Jump to content

Kerbin - Mun fuel station mission. Establishing K.G.01 and K.G.02

Recommended Posts

Current Mission State:  Fueling K.G02 with Hydrogen

1. Added Authors notes 
2. Made Authors notes into a foreword and added a table of contents.
3. Went through older posts and added topic headlines in bigger font size to make it easier to find the topics in the table of contents.


When I first started this "blog" it was because I was so happy that I succeeded at creating the first iteration of what I've dubbed Kerbin Gate One - or K.G.01 for short. I then expanded upon the project, and have decided to re-name the post to reflect the fact that it will now entail the complete setup of K.G.01 around Kerbin and K.G.02 around the Mun, as well as all the vehicles needed to support the two fueling stations and communications network.(The CommNet was later dropped because it cant really be implemented in the current KSP2 build - and all CommNet losses are due to bugs, not losing connection)

I have decided to add a little table of contents as to what can be found in the different tabs of this journey - to help new readers not get overwhelmed by the number of tabs growing out of this thread. 

Bellow you will see the journey unfold.


Table of contents:

Tab 1:

  1. K.G.01 first iteration complete
  2. Developing a KSC - LKO refueling SSTO
  3. Developing a KSC - LKO crew rotation SSTO
  4. Developing crew and cargo rotation system for K.G01 and K.G.02
  5. Developing Emergency Reentry Shuttle

Tab 2:

  1. Revising KSC - LKO refueling vehicles - developing 2 stage reusable craft.
  2. Fixing flight characteristics of 2nd stage refueling Methalox Glider
  3. Updating K.G.01 to have synergy with K.G.02 fuel amount.
  4. Developing Hydrogen and Satellite Carrier Glider.
  5. Going down a CommNet rabbits hole, due to misunderstanding that losing CommNet was not a bug.

Tab 3:

  1. Testing if different antenna's are like in KSP1 and what antenna does what and the limits of CommNet.
  2. Building K.G.02 super structure.
  3. A conversation about inclination and going to minimus

Tab 4:

  1.  - Installing Helium Tanks - Developing  Kerbin/Lunar Tug Drone - Installing Methalox Tanks -
  2.  - Refueling K.G.01 - All About Gliders -
  3.  as part of the refueling: Fixing K.G.01 and ranting about v0.1.3.0 and the bugs that followed it.

Tab 5:

  1.  Rant continued.
  2. fixing all the problems v.0.1.3. brought with it.

Tab 6:

  1.  Grid Fins!
  2. Fueling K.G.02 with Hydrogen.



Bellow this Quote - the Blog starts how I wrote back on March 27 and onward, as I wrote it with only 80h in KSP2 

//////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\
- K.G.01 First iteration complete:

Hello all!

I am a new KSP player. currently only clock 80-ish hours in KSP 2 - I read somewhere that after you managed to land on the Mun and get back again, it's a good idea to learn how to rendezvous. I may have taken this to the extreme for a new player - i decided to make a Low Kerbin Orbit fuel station. To combat the soupy Kerbin atmosphere. I want to make a station around the Mun too, and use that as a fueling point to and from the rest of the solar system.. Point being i can ship up fuel in a smaller more nimble craft, and then launch crafts from the Kerbin Gate One to Kerbin Gate Two, which will be surrounding the Mun.

Any way! here it is in all its glory! It was 20 succesful launches - and about 4-5 that failed because of silly oversights, or bad planning. 




It contains Hydrogen fuel for future interplanetary vehicles, Methalox tanks for trips between Kerbin and the Mun (plus orbital maneuvers of course) and enough Monopropellant for years of tug drone services. (i probably overdid the monopropellant.. I didnt even empty one tank filling up the drones constructing the station)

Speaking of which!

It would be wrong to celebrate the station without mentioning the little minions putting it all together:

The Kerbin to Low Kerbin Orbit Vehicle:


Here doing a hand over - take over of a large Hydrogen tank to a small tug drone.

The small tug drones were the real heroes' and one of the ideas i am most proud of!

I knew i would need something to ship the fuel tanks around.. especially when i'll be ferrying the fuel between Kerbin Gate one and Two for further expeditions. I may have to scrap that idea though.. since my pc absolutely tanks when i get near the station.. and my framerate drops to loooooooooooow... But i can pretend the drones do the work, when i just dock the craft to the station and do the fuel transfer.




Here the Tug drone is installing a Methalox Tank for fueling the tug boats too and from Kerbin Gate One and Kerbin Gate Two. I got the feeling of those deep sea submarines with the little lamps on them. Enjoyed navigating things a lot with them.. they are surprisingly nimble since they dont have the unnecessary weight of an engine.


