bayesian_acolyte

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About bayesian_acolyte

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  1. Launch 12: Landing on Mars and its Moons Next up we go back to Mars, this time with a pilot, a lander, and a return ticket. We are feeling good with 1.6 million funds and lots of science, but we still need to be conservative with our money as we save for the research upgrade, and the science doesn't do much for us without that upgrade (we now have a bigger fairing and a new science experiment). I'll admit I was tempted to go for broke here and try to spend it all on a mega craft to visit a number of new outer system moons in one launch with our current technology. My early design draft of a ship indicated it was maybe possible. However in the end I was swayed by this being my first time playing RSS and landing on Mars being something I've wanted to try for a while. We are using an updated version of the previous launch vehicle and main interplanetary stage. This second iteration has slightly better aerodynamics on launch, slightly higher TWR, some upper stage modifications for our new mission, and a new final stage. Although I made some effort to keep this ship within the efficient minimalist spirit of this career, our previous mission has bought us a bit of a comfort zone, and to save development time this craft's capabilities far exceed this mission. High average TWR in early stages and good aerodynamics lets us make an aggressive gravity turn with a shallow ascent angle. We make it into orbit with almost all of our nuclear fuel still intact. Next we set up a 4.3 km/s dV burn for Mars. As Mars approaches, we transfer fuel to forward tanks to shift our center of gravity. We need to keep our not-very-aerodynamic front facing forward to get max aerobreaking and protect our pilot. This is also the purpose of the wing brakes near our engine. Our aerobreaking is successful and puts us in a highly elliptic orbit. After a few more aerobreaking passes to lower our dV, I get bored and do the final 600 dV of orbit-lowering with our engines. Now in a low orbit, we undock the lander/ascent vehicle. Mars' atmosphere has less than 1% of the pressure of Earth's, and orbital velocity around Mars is also higher than Kerbin and almost 3 times higher than Duna, which makes aerobreaking difficult. To slow down enough for our parachutes to function, we use some sideways wings and 5 frontally exposed fuel tanks, combined with our light weight. Once speed gets below ~850m/s, the drogue chute is released and the craft is flipped. The regular parachute is deployed right after it becomes "risky" and then the wings are ejected from the bottom. The 8000m land altitude of our randomly chosen destination makes things more intense than anticipated. The terminal velocity of the craft with parachutes deployed is around 40 m/s as ground approaches, and the last little bit is done with our engine. Valentina strikes a pose (the part on the ground is detached parachutes). After the photo-op, Valentina gets back in her vehicle, trying not to dilly-dally too long to miss the launch window which she landed in. Using the target on the track ball helps execute a dog-leg ascent to almost exactly match the inclination of the craft she recently left. DV charts list Mars as a 3800 m/s ascent, slightly more than Kerbin, which is why our small ascent craft has 3 stages. Orbit achieved, we dock with the rest of the craft with around 500m/s dV left in the ascent vehicle's tank. Next we head for Phobos. We've already landed here with a probe, but still have some Kerbol and return related world firsts to get here, along with some science. Unfortunately in our haste to leave Mars, we forgot we only have one flag and needed to take it with us. Not a big deal, we should still have plenty of cash without the flag planting world firsts on Mars' moons. We hop around to all of Phobos' biomes, which the minuscule gravity causes to take almost no dV but plenty of real life time. After leaving Phobos, Deimos is next on our itinerary. On Deimos there is a repeat of the familiar biome hopping song and dance. Having gotten almost every single world first near Mars (on return), we start a burn back for earth. In the above shot you can see a part of the design that was never really used, with extra oxidized fuel tanks on the top of the nuclear section to transfer fuel back into the last stage (which mostly exhausted its fuel on the Mars ascent). This means that after finishing this burn back to earth, we still have almost 5k dV fuel, which feels like a waste. Some of that fuel comes in handy with breaking burns near Earth, as the ability of this craft to deal with re-entry is not nearly equal to the heat shield design of our last mission. We make a nice easy splashdown with our paragliding vehicle. The haul for this jaunt is 4713 science and +530k funds after all expenses, bringing our final total to 2.08 million funds. After upgrading the science building we have about about 390k funds left over. This career mode challenge ends after upgrading all buildings, and we should be able to earn the 3 million more funds we need to do that in our next launch.
