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About Concentric

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    Sr. Spacecraft Engineer
  1. Built a safe twelve-man return vehicle, to take 11 tourists to orbit and rescue a kerbal, bringing them all home safely. You know, after my struggles with getting my previous deathtrap down safely carrying only a third as many. By sticking heatshields on the bottom, and keeping the probe core in a bay, everything becomes safe for re-entry. Parachute placement has also been selected for safety, and they automatically deploy based on pressure (I activated them while in orbit). There was plenty of excess fuel. In fact, I could probably have replaced the central tank of the return vehicle with a structural fuselage and still completed the mission. I just spent a little towards the end to help decelerate for an extra safety margin.
  2. Haven't had much time over the last two weeks, but I did manage to launch that ten-mission rocket. Three satellite contracts (Kerbin at about Mun level, somewhat eccentric Mun, and tundra Minmus), two LKO rescue contracts, two parts tests, Explore Minmus, LKO tourism contract with two tourists, and finally a science from space around Kerbin. Let's get to it. Drop tanks on the SRBs run dry just before the SRBs themselves. The Reliants' tanks feed into the central core with its Swivel, and everything works out, with a little tweaking of throttle and thrust limiters. This still has a bit of fuel left in the core after circularising. I quicksaved here, and after one particular disaster, ended up having to do almost everything that follows twice. The ant was an experimental part, as was the 0.625m decoupler. The probe portion went off to Mun first, as one of the parts tests was in Mun orbit. Meanwhile, the tourists began to set up a rendezvous with the first of our rescuees. The first rescuee encounter was before the probe reached Mun, and the second was after the probe escaped Mun, having finished its jobs there. Next was the tough part, the one that had caused the disaster: re-entry. This thing isn't safe, really. It's not well-suited to re-entry at all. The first time, both the crew capsules containing rescuees exploded from the heat, which also happened to take the parachutes away from the poor, doomed tourists. The second time around, I made a quicksave before attempting the descent, and still ran into a couple of failures. Finally, I lowered periapse to about 60km, then periodically burned radially to lower my apoapse and keep the descent from being too steep. Once things were really heating up, I started burning retrograde. Even this and some wild flailing to try and spread the heat out didn't save the probe core and its attached 'chute. Fortunately, the remaining parachutes (and a little thrust to soften it) were about enough for a safe landing. Everybody lives! Despite the best efforts of the designer of this deathtrap. (Or rather, my own negligence wrt designing a safe re-entry vehicle.) This landing completed four of the ten missions, the other six are for the probe. I didn't get footage of the actual mission completion parts of the probe's mission. However, it got orbit at Mun, matched inclination with the target orbit, then tested the decoupler. Once the decoupler had been tested, I ran into a small issue: my only control node was pointing the wrong way, and it had taken until the decoupler was loosed for the game to realise this. However, I worked around this and matched the required orbit, then escaped Mun in such a way that I would then be escaping Kerbin, too. Once in Kerbin's SoI on an escape trajectory, I tested the Ant, switched to perform the second rendezvous with the rescue mission, then matched inclinations with Minmus, and put my apoapse at Minmus orbit. This was a little awkward with a backward control node... Anyway, I am now waiting to reach the apoapse, where I'll raise my periapse enough to encounter Minmus on the next pass. In the mean time, this pair of tourists wanted to join the 44-mile-high club with an orbital journey, so I built a little something for them. They had a slightly under-soft landing, but everything but the engine survived, so it's fine.
