Mars-Bound Hokie

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About Mars-Bound Hokie

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    Director: Blacksburg Aeronautics and Space Administration

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  1. JEB KERMAN'S MISSION LOG: Y37D184 - 2H00M After six long years, we have finally made it to Eeloo. Though we may not have enough fuel for a return trip, good thing that we have another pod already docked with it that does have the fuel. Even better, now that we have a nuclear-powered lander (and an ore transport coming our way), we could dump some excess fuel into the station's reserve tanks. Though we're prepared to make a quick getaway, our mission plan currently doesn't involve us leaving Eeloo anytime soon. Picture of Eeloo from a 200-km orbit --> before we rendezvoused with Hades Station. What is with the straight lines there? Were they roadways for aliens or something, because Bob says that they seem too straight to be naturally occurring I am SOOOOOOOOOO glad Hades Station has a buttload of RTGs and a LARGE power capacity; everyone was freezing in the pod. I thought about turning on the station's ore converter just to generate some more heat, but Eriler told me that it may lead to "some trouble." Even though I'm the captain of this operation, I was just fine with the heat generated off the RTGs. Heck, I may just remove one and place it next to me while I sleep so I could stay extra-warm. We're going to use both on-board labs to conduct some orbital research before we start surface ops. I'll be going down with Bob (and a second scientist) when that time comes, and we'll be sure to send pictures to Bill and Val. Last I heard from them, Bill got drunk at a KSP celebration party after they built a plane that could fly to both the Mun and Minmus.
  2. Tell @Matt Lowne that. His wingspan's shorter than mine, and it seemed to work out well for him. Not only does he have no ISRU capabilities, his canards are smaller than mine and he has no horizontal stabilizers. I also have: More oxidizer for the rapiers (and RCS) Higher charge capacity More solar panels (I have 2, he has 1) Science instruments Probe core for pilot-free operation 2G Antenna I think I'm okay flying through Duna. I just refueled on Minmus and made my interplanetary transfer node for Duna.
  3. @fulgur I just finished with the next phase of my Mun Hopper field tests: taking it to the Mun and Minmus before returning. Though I was unsatisfied with having to take off in a RETROGRADE orbit when leaving the Mun, I could at least make a Hohmann transfer to Minmus and land on a nice ore-heavy spot in the flatlands. After refueling, I took off and made my exit burn to establish a 100-km periapsis above Kerbin. After I circularized my orbit, I landed somewhere near the badlands and waited for the pickup guys to come. Though it took multiple quicksaves, I only lost my solar panels during Kerbin re-entry --> and that was because I hit "1" when I meant to hit "Q" to dissipate the re-entry heat. I shall now do the next and final phase of Mun Hopper testing: flying two tourists to Duna and Ike. If I can do that, then I have Laythe in the bag.
  4. I thought of that, but I decided against it since it would stick out and: Increase drag Hence reducing aerodynamic performance May explode during ascent/re-entry from overheating Cause the plane to bounce when deployed To increase efficiency while minimizing drag and my chances of in-flight explosions, I installed a second drill in the cargo bay and increased my charge capacity to ~3,000. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. I tried that already, but the drills could not reach the ground. I INTENTIONALLY missed the KSC so that I could land on various terrains and take off. After all, I'm not going to have a runway when I fly to other planets (especially Laythe). However, I should keep what you said in mind since I made my de-orbit burn too early for the second prototype test.
