Day 89: Some Assembly Required

Continuing on with the orbital assembly of Texaco-1.

I decided to be optimistic and launch two habitation modules and one cupola modules tied together, as well as a robotic tug module.  The robot consists of a remote control module and one large monoprop tank with RCS jets bolted on the side of it.  The whole thing is somewhat ungainly, but with appropriate struttage made orbit with a ton of fuel to spare:
Piloted By Jeb "Balls Of Steel" Kerman, of course
It was really heavy and took a long time to make orbit.  However I suspect that there was enough fuel in the upper stage to have sent it to the Mun had I been so inclined and not been fussing around with trying to rendezvous with the already orbiting spine.

Once I arrived on station, I undocked from the upper stage -- it is still floating around there as I write this -- and then disconnected the robot from the habitation module.  I discovered that although the cupola module has RCS tanks, they appeared to be empty by the time it came time to use them.  No problem, I chased the habitation module down with the robot, topped it up with its 10 units of monoprop, and then undocked the robot again.

Turns out that 10 units of monoprop is not a lot for a module this big and heavy, and after trying to rush the docking I went sailing past with empty tanks.

No problem. send the robot to collect it again.  I decide at that point I'll use the robot to bring the habitation module in to any docking point, and then settle things down before putting the module where I want it.

On this second pass, I had an accident with the time acceleration Jeb had a brain fart and we went sailing past again.  By the time everything was settled down, the habitation was 9km away and receding at 30m/s.

A gratuitous burn of monoprop later (over 100 units) and I had it going back in the right direction again.

Third or fourth "final" pass
This time Jeb didn't rush things and successfully docked with one of the back rings.

Docked, initial position 
I could then shuffle Skippy-II to another of the back rings, and then gingerly send the robot and the habitation modules to the front:
Habitation docked, by the tug in the final position
And then with a simple back-out, disconnect-the-robot move, then slide-back, and the habitation module is where I want it.

Tug removed, habitation in the final position
...crooked, but where I want it.  I will probably straighten it out.  But now the boys have someplace more comfortable to hang out than a Skippy/Silverado (which is actually identical accomodations, as the only differences are aft of the command pod).

And that drive section I disconnected from is still on the scene, less than 3km away, so I could send the robot out to collect it trivially.

One thing this has shown is that the docking rings at the back on the side are probably not going to be useful unless the relevant gigantor is retracted first, otherwise there will be a collision.  But frankly I can't see there being that much traffic here.

The next step is to lift an orange tank; the step after that, to fill it.

All this has actually taken place over three or four gameplay sessions, and it was only the last session when I didn't have a time crunch that I relaxed and just let physics do most of the work.  Most of my problems occurred when I got impatient and then time-acceleration got in the way.

One thing that does bother me a bit is that when I'm concentrating on performing a maneuver I don't think to take pictures of what is going on.  So my misses, and the rather clever (if I do say so myself) slipping out of the robot and redocking is lost.  I keep thinking that a mod that took a screenshot every second would produce a ton of crap, but would automatically collect most of the moments I want to collect.  I'm not sure I want to get into programming for this game, but I can't see that mod being terribly difficult to make... this probably won't be the last time that "how hard can it be?" gets the better of me.