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About Randox

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    Spacecraft Engineer

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  1. Being able to write in both C# and lua is probably about as good a pair of options as we'll get. Lua is light and simple to support, and not being compiled gives it complimentary uses to C#. Python isn't really fit to purpose in my eyes. It's slower than lua, and it has a bigger footprint. The advantages it would enjoy are chiefly that it's very popular (which may open up the door to some potential modders), and that it is backed by very comprehensive standard libraries. I wouldn't complain if they supported Python because its a language I really like (it's also possibly the easiest language to read, which makes it perhaps the best language in which to be tinkering with lightly documented code written by other people :P), but it wouldn't be at the top of my list.
  2. I lost a probe. Two, actually, but I think I can recover one. I am testing an extra planetary orbital refinery around Minmus. I am primarily interested in any parts I may have forgotten (I should make checklists), and any quality of life improvements. The first launch was an object lesson in deploying a very large clamshell fairing before clearing 70km. It didn't clear me and turned one ship into several. That probe was lost to the ocean. During the second launch it occurred to me I didn't include any antennas. "No problem" I think to myself. "I have a level 3 ground station and a pair of deep range relays in orbit. It will be fine." Nope. Mun would be alright. Minmus is not. However, the station has a double intercept. It will return to Kerbin in a couple days and head right back. I'm unsure if I can rendezvous during the second transfer, but I'll absolutely try. That would be a huge achievement. Either way, I'm going to launch a communications retrofit that I can attach. Whether I can install it in transit or have to chase the ship to Minmus and install there, I'll get it. Going to have to do some math for this. I've never attempted to rendezvous in transit before, and I feel lime the timing margin for this is only a few seconds. I'm also going to need a ship that can pull 15 g's or more.
  3. To enable intersellar travel, even in a scaled down universe (and frankly, it's not that scaled down if the distance is ~2 ly), we're going to have to encroach on fiction and torch drives. At least, we are if the goal is to have an endgame where you are setting up self supporting bases and building ships in another star system on a timescale that isn't getting into generational ship territory. But I get your point. I have to be on board with Metallic Hydrogen though. Yes, the current signs point to it either not being possible at all, or not being viable with known projected technology. But...it's also really cool, and something that would be absolutely amazing if it were real because it would be both massively useful, and not an existential crisis. Metallic Hydrogen doesn't lean so directly to building an actual torch ship, and by extension, doesn't readily turn into a weapon that can destroy entire planets by running into them. I can see something that probably isn't possible would be an issue...but I think I have to side with the rule of cool on this one. Besides, if we don't include it in a game now, it might be disproven before we have another chance I do feel like concessions to gameplay are going to need to be made, and while I would like things to be grounded in good existing and speculative science, I also have a day job and would like to see myself building ships on planets in another star system sometime before the year 2025.
  4. That might work better for some of these low thrust designs. My sandbox career ships are mostly centered around 2.3 launch TWR, and my gravity turn habits are certainly based largely on that experience. I've been coping alright with these less powerful rockets, but I've not nailed the launch procedure yet. Without a consistent launch regime for lower thrust rockets, I am relying on my skill as a pilot to cope. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong that time. I know I had to hold attitude before 10km to pause the turn, and that I was meeting my 50 seconds to apoapsis shortly after, but I think I neglected to do a sanity check on my vertical speed. Basically, I was checking off the usual boxes, and ignoring other signs for which I don't have specific criteria that something had gone wrong with my ascent profile (I expect I made too large an initial turn). I need a mod for black box data (I think I saw one like that too)
  5. Code Charlie Foxtrot - You Will Not Get To Space Today Not a huge amount of progress made today. I need moar science to do the things I want to do, including the things I would be doing to get more science. So basically, the space program is in a standoff with linear time. Finally accepting that, in order to get science, we might have to visit new places, it was decided to send a couple Kerbals out to Minmus to grab some more quick science. It didn't even seem hard to do; we just took the overbuilt Mun Lander, slapped some more science gear to it (i.e. made it taller and less stable), hired our first new recruit (to reset the science) and threw it on the launch pad. I even took a bunch of pretty pictures, which I will now use as a story aide: I'm So Pretty! The rocket was a bit slow off the mark, but nothing Jeb and Zeltop couldn't handle. After all, this was basically the same rocket our program had launched twice already, without incident. Except a bit longer, and a bit heavier... See, because the rocket has a pretty low TWR - less than 1.5 for much of the ascent - it needs to loft the gravity turn a bit. It needs to fly a bit