herbal space program

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About herbal space program

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    Senior Test Chimpanzee

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  • Location San Francisco Bay Area, USA
  • Interests Thinking about other types of science as a dilletante to avoid thinking about molecular biology as a professional.

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  1. Absolutely. Those heat shields reduce terminal velocity down low from something like 200m/s to something like 38m/s. Without them, it would be pretty hard to slow down quickly enough with just the rotor blades. However, once I've slowed down, the blades alone are enough to hover near the ground. I was even able to do it with fewer, but the more blades you have, the slower you can spin, and consequently the easier it is to land. As I said in my album post, the original ship had landing gears on hardpoints arranged in a circle around the base, but I accidentally ejected those in orbit. I'll probably try again a couple of times tonight to see if I can "stick the landing" and come to a rest upright on the wheels, perhaps even on the runway/pad!
  2. I actually already did it! I don't have time to fully annotate it now, but my ship weighs around 9000kg on touchdown, and I have a screenshot showing a velocity of 0.4m/s just above the ground. I'm pretty sure that set-up will work on Duna and Laythe as well, Eve not so much. Anyway, I'll add captions and more commentary this evening......
  3. I'm fairly close to having it working already. Not quite there yet, but I'm pretty confident....
  4. Oops! Sorry. I was in a rush, looking at this forum when I should have been working. Anyway, the way @DesertEaglehas written the rules, any glider that can land from orbit in one piece will get an infinite score, regardless of mass or velocity. I guess the way to fix this and convey the OP's actual intent would be to make the parachute denominator term 1+ the number of chutes instead of 1.5X the number, so we can't trivialize the challenge using division by zero. In any case, assuming that correction is made, I'd say that the ultimate winner of this challenge will be a copter of some kind. You could drop it from some powered ship with a big fat heat shield underneath it, then spin it up as you near the ground. Based on my prior experience with copters, it would be easy to get a screenshot just before touchdown with a velocity readout of <1m/s. Slapping something like that together would be a lot simpler than building a special space plane, so I may just give that approach a whirl, so to speak....
  5. I'll take that as a no, in which case nevermind. Deadstick landings in planes are easy, but building a whole new plane just to show you that is boring.
  6. Can we keep our engines/RCS attached if we can show using the resource tab that we didn't use them at all? Jettisoning all the engines from a plane generally makes it unflyable because of how it affects the center of mass.
  7. Nice plane! I looked through your album, and If you want that plane to lose the drop tanks and SRBs and be able to do this mission as a true SSTO, I suggest these things: 1) Use a ratio of 1:1 for Nukes and Rapiers. The better TWR at the top of the run more than makes up for the lower relative thrust at the bottom end. In this version, each Rapier engine should be able to push almost 20 tons to 1500m/s at 29km. To maximize acceleration up high, you should engage your nukes at around 10km, at which point their ISP is almost 800 already. The trick to getting the most out of the Rapiers is to stay on the runway all the way to the end if you can, then don't climb more than 1000-2000m before hitting Mach 1.5 or so. After that, I find that a steady pitch of about 10-15 degrees gets me the best speed and rate of climb at the top of the air-breathing envelope. The main thing though is that you want to punch through that squishy zone around 310m/s as quickly as possible, and that works best in near-level flight at low altitude. 2) Instead of drop or any other kind of tanks, use wet wings. You get that fuel at the cost of way less drag than another tank would incur. 3) Add a little angle-of incidence to your main wings, i.e. tilt them so that they have a few degrees positive angle of attack when your fuselage is level. You will find it much easier to climb while pointed directly prograde that way. 4) Mk II parts look nice, but they have significantly more drag/ton of fuel than Mk1 parts. I'd consider switching your side fuselages to those. The Mk1 LF fuselage has the most fuel for the least drag by a sizeable margin. 5) If you don't consider it cheating, clip a backwards-facing small circular intake into each of your Rapier engines, so that it just protrudes in the middle. That trick does wonders to reduce drag from the non-tapered back ends of those engines.
  8. I've found Duna to be very forgiving in terms of aerocapture. When I flew my mission posted above, there was barely any heating to my ship at all. Between the low gravity and the thin air, you can get away with all kinds of stuff there that would be instant death elsewhere.
  9. I just submitted this for the KSP Weekly challenge to land on Duna without using oxidizer, but since it's an SSTO and I landed it back on the KSC runway, I guess it makes a pretty decent K-prize entry as well!
  10. Here's a Kerballed SSTO that makes it to Duna and back to the KSC on LF only, using RAPIER and Nerv engines: Looks like I lost the race to post the first SSTO design here (actually, so far my ship appears to be to only one that doesn't jettison anything), but this one has crew and makes it back, so I can put it in for the K Prize too! It was easier than I thought it would be to make orbit without any oxidizer. It seems like the air has changed significantly in recent versions, making ascent to orbit on air easier but worsening re-entry heating. My recent Laythe spaceplane made orbit with almost 5km/s dV and 10 tons of extra cargo, which I think would not have been possible back in 1.0.5, when I was doing a lot of this stuff before. THat plane could in principle have made LKO with just under 6km/s dV, and I wasn't even really trying to optimize that parameter, so it looks to me like some quite remarkable feats of long-range SSTO flying will now be possible!
  11. Domo, sensei!
  12. Thank you!
  13. Thanks! That's much more clear, and it makes me happy because it means my LF-only space plane qualifies! I've already gotten it to LKO using no oxidizer with a TWR of >0.5 and like 3200m/s dV on the nukes, so I think I can actually get there and back too....
  14. @Badie, could you please clarify a little bit what this means? If you look through this thread, you'll see a lot of confusion about what "land on Duna without oxidizer of any kind" means. For example, does it mean: 1) No oxidizer of any kind ever, including air-breathing engines (which get oxidizer from the atmosphere) and SRBs (which incorporate oxidizer in their fuel)? That would mean that ions, monoprop, and nukes are the only propulsion allowed. 2) No air-breathing engines but SRBs are allowed? 3) Air breathing engines and SRB's are allowed, but no LFO engines? 4) Everything is allowed until you're ready to land on Duna, but after that one of the first three choices takes effect? (as @MiniMatt suggested) 5) Something else?? Any clarification would be very helpful!
  15. I ejected from Kerbin on Y2, d164, which is the first such window, but in hindsight I don't recommend that one. I kept arriving at my second Kerbin encounter too early. These routes were figured out by @PLAD, who has a series of them listed in his posts. I believe the second window was right around the first day of year 4, but if you contact PLAD or look through his post history a bit, I'm sure you can find the exact number. If you just look at how the ejection burn is set up in my album, you can see what it should look like in terms of how the bodies are aligned.