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Whisky Tango Foxtrot

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  1. My first interplanetary probe arrived at Duna, circularizing into a polar orbit and providing repeatable science experiments, surface scanning and communications to support future missions. My Moho probe (similarly equipped, but with more powerful communications) also arrived. I've also sent a probe to Eve, which both departed and arrived since my last posting here. After a few more technology unlocks, I was able to get my passenger SSTOs from my last campaign out of mothballs. I used it to send up some engineers to deploy the centrifuge on Kerbin Station. Speaking of Kerbin Station, I've added a science lab/observation module, completing its essential features (although it won't be complete until I add the second tank/power/communication module and the planned asteroid mining equipment.) With most of the tech tree unlocked, it's time to replace my old Minmus station, starting with a central hub and tank/power/comms array. After that came the command and centrifuge module, which was also the first use of my heavy tug design, slightly tweaked from the design I used in my previous save to add Snacks storage and enclosed crew space. This type of centrifuge takes three engineers to deploy, and since I generally only have two at Minmus at any given time (one in the station and one on the surface) I instead sent an SSTO full of engineers up to do the deployment while the module is still in low Kerbin orbit. Construction continued with a science/observatory/soil recycling module. And with a second tank module, the station was complete and ready to support Minmus operations. Finally, I sent probes on their way to Jool and Eeloo leaving Dres as the only planet without a mission either in orbit or en route, and that's just because the next Dres launch window is still a ways off.
  2. I've re-thought my return craft strategy. Originally I'd modified my existing return craft design to accommodate six people instead of four in order to leave room for a ground crew, but then I decided that in the event of an emergency evacuation I'm not going to want to have to send a transport craft to the surface, land on my base, send it back into orbit and then rendezvous with my station in order to send my crew back to Kerbin, so I settled on a two-craft strategy. They're similar in design, but while one is just meant to return to Kerbin from a station in orbit around the Mun or Minmus, the other is meant to land on the body in question, dock with an upward-facing docking port, and then launch and manoeuvre itself onto a return trajectory without needing to dock at the station. I've sent one of these to both my Mun and Minmus bases (with the Mun craft carrying some extra drop tanks to give it the extra dV it needs due to that body's higher gravity) and they're currently sitting on their respective ports, fully fuelled, supplied with snacks and ready to launch at a moment's notice. (I also landed science rovers at both the Mun and Minmus, as shown here.) Finally, with 2.5m docking ports and other essential parts unlocked I've started building a new space station around Kerbin. It's just got the bare essentials at the moment (probe core, electricity storage and generation, some crew space) and doesn't have anyone aboard (not even the two engineers needed to deploy its centrifuge) but it'll come in handy as I work towards getting my fleet of SSTOs up and running again.
  3. I launched an extension for my Mun base. I also sent a fuel/snacks transportation module and a fresh crew (in their own return ship.) It took a few attempts to land it since my light lifter module ended up not having enough thrust to slow it down from orbital speeds before impacting the Mun's surface, but once I brought my heavy lifter back from Minmus things went a lot more smoothly. It's got a central command hub, a greenhouse for Snack-production, a rover parking space and two extra ports for further expansion. I sent another one with essentially the same design to Minmus. Both extensions are working well and have already sent their first shipments of Snacks to their respective stations. I also sent my Moho probe on its way. My SENTINEL probe reached its periapsis, allowing me to execute the final manoeuvre to put it into its intended orbit around the Sun and start gathering data. Finally, I received a contract to test the LV-1, giving me early access to NERV engines and allowing me to put my Shover Robot tug design from my last save back into service. The biggest change from the last version is that I replaced the external command seat with the Porthole module from the Station Parts mod. In addition to containing enough Snacks to sustain a Kerbal on the way back from Minmus, this will also allow me to execute aerobraking manoeuvres with a Kerbal aboard, something that wasn't possible with the old design. Its shown here carrying a modified 6-person crew return vehicle and science rover, but that ended up not working so well as I was unable to decouple the two craft after reaching Minmus Station, possibly because I attached the return craft's docking port to the rover radially. I ended up transferring the crew to the station and then de-orbiting the ship and rover, allowing them to destroy themselves by smashing into Minmus's surface. This leaves my current Minmus crew without a way to return home, but with the new base they have an effectively endless supply of Snacks which will give me plenty of time to send a replacement ship.
