Space Engineers Tutorial: Reaching Space from a Planet (Part 5 of a survival tutorial series)
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Space Engineers Tutorial: Reaching Space from a Planet (Part 5 of a survival tutorial series)

August 23, 2019


G’day and welcome to another space engineers survival tutorial. This time around we’re going to break the bonds of this little earth-like planet we’re on and make it all the way up to space and we’re going to get there using hydrogen thrusters. Maybe with a little bit of help from some normal atmospheric thrusters too. As always let’s set up our hot bar: clear up one of the previous ones or use a fresh one if you like. You can quickly clear a hotbar item by right-clicking on it, then we’re going to add quite a few things, so many that they’ll probably stretch over to other hotbars. Add the cockpit, battery, reactor, hydrogen thruster group, atmospheric thruster group, gyroscopes, small cargo container, hydrogen tank, oxygen generator, oxygen tank and unfortunately while I was filming I forgot at this point but I’ll mention them now: add the medium cargo container, antenna and landing gear. If you’ve watched the previous tutorials this will all be familiar, build up a row of armor blocks but this time build a few blocks out to one side once you’re six blocks up, on the end of this we’re going to place the oxygen generator. First this needs to be aligned so that the two small ports are on the same horizontal level so that they will line up with the cockpits ports. Attach the cockpit so that they line up and then we’re going to attach the oxygen tank underneath. The underside of the cockpit has a large conveyor port so make sure the large port of the oxygen tank is facing up to connect with the cockpit. At the rear of the oxygen generator place the hydrogen tank, this has large ports on each end of its cylinder so they will match up. You can then attach a medium cargo container to the other end of the hydrogen tank. With a large port on the back of the medium container this is a perfect place for a large hydrogen thruster to attach. The hydrogen tank has four conveyor ports around its middle so attach a small hydrogen thruster to each one and that way we’ll have almost all the thrust directions we need once we’re in space. The remaining thrust direction we need is braking thrust which we can get by placing a small hydrogen thruster on the port at the front of the cockpit. And now for power systems: the medium cargo container has two free conveyor ports so let’s whack a small reactor on each one. We’re going to need a conveyor port that can be directly accessed so that we can put things like ice and any ores we mine while we’re up in space back into the ship. The easiest way to make something accessible is by putting a small cargo container on it. A convenient spot for this is the port on the top side of the large hydrogen thruster. It’s worth noting at this point that since we’ve used small conveyor ports throughout this build you won’t be able to use the cargo storage for most of the components required to build anything large but small conveyor ports are fine for ore so we’ll be able to use this as a shuttle to go up mine and come back. To save fuel we don’t want to use the hydrogen thrust the whole way up to orbit so we can save some by using atmospheric thrusters to reach a few thousand meters first. This will also make a return from space with minimal fuel a lot safer as we’ll have some backup thrust as long as the reactors and batteries have power. 6 small atmospheric thrusters will be enough to comfortably lift a ship this size including fuel and ice. We’ll need battery power output to keep those engines going so we’ll put one on top of the cargo container add a gyroscope, one should suffice as we won’t be hauling massive volumes of material in this ship. Then add an antenna so it’s easy to find in space if we go jet packing away from it. Things are looking pretty good, all of the critical systems are there but I don’t think it’ll be able to land very well with that massive chin on the front. Using some armor blocks, extend out from the hydrogen tank until the extension is at the same height as the bottom of the tank, then add a landing gear and repeat the process on the other side. Once that’s complete we’re ready for welding. This will take quite a few trips as there are a large number of components with big volumes, namely the large steel tubes and metal grids that are needed for various parts of the ship. While the welding is going on let’s talk about fuel. The reactors will need some uranium as always, this time you’ll also need some other fuel. The oxygen generator splits water into oxygen and hydrogen and with the setup we have here will pump them into their respective tanks. We’re going to need a lot of ice to fill the tank plus it’s useful to take some extra with us up to space just for safety to ensure we can get back home. If you’re not near an ice lake another convenience source of ice is snow-capped mountains. If you can see one from where you are it will give you plenty of ice for this trip. With the welding done we can put that fuel into the ship. Make sure the uranium is where it’s supposed to be and then pop the ice in. The oxygen generator should pull it from any inventory it is connected to. Hop in the cockpit and we’ll set a few groups to help us fly with some fuel efficiency. Make a separate group for each thruster type: one for atmospheric and one for hydrogen. With these groups you will be able to deactivate each group so that you only use the thrusters you need at any particular altitude. While we were welding we put a small amount of ice in the cargo, we can have a look at how full the hydrogen tank is after that small amount of ice… and it’s gotten us a little way there but we’ll need a lot more. For me, I think about 50,000 units of ice will be adequate to get us up and back, this will give you a full hydrogen tank with plenty of ice left over. The oxygen tank will also be getting filled but you can see it’s actually declining right now, if we look at the inventory screen we can see why. The oxygen generator has now run out