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king of nowhere

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  1. well, i believe for me it was starting to carry out large complex missions with ludicrously large ships. (notice: the ship may look smaller than it is because i enlarged the engines and convert-o-trons in an attempt to save part count. the mining drills, large reaction wheels or ra-100 antennas are good references. Do also notice the time stamp) I started this trend last december; since then, i performed a grand total of 2 and a half missions. yeah, they take that long. I don't know the most time-consuming part; the lag caused by the huge motherships, having to stop time warp regularly to harvest food from the greenouses, or having to stop at longer intervals to manually check up every single component of the ship to try and avoid malfunctions. I've had lots of fun designing ships that could carry out such missions, getting to use them for extended times and really appreciate them, solving whatever weird problem the game threw at me. but still a huge commitment. I'd count it as the dumbest thing I do because a lot of people called me crazy over this never understood that part. i mean, ok, i understand about structural problems and all, and you can't just brute force things. but isn't MOAR BOOSTERS what we do in real life too? we really use boosters to increase payloads.
  2. 1.11 and yes. actually i have the level 4 tracking station that comes with opm, but you got the point.
  3. Ok, it appears most people agree that with "infinite resources" we could do pretty much anything in the solar system. Let's try to refine this a bit; how big a ship would need to be to provide a safe mission to a) the moons of jupiter (main hazards: travel time, radiations, deltaV) b) venus surface (main hazards: making a lander that can survive venus and get away from it c) pluto, or other similar TNO (main hazar: travel time) a thousand ton in LEO? ten thousands? one million? what would it actually need? I'd like to try answers myself, but i'll have to leave in 10 minutes wasn't aware of tech readyness level; it's a nice concept. my concept of "currently available" means that you can gather a bunch of engineers, give them enough money to develop the thing, and you are pretty much guaranteed that they will have a working prototype within a few years. In that classification, it can mean anything between level 3-7. Something that we know would work, we have a pretty good idea of how to make it work, even though we may have not built a prototype yet. As an example, I would consider nuclear engines and nuclear power plants to be something within current level; for the first, we built a prototype and tested it, and for the second, we have them working on the ground and we have to adapt them for space. On the other hand, i would not consider an orion drive to be within current level; though we know the principles under which it would work, there are too many practical problems in trying to propel your ship with nearby nuclear explosions. Nor I would consider available nuclear fusion, even though they are building test reactors, because they predict it will still take many decades to use them. Or generation ships, we can build stuff lasting decades, but not millennia.
  4. i did mention that. i mentioned that it could be brute-forced with enough radiation shielding. something real space agencies cannot do because of mass issues
  5. As I'm trying to perform grand tours with increasingly realistic mods, I occasionally got into arguments on how realistic it would be to try a grand tour with current technology. I mean, we barely walked on the moon a half dozen times, we're still a long way from mars, manned missions to the most distant planets are clearly off the table for a long while, aren't they? I counter that by claiming that our current technology (including stuff we don't have but could easily develop if needed) would be actually good enough to go everywhere in the solar system, it's just too expensive and unpractical. But that's a discussion concerning real rocketry, so i'm bringing it to the appropriate thread. Would we be able to launch manned missions everywhere in the solar systems with current technology, if we had infinite money and industrial capacity and no risk aversion? My understanding of current technology is that yes, in theory we could. Let's see the main obstacles 1) crew healt in 0 g is the main problem. i read multiple times that a gravity ring would not work, that the coriolis effect would be so strong that it would make people nauseated. On the other hand, I don't think anyone has ever tried to make an actual gravity ring and have astronauts living in it. With infinite money and industrial capacity, we could afford to build one big enough for crew healt. Even if it weights 10k tons, and we'd then need a million tons of fuel to move it, for the purpose of this experiment it is possible. but ok, let's assume it really is not, and that we have to keep our crew in 0 g for a decade or two. we don't really know the long term human tolerance to 0 g. the longest permanence in space is one and a half year. and we don't dare push it too far, because we are afraid we'll make a mess. you can't risk your astronauts becoming crippled. even if you could, public opinion would see you without funding if you tried. but assume the "no risk aversion" clause; in this thought experiment we can and we will jeopardize our astronauts. would 0 g actually kill them? not that I know. not directly, at least. Sure, they'll get weaker muscles, even with exercice, but they won't actually need big muscles. Earth has the strongest gravity in the system, barring the gas giants where we won't land anyway. second highest is venus, and you get there in less than one year, while our astronauts are still in a fairly decent shape. everywhere else it's no more than 0.3 g, and outside mars orbit there's nowhere with more than 0.15 g on the surface. Even if our astronauts were strongly weakened by their permanence in space, they'd probably still manage to walk on those places. even weighted down by their eva suits. i'm not even considering radiations. We can afford to cover the whole ship in lead plating, and to hell with weight. We have infinite resources for something. 