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About Aetharan

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  1. Real time still means under two hours for a complete flight, and most of my test-flights end around 5-8 minutes in when I hit equilibrium and have the design's cruise altitude / velocity.
  2. If I understood what was happening, I would share that understanding. Edit: I will note that I get much better numbers on attempts during which I refuse to employ physics warp. Not sure why, but it's a data point. I've had one attempt which claimed to be in the air for over an hour at 660+ m/s, above 13.5 km, but had only covered 2.5 Mm by the half-fuel point in the flight. It made zero sense whatsoever. My current attempt, even without warping, has flown just a few hundred meters higher than my seventh entry, 1 m/s faster, but also only covered 2,538,062m ground distance by the half-fuel mark. The only reason it's still flying is that it has 9 minutes more fuel remaining than said entry at the same fuel level. Edit 2: Another flubbed water landing, but that doesn't really matter. This plane flew, on average, about 200m higher than my best entry so far. Roughly the same cruise speed. Maintained powered flight for 7:15 longer, running out of fuel at 54º 42' 17" W, having covered almost 12º more around a higher great circle than said entry. At the moment it ran out of fuel, it reported 6,413,795m ground distance covered. Over a Mm shy of that attempt. I flew higher, slightly faster, and longer. I went farther around the planet. Still I did worse. I officially give up-- none of this makes sense.
  3. The requirement to have a pressurized command pod just makes it more of a challenge. It's certainly fun trying to beat my own score, at the very least. I'm still fighting to break 9,000.
  4. Well, the best that I can say (given that I've been focusing on experimentation more than math) is that the fairing-based nosecone has been a core element in what success I've managed. Similarly, the degree to which the nosecone and wings are tilted against your direction of travel during cruise makes a difference. My most successful flights have kept the core of the plane straight, cruised at 0º pitch, and had the wings between 2.5º and 4º depending on the total wing-load. I've been fighting for the last week with wing configurations in an attempt to increase my cruising speed without sacrificing too much altitude to keep a Panther burning under 0.02 fuel/sec, with my biggest struggle being that most attempts start suffering momentary flame-outs every few seconds once I get under 70% fuel remaining. Edit: My experimentation has shown that a cruise speed of 650+ (preferably 660+) and a cruise altitude of 13,500+ both seriously improve efficiency with a Panther.
  5. Don't think of it as dying in an attempt to conserve fuel. Think of it as dying in an attempt to get the absolute most out of a specific engine.
  6. Well, my first SSTO to actually, y'know, orbit has achieved an AP of 83,554,619m and returned in one piece! And a suggestion for scoring wildly disparate entries: Do three brackets. 1) No orbit? Ground distance covered. 2) Kerbin orbit? Highest AP. 3) Kerbol orbit? Highest AP + PE.
  7. Well, I've made another pass at it, and this time successfully circumnavigated! I also figured out what was confusing me: A difference of even a few hundred meters in cruising altitude is going to make the great circle you need to fly that much longer-- simple math, after all. The bigger the radius, the bigger the circumference. Highest altitude achieved: 15,107m. (Highest in stable flight: 14,695m). Ground Distance Covered: 7,787,611m. Score: 7,934.561 (using stable flight number.) This success does leave me thinking that it might not be so impossible to achieve a scouter-crushing score. (I also wouldn't be even half-surprised if @Nefrums beat me to it.)
  8. What has me confused isn't the apparent lack of difference between my flights. It's the fact that the others are passing over KSC and reporting similar total distances traveled to my own, when I'm not even making a full circumnavigation.
  9. Okay, so I tried both retrograde and prograde flights. The prograde flew a few m/s slower, a few hundred meters higher, and (subsequently) more efficiently (cruising with a burn rate of 0.01224 liquid fuel per second), but didn't show a significant difference in the apparent ground distance covered vs. degrees around the great circle I traveled, so I don't know what's going on with that. Since I flubbed the second flight's water landing, the first (and less awesome) will have to suffice for this plane's report. Highest Altitude: 15,253m. Ground Distance Covered: 6,604,773m. Score: 6,757.303.
  10. Something's a bit odd with the readouts, given that I'm showing similar numbers for half a circumnavigation retrograde to what you guys are for more than a full one prograde. I might need to see what the readout looks like for a flight east with the same plane after I finish my current west flight. Edit: As of this edit (9:30 AM CST), my current iteration has covered 2,507,029m ground distance retrograde, is at 168º 50' 30" E, and has 50 units of fuel left with MechJeb reporting another 1h 00m 33.1s burn time. After this one's landed, I'll run prograde with the same plane and see how different things are.
  11. Ouch. I was just uploading pics when I saw that you'd posted. I've improved, but not quite by enough: Max altitude: 13,899m. Ground Distance Covered: 5,110,835m. Score: 5,249.825.
  12. If I can do it, then anybody can. Give it a shot! The worst that could happen is a few explosions.
  13. Back in the fight for lightest to orbit, I at least tweaked around positioning and messed with the launcher and fuel-loading after admitting that the basic design of the upper stage was impossible for my own to beat. xD
  14. @Nefrums this is going to be another challenge where I get to learn from you by piloting copies of and iterations on one of your designs after pushing my own to their limits, isn't it?