Kerbal Space Program – Satellite Deployment Missions Guide

Basic beginner step-by-step guide on how to put a ship into orbit and how to match an orbit for satellite deployment missions.

Guide to Satellite Deployment Missions

Basic Orbit

  1. Turn on SAS/RAS.
  2. Stage the first engines.
  3. Fire the first stage boosters till they burn out.
  4. Angle out to 75 deg (up/down) at the 90 deg heading (North East South West) and burn for 10 seconds.
  5. Switch to orbit view and zoom in to see your trajectory.
  6. Check to see what your Ap (Apoapsis) is at. Right click on it so it stays visible to you. If it is not at around 90K, fire your engines until it is, then stop burning (“x” key).
  7. Wait until you are 60 seconds away from AP. Turn your ship to the horizon at 90 deg heading.
  8. Wait until you are 20 seconds away from AP. Start burning your engines at max speed (“z” key)
  9. Watch the trajectory of you ship grow until the Pe (Periapsis) appears. Right click on it so it stays visible.
  10. Wait until the Ap and the Pe are around equal. Stop burning your engines.
  11. You are now in orbit. Turn off SAS/RAS.

How to Match Orbits for Satellites

  1. Achieve orbit. See above if you don’t know how.
  2. Zoom out until you can see both orbits.
  3. If you are matching another vessel, click on it and make it the target. If this is for a mission, it will already be selected.
  4. Rotate your view until the An and the Dn of the target point to each other.
  5. Rotate your view slightly up or down so there is a little bit of between An and Dn.
  6. Add a maneuver on the blue line at the middle of An and Dn.
  7. Add Apo (forward) thrust to it to so that the orbit is about 2/3 of the way to the orbit you want to meet.
  8. Add normal (Up/down) thrust so that the An and Dn become 0 deg. If your planed orbit moves outside the target orbit, bring it back by adding retrograde thrust.
  9. Point your ship towards the blue manoeuver icon in the navball.
  10. Press the fast forward button on the maneuver icon and wait.
  11. Check to see how long the burn will be for the maneuver, wait until the time to maneuver is half that with a little more added on. Burn your engines.
  12. Note that if the burn time is less than 10 seconds, don’t burn at max speed. Take your time and burn it slowly so you don’t overshoot your goal.
  13. When you get close to full burn on your maneuver, slow the burn down and watch the amount of velocity. It will slow down and start going up at a point. As soon as it gets there, cut your engines. Remove that maneuver.
  14. Line up the target’s Pe and Ap. Add a maneuver on your orbit on the spot where the target’s Pe or Ap is, whatever is closest.
  15. Add thrust towards or away from the planet so your Ap/Pe matches up with the target’s Ap/Pe. Thrusting in this direction rotates your Ap/Pe.
  16. Add Apo thrust so that your orbit elevation matches the elevation of the target at that point.
  17. Fast forward, do that maneuver, then remove the maneuver.
  18. Add a maneuver at the spot where your orbits meet. Add Apo thrust so that both of your orbits match elevation on the other side of the orbits.
  19. Fast forward, do that maneuver, then remove the maneuver.
  20. You are now matched up in orbits. Wait 10 seconds and the mission will be completed.