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About WanderingKid

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    Sr. Spacecraft Engineer

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  • Location Orbiting... something. Bill, are the scanners working yet?
  1. Fair enough, and that's certainly enough. It's absolutely overpowered for what's needed, and still is pretty light and cheap . Mind usually my commnet is doubled as a series of satellite launches for contracts, so I don't typically fly up just a commnet cluster. I'll have to try your recommendation one day, it's about half the weight of what I usually launch and is only ~210 dV less. Do you typically launch 3 or 4 for your constellation on the single thumper (and I presume, fairing)?
  2. If you can rover, you can sat network... as long as you've opened up the OKTO. The rest of this is an opinion for avoiding your original concern. However, as stated for your original question, when the face of the Mun the rover is on is facing Kerbin and you've got enough antenna, you can directly communicate with Kerbin to drive it. Be aware, you will be in the dark during this time 50% of your communication time, so no power generation on the rover when you can actually talk to it. This will severely limit you. Let's talk distances then. With a Tracking Station 2, which reaches 50 Gm range, the built in comm system on a MK1 pod/OKTO can directly talk to Kerbin. Mun is roughly 10 Mm up, and you can reach 15.81 Mm with those built in comm systems. Unless it's absolutely pinned on part count, however, I'd slap a 16-S or a 16 onto it for sanity. For reference, three Comm-16 antennas on a ship to Minmus for Tracking 1 is fine (54.77 Mm comm range) if you don't need relay. Tracking 2 is basically upgraded for near body interplanetary communications and Patched Conics/Maneuver Nodes, and can hit Mun without any help. However, I really recommend you put up your commnet. Three flat solar panels, two MG-5s for balance, two Oscar-B tanks, a Spark, and an OKTO 1 is a relay satellite. Put up 4 roughly on the corners of a square around Mun equatorially and you're good for a while, and they're incredibly cheap to put into orbit riding a thrust limited BACC SRB inside a fairing for most of the trip to orbit. You don't need to be too fancy. For an added bonus, stick a thermometer on it for 'science from around Mun' contract requests. Side note: You really don't want to rover the Mun with the little shopping cart wheels, so you should have the OKTO. Wait for the orange ones for sanity. The offroad looking ones are really where you want to be though, you're going to be doing ~50-100 kilometers of driving for some of the rover contracts, nevermind how well you can land it on target. Those little ones are fine for minor base movers but they fall apart too easily going overland at speed in my experience.
  3. On a side note, if you know if your next launch is going to be ascending or descending, you can adjust with shift-rotation to an 85/95 degree path on the pad. This, of course, assumes you typically adjust the vehicle in the VAB to be facing down to turn 90, instead of right. This takes a lot of fiddling around during liftoff out of the equation for me.
  4. Sounds like you came in waaay too steep, and then to boot you tagged a mountain on the way in losing another 2k worth of good atmo for final slowdown. You pretty much HAVE to skim now in the 20-30km range. Highly aggressive landing patterns are detrimental to your Kerbal's health if you're not running Drogue chutes.
  5. For Minmus, I typically target the orbit, then wait until the Launchpad is on the path plane (or a little before, to be exact). Once it's lined up, I'll launch to the 95 or 85 degree target and I'll be roughly close. I'm not too sure about the method you described to help with it.
