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Everything posted by UnusualAttitude

  1. Dammit, Mission Control. You could at least have made an effort and painted it a different colour, or something. At least Donbree got to try out rover ladder surfing on the Moon. Camwise is jealous. I wish them good luck with their ascent. They're going to need it.
  2. totm

    Welcome to what will possibly be the least popular thread on the KSP forums. What, may you ask, does gardening have to do with spaceflight...? Why, absolutely nothing of course... unless you are a hungry astronaut left stranded on Mars with only some potatoes and a large quantity of astronaut poop to use as fertiliser. I am not a stranded astronaut, but I do have a bone to pick with my garden. You see, last year's crop was dreadful. I put in a lot of work last spring, but after a promising start... ...things started dying left right and centre. July and August were bone dry, my tomato plants got mildew, and in the end all I had to show for my efforts were courgettes (zucchini for you guys from across the pond). Lots of courgettes. Long ones, round ones, stripy ones. We spent most of last summer eating them in soups, curries, with couscous or stuffed, and then we froze or canned the rest and have been steadily munching our way through them since. My step-children never want to see another courgette again. Officially. Ever. So this year, we are going to try again, and do better. Or else. I have my first plot ready for onions and potatoes (this is my first attempt at 'taters). I have some nice rich, dark soil with a plentiful supply of manure courtesy of these gals... Apparently chicken dung is the best. They are also helping me to clear the turf from my second plot which is just next to my bottom-of-the-garden office where I write the Camwise Logs. I feel like I'm using them for slave labour, but dammit they're efficient. Leave hens on your lawn for a couple of weeks and it will be totally wrecked, children. My main goal this year is to revive Great Uncle Jim's tomatoes. This will be my third attempt. Great Uncle Jim (or Tonton Jim) was my wife's grandfather, as well as being her great uncle. Don't ask. It's just how they did things back then in that part of France. Anyway, Tonton Jim was a legendary gardener, and my wife has fond memories of eating his delicious, juicy, fleshy tomatoes as a child. Tonton Jim passed away a few years ago. Fittingly, he was in the garden he loved so much when it happened. His heart failed and he was dead before he hit the ground apparently. What a great way to go. A couple of summers back, we visited her grandma who gave us some tomato seeds that had been tucked away in the cellar for years. The most recent strain is from Jim's 2005 crop. So far, I have managed to get some to germinate twice, but the first attempt I planted too late, and last year was an awful season for just about everything. Anyway, I'll keep you updated as things start to grow. And if any of you lads and lasses have a garden, feel free to post your endeavours...
  3. Neat little shuttle. Looking forward to seeing more of your craft.
  4. Welcome Mr. Watney. It's an honour and a pleasure. We will learn what happened to Bartdon and his crew soon. But first we must find out what Camwise is planning to do, and why. So we shall stick with him for a few more episodes.
  5. This is the story of the Kerbals of Earth, the third planet from the star Sol. Some time in the recent geological past, an unknown disaster brought devastation and extinction on a global scale. Once a paradise of forests and oceans teeming with life, Earth is now a blasted wasteland where small communities of these tenacious little green creatures struggle for survival, striving to rise from their subterranean origins and conquer the surface of their world, and its heavens. A handful of powerful companies rule over the Kerbal communities and control access to the world's dwindling supply of resources. These companies have agreed to sponsor a small team of visionary engineers and scientists who believe that the future of their species – and an explanation as to their origins – may lie in space. Together, they found the Omelek Space Centre on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is the story of Camwise, a resourceful space engineer who proves to have an uncanny ability to survive and get his crew home, even when the odds are stacked against him. It is also the story of Bartdon, a truculent senior investigator trying to hold the space programme together despite facing pressure