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    CRO, Kromey Kaerospace

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  1. My first orbital rendezvous. It was the standard rescue contract, I had to go out and get Magne Kerman from a higher-than-the-Mun orbit around Kerbin. Built and launched my rescue vehicle, Val in the pilot's seat. Got her into her initial parking orbit, and then plotted that first maneuver to get the encounter. Took some fiddling, but I got an encounter under 100 km; figured that was good enough, and with a little time warping I then started the burn. But, due to a slight error in the execution of my burn, my encounter ended up being over 50 km off from the plotted one -- 50 km closer, somehow, if you can believe it! With a small mid-course correction burn, my first ever encounter with an object without its own SOI had me within physics range! It was only then that I realized I had no idea what to do next. I'd watched Scott Manley do things like this before, but years ago! So, I just started winging it, figuring out by trial-and-error which symbols on my navball meant what in relation to the target, and in very short order I parked my rescue ship less than 20 m from Magne's stricken pod! (Her EVA over to the rescue ship, however, revealed a crucial design flaw that has since been fixed: I had no lights on the ship, so she was literally flying toward a black shadow against the starry backdrop behind it!) I was pretty thrilled with myself with pulling that off! Not long after, I managed my first orbital docking, but it just didn't compare -- probably because I screwed up multiple times and never did get the rendezvous quite right, unlike with Magne's rescue where I perfectly matched orbits and could have just floated there right alongside her for years! This may change when I finally put a Kerbal on the Mun, which I intend to do Apollo-style...
  2. Looks like a solar eclipse; that's the Mun blocking out the sun for ya there!
  3. My very first ever ORBITAL RENDEZVOUS!! With buckets of new science from a probe fly-by of Mun laden with every piece of science gear I've so far unlocked (career mode), I was finally able to unlock Rockomax fuel tanks, as well as the Skipper and Poodle engines! With these new upgrades, I made another bid to complete a long-standing contract to rescue poor Magne Kerman from higher-than-Mun Kerbin orbit. Once again piloting a hilariously over-built rocket (that, once again, would turn out to only just barely have the necessary Delta-V to make up for my "skills"), Valentina took her seat in the Mk1 pod, with an empty inline cockpit behind her. Goobered the initial launch, at one point re-entering the atmosphere before powering back out into space again. I plotted my first ever encounter with an object smaller than Minmus, and the initial burn actually brought me to under 500 km of Magne's stricken pod! Not bad for a first try? A couple more mid-course corrections took that down to ~65 km. Then I just let Valentina drift up to Magne's orbit. At this point, I realized I couldn't at all remember what Scott Manley says to do in the videos I used to watch almost religiously. So I winged it, and managed to actually bring Valentina to within 30 m of Magne's pod and perfectly match his(her?) orbit! Then, it was off to put Magne on EVA to puff on over to the rescue ship. Note to self: Put lights on future rescue ships! For some reason EVAs are always incredibly harrowing for me, but when you're leaving the relative safety of a Mk1 crew cabin and intentionally flying away from it towards a freakin' shadow against the stars, it's far far worse! (In hindsight, I could have turned on the interior capsule lights -- those are new, aren't they? I always forget about them!) Anyway, got over there, and... can't enter the cockpit!! Now I'm panicking, Magne is still floating in space, bouncing off the ship again and again, and I can't figure out how to enter the cockpit, and of course can't enter the pod because Val is sitting in there! Just happened to catch a glimpse during a semi-panicked almost-spin of the hand- and foot-holds on the side of the cockpit, and discovered that you actually enter this one from the side! Whew! Magne is onboard, and now officially the 5th member of my fledgling space program! Then I remember that I forgot to get an EVA report while I'm out here at HKO, so Magne hops back out, makes a quick report, and jumps back in, without ever letting go of the ladder! (Seriously, I'm pretty sure he ripped it off the side of the cockpit and kept it in his lap the entire way back to Kerbin!) Start the burn to return to Kerbin, and then suddenly cut it short -- caught an accidental Mun intercept! Minor orbital slide later to skirt by at an altitude of ~9 km, rather than smashing into the surface, and Magne and Val are now the first Kerbals in this career to see the surface of Mun from so close. Curse myself for not putting an antenna on here to send back my earlier HKO crew report before remembering I have the pod and cockpit, so I can take a second crew report back! Get them back to Kerbin, throw a big parade -- totally worth almost ruining the pot of beans I had cooking at the same time! Considering that I've been playing this game (admittedly off-and-on) since way back when landing on Mun required very gently laying your rocket down on its side (ideally on a hill you could use as a ramp to take off again), it's kind of sad that I've never done an orbital rendezvous before now...
  4. I'll have to look into this. It was just this past weekend that I was seeing messages about chutes being destroyed when I was decoupling+parachuting boosters from my rockets at "unsafe" speeds. Maybe that default option somehow got turned off for me? Or maybe not an option yet in my still-early career mode?
