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About Fraktal

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    Spacecraft Engineer

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  1. From what I experienced, stage 2 doesn't require even a TWR of 1 for the most part. My launch procedure is a 10° pitch-over at 100 m/s, then stick to prograde, full throttle until Mach 1.4 then throttle down to where time to Ap stays between 45 and 50 seconds. This usually leaves me flying near-horizontally at 0.5 TWR for most of the ascent with no noticeable dV loss compared to a more aggressive flight profile and no Mach/heat effects past transsonic. For something like a satellite launch, this means a single Swivel running at 30% thrust.
  2. Very lucrative day today. Put down five more listening posts on the Mun, so data is flowing to the orbital lab nicely now. Almost all of the major craters have a listening post now, minus the two highest-inclination ones. I had to add a third fuel tank to the design to reach the non-equatorial craters. The training flight to Minmus also arrived back to Kerbin safely with all scientists immediately leveling up to 2-star. I'm thinking of automating the design. The cargo launch and refueling designs are already probe-controlled in order to cut down on pilot flight hours, but I might need a few relays because I have intermittent outages in low orbit even with the DSN on. Only frakup was my very next launch sending those scientists up to the orbital lab and rotating the 0-star rookies back down to Kerbin for the next training flight... except just like two days ago, I forgot to stage the goddamn parachutes yet again. I must be getting too used to having the chutes set to the same stage as final booster separation, only to have no such thing on this particular craft design. Last quicksave was a couple of hours before the training flight's reentry, so I'm only one flight back. And for once, the game didn't crash during my entire session (crashed four times within two and a half hours yesterday; maybe I shouldn't be watching Youtube videos on my other monitor while playing KSP...?). I also happened to launch this crew rotation mission so efficiently that the launch stage minus SRBs actually lasted me for the entire mission. I only dropped it on reentry. Made docking a bit tricky due to the off-balance weight distribution.
  3. As a matter of fact, I am. And if you're trying to say something about my inexperience, I'll have you know that Steam says I've got over 780 hours clocked in KSP. Anyway. In today's session I set up a station in Mun orbit. It's still lacking a fuel tank, living quarters and lander shuttle, but at least it's got power and comms. Lab will be added later; I have no scientists available for recruiting for reasons detailed below. Still need to figure out how to land the unmanned cargo shuttles without them breaking to pieces. Touchdown is OK as it hits ground at 5.6 m/s, it's the falling over part that breaks stuff (usually the nosecone, ironically enough). Landing legs probably won't survive, as in this particular session I accidentally pulled off a 9 g shaking-screen reentry that had me at the edge of my seat over whether I'd slow down enough for the parachutes to open in the first place. I also did two more launches, both of which failed epically: I tried launching two monitoring station probes in a single rocket but not only one of them didn't detach from the fairing's truss structure when I popped the fairing, the fairing somehow crossfed its fuel tanks to the launcher so it had no fuel either. Reentered and crashed. Other probe made it to the Mun but I had to cheat with the propellant to actually get it down to the surface due to having used more fuel for the inclination change than I expected. I recruited three scientists to speed up research in the orbital lab (I got the 6-seat lab mod) and sent them out on a training tour to slingshot around the Mun to Minmus, then slingshot around Minmus back to Kerbin, bagging enough XP to reach level 2. Problem is, I decided to not stage off the engine in order to save cash and ended up plowing into the ground at 150+ m/s due to having forgotten that the parachutes were on the same stage until I was only 3 km above ground... And my last save is twenty days beforehand, before the whole flight was launched and while the Mun station was still under construction (as in, the core was in position and the unmanned cargo transport bringing the power and antenna modules were in munar orbit waiting for rendezvous), so now I have to do it all over again. But that's still better than having to train Jeb's XP up again. And people jest with image macros over the fact that I like building stuff in the VAB more than actually flying said stuff...
