Kerbal Space Program Control Panel

A control panel for increasing the realism of Kerbal Space Program with manual control, autopilot scripts, and multiplayer mission control.

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All the hardware will be controlled by an Arduino mounted at the back of the board. The Arduino will then be connected via serial to a Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi will handle any heavy processing for the autopilot scripts and multiplayer client. The RasPi will connect to a web server that is streaming telemetry data and either process it into a running autopilot script, or send it to the Arduino for an information display. The RasPi will also forward any control packets from the Arduino onto the web server so that the craft can be controlled from the panel. The OS for the Arduino will be menu-based for ease of use and easy organization. From the OS, you will be able to control every element of the craft including engines, separation, solar panels, sensors, and more. Multiplayer will consist of other boards connecting to a multiplayer server that will assign each board a different role relating to successfully launching a rocket. Your role will define what parts you can control.

For those of you that don't know what Kerbal Space Program is here is a great trailer for it.

The Arduino will be running a very simple menu-based operating system that allows you to have a nicely organized way of controlling the different aspects of a ship. You will also be able to run scripts from the OS. When you select the scripts menu it will send a retrieve packet to the RasPi and the RasPi will then send a list of all the downloaded scripts. When you start a script, the control panel inputs will be disabled and the RasPi will be sending the outputs from the script to the LCD through the Arduino. Since the RasPi is connected to the internet, you will be able to easily download other people's scripts as well as share yours. The scripts will be programmed in Python and can either be downloaded manually onto the RasPi or have another script that auto-downloads scripts from an online sharing site.

System Design

The Telemachus server (plugin for KSP, linked on sidebar) streams telemetry data and can be sent control input over Wifi from the RasPi. The RasPi will be constantly forwarding the control data from the Arduino onto the Telemachus server unless a script is running.

  • 1 × 20x4 LCD
  • 1 × Toggle Switch with Cover
  • 1 × Piezo Speaker
  • 1 × Key Switch
  • 1 × 12 Button Keypad

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  • Almost finished

    Lukas Vozenilek11/23/2014 at 18:16 0 comments

    The physical control board is mostly completed, just have to add some sort of backing plate to cover the electronics. Pictures will be up soon. The code is working great but I still haven't implemented script activation yet.

  • Finished edits on mods

    Lukas Vozenilek08/21/2014 at 02:01 4 comments

    For my board to work it has to have access to more than the default 10 Action Groups (groups of parts that can be activated from my panel) so I found a mod that extends this limit to 250. But, for it to work with Telemachus I had to go through the Telemachus source code and find where the developer had the inputs from the API. After working on it for a couple hours it built successfully and worked perfectly with KSP.

  • GitHub repository set up

    Lukas Vozenilek08/19/2014 at 22:30 0 comments

    All the code I will be developing will be pushed to my GitHub repository and is free to use. 

  • Main autopilot script developed

    Lukas Vozenilek08/19/2014 at 02:50 0 comments

    I have just finished an autopilot script that can successfully go from launchpad to safe landing on the Moon to reentry all automatically. I will be splitting it up into modules that will be independent from each other and with changeable parameters via the Arduino keypad.  

  • Power

    Lukas Vozenilek08/19/2014 at 02:47 0 comments

    I have a small power regulator board I put together that will be able to supply 5V to the components and Arduino but I will need a 3.3V regulator for the RasPi. There would be a barrel jack connector on the board that would power the regulators. If I have the time and money I might add a battery in the enclosure that would last a few hours and then require plugging in to charge.

  • Enclosure design

    Lukas Vozenilek08/19/2014 at 02:43 0 comments

    For the enclosure, I was planning on having cut 1x6s along the edges of the panel. I would like the entire thing to be made of wood, as it is durable and can easily be spray painted. It will probably be mostly black but I may change my mind depending on how it looks with the components installed. For the backing, I am planning on having an acrylic or plastic transparent sheet that will be magnetically attached to the back of the box. 

  • Part finding

    Lukas Vozenilek08/19/2014 at 02:40 0 comments

    First thing is to find all the parts I need for the hardware. I already have a cart going on SparkFun with most of the things I need, but I may need some components from other stores.

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