Vakarian

Your first time docking

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So I was wondering how much Im still a noob or not compared to the other people on this forum. Today I finally docked my first space station expansion (called The Expension Pack) after a trillion attempts. Well actually it was about 30. It took me an entire day to figure out how it works, how I must manoeuvre in orbit, how to get close and how to freaking dock cause thats a whole nother ballpark lol. I never used RCS for anything for instance and I placed my thrusters in such a way that by pushing up it went down and right and vice versa in all directions. This posed a challenge. But since I saved halfway through the manoeuvre I couldnt go back and change it. I saw the station fly by, fly into the expansion, I pushed it away so many times. Decoupled my final rockets too late and it crashed into me when the magnets worked etc etc.

 

Finally, I did it. YHUS. It made me very happy but at the same time it made me wonder how bad I actually did.

 

So my question is: how long did it take you guys to perform your very first docking procedure?

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Posted (edited)

Congrats!  Docking for the first time is one of the most challenging, and most satisfying, parts of the game... IMO
For me  it took quite a while, actually. It was a long time ago, but I remember I had to watch Scott Manley's tutorial a few times before I finally got the hang of it

Edited by Just Jim

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53 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

I remember I had to watch Scott Manley's tutorial a few times before I finally got the hang of it

Same. His tutorials are very helpful for a lot of things.

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5 hours ago, Vakarian said:

So my question is: how long did it take you guys to perform your very first docking procedure?

It took me at least seven months from when I started playing until I was able to do my first docking.

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20 minutes ago, razark said:

It took me at least seven months from when I started playing until I was able to do my first docking.

Right! I think it took the need to dock to really get me to refine my shipbuilding skills. Having to design ships so that their RCS was balanced around CoM was a fun challenge

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22 minutes ago, Tyko said:

Right! I think it took the need to dock to really get me to refine my shipbuilding skills.

Well, in my case, it took waiting until docking was added in the 0.18 update.

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I took advice from many different sources before actually trying it out myself. I did watch Scott's tutorial, but I also watched various Blunderbird episodes by Matt Lowne.

Rendezvous is the easiest bit, its the docking thats the most frustrating! It took be several attempts, probably because I was going too fast, and the ports kept throwing each other off.

I did mine above Minmus, which is easier to rendezvous around due to its small size. If you want practise, Id recommend a refueling station around Minmus to practise docking to.

I ended up not using RCS, instead using those small engines (on the side of the fuel barge) that face both directions to slow my velocity.

I too spent the day looking up tutorials, so don't worry if the first time was the hardest! it will only get easier

E5438DDE808EB1138CB8F941C3ECAC74035D9A61

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My first docking arose from my first crewed landing on the Mun. I decided to do it 'Apollo-style', with a Munar orbit rendezvous...not the best idea for a beginner!. It took a lot of tutorials and rage-quitting, but I can't tell you how happy I was when the camera zoomed out and the Kerbals' portraits turned to static.

For me, rendezvous and docking is one of three essential skills you need to master KSP, alongside interplanetary travel and propulsive landing. If you know those, the Kerbol system (and beyond) is your oyster!

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My first docking attempt ended with me scrapping the whole save.

 

Of all places the first where I tried it was in Duna's orbit, after I had made a not quite cheat-free return from the surface (my ascend stage ran out of fuel just before the Periapsis rose out of the opposite side of the planet, so I had to toggle infinite fuel on to make orbit and rendezvous with the rest of my ship).

When I arrived at said rest of the ship I did manage to kill all my relative velocity, but my ascend vehicle was so badly out of balance that I just couldn't get it lined up properly and every attempt to stabilize everything just made it worse.

From that day on I always made sure I had my RCS thrusters on plane with the CoM or, if that wasn't possible, an even distance away from it to keep the RCS center of thrust in the same spot as the Center of Mass.

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1 hour ago, DualDesertEagle said:

From that day on I always made sure I had my RCS thrusters on plane with the CoM or, if that wasn't possible, an even distance away from it to keep the RCS center of thrust in the same spot as the Center of Mass.

This is actually good advice. Im going to try that out.

 

12 hours ago, Just Jim said:

Congrats!  

 

Thanks!

 

 

And yes, I also did 3 or 4 ragequits haha. So I guess Im not slow then. Good to know ^^ 

 

And it has indeed ben by far the most challenging thing Ive done. 

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My first rendezvous and docking was possibly the hardest thing I've done in KSP. A combination of terrible ship design (why did I put the ports on the sides of the ships?) and having no idea what I was doing made it a painful experience, to say the least. I'm pretty sure I used up two of the 2.5m RCS tanks in the procrss, but I got there in the end (after a few breathing breaks and tutorials).

It's one of those things, once you get the hang of it you'll wonder why you ever struggled with it at all, and nowadays I actually quite enjoy doing it.

If it's any consolation, NASA both struggled with and failed their first attempt at rendezvous (see Gemini 4).

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it took me FOREVER to learn how to dock. i would smash into the target craft, or completely YOLO and have to start chasing the craft only to make things worse, and then run out off fuel/mono. rescuing 1 ship turns into every single kerbal now needs to be saved.

OKAY FINE ILL USE MECH JEB!

only for mechjeb to smash into the docking ports at 200/ms............jeb cmon man i could have done that on my own:P

* back to manual docking *

i take an afternoon to really practice it, it all starts to finally click and make sense. now i can dock like a pro and make it look so easy compared to back then.

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My first docking attempt resulted in 2 orange tanks colliding in a + shape at about 50m/s relative velocity. Decide for yourself how many things I did wrong but please start with that I was using orange tanks to hold the fuel for what was essentially my Mercury program.

