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Space Station Design


OrbitalBuzzsaw
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I do something similar. I build the entire station with all the docking ports in the VAB. Then I create separate craft files for each component launch, but I keep an original of the entire station so I can test new additions/changes

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I tend to use single- launch stations (i.e., Skylab rather than ISS style).  For whatever reason,  modular construction does not seem entertaining to me,  and there are few enough things to with a space station that I can get the job done with a big spindle shape. 

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I tend to start with a large core module, then add modules to introduce new capabilities to the station. Though, my first LKO station of a save generally wind up something like this:

BU8jdv1.png

Later stations, with the benefit of improved technology, will usually be more condensed:

5bvH5Kp.png

(Ignore the resupply craft on the left... That was for a particularly heavy run.)

 

I tend to launch the first station part as its own design, then tinker around in the SPH (as it more represents the flight orientation of the station) to add new features and capabilities then remove the section I want to add, save it as a subassembly, then switch over to the VAB for designing the tug section and the launcher.

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the few I've done tend to things that grow, I have a rough idea what the station is for but the 'core' tends to be a common module, the mk1 passenger cabin as a 'neck', a bit of mk1 structural stuff with a docking port on the end, and four radial ones. then the cone shaped adapter to the hitchhicker module, with another port behind it.

 

the neck will have the little storage module with a probe core and some batteries inside it, and usually a reaction wheel. for deployable solar panels on the hitchhcker and done.

thats the core, usually ends up with the launch stage still stuck to the back as a fuel tank and engine since there is usually fuel left in it.

front ports end up as whatever else is needed. 

core gets an antenna and usually a thermometer for the "science around" contracts.

"lab module" will be the science lab, plus more solar panels and a lot more batteries.

used to go with a "tug" to position the secondary modules, but these days I just give them a probe core and RCS rig, tends to provide a bit of RCS fuel storage on the station.

 

they look ugly, but functional

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Early in career where I don't have access to many parts a station will be piecemeal assembled in orbit. 

Later in career, I'll build up the complete station in the VAB to make sure all components have the necessary clearances. Save the complete station as a vessel. I'll reload the complete station and cut out a chunk for launch that doesn't usually get saved. The chunk gets USI Konstruction ports, and whatever else I need to make the chunk a viable ship to get to the assembly site (rcs, solar panels, probe core, etc).

I also use KIS so once the pieces are docked an engineer will go outside and strip off things no longer needed after the station is assembled like dozens of RCS thrusters and extra solar panels. If I'm being lazy the engineer just chucks the stripped parts overboard and I destroy them from the tracking station, but I've also sent up big KIS containers for either recovery or a controlled deorbit with lithobraking.

The station below I'm planning for Minmus everything that can be added symmetrically will be added in Kerbin orbit and the rest will wait until the station has relocated to Minmus. I expect around a dozen launches.

toiBbNP.jpg

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23 hours ago, Scarecrow said:

I do similar to OP.  Build it up in VAB, work out what can be sensibly lifted and split and add couplers as appropriate.

RSSstation.jpg

Is this built with parts available in the un-modded version of the game?  I've only had the game for about a week now, and started in "Career Mode" and have not unlocked much of the tech-tree as yet...but when I look through sections I've yet to unlock I don't see parts/assemblies that look similar to the screenshot (my game has no mods or add-ons, etc.)

Thank you for your time and assistance.

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I don't have a concrete plan when I design my stations. Or anything, really. I just kinda come up with things as I think of them. The only real plan I have when making a station is to have at least one 'hub' for which I can add additional station modules to later.

This is an older screenshot, but I most often use some variant of the station below, with different modules in the central hub depending on where the station is and what purpose it serves, and occasionally additional docking hubs if it's going to be a major station with high traffic (i.e. an LKO "gateway" station). I usually reserve the top docking port (can't really see it here) for refueling ships, the four horizontal docking ports on the bottom for rockets and the vertical docking port on the bottom for spaceplanes. The four Mk1 inline cockpits are my 'control tower' (really just an excuse to get cool views of docked ships, but, y'know, gotta have a canon functionality or somethin').

NzSteZ3.jpg

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Once i shipped several large modules constellation -style towards duna and assembled a wild contraption in its orbit. Home of fifty (50!) Kerbals, absolute fun and very pleasing. NFT and nuclear engines, pic during the construction, random pilots at work:

ikJHaTm.png

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My design process is as follows (consider that I play mostly sandbox):

  1. Think about what purpose your station shall serve. Consider also whether or not it shall be a) a permantly manned / kerballed station, b) only temporarily manned or c) unmanned.
  2. Then consider what parts your station will need, i.e. power, thermal regulation, ECLSS, labs, tankage, command & control facilities. If your station is for longterm habitation I usually go with the assumption that each Kerbal will need at least three times the habitation capacity to feel comfortable, i.e. I multiply the seat capacity by three.
  3. Furthermore, think about the general design theme you wanna follow. These could for instance be a spine design (i.e. following a long central structure), individual modules docked together or even a ring station.
  4. FInally, assemble the station in either the VAB or the SPH. Once you're satisfied, split up your construction into sensible elements and mate them with your favourite launcher for orbital assembly.
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Actually that's a screen shot from my Real Solar System (RSS) install.  I use a number of mods in RSS that give you a whole bunch of extra parts, including fuel tanks, engines and craft parts that allow such designs to be built.  However none of those mods include anything called SSPXr, unless that's known by some other name.