from without and treachery from within. This is the story of the Kerbals of planet Earth and their attempts to reach out into the Solar System. Reach out they will indeed, and find more than they bargained for. The Camwise Logs is also a KSP Real Solar System / Realism Overhaul play-through in career mode. Certain part mods are used, and occasionally part configuration files are adjusted, but these will always reflect plausible – if not yet feasible – near future technologies. Hyperedit is occasionally used for the purpose of setting certain scenes (or repairing bugs and glitches), but all space missions are launched and flown legitimately, under full manual control of the author (ie: no mechjeb). All vehicles perform according to the specifications described in the story. PART ONE: THE MOON VS. ME PART TWO: THE VIEW FROM PHOBOS PART THREE: LUNACY PART FOUR: TOO BIG TO FAIL PART FIVE: L'ENFANT SAUVAGE PART ONE: THE MOON VS. ME "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Albert Einstein. YEAR 6 DAY 45 Now, then. My name is Camwise and I am, until the circumstances change, stuck on the Moon. Yes, Luna, the Moon, the natural satellite of planet Earth; not the Mun, or whatever they call it in that computer game played by some of the kids back home who dream about becoming astronauts. What was it called again...? Anyway, back to the problem at hand. I was sent to Luna as the engineer of the first two-kerbal crew to set up and occupy what shall be the first long-term Moon base. That is, if we manage to build the damned thing before we starve to death. Yes, as you can see if you examined the telemetry, our lander toppled. Before embarking, I had naturally expressed my concerns to the designer of the aforementioned vehicle, Karanda. She happens to be brilliant at aerodynamics, and made some invaluable contributions to the spaceplane programme, but this lander is certainly not one of her better efforts. She fails to grasp some of the fundamentals of flying where there is no air. To say it is top-heavy would be putting things mildly, but even I had not foreseen that the landing legs would impede the thrust of the radial engines that were supposed to ensure our soft touchdown at Drygalski crater. You would have thought she would have run the necessary simulations... It's not as if having engines that actually slow down a Lunar lander are mission critical, right? As it was, my pilot Catbeth had been faced with two choices: extend the gear and make a new crater on the lunar surface for the next team of engineers to drill into, or attempt to touchdown by canceling our velocity just above the surface and extending the gear at the last moment. Fortunately she had chosen the latter, but despite her best attempt at sticking the landing, the lander had tipped anyway. OK, fine. The good news is that we are still alive, and I can live with sleeping on the walls of our capsule for the foreseeable future. At least we have a ton of supplies for our long-term stay on the Lunar surface while we wait for the Island Space Port to come up with an idea for getting us off this rock, don't we? Well, not quite. The majority of the ton of supplies in question (2.4 metric tonnes actually, as well as the capsule that is our ride home, two spacious habs, a service module with large solar panels and a rover), is still circling the Moon in a low polar orbit. Some of the modules are as little as thirty kilometers above our heads. I'm pretty sure that if I go outside and squint at the sky for long enough, I will catch a glimpse of the sunlight glinting off metal as our salvation skims silently over the grey and dusty landscape at one-point-six kilometers per second. Now, of course we weren't sent here to helplessly watch our gear fly past, so let me explain. We will have a lot of work to do once the first modules touch down. But they will only touch down if the water drilling rig continues to extract H2O at the planned rate. If the electrolysis units and cryocoolers that are supposed to turn the water into liquid hydrogen and oxygen work properly. If the cryogenic fuel doesn't boil off faster than we can produce it. If the shuttle we intend to refuel and fly to pluck the modules from orbit performs to spec, just like Karanda's brilliant single stage lander was supposed to. That's a lot of “if”s, I know. But meanwhile, while the tank of this huge machine I'm operating slowly fills up with water extracted from the lunar regolith, I have nothing better to do than tell you about the series of events that brought us here.
  6. You monster...
  7. totm