I don't remember how long it took me to actually get it right. But it was likely very long.

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I think I was on my 2nd month in KSP when I did my first docking op. I had made an Apollo style vehicle-lander configuration for the Mun. With the lander being behind the main vehicle, I had to dock with it. So I did. The return from the surface went well, docked back and brought the gang home.

Docking on an actual station though... that took a number of tries. Did it eventually though.

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My first ever docking attempt was, believe it or not, the one in the in game tutorial. I'll bet it took me well over an hour of fiddling and bouncing around (certainly felt like it) before I finally docked successfully. Sadly I messed up a bit afterwards and wasn't able to bring the stranded tutorial kerbal back home due to ship switching being disabled X3

 

I spent a huge portion of my early time in the game trying to construct very poorly thought out multi-launch rocket probes, so I immediately got a lot of practice with it. Nowadays, I can do it pretty effortlessly if I have full control of both crafts. If the docking ports on both craft are both mounted away from the center of mass, or one craft doesn't have any control, it can be quite a mess, but I can still just barely pull it off with some very careful maneuvering. I still feel pretty bad at it at times, despite the practice, but definitely better then before.

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Hi all

 

I can't say when exactly I did my first successful docking but it definitely took some time and a lot of patience to get right. My first "proper docking" (with docking ports and stuff) was preceded by a number of rescue missions where I literally rammed the target with a KLAW equipped vehicle. Hey, it worked!

Before that I managed to kill several Kerbal crews because my aim was perfect but the relative velocity was, regrettably, much too high.

While the earlier docking tutorials (version 1.0.1) were OK, I think the best advice (and encouragement) I got was from the people on these forums. 

 

Regards

Orc

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Posted (edited)

Good stories. They are all similar to mine thank God haha. 

 

 

Today I tried a new docking mission to expand another low orbit station (around 100k km) which went to fast at my first attempt (cause I did it wrong) and launched an actual high orbit station just to practice docking. Only to then find out to height doesnt really matter lol. Anyway, I failed again. At 30m away from the station I noticed I used a clamp jr on the station and I have a clamp sr on my ship.

 

I tried to dock a few times and it didnt work. *googling intensifies* oh, they dont dock together.. great.. xD. Back to the drawing board.

[snip]

Edited by Gargamel
Portions Redacted by Moderator

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I'm fully aware on how to dock, just that I literally start sweating when I approach the part i wanna dock to...

But then again, I use mods to help me out. Most camera mods should give you a better chance of docking, as well with flexable docking ports.

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I was baffled the first time I tried to dock.  

It is much easier to dock in very high altitude circular orbits.  

Low altitude is fairly precarious.  In campaign mode I get lots of missions to rescue somebody stranded in LKO.  If one practices doing those with the grabber (which holds at much higher impact speeds), one can develop the skill fairly rapidly.  

 

I still bungle it sometimes when using the clamp-o-tron jr.  It has very low tolerance for docking misalignment.

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I actually sent a craft to practice docking, but I didn't realize that the Mk. 2 inline docking port was meant for spaceplanes, not just a cool futuristic look.  Mk.2 docking port + Clamp-o-tron = ugly

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On 5/7/2019 at 4:55 AM, Pacca said:

My first ever docking attempt was, believe it or not, the one in the in game tutorial. I'll bet it took me well over an hour of fiddling and bouncing around (certainly felt like it) before I finally docked successfully. Sadly I messed up a bit afterwards and wasn't able to bring the stranded tutorial kerbal back home due to ship switching being disabled X3

Really you managed that? I consider myself quite good these days at intercept and docking; but I went back to that tutorial a week or so ago and while the docking part was fine, I found the intercept part of it (if you followed the instructions they gave) pretty much impossible.

The inability in the tutorial though to quicksave didn't help the docking mind, I hadn't realised how much I occasionally rely on it :-)

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Took me ages, my son had to guide me through my very first :/.

Then took a while practicing before i got my first solo success.  It's still not routine for me, but I am confident enough to build it into my mission plans without trying to avoid it.

Patience is the key, for me at least, take the time setting up the initial rendezvous and the final approach and docking are much easier.

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I've been trying to remember, and as best I can recall, my first docking was absolutely perfect.  I'd watched a video on how to do it, and had no problems rendezvousing and docking.

The second time I tried, I realized I'd just gotten very lucky and had no real understanding of what I was doing.  It got better from there.

 

Now, I get my rendezvous to less than 100 meters (or ten), and then dock pretty easily with the Docking Port Alignment Indicator mod.  Getting the rendezvous close is very easy if you use the Kerbal Alarm Clock mod.  Open it to set an alarm for closest approach to target, and it gives you a very nice readout of what and when it will be.  Fine control of RCS will let you get very close.

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On 5/14/2019 at 11:57 AM, razark said:

Docking Port Alignment Indicator

That is the very first mod I installed because my first docking experience almost made uninstall the game. I was so terribly frustrated I couldn't see what I was doing wrong. Rendezvous by itself was challenging at first but, docking was a herculean task. After finally getting docked, I downloaded DPAI and MJ. I actually don''t let MJ auto dock anymore (too much wasted monoprop) and just use DPAI with decently placed RCS thrusters. Of course, MJ has an auto RCS balancer in it that I do use.

Just recently I had to learn to dock without RCS. My lander ran out of fuel during the rendezvous burn which left RCS to slow down when I got near my target. The target ship had no RCS but had plenty of fuel. DPAI still helped there and the experience wasn't that bad. Compared to my first attempt docking it was easy.

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