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About SlowThought

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    Rocketry Engineer

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  1. I don't like the tone, but I haven't found serious problems with the math. I think a high level energy approach, as I described above, gives you the easiest "back of the envelope" estimate. May do a political rant elsewhere on why the FAA is spending my dollars writing this stuff.
  2. I'm unclear about your goal... do you want a "simple spreadsheet model" for KSP, or for reality? In either case, I have serious problems with your FAA doc's "Similar to a rock skipping off a pond, a vehicle that doesn’t slow down enough may literally bounce off the atmosphere and back into the cold reaches of space" line, straight out of NASA/Hollywood PR hype. You don't bounce off; you simply fail to shed enough kinetic energy. Given metals' thermal conductivity, I think you could make a reasonable guess by considering work done (average drag [lots of work to be done here] x distance in atmosphere [most significant input, periapsis]) = Q into the metal = some coefficient times delta T. If T > melting point, game over. That your metal lumps don't survive is probably why NASA doesn't use bare metal for reentry shields
  3. Fairly early in the game, totally stock, the Fearless Four are all occupied establishing orbital infrastructure for deeper space adventures. As a result total Knewbies (read, no stars, no XPs, virtually no stability augmentation) are left with the task of building Mindown Base. Kerda (pilot), and Haiigh (engineer) hold on tight as Mindown I launches. Haiigh: Kerda, did you notice any similarity between Mindown and the Eagles from Space: 1999? Kerda: What? No, what are you talking about? Besides, did the Eagles need giant boosters? Haiigh: [sigh] You're right, that was fiction, of course. [KABOOM] What was that? Kerda: The giant boosters must have overheated! Eagle's wings, don't fail me now! Kerda: Ok, that didn't work. Whew! Those simulations are INTENSE! Thank Kraken for reversion! Lets try this again, with way more radiators! Haiigh: And moar boosters, please MOAR BOOSTERS! Kerda: Cool, nothing exploded, nothing even overheated! Ok, beginning Minmus approach, jettison extravagant radiators! Haiigh: I still think it looks a lot like Space: 1999. Kerda: Those nerds in engineering have no appreciation of good Sci F.... I mean, what are you talking about? Haiigh: Nothing, NOTHING! Watch out for the boulders! Kerda: Calm yourself! There's always F9. You did hit F5? Haiigh: F5? F9? WTF are you TALKING about? Kerda: Never mind, we're down. Deploy the rest of the solar panels. Haiigh: Phew! Nice job, Kerda! Kerda: Remember, this is only half the job. Haiigh: Whaaaa Kerda: The contract specifies space for 10 kerbals, we have space for 5; the contract requires 4000 units of fuel, we only have about 2500. If Carson doesn't succeed, our paychecks don't clear. Haiigh: Nooooo! Carson (Pilot): Mindown I, this is Mindown II. Hello, ladies! Kerda: Krap: Not this guy. Naisa (Scientist): Hi, gals, so good to be working with you. See you soon. Haiigh: Krap. Not this gal. Kerda: I'm with you, sister. Duck. Carson: One short little hop... Naisa: Not that short (unlike other things I could mention) and we seem to be missing our docking port. That was pretty key to fulfilling the contract. Carson: Contract, Schmontract.... enough Science, and all will be forgiven! Stand by for launch!! Naisa: Krap. Carson: Plenty of Science to come! Naisa: Krap. Watch out for the boulders! Carson: Calm yourself, Nai! I got this! Carson: See, safe and sound. We'll be here together for a long time! Naisa: Krap. Kerda: Krap. Haiigh: Krap.
  4. Lassie, Come Home, Episode... well, I've lost count. ____________________________________________ I forswear the upgrade (from 0.25, even) until all Kerbals come home. Walter: This is Walter Kronkite (authentic K, love it), live from KASA control. We left Tomman and Doobald here, finally united on Eve, patiently awaiting the development of a vehicle that might get them to low Eve orbit, and within reach of the rescue vessel Redemption. Unfortunately, reality (work? family? really?) and Kerbal engineering skill has made the wait longer than expected. Docktor von Kermann, why has it taken so long? Wernher: Vell, Valter, spaze iz an eazy ting nicht. Ve haf many vehicle konfigurations tried... Wernher: Aber they nicht gut funktion. Now haben wir eine praktikable konfiguration! Walter: The ascent capability has been verified with a quick jaunt to the Mun. Wernher Zie next step, getting the vehicle to LKO intact... keeping zpent stages for refueling in orbit. Walter: Now the vehicle is as it must be on the surface of Eve... fully fueled and akward as heck. A nuclear tug is to be dispatched to drag the heavy, but critical, load to Eve. Wernher: Ja, the standard sized docking port vas a bit more flexible than is optimum! Walter: The dedicated KPL controller crew persevered, however. The vehicle is on course for the desired landing spot. Walter: The ascent vehicle has successfully landed on Eve! Wait. Wait. There appears to be a problem. I see the engineers coferring among themselves. Walter: Doktor von Kerman, what is the situation? Wernher: (zigh) It zeems dat zee landing test on Kerbin waz inadequate. Upon landing on Eve, strut compression allowed engine contact, engine (harumph) detonation. Walter: Detonation? That sounds bad! Wernher: Vell, zee vehicle as currently configured (with 1/3 of hitz engines knocked off) doez not haf zee thruzt for liftoff. If ve dizcard the fuel tanks mit-out engines, ve haf not the Delta V for orbit. Ja, wir sind screwed (ok, Tomman & Doobald sind screwed). Walter: And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the mission to Eve (or at this point, the hoped for mission FROM Eve), is screwed, and the Universe is stuck at 0.25.