of ice. Before we hop out of the cockpit we’ll add the two thruster groups with on/off switches to our hot bar. Now we’ll go fill the ship to the brim with ice. With all that ice on board we can see how much the oxygen generator has started to fill the hydrogen tank. From the outside you can see four lights, each one of these represents the device being filled above 25%, 50% 75% and then maximum capacity with all four lit up. This is useful info at a glance and is present on all the tanks and its present on batteries too. While the tanks are filling let’s disconnect from the scaffolding and set up the landing gear. I like them to be in a group with auto lock turned off, auto lock has its uses but with multiple landing gear it can sometimes make taking off a little bit painful when only one gear was locked another will sometimes manage to lock if your take off is a little wobbly. Add the landing gear group to your hotbar with the switch lock command so that you can lock them whenever you see them in range and can unlock them just as easily. With the hydrogen tank now full let’s see how much ice is left in the cargo hold. Looks like it’s about half of all the ice we put in so we’ll be able to get a full extra tank out of the ice that remains. It’s good to check that we’ve still got a drill in our inventory, in this case we’ve got two but meh that’ll be fine. We’ll want to do some mining up there for fuel and to get some platinum so that drill’s really important. It’s also probably not a bad idea to check that our oxygen tank is full as we’re going to be going up into space we’re no longer going to be able to rely on the natural oxygen around us and we’ll suffocate if we don’t have enough. Now it’s time to take off using your atmospheric thrusters only. Lift off until you start to slow down, at that point you’ll activate your hydrogen thrusters. With our large booster at the rear we’ll need to nose up. To get our heading roughly straight i rotate the camera so it’s looking straight backwards and get the base directly below me. At this point it’s a good idea to turn off your inertial dampers as they will waste fuel trying to slow you down as you pulse your thrusters. You pulse your thrusters so you aren’t wasting fuel. It’s a waste of fuel pushing against the unbreakable 100 meters per second speed limit. Every moment that you’re pushing against that speed limit is thrust that you could be using to accelerate between 90 and 95 meters per second. I like to keep the speed at around that target so that I don’t waste fuel by going too slowly and I don’t waste fuel by pushing against that unbreakable speed limit. You’ll know you’re free of the planet when the P gravity indicator shows zero, at this point you can find an asteroid to go to check out. I’d avoid any too close to the planet as you have to be very careful not to fall back into the planet’s sphere of influence. Head off to the asteroid with your helmet on and grab your drill and restock your ice first if you can. After that you should aim for finding platinum as it’s the one thing you can’t get down on the planet. Now that we’re in space we can use Newtonian physics to our advantage, make sure that you keep an eye on whether your inertial dampeners are on or off and once you find that asteroid you’re going to head for, turn them off, accelerate up to full speed – but I wouldn’t do that straight at the asteroid, aim a little bit off to the side so if you don’t turn on your international dampeners in time you can still break past the asteroid rather than breaking into the asteroid, which is also known as crashing, something I’ve done way are you too many times. If you didn’t have asteroids on you’re going to need to head to the moon. This is going to take a very long time, once you get to the moon you’re going to need to do exactly as I described with the asteroids: you’re going to need to find ice and you’re going to want to find platinum. You’ll need to find more ice going to the moon because you’re going to have to escape its gravity field to then be able to fly back to the planet. Once you near the asteroid you can come to a complete stop by turning on your inertial dampers. At this point it’s really important to check the helmet is still on. We’re about to get out into vacuum so we really want to have an oxygen supply and with our helmet open that’s going to disappear very quickly. Use your jetpack and fly out to the asteroid and drill some ice or whatever you’ve found that you think will be useful. To my mind there’s probably not much value in mining anything other than platinum unless you haven’t found another mineral down on the planet, that would just be bad luck though as everything except the platinum is found on the earth like planet. It’s a good idea to use GPS markers on the asteroids much as you did on the deposit down on the planet. It’s a lot harder in space to remember which asteroids you’ve actually been to so that when you’re scanning looking for platinum you don’t go looking at the same asteroid two, three, four or five times. Getting back home is a lot easier than getting up here, point your ship at your base, turn off your inertial dampeners and coast until you’re a few thousand meters of the ground. When you’re at an altitude where your atmospheric thrusters can work, turn them on and your hydrogen thrust off. Level the ship off and then turn your inertial dampeners back on. You should be able to hover reasonably well even without the lateral hydrogen thrusters. If you’re tight on fuel you can get almost all the way back to base like this, just flying the ship like it’s a helicopter: lean forward to go forward, backwards to slow down, left to go left, right to go right and make sure you use your roll to arrest any velocity left or right. It’s not the easiest way to fly but it’s definitely doable and if you’re really really really tight on fuel it’s the safest way for you to get down. When you’re almost on the ground you turn your hydrogen thrusters back on and land with ease. Congratulations! You’ve now been to space and back with you’re reusable shuttle. Next up we’ll take a look at some considerations when building a base. See you then!