And a day picture. Here of two sharing the monopropellant tanks between them - I made the wrong assumption that these would be the easiest to get up.. stacking two of them. Then i realized that it was something like 18t of fuel being put to space. The rest of the fuel tanks sits at around 9-10t. So they were rather cumbersome to move. Lessons learned Lessons identified.. size can trick you.. density/mass is king

Now i just need to figure whats next step...

- A reusable "space shuttle" that can ferry crew and fuel to Kerbin Gate One from Kerbin?

- Kerbin Gate Two around the Mun?

- The CommNet the game kept complaining i didn't have?

I imagined that the station around the Mun had to be bigger... but unless they make a potatomode for the graphics I dont think that will be possible. So maybe i should wait with that...
I guess i need to setup a CommNet next? I Kept losing connection to my drones when i decoupled or undocked. I could regain connection by quicksaving and quick loading (I dont know if the bug is that i could regain control.. or that they lost control) - But i dont know how do you establish a CommNet... how do you? Is it just putting up a GPS like satelite network with antennas? or is there a bigger trick to it?

I guess ill make the shuttle.

Any way - I know it may not seem like a lot... but to me it was quite the challenge. I got a really good grasp of navigating with RCS thrusters and i cut the fuel consumption on rendezvous  in half.. Feels good to keep removing fuel stacks because you get better.

Stay tuned here for further Milestones in the setup for further space travels.

Edited by BechMeister
The post has changed its scope and purpose, and the Edit is reflecting that change.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thx! Yeah... i knew it would take a while to get good at maneuvering around with the RCS thrusters. So having as little mass as possible to turn around made it a lot more manageable.  Its funny, for a long while I was more proud of myself for coming up with them rather than building the station x)

But I must say it was to connect that last fuel tank, push it back into its 100 km 100km orbit (while building it it became a 90km -140km orbit - which i dont fully understand how happened? unless it was because i pushed it with my very forceful assembly in the beginning.
Now i'm trying to figure out a reusable SSTO system to bring fuel up... I don't know how the good KSP players mange to land the stage back at the pads.. or do that while sending up the second stage. Also i spaceplanes seems very hard to do as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

//////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\
- Developing a KSC - LKO refueling SSTO -

Resupply Shuttle is well into development.

Since I dont have the skill to land a rocket, nor know how much i need "break" to survive atmospheric re-entry (when they add in heat) Aaand i dont know how much delta V i need to get back onto surface. Spaceplanes are hard... And I want the vehicle to be reusable - so a true SSTO.

I decided to try go for a Venture Star style design. - how ever i could not get the 4500 delta V i read is necessary to get into orbit without using solid state rocket boosters i drop on the way - but i can fit parachutes on them and they can be picked up again i gather.  Any way... After fighting the vehicles urge to fly backwards, flip around and rocking it self apart on the way up i have finaly completed a succesful test of the prototype:

The first prototype of refueling SSTO just finished first test fly with the following mission criteria:

Vehicle Stats:

Δv: 4.520 - which should be enough to make the rendezvous with station from what i read. but i feel like i am 500  short for maneuvering. 


- Can ferry 4t ton of Methalox into space in a 4.56t tank 
- Can fit 2.5t of Hydrogen in a 2.68t tank

efficient? hell no... but it gets the job done.

Mission Goals:

A. Get into orbit.
B. Test maneuverability in orbit for docking.
C. De-orbit and glide back to base.


All mission criteria was succesful. Albeit major structural issues has been found on the wing root and connection to the rest of the vehicle... The wings were not fully connected to the vehicle after the mid section of the wing. Allowing the vehicle to flex to a degree that would have resulted in vehicle loss if SAS had not been turned off.. There is also still some issues with stability going into orbit. Vehicle tend to lose control in the thinner atmosphere of 10k + resulting in having to be very careful with the gravity turn.


Fix: Struts will fix the wing structural issue on re-entry, it may have a positive effect on stability going into orbit too.  I found a lot of the control issue may come from putting the nav computer (probe) upside down. I only found that out when i had to land it.

Possible Bug:

My vehicle uses the remaining Δv when making maneuvers - even though it has 2t of dedicated monopropellant. 

Pictures to document:








Edited by BechMeister
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, this is really cool. I’ve always wanted to make a Kerbin-Mun connection line. Also, it’s not extreme to build a space station for rendezvous. That’s how I practiced in KSP 1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quick Update:

I managed to fix my stability issues - Struts restored rigidity and

I got 500 more Δv i by replacing the 4 small solid stages with the long small.

After having issues with the rocket being rocking back and forth until the point of no return, managed locate the from bad drag and managed to balance my Mass/Drag/Propulsion center better.

I managed to make the most beautiful ascent and gravity turn i ever did. and am now sitting at a stable orbit with 1300 Δv to go! - Time to rendezvous with K.G.01, refuel the tanks after orbital correction burns, and land back on KSC.