  2. Launch 11: Titan and Iapetus Our next destination is Saturn and two of its moons, Titan and Iapetus. We've just unlocked the NERV, twin boar, and many other useful parts, which we can use to seriously boost our reach. This was a difficult design challenge with less than 200k in the bank and mission requirement of ~24 km/s dV including that murderous Earth launch. Most of the fuel is separated away from the rockets so that it can be staged off as it empties. Some solid fuel boosters help with initial TWR allowing us to carry more fuel tanks. These size 2 to 3 adapter tanks cost significantly less for the same fuel capacity compared to other tanks, and thus part of the design revolved around using as many as possible. This design enables lots of control over staging choices such as when to drop engines vs fuel tanks and how much fuel to include in each stage, making it easier to find and implement efficient stage breakdowns. The second phase of the Earth ascent stages involves two high ISP Poodle engines with tanks sequentially staged off from the middle. These Poodles activate while there are still 3 Twin Boars active for a small TWR and efficiency boost. The last 1km/s or so of obtaining a stable orbit is done with the NERV atomic engine. We are able to make it orbit with 14.6 km/s dV remaining, more than double our previous high. Here you can see the design of the upper stages with the familiar fuel tanks staging off as they empty. I also decided there was enough margin on this trip to include experiment storage, a thermometer, and a barometer. We go for a gravity assist via Jupiter mostly to collect some world firsts. Multiple correction burns are required for this trajectory, so in the end only around 500 dV was saved over a direct to Saturn route. The price of having an efficient upper stage is that this ejection burn clocks in at 28 minutes, which presented some accuracy and efficiency losses, but will likely be minor compared to upcoming ion missions. 12 years and 4 correction burns later, we arrive at Titan with 7.7km/s dV left in the tank. Titan is easily the best aerobreaking planet in either RSS or the Kerbol system, with an atmosphere 7 times the mass of Earth's but solid mass closer to the Moon, which makes the atmosphere extend far into space (in RSS to 600km). This particular aerobreaking maneuver saves around 3800 m/s dV and a lot more was possible. We aerobreak juuust enough so that we are in a highly elliptic orbit. Pe is raised barely above the atmosphere, and next we find a window where a burn at Pe can get us near Iapetus. Touchdown at Iapetus! We have some extra dV so we do some quick biome hopping. We were able to land in 4 out of 6 of Iapetus's biome before heading back. We launch from Iapetus and kick out into an orbit around Saturn very similar to that of Iapetus, wait for a window, and then boost for home. We will still have around 500 km/s dV left after the burn. Despite entering Earth's atmosphere at over 16 km/s, our tiny weight and relatively large heat shield make re-entry a breeze. We glide down to a gentle splash with the EVA suit's paraglider. We end up raking in 1.55 million funds via world firsts to go along with 3876 science, far better than expected. The final science complex upgrade is 1.69 million, and we have plenty of science for the final techs, so now we just need one more mission to earn some cash in order to unlock everything we need to make Ion upper stages and reach the 30k+ dV targets.
  3. After a long delay, we're officially back on! This seems like a good time to break down what our current and future options are looking like. This might be a bit TL;DR for some people so I've put most of it in spoilers. So next mission is probably a Kerbed land and return mission to Iapetus. After that it gets even tougher. We will still be well short of the cash and science to get the final 1.6m research upgrade. I kinda hate using high dV ion setups because of absurd burn times, but we will definitely need them if we want to pick up enough of the ~14m in world firsts that are available in the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus to close this thing out while remaining profitable enough. So looking beyond this next launch we will need a science mission probably to Mars and moons, and probably close to revenue neutral, and then figure out some way to make the final 600k-1m we will need to unlock and launch our first Ion ship and start the final phase of this project.
