bigcalm

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About bigcalm

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    Hendrik Lorentz

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  1. A brief guide to Eve Lander problems, and solutions. I'm ignoring the most obvious in that if you craft explodes on entry and you don't have a heatshield, you should know to put a heatshield on. My Craft flies sideways after initially ascending ok - Your craft is most likely not streamlined enough, or has some property that is causing the craft to fly sideways. This is likely not fixable by adding tons of reaction wheels, but it depends on the severity of the problem. It's also possible that once you clear the lower-atmospheric treacle it will become controllable again, so throttling down whilst ascending through the lower atmosphere can help. Here's an example of a failed one from me -- too unaerodynamic: On atmospheric entry, the craft spins around and immediately blows up due to overheating. - Essentially, this is because your centre of mass is a long way from the heatshield. This is difficult to avoid because you want your craft long and nicely aerodynamic for the ascent. There's two possible solutions - pad the bit nearest the heatshield with some (ejectable) mass, or use additional heatshields at the top which act like very very draggy fins and stop it from spinning round. An example -- Despite having over 8k delta-v, I can't make orbit - This can be a number of things, but most likely: -- Your craft is not aerodynamic enough. General hint - avoid Mk2 plane parts. Also, if you're using the adjuster tool to make it "look" more aerodynamic, that's not how KSP calculates drag! -- Your craft has poor thrust to weight ratio in at least one of your stages. If you have MechJeb installed then in the VAB, the "SLT" number is the one you want to pay attention to - this is the surface level thrust, i.e. the thrust you will achieve at sea level (set the body to Eve, though, eh?). Kerbal Engineer Redux can also give you the same information. -- Aerodynamic instability in one or more stages. -- Ascent profile. Very generally (and again, aerodynamics weighs heavily in this), you should ascend to roughly 25k above Eve before making your gravity turn - basically, get out of the treacle-like lower atmosphere before steering! Though it is tempting to add fins and stuff, be careful. This is a successful one-man ascender -- However, the addition of basic fins on the upper stage changed this from being able to make orbit from sea level with 1000ms spare, to one that could not make it to orbit from a starting altitude of 2000metres. On Kerbin, you can generally brute-force your way through the lower atmopshere with enough engines. On Eve, you probably can't. Ejecting re-entry stuff causes explosions -- This is either when you're in the descent phase, when you've dropped below the exploding-due-to-entry-heat phase, and want to get rid of extraneous heatshields, or on the surface when you want to get rid of parachutes and landing legs. -- Separatrons are good (in one of the earlier versions of KSP Separatrons basically didn't work at low altitudes on Eve, but this appears to be fixed since at least 1.3.1). Spinning whilst staging can also help. -- Ejecting the bottom heatshield is recommended after inflating the parachutes. This is mainly because before this, your lovely aerodynamic rocket will move much faster than the ejected draggy heatshield, causing you to crash into it. -- It can be helpful to lift off and then eject any landing gear structure if that's possible, depends on your first-stage engine though - at the same time normally works. -- Landing legs exploding on landing is almost inevitable, even if you load up on stupid amounts of parachutes to have a softer landing. Have lots of landing legs and some will likely survive, or a substructure that you attach your landing legs to that will take the place of the exploded landing legs. Alternatively, if you aren't opposed to mods, there's some much tougher landing legs available in other part packs - certainly better than the Mk2 at least. Here's an alternative that just uses a bunch of girders instead of legs -- Testing on Kerbin -- mimicking the conditions of Eve is very tricky on Kerbin, but you might want to try the following tests. -- With the ascent vehicle you should generally be able to take off, get to Kerbin orbit, land back on Kerbin (or at least, get a few feet from the surface as you probably won't have landing legs on that bit), and then get to orbit a second time. -- Are you able to fly stably at a constant low altitude whilst picking up speed? Do you ever reach a speed where everything explodes? -- You can sort of mimic entry conditions by first putting it in orbit of Kerbin, accelerating to roughly 3km/s, and then doing a little burn at apoapsis to set your periapsis deep inside the atmosphere - this will give you an entry speed into the atmosphere similar to that you'll get from low Eve orbit. -- Depending on how you feel about it, you could Hyperedit to Eve Orbit or Eve Surface for testing.
  2. bigcalm

