Rocket: Construction and mechanics


Sep 30, 2013
I've read a few rocket threads wanting everything from manual control in deep space to multi-block structures and launch pads. I'm not keen any of them, so thought I'd put a suggestion together encompassing construction, upgrades and some utilities giving some extra functionality without compromising the challenge. This is very much inspired by steve's carts 2 which is an excellent mod with superb functionality. Check it out if you haven't already!

Also check out my other thread with more suggestions for planets and equipment:

Rocket construction is done in 2 parts using the NASA work bench and NASA robotics bay. Rocket Tier determines the distance it can travel and the Tier of upgrades it can take.


NASA workbench: functions in a similar way to its current state. Remove the recipes that include extra cargo space as this will be covered in the upgrades section. Rocket recipes are comprised of Hull, boosters, nose cone fins and additionally an empty fuel tank. Higher Tier rockets require Higher tier component parts in their recipes, learned from blueprints which are found in dungeons, traded with villagers or are researched using world gen blocks: Higher Tier rockets have different visual effects (as seen in Tier 1 and 2 rockets already).

Disclaimer: Item names, recipes, technology and material types are all just for example so please don't strike up discussion of whether a certain technology is realistic/appropriate, just substitute the name for something you are more comfortable with!

Tier 1 (Can travel to space station and moon)
current recipe + standard fuel tank

Tier2 ( Can travel to the inner planets)
meteoric iron plating, Tier 2 boosters, standard fins, Tier 2 fuel tank, Extended Nose cone.

Tier3 (Can travel to the Asteroid ring from overworld, and to the outer planets if launched from asteroid base.)
Heat shielded armour, Nuclear boosters, Gyro stabilizer fins, Reactor core, heat shielded nose cone

Tier4 (Can travel to any planet from any planet)
deflector screens + heat shielded armour, Ion Drives, Nacelles, warp core, Frontal deflector


Customisation is done on a NASA Robotics Bay, which is a similar size to the NASA Work Bench. It has 4 slots, one for the rocket, and 1 for each available upgrade type; Utility module, Lander and Guidance module. The module slots are optional and can be left empty.

Utility slots:

Empty - Functions as normal but has only 3 inventory slots.

Cargo Hauler (4 Tiers) - adds varying sizes of cargo space depending on tier of rocket and module. Modules can only be fitted to the same tier or higher rocket ie: a Tier 3 module requires a Tier 3 or 4 rocket.
Tier 1 - 20 slots
Tier 2 - 30 slots
Tier 3 - 40 slots
Tier 4 - ender chest (maybe?)

Tanker 3 Tiers- replaces any available cargo space with liquid tanks of various sizes which can be used to hold any minecraft liquids such as oil, fuel, water or lava. Modules can only be fitted to the same tier or higher rocket ie: a Tier 3 module requires a Tier 3 or 4 rocket. NOTE: fuel held in the tank cannot be used to power the rocket, this is still done using the internal fuel storage.

Satellite bay: Tier 1 - replaces all available cargo space. I've no idea what satellites could be used for at the moment, but people keep saying they want them... If they get put in the game, this module would allow you to launch them. Once in space on the planet select screen, a new button would be available "Launch satellite". This displays a list of planets in range and allows you to launch a satellite to them, after which you will be returned to the planet select screen.

Colonizer: A special cargo hold for carrying components to create the starting area for space stations, asteroid bases and starting locations on planets where you cannot make a conventional landing (gas giants etc). It has 10 slots for the required materials for the starting area and also has a 10 slot cargo hold to help carry some basic equipment. Used in conjunction with the colony lander module.


Empty - you can fly the rocket into orbit but can only land on overworld or on a space station/asteroid where there is no atmosphere and negligible gravity. All lander options can land at these locations regardless of the type of lander loaded.

Lunar Lander - Allows missions to the moon and other Low gravity planets with little or no atmosphere.

Martian Lander - Allows missions to Medium gravity planets with an atmosphere such as Mars and Venus.

Phoenix Lander - Allows missions to all planet types.

Shuttle - An advanced shuttle capable of transporting 4 players to the surface of any planet or station - requires Away team utility module to install.

Coloniser - Required to setup the starting area for space stations, asteroids and planetary bodies with no solid surface to land on such as liquid surfaces. If not able to set up a starting area (ie there are no resources on board or a starting area has already been created) then it functions as though the slot is Empty.

Guidance Modules:

Empty - functions as a normal rocket, It lands on a planet at the cords that it left the overworld. It will land on a space station or colony starter structure at the designated landing zone.

Satellite deployment - (see satellite bay) - This guidance module can be programmed by the Mission control block and will autopilot a rocket to a chosen planet to deploy a satellite before returning to its launch coordinates without the need for a pilot

TLS - (Transponder landing System) Works in conjunction with the Mission Control block and Landing Transponder block. Before launch the destination planet and desired landing zone are programmed into the mission control Block attached to its launch pad. When it arrives at the chosen planet it is aligned to the Transponder block on the ground instead of over the coordinates it was launched from.

