bullettrain5

I just started my first space station, does anyone wanna give some suggestions for modules?

What module should i make?  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. What module should I make next?

    • Communications
      3
    • Passengers
      4
    • Fuel Tank
      3
    • Solar Panel Array
      10
    • MOAR SCIENCE
      4
  2. 2. What module should I make last?

    • Fuel Tank
      6
    • Communications
      2
    • Passengers
      9
    • Solar Panel Array
      2
    • MOAR SCIENCE
      5


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So I just made, my first ever space station, and I'm pretty proud, does anyone out there wanna give me a suggestion, or module file that I should attach to it, By the way, I I have a core module, and a science module, with 8 solar panels.

Edited by bullettrain5
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Can't really suggest a "next" without knowing the current list.  Science lab does no good without solar panels.  

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Oh ok, I only have a core, and a science lab, with some solar panels on it

so yeah, you can suggest anything that's not a core, or science lab.

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As I recall, my first station had a viewing cupola, a science lab, a large RCS tank, a half-jumbo fuel tank, and 4 XL solar panels.  Four regular Clampys and one large for visitors and to house landers, escape modules, whatever.  Almost exactly 50 tons.  I pushed it to the Mun where two scientists remain willing captives to this day.  

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My preference's in order of importance.

1. Battery banks (science lab must operate at capacity throughout the night)

2. Solar panels, you need these of course, but don't go overboard

3. Multiple docking ports ( at least 4 of them with room around them for docking )

4. Data storage module once available

5. Small-ish Fuel tank for (measuring and loading fuel onto docked ships in a controlled manner).

6. Mono-prop storage, the station will rarely use mono-prop, and docked craft will only need to fuel up their RCS if they are planning on doing more docking.

7. Large Fuel storage tank, I typically leave my last booster stage and engine attached to my station. I try not to send any fuel back to Kerbin.

8. adding a good probe core can free-up a pilot for other things.

9. You really only need a couple regular Communication antennas, extra relay capacity can be added later on if you feel like you need it.

10. nicer crew quarter keep the Kerbals happy and productive longer.

 

 

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It also depends where it is.  Fuel tanks are always a good one for refuelling future missions and saving weight.  But you also need to be able to refuel them.   Perhaps add fuel tanks and then a mining vessel that can get toMinmus, fill a tank and then transport it to the station.

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10 hours ago, NewtSoup said:

It also depends where it is. 

This.  

LKO stations are kinda useless for refueling, unless it's some specialized fuel for a mothership that is impractical to haul up in individual launches.  ISRU is pretty much useless in LKO, you could launch Ore to the station and convert it there, but it's benefits aren't that great.  If it's attached to a large asteroid how ever, then it's a perfect ISRU refueling vessel, but I like those in higher orbit (2k km +) so I'm a bit out of the gravity well.  LKO stations, for me, really only serve the purpose of science labs, and holding space camps (with the tourism (?) contract pack). 

Munar and minmus (and planets other than Kerbin) are well suited for refueling depots, as your landers or transfer vehicles don't need to carry extra fuel, and therefore can be cheaper to launch.  You then have to have ISRU capabilities in place to make it the most efficient.  They also do well for science outposts, but then you have to consider getting the kerbals there, which can be non-trivial if you're using Life Support or don't have the means to transport many kerbals at once.

The base core of any station should have the requisite power and communication parts already on it, be-it in the single launch or after initial orbital construction is complete.  Sometimes you do have to add power modules to a station, as you realize you didn't put enough on there.  But communication should be handled already by the antenna already attached, and also a cloud of com-sats already in orbit. 

Adding passenger space is kinda irrelevant in my mind.  My stations are usually over built in this regard, just because of the mods parts I use already have plenty of habitation space.   I usually only staff a half dozen kerbals at any one time, but I usually have space for 4-5 times that.   If you are considering tourism contracts, then you don't need to add space for them.  The transfer vehicle you use to get them there already contains the space for the tourists, and docking it to the station adds that space to the station. 

So think about what it is you want the station to do, and add the modules you are lacking to achieve that goal. 

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1 hour ago, Gargamel said:

LKO stations are kinda useless for refueling,

... 

ISRU is pretty much useless in LKO, you could launch Ore to the station and convert it there, but it's benefits aren't that great.  If it's attached to a large asteroid how ever, then it's a perfect ISRU refueling vessel,

...

Munar and minmus (and planets other than Kerbin) are well suited for refueling depots,

...

The base core of any station should have the requisite power and communication parts already on it,

...