Mission update out:


1 hour ago, Kerbalsaurus said:

Oh, this is really cool. I’ve always wanted to make a Kerbin-Mun connection line. Also, it’s not extreme to build a space station for rendezvous. That’s how I practiced in KSP 1.

Thx! Yeah i got surprisingly efficient while building it! My goal right now is to get a sustainable refuel vehicle. Right now i am going with a Venture Star style vehicle.. but it seems a bit silly to have a 200t SSTO to bring up 5 ton of fuel.

How ever, as pr. latest mission update. I did get into an orbit with 1300 Δv  - So i may be able to get more cargo into space. Once i the vehicle is fully developped ill try make a Skylon Style space plane, for bringing crew up ( a small craft) - then its time to setup a Coms net.. and once all that is done. Build the K.G.02 around the moon! 

Stay tuned for more x)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

////////////////////Mission Update\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

The Refueling SSTO prototype completed another mission and made it safely back to KSC.

The mission Objectives:

A. Get the craft into Orbit - Success

B. Rendezvous with K.G.01 - Success

C. Dock with K.G.01 and refuel it - Failure

D. Re-entry and land at KSC

Lessons Learned Lessons Identified:

C. Although the vehicle had enough RCS thrusters to ensure a easy rendezvous with K.G.01 the center of thrust is not balanced - this makes the vehicle jaw left and right, when trying to push it left and or right and pitch up and down when trying to move it up and down. Making it impossible for the docking ports to line up. Vehicle got within 25m of the docking bay, when the attempt had to be abandoned 

Full redesign of RCS thruster placement has to be done.

D. Extreme care has to be made when re-entering the upper thin atmosphere. The vehicle has a tendency to turn the engine section backwards until the atmosphere becomes thicker and the control surfaces gain more power. This was not a problem with Prototype 01 as it had all its Monopropellant and could keep stable with its thrusters. This re-entry, though, was done with all the monopropellant spent, meaning only aerodynamics and control surfaces to control orientation and descent.

- The vehicle has very good lift when empty. to the point were it will glide leveled over the runway for a long while - Wing size could be reduced.

- Vehicle landed with ~400 Δv left - meaning a heavier cargo could be flown in.


Prototype.02 after it did the last burn for a intercept path.


Prototype 02. above K.G. 01 - attempting docking.
Vehicle is getting into the thicker atmosphere and can finaly correct flight path to KSC without going into a STALL and rip itself apart.
Final  Approach
And succesful touch down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

////////////////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\


High Graphic shot of the succesful vehicle, parked infront of the VAB ready to be refurbished for a new mission.

Final Report:
Mission succesful! - Prototype Vehicle 03 successfully launched, docked, refuel the station, de orbited and landed.
Unfortunately i found the framerate when the two vehicles connected to be near unplayable. - Fortunately the station is fully fueled, and can hang in orbit until optimisation has become better and or lower graphics settings become available. 

Lessons Learned / Lessons Identified:

Vehicle re-entry is still a very delicate operation. It is advice to just follow the prograde all the way down to 10km and ~ 1000 m/s before "aggressive" manouvers is attempted. As the vehicle wants to fly with the tail forward at higher speeds. I am not sure how the vehicle will handle re-entry once heat is introduced. As of now an shuttle like angle of attack seems impossible... and i'm pretty sure the shuttle hit the atmosphere at a very gentle angle of 20° 

Docking is also extremely hard,  as it is near impossible to line up the two docking ports due to not having a good dedicated docking camera. (if there is one, operator didnt use it, but eye balled it from an angle.)

Pt.Vh03 docked with K.G01 performing refueling of the Methalox tanks - one tank was accidently docked empty because of a bug that allowed the launch vehicle to use the fuel on maneuvering.  
Another image of Pt.Vh03 docked with K.G01 - here the docking port and cargohold is visible. 
Pt.Vh.03 undocking from K.G01 after succesful mission.

Project Update:

Now that a succesful refueling vehicle has been created, it is time to go to the next phase which is a Skylon style space plane to pick up Valentina from K.G01 - and allow the station to be operated by 3 automated drones.

Stay tuned for new updates!

Bechmeister signing out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

//////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\
- Developing a KSC - LKO crew rotation SSTO -


Test flight of Crew SSTO Spaceplane is well underway. I spend a lot of time struggling with drag. A lot of wing shapes had been tested, te reduce drag as the two rapier kept not hitting target speed of 450 m/s - a lot of my designs would cap out at 350 m/s - I tried to reduce size, weight etc. To the point were it was getting ridiculous.. It started to resemble a F-104... meaning i doubted it would ever have the fuel needed to get into orbit.

