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About blakemw

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  1. There's a couple of reasons that can happen. First there's only a couple of probe cores which fit, the OKTO2, and I believe the QBE, others will still have some skin poking out into the airstream, which is bad. Secondly, it's important to not directly attach the probe core to the heat shield because enough heat can conduct through to destroy the probe core with their puny 1200/1200 tolerances. Instead high-tolerance parts (i.e. reaction wheel, radial battery or cubic octagonal strut) should be used as a buffer.
  2. While this is true, it changes nothing about the Mun, because you gain much more benefit by doing the burn in LKO than while passing the Mun, because Kerbin's gravity is much stronger. It's actually often similar with Jool, if you come in hot and the moons can't capture you outright, you'll probably get more out of a burn close to Jool than close to Tylo/Laythe. About the only case where a "powered assist" might be useful, is when you're doing an Eve assist, not only does Eve have stronger gravity than Kerbin but it's also deeper in Kerbol's gravity well so you can get oberth effect from both from Eve and Kerbol. In principle it ought to be pretty useful if you want to do an extra-fast transfer (probably in outer planets mod). Incidentally I also don't bother much with gravity assists, I usually play with a life support mod (usually Kerbalism) and like to do expedited transfers (actually Kerbalism also adds part malfunction, so even for an uncrewed probe there is benefit in getting places faster). Also IRL gravity assists are mainly only used due to tiny budgets, not really a problem in KSP.
  3. That's why I qualified with "assist in capture". Mun is pretty useful in general within the Kerbin system, like to help lower heavy payloads from Minmus without having to bother with aerobraking, and when doing Kerbol "peekaboo" as Kerbal training it's handy when falling back down from the SOI edge.
  4. You can't meaningfully use the Mun to assist in capture, the reason is that when you cross the Mun's orbit like that, what you're essentially getting is a radial/anti-radial burn, which is not useful for slowing down. The problem is that when you're coming in at hyperbolic speeds, you can't both encounter Mun at a point where you'll get maximum benefit from a gravity assist, and have a low periapsis around Kerbin for maximum oberth effect. That is, if you aim for a low periapsis around Kerbin to maximize oberth effect, you'll cross Mun's orbit at 90 degrees and can't get a meaningful gravity assist. When dealing with interplanetary velocities, the oberth effect at Kerbin is much more valuable than any gravity assist the Mun can provide. As for why it depends on velocity: Gravity is an acceleration, change in velocity over time, the more time spent near a body, the more time gravity has to bend the trajectory. When a ship is racing in like a bat out of hell it only spends a very short time near Mun and so Mun's gravity can only bend the trajectory a very small amount. Conversely, when approaching Mun at low velocities the Mun's gravity has a long time to accelerate the ship and can apply several hundred m/s of velocity. So a body either needs to have powerful gravity, or you need to approach it slowly, to get a meaningful gravity assist. The only two moons which can apply meaningful gravity assists for interplanetary transfers are Tylo and Laythe.
  5. Is there going to be changes to emissions from nuclear devices? It'd be neat if they take inverse square law into account, like taking the weighted average of the distance between the emitter and each crewed component and calculating how much distance should reduce the irradiation. Like if you make an interplanetary ark and have 50m of fuel tanks between the nuclear engines and the crew the exposure would be quite minimal compared with bolting an LV-N under a lander can. An actual calculation of shielding would be even cooler, but just inverse square law would probably suffice and could be a static analysis and not need to take into account things like the amount of fuel in tanks changing.
  6. Fun fact though, is that if you merely "flyby" the sun (that is, leave Kerbin's SOI on a trajectory which enters another SOI, either back to Kerbin after ~1 year or another planet) you get awarded the flyby but not the orbit. I used to believe that any escape from Kerbin's SOI would award the Sun Orbit, but nope, it has to display a proper, non-broken orbit.
  7. The small heat shield is the first available 0.625m decoupler, it's also the cheapest one, though not the lightest (but if you remove the ablator it is pretty light) An OKTO2 probe core does fit behind the 0.625m heat shield, so does the 0.625m battery and reaction wheel, so it is just barely possible to make micro-landers for dumping into atmospheres at high speeds (i.e. hyperbolic), actually getting the micro-lander to do anything useful is a bit of a design challenge.
