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About KSK

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  1. KSK

    Creating an Inertial Dampener

    *raises hand* Do we propose to plumb this inertial dampener into a source of water? If not, I suggest that we focus our efforts on creating an inertial damper. Because soggy spacecraft don't sound very pleasant.
  2. I have a whole slew of designs right here. I call them Rogozin thrusters and each and every one of them is guaranteed to get you closer to Mars than that radiometric device.
  3. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    I don’t know about reasonable but that would be so cool!
  4. KSK

    Revelations of the Kraken (Chapter 32: Perfect Tonight)

    Well of course. His thoughts are always kind. And this. This we do not speak of. Not without groaning at any rate. Great chapter!
  5. Thanks! KIS - Kerbin Interplanetary Society, although it’s been a while since they were mentioned in-story. Might change that part for clarity - cheers. Thanks! Hopefully that waiting period will be a bit shorter from now. Still got to fit writing in around the day job though so there are limits.
  6. Next chapter is (finally) up... Every Kerbonaut’s Friend The old iron steps rang underfoot as Jeb emerged onto the roof of the Barkton Mission Control centre. For a moment he frowned at the unexpected figure leaning against the railing and then he rolled his eyes. "You can take the kerbal out of Mission Control but you can't take Mission Control out of the kerbal." Geneney shrugged. "I didn't bring a repeater box up here. What more do you want?" Jeb joined his friend by the railing. "Well that's something I suppose. Who's borrowing your chair?" "Lucan." "Makes sense." Jeb stared at the distant Eve booster on its launchpad. "How long have we got?" Geneney checked his watch. "Ten minutes, thirty-two seconds, assuming they're not working a hold down there." "Pad team are clear?" Jeb shook his head. "What am I saying? Feels strange not to be launching a crew aboard an Eve booster." "Tell me about it." Geneney cast a glance at the ladder behind Jeb before shaking his head in exasperation. "Kerm knows what's got into me today. It's not like Lucan hasn't done this before." Jeb laid a hand on his shoulder. "There's still time - we could always sneak in through the back door." For a moment he saw the temptation in Geneney's eyes before his friend shook his head. "Lucan wouldn't mind but the rest of his team would be furious - and rightly so." Geneney scratched his ear. ”I've been meaning to do this for a while but events...well you know." He sighed. “Maybe one day there’ll be launches enough for a dozen flight teams at a time. Kerm knows there’ll need to be eventually.” Jeb squeezed his friend’s shoulder. “Eventually yes. When the great and the good.” He snorted. “When the idiots that pass for the great and the good decide to stop fighting and start thinking. Until then, we carry on doing what we’ve always done.” Geneney raised an eyebrow. “Achieving the impossible, one step at a time, on goodwill and a shoestring budget. Only this time we’re bringing everyone with us - Kerm, kerman and kermol. Not to mention the KSA - the rest of the KSA that is - watching our backs.” He checked his watch. “Spacecraft should be transferring to internal power about now.” “Should be, yes.” Geneney cast another glance at the ladder before turning his back on it and fixing his eyes on the launchpad. “Final team poll, booster to internal, confirm engine status.” He gripped the railing. “Then it’s all up to the computer.” “Guidance is internal, autosequencer running.” Jeb murmured to himself. He looked up. “Do you ever regret taking yourself off the roster, Genie?” There was a long silence. “Sometimes,” Geneney replied at last. “If you’d pulled my name out of the basket for one of the later Moho flights, I think I’d have taken it. Not an Eve or Pioneer flight though - writing the rulebooks and building the flight teams for those was enough of a job.” “And thank the Kerm you decided to take it. You always were our best systems guy.” Despite himself, Geneney smiled. “The only kerbal in the team you trusted to keep everything in one piece once the rocket left the ground.” The corner of his mouth quirked upwards “I still haven’t forgotten that little pep-talk, Jeb.” His eyes took on a faraway expression. “And we’ve not been short of big days