herbal space program

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About herbal space program

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    Test Chimpanzee Cage Leader

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  1. Rotational servos?? Am I still asleep somehow, or did I just log on and find out that we're finally getting hinges...and maybe even (gasp) a way to make propellers? And the Easter eggs are actually going to be good for something besides taking screenshots? I'm not sure I can handle this...
  2. I don't want to belabor this, but seriously, you had no valid reason whatsoever to believe I was saying anything in bad faith. I have been on this forum for a very long time, and every single thing I have ever posted here is just a few clicks away if you'd care to look at it before passing judgment. Nuff said.
  3. FWIW, I think a good solution might be just to limit the total dV that can be provided by ions within any given SOI to some fixed value that is significantly less than the amount required to get from low orbit to escape. That would prevent people from doing all their orbital transfers on ions and also not be subject to any kind of ambiguous interpretation. Limiting the altitude at which they can be used might also achieve this, but that depends on how you feel about stuff like using them to send mining shuttles to Minmus to fuel stages that are on LKO. A dV-per-SOI limit would still make them useful for this, while an altitude limit would presumably need to be too low for that, since one that goes as high as Minmus would not really constitute much of a restriction. ....Thinking about it some more, you could also just limit the total amount of xenon the mission can employ to something that would be insufficient to lob the whole show out of Kerbin orbit. That would allow you to allocate it to smaller modules for the purposes of Minmus mining, etc. with a pretty free hand, but would still prevent you from using it as your primary means of getting the whole mission from LKO to Eve. It would also be very straightforward to enforce. I believe perhaps that may be the best way to achieve what you seem to want to do, based on what you've said about it thus far.
  4. My point, which you apparently missed, is that there is no clear line at all between uses other than for orbital transfers and using them for orbital transfers. IOW, any time you use an engine while on orbit, you are transferring yourself to a different orbit, and if you do it in a prograde direction from a circular orbit, you are both doing a periapsis kick and using the engine to contribute to your ultimate ejection into a different SOI. So where do you draw the line between one such kick and "endless" ones? If you say you can't do any periapsis kicks at all, then the ions are literally useless. If however you just say that you have to keep all ion burns within the same SOI, then you are basically allowed to use ions for all but the last tiny bit of any particular transfer burn. Neither seems like a satisfactory rule based on what I construed OP's intent to be, and it's also not at all clear to me where where one could draw an unambiguous line between those two extremes that would prevent people from trying to use their ion engines for the only thing they're really useful for, which is to do low TWR, high-dV orbital transfers at 4200 ISP. You can cast aspersions about rules lawyers all you want, but this is not at all a trivial question, as it potentially has a large effect on how much mass the whole mission needs to have, which is a fundamental aspect of the scoring system. So my (I think sensible) suggestion was that if OP doesn't want people to use ions for the one and only thing they're really useful for, then OP should just ban them completely rather than contend with the potential headaches of people trying to push difficult-to-define boundaries. YMMV.
  5. This looks like a fun and interesting challenge! I've been working on all kinds of stuff that's tangential to it, so I feel like I could cook up a decent entry without too much de-novo work. Since it appears we get to make comments before the official launch, I do want to raise one issue about the rule on ions: "Ions can be used as tugs within a single SOI but they cannot be used for transfer burns. No endless periapsis-kicking." This doesn't really make sense to me. Are you saying you're not allowed to used them to do any burns at all at your PE that raise your AP? What actually distinguishes using them as "tugs" vs. using them to do a transfer burn? If you just restrict their use to burns that end in the same SOI, you could still get yourself 99% of the way there with endless PE kicks and then use some other kind of engine to do the last little bit. You could also just sort of gradually raise your orbit while keeping it more or less circular until you're nearly there. Sorting out all that potential controversy seems like it would be a big pain. For that reason, I think that if you really don't want people to use ions as their transfer stages, you should just ban them period. That's all they're really good for anyway,
  6. I was going to say the same thing. Also, I had a version before with the ions mounted on the front that didn't do this, at the cost of only 0.12t in extra parts and some loss in efficiency getting to orbit, but it looked dumb and was just a royal pain in the engine plate to fly.
  7. It's the only engine in the game that lets you do that and OP said nothing about it, so I don't see why not.
  8. Speaking of fairings, I'm at 5.7 tons right now using a Rapier engine and a 1-piece Mk1 upper stage: Unfortunately I won't be able to make Ike with this unless I ship another can of xenon for .025 tons, so I'll probably try it one more time before my final submission. The reason I wanted to mention it now is that the fairing that you can see in the second shot, which bulges out the smallest amount possible and then tapers very slowly, seems to have magical properties in terms of reducing drag. With that fairing, I was able to get to as much as 1650 m/s with the Rapier engine, while I was topping out just above 1500 with its flush equivalent. I suspected this before, but now I know for sure it's true. Anyway, I'm going to get this rig to where it can do Ike for another .025 tons and call it a day...
  9. For rockets I agree with everything you said 100%, but we're talking about a plane here and I don't really know what works best for that. I assume that the giant winged space caterpillar we just saw above, which is the first Eve SSTO I've seen, must have a TWR <1.
  10. I think your safest bet would be to have it follow the second stage into the air for a short way and pull its chutes near the apex of its trajectory, ultimately landing on its wheels. If you put a probe core, batteries, panels, and some rover wheels on it, you could then drive it back to the launch site.
  11. I totally agree that if you were to give yourself a 2-300m/s leg-up taking off from the highest peak, you could do it with a much more normal-looking plane than the one we saw above. I made a few two-stage Eve rockets just recently, and I would certainly agree that the key thing to do is pack as much TWR into the first stage as you can, then as you said drop most of your heaviest engines with the first stage. In fact from 4000m I was recently able to make orbit staging off nothing but 8 Vector engines, using the ship in the first image below. The only comment I would have on what you outlined above is that you should probably just forget about the idea of hitting TV before staging. On the one hand, if you have a TWR significantly <1 you will lose speed quite rapidly, but on the other, TV at 7-8km for a large and pointy ship is actually much higher than 300 m/s, so you couldn't really do that anyway. I guess what that boils down to is that 200-300 m/s is probably a good target takeoff speed for your plane, but you won't be and actually won't want to be at TV when you take off. Anyway, I'm not sure what altitude you wanted to start from, but if you haven't got your spot picked out yet, the HyperEdit coordinates in the second image below are for a big, flat spot at just over 4000m, with a nice ramp-like slope heading up towards the peak in question. Happy flying!
  12. I guess that pretty much proves what I was trying to say on the "If I ever get back from Eve" thread before: If you want to get off Eve for as little dV as possible, you need a BIG ship.
  13. I'm just blown away that you guys are able to get that lander can to perform adequately in any phase of the mission. I found the 1.8m profile so draggy early on that I abandoned it after only a few iterations. I guess I gave up on it too soon!
  14. My apologies if OP already made this clear somewhere upthread. What it says is " Refueling IS Allowed, As Long As Total Refueler and Other Rocket Mass is 150 tons or less combined", which clearly implies external refueling but is a bit ambiguous about what counts towards total mass. FWIW I am totally with you on your interpretation, as pretty much anything that can make LKO could do the rest of the mission easily if you don't also have to include the mass of the refueling vessel. But of course if you do have to include it, then refueling of any kind is totally pointless. So. Regardless, my vote is with you, that we need to have everything you launch from Kerbin count period, or else the challenge is more or less broken, and I hope OP will see it that way as well.