  5. FROM THE OFFICE OF WERNHER VON KERMAN Well, I think we did it. We managed to make a working SSTO ready for Dres - or at least make a refueling stop on Minmus before leaving. As an added measure, we had the plane land on a random spot on Kerbin's surface at least once before taking off and landing again. That way, we can know for sure if this thing works on Laythe. We tested the redesigned Mun Hopper prototype THREE TIMES, and got increasing satisfaction with each one. The Mun Hopper making its orbital circularization burn Just reached a 90-km orbit with ~2,500 of delta-V left to spare However, it can only be used by the nuclear engine. Mun Hopper during re-entry. Gliding over the desert after re-entry. Shot of the shoreline from the cockpit. As part of the performance test, the drills and ore converters were activated after the prototype's first landing. A day would then pass before it took off again. Nice crater we flew over. I should have ordered the pilot to mark down its location when he flew over it. Perhaps we should do that next time we send an SSTO. Though some in Mission Control will claim that the parachutes were deployed prematurely, I actually planned it. The prototype in this photo was extremely low on fuel, and some of the engineers were concerned about the engines getting knocked off during landing and takeoff. So, I told the on-board pilot to deploy the chutes to test the "head-first" approach. The cockpit was able to withstand the impact, and the plane ended up upright. All the above photos are for the second prototype used. As for the third, we installed gear under the rapier engines just for landing and then our chances of losing engines during takeoff and landing dropped. It still performed as well as the second prototype, only we timed our de-orbit burn more accurately so that the plane would land closer to the KSC during the second landing. Overall, I think we can all agree that we are ready to use a plane to travel to other planets. However, I don't think we should send it to Jool yet. As a true test of its worth in the Neptune ops, we should send it to the Mun and Minmus - and maybe even Duna/Ike - before we send one to Laythe. What do you think? Wernher Von Kerman Year 36, Day 353 5H10M
  6. @Matt Lowne: Hold my monopropellant
  7. FROM THE OFFICE OF WERNHER VON KERMAN It will be about four days before the Neptune I makes its escape burn from Jool orbit to Kerbin. Good thing the craft has an inflatable heat shield, or else the crew is in some serious trouble during re-entry. Everyone on Kerbin's been itching for our three brave men to return home - along with their findings from Laythe orbit. We also started constructing Odin Station around Laythe. Though the process will be slow, I guarantee that it will look awesome when it's finished. Unless there's something noteworthy to report, the Neptune I crew won't be logging on this journal for a while. Since several people have been to Jool already, there's nothing really new to say. Heck, we've got a mobile base with four women on Vall right now with a nuclear-powered lander and a return pod on standby. Anyway, we have been making some progress on the future Laythe missions and I am happy to announce that we have a Neptune II design ready. We're still going with the air-breathing ascent engine approach, but to save delta-V and money we're sending one person and not two. Rather than dock with a return ship. the lander can will be going straight to Kerbin. I'll have to plot the return node manually, but use MJ maneuver planner for a precise execution. We're still working on SSTOs for future missions. Yes, I'm aware that we already have a previous prototype that has made it to the Mun. However, most launches of that design have resulted in overheating, explosions, loss of control, or otherwise failed to reach suborbital trajectory. We eventually managed to design one that made it into LKO. Though it only had enough fuel and oxidizer for an 88-km circular orbit and de-orbit burn (for when it landed), we tested that design twice and the results were consistent both times. Just taking off from KSC Runway 09. It's nighttime there. The SSTO is catching fire at this speed. We had to slow it down a bit before the nose cone overheated. The plane now in suborbital trajectory, waiting for its cue to make its circularization burn. Thank God the nose cone didn't blow up by then. At this point, we decided to name this design "Consistent" since both prototypes performed the same way when launched in prograde around Kerbin. Pretty nice shot, huh? And solar panels for anyone who wants to spend a long time in Kerbin orbit. Sure, the plane has over 3,000 worth of electric charge, but we're not taking any chances. The Consistent had just made its de-orbit burn, flying towards the mountains. Though it looks like a loss of control during re-entry, it was just to dissipate the heat so nothing would explode. The Consistent approaching the KSC at supersonic speed - and just in time for morning photosynthesis. FIRST TRY. Though the first prototype landed in the grasslands, both models were intact upon recovery. Not a bad start, isn't it? Too bad we can only get up to two people up to LKO with that thing. I hope we make a Laythe-worthy SSTO soon, or else we may face a budgetary crisis on Laythe missions alone. We're also sending an unmanned plane (and an Ultimate Relay Antenna) to Laythe with the purpose of flying around scanning for ore. However, it is launched like a conventional rocket and will enter Laythe's atmosphere like one - before flying around like a plane. To save fuel and prevent the ore scanner from snapping off, the plane will fly at low speeds above the terrain and mark down good landing and ore mining spots. If anyone has any questions/concerns/comments regarding my mission plans, please contact us and we'll reply promptly. After all, it is kerbalkind's destiny to spread out all across the stars. Wernher Von Kerman Year 36, Day 289 5H10M
  8. Okay, @fulgur. Anything to say about my Whiplash design? I just modified the rocket stage for more fuel. If it can get up to 210 km Kerbin orbit with fuel and oxidizer to spare, then it can definitely rendezvous with a return craft.