  5. LUV the format, LUV the story. Where'd you get the LUVLY text balloons?
  6. Ladders. Lots and lots of ladders.
  7. Lassie Come Home -- Episode 7 I forswear the upgrade (from 0.25, even) until all Kerbals come home. Walter Kronkite: Welcome, again, viewers, to live coverage of KSS Redemption as it approaches Laythe. Let's listen now (actually let's listen several minutes in the past, given the distance to Jool) to the conversation between our brave Kerbonauts... Teddorf: Course correction complete. Approaching Laythe aerobrake. Hey, Shepner, did you know we're coming in retrograde? Shepner: Clockwise, counter-clockwise, what's it to me? You guys didn't even give me a window! Walter: Joining me is Kris Kolumbus, chief navigator of the Redemption mission. Kris, what is the significance of a retrograde orbit? Kris: Well, Walter, if one is prograde, one is going with the rotation of the central body, else one is going against it. Walter: Yes, that sounds perfectly boring Kris, thank you. Kris: But the delta V between the two orbits amounts to twice the rotational velocity of the central body at the surface, which can be signifi... Walter: We now return to the audio feed from Laythe. Teddorf: Over 8000 m/s, higher than planned. G forces building. You ok back there, Jerski? Jerski: The lander's A-OK, Teddorf. Just get me into a reasonable orbit, and I'll get to Songel and Laythe IF (heh, One-Eff, IF, ironic, eh?). Shepner: I'm fine. Teddorf: Who cares, Mr. Retrograde? Teddorf: Orbit achieved. Jerski, go ahead and top off your tanks and undock. Jerski: Ascension is undocked, deorbit burn plotted. The retrograde orbit seems to have tumbled MechJeb's gyros. I'm going in manually. Jerski: Looks like this is going to be pretty good. Jerski: Good chutes. I see One-Eff! Songel: I'm seeing things! Jerski: You're not seeing things, buddy, that's your ride home! Jerski: Songel's on board, and we're ready to lift! Kris: Stand by, Ascension. Control has a concern. Do NOT lift off! Walter: What's the matter, Kris? Kris: It's as I feared, Walter. The retrograde approach cost over 100 m/s in required delta V, given perfect pilot technique. Since (Kris covers his microphone and whispers) MechJeb can't be relied on, retrograde, and Jerski is no MechJeb (uncovering microphone) the actual delta V loss was MUCH higher. No matter how many times I hit F9, I can't see a way to get Ascension into orbit, given its current fuel load. Jerski: Control, part of that was unreadable, but I understand that Ascension is stranded? Songel: You did bring snacks, didn't you? Kris: I'm sorry, Ascension, but you are correct. I'm afraid Redemption must make another round trip to Jool. Jerski: Shepner, does retrograde make a difference now? It sure as !@#% does to ME! Shepner: Alright, alright, I screwed up. Can I get a window seat on the way back? Kris: Redemption, I'm uploading your return trajectory. You're going to use Tylo to boost you out of Jool orbit. We had been counting on the leftover fuel from Ascension, but... Shepner: I get it! Teddorf: Upload recieved, Redemption go for Laythe escape. Teddorf: Looks like your numbers are good, Kris. Approaching Tylo. Kris: KSC tracking confirms, Teddorf. Looking Good. Shepner: I'm not getting a window seat, am I? Teddorf: No. Jerski: Hell, no. Songel: Tell me you brought snacks. Walter: (Ahem) well, these are Kerbonauts, not saints, and just Kerbals, after all. Thank you for joining us at the media center in KSC for continuing coverage of KSS Redemption's mission to recover all Kerbonauts before the end of the universe (v 0.25).
