Basic Rover Design

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Introduction

Welcome, fellow Kerbals! Whether You want an easy way to explore the Mun, cannot think of a cool payload to launch to Eve, or simply want to drive around the KSC, rovers are Your best bet! They are cheap, safe and fast, not to mention fun to use... Today, I would like to walk You through creating Your very first basic rover. Good luck!

Important Structures

Let's first go over the most important components of any vehicle. These include:

  • The Root Part - Usually consisting of a probe core, i.e. RoveMate or other control point, i.e. Mk1 Command Pod. Please avoid destroying it while completing stunning loops and jumps! More on stunt rovers later, in the article Intermediate Rover Design.
  • The Main Body - The Root Part surrounded by some structural pieces, like beams. This is what other parts are attached to.
  • The Propulsion System - A part or set of parts that allow Your vehicle to move! These are prone to blowing up...
  • The Control Systems - Some parts that allow Your vehicle to turn or orientate itself in some direction. These may be reaction wheels, RCS or even winglets!
  • The Resource Generators - Solar Panels, a PB-NUK, or maybe fuel cells... The possibilities are endless... Well, sort of.
  • The Resource Containers - Batteries, fuel tanks, ore storage units... All that kind of stuff! They allow storage of resources Your Resource Generators will generate, and Your Propulsion Systems must have to work.
  • The Onboard Systems - Other parts like science collectors, an important communications array, or parachutes.
  • Other Structures - Protective heat shields, lithobraking components and stuff from mods, like weapons.

Construction

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6

Time to stop talking and get to building! Here is the set of instructions that allow You to create a great, practical rover:

  • Enter the SPH - This is where most rovers are built.
  • Grab a RoveMate from the Command section. This will be our Root Part... Remember? It will be the root of the vessel, and the primary control system. Orientate it correctly using the QWEASD keys. Click S once to turn the probe core, so it faces up.
  • Turn on symmetry mode - tap the X key once. Then pop two small I-Beams on the sides of Your core. Turn them around so they are parallel with the sides of the Root Part. Then move them into place, so that their ends barely stick out on the front of the rover. Congratulations - You made the Main Body!
  • Place down four RoveMax M1 wheels on the I-Beams, using symmetry mode. Orientate them by tapping W. They are now set to incorrect turning mode, but NEVER fear! Right click the front pair to invert their control (Steering Direction). Then disable steering on the back pair. That's the propulsion system done!
  • Then pop down some solar panels on the top. Preferably the LARGE ones (OX-STAT-XL). Bang! The Resource Generators are here.
  • Place some Z-200 (Disk-Like Small) batteries on the back of the rover. Pop a Small SAS Module on the bottom. Then right-click on it and set its control state to "Sas Only" by tapping the Reaction Wheels icon once. This way we will not accidentally rotate our beloved explorer and make it break.
  • Finally, let's add a communication device and some lights to the craft. It is now ready for launch!
  • Obviously, adding a few science collectors is a good idea.

Test Drive

So, You have launched the craft. Now what? Tap T to engage SAS, then... Drive! Click W to go forward, B to engage brakes, A and D to turn, and S to go backwards. If You want to do a few stunts, try to leap up by driving quickly up the runway. Be careful not to damage the probe in the process!

Test Drive.
Nice Speed! More than 30m/s...

Summary

This is just a very basic rover! I'm sure You can create a much cooler design now, armed with basic knowledge! :) Good luck, happy drifting!

Other Tutorials