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  1. You could put an air vent set to depressurize to fill the o2. You could also put the Large H2 thruster on the hotbar, once for increase thrust override and again for decrease thrust override. You can then customize the force of your thruster and the fuel consumption from your hotbar instead of the brust method.

  2. I'm not 100% on the ship. I've always just build a K.I.S.S. rocket (normally large grid) and went to space with that. For the design I use you do need a conveyor tower to reach the port and stairs to get up to the cockpit on the nose and I would advise several oxygen generators on the ground base to speed up initial fueling but its not really necessary because you don't need a full tank I just like to have it. Using thruster override as a few other have also suggested, one oxygen generator will have the tank at 100% (assuming you left with 100%) before you leave "Earth's" gravity it can easily have a small space miner piggy back on it and then be used as mother ship for fuel and cargo. Never tested how much the single large hydrogen thruster can down mass but we now also have parachutes in vanilla so those could be used to great effect in bring ore from space to a planet. Here is an example of a K.I.S.S. rocket. I build this, but the idea and everything but the armor I got from a guy on a random forum a long time ago. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=863680751

  3. More than 500 hours in game, but in each video I find something new and interesting for me) Thanks a lot.
    In your videos a lot of attention to detail, it's cool!

  4. What I usually do instead of disabling inertial dampeners is to disable the forward facing thruster(s) using a hotbar key. Doing this allows you to easily change course without slowing down too much by having inertial dampeners stopping your forwards momentum.

  5. This is a wonderful guide and video. I am unimaginative, so seeing practical vessels like this is a blessing. Reminds me a bit of a Bird of Prey with those "winglets."

  6. I really love SE's soundtrack as it's so calm and peaceful, then when meteors start raining down upon your creations the music quickly switches tone to suit the situation.

  7. Love your videos! About to watch them all in order. I have to say, and I know it's been a long time since you filmed this, It would have been helpful to me to see the parts filled in. This is really only to help me visualize what you are placing and why. Anyhow thanks!

