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How to transfer mined ore from the miner to a transfer ship?

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I’m getting ready to try my hand at ore mining, and have a question about how best  to transfer the mined fuel. My thought was to have a good sized (semi-permanent) mining ship that contained the mining excavator, ore storage tank, ore processing unit, and fuel tanks. To transfer the resulting fuel to an orbiting tanker, I was considering a separate ship whose function was to simply carry fuel from the ore miner to the orbiting tanker, then return and repeat. Finally, some. sort of mechanism to transfer the fuel from the ‘miner’ to the transfer ship.

I had thought about a fairly simplistic rover with a large fuel tank that could be used to carry the fuel from the miner to the transfer ship, but I’m not sure about how to connect to the miner to ‘get’ the fuel and then to the transfer ship to ‘put’ the fuel in. Docking ports seem to be an ideal solution, but how and I ensure that they will all match up? That is, making sure that the rover (if that is indeed the best solution) can mate to the docking ports on both the mining ship and the transfer ship. Easy to do in space where you can maneuver in all directions, but I’m not sure how to do it on the ground where you can’t maneuver vertically.

Any ideas about how to do this? Or am I making it harder on myself than needed and there’s an easier way?

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If you have Breaking Ground, you could try putting the docking port on a robotic arm to adjust its position to match the other port.

Alternatively, if your mining rover or transfer ship is crewed you can install Kerbal Attachment System and use the resource transfer pipe to transfer the ore without doing any docking.

With some practice, you could land the transfer ship right next to the base and cut out the rover entirely, putting the KAS port or robotic arm on the base instead.

Edited by Stamp20
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EVA Transfer from DMagics lovely pile of little mods.

It allows you to let a Kerbal on EVA to drag a fuel hose from one vehicle to another (it's a little fuel gadget that you have to add to at least one of them).

Once connected to you can transfer any resource between the vehicles (even in orbit if you're good at parallel parking).

The advantage to KIS/KAS is that it's much smaller and only does one thing.


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Thanks for the suggestions. I was hoping to do it without mods, but I guess that isn't possible in the stock game (and I don't have Breaking Ground yet). I'll either install KAS or just dual purpose the miner as a refueling ship and move it back and forth between the mining site and orbiting tanker. How hard could that be? Definitely good practice for docking and precision landing...

Thanks again!

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To stay stock, I'd suggest 1) using a claw instead of trying to match docks.  This will give you more latitude.

Also, if you're ambitious, 2) "top docking".  If your miner has a Papa dock ("Senior" size) on its upper side, you can aim to land the transfer ship (also with an under side Papa dock) directly on top of your miner.  Especially if your transfer ship has responsive enough RCS, with some practice, you should be able to accomplish this.  If you find it very hard, you can start by landing as near as possible to the target and then return into a hover and maneuver carefully to the target.

Edited by Hotel26
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Thanks! Great suggestions, and I'll definitely try the claw. The second idea sounds pretty cool, and I may try that also if I'm feeling brave (and remember to save the game first). What could go wrong?=

Anyway, thanks for the idea - just what I needed.

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The easiest stock way is to carry the drills and ore tanks to orbit, dock there, and transfer them to a refinery ship.

The most fun way is to land on a docking port.

The easiest modded way is to install Simple Logistics.

I've done all 3 and recommend you try them all.

Edited by Superfluous J
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You don’t necessarily have to use a mod for this- with some careful design work and some fiddling with your suspension settings you can align docking ports on the ground, or just stick a Klaw on the fuel tanker and transfer fuel that way.

Of all the mods you could use for it, though, I’d say Simple Logistics is the easiest to use as it doesn’t require a Kerbal to be present or for any awkward attaching of crafts that can sometimes end in Kraken attacks; just park within physics range (2.3km or so) and use the SL interface to move resources around.

There’s also another way to think about moving the fuel from the surface to orbit- make your fuel tanker with wheels so even if you land a bit off-course you can still drive over to the mining base and pick up more fuel. This also works well if you have other bases needing fuel, plus you only need two vessels on the surface- the miner and the tanker- instead of a separate transfer tanker.

I recommend Minmus for fuel mining purposes, the much lower gravity compared to the Mun makes hauling all that fuel up into orbit a lot cheaper, and getting all that heavy mining gear down in the first place is easier too.

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