    ...with a pretty nice view from what I assume is your back door. Spot of fishing? Beautiful! You guys are starting to change my mind about only growing things that are edible...
  8. totm

    Wow, seven. I don't think I've ever seen that many deer before in one place. On my side, progress in the potato and onion bed is good. (I planted them one month ago today). Also, we have sweetcorn. "With a melon!?" Things aren't going so well in the greenhouse, however. So far, my tomato plants look a bit thin and weedy, considering I planted them indoors back in February... Courgette's are growing just fine, though.... (sigh).
  9. If we knew what we were doing, this wouldn't be called research, would it? From my experience, a crewed mission to Mars is perhaps the most interesting challenge you can undertake in KSP. There are so many different ways of going about it, and without knowing the technology, engines and parts available to you, I can't really give you any practical advice except: test, test, test. Your lander(s), in particular. Forget everything you know about Duna: that Mars atmosphere is slippery. Look at what other players have done and decide what type of mission seems fun for you. This is important, as it will be a huge task, and there will inevitably be some tedium involved. Youtube has many videos of players (winged, Chris P. Bacon, Sparker spring to mind) who have done this using conventional or proposed methods. I know you've been following some of the Camwise Logs, but as a reminder, this is where my slightly more unusual attempt began. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing what you come up with.
  10. What? Some dude went around tampering with every single zircon crystal in the Earth's crust? Before 7am in the morning? I'm still waiting.
  11. There is plenty, if we stick to the scientifically accepted definition of "evidence": radiocarbon dating, Uranium lead dating, redshift, cosmic background radiation, the lascaux caves, the pyramids... the list goes on. If we don't stick to the accepted version of "evidence" then your "annoying question" is just belief. Please provide an alternative explanation for any of the above. I'm waiting.
  12. Cogito ergo sum. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Then, let's talk.
  13. From Year 13 Day 204. Quissac, not Laroque.
  14. Don't know if you guys are old enough to remember this one, but this would be closer to my inspiration for Cam's state of mind right now. "Luck and I weren't on speaking terms..." ...sorry for the dreadful photoshop chainsaw job. Edit: by the way, this was back in the day when game studios had their own soundtracks written and didn't just resort to generic royalty free music (jab intended). Pour a drink, sit back and listen to this masterpiece. Ah.... the moodyness.
  15. Well, you have to admit that the past eight years or so have been pretty rough for him...
  16. YEAR 14, DAY 25. CAMWISE. My name is still Camwise, but for now, you will have to call me Kerski. The blistering midday sun shone down on Madang's secondary runway. The air shimmered and broiled above the dark tarmac. Parked majestically near the runway's threshold was the long sleek shape of an RLV spaceplane. With the sunlight reflecting off the pure white skin of its fuselage panels, it was probably visible from the summits of the nearby Bismarck range, miles away to the South. I squinted into the brilliant light and scratched my newly grown stubble. I still wasn't used to it. It was itchy at the most awkward moments. The junior engineer standing next to me mopped his brow with a filthy handkerchief and said, “Is yer team ready, Kerski?” I drew a deep breath. “Yeah, let's clear the area.” Mersy raised both arms above his head. A siren sounded and the technicians surrounding the spacecraft began to withdraw to the safety of a bunker situated at the top of a small rise, two hundred yards or so to the side of the runway. We would still have a great view of the test, but we would also be sheltered in case things didn't go quite as planned. Junior Engineer Mersy shouted at the Kerbals, struggling in the tropical heat, to hurry up. He clearly wanted to get the test over and get back to the comfort of his air-conditioned office as soon as possible. Whether the test was successful or not was none of his concern. The RLV would fly to orbit in a week's time, regardless of the outcome. We peered out towards the runway from the relative safety of the bunker's embrasure. “This 'ad better be good, Kerski,” he said, without meeting my gaze. As if you give a damn... I thought. Mersy's scepticism was understandable. The three previous test firings of the Orbital Utility Vehicle's abort system had all been more or less spectacular failures. The first time, the capsule had remained stuck firmly to its docking mount inside the RLV's cargo bay, the solid rocket abort engines firing uselessly at the adapter below it and almost melting through it to the fuel tank that it protected. Only the short burn-time of the abort engines avoided the test ending in a massive explosion of toxic hypergolic fuel that would have destroyed the test article, as well as severely damaging the spaceplane itself. During the two subsequent tests, the OUV had detached as it was designed to, but the thrust from the four small rocket motors had proved to be unbalanced. The small capsule had tumbled ungracefully, end over end, until it had ploughed into the runway just a few metres from the launch vehicle itself. Not good if the said launch vehicle was already a blazing inferno from which the capsule's occupants were trying to escape. On the third test, the OUV had caught the spaceplane's fuselage with a glancing blow as it flipped uncontrollably through the air, causing additional damage and delays. Principal Investigator Jedfal was getting impatient, obviously under pressure from higher up to get the engineering crew up to orbit on schedule. If things didn't work as planned this time, corners would be cut, and the launch escape system would be disabled. With the relative reliability of the RLV spaceplane, it had always been seen as something of a luxury anyway. A luxury, at least for the investigators and committee members who would never have to ride into orbit in the belly of a spaceplane themselves. That's where I came in. Against all odds, I had scrounged my way to Tanegashima, hitching rides on old oil-burning airships. I had earned my passage by pulling engineering duties in conditions of dubious safety offered by even more dubious employers. When I had arrived in the great Pacific city, I had made my way straight to the seediest suburban caves I could find. There, in exchange for some basic maintenance services, I had struck a deal with the mortician of a small clinic who happened to have what I needed: a new identity. Senior Technician Kerski had been a poor soul who