  4. I'm glad to see this thread is still alive. A while back I started this challenge but with a twist: the Kerbol system is replaced with the real solar system. All parts are the same as the regular game, and the RSS mod has the same world first bonuses for Kerbin/Earth and similar for other analogous bodies, but just orbiting the moon and returning takes more dV than a land and return mission to anywhere in the Kerbol system. My plan was to wait till the whole thing was finished to post it here, but I kinda stopped playing KSP half way through the attempt. The furthest I got was landing a probe on a Mars moon and a Kerballed orbit of Venus with a return. Maybe I'll pick it back up before KSP 2 is released and see if I can close it out. I wrote about each launch in a mission report thread:
  5. Thanks! I had the next mission planned and a ship mostly designed, but I got distracted by some real life stuff and then some other games. I still plan on coming back and finishing this.
  6. Now that we have some funds secured, it's time go for some science. Next up is a manned mission to Venus and back. After building out the ship I had in mind, it had more dV than I thought it would, so the Moon is added as a potential extra mission target. Some of last mission's funds were spent upgrading the launch pad to max, upgrading the flight center for maneuver nodes, and upgrading the astronaut center for EVAs.Launch 10: Kerballed Venus orbit and Moon flyby The final haul is 2145 science and about 440k in world firsts (about 240k profit after out 200k ship is included). This will be enough to upgrade the science center and get some much needed technologies before our next mission.
  7. My hope for the next launches was to do a manned science mission to orbit Venus and return. Unfortunately with our limited budget and building upgrade options, I could not make this a reality, and this will have to wait for the next installment. Instead we move to a backup option, sending a probe to Mars. But to do this, we would need solar panels, which we were just 20 science short of. I also decided to pick up some deep sea diving world firsts. Launches 6 and 7: Deep sea diving and some quick science Now on to the main event, a probe to Mars and hopefully Phobos and Deimos as well. Initially I hadn't considered this an option, as we don't have any antennas unlocked which have enough range for Mars. However limited probe control is still probe control. Only being able to turn the throttle full blast or off is an annoyance but is not debilitating, as is more limited control over our direction. We won't have enough dV to return after visiting the moons so this is a one way mission. I opted for upgrades to the tracking station and VAB, which left us with 166k. Launches 8 and 9: Probe to Mars, Phobos, and Deimos The final total upon returning our view to the space center is 845k (including our previous remaining balance of 63k). This should buy us some nice building upgrades and a fair amount of wiggle room in our upcoming missions.
  8. The most logical next step would seem to be getting to orbit, which is no easy task with a launchpad upgrade being the only building improvement (we had 188k funds and no upgrades after launch 3 and then spent 50k on upgrading the launchpad). However just getting to orbit and returning to the surface wouldn't give us quite enough funds for a VAB upgrade, a science upgrade, or another launch upgrade. So we would still have to get to the Moon or somewhere else with the same restrictions, and any Moon launch will get all the Orbit bonuses anyways. So if we can't get to the Moon on these launches, our journey would be effectively over. Launches 4 and 5: Moon orbit The world firsts for our return have us ending up at 493k to spend on some building upgrades and our next mission.
