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How should I start making ships?

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You need an engine, a nosecone, and a spacefarer module. The smaller "solo spacefarer module" also acts as a nosecone, but the larger spacefarer module needs a separate nosecone. The engine must be at the bottom, and the nosecone at the top.

Some engines also need oxidizer, which will need solid or liquid oxidizer storage.

The most basic rocket possible is just a CO₂ engine and a solo spacefarer nosecone, so that's a good place to start. Then you can insert modules like the rover, trailblazer, or orbital cargo in the middle by adding them above the engine.

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A rocket will need a rocket platform to launch or land. It cannot land on a asteroid without rocket platform. So make sure you have proper fuel setup before launch or it will strand. I suggest to save your colony before you start your first attempt or any attempts after that. Good luck!

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First, you need to keep digging and reach the space, place a telescope at an open area to revile the star map and search for an interested destination. Remember air will lost after the space is opened, so you need to supply the scientist O2 or he/she need to leave the telescope occasionally to breath. Shelter Telescope is highly recommended. The purple "breath bar"will be locked when scientist is using it so he/she won't run back and forth to breath. If you decide to use the normal telescope somehow, remember to build four normal tile above the center of telescope. That is for radiation blocking otherwise your dupe will get sick and vomit.

Then build a launch pad with 800 kg refined metal. Make sure NO tiles is above this structure, but ladder is OK.

Now start to build the rocket. Any rocket needs at least the engine and the nose cone. For the very first run, I suggest to use CO2 engine and single-pilot nose cone. Fill the engine with CO2 pumped from the bottom of your base. and build something in the nose cone.

Your pilot, as a dupe, needs O2 and food to stay alive, a bed to sleep, a latrine to excrete, a control panel to fly the rocket. For O2, go algae crusher, so you also need a man-powered generator and a small battery to supply it. Simply fill the room with O2 is not enough for even a one day flight unless it's over filled and dupe will get broken eardrum. For food, move some food into a not wired fridge (it's smaller then food box) but don't fill too much. For bed, ladder bed is better since it more useful. For toilet, plastic-made toilet is better but need piped water. Control station is already in the nose cone after it is build, but you can destruct and relocate it. Build all mentioned above into the tiny cone.

You will also need other modules. Trailblazer allow you to drop a crew member to the surface of a plantoid, Rover will drop a rover which can work several days, do some dig and build and reveal the map before dupe arrives. Orbit cargo hold can drop up to 6000 kg material to a plantoid. But CO2 rocket has a small maxim height so can' build all of them. Rocket can't land on the plantoid without launchpad, but rocket has no member abroad can be landed by give the order from a vacant launchpad. 

Select destination and your pilot at the control station, change the rocket enter permission to "Crew Member Only", make sure no error or warning on the check list, and, Ignition! You can keep watching is during the flight. 

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9 hours ago, Deltic said:

change the rocket enter permission to "Crew Member Only"

This isn`t necessary. All it does is locks the pilot to the inside of the rocket and prevents other dupes of getting inside. Initiating the launch sequence is possible without the dupe inside and will force him to run inside and start the launch.

Personally i prefer to have a gas cargo module to hold the oxygen(it needs the gas fitting to be placed inside and powered) for the dupe but it`s not practical for the CO2 rocket. Making a long looping pipe will hold enough water for a plumbed toilet to work for several cycles. The power fitting can power stuff inside the module with the power produced by the engine and solar modules.

You can also get the dupe inside in an atmo suit and then order him to unequip it. Then it can be used as an emergency oxygen storage. It`s also good to have it when you plan to send your dupe down via the traiblazer (he better have the suit on).

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