    Best way to build a base

    This applies to MKS bases primarily, where you have to care more about landing spots.... == Surface Bases == Big bases, docked and welded on the ground can often be very wobbly, or suffer Kraken attacks especially when the drills are running, or later, as the centre of mass shifts. Whilst there are some things you can do to mitigate this, there's no guarantees that the Kraken won't strike! Some advice on mitigating it: * When you pick a landing spot, make sure it's all the same gradient - gentle slopes are ok, but it must be the same gradient everywhere. The Kraken will attack you if your base is not on level ground. Dock as gently as you possibly can. Docking at a slight angle can cause some parts to stick into the surface, meaning that when focusing on the vessel, some parts will be below the surface. * Don't try and establish your base on a steep slope. What will happen after a little mining of resources is that the base will be heavier and start to slide. I had an Ike base once that suffered a catastrophic 2km downhill plunge due to starting on a steep slope. * Bases can be put broadly in three types categories based on how they're constructed and expanded -- Disconnected bases, KIS-constructed bases and docked bases. -- A disconnected base has multiple vessels within 150 metres of each other - so for example, having a habitation section, a mining section and a manufacturing section all as separate components landed near each other. This setup in theory is kinder to your computer than having a single base because different vessels run in different cpu cores. In practice, you end up needing extra parts on each vessel to make them work - aerials, batteries, extra storage, etc. so it ends up being just as laggy. Easy to expand - just land another component within 150 metres. (example -- Ike base) -- A KIS-constructed base is one where you start with a basic base or structure to which other parts can be manually attached by Kerbals using screwdrivers. This type is relatively easy to expand but base setup generally takes a lot of time and normally requires a flexible construction rover to help. KIS-construction techniques are often helpful in the other two base types. (example -- Dres base). -- A docked base is one where multiple components are landed and then docked together on the surface typically using the Konstruction docking ports - these have an option to "weld docking ports" when docked, which effectively destroys the docking ports and makes it a single vessel. In general, quick to set up, but a little hard to expand later if some parts are forgotten, at which point you may have to use KIS construction techniques. Building your vessels so that the docking ports line up correctly can also be somewhat tricky, particularly if the ground you land on is not a constant slope. (example -- Vall base) All three variants are viable strategies and all can generally be expanded in future. You can also do combinations - you can always attach extra stuff using KIS/KAS. Carefully choosing your MKS base location is extremely important, especially if you want the base to be full featured at some point. It can be very helpful to land an exploration rover in advance and carefully choose your base site before landing the main base. Here are some general requirements, in rough order of importance. * Flattish terrain. All bases will move a little tiny bit every second that you're out of time-warp - a very slow slide down the hill. The flatter the terrain, the better. Also to be noted is trying to park it on a slope that is even. That is, don't park it across a bit of slope that's at 5 degrees and another bit that's at 8 degrees - this is an invitation for the Kraken to attack because certain bits of the ship may load below ground. * All resources. Whilst it's unusual to find a biome that has everything that you need, it's often possible to find two areas (e.g. Highlands and Midlands) that are next to each other and between them have all the required resources. An initial exploratory rover to pinpoint a landing site here is almost required, and it helps hugely if base vehicles are on wheels for fine tuning. A "remote miner" is extremely helpful in this instance as well - which features kontainers, a drill, electricity generation and not much else to sit in that foreign biome less than 150 metres away whilst the main base pulls resources to itself. Very generally, the most important resources are Substrate, Minerals and MetallicOre. If your base is advanced enough to have machinery generation, then you'll effectively want all raw materials available. If you have a vessel that can mine remotely and then fly back - that's fine, but these should be for the less common resources (exotic minerals, rare metals, uraninite) * Equatorial. Assuming that you have return ships waiting in orbit to be refuelled or simply to be rendezvoused with, having your base near the equator can simplify this hugely as take offs can be done at any time. * A nice view. As examples -- my Ike base is at the south pole with Duna on the horizon ; My Vall base is equatorial with Jool on the horizon ; My Dres base is right by the big canyon; * You can also try the World Stabiliser mod - which attempts to try and put everything above ground when you load the vessel. * There is an option in MKS where you can "Toggle ground tether", but I've never got it to work on any of my bases - it's synonymous with 'Make this base and anything parked nearby explode immediately" - which is good for screenshots but not much else.
  3. bigcalm

    I compliment Squad on the insane of difficulty of Eve.

    Yeah, if I'm honest, I feel that the landing section is the one bit I haven't nailed properly. I have used aircraft landing gear before, but I've always had problems getting it into the design, and I think the only time I had it on a successful ascender it ended up slipping down the hill fairly rapidly. Right now, I'm using landing legs from one of RoverDude's mods, but I have sliding issues on any reasonable slope. And of course, when sliding, you can't "Climb out" of ladders, making the ascent of the kerbal from the surface to the capsule on top just as perilous and tricky as the ascent of the rocket itself.
  4. bigcalm

    I compliment Squad on the insane of difficulty of Eve.