2) deltaG seems doable it would take a few tens of km/s to go anywhere in the solar system. Well, if we have no weigth/cost restriction and we can send thousands of tons of fuel in orbit, that's not a big deal. 3) ship maintenance my knowledge is much more hazy in this field. However, we've managed to launch robotic ships that lasted decades. Add in that no mass restriction means you can afford to send plenty of redundant systems and spare pieces, and that you will have a crew to take care of repairs, keeping a spaceship in working conditions for 30 years seems plausible. Life support is also something you can brute force your way through, just bring enough food, air and water. Of course we would never want out poor astronauts to spend 30 years in space away from their families and everything else, but in this thought experiment, this is not a concern. 4) energy solar panels are useless too far from the sun, and rtgs are not suited for large ships. But we do have nuclear energy, and while we never tried to launch a nuclear plant in space, i see no particular reason why we couldn't. It's enough within the limits of current technology for my purposes 5) engine reusability engines can only be reused a finite amount of times. I'm not sure if astronauts in eva would be able to repair them. worst case scenario, the mission would just carry extra engines and add some mass. 6) various, planet-specific the cold of the outer system would not be a big deal, with a nuclear reactor we can afford to heat the ship. heat is harder to deal with. Venus is a brutal environment; I don't think our current technology would allow us to stay for long. but the venera probes managed to survive a few hours on the surface before overheating, and a sufficiently insulated manned lander may be able to achieve the same. the astronauts could eva in heavy diving suits - we have some that could withstand 90 bars of pressure, and buoyancy could help counteract the weight - long enough to grab a few samples and plant a flag. to return to orbit, deploying some sort of air baloon to float up away from the heaviest part of the atmosphere could help. That said, i'm still uncertain about venus. i know we can make a probe that can survive a few hours in those conditions, and i know we can make an eva suit that can survive at the right pressures and at the right temperatures; but I'm not sure those materials would withstand pressure and temperature together. Not and stay light enough to grant some mobility just with the buoyancy. so perhaps we'd have to skip venus Mercury has some similar problems. Going eva would not be a big deal, you can pick a landing site in twilight. the ship would certainly need a sunshade, and to get enough deltaV we'd need ion engines. but again, it's nothing we haven't done already, we'd just need to do it in bigger scale. Jupiter has huge radiation belts; I'm not sure how lethal exactly they would be to humans, but as I mentioned before, at worst we'll just plaster every crew space with thick lead insulation, and then double the amount of fuel to keep the deltaV requirements Conclusions I do believe, if we could afford to launch ships in the tens of kilotons weight range, and we were willing to send our astronauts in very long, dangerous missions, then we could make manned landings everywhere in the solar system - or at least we'd have a good shot at them. with the possible exception of venus. Prove me wrong.
  6. well, i could not see anything more specific in the relevant thread, but as far as i could understand, RO does - increase engines TWR, which would reduce the need for engine mass - increase tanks mass ratio, which is necessary to have the increased deltaV to navigate RSS (it's still much harder to navigate than the kerbol system, but with a look at the deltaV map it feels doable if i can expand my deltaV with lighter tanks) - allow different fuels; kerbalism already assumes the fuel is methalox, which is good enough for most engines. Nuclear engines would use pure hydrogen, and getting that with isru would be much easier than getting methane - although hydrogen tanks may have a worse mass ratio. - Cryogenics fuels may have boiloff, but if I can use nuclear power plants to keep them cool, then i'm fine. [if I can't keep my cryogenics refrigerated with power and the boiloff rate is too great, then i cuncur, it probably can't be done] - introduce ullage gas. I found no details on what this actually entails in the game, but as long as those ullage gases are normal resources that I can procure with ISRU, i should be fine [if I can't replenish ullage gases, then i probably can't do it] - engines have limited ignition. Which is... not at all different from what kerbalism already does. as long as I can service them with an engineer, it's fine [if RO forbids me from servicing engines, then again, it's impossible] - change solar panels, which won't affect me as I'll be using nuclear plants from near future - nerf reaction wheels, which will force me to use rcs at least for landing - make crew modules heavier, which on my usual kiloton ships will barely register Am I forgetting something? So yes, RO does add a lot of problems, but most of them can be overcome with instruments given by the game. If some of them cannot be overcome, then you're right, and I won't be able to do it. But I want to at least explore the possibility. As for what is realistic with "current technology", I always say that we could achieve a lot more if we had unlimited funding and industrial capacity to send thousands of tons of material in orbit at once and brute-force our way around most current limitations of space exploration. Oh, and astronauts that never get old or sick, too.
