Base Land Autopilot

Base Land Autopilot 2023-01-30


Base Land Autopilot is an autopilot which can land many "delta glieder like" vessel with hover engine on celistial "moon like bodies" (If gravity is not to strong ) with no or tiny atmosphere with anti terrain collision. It is optimized to land fuel optimized from a more ore less circular orbit. However, it can also handle sub orbital flight pathes and trans orbital flight pathes if the parameters are adjusted good and if the flight path is more or less tangential to the aimed point, but it still has trouble with "direct landings" at the moment.

How to install:

  • Extract the files and folders of the zip file into your Orbiter directory
  • Activate the pluing "BaseLandAutopilot" in the Orbiter Launch Pad

How to use:

- I recommend to set MFD Refresh Rate to a value < 0.2 or so in the Orbiter Launch Pad Parameters to have a good GUI (Blinking frequencies etc., Updating values, response time) but it's not mandatory I guess.

- Select a target - Press TGT, Use OK to select, use MFD Shift + NUM Keys to Navigate throug the menu (E.G. Base, Brighton Beach -> 1), confirm with OK. You can also use NAV beacon or Lon / Lat mode. Note that you can also use the MRK button to mark your current position to land there in the next Orbit etc.

- Three different programs can be selected on the target select page (Pressing "TGT") in the second line: "400" for "hover engine only landing", "600" for main engine for braking + hover engine for touch down, "650" for retro engine for braking and hover engine for touch down.

- Make sure that your orbit passes the aimed landing point as close as possible. However, the autopilot will do some correction if it fits not 100% I recommend to use BaseSyncMFD to check that. Also make sure, that you altitude over the base in BaseSyncMFD is close to the altitude of the base

- Make sure that the autopilot channels for Roll (Button R), Pitch (P), Yaw (Y) and engine (ENG) are active -> labels on top of the MFD Screen are blinking->set point not reached or on->set point reached... They can be activated / deactivated separately to have some manual control if required.

- Activate Master (Button AP). The attitude control will be inactive and will be activated if 50% engine thrust is required. Burn will automaticity start at a specific value (For hover and main engine in the test scenario at around 90%).

- You can always use the "IGN" button to activate attitude control (pressing the button the first time) and also to ignite the burn earlier as required (pressing the button the second time)


Please note:

Baseland is not a "Push a button and land me" autopilot.
You must allign your flight path to pass the base in a good orbital plane and altitude first!

I recommend (Depending on the capabilities of the engine etc.) to keep an altitude of 3- 10 km over the base terrain level and to to align your orbital plane so that you cross the base not to far away. Note thar the stronger the engine is the lower the altitude should be, because you need less time to brake so you have less time to sink. However, the stronger the engine is the more fuel efficient the landing process will be.

For the altitude profile, follow the green line in this example, not the red one ;-), so baseland can reach the "linear approach phase" more or less...


That's necessary because Baseland will avoid negative acceleration using the engine to avoid the waste of fuel while Sir Isac Newton can do this for free.

- Note the altitude of the base in the target selection. Note that Brighton Beach has a negative altitude.


Use BaseSyncMFD e.g. and make sure that your altitude over base pass is just a few km (Let's say ~2.5 km is fine).
To do so, burn retrograde ~a quarter orbit before passing (depending which approach angle you prefer), so that it shows something around zero or so. Since update "30.1.2023", you can alternately use the data shown on the BLA MFD, but be aware because this value shows the altitude above terrain level!

You shouldn't forget to press NUM and enter "1" to show the data for the next pass only, I haven't done this when I took this screenshot


You should have a picture like this in the final approach where you are not to high over the base:


Then it should work very precisely.

Videos how it works (older versions):

For development discussion, please check the development thread.

Changelog Update 30.1.2023:

  • Ballistic flight path is shown on the 2D terrain map (yellow line)
  • Base data are now calculated correct even if the base is more than a half orbit away
- New data shown:

  • "RAltMaxElv": Radar Altitude (=Alt above terrain) of the ballistic flight path on the point of the maximum terrain elevation angle (seen from vessel)
  • "RAltTarget": Altitude of the ballistic flight path at the selected landing point
  • For the moment, this are graphical enhancements only which are not used for further calculation (But it's an option to use this data to improve the flight profile)
  • Source code included (Not cleaned up yet ;-) ) under LGPL 3.0. Feel free to optimize it ;-)
Known issues

  • Program pointer not reset after landing (WA: Press RES after landing) (Fixed internaly)
  • Ballistic flight path not displayed correct when ground speed is close to 0
  • Attitude indicator is in front of text (Should be in background instead)
  • Sometimes the current program number is empty
  • Running basic autopilots should be deactivated (pro / retrograde ap etc.) when baseland takes control (Fixed internaly)
  • After an automated landing, return to orbiter and do a second landing, the vessel is sometimes commanded by the autopilot into a head down position (wrong orientation) (Fixed internaly)

Changelog Update 27.1.2019:
- Programs for retrograde burn- and prograde burn added. The program can be selected on the target select page (Pressing "TGT") in the second line. At the moment, three programs can be selected: "400" for "hover engine only landing", "600" for main engine for braking + hover engine for touch down, "650" for retro engine for braking and hover engine for touch down.

Changelog Update 30.9.2017:
- regulator for ypr optimized

Changelog Update 10.9.2017:
- Indicator for manual control has been added (One circle offset corresponds to a 5deg offset from set point)

  • Landscape scanning and displaying optimized, (hopefully no lags any more)
  • MFD Title added
  • Zoom level is limited to reasonable values
  • Zoom level is shown
  • regulator for ypr optimized
  • Colour for some lines changed: Max altitude: Red, Sea level: grey
  • Landscape color changed to a bit darker so that the text can be read even if the text is over the landscape
  • RCS will rested by pushing the Y / P / R buttons
  • Vessel deletion and creation during runtime is supported: no ctd when deleting a vessel
  • Radar data (Maximum Landscape elevation and distance) are written to scn file
  • Folder and dll renamed to "BaseLandAutopilot"
Changelog Update 25.8.2017:

  • MFD resets now after landing
  • MFD zoom level is now stored (But not saved)
  • Heading and elevation is now displayed on the target page
  • several bugs fixed
  • Keys to navigate the cursor has been changed to wasd, because the num pad should be only for the RCS and if you enter numbers you had always to activate / deactivate num lock, so I think now it's better...
Software License
Supported Orbiter Version
  1. 2016
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