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ej89

Using Probe Control Point from launch pad

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Hi,

I've got a vessel stuck in low Kerbin orbit which desperately needs a Level 1 or better pilot to re-enter safely. The re-entry module was badly designed and it wants to tip over the wrong way (heat shield up, Mk1 command pod down) in the atmosphere; I've tried (many times) and failed to re-enter it manually without hitting the ground too hard. However, when I fly the same craft with Jebediah Kerman (who's currently at Level 1) on board, he can keep it stable all the way down with the "hold retrograde" SAS option. :-)

The stranded vessel has three tourists on board, so all it has is an OKTO probe's SAS, which doesn't support "hold retrograde". The usual rescue options are precluded because 1) it doesn't have a docking port, 2) tourists can't EVA, and 3) there are no empty seats for me to EVA a pilot into.

So I had an idea "what if I could use Remote Pilot Assist to transfer a Level 1 pilot's skills to it". I'm having some trouble getting this to work, though. As a preliminary test, I built a simple craft which has a Mk1-2 (3 man) command pod, two HG-5 (relay) antennas, a stack of batteries on top, and a token engine (not enough to get it off the ground) so that I can "launch" the thing and get the MET clock going without actually moving it anywhere. I then attempted to use it to control an unmanned probe (OKTO-based) which I already have up in keosynchronous orbit with visibility of the launch pad.

However, it's not working. Even with two level 1 pilots on board the ground craft, both craft's antennas extended (they are both equipped with HG-5's), the orbiting probe still has only the OKTO's basic SAS (stability assist only) and the status bar at the top of the screen indicates it's being controlled from KSC, not the remote craft. In map view on the ground control pod, when I set it to "vessel links" it shows a faint green line from the ground control pod to the orbiting probe, so they do have a line-of-sight link. But still...the piloting skills are not being transferred.

Am I missing something? Some requirement that's not met one one or other of the craft? Some button I need to press to activate the Remote Pilot Assist? Or does Remote Pilot Assist only kick in when the "normal" DSN link to KSC is occluded/too weak? Or does it not like the fact that the control craft is landed on Kerbin? (Should that even matter, since I did "launch" the thing and the mission clock is counting up like it should?)

Thanks...any ideas are appreciated. :-)

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Posted (edited)

Piloting skills are NEVER transmitted. A probe controlled craft will never get improved SAS abilities no matter it's connection.

A probe controlled craft unable to link to KSC is normally uncontrollable. But if it can link to a craft with remote piloting capabilities instead, it can be controlled as if it was connected to KSC.

Edited by Tex_NL

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29 minutes ago, ej89 said:

...probably something involving the Advanced Grabbing Unit ("The Klaw"). It's a ways out in the tech tree so it'll take a while to get, but fortunately I have plenty of time before my tourists' contract runs out. :-)

There's always the low tech claw solution... :)

1cOL16h.png

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50 minutes ago, ej89 said:

Haha, wow...what is going on there? Which parts are part of which vessels and how did you manage to get them to "connect" (or at least be sufficiently entangled to push the non-engined craft)?

The crew cabin and Mk1 pod on the left is a craft that got stuck in orbit without fuel. The contraption on the right is the rescue tug. It's job is to de-orbit the whole shebang to a safe speed.

Getting them together is like a normal docking maneuver. The only small trick is once you get close enough:

  • Switch to the tourist craft
  • Select the rescue vehicle as target
  • Rotate so that the tourist craft is facing exactly away 
  • With a little luck it should "slot" into the girder cage. (this may take a few attempts!)

This photo shows the rescue vehicle approaching:

N1NBsIJ.png.png

52 minutes ago, ej89 said:

Also - I'm assuming the game doesn't count that as "docked", i.e. you can't transfer crew that way (just give the one ship a delta-v boost)?

Definitely not docked in the official sense! However if you maintain at least a low thrust for the entire descent then the slight acceleration will keep the tourist craft lodged in the girders. Hopefully by the time aero forces pull the 2 craft apart the speed will be low enough to deploy the chutes.

An album with more detail is here.

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For future reference, the craft want to fly heavy parts first and drag parts last. If you are in doubt open your craft in VAB as it will be at the time of reentry and enable CoM (CoL may also help, but keep in mind that it don't consider all aerodynamic forces), you want to see it in the lower part of the vessel with most of the drag part above it.

My personal solution for the placement of 1-2 Crew Cabins and 1 Command Pod:

G5OkjsYh8NfQ.jpg. I'm not a big fan of tourism mission but designed a few tourist bus as response to question in this forums. They are made to be functional and easy to handle career ships.

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To answer an earlier question - yes you can transfer crew through the claw. Strange but true. 

Also I routinely send up clawed reentry probes specifically to deorbit junk or craft I want to recover. It works better and easier than you'd think. 