    A brief guide to Eve Lander problems, and solutions. I'm ignoring the most obvious in that if you craft explodes on entry and you don't have a heatshield, you should know to put a heatshield on. My Craft flies sideways after initially ascending ok - Your craft is most likely not streamlined enough, or has some property that is causing the craft to fly sideways. This is likely not fixable by adding tons of reaction wheels, but it depends on the severity of the problem. It's also possible that once you clear the lower-atmospheric treacle it will become controllable again, so throttling down whilst ascending through the lower atmosphere can help. Here's an example of a failed one from me -- too unaerodynamic: On atmospheric entry, the craft spins around and immediately blows up due to overheating. - Essentially, this is because your centre of mass is a long way from the heatshield. This is difficult to avoid because you want your craft long and nicely aerodynamic for the ascent. There's two possible solutions - pad the bit nearest the heatshield with some (ejectable) mass, or use additional heatshields at the top which act like very very draggy fins and stop it from spinning round. An example -- Despite having over 8k delta-v, I can't make orbit - This can be a number of things, but most likely: -- Your craft is not aerodynamic enough. General hint - avoid Mk2 plane parts. Also, if you're using the adjuster tool to make it "look" more aerodynamic, that's not how KSP calculates drag! -- Your craft has poor thrust to weight ratio in at least one of your stages. If you have MechJeb installed then in the VAB, the "SLT" number is the one you want to pay attention to - this is the surface level thrust, i.e. the thrust you will achieve at sea level (set the body to Eve, though, eh?). Kerbal Engineer Redux can also give you the same information. -- Aerodynamic instability in one or more stages. -- Ascent profile. Very generally (and again, aerodynamics weighs heavily in this), you should ascend to roughly 25k above Eve before making your gravity turn - basically, get out of the treacle-like lower atmosphere before steering! Though it is tempting to add fins and stuff, be careful. This is a successful one-man ascender -- However, the addition of basic fins on the upper stage changed this from being able to make orbit from sea level with 1000ms spare, to one that could not make it to orbit from a starting altitude of 2000metres. On Kerbin, you can generally brute-force your way through the lower atmopshere with enough engines. On Eve, you probably can't. Ejecting re-entry stuff causes explosions -- This is either when you're in the descent phase, when you've dropped below the exploding-due-to-entry-heat phase, and want to get rid of extraneous heatshields, or on the surface when you want to get rid of parachutes and landing legs. -- Separatrons are good (in one of the earlier versions of KSP Separatrons basically didn't work at low altitudes on Eve, but this appears to be fixed since at least 1.3.1). Spinning whilst staging can also help. -- Ejecting the bottom heatshield is recommended after inflating the parachutes. This is mainly because before this, your lovely aerodynamic rocket will move much faster than the ejected draggy heatshield, causing you to crash into it. -- It can be helpful to lift off and then eject any landing gear structure if that's possible, depends on your first-stage engine though - at the same time normally works. -- Landing legs exploding on landing is almost inevitable, even if you load up on stupid amounts of parachutes to have a softer landing. Have lots of landing legs and some will likely survive, or a substructure that you attach your landing legs to that will take the place of the exploded landing legs. Alternatively, if you aren't opposed to mods, there's some much tougher landing legs available in other part packs - certainly better than the Mk2 at least. Here's an alternative that just uses a bunch of girders instead of legs -- Testing on Kerbin -- mimicking the conditions of Eve is very tricky on Kerbin, but you might want to try the following tests. -- With the ascent vehicle you should generally be able to take off, get to Kerbin orbit, land back on Kerbin (or at least, get a few feet from the surface as you probably won't have landing legs on that bit), and then get to orbit a second time. -- Are you able to fly stably at a constant low altitude whilst picking up speed? Do you ever reach a speed where everything explodes? -- You can sort of mimic entry conditions by first putting it in orbit of Kerbin, accelerating to roughly 3km/s, and then doing a little burn at apoapsis to set your periapsis deep inside the atmosphere - this will give you an entry speed into the atmosphere similar to that you'll get from low Eve orbit. -- Depending on how you feel about it, you could Hyperedit to Eve Orbit or Eve Surface for testing.
  5. bigcalm

    I compliment Squad on the insane of difficulty of Eve.

