Cargo rockets are launched from a Cargo Rocket Silo, aka the Launchpad.
Before you can launch cargo rockets, you need to have launched a satellite in the satellite rocket (the standard Factorio aka 'vanilla' silo) while Space Exploration is installed.
Once you have built a cargo rocket silo you need to build and fuel your rocket:
- 100 cargo rocket sections into the inventory. 20 of these will be recovered from the rocket at the destination, more with the right research.
- 1 space capsule into the inventory. This will always be recovered at the destinations and can return you home from orbit.
- A lot of liquid rocket fuel, piped into one of the 8 connections near the corners. The amount of fuel required depends on the radius of the planet you're launching from and the distance to the destination. If using the "Any landing pad with name" destination option, it will load enough fuel for any of the valid destinations.
You can enter the cargo rocket silo from the door at the front (press Enter). This will let you ride with the rocket. You should also have a thrustersuit and lifesupport capsules so you don't die if you are launching to space.
Your first rocket won't have anywhere to land so it will disassemble as the cargo is released. Sometimes rockets targeting a landing pad miss and the rocket crashes. Even in the case of a crash the cargo is deployed in cargo pods so you never lose all of the cargo.
You should take a Rocket Landing Pad and some Space Platform Scaffold with you so you can build somewhere for the next rocket to land.
Building a Rocket Landing Pad at your base before launching will allow you to easily return directly there instead of ending up in a random location when you return.
Once you have a landing pad placed, make sure you update the destination of the rocket silo to target the landing pad and not a random point in orbit. You can do this in-person or via the Satellite Remote View (hotkey 'n'). However, rockets will not launch to a landing pad that contains items, so make sure to empty it.
The rocket silo outputs signals for how many parts are already in the rocket. You can put a condition on an inserter of [Cargo Rocket Sections < 100] to make sure it won't fill the rocket with additional sections.
If you have set up launch triggers on a silo it will launch automatically, but a rocket won't automatically launch to a landing pad that isn't empty (otherwise the cargo might not fit).
Green signal: Can trigger a launch if the silo is configured to have a trigger that uses the green signal.
E Signal: Empty slots
F Signal: Full slots
L Signal: Liquid rocket fuel required for all potential destinations specified by the destinations setting.
Cargo Rocket Signal: If the rocket is complete (i.e. 1 capsule and 100 rocket sections) then a value of 1 is returned.
Space Capsule Signal: Any capsules used in the rocket construction are added to the count of any capsules in the cargo inventory.
Cargo Rocket Section Signal: Any sections used in the rocket construction are added to the count of any sections in the cargo inventory.
Liquid Rocket Fuel Signal: The total liquid rocket fuel in the silo.
The core idea for automation is that you want to load a rocket with resources 'missing' from the destination.
- requests are created when a negative constant + the current resources at the destination are still negative : -5000 requested + 3000 in logistics storage = -2000 'requested'
- When you put a positive signal into a requester chest, it tries to pull that amount from the network, as the rocket gets loaded the requested amount decreases to 0.
- If you set the rocket to auto launch on full cargo, you just need the requested buffer size to be large enough that the rocket fills up with resources and launches before something runs out in space.
- It is important that the requests are calculated by the rocket destination side so that a power outage results in a signal showing 'we request nothing' rather than transmitting current amount, which would show 'we have nothing in storage' (resulting in rockets full of potentially unneeded stuff being sent)
Blueprints for both halves
Additional blueprints can be found/added in Logistic blueprints.
As of version 0.3.110 of Space Exploration, Spidertron will now automatically be deployed from Cargo Rockets when they are launched without a Landing Pad target. When combined with the Equipment Grid Logistic Module mod (unneeded in Factorio 1.1+: Spidertrons now have a logistics system similar to player characters), personal Roboports, and the Navigation Satellite view, this allows for remote setup of outposts.
When the Spidertron is deployed, up to 50 each of the following items will automatically be loaded into its inventory from the rocket:
- Construction robot - Storage chest - Roboport - Substation - Solar Panel - Accumulator - Laser Turret - (BUGGED) Pylon Substation - (BUGGED) Flat Solar Panel 1, 2, and 3
Remember to place a personal roboport into the spidertron in advance of launch. In order to load robots into a roboport, build a roboport one tile away from a cargo pod containing logistic robots, and use any type of inserter to move robots into the roboport. Repeat for construction robots.
In order to make the inserter available to the spidertron's construction robots, deconstruct a cargo pod containing inserters.