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About Kelderek

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    Sr. Spacecraft Engineer

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  1. 1. Not sure on MechJeb, but that is most likely the total burn time available based on your current throttle setting and active engine(s). 2. The beauty and real value of Delta-V is that it is always the same for a given maneuver regardless of what your rocket looks like. This means that weight does not affect the amount of Delta-V you need for a maneuver like reaching orbit from the surface of Kerbin, but weight and mass DO matter a great deal in calculating the Delta-V of your rocket. If a 20 ton rocket and a 200 ton rocket both achieve the same orbit from the same launch site then they both used the same amount of Delta-V for the maneuver. If your engine was not strong enough then you have an issue with Thrust to Weight Ratio (TWR) and may not have a Delta-V problem at all. The TWR must always be above 1 or gravity will get the better of you. There is a sweet spot for TWR when launching on Kerbin, the idea is to have enough TWR to counter gravity well enough, but not too much that aerodynamic drag becomes a problem. A launchpad TWR of 1.5 give or take should be sufficient. If your rocket has multiple stages, you want to make sure that each stage has a TWR > 1 also. Those sliders you see on MechJeb are to allow you to adjust your altitude to see how it affects your stats like TWR and Delta-V. Those stats change with altitude because all of the engines in KSP (and IRL) vary in efficiency and power from being in an atmosphere to being in a vacuum, with the vacuum numbers generally being measurably better. Some engines have horrible thrust at sea level but get much better at high altitudes or in a vacuum. Likewise, the specific impulse (ISP, a measure of engine efficiency) usually improves as you gain altitude and that will improve your Delta-V as your engine has an easier time burning its fuel (less or no atmospheric pressure to fight against the exhaust coming out the back).
  2. I hope I didn't give the impression that I think Leadership Initiative is too expensive to activate, that's certainly not what I think. I just point it out because if you want to utilize it then it helps to plan ahead so you can save up and enable it at the earliest possibility. Like I said, I can usually get it enabled at 60% after around 5 or 6 launches (1. first launch, 2. first exit of atmosphere, 3. first orbit, 4. first Mun flyby and return, 5. first Minmus flyby and return, 6. first landing on the Mun or Minmus). The hardest part is actually the reputation I think - that may force you to do an extra contract or two - in the early career I like the rescue missions to get some "free" kerbalnauts. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the rescue mission can also count as your first orbital rendezvous too. This strategy is perfect for me so thanks for coming up with it (and milestones in general)! I can't imagine playing career without it now. It entirely fits my free-roaming play style, I like to change up my career games and doing things in a different order form game to game. The beauty is that you can still do some contracts on the side, it's not like they are disabled, they just are not as lucrative as before. If I am thinking about doing my first mission to Duna for example, I may choose to grab a satellite mission for Duna so that I can drop that off when I get there for a little extra cash and then use it going forward as a relay for my communications network. I never use labs for science - that is a mechanic I never really liked much. I love the labs for designing stations, but I don't bother with putting data in them. I also never transmit science over antennas if I can help it (maybe the occasional crew report). That sample return container made my life so much easier. Now all we need is to allow a scientist to reset experiments without doing an EVA, being on board should be sufficient in my mind -- this part sucks in early career before you can do EVAs in space.
  3. If you're not a big fan of contracts like me, then there is a good admin strategy that you can use called "Leadership Initiative" which will reduce the funds, science, and rep from contracts, but give you much higher gains for funds and reputation from milestones as well as a boost to any science data you collect in the field. I usually upgrade my admin building to level 2 and then save up to buy this strategy at 60% (which is the max for this building level). Contract gains will be about 45% lower but milestones are 90% better and the science gained in the field is about 30% better. The setup cost is not cheap (something like 160k funds, 320 science and 64 reputation cost and you need at least 250 reputation to access it), but I can usually grab it after 5 or 6 launches in an early career. Once you have this enabled, then you can just go anywhere you want and the first time you do anything you get nice milestone bonuses. The disadvantage is you don't get funds up front like you do with contracts and also you only get the milestone rewards once, so it's not very good if you plan to make repeated trips to the same locations. You can still do some contracts, they just don't pay out as much, but if you come across ones that align with what you were planning to do anyway then you may as well take them. But the way I like to play is to explore lots of new places, so the milestone rewards are the easiest way for me to do that and I don't have to rely on finding the right kind of contracts to fund my missions.
  4. Wow, I was only looking at it from one side which is a narrower view than I should have used. I think perhaps that I was thinking of the range to a ship with the tracking station as one side and the ship as the other. Also, I also think of it in terms of moving away from Kerbin and needing to add more antennas as you move further away and the distances get longer and longer -- it's not very practical to send up 100+ relay satellites, so it helps to have more and more antenna range per satellite the farther you get from the sun. Thanks for pointing this out though, I was only looking at one side of the equation.