  4. I sent my new lander design to Minmus. I just re-used the same craft configuration as the Mun lander, so it's also got a science module, Klaw adaptor, landing module and some extra fuel. After unlocking a few more nodes on the science tree I was able to build the mining base design that I'd created towards the end of my previous save. I never actually used this design very much on that save as I'd already sent different designs to nearly all of the minable planets and moons in the system by the time I came up with this one, but I'm looking forward to making more use of the new design in this save. Unlike the one I'd used throughout most of my previous career, this version can fit entirely inside of the largest-sized fairings, making it much easier to launch. After sending the mine to the Mun, I used a purpose-built "heavy lander" craft (which I had to launch sideways to get through the atmosphere) to lower it to the surface. The mine works well, although it's currently operating entirely unmanned since it doesn't have any kind of Snack-production equipment. However, it has two docking ports on the sides that I plan to use to add some additional crew-support facilities to the base, which should be easier this time around since one of the changes that I made to the design was to replace those ports with new modded flexible docking tubes, which will make it less of a challenge to line the new parts up. With the mine in place, I sent the heavy lifter module to Minmus so that I could land an identical mine there. Same deal as before; no permanent crew until the base can be expanded. It still works well as a fuel-production facility, though, even if its output it limited by the lack of an engineer.
  5. Having unlocked the most powerful relays, I built a probe for Moho. The double dishes are overkill just for maintaining communication between Moho and Kerbin, but I want Moho to function as a kind of communications hub for the entire Kerbol system, since its position close to the sun means that it's generally going to be in a good position to bounce signals between planets on opposite sides of their orbits. The actual transfer window is still a ways off, but this design has successfully achieved its intended orbit around Moho in F5F9 tests. I also sent a SENTINEL telescope on its way to an orbit just below Kerbin (in order to satisfy a contract.) Finally, I unlocked some probe cores with the maximum SAS level, so now it's time to start building some permanent unmanned vehicles instead of the temporary, soon-to-be-obsolete stuff that I'd been using. First off, I built a new lifter vehicle to handle landings on the Mun. With it I'm sending a science module (containing a full suite of experiments,) an AGU module and a two-person crew landing module. Plus some extra fuel for the station (since I haven't set up mining there yet.) With the AGU module on-station, I can finally de-orbit the engine that I used to get the first station module to the Mun to begin with and free up another docking port. About time, really.
  6. I used my tug and lander to flip my Mun station tank around. With my Mun and Minmus labs still chugging away I was able to unlock some more science experiments, making it worthwhile to start launching science/scanning probes. First on Kerbin Then the Mun And finally Minmus. I started running low on snacks at my Mun station, so I decided to cycle the crew. I already had a crew-return module fuelled and supplied at the station, so I just had to load my Kerbals onto it and send it home. I sent the replacement crew up with some extra fuel to support future operations. Finally, my Duna transfer window arrived, so it was time to send out my first interplanetary probe. This probe has a resource scanner, a suite of repeatable science experiments and a relay dish to support future missions. I've also got some mining parts unlocked, but I'm not sure if I want to start landing bases on the Mun and Minmus right now or wait until I have a few more parts available.
  7. I unlocked the 15G communication equipment, making interplanetary probes feasible, but it'll be a while before the next Duna or Eve transfer window opens, so I had to find something else to keep busy. First off, I redesigned my rescue craft. This one can hold two Kerbals (although I don't often use this functionality) and I don't have to worry about situations where the derelict doesn't have an EVA hatch. It also lets me dispose of the derelict while I do the rescue, so I don't have to worry about a bunch of junk cluttering up LKO. I also unlocked OKTO2 probe cores, so I figured it was as good a time as any to build a new Mun lander (since my previous one was used as a disposable return craft for Jeb.) Mun Station also needed a tug, so I designed one of those, too, and sent them up together. The new lander works well, and while I left out the mystery goo container and Science Jr. from the previous design (since they were more cumbersome than they were worth) I had access to the accelerometre this time around so I could still collect plenty of science. The new tug also works well, and with three independent spacecraft now at Mun Station (the tug, the lander and the crew return ship) I should be able to flip that badly-installed tank around, but I didn't feel like doing that just yet. Maybe next session.
