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Jack Joseph Kerman

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  • About me
    Roving Enthusiast
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    New Hampshire, USA
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    KSP (duh), Astronomy, Hiking, Youtube (trying to become a content creator)

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  1. Not sure if a threat about this already exists somewhere, but as I’m sure you’re aware, docking in KSP can be pretty hard to do sometimes, especially if you’ve got docking ports at awkward angles or are docking two large craft, which tends to bring down frame rates. But what’s the most difficult docking maneuver you’ve ever done successfully (or at least attempted)? Share your stories here! As for me, the most difficult docking I’ve ever tried (and what gave me the idea for this thread to begin with), was just last night when I was attempting to attach a several hundred-ton booster to my 1,100-part mothership, the Kilonova, in low Mesbin orbit. Due to the combined part count of over 1300, I was experiencing frame rates of 2-3 FPS, and because the booster was so heavy, even trying to orient it the correct way took minutes, at which point the mothership would just start moving out of alignment again. This was about as close as I got before giving up (I’d already been trying for 20+ minutes) I don’t really remember what my most difficult successful docking was, but it was probably something pretty similar in scope, just actually made possible by me using a better computer.
  2. Things are most definitely not going according to plan. First off, I've had to redo the entire launch, because when I tried to decouple the heat shields, they ended up destroying the center docking port, making it so the booster is unable to dock with the Kilonova. Originally, I was considering just sending up new landers to replace the old ones, but, now that the docking port was gone, I was left with no choice but to bite the bullet and do the entire launch over again (this time without any unauthorized key pressing). Oh, I'm sorry, did I say do the launch over again? What I meant to say was do the launch over again, twice. During the first stage separation, the booster collided with the Kilonova's radiator panel system and destroyed it, as well as damaging one of the landers. While I may have been able to just get away fine with this, I didn't want to risk it, and decided not to do so. Third time's the charm, complete with better booster separation Once the Kilonova was finally back in orbit without inflated heatshields, I used the remainder of the second stage's fuel to get it up to an orbit that almost matches that of Mesbin's closest moon, Statmun, which is a tiny, metallic asteroid 6 kilometers across that orbits in an extremely close Mesbin-stationary orbit. This is only made possible by the fact that Mesbin rotates so quickly that the synchronous orbit altitude is actually quite close to the surface. Passing near Statmun (never entered its SOI) Everything seems to be going okay now, doesn't it? I thought so, too, until I attempted to attach the Kilonova's booster to it in orbit. Speaking of the booster, it's more or less a bunch of asparagus-staged Rhino engines attached to a central 3.75m core, that should give the Kilonova an extra 2,500 m/s or so of delta-V to use for escaping low Mesbin orbit. Here you can see the earlier version, which used Mammoth engines instead but this was deemed unnecessary Launch of the booster Coming in to dock with the Kilonova. This is the point at which things really took a turn for the worse, as while I had anticipated that docking would be difficult due to the very low framerates and high part counts (the combined part counts of both ships was around 1300), what I did not expect was for it to be essentially impossible. In fact, the lag was so bad that just turning the booster or the Kilonova to get the correct orientation took several minutes, at which point they would already be moving too fast relative to one another to dock thanks to Mesbin's gravity pulling them apart. Here's a GIF showing how low the framerates I was having to deal with were: Yes. I'm not kidding. This is what I experienced in real time. I don't think there was a single time that I was pulling more than 3 frames a second. And even if I did get the positions right, I'd still be rotating, which you'd think you'd be able to stop by just activating time warp. While I could do this, activating time warp also had the side effect of just straight up teleporting the other craft over 100 meters to the left or right, making the reorientation useless. In other words, there was just simply no way I was going to be able to dock the booster with the Kilonova, especially considering that, in order to do so, I'd have to slide the booster between the two landers, which, while certainly possible with good frame rates, was simply not going to happen. So I was forced to scrap the booster idea entirely, and instead rely on asteroid mining to get me to Derbin. Another thing that ended up going wrong was that I somehow got my ion landers confused. Here you can see one of the Hermes landers emerging from the cargo bay to do a test run to Statmun, but there's a problem: It only has 11,500 m/s of delta-V, a far cry from the 32-34,000 I thought it had. I could have sword I'd seen it with 30 km/s in the VAB, but I must have gotten it confused with another ion lander I made. The lander-in-question during a simulation test gauging how much delta-V I'd need to reach Ammenon and return, which turned out to be at least 30,000 m/s Unlike the previous problem with the booster, however, this issue isn't that big of deal, seeing as I can just slap a docking port onto the lander and attach it to the docking port on the Kilonova's front command pod, which, while docking will probably still be difficult, shouldn't be so bad as it's a pretty small and lightweight craft.