  9. I suck at SSTOs. Sure, I can build aircraft and spacecraft, but I can't really combine the two. The only time in my career save I managed to get an SSTO into Kerbin orbit was out of luck. Even if I stop at the Minmus flatlands to refuel, I don't know if I'll have the delta-V to make the trip to Laythe safely. Picture of my SSTO orbiting the Mun. Most launches end up with either wobbling or blowing up during the ascent And MJ ascent guidance is useless. No matter. After watching someone else do it on an earlier build, I decided to use a conventional lander approach while taking advantage of Laythe's usable atmosphere. Sure, my current design doesn't come with a car - but my scientist can either deal with it or I can send a car in a separate launch.
  10. Here's my third idea for a Laythe lander. The ascent test was a success I fired up the jets for the initial phase, then activated the rocket to establish a 210 km parking orbit around Kerbin. With all the delta-V left, I should have more than enough for a rendezvous with a return ship There are a still few questions left unanswered, like: How am I going to get it to Laythe? And land it where I want it to. What will be the return vehicle? Will I launch it separately, or attach it to this craft and go Apollo-Style? What do you think?
  11. LUDLONG KERMAN'S MISSION LOG: Y36D138 - 0H16M After over two weeks in orbit of Laythe getting pictures, we were given the order to make our Laythe escape burn. We had to wait until our orbital periapsis and apoapsis were aligned with Jool with our periapsis AWAY from Jool. In other words, we had to wait until we were in position to make a Jool orbit higher than that of Laythe's. We're scheduled to make our circularization burn in about 4 days, and leave for Kerbin in approximately 150. Below are some pictures we took - and we took a lot. Shot of Laythe and Jool. If you look closely at the Laythe picture, you can see a circular mountain formation. The islands seem pretty spread out here. If we're going to colonize this moon, we'd better bring some ships for the water. It seems like there was some volcanic activity here millions of years ago - as seen by that island. Seems like a good vacation spot for tourists, as well as a good spot to put a surface base. Man, there sure is a lot of water here. I'm surprised that it hasn't frozen in these sub-freezing temperatures. Matster isn't. That circular island would definitely make a good resort spot. All we need to do is make suits that can protect the wearer from the extremely cold temperatures and minerals in the water, and we're all set for underwater exploration. Photo of Jool with Vall to the right. Shot of Laythe after we made our Laythe exit burn.
  12. MATSTER KERMAN'S MISSION LOG: Y36D121 - 4H00M We have established a parking orbit around the innermost moon of Jool. So that we could save fuel and maximize the photo variety, Mission Control told us to leave the approaching inclination alone and make an eccentric orbit. Neptune I - Orbital Characteristics Apoapsis 994.350 km Periapsis 313.274 km Inclination 56.7 degrees Period 1h 32m 39.5 s Eccentricity 0.295 That's me in an EVA. I had to time the camera right in this gravity to get this nice shot. Laythe looked magnificent from where we were. Though there are some small islands around, the moon is mostly heavily mineralized water. The Edith rover had done GCMS reading of the liquid and reported that the water had a high mineral concentration that lowered its freezing temperature - explaining why the moon doesn't look like a giant snowball like Eeloo. Though we ourselves won't get the chance to inspect that water ourselves, we're already the first men to see the moon's surface with our own eyes and not through some orbital probe. Even better, our inclined orbit will allow us to get pictures from a higher variety of angles. We could also get orbital gravity readings of more biomes that way. Back home, support for the Neptune series has somewhat remained unchanged. Walt has told us that support will grow again once we get a working ascent vehicle ready. Personally, I think we should try and go for an SSTO. However, Nathan would rather we try the jet engine lander approach.
  13. Does anybody have the coordinates for a flat landing spot on Gilly? I tried to land an ore transport on an old landing site (using MJ landing guidance), but it kept bouncing. I don't care about the ore concentration. I just need a spot that I won't keep bouncing off - regardless of ore concentration (I have the big drills) This is especially crucial for manned landers. The last time I landed someone on Gilly, I lost two engines and a panel. Thanks.