[Tutorial] Circular station building

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Over the last few versions of KSP I've build several circular stations and frequently people ask me how. Therefor this tutorial Circular station building.

In part 1 I'll focus on a very basic and simple modular structure. I'll forgo adding things like batteries and solar panels or how to get the individual parts into orbit. I'm sure you can manage that on your own. I'll try to keep things as stock as possible but forgive me if I accidentally use a non-stock piece.

That said it's time to start building:

Tutorial #1: Wheel and spoke

Step 1: The core.

The core can be pretty much anything as long as you can attach parts radially. (Which is pretty much everything.) For this tutorial we'll be using a Rockomax X200-8 fuel tank and two PPD-12 Cupola's surrounded by four Clamp-O-Trons.


Step 2: The arms.

Instead of building radially we'll build an arm on top of the core: A Clamp-O-Tron (We need to dock it someway, don't we?) followed by a few girders topping it off with a Rockomax Brand Adapter. With 2x symmetry add two Clamp-O-Trons to the Brand Adapter.


Step 3: The ring segments.

Staying in 2x symmetry we'll add a Clamp-O-Tron, a Brand Adapter, two PPD-10 Hitchhiker Containers, another Brand Adapter and and a final Clamp-O-Tron.


Step 4: Checking alignment.

Disconnect the entire arm including the ring segments and stick them to the core Clamp-O-Trons with 4x symmetry.


OK, now we have a problem; the ring segments are clipping into each other. Easiest way to fix this is to lengthen the arm: Place the arm back on the core, cut it in two and add an extra girder. That done re-dock the arm back to the core with 4x symmetry.


Now that we've got a working design we can launch the pieces (recreate them if necessary, you already know they'll fit) in a total of thirteen launches to any desired orbit and dock them together. Pay extra attention when docking the arm to the core. Make sure your rotation is near perfect as any misalignment will make your station look wonky.

Tutorial #2: Hubless

This design requires (near) perfect docking skills!

Step 1: The core.

Well, actually this design does not have a core but have to start somewhere. It's nearly identical to the one in the first tutorial: a Rockomax X200-8 fuel tank and two PPD-12 Cupola's but this time not surrounded by four Clamp-O-Trons but just three.

In total we'll need six of these modules. They don't have to be exactly identical, only the ring of Clamp-O-Trons needs to be the same on all six.


Step 2: The ring modules.

In total we'll need six modules to form the ring. The result will look the best if they're all similar in size but their design is totally up to you as long as there is symmetry. Either three sets of two or two sets of three.

(Please note the image below does not portray the final locations.)


Step 2: Orbital assembly.

In orbit dock one of your ring modules to the 'core' followed by a second 'core'. It is absolutely vital the second core is perfectly level with the first! You can of course achieve this manually but a mod like MechJeb or Docking Port Alignment Indicator makes this so much easier.


Keep adding ring modules and cores until you've almost closed to ring. Again; make sure you keep the cores level.


It might not be obvious but the image above has a flaw. On purpose I misaligned one of the cores to show what will happen with less than perfect alignment. Let's see what happens when we close the ring.

Step 3: Closing the ring.

To close the ring you'll need to slide in the final core. Be gentle and keep equal distance to each end of the ring. Both Clamp-O-Trons need to make contact simultaneously.

As you can see, if your cores are even slightly off you won't be able to close the ring, the second Clamp-O-Tron won't be able to dock.


But when you manage to keep all cores to where they should be you'll be rewarded with a nice hubless circular station.


Tutorial #3: One ring to rule them all. The True Ring.

Step 1: Allow part clipping.

After starting a new build with a PPD-10 Hitchhiker Storage Container open the Debug Toolbar with [alt] + [F12] and allow for part clipping. This is a vital necessity for otherwise the parts won't fit.


Step 2: Adding the first segment.

Place a Cubic Octagonal Strut off centered and add another PPD-10 Container.


And clip it over the Cubic Strut.


Step 3: Angling the first segment..

Move the camera inside the second PPD-10 Hitchiker and search for the Cubic Strut.


Pick up the Strut/Hitchhiker assembly and connect it back to the first Hitchhiker at a slight angle. To rotate the assembly use [shift] + [WASD].

The less you rotate the larger the ring will become. In this tutorial I used two notches (2x5 degrees) to build a 36 segment ring.


