5thHorseman

What use built-in command pod antennas?

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A discussion about transmitting the new Breaking Ground science got me to thinking. We basically have 2 types of antennas for ships in the game (3 if you count relays but they're not pertinent right now). Built-in and add-on. The built-in ones are distinct from the add-on ones in 2 ways:

  1. They are built in (duh) to every command pod and probe core. Without exception.
  2. They cannot transmit science but do allow for probe control.

Is there something else, though, that the built-in antennas can do? I cannot think of one but I'm very often wrong.

And if there is nothing else they do, why do command pods have them? You can't remote-control a command pod so the antenna won't be allowed it's intended purpose there.

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55 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

And if there is nothing else they do, why do command pods have them? You can't remote-control a command pod so the antenna won't be allowed it's intended purpose there.

Don't they also give KerbNet access?

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33 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

Don't they also give KerbNet access?

don't like every satellite can access KerbNet no matter of connection?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

Is there something else, though, that the built-in antennas can do?

IIRC, the reasoning behind them was so that you didn't have to put an antenna on every rocket just to get it into orbit.  Especially since the Communotron 16S is the only one designed to withstand high-speed atmospheric flight.  This could be a showstopper for newcomers to the game that might not readily be able to diagnose why their rocket wasn't responding to input and key commands while on the pad.  But the built-in antennas are short-ranged enough that once you get a little distance away from Kerbin you would lose partial control of a probe/satellite (or full control depending on your elected settings).  By this point you would be out of the atmosphere and probably had already deployed vacuum-only antennas, so the short range of the built-in antenna wouldn't matter since it was only for ascent through the atmosphere.

Edited by Raptor9

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24 minutes ago, Raptor9 said:

IIRC, the reasoning behind them was so that you didn't have to put an antenna on every rocket just to get it into orbit.

In what situation would your rocket act differently without the in-pod antenna?

1) Pilot on board. He can fly it. Antenna doesn't matter.
2) Non-pilot on board. They can't turn on SAS but can steer. Antenna doesn't matter.
3) No one on board. No control, antenna or not.
4) Probe core attached. It has an antenna of its own, pod antenna is redundant.
5) ...?

1 hour ago, Geschosskopf said:

Don't they also give KerbNet access?

I actually don't know. I've never used KerbNet except on satellites to place biome waypoints and find anomalies. Do pods even have Kerbnet access? I literally don't know. At least it's a reason, I suppose :)

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1 hour ago, 5thHorseman said:

1) Pilot on board. He can fly it. Antenna doesn't matter.
2) Non-pilot on board. They can't turn on SAS but can steer. Antenna doesn't matter.
3) No one on board. No control, antenna or not.
4) Probe core attached. It has an antenna of its own, pod antenna is redundant.

Oh. I guess I mis-read your question. When you said "command pod" I was thinking all "command" parts, not the crewed pods specifically.  In that case, I'm not sure, but with all the ways players build in KSP, I'm sure there is some situation where it would be beneficial.  But alas, I still haven't answered the original question. :P

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Posted (edited)

It's niche but there is a use case. If your only Kerbals on board are not pilots and you have no probe core, then you require a KSC connection to have full control. The inbuilt antenna on the pod can provide this over shorter ranges. Depending on the game mode and difficulty settings, with only partial crew control you'll still have WASD and throttle but you might be unable to place maneuver nodes.

It's all there in the manual.

GCIMrm1.png

And see the behaviour in action with Bill in a pod cheated into different orbits https://imgur.com/a/K9cTWKT

Edited by cantab

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4 minutes ago, cantab said:

...unable to place maneuver nodes...

AHA! There's a thing. Yeah it is pretty niche which is why I didn't think of it. But yes you can't make maneuver nodes without a comms connection, if all you have in the command pod is non-pilots.

Thank you. I feel better now about the built in antennas :D

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still looks useless

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3 hours ago, JERONIMO said:

still looks useless

Yeah, it's a pretty niche situation, avoided by putting antennas on every craft, and having a pilot on every manned craft (and a probe core anyway because why wouldn't you want KerbNet access?). If I forget antennas then it's a mission abort anyway.

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15 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

I actually don't know. I've never used KerbNet except on satellites to place biome waypoints and find anomalies. Do pods even have Kerbnet access? I literally don't know. At least it's a reason, I suppose :)

Well, I didn't, either.  I checked the Wiki and (assuming that's up to date), it seems the only crewed part with KerbNet access is the MPL, so the built-in antennae do nothing for crewed ships that way.

 

13 hours ago, cantab said:

It's niche but there is a use case. If your only Kerbals on board are not pilots and you have no probe core, then you require a KSC connection to have full control. The inbuilt antenna on the pod can provide this over shorter ranges. Depending on the game mode and difficulty settings, with only partial crew control you'll still have WASD and throttle but you might be unable to place maneuver nodes.

It always irks me that SAS is not included in "full control".  I blame the pilots' union :).

At first, you'd think this would only be a feature of the starter pods.  By the time you get the advanced pods, you also have SAS probe cores and better antennae.  But I suppose there could be some sort of disaster scenario where you end up with non-pilots in a crippled craft with no probe or antennae, and it needs to move itself as part of the rescue plan.

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