  7. real solar system + realism overhaul + near future parts + kerbalism are those mods compatible with each other? I'm wondering if i can make my next extended grand tour in real solar system. realism overhaul, making fuel tanks and engines more efficient, would be required to handle the greater deltaV requirements; pity that it nerfs reaction wheels, and since the resulting ship would need to be huge (in the 10 kton range) some near future fuel tanks and rcs would help. And before trying to actually do this - from what i can see, even just installing all the mods with their prerequisites would be a huge undertaking - i'd like to know if they can work together
  8. i have followed those instruction, and changed it to stock. i just checked, it's still on stock. but i've still got only one comet.
  9. is this a problem with SAS wheels turning your rover around? that's the most common cause of problems; on mun the gravity is low enough that reaction wheels may put your rover off course - or helping its stability, if used properly. aside from that, maybe there's nothing wrong and it's just the different gravity? low gravity always reduces control. but you've been posting for a while, and you probably know all of that already. let's see other things that could be causing problems you mention that they tend to deviate from a straight line. assuming your rovers are symmetric, i've seen it happen when the wheels are damaged. And i'm not just talking to normal wheel damage that can be repaired by an engineer. sometimes, when you take a hard bump, nothing apparently breaks but some wheels get slightly shifted. this difference of a few degrees is not visible by the naked eye, but it is enough to deviate the rover. do your rovers have this problems always? or only after they are used? if none of this is the answer, please post picture of your faily rovers with as much information as you can
  10. i'm having this problem too, though my case is different because i have multiple mods that may be interfering. but even with that, i've found a single comet in 160 years. and that one spawned almost instantly after i fiddled with the settings, but - without touching anything else - no other comet ever appeared. i can confirm it is a game malfunction. unfortunately, i have no idea how to fix
  11. depending on the rocket, it may well be the most efficient launch path. i suggest you experiment with less steep turns, and see how much deltaV you have in the end.
  12. My previous rover was very functional, but it wasn't fun to drive in high gravity. And yet, with the outer planets mod I came across a couple of worlds - Wal and Slate - that looked like really nice places to drive rovers on. If only I had a rover with more wheel power. To get the urge out of my system, I quickly cobbled up a rover with no rockets. such a strange concept, a car that cannot fly... who would ever conceive such a thing? well, without the need for huge fuel tanks and powerful rockets, I was able to put lots of wheels on a relatively light rover to take some scenic cruise. Without worrying about weight, I also replicated the armor that I first used on dancing porcupine (which I posted on the first page of this thread). As this rover is much lighter, the armor is even more effective, letting it routinely survive impacts at 50 m/s. Slate is full of valleys and canyons, and they run dozens of kilometers, sometimes hundreds. Who needs dres anymore? the rover exploring one such canyon I used the in-line Mk1 cockpit because it gives, by far, the best unobstructed IVA view among crew pods. You normally only get a good view above you, but I fixed this by angling it downward, for better view of the terrain. Too bad I can't use it on my regular rovers, kerbalism will consider any spaceship containing this part to be unpressurized, which will give plenty of issues And here on Wal. That mountain cliff ahead is 10 km high and surrounds the whole equator. climbing it was difficult and rewarding
  13. Though it has no absolute definition, a mothership can be stated to be a ship that can release smaller ships to perform various tasks, and take them back again. It is different from a space station because a space station remains stationary, while a mothership is supposed to move. Though there can be considerable overlap between the two. The mothership generally acts as a logistical hub, providing fuel, life support, material, and services to the various sub-vessels. In turn, those sub-vessels can accomplish their missions thanks to the mothership offering support. Motherships are generally used in ambitious exploration missions. Mothership provide habitation, life support, long range propulsion, fuel supplies, and they carry around their smaller landers, which could not do much more than land by themselves. Practically every