    I think it's because it's about right! Yeah, you can do it with less but you'll have to be really low drag, and if it's not really low drag, it can take you more than 8k. I love the challenge of Eve. Yeah, it's pretty easy to slap a craft together that has 8k delta v and is reasonably aerodynamic. However, you have to get that to the surface of Eve. That means heatshields, it means parachutes, it means having a landing leg arrangement that doesn't explode (hah, good luck with that on just stock parts!), and having a way to eject those extraneous bits before ascent. An aerodynamic craft is generally long and thin, but that's awful for landing because it might topple over if you land on a slope. So you make the landing bit as wide as you can but then it won't fit underneath a heatshield. And then you realise you also need a way to get the pilot, high up in his lofty perch ladders to get to the ground, which results in an Acme Corporation style ladder section that has to be ejected before ascent and not cause you any aerodynamic issues. And yeah, once you've done all that hard, hard work, figure out how to get it off Kerbin and off to Eve. Eve ascenders are the hors categorie of Kerbal Space Program, and so many many times I've thrown away everything after spending hours on the design because it just doesn't work, the margins are too tight and I simply can't fit an ISRU and drill anywhere without causing stupid problems with the descent phase or ejection phases. Few Eve ascenders are perfect. All are epic and praiseworthy.
  6. bigcalm

    Naming Policy, The Art of Naming your Rockets.

    I think I've got better at naming my various vessels as I've gone along. Currently I have -- Satellite Relay - Soccer stadiums - e.g. Anfield, Santiago Bernabeu, Damson, Nethermoor, etc. Rovers - Animals (Goat, Scorpion, Elephant, etc). Rovers for a particular body or area are related, e.g. Scorpion, Spider and Horsehose Crab are all at Vall. Surface Base - Female scientists (Ida Noddack, Marie Curie, Vera Rubin, Emmy Noether, etc.) ISRU refueller - Bands (Beatles, Oasis, Chemical Brothers, etc.). For surface to orbit excursions for crew, and to refuel stuff in orbit. Wheeled ISRU refueller - Dog and Cat breeds (Labrador, Persian, Alsatian, etc.). Similar to above but with more ore capacity and less crew capacity. Interplanetary Crew Transport - Mathematicians (Pythagoras, Aristotle, Al-Khwarizmi, George Boole, Isaac Newton, etc.). Some themeing - Ancient Greek for Duna, Middle-eastern for Moho, Calculus-related for Sarnus, etc. Returners - Footballers (Paul Scholes, Andrea Pirlo, Gareth Bale, Ferenc Puskas, etc.). Returners are designed to fulfill "World's first contracts" by returning to Kerbin. Mun Tourist Bus - Shakespearean plays or quotations (King Lear, As you like it, The Tempest, etc.). Designed to take some tourists to either the Mun or Minmus and return. Sun Peekers - Terry Pratchett Books (e.g. The Colour of Magic, Mort, Going Postal, etc.) - these are designed to take tourists outside of Kerbin's SOI (very) briefly before returning back to Kerbin. Eve Landers - Classical music or light opera (e.g. Ruslan and Lyudmilla, Ritt der Walkuren, Pirates of Penzance, etc.). To get crew to the surface of Eve and back. Laythe SSTOs - Species of pterosaurs (e.g. Hatzegopteryx, Jeholopterus) Kerbin non-SSTO planes - non-raptor birds (e.g Duck, Pigeon, Avocet) Kerbin SSTO planes - Raptors (e.g. Eagle, Red Kite, Hawk)
  7. bigcalm

    Landing on Kerbal far targets

    The key to creating a long-range plane is down to aerodynamics. You want your plane as slippery as a fish in normal flight, which basically means simple wings, not too many control surfaces and no sticky-out bits. That way you can go faster using less fuel as you go. For these purposes, you want a Mk1 form-factor plane - definitely not Mk2 which is significantly more draggy. You probably want reasonably powerful engines - Junos are ok, but I prefer Wheelseys. Kerbal Engineer can sort of calculate how far you can go, as long as you know your rough top speed (accounting for the fact that it'll be lower when fully loaded with fuel and higher when nearly empty). Given Kerbin's radius is 600km, then the distance to travel round it is 2*pi*radius = 3.7 million metres In the screenshot below, it's telling me that my Mk1 plane with weird bits from a few mods attached (but it is mostly stock, the forward bits are mostly due to the fact I didn't have access to any canards in career at the time), at a speed of around 500ms (which due to experiment, I know is the average speed) has a burn time of 2h23m = 8580 seconds. 8580 * 500ms = 4.3 million metres. From the maths, I can see that I should be able to circumnavigate Kerbin and return with a little bit of fuel left. I know from experience this is correct - I can take that design, fly it to the north pole, land, fly to the badlands on the other side, land, fly to the south pole, land, and return to KSC with around 5-10% fuel remaining. Naturally, YMMV.
  8. bigcalm