  3. A six simultaneous contract launch. First, a landed test of the fairing. I attached a pair of fairings to the launch stabilisers for this, but also used one in the main part of the rocket. Also, two orbital tourism contracts for a total of four tourists. When the Thumpers ran out, and the swivel was still burning, I dropped them and fired a pair of Hammers, which brought the thrust up so that acceleration would continue. The Fleas are there mostly for structural purposes, holding on the crew cabins, but they also help start the circularisation and raising the apoapse while in atmosphere. They fire once the Swivel drops. And here's what's in the fairing: a probe. The materials bay is for a satellite contract, the thermometer and antenna for the Exploration contract, and I have a Test TT-70 landed on Mun contract too. Didn't particularly want that hanging out in the wind on the way up. This probe-piloted return vehicle had about 45 liquid fuel left over after deorbit, but on my test launch there was only 10 left before deorbit, so I left the tanks as they were. By test launch, I mean I forgot to put the tourists in and only realised once in orbit, so I reverted. The probe has buckets and buckets of delta-v. Over 3km/s. So, even though the target orbit for the satellite contract is oddly inclined and retrograde, there's still plenty of fuel. I actually also transmitted the data from the materials bay, too. The money has allowed me to upgrade my R&D centre for the first time this career, and also Mission Control to the unlimited mission capacity. I've taken on ten missions, and I think I can actually complete all of them in another single launch.
  4. More suborbital tourism with retrorockets, parts tests and hauling, and reached orbit. Cut things down a little to take four tourists up, and also test the Swivel. After, I cheapened it up with a Flea instead, and strapped on a heatshield for a splashdown test. I also sent up my SolidSixSuborbital rocket, once with a decoupler in for a splashdown test, along with thermometers to take readings in space and the upper atmosphere (though that wasn't a contract). Bob got out to do some EVA reports, and took the readings in, ready to take new readings in and over the water. There was an additional modification - an Okto probe core. So, I sent it up again, this time with all seven seats filled with tourists, and a heatshield for yet another splashdown test. No footage for those. I didn't take a picture of the launch, but I made a rather simple rocket to get the orbit contract, and decoupled the capsule when the periapse was at 20km. The drag was enough to slow it down to a safe deployment height for the parachute, and possibly also for the haul contract for the parachute. I'd gotten that out of the way on the way up, though. It would have been simple enough to fly the JunoBug up to get it, of course.
  5. JunoBug flights, surveys, and something solidly silly. [img][/img] [img][/img] I fit a thermometer to the JunoBug, and had Valentina taxi it around to complete a thermal survey contract that was pretty much right at KSC. Then, she took off, to get three survey reports in flight over the mountains. You can see her flying back, here. On the launchpad is the silly thing... but that aside, I also performed a couple of simple parts tests and haul contracts. One was actually a Juno haul contract, which was really simple. Some were taken care of by the other mission, and a couple were just one-off little things that I didn't take any pictures of. [img][/img] Here it is taking off. This actually happened before the JunoBug mission, but I launched another one after. I had a few tourist contracts for suborbital hops, a haul contract to take a Hammer to 60km with a reasonably low speed, and two landed parts tests - specifically the small heatshield and the Thumper. This rocket has empty tanks, apart from the solid rockets, and can fit all six tourists and a pilot. [img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img] As it approaches Kerbin at high speed, due to its sharp descent, it needed a little something to slow it down - another Hammer. At about 12km, I fire the retrorocket and descend on a pillar of flame, then the four radial parachutes take over the landing. [img][/img] [img][/img] And here's the end of the second flight, with another six tourists and one pilot, and another heart-stopping braking procedure. Works though. Under 15k funds for a six-tourist suborbital is pretty profitable, really. And it's got no expensive LFO engines. All solids. Anyway, using the money earned from this and other contracts, I've now upgraded my astronaut complex, runway, and tracking station for the first time this career. Of course, in order to launch this and to have all those contracts at once, I had to upgrade my launchpad and mission control once each, too.
  6. Escaped the atmosphere, did some experiments and a suborbital test contract, then returned home safely. Also, designed a little jet plane for low-altitude observational survey contracts. [img][/img] Here's the suborbital craft taking off. All solid rockets, with the central one at 20% thrust, and the other three at 40%, held on by radial decouplers. The fins are there for a reason... [img][/img] [img][/img] Specifically, it's so that the return vehicle can have these tilted fins to help reduce speed on the way down, so that the parachutes don't just rip themselves off. I ended up landing this on a mountainside, but the launch without these drag-increasing measures would have collided with the sea at over 400m/s, if I hadn't reverted first. The suborbital test was the stack decoupler, at 80 to 90km above sea level. [img][/img] This is the JunoBug, my solution to low-altitude, mid-to-short range observational survey contracts. I haven't tested its maximum range or performance ceiling just yet, but it's a rather inexpensive plane, and it can come back to the runway easily enough. [img][/img] [img][/img] It completed a survey contract, then flew back and performed a parachute test for a contract. I even managed to guide the descent to the runway, and soften it to a gentle landing. I'll have to see if it can land horizontally, too, but the parachute will be a fine alternative if it can't.