  5. I believe you're simply going too fast. The standard chutes are only safe to deploy at speeds up to ~250m/s; any faster than that, and deploying them will see them ripped right off (which I'll bet you is in your flight log). So when you hit that action group, you're effectively dropping a rock into the ground. (Drogues can be deployed at about double that speed, but I doubt they'd provide enough drag to slow down your pods enough to touch down safely.) I was running into this when I was trying to build recoverable boosters, and instead of watching them float gently to the ground they'd just go into free-fall; took a while before I just happened to notice the message on my screen. What you need to do, since you can't switch control while in flight, is slow your carrier down to under 250m/s, and watch the chutes' staging icon: When it's a white chute on a gray background, it's safe to drop your pod. (If you could switch control, you could drop the pod and either pop a drogue until it's safe to pop a main chute, or cross your fingers that you'll slow enough to pop a main before you start lithobraking.)
  6. Awesome, thanks! I'll have to start looking around to source some -- sometimes Alaska's like an entirely different planet when it comes to getting things like this, with no local source, and no online source (especially the US-based ones!) willing to "ship international"! Of course I could easily do it in wood, but having an honest-to-goodness metal enclosure would just up the "Cool Factor" the Jeb levels!
  7. Okay, between you and Mr. Orange Suit over there, you guys have inspired me to shamelessly copy your idea and build my own custom control panel thingy. Plus, as a bonus, it means I can do things like put a guard over the staging button to avoid accidental staging, and to hardwire the Abort to also shut down the engines. Also, this'll be a great excuse to get me some AVR MCUs (the same chips at the core of Arduino) -- I've been looking for a fun, simple project for those things for a while now, and this looks to be it! Ooh, I wonder if I could simulate finer-grained control of the throttle by shortening the keypress pulse the chip sends to the computer... Question for you: I've never worked with metal at all. How hard is it to get that aluminum sheeting stuff (and what is it exactly)? And how does one work with it -- i.e. do I need special tools to cut and shape it and to cut out holes for the switches and buttons and stuff, or what?
  8. Kerbal Engineer also includes a phase angle display; although I've never used Protractor, its UI seems a bit clearer (and it seems it may have additional key data) and may therefore be easier to use, but since I already have KE on my ships anyway it'll be what I use. (Never gone interplanetary -- at least not yet, well not intentionally... -- but I have used it for Mun-Minmus transfers with success.) KE definitely does require that you know your target phase angle (i.e. by looking it up), since it only reports the current one. If Protractor will show you target and current, well, that's one more tick in its favor on the usability side of things. Still, for me, why slap on yet another part if one I've already got does what I need?
  9. I could swear that I heard somewhere that they (Squad) had made a change to parachutes so that they no longer switch to full drag instantaneously when they fully deploy, reducing the g-forces. This isn't a tweakable setting, just one of the fixes they put into 0.23. I can't for the life of me find any reference to that now, unfortunately. In any case, setting min pressure lower will let your chutes deploy reefed earlier, which will slow you down more by the time they fully open; similarly, lowering the altitude when they fully deploy will also give you more time to slow down. Both to a point, of course, but a slower speed when they fully deploy will of course give you less shock.
  10. The 'S' stands for "Solid", as in "solid fuel", as in "there's no way within physics that a simple pipe could pump this stuff around". If fuel lines can be used, that's one heck of an egregious bug!! (NB: Pretty sure they can't be, though.)
  11. Same as many of the others here, I use them to deorbit orbital insertion stages. And for LES towers. Only occasionally have I found need to use them to get radial boosters clear of my ships, usually the decoupler's own force is enough for that, and when it isn't a radial chute does the job nice and cleanly too, without the risk of damaging my ship from the sepratron's thrust (although that might be a holdover habit from earlier versions where that was actually a problem; seems now that so long as a part has time to cool down you can blast it as much as you want with no harm done).
  12. Would be nice if you could lock the acceleration so you could maintain a constant speed as you burn off fuel or even drop spent tanks, but from what I gather it's thrust that can be limited to a maximum below the engine's rated max thrust. Still useful, of course, but it doesn't sound like we're getting flight computers quite that advanced in this update. Maybe in 0.24...
  13. Or, depending on how it works (does max throttle = max thrust, or does max thrust limit how high the throttle can go) you could cut it way back and use that mainsail as the landing engine for your tiny probe! (Which would be absolutely and completely ridiculous, absurd, and ludicrous, which is exactly why every Kerbal is going to run out and do exactly that!!)
  14. I think what they mean is that when you're designing your rocket you can (optionally!) choose to limit the maximum thrust of your engines. Which can be good for controlling high-thrust first stages so you're not wasting fuel burning against the air resistance.
  15. If I'm reading the Wikipedia page right in the ~34.8 seconds I spent on it, this is an air-breathing rocket engine (workalike of KSP's jet engines) that can shut off the air intake and burn fuel+oxidizer just like a "normal" liquid-fueled rocket, yes? That would be so cool! They giving any details on how it'll work, or do I have to be impatient for yet another update? Again. Edit: Ninja'd by two people! I suck! C7's update exactly confirms what Wikipedia lead me to believe -- that's awesome and I might finally build my first SSTO! (Yeah, right! )
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