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Where do you build your stations for non-Kerbin SOI locations? If it is a multiple launch platform do you build it in LKO and then send it all the way to its destination? Or do you send each part on its own to the destination, rendezvous and complete the build at destination?

I'm working on a standardized station platform that I can send to each of the planets and am debating how I'll go about it, pros and cons either way.

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Although I have lots of KSP plans and rockets, I haven't exactly gotten to the point of kerbals on other bodies, which I should have done by now.  However, I have planned a fairly large trip to Jool in my mid-high tech Science game.  This mission is based around a central mothership which the lander(s)? and plane are attached to.  With my design, this can function as both an exploration vessel and a space station platform.  Because of the long transfer time for a Jool trip, by the time I return data from the Jool system, I would already have more upgrades researched.  After this, I can put together a module cargo/tug ship in Kerbin orbit that can transport new and modern modules en masse.  If you want a fueling station, one of the initial landers can be an ore harvester that brings material to be converted at the mothership/future station.

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I'd say build in LKO and launch as one thing. You will get really sick of (but also good at) rendezvous from insertion. Rendezvous from launch will get tiring as well, but it's less steps with less variation.

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I'm a part count nut.  And also don't upgrade the vab and launchpad past tier 2.

So orbital 'construction' in LKO is where it is at.

In saying this, I tend to send what I can in as fewer packages as possible and final assemble there.  Transfer stages are deorbited wherever they are.  Solar panels and probe cores are part of those Transfer stages and they are deborbited too.  Stations or large robotic vehicles don't pack huge amounts of redundancy.

 

Peace.

6 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

I'd say build in LKO and launch as one thing. You will get really sick of (but also good at) rendezvous from insertion. Rendezvous from launch will get tiring as well, but it's less steps with less variation.

kOS script that launches when your target is a certain distance away so you don't have to babysit the rocket on takeoff AND can physics warp.  That takes so much grind off.

Peace .

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1 hour ago, 5thHorseman said:

I'd say build in LKO and launch as one thing. You will get really sick of (but also good at) rendezvous from insertion. Rendezvous from launch will get tiring as well, but it's less steps with less variation.

Agree. I tend to do one-piece stations, but if you're going to build modular, I'd do it in LKO.  I'd much rather send one, assembled station than set up and execute maneuvers for every single piece.  Also, if something goes wrong, it should be easier and quicker to fix it from LKO

The other way might make sense, however, if (1) you're concerned about the structural integrity of your entire station while in motion, or (2) you're using aerobraking (e.g., if assembling a station at Laythe or Eve or something.

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19 hours ago, JBMCW2010 said:

Where do you build your stations for non-Kerbin SOI locations?

Well, 1st off all, you have to decide if you really need a station at all. That depends on what the overall mission objectives are and how you intend to accomplish them.  In a lot of cases, you don't need stations.

There are, in general, 4 reasons to build stations at other planets:

  1. To milk Science points with the rather OP MPL
  2. For roleplaying but not practical purposes
  3. As a transshipment point for Kerbals
  4. As a transshipment point for fuel

I'm not going to consider #1 and #2 as those don't really impact the rest of the mission too much, but will focus on #3 and #4.

#3 is just a holding tank for Kerbals who need to wait in orbit for their next ride to arrive, and for whatever reason this is more convenient to the rest of the mission than having them dock or EVA directly to their next ride when it eventually gets there.  This isn't a common situation so if this happens at all, it's usually combined with #4.

#4 is basically just a collection of fuel tanks---it doesn't even need crew facilities.  Its sole purpose is to refuel ships in space.  The fuel in the tanks can come from Kerbin or be created locally, or both eventually.  Depending on how your fuel system is set up, you might even have 2 such stations, one at the mine moon and one at the main planet, with specialized, dedicated tankers flying back and forth between them.  For instance, if you mine Vall, you might want to have a dedicated fuel lifter to get fuel into a station in LVO, then non-landing tankers bringing it to another station at Laythe.  And at the Laythe Station, you have the interplanetary crew-hauling ship needing to take the crew home eventually.  Ships exploring the other moons could also use this station as a base.  However, for Duna/Ike, your miner can haul fuel to a station in LDO itself, if you're not planning on too much going on down on Duna's surface.

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My invariable 'end goal' is a permanent network between every planet.  As such it makes sense to keep transport vehicles in space that never land, just shuttling between planets to transfer fuel/cargo/passengers to specialised, reusable landers that never travel beyond orbit.  (Reusable landers at Kerbin are also generally known as SSTOs).  More as a convenient place for things to wait and meet than anything else the ships all dock above each planet at stations.

