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Why can I not manage even the simplest of EVA?


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New player, I've built several rockets now, achieved orbit a few times, and gotten some science, and now I'd like to do some EVAs (for science!). I simply cannot manage it, though. The tutorial in the wiki suggested an EVA in space above Kerbin, and as soon as I clicked the button, the spacecraft went shooting off, and my Kerbal was hopelessly lost. OK, I thought, I'll try it in orbit. As soon as I clicked EVA there, I shot about 700 meters from my spacecraft. I, not having a firm grasp on orbital mechanics, was not able to return to the ship.

Why is this so difficult for me? The videos I watch make it look so easy, click the EVA button, and you appear on the ladder. For me, this never seems to happen...

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It's very important that you don't start an EVA unless you are either LANDED somewhere, or actually in Space (e.g. 70,000m altitude above Kerbin) or it's likely that your little guy will be sheered off and lost, as you experienced.

Even when you are in space - sometimes your guy lets go and drifts away very quickly. This is usually (but not always) due to something being close to the hatch causing confusion.

If you are flung off in to space, the first thing is not to panic - just bring up your EVA controls with the R key and get oriented. Then quickly neutralize your apparent movement - usually face toward he craft and press the "W" key until it seems like you aren't getting further away. Once stable, EVAs are all about patience...

Thrust a little bit toward your ship (W key). Use a bit of Up or Down thrust (Shift / CTRL) as needed, and Side to Side (A / D). Just remember to use small pulses. As long as you are within about 2km - you don't need to worry about Orbital Mechanics - you can treat space at that range as if it's purely Newtonian; thrusting that-way makes you go that-way (when compared to your target craft).

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Do you have a part clipping into the space in front of the door in such a way that the Kerbals can get out of the pod but cannot hold on to the ladder? I've EVA'd Kerbals hundreds of times and they've never drifted more than a few metres away from the pod if they've fallen off.

As for having any grasp of orbital mechanics, well, you rarely need that when dealing with short-distance EVA hops. It's just a case of pointing in the direction of the rocket and moving forward. Slow down as you approach or if you begin to move out of alignment, and repeat the process getting closer and closer each time, a lot like rendezvous for docking.

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It's very important that you don't start an EVA unless you are either LANDED somewhere, or actually in Space (e.g. 70,000m altitude above Kerbin) or it's likely that your little guy will be sheered off and lost, as you experienced.

Even when you are in space - sometimes your guy lets go and drifts away very quickly. This is usually (but not always) due to something being close to the hatch causing confusion.

I think it must be the goo containers I've got around the ship. I was even tossed off once doing an EVA on the ground (managed a polar suborbital flight to the north pole). I'll try again without the goo.

Thanks for the excellent explanation of EVA mechanics. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it, I've only been at this an hour or two.

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But yes, once you manage to clear the area around your hatch, be in a stable orbit over 70 km, and turn off all engines, then when you hit the EVA button your Kerbal should be safely perched right outside the door. Then, without having to do any jetpack flying whatsoever, just right click the Kerbal and select "EVA Report," save it, then hit F to re-enter the spacecraft.

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Well, unlike these other guys it seems, I know exactly what you're talking about. Same thing happened to me when I first started - every time I exited, I drifted off immediately and madly tried (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to get back in, or at least on the ladder. Every time was a total drama scene like the movie Gravity. Why there should be any relative velocity between my Kerbonaut and my drifting-under-no-power ship, I have no idea, but it happened every time.

funny-gif-astronaut-space-blog.gif

What I learned to alleviate this, and it doesn't happen ever to me anymore because of this, is that the second you EVA, the second you are out, you hit F to "Grab on". Don't let it get to two seconds or you're gone.

Your kerbonaut won't safely perch right outside the door unless you make him, by hitting F once, fast.

Now I EVA over every biome no problem, it takes about five seconds to go out, get science, and get back in. but you have to Grab On.

Edited by Jank
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Your kerbonaut won't safely perch right outside the door unless you make him, by hitting F once, fast.

I've never not had a kerbal grab the ladder when he eva'd. and every video I have seen confirms the same thing. you may be doing something wrong or are experciencing a malfunction.

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Fair enough, but I knew the question intimately when it was asked, because I experienced it and still do, if I don't hit F the second my Kerbonaut exits. I thought I was doing something wrong until I figured out how to mitigate it, then I just figured this is what everyone else does.

I wonder if it has to do with my old joystick attached to the computer. But I think I have it disconnected... hmm.