  6. I'm afraid I almost completely disagree with you. VAB and R&D are the only ones there that aren't critical path early upgrades for my careers, as the R&D upgrade opens up my midgame, and I typically don't need VAB until I start goofing around with rovers or biome hoppers, which I prefer to do in midgame when I can get surface samples and upgraded wheels. I should probably note I play Hard Career almost exclusively, so it's not like these are cheap or something. Upgrading Mission control early lets you get more contracts at once, which helps with launch efficiency, so I typically upgrade that first thing. Upgrading Astronaut complex during your first orbit lets you EVA for both World's First contract completion as well as additional science. This speeds up your science gathering considerably. This is usually my second upgrade, and also typically done as soon as possible. Manned Mun landings are near impossible without an upgraded pad for heavier rockets, which is where World's First contracts typically go after you've done a flyby/orbit. 18 tons is enough to pull off flybys and a minimalist orbit, but not landing and return. Somewhere around my fifth or sixth World's First launch goes to the Mun in a typical career. First does the launch/liftoff, second does suborbital/orbital. While up there I'll usually get EVAs and science from Kerbin orbit contracts. Next one is typically a flyby and science of Mun, fourth is (usually) the orbiter and return, which I'll do by using the free return flyby and braking at Periapsis to barely get an orbit, fulfill, then burn again for the free return. By 5 or 6 I'm typically landing there, it depends on how the RNG is behaving that run, so around then I want the Launchpad upgrade. Mission Control and Tracking station need to be upgraded each once for Maneuver Nodes, which are such a quality of life upgrade for me I want them very early. They also help tremendously once you are putting up satellites and for rendezvous with lost kerbals, which I go after very quickly so in some ways I suppose it is what you define as 'early career'. Rescues and OKTO sats putting up the CommNet are still very much part of my 'opening moves' for my early careers and are my counter to the early funds grind. Because of these considerations, I'm typically upgrading KSC very quickly during the early game. I personally ignore the Spaceplane Hangar, Runway, and Administration until mid-late game simply because until I get Panthers the SPH is pointless for my playstyle and I don't use the administration building until science is completely maxxed out. I believe our playstyles may be very different in this case, but this wall of text was primarily to show there are different approaches to getting career done efficiently.
  7. Heh, and here after I posted that and came back,I was just thinking "Well, he said that better than I did..."
  8. First and foremost, abuse the World's First contract system. Don't do anything until it gives you a contract for it... such as don't EVA in Kerbin orbit until they'll pay you for it. Don't return science until they'll pay you for it from a body. Don't orbit unt... you get the idea. Next, as mentioned, if you're still in tier 1 science your best money makers are Tourism contracts and Satellite Contracts. I personally avoid Tourism like the plague, it just bugs me. No particular reason why, I just avoid them. So I launch satellites. LOTS of them. Has the added benefit of building up a pretty strong CommNet while I'm at it by sending a single satellite to every contract. Tiny little satellites with a pair of MG-5 Relays everywhere (Kerbal Alarm Clock is your friend here...). They go to orbit almost entirely on a single Thumper SRB too. While you're getting that money, start rescuing kerbals in LKO. They're solid income and they build up your staff too. They can be a little crazy if they're in HKO, but Mun/Minmus rescues are solid too. Just watch out for the 'return the part' missions once you've unlocked the KLAW. If you're going for the 2nd upgrade to science to unlock the end of the tree, now you're looking at building stations (Solars are usually great money if you don't have to stick a Kerbal in them and can suicide them out). A nice fuel station or 3 at Mun/Minmus makes for a great staging area for rover/mining work, and ... rovers. Profit/cost ratios are really nice for new areas, and a rover can be re-used for additional work later. They do however cost you in real time, so only take those if you enjoy rovering otherwise they're not worth time->profit investments. I've got a little rover build I ship out constantly (I think I launch one every 3-5 days in my current career) that drops itself wherever I need, blows off its engines, and then runs around. I don't recommend bothering with rovers until the second grade of wheels though. The little golf cart ones are simply horrible if you have to travel. Besides that, simply keep an eye out for high value contracts and simply try for efficiency. The last tier of science pretty much breaks the difficulty of the game, so it's not really that important unless you're trying for extreme situations.
  9. Depends on skill level for building a plane. Well balanced planes handle better if you simply trim them instead of using SAS because it turns more fluidly during banking and the like. Your SAS doesn't fight your plane's natural tendency to turn when it's off. It does however require knowing the plane pretty well to know what to trim it to.
  10. Nice work there! Absolutely shatters my 1.77t lifter cost/ton. Looks like I'll have to revisit it! XD
  11. I definitely agree with that. I'm currently trying to see what I can do with another semi-standard payload I use, a 12t fuel refueler in LKO that is 17.2 tons after all the rendezvous and control parts. My spaceplane I limited to Tech 2 parts so it's a Panther build, and can't get anywhere near your 10t delivery, and that's sitting on the edge of near perfect ascent profiles with no room for error. I may revisit it for fun with some rapiers and stuff at some point but I think I've pretty much gotten that bird as perfect as I can personally get it at 4,218 in fuel, for 351.5/t for 12t fuel payload. Near miss ascents can be recovered by using a portion of the payload, but still... that's nowhere near what you were able to get with rapiers. @maccollo 's entry in the disposable rocket category at 61.87/t is nigh un-achievable at under 1/3 the weight. Fairings are seriously not helping my attempts, either, but that's a personal concern, as I'm not interested in random payloads but ones I'll actually use repeatedly for the amount of tweaking and overanalyzing I'm doing. Even if I include the fairing in the payload cost I still can't get near it, it's not the extra 1.5k funds that's throwing me off. I keep coming in close to 1,000 - 1,100/t for this payload when I don't do anything particularly inane. I may have just found one of those odd tonnage rates where the skipper provides good upper atmo value but it needs a boost for liftoff with kickbacks that are too expensive for the weight, but the Thumper just doesn't have the oomph.