  7. Backed up a 1.0.4 version, updated to 1.0.5, started a fresh career and got a few basic contracts done. [img][/img] [img][/img] Went for the new Juno engine before getting a proper LFO rocket engine, to try and get some focused survey work done. As you can see, this particular plane needed an emergency parachute that it didn't have. As the unupgraded runway is so horribly bumpy, I taxied around to the flatter grasslands and took off from there, before flying to the destination to take a crew report. I also did some solid-fuel ballistics to get some surveys, and managed to combine a high-altitude survey with a Wheelsey test contract. [img][/img] Speaking of test contracts, I took a few of the new haulage contracts, too. The above ship had an experimental parachute to be hauled, and used it to land in the ocean, where it tested the Juno in the splashdown situation.
  8. Mostly station management. First, I flew the empty SixPlane home, with only minimal fuel and monopropellant remaining. Also, I docked the panels probe to the Labtug. Then, I got the rendevous of Triangle with the rescuee... but ran out of fuel matching speeds. Got close enough and slow enough that he could EVA over, though. Even firing RCS couldn't deorbit... so I needed to get some fuel there. The lab needed scientists, too, so I docked a tank/pod module to my little interstation ship to take two scientists from Stopover to the lab. I put 53 data into the lab, then put one of the readings (worth two science points, as it's been taken already) into the interstation ship. This then went to the Triangle and the rescuee, allowing him to take the data back home, and take more than enough fuel to deorbit and return.
  9. I haven't actually seen the Target CoM thing before. Would I have to release the lab, and then attempt to attach again without blocking the possibility of using my Thuds to pull the lab? The tug is out of monopropellant, too, so fine maneuvers will be difficult (but might still be doable). Also, I've never actually caught an actual asteroid, and this is the first time I've caught something with the intent of moving it, rather than draining it (i.e. getting the last dregs of fuel from some debris).
  10. Used a spaceplane for a "station" contract, caught a wild orbital laboratory, and bashed together a replacement for some lost solar panels. First up, I put an antenna in the cargo bay of SixPlane, which is actually not for cargo. It's just where the probe core, batteries, docking port, monopropellant, and solar panels are kept, along with a bit of fuel. This made it valid to fulfill a space station contract I had: it holds five people, has power generation and storage, and has an antenna. So, I put it up into orbit and docked it with Stopover, taking up two scientists and three tourists. I put a bunch of excess fuel into the station, but this isn't a big fuel tanker plane. My lab tug finally used up the last dregs of fuel in its lifter during the rendezvous with the lab itself. This lab was left by a rescuee, and means I don't have to send one up yet. Unfortunately, the lab isn't quite on the centre line, so the centre of mass is a bit off. Also, I somehow broke the solar panels on the way to the lab, or possibly while attempting to grab it (I didn't put them away). So, I've come up with a solution, which should be good for both issues: Send up a probe to dock on one side as a small counterweight, and also provide some solar power. I just slapped it onto the nose of a Triangle that I was sending up for a rescue mission, it'll be fine. I did get it to orbit, just about, but I used up all the oxidiser in the plane, and a bit of the oxidiser in the probe. I redistributed the fuel and oxidiser a bit, and now the probe has about a fifth of its tank, and the plane has the rest. There should be enough there for the rendezvous and return or the plane, if I'm frugal. A fifth of a tank is probably a bit more than necessary for the probe, though. Hopefully, those little flaps from the solar panel box won't make docking this awkward. Maybe I'll retract them for the docking...
  11. To avoid radial boosters colliding with the bottom of the central stack... Drop the bottom of the central stack first! But seriously, I haven't really needed any separatrons to remove boosters for a while, and I doubt I will in the near future.