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Posted (edited)

Haven't played with it much myself but I found this via google posted on KSP Reddit:

You need a "probe control point" to control pods/probes that have the feature "remote pilot assist".

Only Mk2 lander can and Mk1-2 pod do have a probe control point on board, and you need two pilots on board.

But you can use the RC-001S and RC-L01 probe cores to make any pod a probe control point, which then only needs one pilot.

In every case the probe control point needs a relay antenna, and the remote controlled vessel needs at least a direct antenna.

You will have control of you remote controlled vessel, even it's not connected to KSC but connected to the probe control point.

The skills of the pilot in the remote control point are transferred to use remote control vessel, no matter if it's additionally connected to KSC or not.

Also, this Youtube video is relevant:

 

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket

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4 minutes ago, Tex_NL said:

Piloting skills are NEVER transmitted. A probe controlled craft will never get improved SAS abilities no matter it's connection.

A probe controlled craft unable to link to KSC is normally uncontrollable. But if it can link to a craft with remote piloting capabilities instead, it can be controlled as if it was connected to KSC.

Thank you! That answers my question perfectly. Guess I'll need to try a different approach for this rescue mission then...probably something involving the Advanced Grabbing Unit ("The Klaw"). It's a ways out in the tech tree so it'll take a while to get, but fortunately I have plenty of time before my tourists' contract runs out. :-)

Speaking of which: does anyone know if "docking" with the Klaw allows you to transfer Kerbals between different cabins on the now-combined vessel? The wiki says that it's possible to transfer fuel and electricity, but doesn't say anything about crew. Being able to do this would make the rescue a lot easier since I could shuffle a tourist off and a pilot on (without needing to EVA a tourist, which is of course impossible). If this isn't possible, then I guess I'd need to de-orbit with the Klaw attached, which seems "very Kerbal" (and potentially very difficult). :-)

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21 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

Haven't played with it much myself but I found this via google posted on KSP Reddit:

You need a "probe control point" to control pods/probes that have the feature "remote pilot assist".

Only Mk2 lander can and Mk1-2 pod do have a probe control point on board, and you need two pilots on board.

But you can use the RC-001S and RC-L01 probe cores to make any pod a probe control point, which then only needs one pilot.

In every case the probe control point needs a relay antenna, and the remote controlled vessel needs at least a direct antenna.

You will have control of you remote controlled vessel, even it's not connected to KSC but connected to the probe control point.

The skills of the pilot in the remote control point are transferred to use remote control vessel, no matter if it's additionally connected to KSC or not.

Also, this Youtube video is relevant:

 

Thanks! As it turns out, I already found that video myself while trying to figure this out before posting my question. :-) I was confused why it wasn't working, since I was doing everything just like in the video...but @Tex_NL's answer cleared that up (it was working just fine, I just shouldn't have been expecting it to transfer SAS skills).

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3 minutes ago, ManEatingApe said:

There's always the low tech claw solution... :)

1cOL16h.png

Haha, wow...what is going on there? Which parts are part of which vessels and how did you manage to get them to "connect" (or at least be sufficiently entangled to push the non-engined craft)?

Also - I'm assuming the game doesn't count that as "docked", i.e. you can't transfer crew that way (just give the one ship a delta-v boost)?

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1 hour ago, Spricigo said:

 

For future reference, the craft want to fly heavy parts first and drag parts last. If you are in doubt open your craft in VAB as it will be at the time of reentry and enable CoM (CoL may also help, but keep in mind that it don't consider all aerodynamic forces), you want to see it in the lower part of the vessel with most of the drag part above it.

My personal solution for the placement of 1-2 Crew Cabins and 1 Command Pod:

G5OkjsYh8NfQ.jpg. I'm not a big fan of tourism mission but designed a few tourist bus as response to question in this forums. They are made to be functional and easy to handle career ships.

Yeah...I "knew" that (and generally keep that in mind when designing my vessels) but forgot to check the CoM for the re-entry module on this particular craft. It was based on a craft which worked "just fine" for suborbital tourist flights (where the re-entry is easy), and I got lulled into a false sense of security after its first flight (which was piloted by Jebediah) made it back "easy" because of his Level 1 SAS abilities. :-) So naturally, the next thing I did was send up another one with tourists in all three seats...which is when I discovered the problem because the OKTO probe can't hold retrograde. It was immediately clear why this was happening, but it was too late for these tourists because I'd previously done a quicksave and lost the opportunity to revert the launch.

I've since redesigned the ship to separate into two separate modules before re-entry (1 Mk1 pod + 1 two-man Crew Cabin), each of which have their CoM correctly balanced. An overkill solution to be sure (with more careful design I could do it in one module, as you did) but it's worked very well. And it can go to the Mun because of the extra delta-v of the engine I added to deorbit the upper craft. :-)

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