I loaded a previous attempt at making a space plane, and tweaked it with some of the info i learned from this video: 

Although it seemed he could angle the wings at a lot smaller increments than i could. First flight could get into orbit and landed with only 0.36 ch4 to 0 Ox - So i struck the right balance of Ch­4 and Oxidizer. But i found that 0.06t of Monopropellant is not enough - and other flights has shown that 2t is too much. I am also lacking like 500-1000 Δv to do correction maneuvers and intercept target. 

I may also have to ditch the 2 RAPIER 1 Aero Spike engine design for 3 RAPIER engines. - Even if i think the Aerospike looks hela cool... and i liked the idea for the 2 rapiers for airbreathing and then kicking in the Aero Spike for when the Rapier goes into closed circle.. also, why dont they just automatically go into closed circle?

Any way - The quest for a reusable 2 crew shuttle will continue.




Edited by BechMeister
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice! I like how you’re thinking like an actual engineer. You make test vehicles, learn from them, and improve your design! Many KSP players just see what sticks, instead of actually testing designs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Well Thank you Kerbalsaurus. I don't fully feel i deserve to be compared to such fine people as engineers, Maybe if I had been better at math. But i'll be damned it i dont take the compliment ;) 

Any way - Right now i have been struggling with the Rapier, and breaking Mach 1. I may have made some headway.. I am fine-tuning my vehicle right now. For some reason I had big trouble wrestling the fact that i wanted to be able to break Mach 1 to get to the 450+ m/s that is needed to kick the Rapiers into gear. I was a bit baffled by the fact that i would lose velocity the higher i got. Which kept me at a 5-10° angle of attack... I kept reducing wing area to reduce drag.. but then wrestle the fact it would not glide that well when i had to re-enter empty.

But today i decided to try climb to the second air density level and level out to 5° and see if i could break mach 1 (which i knew i should since planes like SR-71 and X-15 were pretty high when flying fast. Lo and behold, KSP2 modelled it right. Once i had level flight i would break Mach 1 and get into orbit.

I then experimented with 30° angle of attack - in the thinner air i would then fly 5° angle of attack until i reached 500 m/s then pitch up to 20° angle of attack and once the engines needed to go to closed cycle i would pitch up to 30° again until i reached AP 70k - coast a bit, and enter orbit. I had enough fuel to de-orbit, and wings were sufficient to glide well. 

Then I found out i could remove 2t of pure Methane fuel tanks. After the plane got lighter, and i tried to do 20° AoA up through the lower levels of the atmosphere and burn 2/3 engines in closed cycle and the 3rd in air breathing - It could run like that really high because it got all the air alone.

Now im having to little Ox to my CH4 - So ill reduce the Methane tank from 4t to 2t and gain 2t methalox more.. and maybe that will give me enough Delta V to do rendezvous maneuver and pick up Valentine :)

Oh right, and i found i may be able to remove my batteries and just run on the power from the command module and a small solar panel. it just need to "survive" one run on the night side, and be able to recharge on the sun side.

If I succeed, there should come a mission update. Aaaand i would call Kerbin Gate One fully operational xD

Edited by BechMeister
Link to comment
Share on other sites

//////////Short Update\\\\\\\\\\


Well tonights tests are at an end.. I am still frustrating close to have the right amount of Delta V to be able to make the rendezvous maneuvers.. I have considered I may need to figure the timing to catch the station going into orbit.. but that seems like it will demand more finesse with flight path in degrees etc. than KSP 2 really support.. it would nice if you could click on the nav ball and the SAS would point the plane in that direction.

Any way.  Untill next time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

/////////////////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\


CREW SSTO Prototype 05 at Dawn pointing at the Mun.

Mission Objectives:

A. Reach Orbit - Success

B. Test SAS, RCS and Power Mangement. - Success

C. Rendevouz with K.G.01 - Failure

D. Deorbit and return to KSC - Success

Lessons Learned Lessons Identified:

A.  1 ton less CH4 and A very steep AoA on 35° were applied to try get more ∆v into orbit - The craft was able to breach Mach 1 and get into space with a surplus of 700 kg of CH4 - meaning it could be possible to get more methalox onto the craft and still be able to reach orbit.

B. The SAS of 2 small reaction wheels + the the one in the command center can move the vehicle swiftly enough. And the RCS thrusters were found to have no apparent issues with thrust strength and placement. + The small solar panel was enough to keep the batteries of the MK2 "Phoenix" sufficiently charged.

C. The craft almost made a succesful rendezvous. When the intercept orbit had been established the computer calculated 300∆v left. And i had tested that i needed about 100∆v for the deorbit burn.  Which meant i had 200 ∆v left to break and match the orbit of K.G.01 (with the option of spending the last 100 ∆v to finish the rendezvou - but no back up plan if unsuccesful) - Fortunatly I had calculated how much ∆v i should have had left from each burn before going a head with the operation. I found that the craft burned more ∆v than the computer said it would. This may be because the vehicle lacked 2.8T oxidizer for the 700kg unburned CH4 - and the computer calculated that into the ∆v pool available. 