  8. Caution to those of you who are new like I am. This ship is FRAGILE. Mine started taking off while it was still on the stand, went flying sideways and crashed into the ground. Destroyed basically the whole thing. Great way to end like 2 hours. UGH!

  9. Why are people using hydrogen, atmospheric and normal thrusters? Can I use normal thrusters for travelling in both space and atmosphere?

  10. I too enjoy watching your tutorials and how you include reasons for why such as not aiming at the asteroid directly; I think we've all underestimated the braking distance needed once or twice.

  11. spent 40 minutes trying to reach space the other day. was on a multiplayer server and the advice I got was point away from the planet. ha ha (i thought I needed to aim at a planet to get into space,live and learn) this is a extremely useful to the point video. thank you

  12. Just wanted to add my thanks to the long list. I'm still pretty new to this game and this ship was a godsend.

  13. The character in the background with his hand on his face makes you think hydrogen is a bad idea

  14. how did you manage to connect a large hydrogen thruster to the medium cargo container? Any time I attempt to change the size of the hydrogen thruster to large it just disappears. (This happens with any large part I attempt to place on a small ship)

  15. Why do you hate landing gear? Works fine for me when I start building a ship. Maybe it’s just fixed now, whatever the problem was. I wasn’t around back then

  16. Also just wondering how long did it take you to build that ship. Because I find myself going back and forth getting parts because idk what need what since I’m new. How would you fix the problem I have

  17. Also how do you group things like the way you do? When you group things you press something so things that groups everything in between

  18. Thanks dude. Insta sub. I adapted this design and added more batteries and drills so I can get the yum Pt in one go. Also added conv. Junc. In the back to wrap the med cargo so I can drag bottles from the oxyGen. Now that I think about it perhaps the tanks autofill? Crap lol. Well I am in space atm lol.

  19. Need help. I can't place the large hydrogen thruster on the container, but it will let me place the the thruster on the platform below. I'm getting really irritated by this. I've followed the tutorial perfectly. I do t know what to do.

  20. Do you think they’ll ever make a realistic hot atmosphere where you need heat shields and far more realistic fuel and engine sizes needed

  21. Why are the oxygen generators so much smaller compared to the one you used? Really was looking forward to using this design 🙁

  22. Why are the oxygen generators so much smaller compared to the one you used? Really was looking forward to using this design 🙁

  23. I'm sure I watched this a long time ago, but oh well, may as well add my two cents worth.
    When I first go to space I usually build a much bigger craft. Usually a large ship with a large cargo container and enought parts to start a small mining operation. I much prefer mining in space so I like to build a mobile refinery vessel and then ship the materials back down to the planet in an atmospheric hauler. It's a lot more time consuming, but I much prefer it to regularly traversing the atmosphere

  24. Correction: braking into the asteroid isn't "crashing". It's calling lithobraking and it's a valid way to land.

    Any landing you can walk away from…

  25. just a pointer to make it even easier and lazy. Map the forward (large) thrust for thrust override on the hot bar. Then scale it down to barely increasing your speed at all. Continue to decrease the thrust as you leave the gravity of the planet. This will use considerably less fuel than pulsing the thrust and you can sit back and relax, with this you also do not need to turn off damping.

    same trick can be used on planet to move forward without using pulsing or being there. NOTE: if you are online set a timer so it turns it off every 5-10 mins that way if you die or server resets it stops also turning turning on a autopilot to return home is good too but may or may not work out.

    Hope this helps

  26. When I went up into space I found platnium on the second asteroid I found but there was a SPACE PIRATE RAIDING BASE NEARBY!!! so I decreased the range of the antenna but I saw a mining carriage coming right at me! so I quickly left.

  27. Thank you, This one got me safely into space without any mods or issues. Now just wish me luck if i try to land in back on planet.

  28. Wish this game had realistic orbital mechanics. In real life, going straight up will get you nowhere, except crashing back down, unless you spend a stupendous amount of fuel.