had emigrated from Eastern Europe and worked for half of his life at the nuclear power station of a major coastal settlement. He had then gone back to school and had managed to fulfil his childhood dream of flying as a test-technician for RATO systems at the Tanegashima Aviation Company. The rockets he worked on had significantly improved the payload capacity of TAC's turboprop aircraft when they had to fly out of challenging hot-and-high airports, such as Xichang. Unfortunately for Kerski, his dream had come true all too literally one winter afternoon. A test article had fired accidentally during a walk-around inspection, precisely at the moment Kerski happened to be taking a closer look at the rocket's nozzle. Kerski had happened to be somewhat of a loner who had no relatives or close friends, so his crew-mates scraped what was left of him off the tarmac and took him to the clinic, from which he would then make his final lonely journey to the crematorium. Not that there was much left of him to burn... Except Kerski never got that far, and thanks to the shady dealings between the mortician and myself, he made a miraculous recovery and was discharged from the clinic just forty-eight hours later, with a clean bill of health. The rest had been easy. Madang Space Centre welcomed new recruits with open arms and Kerski was an ideal candidate for the asteroid mining programme. The fact that his identity papers were slightly charred and that the Kerski in the photograph looked a little different from the one who presented himself at the job interview was overlooked. Extensive experience with nuclear reactors: check. Proficiency with rocket propulsion systems (despite the odd mishap...): check. He was no youngster, so he only just clawed his way through the physical tests, but he made up for this by unexpectedly proving to be much more at ease than his peers during microgravity training on board the vomit comet. That is how I, Kerski not-Camwise, made it to the top of the list. I would be going back to space soon, and in this damned capsule with its abort system I'd been asked to try and fix. I'd attempted to recalculate the capsule's mass distribution and make sure the combined thrust from the four rockets was aligned with its centre of gravity. I'd checked and re-checked the firing mechanism to make sure that the thrusters were lighting simultaneously. Without a complete redesign of the system, there was nothing more that I could do. “Stand by to commence test on my mark...” I said nervously into the portable radio. “Copy, ST.” “Three...two...one....mark.” The spaceplane's cargo bay doors burst open and there was a loud detonation followed by an explosion of movement. The OUV leapt into view, accelerating straight upwards on four spears of fire pouring from the stubby nozzles that protruded from the bottom of the crew cabin. About two hundred metres up, the abort rockets cut off with a bang and the OUV reached the top of its ballistic arc a few moments later. The parachutes blossomed as planned and the capsule drifted to a gentle landing on the edge of the runway, well clear of the spaceplane. I suddenly realised that I could breathe once more. Mersy clapped me on the shoulder. “Well, that's settled. You 'ave yer abort system,” he said with a false cheer that meant he really didn't care, and turned to leave. I stared at the OUV thoughtfully, mulling over what I'd just seen. “The abort engines aren't powerful enough...” I said, thinking aloud. “Wha' were that, Kerski?” I realised that Mersy had heard me, and cleared my throat. “Their thrust is too low. A successful static test is one thing; pulling a capsule free from the cargo bay of a vessel that is breaking up at hypersonic speed is entirely another.” Mersy stared at me suspiciously. “Wha' der you ken 'bout hypersonic breakups?” More than you can possibly imagine... I nearly replied, but instead I held my tongue, dropped my gaze and resumed being Kerski. “'This ain' no time for a redesign, man. That capsule is goin' ter space in a week, wether yer on board or no,” Mersy called over his shoulder as he rushed back towards the space centre and the comfort of his office. I watched him go with relief. So far, no-one I'd met had recognised me for who I really was. A couple of weeks ago, I'd caught a fleeting glimpse of the familiar figure of Froemone disembarking from the hypersonic flight in from Tanegashima. Fortunately, our paths had not crossed during his inspection of the proceedings here in Madang. My cover was still intact. And Mersy was right anyway. Launch escape systems be damned, I just want to get back to space. I certainly don't belong on this planet any more. YEAR 14, DAY 32. CAMWISE. I had vowed never to leave Earth horizontally again, yet there I was, once again trapped inside the cavernous folds of a spaceplane cargo bay. The ascent was mercifully short. I closed my eyes and let the feelings wash over me once more. The sickening lurch of take-off and climb out. The steady, inexorable build up of thrust as the craft climbed through the Mach numbers. The brutal kick in the backside that pressed me into the capsule's acceleration couch as the massive dual-cycle engines switched over and the nose lifted again, straining to win its seemingly impossible fight against gravity and reach space. RLV had granted me the seven-point-eight kilometres per second necessary to achieve weightlessness. When the thrusting ended, a blissful smile on my lips, I loosened the buckle of my lap and shoulder straps, eager for the manoeuvring to be over and fully enjoy the feeling of microgravity once more. The cargo bay door slid open to reveal the pure, brilliant daylight of space, unaltered by the shroud of Earth's atmosphere. I drank it in – the first time in nearly five years. I am back. I am home. This time, the stay will be short and there is much work to be done before I return to Earth one last time. My pilot Jenbles and I are here to assemble the Company's new ship, the NES Prosperity. Once this is accomplished, the first teams of Kerbal engineers will be dispersed amongst the Near Earth Asteroids. I will be on one of those teams. Out there in deep space, I will work hard. Be discreet. Prove myself – as I always have – to be quietly competent. The Company will learn to count on me. Appreciate the efficient way in which I get things done without complaint. They will entrust me with running tests on their mining equipment, on their landers and their rockets. I will watch and learn the secrets of their new generation of nuclear reactors, and how to exploit them to their fullest potential. And once they trust me completely, they will then learn who Kerski really is, and I will remind them of what they took from me. My life, my family, and my love. Then I will make sure that the Chairman and the members of his Board never, ever forget the name Camwise again.
  17. totm