  12. EDIT: After further reading, I need to revise my comment. X37-B is a Type II recoverable lifter. You're simply not bothering to recover the first stage. Whatever the X37-B drops off in orbit, untouched, is your payload.
  13. That's awesome. Might I ask at what altitude you do your first separation? I also noticed a few things though that might help you. When you separate the first and second stages, once the second stage gets to desired apoapsis, kill SAS and let it glide with minimal drag. However, because it's 'on rails', that may be a moot concern. It's something I do for my ultra high TWR lifters though during the glide from 35 - 75k. Next up would be to play with your parachute settings with how draggy those boars are. 0.6 altitude deployment and 700m full deployment should be plenty for them. Also, if you put them on with radial attachment you can increase the spread angle to 10 which will give you an even slower final decent. All of that's simply to let you have a little more breathing room for switching to stage two again, as you know your landing location before hand... the water. There's a long flow of thought and testing information below. TL;DR: You're starving the Panthers and you really want to use Whiplash instead so you can hold above 25km while working with the second stage. Use an intake with a larger surface area and a much higher effective base speed to counter the takeoff starvation before lifting, which is either the Engine Pre-Cooler or the Engine Nacelle. The Nacelle is what you want for price as without fuel it's even lighter than the Pre-Cooler and you can probably just strip out the Mark 1 Fuel tanks. After seeing your attempt I realized why mine were just never going to survive TSTO style builds with Panthers. --------------------------------------------------------------- You shouldn't be getting Asymmetric burnout in 1.2.2. At all. I've got a 4 Panther lifter I'm playing with as an orbital fuel delivery system that has perfect burnout due to altitude with 3 intakes and a very lazy attachment process... and... oh, wait. Are you using the Juno tiny intakes for feeding panthers? XD I've never tried it. However, I've ran into equivalent issues where my kNs stop going up due to starvation when you aren't moving at all, which is worth inspecting. If you're being forced to take off wet, which is my guess for those Panthers, you might want to look into switching to Whiplash, though those are air hogs (actually, wet panthers and Whiplash are roughly equivalent), and would most likely need to use Engine Nacelles for takeoff (effective air speed 40 m/s). The Whiplash cost 250 m/s more, but should travel a LOT higher (reducing stage two and leaving more time for recovery) as well as let you get some pretty high TWR boostback for a higher recovery value. During some simple testing I found that Whiplash + Nacelle ran ~119.8 kN on the pad without starving. It goes up to 290+ kN through Mach 2.6 while lifting, but you need to lift, so that's just bonus during flight for extra apoapsis during its 'speed run'. Dropped to under 120kN at ~18k, and it cut out completely on me at ~ 27km up during a straight up shot. The Pre-Cooler lets you squeak out a little bit more but for a straight up launch you're not going to see a significant benefit for long enough. Compare to the Panther: Dry 75.1 kN on pad. Wet: 125.6k kN on pad. Also steadies out at ~120 kN. However, it starts falling hard at 11k to negligible amounts by 15k and cuts out completely at ~21kM during a straight up. If those ARE Whiplash on the bottom of the lifter, sorry about that! At least the testing helps validate some things I was trying to figure out.
  14. It's all in TWR. The more fuel you strip, the faster you can get away from the pad, the less you have to spend. "It takes fuel to lift fuel" is a philosophy I'm heavily applying these cheap and light lifters. I'm getting closer to a 3,000 dV on the pad lifter. I might not actually get it, but we'll see. Considering I got to orbit with ~100 dV to spare for landing with 3,193, I think it's doable.
  15. So Stubby works even with a rough launch. Stubby is a nice little wuvable wocket who just wants to visit space... and after recovery merely costs 1,437 funds (for the lost fairing and the fuel) after delivering 1.77t to orbit... for 811 funds/ton. The fairing costs 115 funds and the fuel 1,322.