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Is there a way to change fore and aft orientation dynamically (during flight) for a spacecraft?


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Basically, I have a 2 ended tug with a Lander Can in the middle, tanks, 2 sets of reaction controls (4 LFO in each for and aft) from one of Nertea's packs, 2 sets of engines (4x Twitch each for and aft), and a docking port at each end (portJr at one end, regular at the other) or alternatively I can stick a grabber on a docking port and put it on either end.

In the VAB is easy to see as the "forward" direction (its "up"), and typically I have the full sized port at the "bottom" and the smaller at the "top" (no real reason, just habit of having a lot of ships that use the smaller ports for refueling, etc).  Its pretty easy to change "direction" by flipping the part (W key) and then making it root.  But is there a way to get this change of orientation outside of the VAB?

When flying in VAB orientation, applied torque reacts predictably in a manner we are accustomed to.  but if one is flying "backwards", the controls have to be mentally flipped so you don't end up inducing torque that produce rotational forces opposite to what you intended, and docking becomes a bit of a challenge as does pushing an off center load (thats why I have all those RCS units in each direction)

What I want to do is fly and swap the "forward" orientation from one end to the one next to whatever I'm moving around as a tug, so that no matter which end (the PortJr or the Regular) I need to hook up, I can always "push" the load.   In short, I want to be able to force "forward" to be at the end (longitudinally) of the spacecraft that I want it to be no matter which end and direction i am flying.
 

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To slightly elaborate on VoidSquid's post, most stock (and many modded) pods have multiple 'control points' or control orientations. There's usually a 'reversed' control point, and there's a button in the PAW to switch between those. Stock lander cans have three orientations, default, reversed, and forward (facing same direction as the front windscreen, for rovers presumably).

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You may need to turn on Advanced Tweakables in settings (in Space Centre view specifically for some reason, you may need to look in difficulty settings there again because KSP settings layout is a mess sometimes), I don't exactly remember, I've just left that on for so long I don't know which PAW buttons are default and which are 'advanced'

 

Edited by OrdinaryKerman
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You can also set up action groups to change the control point to make things easier or quicker. You can have an action group enable "control from here" on one of your docking ports and another action group for the other docking port.

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On 3/20/2021 at 6:29 AM, Echo__3 said:

You can also set up action groups to change the control point to make things easier or quicker. You can have an action group enable "control from here" on one of your docking ports and another action group for the other docking port.

This is exactly what I was going to ask after getting the answers above - if there was an action group assignment.  I'll also add the activate/deactivate for the proper facing thrusters,  deactivate the ones going the wrong way, activate the correct RCS, and flip the correct spotlight on and the other off.  I assume that having the probe control reoriented by doing this also changes the torque direction for the flywheels in the probe control or capsule as well?  

And thanks for the heads up about the "forward" direction, I think I'll add a grabber on an arm that goes to the front just below COM on the landercan, the windows will give me a visual in that direction, so it adds another axis to work in and something other than ports to move things (grabber).   Maybe have all the RCS active for that (use the RCS addon to balance the induced torque during design), then pivot it all the way "forward" and then switch to the "fwd" orientation.

I wonder if anyone has done the work to put together the equivalent of the 2001 A Space Odyssey pods?  Maybe something to do once my hospital gets back to "normal".   It certainly looks a lot nice than my hacked up junky looking version.  But I think mine is more Kerebal.


r7IDPtA.jpg

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