high, get out of the atmosphere a little faster. This is doubly true given that the ascent stage isn't quite enough to put the rocket in orbit, and without running the gravity turn high, the fairing would end up being opened too low in the atmosphere. Like this: Pictured: Not Plan A (30 km ASL @ 1,300 m/s) The rocket ended up dipping too low in the gravity turn, and the ascent stage ran out of gas at around ~1300 m/s at only 30km. Way too fast; way too low. Ground control ran the numbers and confirmed the rocket was able to hold at 30 seconds from apoapsis, but within seconds of losing the fairing the heat alarms had started to sound. With a vertical speed of only 50 m/s, Jeb knew the lander stage riding on the nose would disintegrate long before they ever made it to orbit. Summoning all his skills as a pilot, he valiantly raised the nose to boost the ascent rate. What a guy! Pictured: Totally Controlled Pitch Up Maneuver to Boost Climb Rate and not a Code Charlie Foxtrot That lasted for about 5 seconds before the whole craft went cheeks over teakettle. Now flying mostly sideways through the air, plus backwards, at substantial speed, the entire control console lit up like a Christmas Tree with heat warnings. Jeb tried to use tactical bursts of thrust from the main engine to help the SAS system regain control, but it was no use. With the very real possibility that the parachutes might burn off, Jeb had to cut the lander loose. Without the lander, the command pod needed to go retrograde to shield the parachutes, so Jeb released the main engine too: Launch Aborted! While the total loss of this ship would certainly be a blow to the space program, Jeb and Zeltop managed to seperate from their stricken ship safely. The command pod safely spun into a retrograde position, and after a long wait for the atmosphere to do its thing, the parachutes were deployed. Don't Know What We're Going to Land On, But We Know We'll Land on it Safely Jeb and Zeltop were perhaps a little pale when they were picked up, but a few snacks cheered them up right quick. Zeltop was informed that, with all the other astronauts currently deployed on Mun, she didn't need to worry about missing the next flight. Her and Jeb would be taking another go at this whole Minmus thing just as soon as soon as a new rocket could be built. Yay!
  6. First Stage + LFO Boosters + SRF Boosters (not mentioned in post. They were half full to get under the weight limit, and gave me a TWR of 1.3, which I misremembered as 1.1) First Stage + LFO Boosters First Stage Orbit was finalized by the orbital engines, which are listed as the fourth stage. So it's a two stage rocket, as such (launch and payload), but it's listed as 4. Here it is with the fairing removed (so that will throw the numbers off a tad): Looking at those numbers now, I think establishing an orbit took about 4,100 dV. Don't launch 1.1 TWR rockets kids!
  7. Simulated construction time and planning. In lieu of a mod for this function, I am limiting the pace of my launches based on Monthly Budget. Launches from the VAB and SPH for new designs and space missions are limited to one per 7 days, and a quarter of the budget (so if something costs more than a quarter of my budget, it will be delayed). Woomerang and Dessert can be used for extra launches, at the rate of two per month each. I use Woomerang a lot for probe launches, and Dessert is typically reserved for things like rescues or resource replenishment.
  8. Adventures Without SAS - Just Banging My Head Against My Desk I'm afraid that this post will be light on pictures (as in, there are none). I was, as the title implies, far too busy banging my head against various objects to take good pictures, so I'll keep this brief. Playing in career mode has been an eye opening experience in regards to all the things I take for granted. Case in point: Despite apparently still lacking most of what I need to make this work, I decided to start building a base on Mun (I am using MKS and USI Life Support). Launch pad weight restrictions meant I launched with my first 3 stages having a TWR of 1.1. Successfully taunted gravity (which was good, because there was no plan B if it didn't make it to orbit over Kerbin). Made it to Mun with almost no fuel left, so I launched the previous missions Mun Lander as a fuel tanker. Got enough fuel to land with 50 dV to spare. Decided to try and move to flatter ground a few metres away and ran out of fuel right before touch down. Bounced, did a cartwheel, stuck the landing. You know, the usual . Then I used the Munar Lander to send down an engineer and pick up the pilot I used to land the proto base. Yeah, about that. Engineers can't use SAS . I guess I should have known that from sandbox...but it's been a while since I did anything like this (by which I mean land something that didn't have a crew of 3+). That lander has 2000 dV. I burned at least 1200 dV landing it. Well, landing implies a level of control. I spent at least 1200 dV spinning my way out of orbit and crashing at non fatal velocities in the rough vicinity of the target area. I was only 5 km off target Bonus points to the fact that, as it stands right now, I have no way of getting Bill and Bob home. There is one ship in the fleet rated to land on the Mun and make it back to orbit, and it carries one Kerbal. But I should have the technology ready to retrieve them by the time I need it. Side note, I have an idea to retrofit that lander for Kerbin re-entry that I need to test. Should be amusing. One thing is for sure, career mode has really put the "Kerbal Spirit" back into my space program. The gulf between what I assume I can do, and what I can actually do (with my current resources), has turned my space program into the most slap dash, fly by night kind of operation it's been since I first played the game, and I'm loving it.