  29. whell there is a mod for breaking that annoyingly slow speed limit i can go 800ms for small ships.
    the rock you first whent to i saw from the distance it had IronOre

  30. So this is my current expedition. I do have a small ore detector on my shuttle (wish I'd have mounted a large one!) and I've tried several asteroids with no luck yet. But at least there's plenty of ice so I've got the range to keep looking.

  31. Just bought/downloaded this game two days ago, so have huge amount of learning/discovering to do…is there an indicator or rating (not sure what term to use) that would tell me how much weight an engine/thruster can move? As a structure gets larger I'd assume more engines/thrusters would be needed to lift it, slow it down once it's moving, etc. — how do I determine how much thrust is needed other than trial and error (expensive in re: to resources used)? Once free of gravity influence of a planet/moon it is less of an issue, but while on a planet more so.
    Note: I am playing just the base game, without MODs, and in Survival Mode on a planet (forgot what the name was, but it's the choice in which I started in an Atmospheric Lander above an 'earth-like' planet).
    Thank you for your time and assistance.
    EDIT: Found your video in which you tested how many thrusters are needed (just started watching it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMtWSSMdO7w&list=PLfMGCUepUcNz9QgAIKLH2VztRUET-VKT-&index=12

  32. Did I see a xbox promt when you picked up the ice from the asteroid? May I ask how you have set up playing with a controller? Seems like building might be hard…

  33. I built this little ship today, almost a year after you published it. Helped me finally escape the gravity of Mars and get some platinum. Thankfully the atmospheric thrusters work just as well in the atmosphere of Mars as they do of Earth, unrealistically but a lot easier. It's just harder to breathe on Mars 😉
    Oh, and you're a much better pilot than I am.I wound up several kilometers from my base in the freefall descent stage. Good thing I topped up the ice while in orbit. That was a great suggestion!

  34. I recommend installing a speed mod, I got one that lets me go up to 30% lightspeed. The downside, is that you cant limit how much u accelerate, so at first u end up crashing at 600 m/s. But once u learn to use, u can get places really fast, with some parachutes, i can return to planets at 500 m/s and stop completely in 10 seconds. I love this game 🙂

  35. this video is still awesome, but the game is much improved with a few small mods, like the speed limit remover, and the aerodynamic wings mod, meaning you can make ships that can fly "through" the atmosphere, rather than just falling through it. they really should make wings a dedicated block in SE

  36. Unlimited speed mod and you have the proper start from a planet experience when you escape with a 1000m/s. Couldn`t play that game without that mod anymore because 100 or 110m/s is just stupid.

  37. Just recommended this video again and noticed that when i built my interpretation of this thing it became a rare case of me not scrapping an early game contraption once i get something better. I really need to leave a "this tutorial is amazing"

  38. Can this work without a small reactor? I’m starting out on earth planet and meteors are my only source of Uranium and I haven’t been very lucky with them so far.

  39. My first time going to mars I did it with no jump drives on, so it took me 5 hours to get there. I say this because I found it funny when you said that going to the moon would take really long time to get there

  40. No matter what I do the uranium cant move into the reactor and the ice cant move into the h2/o2 generator.

  41. i'm being honest!!
    I don't like this ship design.
    there is no recharge attachment for a base …
    you can design way better! 🙂

  42. Update @ 13:20 with the release of the game, uranium is no longer on earth. Have to get up into space to get it

  43. I can't for all that's love and holy, put a large hydrogen thruster on the back of the medium cargo container. It just won't work. Any work around?

  44. Sooo I've tried to get to space 20x and have not succeeded. I start falling back down to the planet at about 8k meters

  45. Now that Uranium is not on planets, how do you get your first miner off world to get uranium? This series needs an update I'm afraid.

  46. Perfect- Pluto has Hydrogen Oceans, so we can send Very Big Hydrogen Spaceship and tow Pluto to Earths Orbit!!! 😉

  47. Jw I'm new to the game but why do most people say use uranium when people come to look for ships to find uranium in space?..

  48. Hi, I was wondering if you might redo this episode because apparently there is no uranium on planets or moons any more,

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