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Everything posted by Fraktal

  1. Today marks the successful completion of my first Apollo-style two-part munar landing mission. Well, not quite Apollo-style in the sense that part of the LEM also came back: But it was all according to plan. First moment of worry came when the game slowed to 7 FPS due to the 100+ part craft taking off. The game has been really crash-happy during my aircraft testing, but it didn't crash this time. Why does it have such a high part count, you ask? Because of my main booster itself having 40+ parts, being built entirely out of FL-T parts and no Rockomax parts. See, I hit diminishing returns with Thumpers while building this booster, so I ditched them for side boosters made up of two FL-T800 tanks and Reliant each, crossfed into the triple-Swivel core booster with fuel lines. Not exactly compact, but while neither stack has enough TWR to even lift off the ground, together they kick the payload off the ground at 1.58 TWR with around 3500 m/s, without even touching the munar transfer stage. Perfectly suited for this particular cargo. Only point of contention is the fairing being shaped almost like a mushroom due to the LEM's drop tanks (four Baguettes crossfed via the radial decoupler and set to drain first) at the top (that is, the bottom of the LEM; the LEM's upside down during launch), but I haven't felt any aerodynamic issues during takeoff. Second moment of worry came when I completed my munar rendezvous burn and set up a maneuver node for circularization at 20 km, engaged time warp... and the maneuver marker on the navball jumped to a completely different location. When I looked at the map, the maneuver node was nowhere near I left it and would've put me on a steep collision course with the Mun, so I had to modify the flight plan a bit and the 20 km orbit became a 240 km one. Then I looked at the transfer stage's fuel and realized that I may not be able to go home with the fuel I had left, as tugging the LEM's fuel around was quite a bit of weight (fully fueled, command module + LEM + transfer stage is slightly over 10 tons). Landing was... mostly smooth, though I had to cheat a little with the gravity because by the time it touched ground, the LEM was so light and top-heavy it couldn't stay upright even on an 8° slope because its weight didn't press down on the legs hard enough to stand firmly. Anyway, the LEM's drop tanks separated during the suicide burn as planned and my arrangement of things in the service bay resulted in Bob reaching everything from his ladder (for the record, the bay contains 1 thermometer, 1 barometer, 1 goo canister, 1 experiment storage, 1 OKTO core and 1 Z-200 battery, all crammed inside without looking overly ugly). Takeoff was fine, although I made the mistake of coming up to a 200 km orbit, resulting in me being forced to wait for an entire day and three hours to be able to get an orbital encounter with the command module but in the end, I got one with a 700 m separation at 14.7 m/s relative velocity, from where closing in to less than 100 meters and near-zero relative velocity required minimal fuel expenditure on my part. Still, by this time I was starting to sweat a bit at how little fuel I had left. Since only the command module had RCS, I switched back to it and performed the docking. This was the first time I actually used the Docking Port Alignment mod I've had for over a year now and although it took me a while to figure out how it worked, I did get the hang of it eventually and docked on the first try, using surprisingly little monoprop in the process. As in, a tiny fraction of what I actually brought. Anyway, I then proceeded to pump over the LEM's remaining fuel (which required a bit of googling until I realized the command pod's heat shield was blocking the crossfeed) and decouple the lander stage, as planned. With this, I had over 500 m/s of fuel in the command stage, plus two and a half minutes' worth of monoprop, which was more than enough to return. Only hitch was the LEM's top-mounted solar panels nearly (98%) overheating during reentry but aside from that, the thing was surprisingly stable and reentered without trying to flip, even without SAS, or without the lander can coming anywhere close to overheating (in fact, the command pod popped the overheat bar despite being directly behind the heat shield, but the lander can didn't despite its edges sticking out into the airstream). For finalizing the design, I dropped the extra monoprop tanks since I clearly don't need them, moved the RCS over to the LEM to take advantage of the lander can's greater monoprop reserve, put the LEM's landing legs on the drop tanks to improve ground stability and put the solar panels on top of the drop tanks as well, since I'm clearly not bringing them back through reentry. The landing legs now barely fit under the maximum diameter of the fairing and I'll have to lug the drop tanks down to the ground, but it should keep the thing from tipping over that easily now. Probably wouldn't be able to handle a polar landing and return, though.
  2. This is good stuff and will definitely help me reduce the number of KER readouts mid-flight. Still not dropping KER, though, as I use a lot of readouts. This just lets me drop one of the five displays on my screen, hopefully increasing FPS somewhat.
  3. Not quite today, more like yesterday. But still, I did some more plane design streamlining... though it's hard to actually test them out due to the game's habit of crashing with an access violation after 5-6 reverts. Crashed three times within three hours.
  4. Except how are you supposed to even leave Kerbin's SOI if your batteries ran out barely more than a fifth into the maneuver node burn?
  5. I once took a look at ion engines. The dV is excellent, but I can't figure out how you're supposed to actually use these things without attaching so many batteries that they can't even leave Kerbin's SOI without using up so much xenon that they can't brake at their destination.