Step 4: Building up the ring.

Repeat the previous step. Copy the Strut/Container assembly by [Alt] + [Left mouse].


And now delete the last container leaving the strut in place.

It is a lot easier to copy a Hitchhiker/Strut- than it is to copy a Strut/Hitchhiker assembly. Also will this give a better result as you don't have to fiddle around aligning the strut each time.


Now copy the Hitchhiker/Strut assembly and clip it over the Cubic Strut.


Copy and add an ever larger assembly until you've almost closed the ring.


Step 5: Closing the ring.

To close the ring copy a piece that is just the right size


Where the segments meet secure them with a few struts.


Step 6: Control.

Add a control node, manned (kerbed?) or probe doesn't really matter. Probe cores can even be clipped inside the ring for aesthetic reasons.



Launching a ring like this into orbit as a single piece would be an epic challenge. To get this in orbit I suggest getting to grips with Extraplanetary Launchpads.

Edited by Tex_NL

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Nice Tutorial!

Just one question:

What can I do against the gaps in the ring? Will another Rockomax-Adapter (just like the connection to the arms) fit inside it?

and one suggestion:

How about using Bi-Couplers with two docking-ports to ensure that my arm is rotatet perfectly after docking in Orbit?

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When building modular it can be very tricky to completely avoid the gaps. There are of course methods to fill the gaps and I'll try to cover those in future tutorials.

One method to at least reduce the gap is to reduce the ring diameter. You can do this by reducing the arm length or be playing around with placement of the docking ports in step 2.

Yes sure. if it fits the design why not? You could use Bi-Couplers but those won't attach radially without help (though BZ-52 Radial Attachment Points would work).

Question is: would you really want to? In my opinion form goes over function in designs like this. Using MechJeb or Docking Port Alignment Indicator makes it a lot easier and gets the same, or better result.

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With the .23 update, i think i might try this with a science lap as the core :D A nice science space station in orbit ready to proccess all those dangerous samples before clearing them for return to kerbal on future trips :D

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Clockwork13, you mean my solid ring station? Well, actually it was quite easy to put it into orbit - in two pieces.

1st piece was the hughe ring with central 'hub'. It required a heavy two-staged booster: 1st stage = 7 orange fuel tanks + 7 Rockomax Mainsail, 2nd stage = 7 orange fuel tanks + 7 Rockomax Skipper (the higher ISP is here the key! ).

With this booster you easily get the ring into a 100 km orbit.

The second piece was much lighter and used a smaller booster. The big tug was only used to move the pieces into a 250 km orbit.

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Looks kewl. Kinda looks like you could maybe use the 1-man command pod with docking ports attached, for the final gap-fill. Or maybe an OCTO probe core.

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My sincere apologies for not continuing the tutorials. I planned to write more sooner but real life got in the way and it was pushed to the back burner. To add insult to injury; yesterday when I planned to do a second tutorial my monitor refused to turn on. I've got that sorted now, fortunately it didn't die.

I've got at least two more circular techniques planned and before the weekend is over you'll get at least one of them.

Edited by Tex_NL

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OK, that went a little faster and easier than anticipated. Tutorial #2: Hubless has been added.

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Can we get pictures of the stations in orbit? Also wouldn't the hubless one be easier if you first launch a hub that acts as scaffolding then dock everything to it and once everything is aligned you undock the scaffolding hub (or blow it up) voila, you've got a hubless station.

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Of course you could build a ring and later remove the core. But that would involve additional multi-port docking and a great deal more planning in the VAB/SPH. You'd have to make sure your modules not only fit to each other but also to the core.

Sadly I can not show you a hubless station in orbit as I don't have any like that at the moment. But I can show you what can be done with the Wheel and Spoke method:

I build this beauty back in 0.21


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A third and final tutorial has been added: One ring to rule them all. The True Ring.


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Good tutorial. Am planning on building a complex with a pair of rings on it into a station built off of a pair of asteroids. Should be loads of fun and explosions

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now then how to get it to spin...

Either disable SAS and use the reaction wheels to spool it up or use Infernal Robotics.

In both scenarios it will stop spinning when you leave physics range and you'll have to spool it up again when you return.

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[quote name='AlextheBodacious']pictures?[/QUOTE]

Pictures of what? Who are you replying to?

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