  3. PART 2: THE LAUNCH OF KILONOVA III Today's the day, it seems. After careful selection of crewmembers (definitely not just picking any kerbal from the Astronaut Complex whose name I liked and creating a few kerbals through the console here and there), the Kilonova III is finally out on the pad ready to launch into low Mesbin orbit. A crew of fifteen kerbals has been assembled to crew the ship as it fulfills its momentous journey. Their names are: Jebediah Kerman, Bill Kerman, Bob Kerman, Valentina Kerman, Derwise Mesoman, Billy-Boblas Kerman, Agagan Kerman, Phil Mesoman, Eriney, Kerman Jack Mesoman, Stan Kerman, Gormund Mesoman, Kevin Mesoman, Joolina Kerman, and Bonnie Kerman. Gene Mesoman: "Kilonova III, this is KSC. You are go for launch." Jebediah Kerman: "Roger that, KSC. Engaging launch sequence." "We are go for launch!" blares a speaker to the spectators looking on from inside multiple pressurized observation domes around the KSC. "T-minus 60 seconds and counting.." *Aboard the Kilonova III, there exists only an unbearably tense atmosphere and silence, occasionally interrupted by ominous creaking sounds and Jeb's lighthearted wisecracks* "Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven.. Ignition!" *The Kilonova III launcher's fourteen Mammoth engines silently roar to life in the near-vacuum of Mesbin's surface* "Six, five, four, three, two, one.." ... "We have liftoff!" Once liftoff had been achieved, the Kilonova III was quite sluggish to ascend, thanks to its rather low thrust-to-weight ratio. Just a few seconds after launch, however, quite a significant error was made. Somehow, somewhere in mission control, someone had accidentally flipped a switch that remotely inflated all sixteen heat shields on both Brute landers. Who this mystery blunderer is remains to be seen, as do his motivations. (alright, it was me having a finger slip and accidentally pressing the action group key that activates the heat shields. We don't talk about this one.) Regardless of this, however, the Kilonova III continued its ascent into orbit unaffected, as there was simply no way to abort the launch safely now. All that was left to be considered was, why in the name of the Kraken had the engineers made it so the heat shields could only be inflated remotely, and not from the actual Brute's command pod? After only about thirty seconds, the Kilonova III was already well on its way into Mesbin orbit, thanks to the fact that it rotates so quickly. In fact, you only need around 2,000 meters per second to reach orbit from the equator. Which I am more than thankful for, as I struggle to imagine how much more difficult a launch like this would have been from Kerbin, with all that atmosphere in the way and such. Finally at T+ 1 minute, 9 seconds, the fourteen Mammoth engines fizzled out as the last of their fuel was exhausted. Almost immediately afterwards, the two side decouplers were activated, jettisoning the first stage. Gene Mesoman: "This is KSC to Kilonova III. Thanks to whatever numpty prematurely inflated the heat shields, we're going to have to be completely clear of them before the second stage can be activated." ... Gene Mesoman: "You are clear of the first stage boosters. Activate stage two." Jebediah Kerman: "Roger. Second-stage ignition in 3..2..1.. Ignition!" From that point on, it was smooth sailing all the way into orbit, with an altitude of about 1,025 km. (1025 km above datum level, really only about 55-60 km above the actual surface of Mesbin) Now that the ship is in orbit, I'm presented with a bit of a dilemma. While the whole heat shield incident didn't initially seem like it would do any harm, after reaching orbit, I realized that some of the shields are clipping together, and can't be deflated once inflated, which means that decoupling one lander will almost surely just cause the whole thing to explode. Even if that doesn't happen, the heat shields will still block the central docking port for the orbital boosters. In other words, this means that I'm probably going to have to send up two replacement landers because of me accidentally