Shikashi

Is asteroid mining proficient?

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Hey folks!
I've been wondering, is mining an asteroid and refining the ore and sending the fuel products back to Kerbin proficient or does it provide barely enough to pay for the mission?

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I dont know, but i heard somewhere that you can cheat by producing monoproppellant pn the launchpad and earn money with that, so maybe you could do that from space to make it less cheaty and more fun i geuss?

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Fuel is cheap*. Probably most of the launch costs comes from the payload/equipment and engines. You'll get more profits by sending a big ship to orbit by itself, catch some asteroids, mine them and refuel the ship - so you don't have to pay even more for sending fuel to space.

*not including xenon

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The larger the asteroid, the tougher it is to control. You'll burn a lot of fuel just catching and bringing one into orbit. I've taken Class E asteroids to the Joolian moons for contracts, but they barely have any ore left when I get there; which is part of the problem. Asteroids have a finite supply of ore. It'll run dry after awhile and you'll need to grab another one. I think you' be much better off using Minmus for refueling operations. Unless you just like catching asteroids, which I can understand. I do have some fun with 'em.

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1 hour ago, The Aziz said:

Fuel is cheap*.

Check yo stagin'. About half a tank's cost is the fuel inside. Including engines and payload, fuel is still about a quarter of the entire vehicle.

@Shikashi: if you want to make fuel for profit, it's probably easiest if you don't even mine the ore,  but load up your tanks in the VAB and then turn it into monoprop. That's 2 funds in, 300 out for every ton of ore. Not a very interesting mission in my opinion, but certainly profitable.

Bringing a large asteroid back to Kerbin, with lots of ore left, is doable but takes some experience (in other words, expect that you need a few tries). It's also quite a bit of work. In the end, a fuel depot in LKO is certainly nice to have, but I don't think it's monetary value stands in any reasonably relation to the effort involved.

Put differently: you may do it for fun and profit, but if there's no fun in it, the profit alone doesn't justify the mission. You decide.

Edited by Laie

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1 hour ago, The Aziz said:

Fuel is cheap*. Probably most of the launch costs comes from the payload/equipment and engines. You'll get more profits by sending a big ship to orbit by itself, catch some asteroids, mine them and refuel the ship - so you don't have to pay even more for sending fuel to space.

*not including xenon

Well, I think i have some mod that allows me to make xenon. OH RIGHT IT WAS KETHANE!

6 minutes ago, Laie said:

Check yo stagin'. About half a tank's cost is the fuel inside. Including engines and payload, fuel is still about a quarter of the entire vehicle.

@Shikashi: if you want to make fuel for profit, it's probably easiest if you don't even mine the ore,  but load up your tanks in the VAB and then turn it into monoprop. That's 2 funds in, 300 out for every ton of ore. Not a very interesting mission in my opinion, but certainly profitable.

Kerbal refinery program

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If you try to make money with prospecting or Material Transfers you may use asteroids in some funny ways. 

1. Mission bring z tones of ore/fuel from x to y.

A. Mine/refining station on x that produce required numbers.

B. Mine/refining station on asteroid around Kerbin/ target y. Load up and land.

2. Long range discovery mission.

A. Mine/refining discovery vessel goes for asteroid belt catches up a small one and have fuel to go to the next one.

B. Same, catches up with a big highly excentrical asteroid. Let bring it on the farthest usefull point and restock fuel in the meantime.

 

3. Modes that provides industrial capacitys like USI or Interstellar. Bring a producing orbital factory on asteroid produce realy expensive items. Con: micromanagment , support +++.

4.  Modes that use asteroids as something other to look around. ARR from USIConstelation. Clank up a Massdriver with supporting modules => you get a asteroid powered rocket.

Only your immagination sets the borders to what you can build/use.

Funny Kabooms 

Urses

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proficiency is dependent on the asteroid class.

  • Class A: Don't bother. These novelty trinkets are too small to make any real use of. You could probably sell one to a tourist as a souvenir.
    ...
  • Class B: You can push these into Kerbin orbit relatively easy, but their limited amount of ore makes them good for a single use before needing to be disposed of. don't refuel your tug while pushing it or there won't be any ore left by the time you get it back to Kerbin. in fact, leave the mining equipment behind and just use a normal rocket, then send up the mining equipment once you get it in orbit.
    ...
  • Class C: Bigger than B, more ore.
    ...
  • Class D: This is where things get interesting. pushing one of these is going to require a considerable amount of force, and a good deal of fuel. you might want to consider bringing mining equipment with you to refuel the tug.
    ...
  • Class E: I've noticed that these behemoths vary between 1500 tonnes and 3000 tonnes, very hard to push and control, but still possible. they're also 18 meters in diameter or larger so you'll need several heat shields if you're planning on aerobraking. if anything, I recommend that you avoid redirection missions and just use them as interplanetary refueling stations; they'll pass by Kerbin every so often so if your vessel has just enough to launch eject, and rendezvous, do so.
    ...
  • Class G: There's only one of these in the Kerbol system, and it's named "Gilly" - you cannot redirect this asteroid either, because it's "on rails." but you can use Hyperedit to move it to Kerbin's orbit, should you wish to do so, but pointless since we have Minmus already available.

Once in a while, you'll encounter a strange asteroid with glowing colored veins of an unknown element, these are the "Magic Boulder" that used to be a bug back in version 0.18 and then lost until they've been re-introduced as asteroids with a 1 in 20 chance of spawning.

Also, landing an ore-depleted asteroid is easier than landing a loaded one, so if you wish to do something with that expended rock, some ground-bound scientists at KSC would love to research them.

Edited by Xyphos

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circularizing asteroids around Kerbin and drilling for fuel is a great way to save money - especially when you you're building interplanetary manned missions. Don't land the fuel and sell it though. Instead launch you ships with as little fuel as possible to achieve orbit, then have a fuel tanker fill up at the asteroid and fuel your mission in orbit. The money you'll save on more lifting power by not having to lift all that fuel is well worth it.

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On 10/23/2017 at 12:36 PM, Tyko said:

save on more lifting power by not having to lift all that fuel is well worth it.

aye, most fuel tanks have a dry/wet mass ratio of 9:1
by launching your upper stage(s) and lander(s) dry will greatly reduce your launch mass and thrust requirements.

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Not for stock, but one thing I found to be really profitable with USI MKS was to mine Exotic Minerals and Rare Metals on Minmus and delivery that to Kerbin.  One of the 2.5m Kontainers full was worth about 750k funds.

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