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kerbaska

I have a mining operation on the Mun. How do I get the fuel back into space?

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The two basic solutions I've come up with:

 

-Landing a tanker craft on top of my base (seems incredibly risky and difficult)

-Landing a tanker craft near my base, then having some sort of tanker truck drive from the base and dock with the tanker craft via a port near the surface.

 

The latter seems like the more viable of my two options, but I'm curious if anyone has come up with something more elegant.

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Hello, and welcome to the forums! :)

My own preference is to simply not have any permanent surface installation at all.  I have a single vessel that's combination lifter, tanker, and miner.  It lands, mines/refines until fuel tanks are full, then lifts off and flies itself back to low orbit.

The miner ship is generally just a big flying fuel tank with ISRU, two drills, radiators, buncha solar panels, and some fuel cells.

Yes, it's "inefficient" in the sense that it's wasting fuel schlepping the ISRU and drills down to the surface and back to orbit each time. However,  if the fuel tankage is big enough, that's a pretty small fraction of the total ship mass and it doesn't matter much.  Plus it's really simple to set up and really simple to lift fuel to orbit.

Accompanying the fuel miner/lifter, I'll generally have a fuel depot in low equatorial orbit. It just stays put, there. The miner lifts from the surface, docks with the depot, transfers the fuel load, and then lands itself again to resume mining.  That way, I've got a nice big easily accessible load of fuel parked in orbit, where my various thirsty ships can easily get to it.

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4 hours ago, kerbaska said:

The two basic solutions I've come up with:

 

-Landing a tanker craft on top of my base (seems incredibly risky and difficult)

-Landing a tanker craft near my base, then having some sort of tanker truck drive from the base and dock with the tanker craft via a port near the surface.

 

The latter seems like the more viable of my two options, but I'm curious if anyone has come up with something more elegant.

 

If ur willing to use mods go ahead and install Kerbal Inventory System and Kerbal Attachment System. With that u can get rid of near-surface docking ports and surface tankers and instead connect the landed tanker rocket to the fuel mining station directly via kerbal-laid pipes. It'll require personnel on the Mun but at the same time make things a crapton easier. And u don't even have to send all new hardware up coz with the 2 mods installed u can just send the parts required for the modification and have an engineer attach them to the existing machinery.

 

On top of that the pack includes its own manual as an item that can be put into kerbals' and containers' inventories and accessed in the game itself. And it also includes tanks to refill ur kerbals' EVA pack with., so even if u do alot of jetpacking on EVA u don't have to swap the guys out all the time.

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I prefer to refuel from Minmus. It has lower gravity so you burn less fuel getting into orbit and back again.

This is a pic of my all in one ship. Lots of solar panels, radiators and batteries. It has 6 drills which is overkill. Next time I would only put in 2 drills (maybe 4 - tops)

MGZ6Bl2.png

9zRWLFK.png

 

For the Mun you may want to go with a rover and ship solution, so that you can reduce the weight of the tanker.

Here is a pic of a rover I designed. I used a Grabbing Unit instead of a docking port because I found its easier than trying to dock with a ship on the ground. Lining up over and over again can be a real pain. The tanker I would use would probably be a version of the one above, but with all the unnecessary bits removed to make it more lightweight.

07By2qg.png

This rover has no fuel tanks and would need to be attached to the tanker whilst mining

MPZVrXv.png

I have assigned all the extension and retraction of solar panels, radiators and drills to action keys, as it is much easier than right clicking on every bit every time. You need to make sure that you do not assign the same keys to other functions on your tanker, because both actions will be combined when the 2 craft are attached/docked with each other.

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Welcome aboard, @kerbaska 

For the sake of giving you more data points, I tried the modular truck system and, in effect, it was landing "on top" of a docking ring, too.  Each piece of the mining operation sat on a standardized wheeled unit and so all the docking rings between them were at the same height.  I detached the landing pad to a safer distance, docked the fuel tug on top, then drove it back to reconnect.

ZnnVIqY.png

The problem I found was driving such a top-heavy vehicle was very difficult, even when empty.  Inertia would often cause a tilt when starting to roll or trying to stop and there were a few times I could have lost the whole unit.  But I'm a pretty good pilot and began to land regularly while the landing pad was attached (having that bit of separation really helped).

EDYu6t3.png?1

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BjqxjUc.png

 

But as @Snark and @RedeyePete said, it's probably simpler to use an integrated ship.  You can land anywhere you want and the whole mining operation is with you.  One of my earlier units was small and pretty lightweight but I found it didn't store enough electrical power to operate over the night on some bodies.  An upgraded ship with larger solar panels and more batteries has been doing much better.

Aigjw1q.png

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This design is also what I'm using for my Grand Tour ship and that's why you see docking rings at both ends.

Good luck with your build!

Edited by Trann

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Method 1: one giant tank with drill, convertors, docking stuff, engines, legs, and solar panels. Basically launch the entire setup into space.

Method 2: a drilling base, a rover with klaws for docking and transferring fuel, and a giant labder for transporting fuel back to space.

Method 3: similar to method 2, but the rover is actually a mobile mining base.

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I often plonk down mining bases on wheels everywhere with inflatable airlocks that can dock with ships and other things. Even if the height is not quite right, rcs and/or legs usually allow easy docking.

On Eeloo, first a rocket powered rover is refueled

UBoxHFu.png

Then an ore carrier is filled and refueled

m5aH6x8.png

Edited by mystifeid

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6 hours ago, Gargamel said:

:confused:

Explain?

Not quite sure what you want me to explain. Why do rovers have engines? What is this one about to do? What?

Quite a few of the rovers I play with tend to have engines. To refuel they either need to carry drill and ISRU or be able to dock with a base or landed ship. Since I play with "resource transfer obeys crossfeed rules" enabled, a claw won't cut it for docking.

This particular rover was a bit of fun and something of a test to see if the rover could launch while driving across the surface of Eeloo and then travel a third of the way around the planet to visit...

PU0tCAz.png

t1QbYhK.png

t6nE7I4.png

kF60cAj.png

JnvE4IM.png

 

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1 hour ago, mystifeid said:

Not quite sure what you want me to explain.

The rocket powered part...   Why so fast?  Isn't that really fuel inefficient?

 

1 hour ago, mystifeid said:

This particular rover was a bit of fun and something of a test to see if the rover could launch while driving across the surface of Eeloo and then travel a third of the way around the planet to visit...

So it's kind of a hopper with wheels. 

Maybe I'm just imagining the main source of locomotion is from the rocket, and not the electric motors. 

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38 minutes ago, Gargamel said:

So it's kind of a hopper with wheels.

Actually it's a really, really impractical hopper with wheels. I think that might have been a prelude to this guy going to the bottom of the Mohole (and back).

Tw5ynGp.png

rp5GEVH.png

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On 9/22/2018 at 10:57 PM, DualDesertEagle said:

It'll require personnel on the Mun but at the same time make things a crapton easier. And u don't even have to send all new hardware up coz with the 2 mods installed u can just send the parts required for the modification and have an engineer attach them to the existing machinery.

Personally, I like to use KAS/KIS, because it gives the engineers more to do than just sit in the mining control room all day making the drills and converters run nicely.  Just more immersive (and keeps Bill and his trainees out of mischief).

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