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I've never not had a kerbal grab the ladder when he eva'd. and every video I have seen confirms the same thing. you may be doing something wrong or are experciencing a malfunction.

Actually, the problem described does happen. Usually it's caused by something directly above or below the command pod that juts out somehow. Classic example: stick a regular-size docking port on top of the Mk1 Pod. Your Kerbal will get flung out of the pod at some speed when they exit even while in orbit.

Another problem is one that's there in real life too: orbital drifting. Two objects in space do not tend to stay next to one another, and will naturally start to drift even if in contact with one another somehow. This tends to show up as Kerbals "slipping" up or down the ladder depending on ship orientation. The best solution to this problem is to orient the ship normally (ie. the 90 degrees to your orbit that is not facing towards the ground or sky) so that prograde and retrograde are not defined by up and down on the ladder.

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Actually, the problem described does happen. Usually it's caused by something directly above or below the command pod that juts out somehow. Classic example: stick a regular-size docking port on top of the Mk1 Pod. Your Kerbal will get flung out of the pod at some speed when they exit even while in orbit.

I would describe this as doing something wrong, but I see your point.

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Try starting with the stock Kerbal X. It DOES get into orbit and you can EVA. Make sure your engines are off or throttled down to zero, in a stable orbit and then play. Note that while you're in EVA you're always going to be facing in the direction of the Kerbal will be going forward, so, whatever direction your camera is facing, pressing "W" will adjust the Kerbal so your camera is facing the back of the Kerbal.

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I know exactly what the OP is talking about, I was coming in for a docking around the mun, when I got 2.5km away the realtive velocity doubled and the spacecraft shot away as if I wasn't moving, and when I tried to speed up, the realtive velocity just increased. It was a very annoying and stupid, but I hanvn't had it for about a year now, so this could be a EVA only version of my bug.

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The problems I have (had) with EVAs:

1. Seems to be solved in the latest version of KSP, trying to grab a ladder - prominently the one at the hatch of the one-man-starter-pod* - the Kerbal turned in position, its jetpack trying to compensate, ending with a drifting Kerbal and another try. Lately the jetpack seems to automatically deactivate before the Kerbal grabs the ladder and pulls itself onto it.

2. Eliminated by training and realizing that in EVA the controls are to be touched even softer than during docking.

3. Still annoying me is the sliding along a ladder without me ever moving. No matter if the Kerbal just exited the craft, grabbed the ladder or just stopped moving on it - they will start to drift along the ladder until they drop off.

* maybe at some time in the future I will memorize the designation of all parts ...

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Happened to me once, and I can confirm this is caused by something obstructing hatch area. In my case it was a radialy mounted science equipment, although it looked like plenty of space to eye, game thought otherwise. Removing that part eliminated the issue.

I have also found another thing – kerbals are apparently not content with being shot away like this. No, they desperately try to get grab onto something. If they see extended ladder, they will grab and hold onto it. Probably, as was my case, at the very end, dangling off like action movie hero. I wonder if Cuaron ever played KSP :-D

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The small one man pods can easy get this problem, think also the you angle matter, possibly also speed.

Half the time a kerbal is not holding on to the ladder on the Mk1 pod then doing eva observations. the one man landing can is more likely to send him spinning away.

Ladders solves this problem.

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I always check entry and exit of my ship before I launch. It can be a real PITA to find out you're half a meter from being able to complete your mission of three days' planning, because you failed to check the placement of the ladder.

Also for EVA in particular, I tend to festoon the area around any hatch with ladders, and I like to tuck them away in places where I can extend them to get between things. Never can have too many ladders on EVA.

Edited by Max Grant
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All of this is good advice, but I have some new stuff that I figured out yesterday.

My ship ran out of fuel with a periapsis of about 89,000m, so I was using Bill's EVA pack to push the ship to reduce the periapsis to hit atmosphere.

The Mun lander still had the legs extended, and I was too lazy to retract them.

With the new suspension system in the legs, though, Kerbals seem to be able to compress the legs very easily.

It was at the point where I had 0.4 units of EVA fuel left, which is when I go get more from the pod.

I was flying Bill over to the command pod, and then he stopped.

I had flown him smack into one of the landing legs, compressing it in all the way.

As soon as I let go of the W key, The landing leg re-extended the suspension component and Bill went ROCKETING away from the ship.

I didn't have nearly enough fuel to get him back... so I "cheated", and enabled infinite RCS fuel to get him back to the ship.

I say "cheated", because I don't feel as bad about it because of how strange and "glitchy" the circumstances were.

so, lesson to learn:

BE CAREFUL around extended landing legs while on EVA!

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