  9. Overbuilding and Worldview - Docking Just Became Routine? - WARNING: May Contain Humble Brag! My first ever career mode is coming along nicely. Last up on the list was putting a flag on the surface of Mun. Given the almost random assortment of engines and fuel tanks the early part of the tech tree has given me, this promissed to be a bit less routine than usual. I failed to take a proper shot of the craft in space, so I'll stick a shot in here is a shot from the VAB with the fairing and engine shroud removed, and the TWR displayed. Ignore stage 0 though; that's the dV it would have if the Munar lander were to push the command pod around. Actual Munar Lander dV is 2,000 dV, which given how effeciently I tend to land, is a comfortable 500 dV safety factor. Also note what a lovely job I did with the TWR ratios, and how breathtakingly close this rocket is to not flying I started to have doubts about the TWR when my rocket just kind of floated above the launchpad as the clamps released. Anyone confused by the engine counts in stage 4 should know that the central stack includes a pair of radial engines to boost the TWR of stages 4 and 3. Anyway, the rocket flew, slowly, to orbit. True to form, though you can't see it, the boosters are topped with SAS units to prevent the craft from wandering off course along the way. I've had plenty of that nonsense already. But how it flies, or even the mission, isn't what made me stop and go 'huh'. No, there is something very fundamental about this style of design that signals a fundamental shift in how I play the game that I hadn't really noticed until now. It's the lander. More specifically, that I didn't think twice about having one. Now, I have made this style of craft once before to land on Mun, shortly after docking ports were introduced to the game. Docking in orbit has been something I've been able to do, and have been doing, since some point during the patch prior to docking ports being added to the game. But I've always been apprehensive about it; it's always been a (big) deal. An event of note. But when I designed this particular rocket, I knew pretty much as soon as I started that I wanted to use that Wolfhound engine (because it's amazing), and that as a result, I was also going to use a separate lander. This design was in fact so successful that after Jeb had gone and planed his flag on Mun, that I was able to refuel the lander and send Valentina down as well. I'll not bother with more pics, because we've seen it a thousand times before and that's not what this post is about. It was only after everyone was safely home, with all the science recovered, that I actually stopped and realized just how unlike me this mission had been. I mean, I've clearly gotten a lot more comfortable with docking in orbit over time when I look at how my missions have changed...but this was the first time that the fact my mission would include orbital docking was as noteworthy as the fact my mission would include getting to orbit, and I thought that was kind of cool. It's like the time I realized that I no longer thought about shifting gears with a manual transmission. Docking is now something I have done enough that I can simply...do it. The last remaining general skill for which that isn't true for me is interplanetary encounters, though I'm not nearly as nervous about those as I used to be for docking. My general knowledge on how to set up encounters has developed enough that, like rendezvous, I've all of a sudden become comfortable with radial in/out maneouvers, which makes things much easier.
  10. True. It has a nice ring to it. Though I guess I feel...unoriginal using that. Some inherent dislike using the same name as everyone else. It gives me an idea though. I could change the name of the space program in response to certain milestones (at least, I think I can get the name to change). That way KSP would be something the program evolves into. Something I'll have to think about. And since I ommited it from my last post, this is my current flag: I've been using the flag my avatar is pulled from for a while, but it's not really suitable as a proper flag. It's pretty, and I like it, but it's not a good flag design. Took a while to find something I liked as a flag for a space organization, but I found this one, and ran it through GIMP to remove the colour gradient from the original. I like the design, and it looks good in game.
  11. Spin Stabilized Emergency Drag Procedure Started a new career mode, and needing some money, I decided to run a tourist mission. Didn't have anything on hand to carry multiple kerbals around Mun, so I took the rocket from my orbital science mission, swapped out the science gear for some 1.5m passenger modules (carrying 4 kerbals), and moved the heat sheild to the bottom. That was easy. Thing is...this made the re-entry stage much more aerodynamic. Dangerously so. "Simulations" projected that by the time I reached sea level, I would still be movoing at more than 1 km/s. The thing just wouldn't slow down. 3 aerobraking trips through the middle atmosphere later and I was still going to come in way too hot to ever deploy my parachutes. The only time I ever really decelerated was when the SAS system lost a fight with physics and the whole thing spun around to go nose first. Sadly, the SAS wasn't nearly powerful enough to maintain a high enough angle of attack to maintain significant drag. Or was it? In a last ditch 'pulling my hair out' effort to salvage the mission (since I was looking at a very real threat of bankruptcy here), my re-entry stage started to spin a bit, like a propeller (that orientation). Siezing my last chance at pulling this off, and knowing that my power was almost out, I spent the ships precious remaining units of electricity putting it into a ferocious spin that would hold the ship sideways in the air, preventing a fatal slip into a nose fore or aft attitude. Sadly, the screenshot doesn't do it justice, since it naturally grabs a single frame. Understand that the reason the parts are seperated in the picture is because it was spinning that fast. Like, maybe 300-600 RPM fast. I almost vomited watching it. Again. Those parts are separating because of it's spinning like a propeller around the center module. Somehow the physics managed to prevent what to me looked like a translucent disk of insanity from flying apart. To my dismay, the initial deployment of the parachute (nose) and drogue chutes (middle) didn't stop the spinning. Nor did the spinning stop when the drogue chutes fully opened at 2500m. Now I was very worried that I was still going to be spinning on impact, everyone would die, and my space program would go under. But, to my relief, when the parachute finally opened the spinning did start to slow, and eventually stop, and the whole thing touched down safely in the water at just under 10 m/s. I will not be using that particular design again. But I am very happy knowing that this incredibly stupid design pulled off what will surely be the most Kerbal landing I will ever have (I think this was even more Kerbal than that time I de-orbited with a Kerbal riding on a ladder because I didn't have enough space for everyone).
