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RainDreamer

What do you use to build your station?

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Now that I have finished my planning stage for my station and already launched my first core piece... I am wondering what would be the best way to put the rest of it together. How did you build your station?

Did you:

  1. Used a dedicated construction vehicle (can I see that?)
  2. Just make each piece autonomous and able to dock themselves, even if it means adding more part counts for those things?
  3. Built-in orbital tug with your launch vehicle?
  4. Some other methods?

Edited by RainDreamer

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I send up the core, with attached tug. Then on the payload i attach radial decouplers on which i can put RCS thrusters on. Then i use a sub assembly to balance the CoM with the tug. Then i launch decouple the payload from the lifter then i use the tug that is already docked to the core to attach the payload to the core. Then i decouple the RCS thrusters on the payload. A problem this can cause is a lot of debris in the area but it is not usually a problem for me,

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I've used method 3, mostly. The upper stage of my launch vehicle contains a probe core and maneuvering capabilities. Once the module is docked, the stage decouples and deorbits.

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In the past I've used remote tugs to do the job, each piece was launched with a tug that would then deorbit itself when the job was done. If I were to build another station I'd probably do the same thing, but I'd try to do it with a common LV like the Soviets did with Proton. Or I might try building an orbiter to do the job, but I just started getting into those.

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There is always the option to launch the whole thing in one go...:sticktongue:

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I build with an orbital tug. It's not as efficient if every module in your station has to have its own probe core, RCS tanks, and RCS thrusters.

In order, I launch the core and tug;

followed by solar power modules;

followed by fuel depot tanks;

followed by living spaces (if applicable).

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I've just now really started focusing on building a full station. I find it easiest to use a tug for each payload part that can decouple and land. My concern now though is all of the docking ports. But I guess two docking ports per section is better than 4 or more RCS blocks and other controls. Also, make sure your strut's start connection is on the tug and/or lifter and not on the payload. The end point disappears and only the start point counts as a part so you can really cut down part counts that way on the final station. (I just learned that one a few days ago.)

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Most of my station modules dock themselves initially, using an upper-launch stage with then de-orbits itself. But I also have large

5rREPtA.png

and small

rdG0kow.png

module-moving tugs for re-arranging modules after their initial attachment.

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Just finished a preliminary station in Vall orbit. It's an OKS station with minimal parts.

About to dock the orbital construction yard to it. A load of rocket parts is on its way. After that it's supposed to be 100% self-sufficient. Resources will be mined on Vall by robotic landers to remove the dependency on supply runs from Kerbin.

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The last station I built I made each module autonomous. Cue horrible lag.

Tugs are a nice idea, but getting a nice balance with your RCS can be difficult. One approach I've tried is a tug with a counterweight, the part on the left here. Another option I may consider in future is to have the modules autonomously dock, then blow away their controlling stuff to get rid of the part count.

Or I might just do a one-piece station and save the trouble.

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I tend to stick to 2 to 3 section stations, and make each module autonomous - that way, the part count never gets high enough to cause problems.

This is my largest station in career currently.

DulW8oM.jpg

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Once I get a hold of a fuel/resource gathering mod I will use stations a lot more. More insensitive to explore more parts of the planet rather then just the specific mission areas.

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I make use of several types of techniques, but in stock, there's no need for massive stations usually, so I launch 'em as single pieces. They usually have a number of docking ports for expansion, but really they're just large ships that park themselves somewhere for a long time.

For when I want to build a big station for fun, or a mod requires it (BTSM, Interstellar, or something), I tend to use tugs, and a special disposable system that's designed to minimize parts in flight (below).

The last station I built I made each module autonomous. Cue horrible lag.

Tugs are a nice idea, but getting a nice balance with your RCS can be difficult. One approach I've tried is a tug with a counterweight, the part on the left here. Another option I may consider in future is to have the modules autonomously dock, then blow away their controlling stuff to get rid of the part count.

Here's a technique that I used in a previous BTSM save to avoid massive part inflation (on stations that already HAVE to have.. and I don't mean for aesthetics, but actually REQUIRE .. HUGE numbers of parts):

BTSM-DockingFrame.jpg

The two big things that look like Hitchhikers on the left are actually low tech reactors - this is a power booster module for a station that was running just a bit shy of power. The right part brings it from Kerbin, and decouples from the bottom docking port where the small RGU probe core is, taking the entire frame of RCS components with it.