  6. I can't really see that, but if you all say so... Not that I want to sound like I want to make light of his accomplishment, on the contrary. KSP is fun and new converts having fun is always welcome.
  7. Where is the threshold between short-range and long-range SSTO?
  8. Few tries. Mind you, I landed on the Mun with an SSTO months before I did with a capsule.
  9. I see. I think I'll have to make due with low space science for now. It's less about being a completionist and more about the fact that in this save, I'm playing with 10% science gains for the purposes of developing functional designs with parts from as few tech tree nodes as possible. I've already wrung Kerbin, the Mun and Minmus completely dry, have a rover on its way to Ike and am waiting for a transfer window to Gilly, as I would like the Mainsail for launching a manned mission to Duna but need about 81 science to unlock it. Hence the solar mission.
  10. Got my facts wrong. Wiki says 18 km is low atmosphere altitude. High is 600 km.
  11. Low orbit is one thing, it's KER that says 16 km is high atmosphere altitude.
  12. I've recently begun considering launching a flyby probe to the sun, making a quick pass just below 16 km to grab science, then transmitting it back to Kerbin once at a safe distance. However, I'm struggling with actually finding a way to get there. The intended payload: 1 x HECS core 1 x thermometer 1 x barometer 3 x Z-200 battery 2 x DTS-1 antenna (Antenna Helper says this gives 18% coverage at Moho for DSN level 2, so I'm hoping it's just enough to reach the sun) 2 x Solar panel 1x6 (retractable) 4 x Thermal Control System (small) 1 x Heat shield (1.25m) at the very front, to be pointed radial-in during final approach Strapping this payload to an FL-T800 tank with a Spark gives about 4100 m/s; however, the maneuver node says (and the community dV map concurs) I need nearly double that amount to reach the target periapse. I am not trying to achieve orbit, just a close flyby. How do I get it, without nukes or ions?
  13. Launched my first Duna probe, consisting of an Ike rover and a relay satellite. Not sure if I'll actually be able to complete the mission, though, as Duna's transfer window was closing (it's slightly ahead of Kerbin right now) when I launched so the transfer stage only has about 60 m/s left. Both the rover and the satellite have 1500+ m/s each and they're going to pass by just within Ike's orbit very close to the ecliptic, briefly entering Ike's SOI near the Duna periapse; is that enough dV to brake and still have enough to do other stuff? Also wanted to launch an identical probe to Eve, but Eve is currently on the other side of Kerbol and Kerbin has just passed the ascending node, so I couldn't get an encounter. The transfer window will open shortly before the Duna probe arrives. To pass the time, I strolled back into aircraft research. After having spent a while scratching my head over the point of the existence of the radial intake, seeing how it somehow has triple the drag of the circular intake and inferior performance as far as runway flameouts go, I discovered that it actually has slightly superior high-speed performance that can give a single-Wheesley aircraft an extra .3 Mach at low altitude despite the increased drag. Still not as good as an inline Engine Nacelle with a nosecone (capable of propelling three Wheesleys at Mach 2 and without a runway flameout!) and two circular intakes perform better than two radial ones on a two-Wheesley configuration (as the drag finally overpowers the slightly more air being provided by the radial intake at the same speed), so I'm still able to find a use for all three. Also, I decided to try building something bigger. Enter the L3 Skystreaker, a dual-cockpit, quad-Wheesley flying wing that can not only match the triple-Wheesley L2 Record Breaker's maximum cruising speed despite being much bigger, but do so at a higher altitude (reached 14 km in a nearly level flight) and greater endurance. Did have some snafus during the test flight, though: flexing wings and multiple flatspins from overly responsible controls, the pilots almost passing out from one flatspin, stalling out below 4 km altitude from a too sharp turn... even the landing was a bit tricky due to the fact that the aircraft's massive wing surface area meant that it really didn't want to come back down to the ground and since I didn't put in drogue chutes (or any chutes), I was forced to land on the grass. It rolled for several hundred meters (used up only about 5% of the fuel, so it was over 26 tons) before stopping with a hair-raising 180° powerslide - but its weight being distributed over eight landing gear sets (smallest retractable, using this many makes it rock-solid stable on the runway, no jiggling or veering) meant that it didn't tip over.
  14. The only suggestion I can make in this regard is that if your plane has multiple engines, you may want to consider adding a single Engine Nacelle in addition to whatever high-speed intakes you use to combat asymmetric flameouts before you reach sufficient cruising speed where the high-speed intakes fully kick in. Despite its low fuel capacity for its weight, this particular intake is really well-suited for the role of a secondary intake that gets you where you need to be for your primary intakes to do their job, kinda like the SRB to the high-speed intakes' nuke/ion. In fact, I recently discovered that if you aren't trying to go hypersonic/suborbital and are simply trying to reduce drag, low-drag inline intakes (I only tested the Engine Nacelle but the Engine Pre-cooler should work too) with a nosecone are your best bet. You may not get as much high-speed mileage out of them as from a Shock Cone, true, but the major drag reduction from having a nosecone instead of a front intake more than offsets the added weight of having to include another intake to keep the engines fed.
