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What kind of solutions do you use to transport your rovers?


amarillo114
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I have 3 approaches

 

1) Use an ad hoc lander, specially designed to carry the rover and detach on ground. Usually integrated with the manned vehicle, sometimes with a fancy cargo bay, lights, a ramp and such. Use robotic parts!

2) Use a sky crane, purely rockets and fuels to slow down the thing. Detach and discard.

3) If the rover is a heavy duty, I design it to land itself, maybe even go back to orbit.

 

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I use spaceplanes, so Mk3 cargo ramp with an overhead gantry (UTOG) for me. 

I install hydraulic lifting legs on the rovers to attach.  Once docked, the rover legs are retracted and since the wheels are not in contact with the craft...  it never gets damaged in transit.  I have a few rovers, planes, and spaceplanes on my kerbalx hangar.

If you have the Breaking Ground add-on, then robotic parts add some new options.  The UTOG solution works in the standard game without add-ons.

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If the proposed rover is big, then I turn it into a spaceplane and launch it that way.

If it's medium-sized, then I mount it horizontally (so it sits on top of the rocket like it sits on the ground) and launch straight up -- no orbits, just a direct launch to my destination. To do that, you need large control surfaces on your booster, and a decent amount of reaction wheel to keep your rocket from flipping in the atmosphere. I don't bother with fairings, they are a waste for 99% of your flight. You also need to know the magic numbers: lead the Mun by 45 degrees, and Minmus by 30 degrees.

If the rover is small, it isn't going to work anyway. The Mun is really slippery, and you will need to climb some steep slopes.

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I had a similar problem in the past with my Expedition Eeloo Program but the solution turns out there are some simple solutions:

1. Underbelly

landed-on-dres-again-with-a-rover.png?w=1182&h=

gonna-wait-on-finding-crater.png?w=1039&h=

Key things you want to mixture to implement when doing this is FIRST name priority! If you don't do this correctly you may result in not having the controls you want. This could be easily fixed by after separating the rover by setting it has the control system. Second is how to separate it with the lander. In this example I use a battery pack to connect this with the lander and then used a declouper to separate it. 

2. Side attachment

 

I find this one to be the easiest to use but harder to design since there is a lot of things that could go wrong with this design. Mostly you risk having an offset COM but in this example I use parachutes to keep this one balanced. But since you are doing a mun mission this may not be the best option.

3. Hybrid 

This is one I discovered on accident but hey it works. I wouldn't recommend going with something like this and more of something that lands vertically. Falls into a horizontal position, and then can go vertical and launch.

Oh and it it's just the rover you can go with something like this (I got it to the clip)

 

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With the robotic parts in Breaking Ground you have a lot more options than in the base game.  I used to mount rovers to a docking port under a lander that had long legs, but the problem with this is you need to either launch the lander upside down, or have the previous stage of the stack attached to the rovers belly.  Retrieving the rover can be a bit hit and miss too as you have to park it under the lander and the retract the legs.

In my last game I went for a slightly overkill method using a crane arm built of hinges to deposit the rover from a transport pod on to the ground, with the rover attached to the crane by a clampotron junior, so it can be retrieved by the same system.

A3q0k2m.png

The tug was designed to land all my other base components once the rover had scouted out a good location, and the pod also contains additional fuel for the tug when it comes back to collect it as well as a full set of science experiments.  However as the tug was spec'd to be able to land much heavier modules it didn't need the extra fuel so the whole thing could have been done a lot lighter.

When I get to the relevant point in my current game I think I'll include the science experiments on the rover rather than the pod, and fit some wider landing gear as this was little precarious on a 6 degree slope.  The fuel tank does make a nice base for the pod though.

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