grand tour or jool 5 or other complex, multi-objective mission makes use of something that can be defined as a "mothership". I love motherships, because i love the exploration concept that's behind them. Launching probes is all fine. Sending a kerbonaut in a can for a 10 year mission conveniently taking advantage that the game does not track food and air is great. But I like to dream big. I like to imagine flying cities, equipped with every comfort, capable of supporting a large crew for decades, with the means to solve any unplanned problem that may arise during the long mission. Ever since I became good enough to make working models, my ksp has been nothing but motherships - and their missions, and their sub-vessels. And yet there is no dedicated thread for it.I'm trying to fix this shortcoming. Post your motherships! For all those who refuse to send a single kerbal strapped to a seat in a multi-decade mission and won't ever be caught dead running for a "lower weight" or "lower part count" contest . Bonus points if you're using life support mods and have been fiddling with ridiculously convoluted resource chains to make your creation as self-sustaining as possible, and to justify its exaggerated part count -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I said that I like to dream big, and therefore I'll start by posting the spaceship named DREAM BIG. Made for a grand tour with the kerbalism mod, without using anything nuclear (less for extra challenge, and more because i was very worried about exposing my crew to radiation). With all the sub-vessels docked, it reaches a mass of roughly 4500 tons. At 1300 parts, it's the most part-intensive thing I ever used. It took me over two months to finish the mission, mostly because of how badly this thing lagged. Sporting 64 gigantor solar panels to get a reasonable power output as far as Jool (this beast consummed some 20 EC/s even in standby), but it also had several fuel cells for when it would transit in darkness. DREAM BIG has 32 greenhouses to produce food for a crew of 12, and enough gas and water tanks to last for decades. Actually the nitrogen mining system turned out to be basically nonfunctional, but good thing the starting nitrogen supplies lasted for the whole mission. Maximum deltaV was somewhere around 4000 m/s. The main propulsion consisted in 20 wolfhounds, the ship also had 2 rhinos for when it needed a higher thrust at the cost of lower Isp It costed just shy of 20 million kerbucks, including launchers. Most of the cost were the 130 high quality radiation shields, which were supposed to protect from solar storms. Alas, they were a mixed success at best. DREAM BIG has a total of 13-15 subvessels, depending on how one counts them (does the single use tylo descent stage counts as 1?) - 4 Diggers: 280-ton tankers with stock-isru capacity. For complicated fluff reasons, and as additional challenge, i decided i'd use them only on duna. besides getting new fuel, they also mined water and oxygen, and they accompanied smaller landers to their destinations. they are the big thing docked above and below the main body, those with the drills. - 4 Dolphins: safety escape pods, in case the mission went bad. they have ion engines with 15 km/s worth of xenon, and a landing pod that can withstand a 8 km/s atmospheric reentry. This allows them to take high-energy trajectories to return to kerbin in less than 1 year from anywhere. they are the smaller things docked above and below the main body, with a a Mk1-3 pod at the end. At 15 tons each, carrying them around was no problem for the bigger mothership. - 1 Eve lander: not present in the above picture, that was obviously taken after eve, it's the huge thing on the left of the first image, starting with that bunch of wings (which is actually an aerodinamic stabilizer, to keep that part pointing backwards). At 440 tons it was very inefficient, I later learned to take off from eve with much smaller crafts. The last stage of the eve lander doubles as tylo and laythe lander - a large part of the problems were caused by the bad aerodinamics of this arrangement - 1 tylo descent stage. It is docked to the small lander (see below) and it will give it the thrust and deltaV to perform the tylo landing. Discarded halfway through the ascent. It's the cylinder covering part of the rightmost lower Digger in the image above. - 1 Moho transfer stage. Because the DREAM BIG does not have enough deltaV to get in Moho orbit and return . It weighted some 30 tons, it could sustain three kerbals for almost three years, and it had 22 km/s. an exaggerated amount, but at the time i was still new to moho transfers, i was afraid of radiations and i thought i had to do everything super fast launching outside of proper transfer windows. i later learned to do it better. You can see it in the above