Designed and manufactured to serve in dark corners of space where the closest friendly base is but a memory; the Barge is a mobile factory, station and refinery designed to operate independently of external support...
Staggering operational and manufacturing costs prevent vessels of this type from being used for any but the most specific and urgent need, as its sheer bulk of size and intense jump hole destabilizing gravity well prevents it from being utilized in any environment but deep space.
Being the currently largest mobile entity in Sirus, it is also the currently least mobile mobile entity in Sirius. It moves at a maximum of 25 meters per second on impulse, a maximum of 90 mps in unassisted cruise. It takes 5 minutes to charge cruise engines.
Angular mobility is so poor that it would likely be of negligible practical use knowing how poor it actually is. It should be noted, however, that the most practical unit of measurement is minutes, not seconds. The only movement measurable in split-seconds when it comes to the Barge is how quickly it will flip when rammed.
It is a common misconception that the Barge cannot dock with any planets. All planets can easily be docked with using the very top of the Mooring Fixture. The potential problem lies with the planetary launch as some planets are stubbornly uncooperative in this regard. The damage the Barge takes during undocking from a planet varies greatly; some planets are perfectly safe to undock from, some deal a modicum of damage, some deal massive damage, and some will destroy even the most robustly armored Barge. There is some inconsistency between SP and MP in this regard, as with most when it comes to the Barge and other ships with special code behind them.
Docking with Trade Lanes is possible and involves much the same techniques as with other moderately large ships such as Super Trains/Transports and capital ships. Approaching the Trade Lane ring head on at full speed and engaging the dock command mere meters away often gives good result as momentum will carry the ship into position and accelerate to Lane speed within moments. Due to the extended time it takes the Barge to charge cruise engines, this technique is usually best employed in one, or both, of two ways: (1) charging forward at max impulse speed (25 mps) in cockpit view and engaging lane dock as close as humanly possible to the dead center of the ring, or (2) charging cruise at the first ring and aiming for the next one along the lane segment. A responsible implementation of this general technique is to employ the former as well as possible and if it is failed then proceeding with the latter rather than reversing and realigning to retry the former.
Docking with Jump Gates is relatively straight forward, arguably easier than the same with Super Trains/Transports or capital ships. Place the Barge so that it is nearly touching the gate clamps, aligned on plane with the gate. Engage the gate dock and hope for the best. If the clamps jostle the Barge to the side, abort and realign with a little more space between the barge and gate. Successful dock is generally preceded by the Barge inching forward along the top of the inside of the gate and zooming into the wormhole as soon as the bow antenna reaches the pulsating whateveritis. As soon as the hitbox (approximately, at least) intersects the pulsating whateveritis, the ship will dock successfully. You may have noticed that some long ships don't need to fully enter the jump gate before docking, this is just as true with the Barge but more exaggeratedly so.
I have been unable to dock with stations so far, primarily due to not finding any docking points far enough away from the station's hitbox or in some way bypassing that problem. It is very possible, however. I have been told that you can dock with stations by aiming for the known dock points (such as those adjacent to the windowed rooms extending from asteroid bases or those at the towers of moduled bases) and letting auto/cinematic dock handle the arduous process of reaching it. Experiment until successful.
Be patient when flying the Barge and the handling will neither surpass nor fall short of your needs.
Go out into the universe, grasshopper, and barge calmly and intrepidly through all those who stand in your way. Just be sure to ask them kindly to move out of your way first and you'll be fine.
Review by Eyvind