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Is there a hot-key, trick or maneuvering technique to stabilize your craft in orbit so it does not roll, pitch and yaw relative to the planet it is orbiting? I'd like to get my first station part up there. I reckon it makes the job much more easier later on to attach something when it does not move.

  • Looked for a similar question, didn't find it. Since i needed crew in the command pot to come back with the rest of the ship i need to make a new attempt, i'm gonna try this out and let you know. – Madmenyo Jul 25 '13 at 19:14
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There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Stabilize your delivery rocket prior to releasing the station. You can do this with RCS and ASAS modules. It won't be perfect, as the momentum imparted through the disconnection can't be neutralized.
  2. Stabilize your station after releasing it. You'll need to include either a cockpit (or probe body) to be able to control it, some RCS, SAS torque modules, and electricity to power it all.

Regardless of which you pick, enabling SAS (by pressing T), will attempt to kill all rotation. To enable RCS (which SAS will use to help), press R. It won't stay on the same heading (because it can't take planet rotation into account), but it will make it much easier to dock. KSP .21 (the currently latest version) has revamped ASAS to no longer oscillate back and forth when trying to auto-stabilize your craft. It will use electricity, though, so make sure you either have enough electricity, or can generate enough for SAS.

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Short answer; you can't have do station keeping like that, for a few reasons.

  • First, your vanilla autopilots are little more than dead-reckoning machines. They don't understand anything more than your current vector, and definitely cannot be made to point towards a specific thing such as a planet.
  • Mechanical Jeb, however, is a really powerful flight computer available from the Kerbal Space Port that does have these concepts, among many others.
  • Second, only one vehicle can be active at once. No matter what you can possibly do with one craft, even station keeping, as soon as you switch to another (such as launching a ship to dock with a station) the other returns to free fall.
  • A workaround is to have MechJeb on both crafts and switch back and forth during docking procedures, allowing you to keep correcting them to point towards the other, but this isn't the easy, automatic solution that you were looking for (and frankly should exist).
  • Manually inducing a roll to dead reckon the station keeping is extremely difficult as you have no feedback. There is no published stat in any vanilla display that tells you your roll rate afaik. The only way to know that it works is to wait and correct it in 1x time acceleration, because time acceleration freezes a ship's roll.

While you cannot totally lose RPY relative to the planet, you can lose it relative to a target by using RCS and WASD+QE to dampen any motion either craft has. This is usually how people make sure their craft can dock.

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