it would probably be Ike -- unless you plan tons of Duna-landing missions and very few Ike ones.  

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For general drilling operation, I tend to drill and refine at the same place, so that I can just use a small Ore tank but huge LFO tank on the base for normal operation, and I don't need to move Ore at all, and also saves an engineer.

For Duna system - I found my refined fuel mostly go to either repeatable Duna planes/landers, or interplanetary travelling vehicle (not as midway stop to Jool, but for missions that I'm really stopping by Duna to do something real). So the fuel storage is one in low Duna orbit, one on the surface. The low orbit station that serves orbiters have the additional benefit that I can do aerobrakes for tankers from Ike, so that I have maximum amount of fuel transported to low Duna orbit.

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20 minutes ago, Aegolius13 said:

Bottom line, if I had to pick one location for a fuel depot, it would probably be Ike -- unless you plan tons of Duna-landing missions and very few Ike ones.  

Same conclusion there. 

Also,  if there is lot of activity on Duna surface and a lot of interplanetary departures it may be the case to setup another mining base or at least a secondary depot  

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From a playability standpoint I find myself building a combined mining/refining rig and so far I haven't even built orbital bases.

This game I'm playing with the USI life support and Kolonization mods, this renders my old strategy non-viable (the crew would run out of food and get bored of their rocket and go on strike) and I haven't gotten far enough into the game to figure out how I want to do it this time.  I suspect I'm going to have to go with an orbital base of some kind for morale reasons, I'm not sure how I'll handle the food situation.

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I have been playing with the idea of separating the two. Mine for ore and refine it in orbit. Carrying that heavy IRSU both ways just seems silly to me.

I even started designs and testing of such a system but then it occurred to me that while I am saving the weight of the ISRU I still have the drills, batteries, cooling and power generating equipment making both trips.

Now I have designed a rover. It is unmanned with only a probe core so I don't have to worry about it being unattended for any length of time.
It has just a couple of the tiny ore tanks an ISRU a few drills all the batteries and cooling and power generating equipment.
It can dock pretty well too.

The engineer and a pilot land a tanker nearby. Doesn't have to be pinpoint accuracy as with a static base. The rover trundles up and docks and now its a fully functioning refinery.
The tanker can come down with just enough fuel for the landing and goes back up as fully laden as local gravity will allow.

I made it for my vanilla game.
I have one on Ike and Duna among other places. I'm working on getting one on Tylo where it can be months or even years between uses.
So far I have found it to be the most economical method.
 

I just started a modded game (vanilla parts) and I will most surely be make the same system in this game.

 

 

 

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On 5/30/2017 at 9:53 AM, Daveroski said:

I have been playing with the idea of separating the two. Mine for ore and refine it in orbit. Carrying that heavy IRSU both ways just seems silly to me.

I even started designs and testing of such a system but then it occurred to me that while I am saving the weight of the ISRU I still have the drills, batteries, cooling and power generating equipment making both trips.

Now I have designed a rover. It is unmanned with only a probe core so I don't have to worry about it being unattended for any length of time.
It has just a couple of the tiny ore tanks an ISRU a few drills all the batteries and cooling and power generating equipment.
It can dock pretty well too.

The engineer and a pilot land a tanker nearby. Doesn't have to be pinpoint accuracy as with a static base. The rover trundles up and docks and now its a fully functioning refinery.
The tanker can come down with just enough fuel for the landing and goes back up as fully laden as local gravity will allow.

I made it for my vanilla game.
I have one on Ike and Duna among other places. I'm working on getting one on Tylo where it can be months or even years between uses.
So far I have found it to be the most economical method.
 

I just started a modded game (vanilla parts) and I will most surely be make the same system in this game.

This is definitely the most efficient approach.  However, it means you have to drive the rover around moving fuel.  The all-in-one vehicle saves player time and I consider that more important than the waste of fuel hauling the mining/refining equipment up and down, especially as I only use low-g worlds.

What I would like to see is the Kolonization logistics system be able to work with unmanned consumers.

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7 minutes ago, Loren Pechtel said:

This is definitely the most efficient approach.  However, it means you have to drive the rover around moving fuel.  The all-in-one vehicle saves player time and I consider that more important than the waste of fuel hauling the mining/refining equipment up and down, especially as I only use low-g worlds.

What I would like to see is the Kolonization logistics system be able to work with unmanned consumers.

The rover only has a very small fuel tank to catch any excess while warping.  ALL the fuel is mined refined and transferred after docking to the landed vessel. The rover's fuel tank can be empty with no detriment to the rover and it means that you are not driving around moving fuel.

 

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6 hours ago, Daveroski said:

The rover only has a very small fuel tank to catch any excess while warping.  ALL the fuel is mined refined and transferred after docking to the landed vessel. The rover's fuel tank can be empty with no detriment to the rover and it means that you are not driving around moving fuel.

 

I'm talking about the human time needed to move the fuel from the refinery to the booster.  Putting it all on the booster costs more but it saves the player time driving it around.

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11 hours ago, Loren Pechtel said:

I'm talking about the human time needed to move the fuel from the refinery to the booster.  Putting it all on the booster costs more but it saves the player time driving it around.

Ah I see.. You don't get it.


 

 

 

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