pressing a key. Or, alternatively, I could just repeat the entire launch, because docking (twice) in the terrible frame rates that I will be experiencing sounds absolutely awful. To get an idea of how bad the frame rate was with the over 1,200 part launcher I was using, it took almost 10 minutes in real-time to get into orbit, while the in-game timer only read about 2 minutes. Now back to that orbital booster I mentioned. While getting into Mesbin orbit is easy, escaping is a whole different game. From low Mesbin orbit, you need approximately 4,000 meters per second of delta-V to get onto an escape trajectory (or just reach Derbin in my case). While the Kilonova III can manage that with both landers attached, that will be about it. So, instead of burning practically all of my fuel just to reach Derbin, what I want to do instead is send up a few boosters that will dock with the Kilonova and give it a few hundered extra m/s of velocity repeatedly, so that I can reach Derbin almost fully-fueled and get down to a low Derbin orbit without having to do any refueling. As far as the other moons of Mesbin are concerned, I figure I can reach Statmun, Thresomin, and maybe Graymun just by sending the Workhorse or one of the Hermes landers out before doing the final burn to send the Kilonova to Derbin. After Derbin has been completed, the Kilonova will go to Dermun and Derminmus, and finally back towards Mesbin to Kerbmun, from orbit of which he Workhorse will reach Troymin. The booster in question Video:
  4. Finished setting up the preparations to start a mission that I've been wanting to do for quite some time now: a Whirligig World grand tour. I originally meant to do it a number of months ago, but ended up just getting sidetracked and doing a bunch of other things over the summer. Another thing I've been wanting to do for a while is write another full mission report, which I've started doing here: My craft of choice, the Kilonova III, in Mesbin orbit during a "simulation test". Its part count, stripped to the bare essentials without any of the landers and other nonsense, is around 450. The full launch-vehicle configuration has a part count of over 1,100, which is sure to make my laptop reconsider its existence. Fully loaded up, it has over 7 km/s of delta-V, which should be enough to reach most of the destinations in this planet pack. For those that are not reachable within said delta-V budget, I have two special ion landers, called the DV-30000 "Hermes", named that for their delta-V of 30,000 meters per second. The main lander, Workhorse, is nothing too special, really. It's quite similar to the old Talon lander that I used during my stock+OPM grand tour a couple years ago. The Other Landers:
  5. Alrighty, I think I've now got everything in perfect working order and the Kilonova is pretty much go for launch, all that is left is to assemble an adequate booster. As it turns out, there were a few problems with actually getting the Brute lander down to the surface of Derbin in one piece, that mainly being because the heat shields didn't behave exactly as I had been counting on. As I later found out, it turns out that the fuel tank directly behind the four 3.75m heat shields was somehow not being considered as protected from the airflow by the game, and as such it kept exploding, causing the whole craft to break apart. In order to fix this, I had to give it its own entire 2.5m heat shield. Needy son of a gun. Once that was done, however, the Brute made it down to the surface of Derbin okay, and was able to ascend back into orbit nominally. The Brute landers are also now going to both be hauled up into Mesbin orbit with the Kilonova in accordance with the rules of the Ultimate Challenge, being mounted on two 2.5m docking ports at the rear end of the ship. Once Brute 1 is detached in its low Derbin parking orbit, Brute 2 will be moved over to a central docking port in order to keep the weight distribution balanced. Not looking forward to launching it, however, as the combined partcount of the ship, all the landers, and the booster is already over 1,100.