  12. Adjusted the lifter of my LabTug so that it could handle a 20t payload, tested it, and used it. Also, the amazing exploding drone put up a strange, imbalanced satellite, then exploded on its way down (didn't bother reverting, and it's not like it had been tested at all). Finally, SixPlane docked and flew home. The test payload actually ended up being 19.99t, not 20t, but I'm certain that a 20t payload is within the capabilities of my lifter. As you can see, there was even left over fuel... but not very much. The changes amounted to swapping the tail connectors for advanced nose cones, changing the fins for the lighter Delta Deluxes, and moving the drop tanks so they're all on the boosters (so only one set of radial decouplers is needed). So, I added a small fuel tank to the LabTug, and a bay with some science instruments, which I think brought it up to 19.96t, or something like that. The tug is draggier than the test payload, though... Still worked. Cut it a little finer than I might have liked, but I'm happy with it. Now I have to grab the lab with it. This drone didn't really have a name, it was just something I threw together. Half the oxidiser from one of those converters has been removed, so there's some dedicated jet fuel. Inside it is a little probe, intended to hit two satellite contracts - one keosynchronous, and one at 22Mm, and the latter is retrograde and requires a goo container. To minimise imbalance and assist in getting out of the bay, I stuck a landing gear on the other end, keyed to the RCS action group (as it wasn't otherwise being used), and attached a battery and antenna to it. I'm now waiting to maneuver to get it to the higher orbit, which is going to be a total orbital reversal once I get the apoapse to the right altitude. I've already completed the lower one. The drone itself suffered a... minor heating issue. The higher of the above two images is of one of the batteries in the cargo bay exploding, not long after the probe core itself exploded. The drone wafted around a bit, but in the end didn't slow down enough that its collision with the mountain would be survivable by the majority of its components. SixPlane is the spaceplane seen above that I mentioned yesterday. It ended up with more fuel than it needed, but it served its purpose of flying up five tourists and Mirgrid to Stopover, then flying home safely. I have an img42 collection of the flight's screenshots here.
  13. Built and tested a new lifter, to put up the claw-tug I hope to use to bring the Lab a rescuee left in LKO to a more convenient location (or possibly take the Mun Retrograde one to Minmus), and provide the crew capsules for science transfer. Then, I decided to bring Mirgrid home from Stopover in the Triangle Prototype, along with her Minmus science, so I could unlock the parts to build a new spaceplane, with a proper crew cabin. Of course, this means that I need to go get more science data in order to stock up the labs... ah well. Here's the lifter and the tug on the launchpad. Took a bit of fiddling to make sure the droptanks drained in the right order, but they didn't need to be tied to each other. The tug is 19.3t, and with the lifter it comes up to 139.9t, just under the weight limit of my launchpad (I have plenty of money to upgrade it, I just haven't seen the need yet). The Kickbacks are at full thrust, and at launch the whole thing has a TWR of just over 1.2. The droptanks that are not on the boosters drain completely before the ones that are on the boosters even begin to be tapped, and the solid fuel runs out just after the droptanks on the boosters run dry, which is all very neat. There's a slight drop in speed at that point, as TWR is then at the lowest point in the whole launch (dropping below 1 for the first time), but momentum and the beginnings of the gravity turn - along with continued fuel burning - mean that soon the rocket is accelerating again. I tried to keep the apoapse about a minute away until it reached 72km, and then roughly held it there, coasted and circularised. And as you can see, there's still a little leftover fuel in the lifter once at a circular orbit. You may also see the problem with the tug that was the primary reason I reverted this and decided to try and test my ability to time a launch to catch up with an orbiting body without much maneuvering by relaunching this at some point in the future - the solar panels obstruct the thrust of the Thuds that will be pulling the Lab. So, I've taken the probe core, batteries, and solar panels out of the service bay, swapped the batteries and solar panels, rotated the bay, and put the probe core back in (to keep its alignment), and then put the rest of the ship back. Effectively, I've just exchanged the positions of the doors and solar panels with the walls and batteries in the bay. Mirgrid's flight home was largely fine. I wasted a touch of fuel for a course correction that I could have just adjusted my gliding to perform, and ended up rolling off the runway when stopping. I think I need to dive earlier. She got back with enough science to bring me to 293, and I unlocked the parts to make a crew carrier spaceplane (specifically the Mk2 Crew Cabin's node). I've already tested its ascent into orbit, I just have to dock it, let off passengers and fly it home. Once that journey is complete, I'll talk about it in more detail.
