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[1.8.1 - 1.10.1] BoostGuidance v1.0.1


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This may not be new but here's my mod which aims to autonomously guide a Booster to land on a drone ship or the launch site (or anywhere else) using a combination of Boostback, Re-entry Burn, Aerodynamic Descent and Landing Burn, i.e. SpaceX Falcon 9 style. Select your landing point either by clicking on it, typing the latitude+longitude+altitude or selecting a target (e.g. drone ship). Its aimed to be reliable and fairly easy to use. I've also made it work in Realism Overhaul where limited throttle able engines and limited ignitions mean you can't play fast and lose with your engines. With suitable engines and using the right number active you can achieve this is Realism Overhaul which gives a real feeling of satisfaction.

The mod relies on accurately simulating the entire trajectory to landing including burns later in the flight which means guidance should be accurate without the need for any heroic manoeuvres as the impact of say the reentry burn is properly factored in. BoosterGuidance will continuously monitor the target error and aim to reduce it in boostback, re-entry burn, aerodynamic descent and in the landing burn steering either via engines or via grid-fins depending on the phase of flight. You can set the steering gains during the flight to give the grid fins more/less to do, and configure the reentry burn via altitude and target velocity. Some more advanced settings allow you to set safety margins, speed of final descent, at what height to give up steering and more. You can also log the whole flight and plot it to examine in detail what happened and how closely you could copy SpaceX.

Released under GLP v3.

Here's some videos showing it working with a single stage Falcon 9 booster

In Realism Overhaul with a 2-stage Falcon 9 rocket where I make a half-hearted attempt to get the 2nd-stage to orbit.

This mod is very usable and lots of fun now but has a few limitations I'm working on.

- Clicking the target only works  close to the terrain or there are physical structure (some KSP/Unity Raycast limitation I don't understand)

- In Realism Overhaul you may need to manually reduce the gain close to landing to avoid large oscillations

- Landing legs deployment is unreliable

- Guiding more than one booster simultaneously should be possible but is currently unreliable. My goal is a Falcon Heavy two booster landing. That will be awesome!

- It should work on other planets too though the trajectory should be sub-orbital to impact the ground within about 10 minutes as simulation time is limited for CPU reasons

Get the mod via GitHub here: https://github.com/oyster-catcher/BoosterGuidance/releases

or on SpaceDock here: https://spacedock.info/mod/2587/BoosterGuidance

Released under GPL v3

Edited by oyster_catcher
Adding note about licensing (downloaded mod already included the licence)
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@jrolson Ok thats odd. The boostback burn is key. Perhaps it is switching to aero descent before the boostback burn has brought the red predicted target onto the yellow desired target. It can also switch out of boostback if in the atmosphere and the target error seems to be increasing, which can happen if the craft is not able to point in the right direction. If so you can re-trigger boostback. Take a look at my latest video 

which may help

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Version 1.0.2 released

- Major improvements to pick targets. You can now pick a target anywhere in the flight or map view!
- Increased default  touchdown margin for safety as some rockets were reported crashing into the ground
- Landing burn compensates for leaned over rockets by using extra thrust
- Can now set target to navigation waypoints (note that they are currently sticky and you can't edit the lat/lon/alt until waypoint is deactivated)
- Landing on Mun better working but sometimes timewarp seems to move vessel oddly and throw out predictions (very odd)
- Can now edit lat/lon with arrow adjusters so you can now fly back multiple cores and ensure they don't land on each other!

Released under GPL v3.

Download at SpaceDock or from GitHub

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  • 2 weeks later...

Version 1.0.3 released

I've been working on controlling multiple vessels simultaneously with BoosterGuidance, v1.0.2 did do this but I've fixed a lots of  bugs that come up with multiple vessels and now the BoosterGuidance settings can be saved with craft and with saved games. To prove it all works I've achieved a double simultaneous return and landing of two boosters from space.  It looks a while for me to work out about physics bubbles. When it the atmosphere all controlled vessels must be inside the 20km physics bubble and even then you may not be able to switch vessels. My video shows how you can do the dual booster landing with the latest version of BoosterGuidance and the SpaceX Launch Vehicles mod for the SpaceX parts. I also show how to construct a Falcon Heavy but this is my first craft construction tutorial and as luck goes a number of expected problems came up, but it worked in the end! Enjoy.

Changes in 1.0.3:

Improvements for controlling multiple vessels simultaneously
- Lots of bug fixes when switching vessels, e.g. show correct target, use correct settings
- Add settings module which means settings are saved (e.g. target, re-entry alt, etc...) with the vessel in saved games. Will even save enable/disable guidance and phase so quick saves continue with vessels still controlled
- Advanced menu can show brief info about other controlled vessels
- Bug fix to ensure target is updated for vessel
- Added ModuleManager DLL as Command Modules are patched to add BoosterGuidanceVesselSettings module
- Reports message to user when vessels go outside the 20km physics bubble and can no longer be controlled due to game limitation





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Hi @TheKurganThanks for the kind words. In version 1.0.3 the target should be saved with the vessel and in saved games, but only if ModuleManager is installed. (I need to add an check for that) So if you find the target isn't persistent and you have ModuleManager installed please send me some details on when it happens as I'd like to fix it. Thanks

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Good day, @oyster_catcher

I do have module manager installed :)

But I am plying on KSP

Don't know if that makes a difference. The target location I select on the ground does not save to the mod... maybe it does to the craft, but I have been reverting after each test/failure.
I made a video of my latest attempt, I will post it once it's uploaded to YouTube.

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Thanks. Yes I'm testing on KSP 1.11 too. So you are saying you set the target then revert to launch, and the target is lost when you revert? Unfortunately this probably expected behaviour if you are reverting to before you set the target. What is you save the game and then continue from the saved game? I hope that should save the target. Be glad to see your video.

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3 minutes ago, oyster_catcher said:

So you are saying you set the target then revert to launch, and the target is lost when you revert?

lol no, :)
Just to let you know, I am a very experienced KSP player, and have been testing mods for a few years ;)

After each failed, or sketchy landing, I revert and launch again. Each time I have to set the target point before launching.

Now, that is not a big deal, just something I noted.

Also, I can't get a soft landing :( 

after at least 2 dozen attempts... maybe more, I can't get a landing that is low speed enough to not destroy the legs.

Edited by TheKurgan
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