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  1. This happens to me, too. I start a new career save to go colonize known space and then get carried away and spend nine-tenths of the game building bases / stations / depots and other infrastructure instead of putting boots on regolith as I intended.
  2. I think bjerrang has it right - using the gimbal of the engine you're already carrying is the most efficient way to go. Reduce your SRBs from eight to six, add a little fuel for the Mainsail, and put the Mainsail in the first stage along with the SRBs. If the ascent still gives you trouble, you can reduce throttle to about half once you've cleared the pad and go a little more slowly through the thick lower atmosphere, then throttle up after; MechJeb may be able to do this for you. However, you might find that a running Mainsail gives you enough control to fly full throttle all the way, and then you can replace the expensive and draggy steering wings with cheap basic fins.
  3. It can help, too, if you design the side boosters to burn for almost as long as the core stage, so that your rocket is at high altitude when you stage the boosters away. That way you're in very thin air and have much lower aerodynamic forces to cope with. It's difficult to do this with KSP solid boosters, which have very short burn times, but easier with a Falcon / Delta Heavy style where the boosters are very similar to the core. Definitely consider this if you're playing in an up-scaled solar system. Ariane 5's boosters are mounted quite a long way back on the core, or the core tapers quite early, and I wonder if it's partly this.
  4. @ArkaelDren: I think - I haven't tried it - that it's matching both "veteran" and "male". So the result for a male veteran is: the veteran node matches so the veteran suit replaces the previous setting (the default suit) then the male node matches so the male suit replaces the previous setting (the veteran suit) Try ... Requirements { gender = male veteran = false } ... for the non-veteran male suit node.
  5. An inter-space program rivalry that's getting slightly out of hand (see: twitter)? I've wondered that about the space programs in Florida in our world, what it's like to do a job where huge amounts of work hinge on just a few high-pressure, highly-visible moments. And at those moments, to be practically elbow-to-elbow with your major rivals in a market that's not necessarily big enough for both of you. So definitely +1 for the divided city setting - @DarkOwl57, get writing!
  6. I imagine that the boosters will aim to acheive some horizontal separation from each other before turning for the boostback burn, and this may be a more restrictive requirement than the need to clear the core stage - at this point in flight, the core is gaining its own length in roughly two seconds, according to the amateur acceleration plots. First stage turn and boostback is very quick in recent flights, so perhaps the separation and turn will be combined into a single maneuver. Also, the F9 first stage has to stop the engine in order to separate, because the second stage isn't firing - effectively, matching the accelerations of the two stages. But since the core will still be firing when the boosters separate, will it actually be necessary to cut off all the booster engines? Or can a booster transition from straight firing at low throttle to match the core acceleration, into firing at low throttle for the boostback?
  7. If you have to attempt re-entry with a vessel that wants to turn nose-first, use the engine gimbal to provide additional stability for as long as you can. Instead of burning off the remaining fuel in one go, wait until your other stability systems (RCS, reaction wheels) are struggling and the vessel starts to wobble, then smoothly open the throttle until it stabilizes. You'll have to gradually increase the throttle as you descend into thicker air, but you may be able to remain oriented engine-first for much longer.
  8. It works well for me; that's one of my favourite scenes in the whole epic, where you get the sense of people's loss, the sense that he was the kind of kerb who the whole program would truly miss, without having to fill in details that might or might not have struck the right tone for every reader. This is where easy perfection can survive, on the fringes of the story. It's when you take centre stage that you have to choose between less perfect or less real.
  9. I had thought pretty much the opposite: that the commercial point of the Falcon is to bid on the same contracts as all the other medium-lift rockets, at a much lower price, and have enough availability/turnaround to do this on all the medium-lift requirements in the world, all at once. In my view, it's the other launch providers - most notably ULA, but also Ariane, GSLV, ... - who will now urgently be looking for markets that the Falcon cannot service. (In other words, Rocket Lab's plan for bleeding-edge technology on a light lifter is looking like a wise choice.)
  10. Horizontal assembly building? Does this mean this is the future for all rockets, or just coincidence in a small sampe size?