Since I'm using standard ships for everything the mass that can be launched in one go and hauled between planets is limited (how much depends on the playthrough but I usually find 40t is sufficient for even large loads).  Construction up to the interplanetary limit, if above the launch limit, would be in  Kerbin orbit.  Above it then by definition it would be in the alien one.

What I almost never do is launch landers, stations or components that take themselves to another SOI.

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Posted (edited)

I haven't gone interplanetary yet. I really should have but I always get to building space stations and doing Moon Tourism trips and end up restarting after a patch or something.

I feel like @Geschosskopf nailed it with his 4 reason summary though. Stations are more of a buffer zone for convenience than a necessity. I would place one at every celestial body I plan to visit lots. Laythe and Duna for sure, but even then it's mostly for RP purposes essentially, aside from being a good base of operations if you plan to use it as a fuel depot with multiple landings on the surface.

Edited by MisterKerman

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I sometimes build multi-part stations in Kerbin, Mun or Minmus orbit.  For interplanetary, I've come up with a pretty effective single-launch station that I use.  My normal operations go like this (once everything is set up & running), using Duna as an example:

1.  Send crew by spaceplane to transfer to a large crew cycler

2.  Upon arrival in Duna system, dock crew cycler to the station & transfer crew.  If it's really busy, undock & send the cycler up to a parking orbit until needed. 

3. Transfer new crew to a lander to transfer down to the planet.  I almost always have a small ISRU setup capable of refueling whatever brought the crew down to the surface.

4.  While they are on the ground, if there is a separate ISRU facility on Ike, a tanker will bring up a fresh load of fuel to refuel the cycler if needed and top off the lander when it returns if that is needed.

Jool/Laythe, I may also have a small transfer ship docked at Laythe station to shuttle crew between the various moons. 

My standard single-launch interplanetary station (around Moho with added radiators).  It holds at most 11 crew (1 in cupola, 2 in lab & 8 in the "top" & "bottom" hitchhiker cans)

OwvJVLY.png?1

Another one with crew cycler docked around Laythe.  Note the 3.75m transfer stage is still attached, so most likely this one recently arrived.  In fact, looking at the cycler design, this is probably the first crew around Laythe in whatever career I took this screenshot it

jIzkZEc.png?2

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7 hours ago, Pecan said:

My invariable 'end goal' is a permanent network between every planet. 

It used to be mine, too.  But then I discovered OPM.  And I quickly learned that if I ever wanted any of my missions to those planets to EVER get there, I could spend exactly zero real time mucking about at any "inner planet", which includes Jool.  It takes many years to get out there, and then it takes many months to get from the SOI edge to the middle, capture, and intercept whatever moon that ship is intended for.  So, in an OPM game, I do only 1-and-done missions to the "inner" planets, often with just 1-way probes (many of which are relays to facilitate talking further afield), simply to develop the tech to get to Sarnus and beyond.

 

2 hours ago, MisterKerman said:

I haven't gone interplanetary yet

You really need to.  "See the Galaxy on less than 30 Altairian dollars per day", and all that.  A change of scenery would do you good.  It's no different at all from going to Mun, it just takes longer for the transfer windows to come along and then for the trip itself.  If you can get to Mun you can get everywhere else.  The exact same things happen in the exact same order, it's just that you need more dV and can't rely (as much) on rule-of-thumb navigation like "burn prograde at Munrise".  It takes only about 200m/s more dV to get to Duna than it does to get to Minmus.

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2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

You really need to.

I will this playthrough. I plan on launching probes all over the god dang place. I'm more scared than incapable.

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On 7/13/2019 at 2:04 AM, Geschosskopf said:

OPM

Please explain, I don't know what it is - and there'll probably be others who come to the thread that don't either.

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4 minutes ago, Pecan said:

Please explain, I don't know what it is - and there'll probably be others who come to the thread that don't either.

OPM = Outer Planets Mod. It’s a mod which adds analogues of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to the stock solar system.

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On 7/11/2019 at 9:37 PM, GKSP said:

Although I have lots of KSP plans and rockets, I haven't exactly gotten to the point of kerbals on other bodies, which I should have done by now.  However, I have planned a fairly large trip to Jool in my mid-high tech Science game.  This mission is based around a central mothership which the lander(s)? and plane are attached to. 

And what did your kerbals ever do to you to deserve such a cruel fate as trying to land on a gas giant?? :mad::sticktongue: (Joke sorry, the image in my mind that was created by reading those 2 sentences together made me laugh hard. Your actual mission sounds awesome!! :) :D)

Anyway,to answer OP: I have also never legitimately successfully gone interplanetary (one failure in full stock, followed by 1 trip via hyperedit to drive a rover around out of boredom in a save i then nuked shortly afterward), but i love building bases on Minimus and the Mun. I haven't been able to succeed in docking enough to call my self good at it either (one success full docking in 2 years of trying), but once i do i cant wait to build space stations ^^. 