  4. Spent about six hours in the VAB today in a single non-stop session, adding abort groups to all my launcher designs. Then to actually give the day some meaning, I put down a simple scientific monitoring station on the Mun (this was the second), intended to supply Kerbin Spacedock's laboratory with data using the Science Relay mod. More will follow, one per biome, in order to keep the lab supplied (as it's currently producing <1 Science per day), followed by dropping more stations on Minmus as well. Speaking of which, I also intercepted and deorbited the Spacedock's old and obsolete core module and control module, both having been dumped off the station a few days ago and floating a couple dozen kilometers away. It took about half a dozen orbits (the Spacedock is in a 300km orbit) to move all the modules over and while I was at it, I also brought the station a present in the form of a single-seat worker pod for performing such operations by themselves. I'm thinking of setting up a second station in munar orbit. Fuel and power. definitely. Lab, not sure. I have a probe on its way to Eve and my next milestone will be launching a manned Duna mission (my first ever), but the transfer window is still over a year away so assembling the ship in orbit can wait for now.
  5. Currently using science mode to R&D stuff for an eventual career. I'm also a bit masochistic and do said R&D with 10% science gains from experiments done in order to force myself to design stuff using as few tech nodes as possible, going for efficiency over style.
  6. You might also want to consider looking into the administrative strategies that convert another resource into cash.
  7. Thinking of KSP recently, I remembered that the biggest issue with using an aerodynamic nosecone instead of a fairing is that even if you stage off the nosecone with a decoupler upon reaching a high enough altitude where aero isn't a problem, the now-unpropelled nosecone immediately collides right back into the still-propelled rocket, potentially breaking stuff if you don't have the time and fuel to briefly thrust radial-out to avoid it. I had to scrap a Duna mission once due to the nosecone I used to cover the command module's docking ring having smashed into and broken the antenna when I staged it off during circularization. So I thought, what if there was a decoupler variant that's still mounted inline but when staged, applies force diagonally instead of exclusively on the fore-aft axis, specifically to fling stuff staged off the front of the rocket out of the way? Because using a Sepratron for a mere nose cone is a bit of an overkill, not to mention draggy, costly and heavy enough to defeat the whole point of using a nosecone instead of a fairing..
  8. Does it actually matter how close or far away they are? I've heard both that it does because of torque and that it doesn't because KSP applies the torque without taking that into account. Which?
  9. I recommend checking out the Craft Manager mod. It lets you organize all your stuff, both crafts and subassemblies, with tagging and filtering. It's an absolute lifesaver if you have lots of saved designs. The only issue with it that I've noticed is that it does not work together with KSP's subassembly categories @Skorj mentioned: if you tag an existing subassembly saved in a category, it's removed from the category.
  10. I already pulled this challenge off last year. Rocket was over 100 parts and lagged like crazy, but I landed on the Mun and got back without using a single Terrier.
  11. Wouldn't it save ablator to have the decoupler stay on and burn off from the heat?
  12. Something that came to my mind today after reading post after post about 1.8's heating issues. Radial heatshield specifically intended to be attached to the underside of spaceplanes. Something like the existing non-edge radiator panel models that conforms to the hull's curvature but larger, possibly procedural, and with ablator instead of active cooling.
  13. That's not the problem. It's an entirely reasonable expectation. The problem is when the threshold where customers consider it "complete" is being moved all the time. For example, you're contracted to develop software to download and import orders in a webshop system into the customer's offline system and half a year later, the customer suddenly asks for the same software to also automatically submit orders for shipping, generate and download the shipping label and package number and email-notify the destination, even though the webshop has no API for such functionality so you now have to chew your way through the HTML code of the webshop's admin UI page to figure out how to emulate manual submission with raw HTTP requests. Not to mention that they also want receipt confirmations for the notification emails and automatic re-send if the target doesn't read it, even though email service providers are not guaranteed to comply with that functionality so what they're asking is theoretically possible but actually impossible. Nothing of that sort was ever talked about in the initial feature request when the development contract was signed, but the customer suddenly thought it'd be nice to have and won't take no for an answer because they are fully aware that unlike a car or refrigerator, software can be upgraded and expanded at any time if they want. So they want it upgraded and expanded, far beyond the originally agreed upon requirements.
  14. No amount of planning and forethought will ever fully compensate for every use-case ever, not to mention end-user idiocy. Doesn't matter how accurately the end result will reflect customer expectations, they will always ask for additions later on, whining that it doesn't work and blaming you for having done a terrible job, rather than remember and admit that nobody frakking said anything about that particular use-case when requirements were hammered out before development even began. Developers aren't omniscient.