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How many people know how to dock?

Do you know how to dock=  

  1. 1. Do you know how to dock=

    • Yes , sure
    • No , i don't care
    • No ,but i want to learn


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Docking can be hard to learn, because you are essentially trying to set your position and its first derivative (velocity) to certain values, but you can't directly control either. You can only affect the second derivative (acceleration) directly. To make matters worse, you only have binary control over acceleration (at least with keyboard, I haven't tried using a joystick with KSP), so the controls are both coarse and indirect.

Keyboards and joysticks are ultimately poor controllers for docking, because they are directional. A positional controller such as a mouse or a touchscreen would be much better. Imagine a docking interface, where you just hover the mouse pointer over navball, and the prograde marker follows the pointer as fast as RCS allows. You can of course simulate a positional controller with a directional controller (this is, after all, what you are doing during docking). But as anybody who has used a laptop without a mouse or a proper touchpad can testify, it's a poor substitute for a positional controller.

Edited by Jouni

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Not sure if you are mod averse, but there are a few assists available...

MechJeb to handle all the Hohmann Transfer stuff if you are so inclined. My first few rendezvous were manual and then had enough of that. Actual docking is still done manually as its kinda fun. http://kerbalspaceprogram.com/mechjeb/

Romfarer's docking cam makes the lineup much easier and isn't out of the realm of reasonable assists. http://kerbalspaceprogram.com/lazor-docking-cam/

The docking port alignment indicator is similar to the above, just no camera. Still very informative. http://kerbalspaceprogram.com/dock-align-indicator/

Most of all, make sure you have the target stabilized so that its orientation is consisntent (switch craft using [ and ], use sas and fix its orientation however you prefer). If its just tumbling around in it's orbit, it'll be a nightmare if not impossibility.

Edited by LawnDartLeo

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I can dock. Not effortlessly, or even particularly well. But definitely reliably to the point where building capital ships and complex stations is no longer a fantasy and is now just a matter of time. I've even done it with only main engines a few times, but they were horror shows I don't hope to recreate unless absolutely necessary XD.

I think a lot of rendezvous' difficulty comes from learning it second-hand. Videos, text tutorials, and trial and error are likely not nearly as good as having an experienced player demonstrating while you watch and see what s/he does (no comments on mechjeb as I've never used it). Once you understand what's required, it's just a matter of burning up fuel and hoping your rocket has enough dV-margin for error.

Edited by RSwordsman

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Docking is my bread and butter. Granted, I don't do it pretty, but I've definitely got the hang of it. Building spaceplanes one the other hand... .

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I find that the Navball Docking Alignment Indicator is more useful than NavyFish's, even though it doesn't get the same hype. After all, I find that I'm staring at the navball during the approach (till I'm within a few meters, then I just look at the ship), so it makes more sense to have the alignment indicator right there.

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I only docked once manually to see how it works in KSP, didn't like it (no freaking ILS) so I usually let Mechjeb Dock. The navbal is okayish but I have troubles imagining my vector without ILS as you only see that you are over shooting when you have overshot.

This is the way I learned to dock in Orbiter:

But my focus lies entirely on building right now, so for now, docking is just a means ;)

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The RVing has to be the hardest part.

If you're like me and don't care to do it a zillion times get mechjeb. I do the actual docking part manually though and it really isn't that hard. All you need to do is get your bearings so you can control the vehicle properly. It's alright to go slow too. Once the ports begin to pull together I suggest turning off SAS.

Reminds me of the time I almost collided my space shuttle with my space station. Mechjeb got me so close the shuttle literally flew INCHES underneath one section of the station. I'm not kidding, there was literally no light between the two crafts. If I had not turned the shuttle on its belly the wing would have cut the station in half.

Get your RV under 1km preferably around .3 km. Once they are that close match velocities with the craft you are docking with. Use the speed related to the target as your measurement and do the burn at the closest approach. Once they are essentially orbiting together use RCS only to move the craft to finish off the docking. I eyeball it mostly because I'll have docking ports in weird places on my stuff.

Edited by Kabloosh

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The maneuver nodes and the indicators make it really easy to dock tbh. They let you go from any orbit to any orbit, most of the time I use a bielliptical transfer orbit to go from my current orbit to a point where I get within at most 3-4ish km, then kill my relative velocity, burn towards the target, and when I get there, decellerate, align myself with the docking port, and dock.

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The other has a Kempston interface - and if you remember those you'll have a similar number of wrinkles as I do :).

I remember those, but as I had a VIC-20 with its Atari compatible port, I never owned one. Friends did though. Fun times!

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A lot of people have trouble docking in the beginning, but for pretty much everyone there comes a time when you just "get it" and after that it's much easier. Just keep practicing.

I'm one of the lucky few who "got it" from the beginning, but I seem to be in a minority, and being a dick about it on the forum isn't going to help anyone. But if you keep at it, maybe check out some Youtube tutorials now and then to make sure you're not getting into bad habits that are screwing you up, you WILL eventually get to where you can do it comfortably, no matter how impossible it seems now.