HAL 9001 - An upgrade to the ILS system but programmed in the same way from mission control. In addition to the above functions it allows the rocket to fly unmanned if desired. Ideal for sending Hauler or tanker mods to a planet ahead of you to save multiple trips, or to send supplies to friends on other planets when playing multi player. Like the Potato gun from the portal gun mod, HAL would occasionally say random quotes if you are onboard. HAL can also be ordered to perform satellite deployment if the Satellite Bay utility mod is installed.

Alien guidance module - Allows travel to uncharted areas, such as hidden alien bases, nebulae, wormholes

New Blocks:

NASA Robotics Bay: 4 slot interface for upgrading and preparing rockets for missions.

Landing Transponder: a block which allows a specific area to be designated as a landing site for incoming rockets. It has an interface which allows it to be numbered between 00 and 99. Simply place it under or within a landing pad or area. See Transponder Landing system in Rocket modules for more info.

Mission Control: Attaches to a rocket launch pad. The block has an interface which allows a destination planet, and a Transponder number to be set for a rocket being launched from that pad. See Transponder Landing system in Rocket modules for more info

Lander Repulsor: Ever blown up your moon base by hitting a planet too fast in your lunar lander? This handy powered block prevents lander explosion damage to the surrounding area and saves the pilot, the lander will still be destroyed scattering its cargo but at least you'll be in one piece to pick it all up!. (I dedicate this block to Icemanfrosty who has so far cratered my moon base twice with disastrous effect!)

Satellite ideas:

As I said earlier in this post, I cant see many uses for satellites. Here are a few suggestions that may or may not be feasible, worth the time to code or particularly balanced:

Satellite uplink (Block) an interface block which is used to send and receive info to satellites.

Comm Array: (block) required for satellite uplink to function and could make for a cool looking radar dish or multi block structure.

Surface imaging satellite: reports info back to the Satellite uplink about the planet the satellite is orbiting; Time of day, Time until next sunset/sunrise,whether monsters can currently spawn on the surface and the number of players active on the planet. Requires line of sight to the surface so cannot be used on planets with cloud cover. (It would be nice if it could snap shot a photo of the area but I get the feeling this is both difficult and system hungry! I would also guess that unless a player or chunk loader was present in the area that a lot of this would not work.)

Thermal imaging satellite: Same function as Surface Imaging but can penetrate cloudy atmospheres. Photoes come back in thermal scale.

Navigation satellite: Reduces the fuel cost of travelling to a planet it is orbiting.

Matter beam satellite: Allows one stack of items to be slowly beamed to another planet that also has a Matter beam satellite in orbit. Would also require an interface block and power requirements based on the type of item being transported. A high tech, low volume ender chest basically.
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Sep 30, 2013
New thoughts from Agent_BaconN

Mining Module (Guidance Module) must be mounted with Mining Rig ( Utility Module) or gas mining rig ( . Set launch destination from mission control block, will launch an unmanned rocket to a destination planet/asteroid/nebula/gas giant. Brings back a random selection of minerals, rocks, gas and whatever else is up there....
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Sep 29, 2013
21're sure HAL 9001 wouldn't turn on users like HAL 9000, right? :p

Also, Tier 4 should also possess basic interstellar travels, so you're able to get to nearby star systems, and who knows, find a planet full of life like the Overworld, except with different forms of life.
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Twylite Fang

Jul 29, 2014
I thought my idea of a dimension where you choose what solar system to go to was good, but this one bests mine with ease xD


May 7, 2014
Agree with Tiering System. I would like to see also traveling between sytems using your space station :)
So you can unlock T2 Ion thrusters and put on your SS and travel through space and time, and end at orbit of some planet :D
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Feb 28, 2014
Please don't bump dead threads if you don't have significant content to say, this is not the only one. Post farming is frowned upon.'re sure HAL 9001 wouldn't turn on users like HAL 9000, right? :p

Also, Tier 4 should also possess basic interstellar travels, so you're able to get to nearby star systems, and who knows, find a planet full of life like the Overworld, except with different forms of life.
YES! I want Interstellar travel too!


Mar 3, 2015
I think your skipping an a few tiers. Currently, rockets tiers and requirements/destinations are realistic (but the rockets themselves are too small and simple.) Tier 4 should be able to reach Venus, because it has titanium plating (found in the Asteroids.) Tier 5 should run off Argon instead of Petrol (Ionic Propulsion) except maybe for liftoff, and have some good radiation shielding (made from lead, which could be found somewhere) to travel to Mercury and Jupiter and surrounding moons. Tier 6 has better Ionic propellers and able to get to saturn. Tier 7 has a miniature nuclear reactor in its core and capable to get to Uranus. Tier 8 has a better reactor and better Ionic thrusters. Tier 9 runs of nuclear fusion, and able to go to interstellar space (and pluto, the kuiper belt and the Oort cloud.) This is just a general idea for better rocket tiers. You should also be able to add upgrades to your rocket like better cargo hole, better fuel tank, allowing more players per rocket, space for different landers, guidance programs and satellites and space stations (instead of the current method) The current rocket definitely needs a remake.
Aug 7, 2018
I think it would be most visually appealing if these rocket additions, mainly ionic thrusters and plating types were actually visible on the rocket when installed. Something reminiscent of Steve's Carts 2. Also the HAL 9001 would be visible inside of the rocket as a panel on the side.