    I know. Maybe I should subscribe, but subscribing to one's own thread seems.... pretentious. But don't worry too much, a gardening thread on a spaceflight gamer's forum is like... dancing to architecture. I'm very sorry to hear that. Could be deer. My father (who lives in the countryside proper) had to set up an electric fence to protect his garden from the wild boar. Uhm... or maybe random spiteful neighbours....?
  18. totm

    Slow down guys... politics and uhm... illicit medicinal plants... are both hot topics here. If we drag in both this thread is doomed. Let's stick to potatoes and carrots, shall we.. The results will be interesting, but one of the things I couldn't help but notice is that the new system "requires minimal crew involvement to install the science, add water, and perform other maintenance activities". If I was a space gardener on a deep space mission I would actually look forward to getting my hands dirty, doncha think? It's one of the main reasons why I moved out of Toulouse city centre and into the suburbs, and eventually I hope to move out into the country proper. Ideally, I'd like a field of wheat at the bottom of my garden so that I can sit and listen to the sound of the wind running through it for hours on end. Hell, I'll plant one myself if I have to... Toulouse is just an hour away via EasyJet, or an afternoon on the train. Si tu passes dans le coin, appelle-moi...
  19. totm

    Yes, that's (a slightly younger) me. The good news is that you can use tomatoes and courgettes in so many different dishes: ratatouille, curries, bolognese, couscous, salads, soups... Never tried, but apparently you can even make jam out of zucchini. I've found that having a nice lawn and having domestic animals isn't really compatible...
  20. Exactly what I thought when I first saw it myself.
  21. totm

    Wotchit, son. This dad was shredding when you were still in junior school.
  22. The thrust figures will not be realistic in any case, simply because it is not practical to simulate the sort of thrust you would get from an electric drive in KSP due to time constraints. I know there is a mod that is supposed to make thrusting under time warp possible, but last I heard it had... issues. And, besides, I will be running several missions at once in many cases, which is not compatible with such a mod. For the record, its thrust is the same as the VASIMR engines from Near Future propulsion. I do try and emulate the limits of solar/nuclear electric propulsion, however: note that I use chemical transfer stages for my ion probes, and that all my crewed missions will depart from Lunar distant retrograde orbit, high in Earth's gravity well (to avoid a long, slow transfer through the Van Allen belts). OK, this I understand perfectly, will tweak ISP figures accordingly. The Electrodeless Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster is actually a thing, by the way. I didn't invent it. Developed by a company called MSNW, it supposed to be the bees' knees of plasma thrusters and was selected for a NextSTEP award by NASA in 2015 (along with Ad Astra and VASIMR). It can use all kinds of propellant, from the usual argon/xenon gas to CO2 and even water, and I assume it does what you proposed here... I chose it for its versatility in terms of propellant (ISRU will be mandatory), and because some nice person made a model for it in KSP....
  23. totm

    And I have (in no particular order) a full-time job, a second freelance job, a son, two teenage step-children, a rock band, an unhealthy interest in the physics and history of aviation and spaceflight, a time-consuming RSS mission report to write, and a wife who likes to see me (from time to time...). The trick is to sleep less. If it helps, here is a picture of my chickens silently judging you.
  24. Ya, for a start unlike its predecessor, it no longer has a couple of rockets strapped to the fuselage that would probably burn through the main fuel tanks... And the Mark IV parts are very distinctive, no offense intended to Nertea's great mod. I read through the game description and it sounds remarkably similar to what I'm trying to do here (get large quantities of water to Earth orbit, although not for industrial purposes, yet...) By the way, what do you think of the specs for my ELF thruster? Does it deserve the "hard sci-fi" stamp of approval?
  25. None of the stock or modded dual cycle engines I know of come anywhere near being able to SSTO in RSS. I use my own custom .cfg file that is as close to the REL SABRE as possible (taking into account there are many unknowns, notably its mass...). You can find these figures online. I can send you the .cfg if you want, but my gamedata file is such a mess of hacks and re-modded stuff that I can't guarantee it will work for you. Just drop a PM if you're brave enough to try it. The model for the engine is from Nertea's MkIV system mod, re-modded to be a 3,75m part.