Adding passenger space is kinda irrelevant in my mind. 

To the first point, I also rarely use them for refueling... if you have a design that barely makes orbit, refueling them in LKO is really your only option if they can't make it to Mun or Minmus. Its often easier to just launch a supply vessel  and do a single rendezvous with the specific craft, than to launch supply vessels that rendezvous with a station, then rendezvous your vessel with the station to refuel.

-However, they can easily be supplied from Mun or Minmus (for less dV than something launched from Kerbin), and if you want to supply your fuel from off world ISRU, then they can make sense, because trips between LKO and Mun/Minmus aren't "on demand" like trips from the surface of Kerbin, so you'll want to store fuel in LKO between supply runs from Mun or Minmus.

I'll agree that an ISRU converter in LKO is useless. Also why launch ore and convert it in space, when you can convert ore on the ground and then launch into space (you can run kerbal refinery program with purchased ore for a profit if that pleases you). Asteroid mining is the only case where it could make sense

Indeed, Mun and Minmus are much more attractive locations for stations because their science outputs are much higher, and you may want to immediately level up kerbals (who may be able to after a mun or minmus mission)

If playing with life support mods, then life support supplies and recyclers make a lot of sense... some place your crews can hang out if they need to - such as they were on a vessel with limited life support, and you forgot to give it parachutes and they have no way down, or some place for them to wait while you launch additional pieces of a multi-piece ship that you put together in orbit.

They just need to be able to sustain the operations for their purpose, in stock, thats just electricity (for the lab) and an antenna to transmit science (a relay antenna is good to allow them to function as a relay sat at the same time).

More crew capacity is rather pointless, its only really there to look cool if that is what you want.

 

That said, here are some ideas:

1) an orbital tug: something that can dock to other veseels and move them into docking position, that way you don't need each module or ship that docks with the station to have its own control part (probe/pod) and RCS system

2) Escape pods: a way for the station crew to get back down to kerbin without having to send a ferry/shuttle up to the station.

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1 hour ago, KerikBalm said:

2) Escape pods: a way for the station crew to get back down to kerbin without having to send a ferry/shuttle up to the station.

I've always had the policy that I can evacuate a station at any time.  I toyed with escape pods, but I've just found it easier to keep the transfer vehicle docked until it was time to go home. 

1 hour ago, KerikBalm said:

1) an orbital tug: something that can dock to other veseels and move them into docking position, that way you don't need each module or ship that docks with the station to have its own control part (probe/pod) and RCS system

I've found that keeping a tug docked on your station really doesn't add much benefit.  I'm all for tugs, I just usually launch them each time. 

First, part count.  There's another 20 parts or so to lower your FPS (and for me, that's an issue).   And while a launched tug vs docked will incur the same part count penalty during construction, once the station is built, fewer parts is a good thing. 

Then there's the dv requirements of getting a module to anywhere other than LKO.  If you're going to send a payload with a transfer vehicle to the Mun, the additional RCS required to make it dockable is tiny compared to the rest of the craft, so might as well send up the whole tug. 

And for cost, I recover all my stages from the Tug Launcher, and the Tug itself, so there is little cost incurred to me.  And since most non-LKO stations are also refueling depots, I can top off the tug with just enough to get home. 

I could, however, see a use for a LKO docked Tug, as it could keep launch costs down.  It's just easier to launch direct to rendezvous, or do one transfer burn, instead of a few.  For me at least.  That's clearly a play style decision (which includes the part count consideration), and not a math one.   But an LKO Tug would require refueling, and there's an extra launch, so I guess it might balance out. 

But then, there is always the issue whether a payload can be docked from the tug side.   Some modules will not end with a docking port, but something like a cupola or such.  It is very difficult, near impossible in some scenarios, to go fetch that module and easily dock it to the station.   if you launch with the payload already attached to the tug, then you don't have to worry about it.

1 hour ago, KerikBalm said:

Also why launch ore and convert it in space,

I believe you get more fuel from Ore per ton than launching fuel itself (citation needed)

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3 hours ago, Gargamel said:

I've always had the policy that I can evacuate a station at any time.  I toyed with escape pods, but I've just found it easier to keep the transfer vehicle docked until it was time to go home. 

When my kerbals go up in a module itself, then the "transfer vehicle" may be a 200 part SSTO (for large payloads, in 3x rescaled kerbin, but the same principle is at work in stock). A I can make an escape system for a bunch of kerbals for ~10 parts.. because part count matters.

Quote

I've found that keeping a tug docked on your station really doesn't add much benefit.  I'm all for tugs, I just usually launch them each time. 

