Tutorial:Building a Lunar base

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Constructing a munar base is a goal that many space programs, both real and fictional, have alway's dreamt of achieving. With the addition of ore in version 1.0, a lunar base can be a very simple way of harvesting ore for refueling and launching missions to further planets, and is a good stepping stone for future interplanetary missions.

Prerequisites

A large vehicle capable of easily landing on the Mün.

Before you build a munar base, you will need to have completed the following:

  • Have landed on the Mün at least once (the more you have landed, the easier it will be for you).
  • Know how to use the maneuver node
  • Have a vehicle capable of carrying large payloads to AT LEAST Kerbin orbit.

To the right is a vehicle that can reach the Mün with ease and return carrying a heavy payload. Your vehicle can be manned or unmanned, but you'll want a vehicle that can ferry Kerbonauts to and from the surface. Also, it is wise to design your vehicle with extra fuel in the event of an emergency, such as the one that occurred during Apollo 13.

Step 1: Reaching the Mün.

Before attempting to build a Munar base, you'll need to reach Mün with more than enough fuel to correct your orbit, land, and return Kerbin so you can carry crews. Here is a good way to test this:

  • Land on the Mun, get out and walk around. Then, return to an orbit of 20,000 Meters.
  • Land on the Mun again, targeting your first landing site.

Step 2: The Proper Location

It is imperative that you find an area with few surface features. If the area you choose is not flat, your docking ports (used to connect the modules of your base, provided you choose to build a multi stage base) will be stressed when connected, or they won't connect at all. Once you find a suitable area, mark it with a flag or other piece of debris. It's better to use a flag, because if you use debris it probably means that something went wrong. If you are building this base for ore mining, its best to perform a planetary scan and land where the ore is most common.

Step 3: Construction options

There are two options for your base, a One Stage Base, and a Multi Stage Base.

  • One Stage Bases are cheaper to build, faster to construct, and easier to assemble. However, single stage bases are smaller (due to limited rocket power), and thus they have fewer uses.
  • Multi Stage Bases can be nearly endless in size, be moved, expanded, and have lots of opportunity for science and overall exploration. However, it is FAR more expensive than a single stage base, and is extremely difficult to build in career mode.


Single Stage Base

For a single stage base, follow the directions, with the exception of the docking ports and rover legs. Do not include docking ports and replace the rover wheels with landing gear.

Step 1: The Command Center

Start by placing a command module on top of your Mun capable rocket. It can be manned or unmanned, but this module should act as your initial command center for your base. Include at least one docking port. Once you have completed this module, place it on the BOTTOM of the rocket stage that will land it on the Mun. See images below for additional assistance.

If this is your first base, there is a high probability that something will fail during the landing. It is recommended that the first stage is unmanned, or you are familiar with resurrecting your Kerbonauts.

Step 2: Delivering the Command Center

Launch your vehicle to a symmetrical orbit around the Mun at an altitude of 20,000 meters. Alter your orbital inclination so that you are flying evenly with your flag. Create a maneuver node, decreasing your orbit until you intercept with your base on the surface of the Mun. Don't forget to take the Mun's rotation into account. Burn prograde as you normally would until you are hovering over or no more than 5 KM away from your flag. Lower your altitude until you are just above the surface, and come into a hover. Drop your Command Center, and deploy any needed utilities. Welcome to the Mun.


Step 3: Building the second part

There are several ways to add new segments to your base, but the easiest way is to build a rover with docking ports on it. You can use any wheels you want, but the docking port must be the same as the first module, and it must be the same height off the ground as your first module; otherwise, the two modules will not connect. It is recommended that this stage has batteries and solar panels if you didn't add them in the first stage. Don't forget to add a command module. The Probodobodyne QBE is recommended.


Step 4: Connecting the part with your base

This is the most difficult part of the tutorial.

Launch your new payload into orbit around Kerbin, travel to the mun, and align your lander with your command base using the same technique you used to align with your flag. Proceed to the surface of the Mun, and drop your payload. Land as close as you can to your command module. It helps if you have extra fuel. If you are using rover wheels to deploy the base, make sure you don't land before you drop the stage. Otherwise, the payload will be crushed by the weight of your rocket. Once landed, simply drive over to the command base and connect the docking ports. If your ports do not connect you can either use the WASD keys to "force" the port into place, but this puts stress on your base, and it might not always work. If your ports don't connect, consider moving to a flatter landing site.

Step 8: The future

Now that you've connect your first module, it's up to you. Build more and more. Try to construct a rocket on the Mun, or build rovers to connect to your base. Using the docking port method, the base can go on endlessly, so the future is up to you.