  14. Did a few maneuvers, some station stuff and some flyback today. SixFerry arrived at Stopover Station. The four tourists were transferred to the now-obsolete two-man minishuttles, and our actual employee took the science from the lander can and transferred it to the Triangle prototype that had come up when I was first developing that spaceplane. I also shuffled fuel around, draining excess from the minishuttles and refilling SixFerry's tanks from the stations main reserve. The tourists already aboard moved into SixFerry, along with Bill. I might see if I get two more Minmus tourists in a contract that comes up soon, so I can send SixFerry off full, instead of with only four passengers. Anyway, I began to fly back the minishuttles. Two rather simple glides later, and the four tourists were home. The reason that the minishuttles are now obsolete is of course the fact that I now have a reliable spaceplane to get to and from Stopover - so I don't need to keep other ways of getting down around. The shuttles were a good solution for the tech level, but their use is now too expensive to justify (compared to a spaceplane flight), and their part count means it's better for my system to get them off the station rather than those simpler drop-pods that are still attached. In the meantime, I also took on an orbital rescue contract. I sent up the Triangle to rendezvous, and it just so happened that the capsule in which the engineer was stranded was in fact a Mobile Lab. Now that I have Actuators (and thus the Claw), that saves me the trouble of putting one up. There's also one over in a retrograde orbit about the Mun, so in a future mission, I can drag that to a suitable location. Perhaps to Minmus, and there make it the core of a station. As for the rescuee, their landing was fine, if a little close to the end of the runway. I didn't have wheels on the ground until I was less than a kilometer from the end, so that would be why. Finally, I made an adjustment to the course of a satellite probe that is heading off to fulfill a contract in Minmus orbit, and perhaps afterwards some temperature measuring at Minmus. Additionally, I noticed one of my new contracts is an interplanetary tourism contract. But, I'd rather finish a thing or two in the local system (at least set up an orbital lab to process data) before I go to Duna and Ike... but I suppose I already have plenty of funds, so I can just accept it and make it a reasonably long-term goal.
  15. Brought back last time's cargo spaceplane and documented it for the K-Prize. Also, some aerobraking, maneuvering, and re-used an old satellite. I had a set of Mun temperature measurements to do for a contract, but my lander's legs are broken. I could probably still do it with that, but I'd rather train up an engineer and go fix them, which is why Bill is waiting at Stopover for SixFerry to get back and take him to Minmus. So, I cast around for anything that had a thermometer and enough delta-v to land there. There was a really old satellite I put up in orbit on one of my early Mun missions, carrying a thermometer, a Terrier engine (it did double duty as a transfer stage) and some left over fuel, so I gave it a shot. Managed to get both of the Flight Below readings in a single orbit, then needed only a slight adjustment to land on the next one. Landing in the dark, with no lights, no landing legs, and no Ground Altitude gauge can be kind of nervewracking. This mission had a science payment that got me to 160 science, so I can get the actuators node next time I play. Haven't ever really used the claw (maybe once in 0.23.5?), so that'll be interesting. SixFerry had two aerobraking passes, and the lander cans started to glow a bit. It is now in a low orbit, waiting for a maneuver to encounter Stopover. Finally, just for kicks, I took a tourism contract for two individuals to go to orbit, and just offhand built a spaceplane for them. The probe core is clipped inside. Look at all that heating. You'd almost think something would explode. Anyway, I landed it back home safely, with nothing actually exploding. Needed some swooping to bleed off speed, but it worked. Perhaps radiators and solar panels would be a good addition to this one, if I don't just make something completely different for future flights.