  6. No idea who this guy was. Not that it matters, since he was predictably stranded on the Mun for eternity anyways. I know for a fact that he wasn’t Jeb, and am almost certain he wasn’t Bill or Bob either.
  7. Banned for evoking hippomonstrosesequippedaliophobia.
  8. The 30,000 delta-V I was talking about is really only necessary to reach Ammenon, which is located so deep in Genemma’s gravity well that reaching it with the Kilonova would be an exercise in futility. In testing, starting from about the orbit of Lowel, I needed at least 30-31k dV (the Hermes has around 34k). Given that Fophie (as you mentioned) and Wolda should take a lot less than that with the help of gravity assists (repeated Shol assists in the case of Wolda), the second lander should comfortably be able to reach them both. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this, but inside the cargo containers that I mentioned are also two drogue chutes that will be used for Lowel and Lito’s thin atmospheres, so I don’t have to use rocket braking to reach a safe deployment speed for the main chute.
  9. Ever since I finished writing the mission report of my ludicrously overbuilt Tylo circumnavigation mission a while back, which*checks calendar*.. was ten months ago now, I've wanted to write another mission report of similar style, but never really had an idea that stuck on what such a thread should be about. Then, a couple of months ago, I downloaded the Whirligig World planet pack just to try something new, and ended up absolutely loving it, doing an entire career save and whatnot. After I'd progressed through most, if not all, of the tech tree and visited numerous planets and moons within the mod, it came to me. I should do a grand tour of the Whirligig World planet pack, which, at least to my knowledge, is something that nobody has done before (or at least posted about on here before). So, after yet a few more months of procrastination and getting caught up in other things like a full-time job, here I am. Welcome to... by Jack Joseph Kerman PART 1: DESIGN AND PRE-MISSION TOMFOOLERY Before I get into the design of the craft I'll be using (can you possibly guess what its name is?), let alone the actual mission, I'd first just like to give a brief overview of the Whirligig World mod and the system(s) I'll be attempting to conquer in one go. So, for those of you that aren't aware, Whirligig World is a Kopernicus planet pack created by @GregroxMun that radically changes the home system and how one goes about playing the game. Instead of starting out on Kerbin or any old habitable planet, you start the game on Mesbin, a massive, airless world that has an absurdly high rotation rate, which gives it its highly oblate shape, and gravity ranging from "feeling like you had a few too many snacks" at the equator (1.3 Gees) to "your spine will discombobulate into woodchips" at the poles (13 Gees). Luckily for our Kerbals, they are situated near the equator, and it is from here that your spacecraft are launched from. Getting into orbit around Mesbin is actually quite easy thanks to the fact that it rotates almost as fast as its orbital velocity, but because there's *almost* no atmosphere, landing again is pretty much like landing on Tylo in stock KSP. I don't want to spoil too much about this mod right away, and the mod even has a little bit of lore to go with it, so be sure to check out the mod's forum page if you're interested. In general, the system's arrangement makes the game considerably harder, and that's why I think of a grand tour as a worthy challenge. Speaking of challenge, let's talk about the unique challenges imposed by some of the places I'll be visiting in this mission, and how I hopefully managed to work around them in designing the Kilonova. The Kilonova III (Kilonova III prototype in orbit of Mesbin during a "simulation" test AKA cheat menu orbit setting). I present to you the Kilonova III, my craft of choice for conducting this mission. As its name suggests, it is not the first iteration of such a vessel, with the first two having been scrapped for more or less the same reason: too many parts. While the current version has around 450 parts, raised to 650 or so with all three landers docked, the original two models had a partcount approaching 1,000 (in the Kilonova I's case, without any landers), which, while they could have been used for the mission, would have been like trying to run a marathon with sandbags tied to your legs. Sure, you could probably do it, given enough time, but does that seem worth