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I put a probe into orbit and is now on a Kerbin escape path, but it has a really annoying quirk; the engines are mounted to the "top" of the probe so the gimbal always seems flipped 180°. In order to do any maneuvers, I need to look where the marker is, then flip the ship.

Can I get a retrograde marker to use instead? Can I just fix this some other way in the game? Can I flip a bit or whatever in the save file to perform this innocuous change?

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You could do this in the config file, but it's easier to make this change in game (although you may have to do it each time you switch to it). This requires that you have a docking port pointed in the prograde direction. If you do, right click on that, and select Control from here, and you're done. The gimble will flip, and everything will be pointed in the correct direction.

If you don't have part that you can do a Control from here on (and is pointed the correct way), then it is possible to make the change in your persistence file. In a text editor, open %KSP_DIR%/saves/<save name>/persistent.sfs, and under the VESSELS section, find the probe you want to edit. Find the PART section for the probe body, and change the value for rotation. I don't know the format for that value*, so this could use some experimentation, but set it to 0,0,0,-1 and see what that does.

*I don't have time right now to test this to tell you for sure what it should be, otherwise I would.

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My probe doesn't have any docking ports so I don't have that option. I modified the rotation value to 0,0,0,-1 (and also tried 1,0,0,0, as that's what the .craft file said when I flipped a part), but when I go back into game it seemingly detects that and corrects it back to 0,0,0,1. – Nick T Mar 3 '13 at 16:31
Try changing it in your quicksave as well, or deleting your quicksave. I honestly don't know what the fourth value is, as there's only 3 axis that you can rotate something around, nor do I know what the ranges are on the rotation. A look through the wiki is probably warranted as well. – MBraedley Mar 3 '13 at 16:37
Tried in the quicksave as well...but gave up and did something more drastic: "fix" the rotation in the editor, delete the rest of the stages, "launch" that, quit, then replace all the PARTs in the orbiting probe with the parts from the one on the pad, then delete the latter. – Nick T Mar 3 '13 at 17:00
Perhaps of-note; even in my fixed craft, the rotation value is still 0,0,0,1. Maybe it always references everything to it? – Nick T Mar 3 '13 at 17:14
Unity uses quaternions for its rotation values, so 0,0,0,-1 almost certainly refers to that. The downside is that just inverting the components of a quaternion won't have the effect you want – Tharwen Aug 14 '13 at 1:09

For anyone else out there with the same problem: MechJeb has a very useful feature in its Smart A.S.S. in case you accidentally build your ship upside down:

  • Use the Maneuver Planner or map view to create a node that does what you want
  • Open Smart A.S.S.
  • Set it to "ADV" mode
  • As Reference select "MANEUVER_NODE"
  • As Direction select "BACK"
  • Hit Execute
  • MechJeb will now point the vessel "away" from the node.
  • Execute your burn manually

It may seem complicated, but it was simple enough to save two Kerbins on their return trip from Minmus.

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