  8. A third SpaceY. In addition when playing RSS it's absolutely vital to use either SMURFF or RealFuels w/ stock configs. The stock engines are very underpowered compared with real engines, this works fine in the kerbalverse, but when playing in RSS the underpowered engines make it extremely hard to put substantial payloads in orbit.
  9. Man, what a hog. Actually I've encountered a similiar thing with "recover kerbal and his wreck" contracts, the food and water adds several tonnes to the vessel to be recovered, which sucks when the contract informed you you'd be recovering a 1t pod.
  10. He's probably progressively cheated more over time. Like you start by cheating a little, and when no-one notices you get emboldened and cheat a bit more and so on, seeing how far you can take it. There's no questioning the guy's skill. It's like an athlete who takes steroids to break new records, you couldn't take your everyday joe and pump him up with steroids and have him break world records, you still have to be supremely skilled and dedicated, but it cheapens the accomplishments and does a disservice to those who play by the rules.
  11. Well that's funny, you just said exactly what I said in my last paragraph ;). Reverse thrust is convenient to have. Though I normally don't bother on vessels less than 20t.
  12. You might try to master the art of docking without RCS. It's quite easy as long as the docking port is aligned with the engines, especially if the docking port is at the nose. All you need is a good reaction wheel so the vessel is reasonably nimble. Docking without RCS involves getting close to the target vessel, killing relative velocity, getting the docking ports to aim at each other ("control from here", and setting the other docking port as target is very useful here, as is "target lock" on an advanced probe core), and then flying forward so the vessels dock. I find it's usually quicker than docking with RCS. Eliminating the RCS has two benefits: First it eliminates unbalanced RCS. When you try to do translation with RCS it's easy for the thrusters to jitter the vessel around, sending it slightly off-course. It can be worked around in variuos ways, but it's a pain. Pure reaction wheel rotation is perfectly clean without side effects and you can rotate the ship and direct thrust to "pull" the prograde marker over the target marker (the trick is that a burn will always pull the prograde marker towards the reticule, hence this technique is sometimes called "prograde pulling"). The second benefit is it saves a lot of mass: the mass of monoprop and all the RCS thrusters to achieve balanced thrust adds up, it's not a big deal for low orbit, but when you're sending stuff a long way, like to Moho, you don't really want to bring any unnecessary mass. A final thing to note in relation to this is that RCS thrusters are generally grossly overpowered for small vessels, there is a similar problem with aircraft control surfaces, the AV-R8 winglet is perfectly sized for a "Twin-Boar" rocket and there's nothing small enough to be actually suitable for smaller rockets. While you can dial down the authority limiter/thruster power this doesn't stop them being excessively heavy/costly for the small vessel. The flipside is small vessels are incredibly nimble with reaction wheels alone, making it a great solution for small vessels. When I do use RCS it's usually only for forward/reverse thrust. Even when doing "aim, fly forward, and dock" docking it's pretty useful to have reverse thrust, not essential, but useful. When I do this I limit the actuation toggles to fore/aft so that the reaction wheels take sole responsibility for roll/yaw/pitch.
  13. Are you aware of NASA's trajectory planner? It has some limitations when applied to KSP and in particular you cannot get trajectories for any arbitrary time (and they probably wouldn't be accurate anyway due to drift), but is awesome to get a general idea of the requirements for a Mars/Venus flyby.
  14. Best nose cone is fairing, as a bonus you can put a few small parts inside. Good idea to disable staging on a nose cone fairing to avoid accidentally popping it.
  15. No mods. Just IVA (viewing cupola) with a targeting guide (I used the hollow structural piece). I took those screenshots in LKO, but it worked just as well from the ground, day or night didn't seem to matter. The main thing is game resolution matters, the higher you crank up your resolution the more pixels a planet will occupy. You can also set the value "SCREENSHOT_SUPERSIZE" in settings.cfg to 2 or more to increase the resolution used for screenshots.