  8. Lassie, come Home, Episode 6 I forswear the upgrade (from 0.25, even) until all Kerbals come home. This is Walter Kronkite (hey, I didn't even have to add the "K") live from KASA control. As you know, tension has been high here with the approaching end of the universe, version 0.25. KASA scientists and engineers have been working feverishly to retrieve our intrepid Kerbonauts from the far reaches of the solar system. Joining me now is Kris Kolumbus, leader of the KSS Redemption navigation team. Kris, how are things going up there? Kris: Well, as you can see, Walter, Redemption is on course for the Jool system. We anticipate arrival in 24 days, and aerobraking into Laythe orbit shortly after that. Walter: And what's the status of our Laythe team? Kris: As well as can be expected, Walter. Actually, morale is fairly high after Redemption's success around Kerbin and Duna. Walter: Alright, thank you Kris. We go now to Launch Control, where ARF, or the Autonomous Roving Four-wheeler, is standing by for liftoff. Walter: With me now is Henry Kord, lead engineer on the ARF project. Henry, please tell me and our viewers, what makes ARF different from other rovers? Henry: Well, Walter, there are two chief differences. The first, of course, is that the ARF is autonomous. Walter: But weren't all the PUPs and DAWGs equipped with MechJeb? Henry: (In a harsh whisper: Walter! Shhhh! That's supposed to be classified!) I'm not sure what you're referring to, Walter, but unlike previous rovers, ARF is guided by a QBE probe core. After landing on Eve, we will be able to control it from the KSC. Walter (blushing slightly at his security gaff): Ahem, yes, and the second difference? Henry: Here's the genius part: ARF has FOUR wheels! Walter: Four? Isn't that excessive? The PUPs and DAWGs all have two wheels. Henry: Yes, but ARF is bound for Eve. You'll recall that our two-wheeled efforts didn't work out so well there. Twice the gravity, twice the wheels. Walter: Of course. Can you remind us of ARF's mission on Eve? Henry: Of course. ARF is to make its way to the Eve II and Eve III crash, errr, landing sites and pick up the Kerbonauts there. If, I mean when, the ascent vehicle arrives, ARF will bring the Kerbonauts to it, where they will be lifted into LEO for pickup by KSS Redemption. Walter: Thank you, Henry. We now switch to the audio feed from Mission Control as ARF enters final countdown. Gene: 3, 2, 1... Launch! Gene: Four good SRBs, main engine looks good. ARF is clear of the pad. Approaching Q limit, main engine throttling back. Approaching SRB separation. Gene: SRBs are clear, main engine throttled up. We are go for LKO. Walter: Alright, folks, it looks as if we have a clean launch. ARF has dwindled to a starlike point of light in the skies over KSC. In a few minutes it will discard its main rocket motor and light off the nuclear engine that will carry it to Eve. Gene: Approaching circularization burn. Restart main engine. Approaching main engine burnout. Let's go NUCLEAR! Gene: Ok, approaching transfer window. Go for burn... burn complete. Navigation, report. Uh huh. Systems? Good. Alright, people, ARF is on its way! Good work. Walter: This concludes our coverage of the ARF launch. Please join us next time for more exciting KASA action. _________________ Walter: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. Our coverage of the Autonomous Roving Four-wheeler continues. ARF is already deep in the Eve system, and preparing for aerobraking. Walter: Once again, let's listen into the audio feed from Mission Control. Gene: Copy peak temperature. Looks like a good aerobrake. Navigation, put up the deorbit burn, please. Gene: Looks good. Permission granted for deorbit burn. [20 minutes later, or so] Ok, copy past peak temperature again. Release aeroshield. Gene: Navigation, how's it look? That far, huh? Well, as long as we don't hit the water. Deploy chutes! Gene: Telemetry shows ARF is safely down. Mario, are your links up? Walter: That would be Mario Kandretti, in Rover Control. Mario: I've got it Gene, thanks. Starting out for Eve II. Mario: !@#$!^%@# Tomman, have you overridden my controls? Tomman: MOAR! Tomman: You have control, Mario. Tomman: Problems, Doobald? Doobald: It broke. Bad. Tomman: Control, we're both aboard. Ready for pickup. Gene: Roger, Tomman. Stand by. We're still, ummm, testing the ascent vehicle. Walter: And that concludes today's broadcast, ladies and gentlemen. Coverage will resume with KSS Redemption around Laythe.
  9. Wherein the Redemption leaves for Laythe, KSC prepares for the Eve rescue, and a tribute is paid to fallen comrades. I STILL will not upgrade until every Kerbal comes home. Next, Redemption in the Jool system, and the launch of ARF.
  10. I will NOT upgrade until all Kerbals are saved... Redemption, Ascension, and Reception work as expected on the Duna mission, but who expects that in KSP? After refueling, Redemption/Ascension will head out to Laythe. Redemption will return minus one lander, plus one Kerbonaut.
  11. KSS Redemption has a quick shakedown cruise around the Kerbin system, picking up Derzon and Tomman on the way. My spaceplane secrets are revealed. Now that I've finally got spaceplane techniques that work for me, 1.0 is going to muck things up again. More things going BOOM! More gratuitous violence! YEAH!!
  12. Samy, I played for months with the demo before coughing up for 0.23. You went legit before 1.0, honest AND smart.
  13. Hola, hombre! Tu hermano te hizo ningún favor. Su vida pertenece a Jeb, ahora.
  14. 3 kerbal capsule atop 4 kerbal tin can, slap on some Big Orange Tanks and a mess of nukes, and KSS Redemption is "designed". Next, a shakedown cruise around the Kerbin system, and an introduction to KSP Reception.
  15. I've spent the last few months letting my PUPs and DAWGs run free throughout the system, but with 1.0 almost upon us, it's time to call them home. So that sets the parameters for the design of KSS Redemption. The mission to Duna means I need room for 4. The Laythe rescue will probably drive Delta V. And Eve's going to require an armada, and probably a non-PUP style rover. See, zekes, I had a plan (ok, the plan was that someday I'd make a plan).