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  1. My personal record for heaviest craft would be my 6.4x Jeb's Level Jool 5 spacecraft, which I flew in early 2020. The liftoff mass was 155.2 kilotons and lofted about 7.5 kilotons to orbit. The Kraken wouldn't leave stock-part launch vehicles alone, which is why I had to use less part-intensive 7.5m tanks and engines from the old Kerbodyne Plus mod. Still, though, the craft was a little under 2500 parts at launch and 390 meters tall, taking several hours to reach orbit. For the curious, the mission album can be found here: https://imgur.com/a/g1hgYTG
  2. Part 2: Probes and Circularization (College has been annoyance for the past five months, putting this mission on hiatus. Now, I am back to finish it.) While swinging out to apoapsis, the 4 sub-probes eject to explore the Tylo system in-depth. Tartarus will wait an extra orbit while the probes establish their orbits. The Tylo mapping satellite, TyloScan, is the first probe to arrive at its final orbit. It circularized into a 125 km x 125 km polar orbit to scan for ore. Next was the Tylo communications satellite, TyloComm, which circularizes into a 15.5 Mm x 15.5 Mm equatorial orbit. Unfortunately, due to Dres's orbital altitude and SOI size, a stationary orbit is impossible (any object in such an orbit will crash into Dres), so TyloComm enters an orbit slightly below the proper altitude. After that is the Duna mapping satellite, DunaScan, which leverages the moon's thin atmosphere for aerobraking. Similar to TyloScan, it also secures a 125 km x 125 km polar orbit. Finally, the Dres mapping satellite, DresScan, finishes off the four probes, entering a lower-than-usual 30 km x 30 km polar orbit. Now with the satellites in place and scanning, the crew on Tartarus search for a valid landing site on Tylo. They are looking for a location with a high ore concentration, low latitude, and low ASL altitude. A site is soon selected, at the bottom of a canyon smothered with impact ejecta from a basin in the northern hemisphere. The map view below shows the landing site and its coordinates, as well as Tartarus's inclined eccentric orbit. The first order of business is to make Tartarus's orbit equatorial, accomplished using a 13 m/s plane change burn near apoapsis. Then, after jettisoning the sub-probe adapter to minimize mass, the ship starts circularizing into a very low Tylo orbit, a 2700 m/s burn split into 250 m/s maneuvers to maximize the Oberth effect. During these burns, the third... ...fourth... ...and fifth pairs of drop tanks are ejected... ...along with the pair of nuclear engine clusters (which were dropped on a suborbital trajectory)... ...before Tartarus, at long last, secures a 25 km x 25 km equatorial parking orbit. The burns took about 3000 m/s in total, an overrun of ~11% due to Tylo's nasty gravity losses. Due to Tylo's distance from Kerbol, the transfer window back home is permanently open, so there's no advantage to lingering in low Tylo orbit. As such, the crew, especially Valentina (since she's piloting Bonecruncher), elect to land as soon as possible.
  3. Part 1: The Journey to Tylo As promised, this is Tartarus, fully stacked on the pad. At 9910 tons, it is the most massive stock rocket I've seriously built, but nowhere near my personal record (that one is from this mission). The harsh sunlight is from base Alternis Kerbol, not any ambient light boost in my settings. Tartarus's launch date was ~Y1 D168, stock Kerbin-time. This mission has three kerbals aboard - Valentina, Bill, and Bob. As is quasi-tradition with these super-duper-heavy launchers, I hand off the reins to MechJeb, who can handle lag much better than me. The first stage is rather cleanly dropped at 13 km (the explosion is from the decoupler). The second stage follows suit at 39 km, where it also starts becoming clear the ascent was a little too shallow to be efficient. One coast, fairing deployment, and circularization burn later, Tartarus attains a 103 km x 100 km low Kerbin orbit. I ballpark the ascent delta-V at ~3.8 km/s. Shortly after orbit attainment, I window-hunt to find a transfer directly from Kerbin to Tylo. I originally planned to eject into Jool orbit, and then burn to Tylo transfer from there, but this method was efficient enough (0.95 km/s vs. 1.6 km/s) to make it worth the effort, plus giving an opportunity for easier periapsis kicks. Tylo orbits a little beyond Duna's old orbit, hence the longer transfer time, at 1 year. The last of the fuel from the launcher starts the first kick before the 21 nuclear engines take over (that explosion was the probe core meant to de-orbit the upper stage). On one of the later kicks (piloted by MechJeb for precision), the first pair of drop tanks is ejected. Kerbin's gravity well is deep enough that the final kick from an elliptical Kerbin orbit to a Tylo transfer is less than 100 m/s. Due to Jool's proximity to Kerbol, Tartarus takes only ~15 days to escape its reduced SOI, while the crew settle in for the long haul. One year (and one ~106 m/s deep-space correction) later, Tartarus plummets towards Tylo. The planet might seem distant, but this image was taken just under an hour before reaching periapsis. Tylo's deep gravity well makes the elliptical capture pretty cheap, at 120 m/s, although the second pair of tanks are also dropped during this burn. Now in a 150 Mm x 40 km orbit, it's time for Tartarus to investigate Tylo and its moons via its probes before gearing up for landing.