I've used other techniques where I just mount the RCS bits on radial decouplers, but that tends to leave a mess in orbit. This allows the frame to de-orbit for orbital cleanliness, taking any unneeded RCS doodads or such with it.

The original part count is like.. 40 or something, and it leaves the 8 parts on the station that I wanted to be there (two nukes, two docking ports, and four tier 8 panels, semi-hidden in that picture).

(the usual name I give to tugs is a 'junkyard dog', after the ship-stealing ship in Homeworld 1~)

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I use the upper stage of my lifter for most things. Although the RCS is unbalanced for the more heavy stuff, It works just fine. You don't actually NEED RCS to dock, its just more classy when you have it.

I rarely do station keeping, but when I do, I'll use my Orion-like crew shuttle to move stuff around. Generally speaking I like to be efficient; if I can make a ship multi-task, I will. With that being said, I can see the benefit of having a dedicated station keeping tug, especially for stations that are constantly getting rearranged.

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I have used option 3; the last stage of my standard 5-tonnes-to-LKO lifter is a tug that can maneuver the payload and dock it with the station.

It has a generous amount of mono-propellant and an extra reaction wheel. The payloads it is moving typically have strategically-placed RCS thrusters but no mono-prop tanks of their own. The docking port on the front (where the payload attaches) is reinforced with struts to prevent wobble.

Afterwards, I keep the tugs in orbit, docked to the station. They can be handy for moving things around, de-orbiting things, or even delivering fuel to other vessels in LKO. You can see three of them parked along the docking truss and one docked to the main module at my station.

zCyJRzW.png

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  1. Used a dedicated construction vehicle (can I see that?)

Sure!

a small lander can with a tiny amount of LFO, a lot of monoprop, docking port at one end, and a grabber at the other:

SS%20const%201.png

Docked at the Hub for refueling and some snacks.

SS%20const%202.png

Chasing down a drifting module

SS%20const%203.png

Bringing it home

EDIT: wait... this thing is launched with the rest of the station parts. Does that make it 1 or 3?

Another method I have used: two autonomous components, the station hub, and a scaffolding containing all the other modules.

The hub goes and docks with a space station module taking it away from the scaffolding, then rotates around and docks with another module, etc, etc.

Edited by Brainlord Mesomorph

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In my old savegame, my ISS analogue (Kerbal Space Station) was assembled via option 3 - the upper stage served as the orbital tug for each station module.

In my current savegame, my Skylab analogue (Kerbal Spacelab) was launched in one piece; however, it had a cupola section that needed to be undocked, repositioned and redocked in orbit, so I designed the cupola subassembly to include an additional jettisonable docking port to faciliate assembly. I then used one of my LEO taxi spacecraft as an orbital tug for this assembly operation.

When I get around to rebuilding KSS in my current savegame, I will probably use a dedicated tug vessel for station assembly instead, since I personally feel it is unwise to use my LEO taxis for this purpose (and risk damaging the only means for my crew to get home in an emergency).

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After building a few stations with mods where individual segments would be built to dock themselves, the part counts were getting stupid high so I had to make a seperate orbital contruction bot thingy that could grab things and put things into place. Heres my Spider v2 :

http://imgur.com/5ANqJjl

Featuring 100% rcs control, little mono engines for slightly higher isp for non docking maneuvers, can work unmanned and the capsule can be replaced for another docking port, the hinges from infernal robotics move 180 degrees and using your KAS kerbal attachment system when manned can strut up the heavy loads around the arms for better control. Cant find a screenshot with it in action im afraid... v3 in the making using interstellar beamed energy & standard fuel, refueling the rcs is becoming tiresome.

Heres one of the space station it helped built, i was a bit sloppy cleaning up the unused strut end points :/

http://imgur.com/WKLJ4BC

my kethane space station it built this was a pleasure to put together lol:

http://imgur.com/2lrU3Ek

Heres my LAND CRAWLER intended for a mission at the mun arch!