  5. The square root portion of the formula already creates a diminishing return so you don't really need anything else. It's possible there still is another component, but for the purpose of getting a diminishing return the formula already has that. If you want double the range you need 4x the number of antennas, if you want 5x the range then you need 25 antennas, etc. Each additional antenna gives you less additional range than the previous one did - that's your diminishing return.
  6. I'm sure this is completely outdated, but I suspect this parachute calculator would still give you a good starting point to use for figuring out what parachutes to use and how many:
  7. Well my best guess is that this may be intentional just for the sake of simplification. Calculating signal paths and strengths could potentially bump up CPU usage. An algorithm must be in place to check the current path for obstructions and then another to find an alternate path that is clear - somewhere in the mix of all of that we would find our answer. I don't even know if the alternate path I showed in my screenshot is the best one for signal strength of all the possible paths across my relay network, I only know it was better than the direct one when there is LOS to the KSC. Still, it would be nice to know why it works this way and if it was indeed intentional or if I managed to uncover something odd or out of place. Perhaps if @RoverDude is able to weigh in on how signal paths are selected it may lead to a better understanding of how best to lay out a network in our solar systems.
  8. Most people would use them to make and launch tiny probes and satellites.
  9. I have a vessel in orbit of Jool that has a 100G relay antenna and no other communication parts other than a probe core. When I am controlling this vessel I noticed something peculiar: the ship seems to prefer a direct connection to the KSC even if it is a lower signal strength than using other relays that I have in my system. I used the custom setting to disable the extra ground stations, so when the KSC is on the opposite side of Kerbin from where Jool is, then it is forced to use the relay network I have, but when there is a direct LOS to the KSC then it always uses that path. The direct path is a lower signal strength than what my relay network provides so I am wondering why it wouldn't always choose the path that provides the strongest signal. I did a simple test with a Communotron 88-88 and it behaved the same way as the relay one did from Jool orbit, it also preferred a direct connection to KSC even though it was a lower signal strength. It seems like this would defeat the effort of building a deep space relay network if a vessel doesn't always take the highest signal strength path - it would also affect how much science you could get. Am I missing something here?
  10. I strongly recommend that you get a mod that will show you the radar altimeter numbers on your main screen. Kerbal Engineer Redux is what I use. The altitude number at the top of the screen in the stock game is the altitude above sea level on Kerbin - for other bodies like the Mun it is based off a number that is basically the average for that body (since there is no sea on most bodies they had to invent a sea level to base the altitude off of). What you really need to land though is the true altitude above the surface as if you measured it with a radar. In the stock game this is only displayed when using the interior view inside a cockpit or command pod, so it is really helpful to get a mod that allows you to see this with an exterior camera view. As others have said you can just select retrograde in surface mode (NOT orbit mode). Then just watch the surface altitude number and control your throttle all the way down. You should probably aim to be at 40 m/s or less by the time you are 1 km above the surface, then no more than 20 m/s around 500m, then down to 10 m/s around 300m, and finally by 150m you should try to hold throttle at about 5 m/s slowing down to 2-3 m/s right as you touch down. You can play it more conservative and be slower at those altitudes, but if you go too slow it will waste fuel fighting gravity.
  11. Nice thread necro! I generally go with single stage landers because of how I choose to plan my interplanetary missions. I use a transfer stage to bring a lander from Kerbin to another planet/moon, then use the lander to get down to the surface and then back to rendezvous with the transfer stage in orbit. I refuel the lander and then send the lander back to kerbin, leaving behind the transfer stage in orbit. The DV requirements work out nicely for many destinations and I find that my landers have better TWR than transfer stages so it makes burning to return to Kerbin a little quicker.
  12. Make sure you have the "Advance Tweakables" option enabled in the game settings. Then you should be able to select it from a fuel tank or engine.
  13. Also, because of this you can choose an altitude that fits with the antenna ranges you want between Kerbin and elsewhere instead of needing to use the geostationary altitude
  14. You can place a fairing below the decoupler and treat it as an interstage fairing. You would also want to disable the shroud on the engine as that would be redundant.
  15. I used a variation on the rocket I posted above to do landings in my current career game. I had different technology nodes unlocked so the design wasn't exactly the same, but it was nearly identical to what I linked before. That vessel was able to hit 5 biomes on Minmus and just barely succeeded in hitting two on the Mun - it was a close one on the DV for the second Mun biome, but I had a quicksave in a good spot just in case it wasn't enough. It is certainly very easy to do run multiple missions to hit more biomes, but I generally avoid this if I can, I prefer to move on to interplanetary as soon as my technology enables it. The Mun and Minmus are plenty of fun, but they have much lower science multipliers than everything else in the system.