  4. The below details a hypothetical mission design. I won't fly it due to IRL issues, but will remove it if considered irrelevant. I saw this challenge and decided to have a bit of fun planning out a quick hypothetical architecture using RSS with stock parts (I will not be flying it, however). It will require extensive use of nuclear engines, but I should be able to get each individual mars mission down to a launch of ~30-40 tons to LEO. The main difficulties are twofold: Compared to stock, the gravity wells of the Earth and Moon are insanely deep. RSS requires ~4 km/s between Low Earth Orbit and Low Lunar Orbit, and another 1.8 km/s between the surface and LLO. This is why nuclear engines are a necessity at this scale, as well as extensive use of aerobraking unmanned spacecraft. Mars's atmosphere is too thin for stock parachutes to work. Stock parachutes semi-deploy at 0.01 atm, and Mars is half that on average. Because of that, powered landing is a necessity, requiring a large descent stage for each mission. With that in mind, behold, here is the mission design I came up with (delta-V factored in, but unmentioned): Launch 1: ISRU Miner (ISM) The ISM would have 6-7 nuclear engines and 15,000 units of LF, as well as a large ISRU converter, large drill, and large fuel cell (since the Moon's size makes precise landings extremely tedious). Upon reaching orbit, it would weigh ~100 tons (which ballparks* a 6,600 ton launch vehicle), and would land directly at the moon's south pole to mine fuel. There, it will wait for the next launch. Launch 2: Lunar Station (LUS) + Transfer Tug (TST) The TST would have 3-4 nuclear engines and 10,000 units of LF, as well as an inflatable heat shield module that doubles as a detachable RCS tug. The LUS would have capacity for 8 kerbals, 2-4 docking ports, some low-thrust propulsion, and an empty fuel tank that can hold 5000 units of LF. These two payloads would launch together on the same launch vehicle design as the ISM, also massing ~100 tons in LEO. They would insert into a lunar orbit similar to LOP-G, a polar, elliptical lunar orbit with an apoapsis over the south pole and a periapsis over the north pole. For refueling, the ISM launches from the moon, rendezvouses with the LUS, transfers fuel to the TST, and then returns to the surface to mine, repeating until the TST, LUS, and ISM have a total of at least ~23,000 units of LF on the station (3,000 units for landing the ISM, 20,000 units per mars mission). (An optional extra payload for this launch would be a transfer habitat, an 8-kerbal facility which would fly with the TST to Mars, alongside each mars mission.) Launches 3-5: Mars Mission 1 (MM1), Mars Mission 2 (MM2), Mars Mission 3 (MM3) These missions will launch 4 years apart, skipping a transfer window for each mission (though if another TST is launched and mining is fast enough, the missions can be launched 2 years apart). MM1 will consist of 4 components: the return capsule, Mars descent stage, Mars base, and Mars ascent vehicle. VAB testing has estimated this payload to weigh around 30-40 tons in LEO (ballparking a 2300 ton launch vehicle), obeying all given rules. Mission Procedure MM1 launches into LEO, fully fueled and crewed TST leaves LUS with full fuel tank and heat shield, aerobrakes into LEO TST docks with MM1, transfers with MM1 to LUS TST+MM1 dock and refuel from LUS** TST+MM1 depart from LUS, swings by Earth for Mars transfer TST+MM1 capture into highly elliptical Mars orbit MM1 undocks, lands on Mars directly from elliptical Mars orbit*** TST aerobrakes into Low Mars Orbit MM1's ascent vehicle launches to LMO, docks with TST TST+MM1 leave Mars for Earth transfer TST+MM1 undock at edge of Earth's SOI MM1 lands on Earth TST aerocaptures, captures into lunar orbit, docks with LUS TST refuels from ISM MM2 launches into LEO This is highly complex by stock standards, but I think at the scale of