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I thought docking was so hard until I realized what should I do,Then dude,really it is not hard..

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no it's not. I understood the basics before I ever started with KSP. A year playing KSP on a near daily basis and I still can't dock.

Lack of fine motor controls, no sophisticated programmable joystick, etc. etc. all make it a lot harder to impossible.

It took me about a year to learn how to dock, before i grasped how to do it, i would have agreed with you that everything was to blame, controls, input devices, KSP, name it. it coudnt be me.

Then suddenly, i made my first succesfull docking, and i was supprised, how the .... i managed.

Thus i tried again, and violla, again a succesfull dock, now docking became so easy, i dont even need to put in some effort, an can do it with crazy heavy payloads, freakiest design and even ships that arent even setup for docking manouvres, as long it has a docking port.

So no its not impossible, its rather very easy to archieve once you know how to do it, so easy even, that like me once you know how to do it, you wonder yourself how you been missing the clue on how to do it for so long, and beating yourself that it took yourself so long to get it right, i'm for certain clueless why it took so long for me to grasp it, because it IS easy.

Still i prolly am not the most efficient docker, and i certainly cannot dock like Scot Manley does going straight from launch into a rendesvous and dock within 15mins.

Now i can write here how i do it, but others allready explained in better detailed manners how to do so, and if that is not helping you at all, i dont mind to help out on a more personal level by IRC/Skype or whatever, helped a few others to learn the basics of docking that way to.

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The hard part of docking isn't the end bit where you translate back and forth with your RCS, it's nailing the rendezvous. If you get your rendezvous right the actual docking is just a matter of watching your navball and little light tapping on the translate keys until you connect. Getting a really good rendezvous, that's another story...

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Oh and fit lights to the front of your ships, because docking only ever happens in planetary shadow

This cannot be overstated!

I think the poll could have used another option. I've docked before and, in principle, can dock. However, I still find it frustrating (at times) and try to avoid it at all costs. So, a "Yes, with hesitation" option would have been great!

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vEwtVxB.png

You don't really even need maneuver nodes to get a successful rendezvous, though it does speed the process up a bit. All it really takes is knowing that if you need to catch up, have a lower orbit. If you need your target to catch up to you, have a higher orbit. Then it's all about making sure the orbits cross and waiting.

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Oh and fit lights to the front of your ships, because docking only ever happens in planetary shadow

This. 100%. I have no idea why, but it seems like 9 out of 10 times my rendezvous is on the dark side of whatever planet or moon I'm orbiting. Tangential note: "Dark Side Rendezvous" would be an awesome band name.

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I don't want to take any credit for anyone's threads, but I posted my thread asking how many had landed on the Mun and returned, and since I've seen a few threads like this (might just be coincidence)

But yes, I know how to dock. RV is trickier though. I can still do it.

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Docking itself is a very easy task once you learn to use the IKLJHN keyboard to translate your ship wile on "chase" camera mode.

All I can add to the previous adivice would be:

1. Practice with small ships with plenty RCS. For example take an FL-R1 RCS Fuel Tank with four RV-105 RCS Thruster Block radially attached, a probe body and docking ports up and down, launch it to orbit and go crazy practicing. Dont forget a couple solar panels and a small battery.

2. Try to align your target ship north / south, meaning that the docking port you are aiming for is either "up" or "down" (north or south). That way your target ship will orbing Kerbin (or whatever body) and the docking ports will be always looking at the same spot.

3. Do a little test on the launchpad: Put your little RCS ship in the launch pad, press Alt+F12 to open the debug mode and select "hack gravity". Now you can test the ship on the surface without the need to launch and relaunch it. Practice. Practice. Practice.

This. 100%. I have no idea why, but it seems like 9 out of 10 times my rendezvous is on the dark side of whatever planet or moon I'm orbiting. Tangential note: "Dark Side Rendezvous" would be an awesome band name.

Dibs on "Obscure Maneuvers" for a prog rock band.

Edited by Wooks

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Bshow, it would help to know with what you're having issues with. Especially as "docking" consists of two parts: the rendezvous and the connection approach. They're very separate procedures and the directions do not cross over very well.

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I remember the first time I ever tried to dock, I literally sat in the living room for 2 hours concentrating.

By the end I was dripping with sweat and it was 2:30 in the morning. But I was so happy!

Now it just takes me 5 mins to rendezvous and 10 mins or so to complete the docking and transfer of supplies ext.

So yes, its very difficult, but once you know what your doing, its a walk in the park!

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You have to find the right tutorial. The Scott Manley one actually didn't do it for me. This post hammered it home and got me to dock:

http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/32905-Beginner-How-to-dock-in-3-easy-steps

And I actually docked in reverse the first time (backwards ship)...

Bur really...the most important part is making sure you have your docking ports put on the right way. Seriously. Not that I would have done suck a thing... :rolleyes:

Edited by Jasel

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