Fortunatly i noticed before the mission became a rescue mission. And the craft never got any closer than ~5km to K.G.01 - And Bill could wave to Valentine as she flew past.

Crew SSTO Protoype05 5.3km from K.G.01

By preforming 3 orbits through the  ~ 65km altitude, the craft succesfully lowered the Ap from 125 km to 80 which made it possible to perform the de-orbit burn and land back at KSC - Since the AP was above KSC - it meant it was difficult to glide back to KSC.


Moving Forward:

Reduce dedicated methane tanks with ~ 500 kg

2. Try add more Methalox for orbital maneuvers

3. If the craft cant maintain 35° AoA through the atmosphere at increased weight - Adjust dedicated Methane levels with a less aggressive AoA through the atmosphere and see if the right balance can be struck.

Photo album:

Crew SSTO prototype in orbit with solar panel deployed.


Crew SSTO prototype05 lining up the runway through light cloud cover.

Bill Kerman safely back on KSC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

/////////////////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\


Edbles Kerman and Valentina Kerman after safe back at KSC after an eventful Mission.

Mission Objectives:

A. Rendezvous with K.G.01 - Success

B. Dock with K.G.01 - Critical Failure 

B.revized: Pick up Valentina Kerman via space walk - Critical Success

C. De-Orbit and return at KSC - Success


Lessons Learned Lessons Identified:

A. With the heavier craft, a 30° AoA had to be used through the thick part of the atmosphere, then with leveled flight at 5° AoA to breach Mach 1 - followed by a 20 ° AoA until engines were set to a closed cycle. - Only 100 kg ch4 was left unused in the dedicated methane tanks when orbit was reached.

B. The Crew SSTO made its Rendezvous and matched K.G.01's orbit with ~130 ∆v left for de-orbit maneuver. - Afterwards the craft successfully maneuvered with the RCS thrusters to the docking port. Doing maneuver it was found that there is a slight unbalance in the SAS and RCS system. Which prompted me to boost with RCS thrusters with the SAS off most of the time.

The craft successfully touched the two docking ports 3 times before running out of Monopropellant. When I realized i had made a crucial mistake. The VAB had tricked me to thinking a small size docking port could dock with the medium sized docking port. I had opted for the small port to reduce drag.. The craft is still fully operational now as the docking ports did connect 3 times, meaning that the craft has enough 
∆v to get to orbit, rendezvous and de-orbit and glide back to KSC


Instead of putting on a medium docking bay and call it the day, i will opt to install a new section to K.G.01 crew compartment. A small docking port for the Crew SSTO and 2 - Mun to "Low Earth Orbit" (or kerbin) vacuum optimized vehicles, for transport between K.G.01 and future K.G.02. I will call this crafts M.L.E.O.s for future reference. The MLEOs will also work as emergency pods for evacing the station in case of accidents.

The port will also provide docking for the Tow Drones - that will handle moving cargo from K.G.01 to K.G.02 - as well as help K.G.01 to do Orbital adjustments. Picture for reference:


All though the Crew SSTO prototype 6 did not dock with K.G.01 - It was close enough and stable enough that Valentina easily could reach it through an spacewalk.  ending her 1 month mission supervising the setup of KG01 - With the addition to the station, new crew will have to crew the station for a planned period of 1 month pr crew rotation.

Here is Crew SSTO leaving KG01 to de-orbit.

C. the craft had to glide back and land in darkness - something i have not done before as i have used the land features to aim for. I overshot KSC and had to make a stall maneuver to burn off speed and land from East towards West instead of the usual West towards East - It all went well.

Crew SSTO coasting in upper atmosphere


The Crew SSTO is finally operational - probably the hardest design I have had to pull off. I can also see i have come a long way with how efficient i am with rendez-vous as i completed the rendez-vous and de-orbit with a combined 400 ∆v and still had 35 ∆v left when landed. (not that you can do much with that but still)

and next project will be to design and get the MLEOs into space and the infrastructure to dock them, And after that Kerbin Gate 01 Is done and operational.


Stay tuned for more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

//////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\
- Developing crew and cargo rotation system, to and from K.G.01 to K.G.02 -

On 4/21/2023 at 3:52 AM, Sylvi Fisthaug said:

I love this thread. 
I might have been inspired by (slanderously copied) the design of your tug drones. 

Probably gonna do the same with these: 


Thank you! I just redesigned that tug drone though. The updated version just have a medium docking port on it. Means its compatible with my new MLEO vehicle and or as a tug drone for the other parts when i need to push them to the moon.