RSS, it's an excellent design to work around the inefficiencies of stock parts without going too massive. *In my RSS career, I've found 1.5% to be a decent payload fraction estimate for most stock-part rockets. **MM1 could also refuel in lunar orbit, decreasing launch costs but increasing complexity (as the ISRU facility is LF-oriented otherwise, and MM1 will need oxidizer). ***If the return capsule is separate from the Mars ascent vehicle, it remains docked to the TST during the aerobraking. Edit: I just realized I forgot about preliminary probes. Here's the changes to the above plan that need to be made: Add a Launch 0, which would carry a scanning satellite and 3 communication satellites for Mars Add to Launch 1 a Moon scanning satellite, deployed in LLO by the ISM Add to each MMx mission a tiny marking probe (likely <1 ton)
  5. Hello all. This thread will be on a mission where I land a kerbal on Tylo in Alternis Kerbol and return them safely to Kerbin. As of writing this initial thread, I've designed, tested, and assembled all the mission hardware and just need to fly it. Introduction Alternis Kerbol (modernized as Alternis Kerbol Rekerjiggered) is a mod originally released in 2013. It revamps the solar system to be more challenging, with Tylo having one of the most drastic transformations. The ex-moon is now a standalone world orbiting near where Duna used to (Duna and Dres are now moons of Tylo), and now possesses a radius of 1103 km, a surface gravity of 4 Gs, and a thin, hot atmosphere that makes Eve's look tame. Online, I've only located two people who have returned kerbals from Tylo - @metaphor and @Xurkitree. However, metaphor's mission (video here) was accomplished with no aerodynamics or reentry heat, while Xurkitree's mission (video here) tortured his kerbal with 6 years on Tylo's surface in a command seat, and to top it all off, neither included science gear. I am going to change that. I will be landing a kerbal on Tylo with a pressurized pod and full scientific suite, while minimizing time under Tylo's crushing gravity. Part 0: Craft Overview This is Tartarus, the single-launch ship I've developed, as it will look in low Kerbin orbit. It's named after the abyss of torment and punishment from Greek mythology, which I found to be an apt description for Tylo, too. The ship weighs around 1715 tons at the start, and has 3 main sections: the command section, the lander, and the transfer stage. At the top is the command section (which will carry the name Tartarus), which includes the return capsule, the transfer habitat, and 4 satellites. The satellites consist of 3 scanners, which aim to map all bodies in the Tylo system, and 1 relay, which will provide constant communication for the lander while on the surface. In the middle is the Tylo lander, Bonecruncher. The name was chosen due to the extremely high G-forces sustained during landing and ascent. The high mass, at 769 tons, was due to me opting for a powered descent instead of heat shield spam. The lander carries a full set of scientific instruments and ISRU kit, which I've tested to refill the ascent stages in under 150 kerbin days when landing in an ore-rich spot. At the bottom is the unnamed transfer stage. It uses vertical asparagus staging to eke out 5 km/s of delta-V while pushing Bonecruncher and Tartarus, which should be enough to get to a 25x25 km orbit around Tylo, while still leaving enough fuel to return home (though if there's insufficient fuel, I'll launch a refueling craft). Tartarus needs to still get to space, however, which is where this launch vehicle comes in. It is a fairly simple 3 stage setup, each stage primarily using varying quantities of an OTRAG-esque common booster (consisting of two S3-14400 tanks and a Mammoth engine). Unfortunately, the VAB is too small to show the entire assembled rocket inside of it, so the full image will have to wait for the next part.