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33 minutes ago, Scarecrow said:

Actually that's a screen shot from my Real Solar System (RSS) install.  I use a number of mods in RSS that give you a whole bunch of extra parts, including fuel tanks, engines and craft parts that allow such designs to be built.  However none of those mods include anything called SSPXr, unless that's known by some other name.

Stockalike Station Parts eXpansion (redux)

I would've just said SSPE or used the full name myself but here we are.

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On 3/22/2019 at 7:05 PM, Tyko said:

I do something similar. I build the entire station with all the docking ports in the VAB. Then I create separate craft files for each component launch, but I keep an original of the entire station so I can test new additions/changes

 

On 3/24/2019 at 4:39 PM, Tonka Crash said:

Early in career where I don't have access to many parts a station will be piecemeal assembled in orbit. 

Later in career, I'll build up the complete station in the VAB to make sure all components have the necessary clearances. Save the complete station as a vessel. I'll reload the complete station and cut out a chunk for launch that doesn't usually get saved. The chunk gets USI Konstruction ports, and whatever else I need to make the chunk a viable ship to get to the assembly site (rcs, solar panels, probe core, etc).

I also use KIS so once the pieces are docked an engineer will go outside and strip off things no longer needed after the station is assembled like dozens of RCS thrusters and extra solar panels. If I'm being lazy the engineer just chucks the stripped parts overboard and I destroy them from the tracking station, but I've also sent up big KIS containers for either recovery or a controlled deorbit with lithobraking.

3

I use mostly a combo of the above two.  KIS/KAS has been instrumental, now that I'm using Oh Scrap! , to replace failing RCS, solar panels and other parts early on till they get to a more mature generation.  Stock-a-like Station parts is another great station mod.  I see a few other people using it in this thread.  I just wish the large docking ports weren't so high up in the tech tree.  Causes a log of rebuilding and they are large enough I need a few engineers nearby and someone floats off and you have to find him.  What I've started doing to mitigate that is making sure all kerbals now carry a drill and handrail so when they get where they need to be they can just attach the handrail and won't float away.    

I should add I think I'm going to start putting a parts recycler(from Extra-Planetary Launch Pads) so I can just throw the not used parts in there as I'd like to trying to do orbital construction.  It should help reduce Kessler Syndrom a bit too.  Not using that mod yet, but thinking about it.  Has anyone tried it with stations floating around up there?

Edited by Eugene Moreau
had a thought.
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My process for space station design usually follows these steps:

  1. Decide the purpose of the station.
  2. Determine what functionality I need to have on the station.
  3. Design modules that will achieve the desired functionality, while also being efficiently launchable by existing launch vehicles (if a module is too large or too massive, I will either have to downscale it, or wait until I have designed more capable launch vehicles).
  4. Build a prototype of the station in the VAB to find the ideal configuration, figure out which modules to launch when, figure out how long life support (and other resources) will last, and make any needed adjustments.
  5. Give each module a launch vehicle, and launch them.
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Usually, I get some inspiration from satellites and space stations real and imaginative and do a quick hodgepodge sketch on paper. I go into the space plane hanger and assemble the whole thing there, rebuild each segment (or merge a part from the hanger) and launch it into orbit. Like to incline the stations' orbit for a better launch challenge. Just got done with a MIR2 station and love it!

Edited by Cathix03
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I build mine symmetrical about a ray. With one side dedicated to propulsion, and the other for docking smaller craft. I use standardized multiport couplers that are designed to mate to its mirror, these are considerably stronger than just docking ports, especially with tearing and bouncing. Docking ports are like stronger struts abuse them in the VAB, but don't undock um if they're on the same craft. Empty kickbacks are pretty good Terminal arms.

This is my Jool4 mission, it was my main LKO starport for a couple kerbal years, each piece being <20t dry weight, I launched most pieces with t2 VAB/pad. This is going to refuel at pol/bop and then spend the rest of it's life as my main Laythe starport. 

GAKJtYT.png

This is the replacement station. Val flew it to space solo. It is my largest launch.

HnKhLgE.png

 

This is the OG station proof of concept, with color co-ordinated guide-in lights for precision docking. It had a hat similar to the Jool4's but it wiggled apart.

cNDQFFH.png 

 

 

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