  8. I've been doing a lot of station-building lately, but first I decided that the current four-person crew of Mun Station was too much of a drain on resources, and a space station isn't going to be executing any fancy manoeuvres, so it was time to send Jeb back. I didn't have a return craft for him, but my Mun lander was of limited use now that I'd gathered some data from the surface to be analyzed in the station's lab, so I fuelled it up and sent it to Kerbin. Of course, the lander was designed for Mun landings, not for Kerbin re-entry, so most of it experienced Rapid Unplanned Disassembly on the way down. The pod survived, though, and that's all I needed. After slowing down to a reasonable speed, it was time for Jeb to abandon the pod (which didn't have a parachute) and finish the descent on his own. Good thing I'm running the latest version. Meanwhile, back at Mun Station power usage remained a concern. It would be a while before I'd unlock the Gigantor solar panels, but I did have access to OX-STAT-XL arrays, and the station didn't have a fuel tank yet, so why not turn a problem into an opportunity? The pod up front is there to allow Valentina to pilot the module into orbit (since launching without prograde hold is a major pain in the posterior) but once it was up there the transfer vehicle's OKTO probe core could handle the rest of the trip on its own, so Val detached and returned to Kerbin. Upon arriving, I realized that I'd screwed up in assembling the rocket, since I'd put the end with the Jr. docking ports on the front meaning that they would end up on the inward-facing side of the module when it was attached to the station. Eventually I'll be able to flip the module around with tugs, but for now I'll just have to deal with the reduced docking capacity. The new module didn't completely solve my power woes, but it did allow me to switch on a bit more of my soil recycling capacity, extending the amount of time that my scientists (and engineer) can stay on the station for significantly longer. With that taken care of it was time to turn my attention to Minmus. I still hadn't unlocked the HECS probe core yet (I had to use a lot of the science points I'd built up to unlock the RCS tank that I'd included in my fuel module) so I didn't want to send the main part of the station up (since I wanted to include a HECS in both the station itself and the lander) so instead I started with the fuel tank. After all, as long as I kept the transfer vehicle attached, the tank could function as a fully-independent space probe, with its own probe core, communications and power-generation equipment. With the tank in place, the next step would be to send the main station module. The problem was that my tweaked station design was now too big to get off the ground with the rockets I had access to, so I had to remove some of the habitation space that I'd originally intended. I also sent it up unmanned, since now that life support was an issue I wanted to make sure that I was fully prepared before I sent anyone on the week+ trip to the minty moon. So now I had a functional, albeit still unmanned, station in orbit around Minmus, and the time-warping that I'd done to get it there allowed my scientists on Mun Station to do enough research to unlock both HECS probe cores and the AGU, allowing me to complete a mission I'd left undone for quite a while. I'd accepted a rescue mission earlier that I assumed would be fairly routine, however I didn't count on the fact that the Station Parts mod would include modules with crew capacity but no EVA hatch, something that doesn't occur in the stock game. Even the Mk1 crew cabin has hatches there, although since they're at the attachment nodes they're typically blocked by other parts. This meant that my usual strategy of sending an empty ship to rendezvous with the rescuee and then having them EVA over to it wouldn't work, and I'd have to come up with a new solution. My idea was to send a pod with an AGU on the front, attached to an interstage node provided by a fairing. This would allow the rescuee to transfer to the pod without needing to EVA, and then the whole thing could be taken back to Kerbin, where the derelict module would be released to burn up in the atmosphere and the pod itself would land via parachute. That done, it was time to do some housekeeping. I'd taken on several rescue missions previously in order to build up my roster of astronauts, and their derelicts were all still floating in LKO. With the AGU unlocked I could finally get rid of them. With that taken care of, it was time to turn my attention back to Minmus, and to get a crew onto Minmus Station. I'd initially planned to send them up in the habitation module that I'd omitted from the earlier launch, but given the increased danger of manned missions that my new modded, Snacks-dependent career presented I chose to instead send them in a ship that could also be used as an escape pod if they needed to leave in a hurry. With a crew onboard, a landing could be attempted to get some data for the scientists to study. And with two stations now producing science, it wasn't long before I'd unlock those long-sought-after Gigantor panels to complete my stations. First at the Mun, where they were propelled through space by another escape pod, And then at Minmus, propelled by a newly-designed station tug. Now I just have to wait for these stations to churn away at their science data for long enough to unlock the long-range communications parts that will make probes to Duna and Eve practical.