  6. I'm certainly excited to see how you'll touch down on Eve with that. As for the airbrakes, unfortunately, I'll have to give a no on that. I am kind of torn, as airbrakes make for good hinge actuators in stock KSP, but in the spirit of TMarkos's original challenge, I have to decline their usage. That said, I have a potential alternative idea for your vehicle: use several smaller rockets mounted perpendicularly to force the rocket vertical, then eject them just before liftoff, like as seen in this video from StratzenBlitz75. Assuming a 30 ton ascent vehicle, you would only need ~500 kN of thrust, which should be covered by a handful of Thuds or Hammers/Fleas. However, if you still use airbrake hinges, I will still definitely add you, but it will just be under the Gatecrashers category. Regardless, whichever way you go with, good luck!
  7. Sounds good. I've updated the original post already to permit static radiators only. Huh, I never know that. Today I learned! I think I'll keep static radiators disallowed, however, as they are still good at producing drag on lighter vehicles (as you pointed out), which kind of feels like going against the grain for this challenge. If either of you ( @camacju, too) decide to tackle this challenge, I'm definitely interested to see what you all come up with.
  8. Hmmm, that is a good point. The original reason I had disallowed radiators was because I felt they could be used to cheese heat management during Eve descent, but you are right in that ISRU is supposed to employ radiators. How about this: static radiators are disallowed, but deployable radiators are still permitted. Eve descent and ascent would have too high a dynamic pressure (without a fully powered descent) to make them usable without breaking, but they are still usable on the surface. Would that work better?
  9. In July of 2015, I read the challenge idea below on the r/kerbalspaceprogram subreddit, originally posted on a challenge suggestion thread by TMarkos: At the time, I thought it was a very fun idea for a challenge, but it never picked up traction and was lost to the sands of time. However, I didn't forget about it, and last week, I decided to pick up the mantle and perform an Eve return mission following it with some extra caveats: no DLCs, no ISRU, no radiators, no fairings, no control surfaces, and no nuclear or ion propulsion. Within 24 hours, I successfully designed, tested, and flew the mission end-to-end. Granted, I did use an autopilot in Eve's lower atmosphere to counter my subpar piloting skills (and the lack of control surfaces), but I have proven that the original challenge is feasible from a technical standpoint. I've posted the Imgur album of the mission below, for the curious and those looking to design their own response to the challenge below, my revival and updating of TMarkos's original idea. THE CHALLENGE Land and return at least 1 kerbal from Eve in a single launch without the use of heatshields, static* radiators, airbrakes, parachutes or landing gear. The quoted challenge is not the official challenge, as I have also disallowed static* radiators. ADDITIONAL RULES AND NOTES Avoid physics-breaking or non-stock-performance propulsion methods. (This includes things like kraken drives, most engines from Near- and Far-Future Technologies, and jet engines capable of running in Eve's atmosphere) No cheating, please. If you have to ask if it's considered cheating, there's a decent chance it is. No part clipping, please. (Clipping of structural parts is allowed, but not of engines, any resource-holding part, or crew capsule) The kerbal landing on Eve should be able to walk or swim around on the surface. Static radiators are not allowed, but deployable radiators are allowed. (This is less of a rule and more of a note for people doing this challenge with ISRU.) Although I flew my mission with plenty of extra conditions, those are entirely optional to those interested in competing. If anybody wishes to attempt a low-anything (low-cost, low-mass, etc.) mission, I'll add a leaderboard for that respective category (I'll also add a "Gatecrashers" list if the need arises). Otherwise, if any questions still remain, ask away. These rules are not set in stone, and I'm willing to update them or add new ones to address errors. Good Luck! FINISHERS I will add each person who finishes the challenge and posts it on here, along with some notes on their mission. @Beriev (Album) Done as a technical feasibility mission, utilizing some assistance from Mechjeb for the Eve landing and Eve ascent (manually flown otherwise). Additionally completed without DLCs, ISRU, radiators, control surfaces, fairings, or nuclear/ion propulsion.
  10. Besides the reference to Porkjet's part redesigns, I think it might also be a reference to the A-7 engine, which powered the Redstone rocket. Of course, it could be referencing a different engine altogether... http://www.astronautix.com/a/a-7.html
  11. I don't know if this answers your question exactly, but when I come up with the staging used for my rockets, I usually try to target a similar initial TWR for each stage (1.0-1.5 for lower stages, 0.6-1.0 for upper stages, and >0.3 for vacuum stages), while trying to ensure each stage has a similar amount of Delta-V (for stock parts, around 2500-3000 m/s per stage does the trick for me). Note that the provided numbers are for RSS, where lots of vacuum delta V is needed, but the general strategy remains - ignore mass, prioritize TWR and Delta-V.