picture, having just undocked from the main ship - 2 Wings: small probes to perform various science tasks. You can see one of them in the above picture, stuck close to the engines, with the M-700 survey scanner. Those turned out to have too little power, and their solar panels broke soon after release, making them nonfunctional - 1 the Can: small lander for all the low gravity places. It's just to the left of the navball in the above picture. its... curious... engine design was motivated by me wanting a redundant system if some engines failed. it was admirably redundant, but it suffered from low thrust and it was barely functional. I put a rear-looking cupola just to see the engines exhaust. it was totally worth it! DREAM BIG seen from an approaching Digger Aerobraking at duna. Bringing a ship so big in an atmosphere wasn't appreciated by my poor pc. You can see some fairly curious effects, and rather than frames per second i was measuring performance in seconds per frame I love those engine exhausts Docking the moho transfer stage with the small lander amid a forest of docked vessels. This was still an early version, lacking the radiation shields one doesn't appreciate the full scale of this ship until one sends a kerbal to spacewalk around it. Here an engineer is servicing the solar arrays Finally, a cinematic of a spacewalk around the DREAM BIG. Though my later motherships were more efficient, none was as aesthetically pleasing
  14. Looks like I forgot to post the rover for my current exploration mission. To keep up with the tradition of calling my small landers after common object, I dubbet it Horseshoe (not a very inspired name, but couldn't come up with anything else U-shaped). Specifications: - must be able to reach orbit from the surface of Tylo (it lands using a dedicated stage) - high redundancy, I'm using kerbalism and stuff breaks occasionally - good IVA view - good driving experience this is the result Wet mass: 16.2 tons Empty mass: 7.1 tons TWR 1.62 (Kerbin, vacuum) DeltaV 2500 m/s (vacuum) It's enough to orbit Tylo with some spare. Six Cub engines would be enough for that, but to keep the redundancy requirement I used 8, if one breaks I can shut off its opposite and this thing still reaches Tylo's orbit. To provide a good driving experience I used the lander pod with a lot of windows. The two strong reaction wheels in the back are very powerful, they are useful to turn the rover upright if it starts skidding. They add a lot of stability. They are also placed in a way that can easily be manipulated by EVA construction, if one breaks I have plenty of spares on its mothership. Power generation is 2 advanced RTG from near future electrics, each is as powerful as 4 ordinary RTGs but only weigths half as much. Seems too convenient, but I made this concession to practicality. RTGs have no part failure chance, so I don't need backups there. Wheels also don't need backups, thought of course I carry some repair kits if they get damaged. There are two antennas, with additional backups on the mothership, and even a spare robotic arm. The rover carries supplies for a crew of two for 50 days. Its only weakness is a single life support system; those things are very heavy, and without life support Horseshoe can still run for a couple of days before the crew is in danger, so it can still perform its basic mission. Thanks to a careful maintenance schedule, so far Horseshoe broke a single part. Guess which one? Horseshoe docked with the heavy descent stage for tylo landing On thatmo Plock The final part of landing on Slate. for the first time, i managed a landing on a tylo-like body without having to reload the game a dozen times first Gilly Horseshoe is an excellent lander. It performs nicely as a rover on low gravity bodies, but above 0.3 g it has some serious problems with even mild slopes. as is the case with all my lander/rover designs, you either sacrifice deltaV, or you sacrifice number of wheels. having to put in enough rockets to make the craft tylo-rated has seriously impacted its performance as a rover
  15. Part 12: All for nothing I follow up with the plan to resupply A'Tuin on Eeloo in remote control. But as A'Tuin returns to orbit with seriously depleted fuel capacity, I am unable to find a trajectory for Plock that fulfills both the time and deltaV constrains. Ultimately I have to reload to an earlier save, giving up on everything I've done in this chapter. 12.1) The first step is sending out a Wings 12.2) Trucker station 12.3) Eeloo alone 12.4) Gravity assist is a harsh mistress So, after reloading to the end of the previous chapter, I will use the remaining fuel to explore Jool, and refuel on Duna or Mun. From there I will try to tackle the last two planets I have to reach with more resources
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