First, part count.  There's another 20 parts or so to lower your FPS (and for me, that's an issue).   And while a launched tug vs docked will incur the same part count penalty during construction, once the station is built, fewer parts is a good thing. 

Yea, I actually agree, but its *something* to add to the station that can have a use. For docking, all you really need is a single reaction wheel somewhere on the station... then your station can align to the module, and the module can just thrust straight forward (to get get the rendezvous, the module would need some form or propulsion, even if its a detachable engine section without RCS balanced for fine maneuvering)

Quote

I believe you get more fuel from Ore per ton than launching fuel itself (citation needed)

I believe this is wrong. It is my understanding that Ore converts 1:1  to LF and Oxidizer by mass.. so 2 tones of ore yields exactly 0.9 tons of LF and 1.1 tons of oxidizer (doing the LF+Ox conversion). I think (I haven't checked in a while) that converting Ore to Monoprop loses mass, something like 1 ton of Ore makes 0.8 tons of Monoprop (although I don't see why you'd want to send large quantities of Monoprop).

Ore tanks also have an 8.5:1 Full:Empty ratio vs 9:1 for most LFO tanks if I remember correctly... but this does bring up a point I forgot... if your fuel depot is going to serve many ships, and you aren't sure how much LF/LFO/Monoprop you will need, it can make sense to have the ISRU in orbit, and just feed it ore.

- A LV-N craft docks to it and needs only LF? no problem

If you had LFO tanks only, you'd then have an excess of oxidizer after filling up that craft. Storing mostly ore and having an ISRU means that you don't have to care much about how much of each type of fuel you store

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13 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

although I don't see why you'd want to send large quantities of Monoprop).

With the near future mod, I've been using a lot of mono prop only vessels.   The small effeciency loss is outweighed by the simplicity. 

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On 6/2/2018 at 11:47 PM, KerikBalm said:

However, they can easily be supplied from Mun or Minmus (for less dV than something launched from Kerbin), and if you want to supply your fuel from off world ISRU, then they can make sense, because trips between LKO and Mun/Minmus aren't "on demand" like trips from the surface of Kerbin, so you'll want to store fuel in LKO between supply runs from Mun or Minmus.

Absolutely. Just ballparking this off of memory, but the dV expenditure to go from the launch pad at the KSC to a 100x100 km orbit is the same as a mission from the surface of the Mun, to the station in LKO, then back to the mining outpost on the Mun's surface. Going from Minmus on a similar mission is slightly less, even accounting for the inclination change burns. If you have your fuel refinery in orbit around the moon in question, it's a no brainer: it's absolutely cheaper, dV wise, to go from orbit to orbit.

 

Personally, I second the call for adding a battery pack before adding a science lab. You will be amazed just how much power that lab will consume while in darkness. ;) But yes, a lab is always worthwhile, even in LKO, because you can rerun experiments and use the data from those experiments to be turned into science. It does take a lot of time, but for the deepest reaches of the tech tree, that's well worth the time investment.

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I haven't bothered with ISRU in the Kerbin SOI, but I often find myself launching tankers to refuel interplanetary missions (transfer stage gets used reach/circularize orbit) that I don't completely drain. It may be worthwhile to have a docking hub on your station that can dock two tankers, transferring props to one before de-orbiting empties (have a small ullage tank somewhere on the tanker or station to precisely measure the small amount of props needed for a destructive de-orbit). You don't even need a large amount of propellant storage on the station itself.

It's worth noting that my transfer stages can also function as stand-alone tugs or small tankers, to use up residual propellants. Don't forget the antenna (usually a pair of the small fold-out ones)!

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If you do mods, the Station Arm from MOLE and welding ports from Konstruction adds a whole new dimension to stations.

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Mass Relay. Take two high power engines, (Mainsail is good)  point them opposite directions, put a fuel tank between them and connect them with a bunch of struts. Set both engines to toggle from the Abort key. Attach to station. Rotate Relay to point at where you want to send your Kerbal. Fly Kerbal in front of engine pointing towards destination. Max throttle, click abort twice in rapid succession. Great for deorbiting Kerbals and small shuttles.

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Ore definitely doesn't refine into more mass than you started with.  You might be thinking of the fact that you get more units of (lighter) fuel.  

But the ore cans are, as I recall, significantly denser than fuel tanks, so you can pack more "fuel" into the same size vessel with ore (size meaning volume).  Of course, stock ore cans only go up to 2.5m.  

Edited by FinalFan

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