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1 hour ago, nascarlaser1 said:

 I haven't been able to succeed in docking enough to call my self good at it either ... but once i do i cant wait to build space stations ^^. 

Docking on the ground is much harder than in space, because of all that lumpy solid stuff :-)

Believe it or not I started building stations in orbit because bases on the ground were so difficult.  Good luck.

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1 hour ago, Pecan said:

Docking on the ground is much harder than in space, because of all that lumpy solid stuff :-)

Believe it or not I started building stations in orbit because bases on the ground were so difficult.  Good luck.

Thxs!

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On 7/12/2019 at 10:29 PM, MisterKerman said:

I will this playthrough. I plan on launching probes all over the god dang place. I'm more scared than incapable.

Well, we all start that way I guess.  I certainly did.  But there's nothing like your first look over a Kerbal's shoulder at Ike barely above the horizon down the long valley heading south from The Face.  That's what did it for me.  Ain't spent any more time at Kerbin than absolutely necessary ever since.

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16 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

That's what did it for me.

Sometimes drifting around all that empty space can get lonely.  Jool did it for me, where even a simple journey from the edge of the SOI to low-orbit means dodging all the rocks whirling around *grin*.

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@JBMCW2010  I used to assemble at the final destination, but I've found that it's less fun to do a bunch of transfer burns with many pieces. In the future I intend to do as much assembly as possible in LKO then boost the assembled components as a whole to their final location. It will force me to make more linear station designs and be really careful about weight distribution so I can make sure my thrust vector goes through the center of mass, but that's okay.

I'm kind of envisioning cross or T shaped stations with two assemblies that meet in the middle. this will give me some more design flexibility without requiring tons of assembly.

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19 hours ago, Tyko said:

@JBMCW2010  I used to assemble at the final destination, but I've found that it's less fun to do a bunch of transfer burns with many pieces. In the future I intend to do as much assembly as possible in LKO then boost the assembled components as a whole to their final location. It will force me to make more linear station designs and be really careful about weight distribution so I can make sure my thrust vector goes through the center of mass, but that's okay.

I'm kind of envisioning cross or T shaped stations with two assemblies that meet in the middle. this will give me some more design flexibility without requiring tons of assembly.

 

I did this a lot, long ago. Mostly because I had no choice. I set up refuelling stations around every planet (with a few around Jool), back when there was no ISRU in the stock game. I came up with a launch system that got an entire orange tank to Moho (just), and more everywhere else.

More recently, I've been far more interested in sending "flatpacked" stations to places, where they get reconfigured at destination, and then using ISRU for filling fuel tanks. All you need is a good probe (I love the round flat ones) with some RCS fuel, thrusters and patience for docking things that are not properly balanced. If you use KAS you can properly balance things and re-arrange things after, to keep part counts down.

 

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Outside of LKO i tend to only use ground bases. 
Granted having an base in orbit around higher gravity bodies makes lots of sense if you use them a lot, an unmanned fuel depot is also an option

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I mostly build in one piece early in the game, but I add docking ports to enable adding on future additions as I advance the tech tree.  This goes for both Kerbin system and beyond.

I've built some larger stations in Duna and Eve orbits ( to act as fuel depot, and crew transfer point, and staging point to building surface bases ).

I assembled my Duna and Eve stations in pieces using a cycler tug.  Basically a large T shaped craft that would haul 2 sections at a time ( each section hanging off each side, parallel to the main body, turning the T into an M ).  I would balance each section by adding ballast ( fuel, ore, etc. ) so that the assembled craft would mostly fly straight.  :)

I give myself the following guidelines when building stations ( anywhere during my game ):

- Must have 1:1 emergency crew return vehicle for each kerbal ( capable of returning to Kerbin surface via direct "abort" ).

- For long duration stations outside of LKO, 2:1 crew capacity to total kerbals ( and the emergency return seats don't count ).

- Long duration stations outside Kerbin SOI need to have a rotational unit with 1:1 capacity for all kerbals ( I use SSPX mod parts ).

Beyond Eve / Duna, my ships are basically non-stationary stations.  Hab area, plus a miner craft to feed ore to ISRU, and smaller "science" lander to gather science.  Have sent crew as far as Jool / Sarnus this way.

Have added 'Snacks!' to my latest playthrough, to give me some more logistics to plan.

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