The system looks like this now:

Left to right:
1. Mun.Lion (M.L.E.O. = Mun, To Low "Earth" Orbit" (I could not not use LEO - LKO which is more correct just seems wrong.. I mean leo is lion)) 
2. Tug Drone with no modules.
3. Tug Drone with fuel pod. 

With this design i can also use them to move the parts for the Kerbin Gate 02 station around the Mun. They have 2k ∆v when they are just themselves, and around 1.5k ∆v when they are the MLEO variant. Which is enough for a few trips back and forth.

The LEO module is complete with heatshields, 
separation stacks and Parachutes - I was going for a lot more sci-fi design to begin with, but thats going to be a Mun to K.G02 design - as i figured it would be nice to have a heatshield if something goes wrong.. and you de-orbit. Safety first!

Other things i was designing now was this:


Its a docking tower for the LEO parts when crew is not cycling from K.G01 to future K.G02 - they also work as escape pods for when the crew is waiting in transit. The little spaceplane:


Is an emergency shuttle for the K.G.01 staff. They have 2t monopropellant so can do adjustment for days, and ~600∆v  for orbital maneuvers. Right now there is an imbalance with the RCS system and SAS - they fight each other. I constantly have to turn SAS off to be able to do docking manouvers.. and there is an imbalance that they rotate and yaw when moving up/down, left/right.

I have tested them on the flight path - taking off and landing.. it flies like a brick, but it can glide and land on the runways, and have parachutes if there is no runway to land on. I will now test their re-entry characteristics. 

When the whole tower is done, it will look like this:


The top docking port is reserved for the space plane, taking crew to and from Kerbin to K.G01 - This fixes the docking port compatability without altering the working design.

Now we come to the really frustrating part. I had just completed 4 launches: 

1. with 1 LEO vehicle and the docking tower.
2. second LEO vehicle
3. 1 new tug drone. 
4. The two emergency shuttles 

The last launch was especially hard because I was lazy and wanted to get them both up at the same time, which was aerodynamically a really bad move... When i found out I had made a critical error.


What you see on this image... Is the shuttle docking port, and the towers docking port clipping into each other... because the tower was launched with the port upside down. I know the game is early access.. but WHY CAN YOU PUT DOCKING PORTS ON UPSIDE DOWN! 

The good thing is i can park the LEO vehicles on the left over docking ports, so i dont have to do those launches again. And i can send up a new docking port.

I will also take the opportunity to test the two emergency shuttles re-entry characteristics.. and try redesign their RCS thruster placement. (i need manually place thrusters around the center of mass i think - that worked on the CREW SSTO - rather than use the 4 direction RCS thruster. I will probably also reduce the Monopropellant tank with 1t fuel. 

As you can see - even with a broken RCS thrust placement - i still managed to perfectly "dock it" with something like 80% fuel left.

Any way - that should mean 2 more launches and then K.G.01 is finished. Then it's time to build K.G.02

Finally here are some images of the process:
The emergency craft (not)docked at K.G.01

One of the LEO vehicles being installed on the space station.


Stay Tuned for More!

Edited by BechMeister
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thx Dunas!

/////////////////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
The tower was successfully removed and is now ready for a new installation. 

Mission Objectives:

A. Re-arrange MLEOs - Success
B. Remove faulty tower - Success
C. De-orbit faulty tower and let it "burn up"
D. Test re-entry of Escape Capsules.

Lessons Learned; Lessons Identified:

A. There is some disalignment between the RCS thrusters of the MLEO and the Thug Drone - Not enough that i will redesign the craft, but enough that docking can be a bit of a nuisance.

C. Bob Kerman decided to take the punishment of the mission, De- orbiting the tower with his craft.. which could only result in him getting spun like mad.

The tower was succesfully de-orbitted and dropped. Bob then proceeded to empty the monopropellant tanks, by spending it manouvering.. I found out that 2 ton Monopropellant for this craft.. Is.. a.. lot... I litterally placed something heavy on the keys H,J,L and F to make the craft have as many thrusters active as possible.. and then leave to do something else. I think i was gone for 20 min or so.. and it was just running out when i got back. Poor bob had been spinning all that time.. a true hero.



I wanted the tanks to be empty to test re-entry characteristics - and so far its not good. I tried a AoA on 20° like the space shuttle, then 10° but i got the same result.. as soon as it hits the air it flips the engines to the front. and falls on its ass down until it breaks enough that i can flip it around and land it. 


Luckily its pretty easy to land, just pitch up and even on bumpy terrain it does quite well.

Bobzon Kerman had a much easier time - Doing re-entry with ~80% monopropellant tanks. The re-entry characteristics were the same.. although remain "stable" for a lot longer at 20° AoA - It started to pitch to the left and roll.. to a point were stability was no longer possible.. and it did the ass dive as well. I dont know if it will be possible to make it keep nose authority.. I am considering putting stacks on the engines to dump them on re-entry.. to get more weight up front.