  9. Inspired by this challenge thread: I wanted to take things up a notch and attempt this challenge with the RSS mod using only unmodified stock parts. Introduction To state the obvious, RSS makes things far more difficult. Here's a dV chart. For example, just taking off from Earth into a stable orbit takes more dV than taking off from Kerbin and landing on any body in the Kerbol system. Landing on the Moon and returning to Earth takes ~17.5 km/s dV while landing on Eve and returning takes ~14 km/s dV. No contracts means that money can only be made on automatic world firsts. The lack of low dV options in RSS makes things especially difficult near the start, as we will have to progress very quickly and cheaply with low tech and few building upgrades or we'll run out of money. I'm not really sure I can pull it off but it will be fun to try. My first attempt flamed out pretty early due to a series of compounding errors, but I got close enough to make me think it's possible and I've decided to document my second attempt here. The game mode will be normal with no options changed. I'm also going to follow self-imposed rules of no strategies via the admin building, no clipping of non-structural parts, no ISRU, and no science lab. The mods I'll be using are Mechjeb, KER, Mechjeb for all, automatic science sampler (runs experiments automatically), better time warp, and RSS with the minimum number of required mods (Kopernicus, RSS textures, etc.). I'm also using KSP version 1.7 even though it is not officially supported by RSS. Without further ado, let's get started. The first three launches First we dip into Earth's upper atmosphere over 50km, landing splashed down at the shores for 70 total science. Using girders as decouplers helps us get high on the first launch, and using 3 goo canisters on the command pod (coupled with lots of spinning) lets Bob shed enough speed for his parachute to function properly. Next we spend almost all our science on science tech and we get our first taste of space past 140km. The main purpose of this launch is to grab some extra science so that we can have both the Science Jr. and some basic wheels for our science car (coming up next) and also so that we can have as much science as possible for the launch after next when the real fun begins. The third launch is a pretty standard science car for running experiments around the KSC. Jets facing forward and back prevents us from getting stuck running into buildings, and the experiment storage unit allows us to keep two copies of every goo/materials experiment. We are successful in mopping up every bit of science, leaving us with 519 unspent points. That concludes the easy portion of this challenge. Tune in next time when we will try to run a mission with almost as much dV requirement as a Tylo or Eve landing and return with only a single building upgrade.
  10. It's the lightest and cheapest probe core in the game, and is thus great for min/maxing in brutal career settings or in challenges. Recently I used it to set the current high score in a 5k funds or less speed challenge of over 9km/s orbital speed. Right now I'm working on a RSS career play through with unmodified stock parts and no accepted contracts, and it would be impossible without this minimalist probe core. Reading the other replies I think it's really under-appreciated. You can get by with no SAS or RCS with just gimbaled engines, and the wasted fuel you spend pointing to the desired direction should be less than the dV you gain and funds you save from using this lighter probe core. Edit: If you don't have SAS, it helps a lot if you are using Mechjeb.
  11. Up to 9293 m/s in large part thanks to stealing @dnbattley ring drop tank design. This score could be improved by at least a bit as I ran out of fuel ~35s before my Pe at 90.5km, but I didn't have time tonight to get a 70km Pe and better burn timing. I also improved the launch by tilting to around 9 degrees before ignition. I got a working ant design but my best run topped out at 8.9km/s. It had almost 500 m/s more dV than the above ship in a maximally elliptic orbit for the final approach, but very long burn times (~1hr30m total, thank you better time warp) made the final burn far less efficient with less Oberth effect, and accelerating earlier meant less time for gravity to accelerate the ship on approach.
  12. This will be tough to beat. I'm curious what that circular part is between the bottom baguette and the fairing base? Seems like it should be obvious but I can't figure it out.
  13. Nice flying! From that KER readout it looks like your ship had slightly lower vacuum dV than mine, but you were still able to smash my record. Part of that is related to this question: I didn't. I just pointed straight up and then circularized with the spark. I wonder how much of your better speed has to do with this and how much was made up in other flying improvements. I think at the very least I could improve by inducing a gravity turn either by having the payload be slightly off-center or starting the whole ship at a tilt, but I'm not sure if this alone would be enough to catch up. I should have some time later today to mess around with this or maybe see if I can make ant viable.
  14. 8,541 m/s To save some cash I used a stayputnik with no reaction wheel and relied on the spark's gimble and MJ to point in the right direction. I also used a small hardpoint attached to the kickback radially and then moved to the top to save 240 funds over a decoupler. I was able to fit in 20 baguette tanks. I suspect an ant design might be best but I couldn't figure out how to engineer it right in the time I had.
  15. @jinnantonix Nice work. I tried to run my own command seat mission but my computer couldn't handle it. I was surprised at how much of a cpu/gpu drain they are.