    Kerbin is beautiful

    Ah, Astronomer's Visual Pack, how I love thee.
  9. bigcalm

    Newbie question on mods

    Huge recommendation for CKAN here - it simplifies things enormously by allowing you to click and select mods in a simple GUI - and removing them is just as simple.
  10. bigcalm

    Kerbin is beautiful

    Kerbin's South Pole at dawn, with Astronomer's Visual Pack. Note the Aurora Australis:
  11. bigcalm

    Save my Neidon mission

    Thanks all - sorry for the delay in replying, I've been away. Snark - I think that should sort me out. My plan, such as it is is as follows. * As I'm around 130 days from the Neidon launch window, I'm going to wait a little while before sending the rescue, my thoughts being that Kerbin will be in roughly the same position and having similar orbital parameters to the Isaac Newton at that time. That said, I'm going to stick it in orbit now and play with maneuver nodes. The vessel I'm planning should have at a minimum 12k delta v, probably quite a bit more. Note that the Isaac Newton isn't really on a Hohmann Transfer from Kerbin to Neidon - that would take around thirty years - so it's already pretty darned eliptical. * As a backup plan, I will try and rendezvous Nissee Orbit Spares with Isaac Newton around 7 years in. I will wait until the correction burns have been done for both vessels first though. * In the next Neidon window, I need to send a few extra bits, namely a replacement for the Isaac Newton (as the return journey won't be possible with its supplies of fertiliser). This is all down to not checking properly during the design stage. I only realised that it wouldn't make it when I came to design for Plock which is an even longer trip. That said, I'm firmly of the opinion that Kerbal Space Program is at its absolute best when things go slightly wrong - not "smashing into the Moon at 500ms wrong", but where things don't quite work out as planned and there's a chance to fix it. This is a long career with lots and lots of stuff going on. I probably won't know if the above works for several real life weeks - but what you say sounds like it should work, as long as I pack in as much delta-v as I possibly can to the rescue ship I *should* be ok.
  12. bigcalm

    Save my Neidon mission

    Thanks Snark. I think the main problem is that whilst I'm familiar with the standard set of maneuevers - Hohmann Transfer, Plane matching, Circularising, this one is a bit new to me - sending something to rendezvous with a craft that's already on a highly eccentric orbit. I will try what you suggest though! Is there a way to figure out the best transfer window from Kerbin? Yes, the mass of the emergency fertiliser will be relatively low - roughly 6 tons of payload once I add docking capabilities, and my standard shunt is pretty darn big so I will have a lot of potential dV to play with.
  13. The Situation 3 Kerbals are on board the "Isaac Newton" on a nine year mission out to Neidon (currently 300 days out from Kerbin). They will run out of food after around seven years. I am using USI mod with life support, and need to get some additional fertiliser to the vessel before it reaches its destination. Note that there's a maximum carrying capacity of fertiliser on the Isaac Newton of around seven years worth of fertiliser (==food). The Options The "Isaac Newton" is not the only vessel on its way to Neidon. In the same launch window, I sent two additional vessels that have fertiliser (there are more in the flotilla, but none of the others will help): Nissee Orbit Spares -- has enough fertiliser to top up, and also has extra docking ports should they be needed. Slight issue here is that it was intended to serve as the return vehicle, though I can send another return vehicle in the next window. NIssee Base -- has enough fertiliser to top up, is probably the closest in terms of orbital parameters to the "Isaac Newton" currently. However, this really needs to make it as it will serve as new fertiliser generation. Neither have much spare delta-v, though I'm willing to sacrifice either to save the Kerbals. The Kerbin Launch window for Nissee comes up in around 130 days. I have correction burns already planned in for all vessels in the flotilla. Suggestions I think my plan has to be to attempt to rendezvous the orbit-spares with Isaac Newton some time around year seven, dock it, top the fertiliser up, and then at least the Kerbals will make it to Neidon, and hopefully the base will then be operational and I can generate more fertiliser. What kind of burns (pro/radial/normal) do I need to make to do this kind of rendezvous where both craft are in roughly the same orbit but not needing to meet for another 5 years or so? Assuming I burn too much fuel, the used-up vessel won't make Neidon orbit, but that's probably ok - I can send out a replacement from Kerbin to arrive a year later. The alternative may be the transfer window that's coming up in 130 days or so - I can launch some fertiliser and assuming I keep it to just the fertiliser plus large shunt, I probably have a large amount of delta-v to play with. Is it possible I could catch up? (with Isaac Newton basically departing the year before).
  14. bigcalm

    Money only career?

    You can start a career game and fiddle with the advanced settings, and set your starting science to something extremely high and also give yourself enough money to immediately upgrade all buildings - that way you can visit the R&D facility once, research every node and never have to worry about it again.