There is no way they will survive re-entry if they cant break on their belly. - I also tried a reload with a re-entry that follows pro-grade.. It does not flip... but it kind of just flew into Kerbin as a dart.. still had 1000+ m/s at 8km... Which means once heat is introduced it will just break a part. 

Its a bit frustrating.. as i want the craft to be small.

We'll see.


Her is Bobzon on her way to the land on the runway. its a pretty steep dive.. it glides better than that dont worry.


And Bobzon Kerman safely back at KSC.

New Objectives:

1. Re-design RCS thrusters on emergency craft.

2. experiment with re-entry stability - Maybe i can push mass around.

3. install new tower


BechMeister Out for now! Stay Tuned for more 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, BechMeister said:

as soon as it hits the air it flips the engines to the front. and falls on its ass down until it breaks enough that i can flip it around and land it. 

Having the center of mass ahead of the center of lift should stable things out abit. Try using the slider on the monoprop tank in the VAB to see how a full tank and an empty tank changes the centre of mass, and try adjusting your center of lift accordingly. 

Presumably if you have not done this already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah Sylvi good tips!

I also made a post on the help and tips section - and a helpful soul also suggested it would only need one engine. I felt a bit silly - Its a design i made when K.G.01 was in the very early stages (pre-this thread) - And i guess i never thought about revising the design, even though at the time i thought a plane would also need a lift to weight ratio >1 

Funnily enough.. I added two batteries to the nose of the craft (clipped them into the nose cone of the cockpit) to add mass - the craft does not need the batteries really.. I guess RPG wise i can justify it with the craft can be stranded for a long time now and still have power x) But - when i wanted to test it, I put two stack separators on the engine parts, and connected it to the rocket. launched it into space on a sub orbital path to test re-entry. For some reason i could not make it not rip one engine off when the stacks separated... I went on with the test with only 1 engine on. And the decent of the craft was a lot easier to control.

Tried with a angle of attack on 10° to play it safe.. but now. I will just remove one engine (it will also remove the issue of one engine breaking off when you have a stack separator on both engines.

It still glides well enough you can control your landing. You only have 1 try to flare out. So you need to time it.. if you do it at a too high altitude. you will belly land pretty hard. - It is an emergency craft.. so i kind of like that it flies like a brick. Gives me those sci-fi movie vibes were people crash on alien planets. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

//////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\
- Developing Emergency Re-entry Shuttle -


Redesigned - I tried a different colour scheme - figured red is easier to find than black and silver. Looks maybe less cool - but it is a emergency craft after all.


- changed to one engine.
- Reduced Monopropellant from 2t go 500kg (which should be more than enough for orbital maneuvers)
- Re-located the parachutes to be placed the at the empty center of mass.
- Docking port is at full center of mass to make it easier to rotate

First test flight:

- It glides a lot better now. Really easy to maneuver 

Next is a re-entry test

Edited by BechMeister
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/14/2023 at 11:41 AM, Kerbalsaurus said:

Nice! I like how you’re thinking like an actual engineer. You make test vehicles, learn from them, and improve your design! Many KSP players just see what sticks, instead of actually testing designs.

I find that at it's core, this is what Kerbal Space Program teaches players who stick to the game.

While some players may just see what sticks, it really comes down to how much further did they want to go, rather than their play style. EVERY scientific adventure begins with a hypothesis (even bad ones). Every return to the concept will inevitably gain the experience of prior experiments (even if the experience only leads to another poor hypothesis).

To that end, there are a lot of players that only ever want to load someone elses craft and push launch. It's nice to see when someone new finds joy in the iterative process as in OP's case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

/////////////////////MISSION UPDATE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Kerbin Gate 01 is now crewed and fully operational in a stable orbit with its solar panels tracking Kerbol.

Mission Objectives:

Develop the Escape Shuttle. - Success
B. Install new docking tower and move LEOs back to their docking position. - Success
C. Fly in two Escape Shuttles with 4 men Crew to K.G.01 - Success
D. Push K.G.01 into a ~90km "flat" orbit to ease rendezvous for future refueling and crew rotation missions. - Success

Moon Lion (M.L.E.O) being moved docked to new docking tower above Kerbin. 

Lessons Learned; Lessons Identified.

A.  The new crew shuttle successfully completed re-entry trials and manouver trials. It is a very stable air-craft capable of near 90° AoA on its way down, and has an easy time controlling the decent  left/right, break/prolong - It has ~700 Δv for manouvering, and i tested the SAS and RCS thrusters harmony by moving around the first stage with no pitch or yaw drift from up/down and left/right maneuvers, Rolls, Yaws and Pitch excellent too. Probably the most well balanced craft i have created so far.. which i guess is very fitting as its also the newest.
Here you see the escape shuttle controlling the decent towards the beaches on the land. Landing in the night side of the plannet is still tricky. Its flight with instruments only.