  12. I personally am playing RSS with stock parts (no SMURFF), alongside KSP-IE, EPL, KCT, and Civilian Population, which gives me a nice halfway stance between Kerbal difficulty and real-world difficulty. For the moment, I've decided to set a long-term goal of creating a self-sustaining colony on Proxima Centauri b. Maybe you could adapt one or some of these ideas into your playthrough. However, although I've never played it, Kerbalism seems like a good idea, as the realistic spacecraft design (part failure, radiation, stress) may combine with kerbal scale to also create a similarly intermediate difficulty. Those recent grand tours on the Mission Reports subforum certainly make it look interesting enough that I think you should consider it. Expanding on Kerbalism, if you are willing to downgrade to version 1.0.4, you might be able to get a Better Than Starting Manned save running again with some work, as it struck a really great balance between challenging and tedious.
  13. Hello all. I recently returned Jebediah Kerman from sea level at Jool's North Pole (linked here), and decided to throw down the gauntlet for others to attempt, too, as there is quite the disappointing lack of return missions from Jool's lower atmosphere. (Credit where credit is due - the format used is very heavily based on the Jool 5 Challenge) THE CHALLENGE Tier 1: Get at least 1 kerbal below 120 km on Jool and return. (120km is the "upper atmosphere" threshold) Tier 2: Get at least 1 kerbal below 0 m on Jool and return to Kerbin. (Crush limit is at -250m) Anybody who completes Additionally, for both tiers, I'll include a tag on submissions competing to minimize mass, cost, or part count ("[LOW MASS-#mT]", "[LOW COST-$#]", and "[LOW PARTS-#]", respectively, with "#" being the value of interest), meaning that there will be 6 possible first places at any time. If there is enough traffic, I will make each tier's sub-challenges a separate leaderboard. Note that I will accept retroactive submissions, so if you've done it before I posted this challenge, feel free to make a submission. I also will accept submissions that complete this challenge alongside other challenges, like the Jool 5 mission or a Grand Tour. RULES No cheating, like using the debug menu, HyperEdit, config editing, or persistence file editing. No part-clipping of functional parts. Non-functional parts, like wings, heat shields, or structural parts, can be clipped, however. All kerbals must return safely to Kerbin. DLCs and "parts mods" (like Bluedog Design Bureau or DMagic Orbital Science) are permitted, though I will add tags ("[MH]", "[BG]", and/or "[MODDED]", respectively). Quality-of-Life mods (like MechJeb or clouds) are effectively considered stock ("[STOCK]") Mods that affect the game itself (like Kerbalism or SCANSat) are considered modded, as well. "Cheaty" propulsion mods (like OPT or late-game KSP-IE), are forbidden. If you have to ask if it's allowed, the answer is likely "no". When making a submission, make the whole mission easily accessible, like through an Imgur album, YouTube video, mission report, or directly attaching the images in the submission. THE WALL OF FAME Tier 1 @king of nowhere (Forum Post) Attached an extra rocket stage to their Laythe spaceplane to get enough Delta-V to return to Jool orbit. Employed several aero-brakings to get into low Jool orbit while completing the Jool 5 challenge. Dipped to a low altitude of 116km (and got an EVA report at 500 m/s!) before racing back into Jool orbit. Quite a unique design at this time. Tier 2 @Beriev (Album) [STOCK] Launched a relatively large mothership directly into a Jool transfer, and used successive aero-brakings to get into a polar Jool orbit. Used a dedicated lander to get Jebediah Kerman to -203m at Jool's North Pole with a full scientific suite, and then used a separate rotor with a Stayputnik bearing to ascend above 100km before lighting the engines to return into Jool orbit. Tight fuel budgets led to a longer trip home (7yr), but successfully returned to Kerbin in a mini-glider. Not super-optimized, but a nice starting point and a good reference. FEEDBACK Any feedback would be strongly appreciated. Enjoy your day!
  14. Thanks! As for the torque countering, the rotor was a separate craft to rotate freely, only contained by 2 stayputnik bearings inside the structural fuselage at the top. The 3 reaction wheels beneath it are connected to the actual rocket part of the Jool Escape and help counteract the forces from the rotor wobbling, with shamelessly extensive help from MechJeb, since it's far more precise.
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