Featuring amusingly adjustable legs, a robotic arm, towing lifitng moving capabilities, central weight distribution for launch. Going to set up a couple of mun bases, been thinking for ages to make a land crane thing, might be fun to try to build a modular land base or two. The modules are in no way even thought about, some will be horozontal, some will be vertical. haven't got much past that really, tested it up to 80 tonnes on kerbin, that was the limit lol

http://imgur.com/glRGWIV

http://imgur.com/GvmGktV

Just now finished the launcher, the mid stage, and a somewhat wierd lander for it, still just finishing up and ofcourse not tested :P

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As you can see there is a tug on the top there with every docking port. This is one of my earlier stations (as evidenced by the ridiculous amount of power, I was such a noob). These days however, I usually build the docking system into the delivery vehicle. So I guess 1 & 3. I have never made all pieces autonomous (meaning a probe core on each piece). That would be silly to me.

Oh and 4: SSTO Spaceplane with upper docking port, in this case it is kind of #3 but different. The plane delivers the cargo in a cargo bay, releases it, and then grabs it with it's own docking port on top and assembles it to the station before returning to KSC. (not pictured)

XPeJB54.png

pGpISJm.png

Edited by Alshain

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I've used different methods through my KSP career, from robotic arms to twin tugs and the like.

When I started playing 6.4x Kerbin it was different, though. I had to figure out how to build a station out of sleek parts and deliver stuff efficently. I came up with these designs:

1. A heavy core with everything I'd need to continue the construction (This one launched on my 20t rocket).

lkn7yy0.png

2. A "Tug" able to deliver four arms at once. I didn't want to launch each one on a separate rocket for a bunch of reasons, so I designed this thing:

UOZVNjE.png

3. A service module with lots of reaction wheel power to deliver the solar array and living space extension module. This one was nothing to write home about.

ic6iI6h.png

4. My personal favorite, these tugs with extended arms for delivering both life support containers to the station:

XLUoJqM.png

They work like Vanamonde's, but they were single-use, launched with the module. Since I don't use Infernal Robotics, the arms were just long procedural tanks full of HTP. This gives the RCS enough fuel for all maneuvers, and they even look cool at launch!

tQVJpW0.png

The best thing of all is that they separate cleanly and they're very maneuverability after delivering their modules.

GWjNXXU.png

#4 is the one I'll probably use the most once I get back to playing in v1.0 :D

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EDIT: wait... this thing is launched with the rest of the station parts. Does that make it 1 or 3?

I would call that 1, cause it is a dedicated vehicle and not a modified upper stage.

Also, how do you control that? O-o Doesn't look like the CoM is stable.

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My heavy pieces (usually fuel tanks) have an attached upper stage with reaction wheels, retrograde engines on action keys, small monopropellent tanks, parachutes and a pilot.

On the payload 4 RCS thrusters are attached to stayputnik probes with jr ports. The probes have disabled batteries and a disabled monopropellent tank, they pop off and either deorbit or ride back on the tug.

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Combo of 1 and 2 for me. Each part is sent up with a quad pack of RCS thrusters pre ballanced but no tanks or additional parts for control. Once it reaches the station the docking drone is sent out to grab it and the orbital insertion stage is jetisoned with its probe core to return to the surface. The docking drone handles control, power and reaction wheels and the RCS thrusters on the componant piece were aligned to give centered thrust with the drone attached. Once in place a kerbal is sent out to remove the excess RCS thrusters with KAS.

The drone isnt anything special just a probe core mono tank/thrusters, reaction wheels and power system. Has a docking port on one end and a claw on the other for the odd times when I cant have it attached to a docking port directly on the part its moving

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I would call that 1, cause it is a dedicated vehicle and not a modified upper stage.

Also, how do you control that? O-o Doesn't look like the CoM is stable.

It wasn't easy! :P (short controlled bursts, and patience)

The spoke part is hollow, so the lab was pretty much the CoM. (after that I made a point to grab them from the end)

Also: I learned that modules with their own RSC blocks were a lot easier to handle. Not autonomous, didn't even need their own monoprop, they would draw it from the constructor pod, But having RCS blocks made a big difference.

Edited by Brainlord Mesomorph

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