  12. I don't let the Veteran Kerbals die. Which is mostly a problem now that I am trying career, and my desire to use the Vets at first is in conflict with my utter inability to design small and simple rockets. I'm used to flying cargo rockets that maintain the launch length all the way to orbital insertion (or at least the upper atmosphere), rockets that can handle payloads wider than their boosters without complaint, because the rocket is still many times longer than it is wide. Tumbling caught me completely off guard. I haven't had a rocket tumble since I learned not to make sharp turns during ascent in 1.0.0. The usual way I build my rockets makes them stable, so I never thing about it, so I'll happily stick an onion pod on a small fuel tank with a swivel and expect it to fly like an arrow at 14km. Anyway, my inability to build proper rockets capable of anything less than making it to Duna combined with my insistance on using the orange kerbals but refusal to let them die has led to a few reversions. Once I get them all into orbit I'll start recruiting other astronauts and the shenanigans can begin in earnest. Or I'll learn how to make short rockets and get over my desire to use the onion pod. Fun fact: if it lands on a hill, it will roll, and it will not survive. Never used it before. Didn't think of that.
  13. Just started my first ever career save. It's called: ISAAC Iinternational Space and Aaeronautics Consortium
  14. First, a pick of my first interplanetary docking. Nothing special. Just something to remember it by: The landing was a bit more...exciting. A quick glance out the window suggested Duna is a pretty hilly place, and the miserable attempt at aero braking confirmed the atmosphere was thin, so a shallow landing trajectory was selected, and the brave kerbals aimed for what they hoped would be a valley. Bill decided to rig the parachutes to open at minimum pressure, maximum altitude, and removed the 'suggested operating parameters' safety locks (intermediate danger setting). Bill and Bob passed out when the chutes opened, but Jeb was the one flying anyway so it didn't matter. With only 15% fuel burned, the rocket touched down with a healthy buffer of extra fuel to make it back into orbit. The landing spot wasn't precarious at all: Not precarious at all The instruments say the ground is 6.8 degrees, but the attitude indicator says SAS is holding the nose at 9.9 degrees. It will stay up upright on its own, but the landing gear dampers must have been damaged in transit, because they are way too bouncy. Bill got it swaying as he was getting out and the whole thing started to sway so bad Jeb had to throw the SAS into radial up and activate the RCS thrusters to recover. The SAS system itself likes to make the nose trace out a circle, so the reaction wheels have been set to a low intensity. Problem solved (there is probably enough power to keep SAS running all night). After everyone had a good stretch and took a group photo, Bill decided to go back into the ship and run some more diagnostics. Bob amused himself with some ground samples before joining Bill back on the ship for breakfast. Jeb decided to go paragliding: This is a fantastic idea Jeb thought he would be so light that the parachute would work just like at home. It didn't: Jeb after hitting the surface of Duna at ~20 m/s He tried to stop his descent with the RCS system. It didn't work, but it probably slowed him enough to save his life. He just kind of laid there for a couple minutes, but was able to walk it off in no time: Jeb, five minutes after hitting the surface of Duna at ~20 m/s After a quick inventory of supplies, it has been decided that Bill, Bob, and Jeb can stay at Duna until the interplanetary relay arrives in a couple weeks. After that, it's lift off back to the spare fuel in orbit, than it will be time to make their way back home. EDIT: Here is the computer readout for the vessel orientation with the Center of Mass marked (colours are resource status). It could land on a steeper slope, but this is definately pushing my comfort level a bit:
  15. Fair enough. And yeah, as long as you don't allow the game to update an out of date version, you can keep using it until your OS/Hardware can't support it anymore. I.e. games that are more than say 20 years old often become difficult to run because of changes to operating systems and computer hardware. 30 years from now we'll all be keeping some ancient PC next to our fancy quantum computer to play KSP