  11. I used it alone to begin with - I had used TAC life support previously, and just swapped to USI when it came out to see how it played for the early missions where I was just carrying the resources at launch and not recycling or sharing them with propellant/fuel cells. USI-LS had a lower part count for basically the same game mechanics in the missions I was actually flying. At first I used USI-LS with settings to kill kerbals who run out of supplies, but the forums convinced me that it makes for a more interesting game if loss of supply leaves them stranded and in need of a rescue mission. These days I typically play with USI's MKS and DMagic's SCANSat too for more choices of recycling and ISRU missions. I'd always had SCANSat because I liked running the planetary mapping missions, even though I rarely actually mined any resources I found. Using MKS is a big step in game complexity, though, more like a new game mode than a parts and features pack, and it can tend to dominate a game that it's installed in. I'm not sure I'd have coped with all the modern MKS features back when I first started with USI-LS.
  12. Using a life support mod really changes the game. It's more realism and a higher level of difficulty, but it also gives you two new tradeoffs in your mission planning decisions: Probes make distant destinations accessible at lower technology levels; crews can get more done at the locations that are within logistic reach. For those crewed missions, choose faster transfer times needing more dV and fewer supplies? Or a supplies-heavy payload to support a long-duration minimal-dV transfer? USI-LS is my favourite. It's easy to get started around the Kerbin system just adding basic supplies to the spacecraft. Then you've got a good variety of processor and recycler parts as you get further up the technology tree and go further afield.
  13. Like many others, a moon-return story. With 6.4x scale mastered and the conquest of Mt Framerate a distant memory (thank you, Procedural Parts), Eillis Kerman sets out on a routine transfer to join Bob on the moon. A well-executed direct ascent lines up the Mün nicely - in fact, very nicely indeed. The capture burn is perfectly placed to proceed directly to landing - direct ascent and descent, how's that! - and the biome under the burn node looks a lot more interesting than the original, equatorial, landing site. Thanks to the expert piloting through all these manoeuvres, the lander has enough spare fuel for a suborbital hop to join Bob with an unexpected bonus haul of science; imagine the look on his face. My stars have aligned and everything's come good! Capture burn, undock, landing burn ... Bob is, of course, on the other moon. Mission planning not so aligned then. Even less aligned is Eillis' orbiter inclination. Clever kerbonauts will understand that a launch from high latitude to an inclined orbit requires either enough supplies to wait for the transfer window to come around again or enough fuel to make a dog-leg ascent. Wise kerbonauts will understand this before beginning the landing burn. Ah, well. Things are not looking so good on the snacks front - we were supposed to be dining chez Bob - so dog-leg it is. A couple of burns for the orbiter get its track and timing tolerably aligned, and the lander re-launches. There's a mountain. Simultaneous launching, dog-legging, and mountain-dodging, with fuel she doesn't have, proves a bit too much for Eillis' piloting skills and she survives the resulting crash only by the grace of Saint Effnine. Time to plan again. With two dog-legs for the lander and one for the orbiter, the ascending Eillis can pass in front of the mountain but behind a smaller hill. The lander's trajectory can stay below the summits of both and thus get further around the Mün on its limited dV budget. Awkwardly, the orbiter's dog-leg manoeuvre needs to occur between the two burns for the lander. It's quite nerve-wracking to leave the lander looking up at the terrain and switch away to the orbiter, but the plane changes and rendezvous timings go well enough in the circumstances. The intercept is nice and close, well within jetpack reach even in the minute and a half that the suborbital vessels - both of them, at this point - will have before the Mün surface arrives, and the velocities match pretty well. At least, their magnitudes do; the directions differ by thirty degrees or so. The lander has no fuel remaining and the "orbiter" needs every drop to get back into an actual orbit once Eillis makes it aboard; her jetpack doesn't have the TWR to complete the transfer in time. So, pointing the blunt crew capsule nose of the lander at the blunt crew-capsule nose of the orbiter as the two craft close in, Eillis climbs out of the hatch and into the handily kerbal-sized, handily tough, handily rear-placed and rear-facing engine bell, and waits. The crunch is a vintage one, as impacts go, scattering the front third of the orbiter and pretty much all of the lander to the four corners of the Mün, but the nozzle survives and Eillis with it. She scrambles into the orbiter's surviving hab module and makes good use of the suddenly-improved TWR to escape the Mün on a rapid trip home. ... I was pretty pleased to make it with only two reverts - the mountain, and ending up inside the Mün after the first attempt at robust rendezvous. These days, in career mode, I usually carry more in the way of spare supplies and try to spare my poor kerbals quite this level of drama.
  14. On a different thread, @Jas0n said (in its entirety): ... and the ominousnessnousness of it brought me straight here. Sucker for an epic line; keep 'em coming!