  9. Making more progress in my new career save. Went to Minmus. The Minmus trip was the first time the mods I installed for this play-through really came into play, since that Mk1 Command Module doesn't have enough snacks on-board to keep Valentina fed for the whole trip to Minmus and back, so I had to put an extra container inside a service bay to keep her supplied. The mission went smoothly otherwise, though, and netted me enough science to build my first space station, which I sent to the Mun. My unfamiliarity with my newly-installed mods really reared its ugly head here, though, as I'd assumed that I'd be using the science lab to generate the necessary Snacks to keep my crew supplied, upon arrival I discovered that I'd need ore for that. I don't even have any ore containers unlocked yet, and mining is still a long way off, so that wouldn't be a possibility. Fortunately, the utility module I'd included had soil-recycling capabilities, but I didn't have any soil storage on the station. Good thing I design these things to be expandable. Up went the first expansion part for Mun Station, including a Hitchhiker container (mainly for its soil storage) and a centrifuge module (for bone health, and also because it has its own soil recyclers that I can use to boost output.) I also made sure to pack a lot of extra fuel for this trip, since I had to deplete the fuel intended for my lander when I sent the initial station up. With the new module attached, snack-production can commence. I'm not sure if it'll be enough to make the station completely self-sufficient but it should extend its lifespan between resupply missions considerably, and it taught me a lot of useful lessons that I can apply to my upcoming Minmus station. I was also able to use the extra fuel to land on the Mun and collect enough data to almost completely fill my science lab. Next stop, Minmus! After I've unlocked a HECS probe core, at least. I'd forgotten what an enormous pain it is to try to launch without prograde hold.
  10. Well, I'm back. Started a new career in 1.4.5. My last play-through was fully stock, but this time around I'm running a few mods, such as Planetary Base Systems, Flexible Docking Ports, Snacks and Stockalike Station Parts. The mods haven't really played much of a role yet, though, as I work through the early stages of the tech tree. Orbiting the Mun. Probing Minmus. Up to sending the first krewed landing mission to the Mun. (He made it home, by the way.) It's good to be back.
  11. The thing is, I want to move on to other games. I've got a big backlog built up because I wanted to stick with KSP until I'd finished my goals in career mode (planting a flag on every body and colonizing Laythe) and I'm pretty eager to start playing them. I'll probably come back to KSP eventually and try a modded career, but I've got other things to play in the meantime.
  12. And Alexander wept, for there were no worlds left to conquer. So that's engineer Lefty Kerman and pilot Tomner Kerman on the surface of Bop, the last solid body in the Kerbol system that had yet to be visited by Kerbals. I've now planted a flag on every planet and moon in the game. The only question now is whether I should begin my hiatus from KSP right away or wait until I've had my Eeloo ship execute its return burn before I move on to other games.
  13. That's a neat design but the purpose of these rovers is to have a mobile science probe that I can just leave on the surface of a body and that can be operated indefinitely without resupply after that. An ion engine would need regular shipments of Xenon gas, which would kind of defeat that point. Oh, and as a slight correction to my earlier post, I also don't have a rover on Laythe, since with it being mostly ocean it wouldn't be practical there. I've got a science plane there instead and a surface base where it can be refuelled.
  14. A lot of waiting. Timewarping ahead a day at a time, checking to see if there are any easy/interesting contracts available, transmitting data from my MPL and then loading new experiments into them, counting down the time until the experiments are all loaded and I can move my ships to the next parts of their missions. I did, however, manage to send a small shipment to Duna. That's a replacement power/comm strut for Duna Station (one of the solar panels on the existing one got destroyed; not sure how or when) and a science rover for Ike. Dropping the rover onto Ike's surface. I now have rovers on the surface of every solid body in the Kerbol system other than Gilly and Kerbin itself. A rover wouldn't work very well on Gilly due to its low gravity (I've got a lander with science experiments that I can send down to Gilly's surface instead) and if I want science data from Kerbin's surface I can just deploy a fresh rover from the SPH.
  15. When I landed my rover on Vall yesterday I wanted to say that I now had a rover on every solid body in the Kerbol system, but then I realized that that really wasn't the case. I didn't have one on Gilly, for instance, but it wouldn't be practical to put one there due to its incredibly low gravity (I've got a spare mining lander with scientific instruments that I can put on Gilly's surface instead) but I also didn't have one on Ike or Eve. I had a stationary probe floating in one of Eve's oceans, but no wheeled rover on the surface, despite having one ready and waiting at Gilly station for ages. So I figured now was as good a time as any to land it. The lander is my old Moho-class design, slightly modified with an atmospheric analyzer and increased battery capacity (since it take a lot of power to transmit the data from an atmospheric analyzer back to Kerbin.) I've also launched a new rover for Ike, but it's currently parked at Minmus Station waiting for a transfer window to Duna. I'll post screenshots once it's actually underway.
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