About the drone
This drone is basically something I came up with a week ago, and have been thinking about it ever since. When I was casually speaking with Magma he mentioned something about shooting relays into open space and that’s when i combined the two ideas, the drone being able to stop at the certain distance and the relay system.
The drone is especially useful in combat situations and for recon duties as it’s able to stop at the desired distance it can be collected later or left there to sit in space and serve future purposes. One of the main advantages of this is that by having the ability to launch the drone at the desired distance from the mother ship you don’t have to risk anything else than a drone itself, so in case the drone detects an enemy ship, the enemy ship won’t be able to see your ship with it’s antennas but you will be able to see the incoming ship thanks to the drone.
There can be many more uses for this drones and I will leave that for you to figure them out.
How does it work?
The drones are actually two small ships connected together with landing gears, landing gears you say, why not use the connector or the merge block? The idea for stopping the drone is to exhaust its power supply at the desired distance from ship and to have the drone shop. But exhausting the power supply (in my case the battery) also won’t stop the drone, as thrusters won’t be able to stop the drone without the power, also the antenna won’t work without the power, and that’s where the other ship comes into play.
The thrusting part
The thrusting part consists of 4 backwards facing thrusters, 2 gyroscopes, a battery and a merge block used to attach the automated relay drone to the mothership. Also in the front view you can see the hole created by usage of blast door blocks which enables the antenna part to fit perfectly and allow both parts to have perfectly aligned centers of mass.
The battery on the thrusting part is usually not fully charged as that’s the part which determines the distance that the drone will travel.
The antenna part
The antenna part of the drone has 1 gyroscope, 2 small reactors, 1 antenna, 2 thrusters and 2 landing gears used to attach to the thruster part. Also you can see the part which fits directly into the thruster parts hole (Imagine where I got the inspiration for this 😛 ).
The antenna part in my configuration only has 1 thruster set to inertial dampening so when thruster parts battery goes out it will stop the ship dead, and leave the antenna running until all the uranium in 2 reactors is spent, which means it could be running for a LONG time.
To connect the two parts in creative paste them in so they are aligned and use thrusters to push the antenna part inside ( you can use the autolock landing gear feature ).
To connect them in survival use another utility ship with landing gears and simply push the parts together. Preferably lock in the thruster part with merge block and than push the antenna part inside.
How to operate the drone?
- Charge the battery to the desired distance for your ship by using this excel calculations i made Drone range calculator
- Once assembled to use the drone turn on the antenna part and set one of the thrusters off ( depending on your configuration you might have 1 thruster, or more thrusters on your antenna part, just leave them to damp the movement ).
- Turn on the battery and all the thrusters to full thrust on the thrusting part
- Turn off the merge block connecting the drone to your launching platform and watch it fly
This drone will I hope see bright future in space engineers, the system can also be used to deploy various stuff, like combat drones, supply crates, and practically anything you wish to deliver to a certain distance from you without the need of you piloting you there or something being there to stop it once it gets where it needs to be.
Have fun with the drone and scout ahead!