it in any way? Not really. The strain they put on my crappy laptop was just too much to justify using them, because I'd rather not do an entire mission at 5-10 frames a second. Kilonova I, more or less created just for fun and maybe a crazy Jool-5 mission: Kilonova II: The first major design element that I had to incorporate was simply giving the Kilonova a high amount of delta-V, around 7,000 meters per second at a minimum to be sufficient for some of the more outlandish transfers that I'll surely be having to make. That's kind of a no-brainer, however, as pretty much any interplanetary cruiser type-ship is to be decked out with loads of delta-V. Now, you may have heard me say that this thing has three landers earlier. That's actually not true, there are seven landers in total, but two of them were counted in the ship's "unloaded" part count simply due to how small and light they are compared to the other three, and the two remaining landers are not going to be attached to the Kilonova itself, but rather shipped to the destination in advance. Confused? Me too, let's walk through them one by one. Lander 1: The Workhorse Here is the lander that I will be using for the vast majority of the landings over the course of this mission (minus the docking ports, they were part of a configurable variant of the lander that I've since scrapped). It has over 3,600 meters per second of delta-V, which should be enough to land on and return from most of the planets and moons in this mod. The parachute at the top can also be removed or attached by an engineer Kerbal, depending on whether or not the Workhorse needs to land on a body with an atmosphere. Lander 2: Tartarus Imterril Lander This lander is the lander that I will be using to land on and return from Imterril. Instead of a fully powered ascent, it covers the first 70 kilometers or so of ascent using propellers, as Imterril's atmosphere is so thick at sea level (15 atmospheres) that most rocket engines simply wouldn't work at all. In addition, because Imterril is completely covered by water, it needs a flotation system in order to stay upright. You may recognize it from a forum post of mine from a few months ago in the thread "What did you do in KSP today?" in which I talked about my mission to Imterril. Its design is more or less unchanged from its previous use during that mission (the only notable difference being that there is no submersible this time), in which it proved highly reliable. Lander 3: Kerbmun/Gannovar SSTO Lander Quite a bit different from the other landers we've seen so far, this lander is a small SSTO spaceplane that will be used to land on Mesbin's habitable moon Kerbmun and the distant planet Gannovar, both of which have oxygenated atmospheres. It's pretty much identical to a basic Kerbin SSTO in a functional sense. Landers 4 & 5: Brute 1 & Brute 2 (Brute 1 during a simulation test taking off from Valyr) These two landers are the largest and most powerful of the bunch, both weighing in at over 100 tons. They are the landers that will be shipped to their respective destinations (Valyr and Derbin, which are both harder to escape from than Eve in stock KSP) in advance in order to save weight. Fully fueled, they have around 8,000 meters per second of delta-V, and performed exceptionally well in testing. Let's see if that holds up in practice. Landers 6 & 7: DV-30000 "Hermes" 1 & 2 (Hermes 1 in side cargo bay) Finally, we have the two small ion landers, which, as the name "DV-30000" would suggest, each have around 30,000 meters per second of delta-V to reach the most difficult/far-flung places in the whole mod (Ammenon, 2 Wolda, & Fophie). They may also be used to visit some of the smaller moons too, if I don't feel like bringing out the Workhorse. OTHER NOTABLE FEATURES: Another notable feature of the Kilonova III is its ability to latch onto asteroids and mine them for fuel, which will likely be necessary in situations where I don't have enough delta-V to reach a small moon somewhere for refueling. The asteroid capture arm consists of four Advanced Grabbing Units mounted on a large piston. In addition to the asteroid mining, another notable (and somewhat questionable) choice I made was to use landing gear instead of landing legs for the ship to rest on when landed. This wasn't really a practical choice so much as it was a cosmetic one; the two fuel tank rings would make using landing legs impractical, so I just went for large landing gears instead. Part 2 Launching Soon..
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