C. The fact that the escape shuttle had ~700 Δv  meant that i could place them on my first stage and get them to space. I decided to give them a Orange Black colour scheme - making them thematically fit with the orange black theme i have on original service drones on the station. I think i'll go with Orange Black for K.G.01 and then Red, black for K.G.02.

E.S.01 approaching K.G.01
The installation during night time became a lot easier from the fact that all the L.E.Os and Tug Drones had enough lamps to illuminate the station well. Here we see the E.S.01 installed and ready,
E.S.02 "en route" to K.G.01 - I actually really like the Orange Black colour scheme on them - It is maybe not as flashy as red and white.. but its still colourful enough that the vehicle should be visible on most terrains. Desert might be an issue though? 
E.S.02 linked up with K.G.01

E.S.01 and E.S.02 finally installed on the station - now fully operational.
They still had around ~300 Δv left when they were docked.

D. The station had reached an orbit of 110km to 150km - I figured pushing it back to the original 90km would make it easier for the CREW SSTO and Refueling SSTO drone to reach the station. Now the last thing to do is to walk through all the systems and fine tune them. Then move on to next phase of the project. A Moon and Kerbin ComNet to facilitate drone operation around the Mun.

I am going to find out if i can coms rovers on the surface of the moon around the equator could link a satnetwork to a station in a geostationary orbit on the "dark side" of the mun. (if its possible to get a geostationary orbit) - I was thinking about placing it on the far lagrange point. That would make it easy for a direct line between a mun base and K.G.02.


Any way! I am super happy that i am finally done with this part of the project and can move on to the next!

Stay Tuned for Phase 2 of the Mun-Kerbin infrastructure.

/////////////////////MISSION COMPLETED\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Edited by BechMeister
edited document setup to make it appealing to look at, also made a better wording on the maneuvering of the escape shuttle. After a re-read I found it a bit confusing to readmyself.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Socraticat said:

I find that at it's core, this is what Kerbal Space Program teaches players who stick to the game.

While some players may just see what sticks, it really comes down to how much further did they want to go, rather than their play style. EVERY scientific adventure begins with a hypothesis (even bad ones). Every return to the concept will inevitably gain the experience of prior experiments (even if the experience only leads to another poor hypothesis).

To that end, there are a lot of players that only ever want to load someone elses craft and push launch. It's nice to see when someone new finds joy in the iterative process as in OP's case.

You guys interaction with this "blog" is also really inspiring me to push on, even when things are going bad.. and i spend a whole evening on a dead end. Learning how to rendezvous were half covered in the tutorial on getting to the mun.. but building a spaceplane was very difficult. Fx. it is written nowhere that the RAPIER gets super effective at 450m/s - that a plane does not need to have >1 thrust to weight ratio to fly etc. 

Center of mass, center of lift ratio when re-entry. For a long while i also had problem that i could not get my plane to nose up on the runway, had to find a reddit post that said its because the wheels are to far from the center of mass.. that once i thought about it made total sense as every one should know if you hold a weight at the end of a stick its a lot harder to lift than if you hold it in your hand.

I think the biggest problem i had for a while was I did not know that you could press on the velocity meter and make it change between Orbit, Ground and most importantly Target.  They should really make a graphical indication to the HUD what you can press and change and what you can't!

Knowing your local vector to the target and your velocity in relation to the target made it a lot easier to dock... Having to gauge if a pixel moved left/right, up/down to see if i were drifting. And then look at the distance to target to discern if your approaching or moving away. I still think it would be nice if the distance became distance to target instead of distance to ground in target mode. When i pick Vehicles docking port as "control from here" and stations docking port as "target" I think it should be able to tell me the distance.
Then when i look at the NAV ball to move my courser on to target I would not have to look at the station on screen to see the distance to target (which also to my understanding is displayed from center of the target structure - so not that precise) - Since there is not a dedicated docking camera.. I do all my docking from instruments now any way. 

But yeah. Thats just my 5 cent after this project. x)

Edited by BechMeister
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stolen design of tugdrone in launch assembly (top) and enlargened version (bottom).

On 4/21/2023 at 3:52 AM, Sylvi Fisthaug said:

I might have been inspired by (slanderously copied) the design of your tug drones. 

Now I have slanderously done so, @BechMeister
Your blog is inspiring me to continue my own space station. 

Also found out just as painful as you did that docking ports of different sizes don't attach. 
This is why large tug drone is now deorbited, and just small tug drone is docked to the station. 

Keep building!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...