  15. You know what I think would be darn useful? Take the existing legs and integrate them into fuel tanks. That is, it externally looks like a regular fuel tank, but has 4 holes on the side the landing legs emerge from, with enough clearance to allow an engine of matching radial size underneath. When retracted, the legs fully retract into the tank. Pros: Lower part count. Lower drag than radially-mounted legs. Legs won't burn off as easily during reentry. Cons: Slightly lower fuel capacity than the legless tank due to internal space being taken up by the landing legs. Drag still higher than the legless tank due to the landing legs' holes causing turbulence. Heat resistance lower than the legless tank due to the landing legs' holes being weak points. The legs don't extend quite as far to the side as radially-mounted legs, resulting in tall landers more easily tipping over on slopes. Landing leg clearance isn't big enough for bigger and more powerful engines, preventing use on high-performance landers (e.g. Tylo, Eve, Kerbin and anywhere with dense enough atmosphere to drop TWR below 1).
  16. System suddenly going dark with even the fans shutting down? Might be CPU overheat, as KSP is very CPU-heavy. I had such overheats on my previous laptop with similar symptoms, albeit not with KSP and the laptop in question refused to turn back on for a few more minutes until it cooled a bit. Getting a cooling pad solved that issue.
  17. That's the thing: without SAS, it flips immediately because the service bay's drag pulls it off retrograde harder than the Mk1 pod's drag pulls it back to retrograde.
  18. He's not the only one. I've been having trouble myself ever since the 1.4 update. In particular, back in 1.3 I was able to make use of the service bay's high heat resistance to forego a heat shield at LKO. Starting from 1.4, however, that's no longer possible: the service bay has such excessive drag that if my orientation deviates more than 2-3 degrees away from perfectly retrograde, the drag overpowers SAS and flips the craft prograde, resulting in a nosedive into the ground beyond parachute release speed. According to the aero readouts, the service bay has more than twice the drag of the Mk1 pod while flying sideways with both pointed into the airstream. Adding a zero-ablator heatshield helps noticeably, but it does not make the problem fully go away. It only decreases slightly the rate at which the drag torque ramps up when deviating from retrograde, allowing a slightly higher deviation before SAS loses it.
  19. Because MUH KONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. Ahem. That particular example doesn't work because the EU would tear them a new one if they collected and stored data about you without your consent, EULA or no EULA.
  20. If I may have a suggestion in this regard... To learn a skill (better SAS, better repair capabilities, better science gain, etc.), the Kerbal has to spend X time at the KSC, during which he/she can't go on missions. While skills still have an XP requirement, it's not an absolute yes/no condition like right now; instead, the Kerbal can learn that skill even if he/she doesn't have the indicated amount of XP, it will just significantly (from days to weeks to months, in extreme cases) increase training time proportionally to how much XP the Kerbal has to go to reach the threshold (meaning if a skill requires 10 XP and the Kerbal has 2, it will take him/her longer to learn it than a Kerbal with 6 XP). Conversely, having more XP than the requirement proportionally decreases training time and if the difference is big enough (Kerbal has double or more XP than the required), there's a chance upon next returning to Kerbin that the overleveled Kerbal instantly learns that skill without needing to take time off for training, due to their experience allowing them to figure it out on their own. The chance of this happening would be a difficulty option and can be set anywhere between 0% and 100%. Similarly, Kerbals may learn skills outside their field of expertise (like Scientists learning SAS), but this will be limited to lower-tier skills and/or have a 1.5+ multiplier to XP requirements (which also indirectly increases training time). Whether overleveled Kerbals can auto-learn skills outside their field of expertise would be a difficulty option. Additionally, skills that are not numeric multipliers (SAS levels, repair skills, etc.) can be learned out of order, if you consider the incomplete skillset and/or insufficient experience training time penalty worth it. Astronaut Complex modifiers: Skills can be tied to Astronaut Complex level. By default this only affects training, not the "overleveled Kerbals randomly get the skill for free" thing; also affecting the latter is a difficulty option. Upgrading the Astronaut Complex decreases all training time. Kerbals who know a skill provide a small training time decrease to everyone else learning the same skill while the veteran in question is idling at the Astronaut Complex, giving a purpose to spreading the experience around rather than only flying with the First Four. Optionally, there could also be a way for Kerbals to learn skills while on a mission via telepresence instruction, giving them something useful to do during interplanetary voyages.
  21. I read back in the day that the Wilkes Land crater under the Antarctican ice apparently used to be antipodal to the Siberian Traps during the Permian, the crater is of similar age as the apocalyptic eruption that created the Traps at the end of the Permian and said eruption may have been the cause of the mass extinction event at the end of the Permian that singlehandedly came closest to ending life on Earth. So whatever created that crater... you did not want to be on Kerbin at the same time.
  22. It's in the post above you. It also happens on February 22.
  23. Except the majority of players don't use - or even knows how to use - autostrut. Leave the "always use the best way" minmaxing to the realism mods.