in the bunker either…” Abruptly he raised a hand, fingers outstretched before curling them one by one into a fist. “Three…two…one…” Fire blossomed over the launchpad, piercing brightness amidst a roiling cloud of smoke and steam. An instant later, the crackling thunder of three LVT-30 and three LVT-20 engines rocked them back on their heels as the Eve booster sprang into the sky, soaring free of the launch tower and tracing a fiery path out across the Great Tranquil Sea, like so many rockets before it. The kerbonaut and the flight director watched it go, both wrapped in their own thoughts. Jeb blew out his cheeks. “Looked good from here. Lets give it another few minutes, let them get through staging down there, and then I think we can slip in quietly and watch from the back.” Geneney nodded. “That’s fair.” He paused to choose his words. “I’ve been thinking about putting myself back on the roster one day. As a colonist rather than a kerbonaut.” He smiled faintly at the expression on Jeb’s face. “If we ever get there, Duna’s going to be a gateway to the rest of the Kerbol system - and everything that we ever dreamed of doing out there. I’m thinking that Duna space traffic control is going to need its own flight director one day.” The smile became a self-deprecating shrug. “And how’s that for a crazy Interplanetary Society dream.” Jeb blinked the dampness out of his eyes. “As a certain kerbal once told me - sometimes they’re the best ones. Think you could find room for me at one of the consoles?” Geneney pretended to think it over. “Probably not. I don’t think I could face Guardian Elton’s disappointment. One of us needs to keep finding new places to show him after all.” He gave Jeb a sideways look. “and you could always pick up some new rocks for Bill whilst you’re out there?” Jeb laughed. “He can pick up his own rocks.” He drummed his fingers on the railings, his expression turning serious. “Is one step at a time on a shoestring budget going to be enough, Gene?” Geneney looked at him sombrely. “I don’t know. But I do know what they can carve on my sweetblossom pole, whether they plant it back at my Grove or in a dome on Duna.” He walked towards the steps, looking over his shoulder at the veteran kerbonaut. “Tell the world we tried.” ———————— “Flight - Payload.” “Go ahead, Payload.” “Fairing jettisoned, Flight. Vehicle is Go.” “Thank you, Payload. Booster?” “Second stage engine is nominal, Flight.” Jeb saw Geneney’s shoulders relax as they made their way quietly to the back of the room. He glanced up at the main screen in passing, eyes automatically going to the altitude and velocity displays although the relaxed tones of the flight controllers told their own story. Lucan flicked them a look, nodded, then turned back to his console. The altitude display crept upwards whilst the velocity indicator raced ahead. Jeb closed his eyes for a moment, picturing the glowing horizon bisecting his spacecraft window, the rocket stage behind him almost spent. “Sixty seconds to SECO, Flight.” Jeb’s eyes snapped open. “Thank you, Booster.” The velocity display hurtled upwards, the altitude display beneath it dipping fractionally as the spacecraft eased into orbit. The displays froze amidst a burst of activity from the Payload console, then the main screen flickered, the dotted orbital track returning as a solid green line. “Flight, FD. Nominal parking orbit; patching in Tenacity tracking data.” A second sinusoidal trace appeared on the screen, a stylised Kerm tree marking the position of the Tenacity bridge module. Observation module, Jeb reminded himself. “Thank you, FD. Payload?” “Lateral photovoltaics deployed, Flight. Deploying ventral array and opening manipulator bay doors.” Jeb glanced to one side, smiling inwardly at Geneney’s silently moving lips as the flight director counted off the seconds. He turned back to the main screen just in time to see the orbital track display blink out and be replaced by a view down the Power, Assembly and Logistics spacecraft hull. Two curved doors, their inner surfaces mostly hidden by perspective, flanked a shadowed recess, a glimpse of curved white just visible inside. “Manipulator to standby.” A white, fabric-clad tube emerged from the shadows, pulling a cluster of other tubes with it. A chunky, disc-like hinge swung up and out of view, the tube cluster disappearing from sight behind the main tube as it unfolded towards the camera. Elongate shadows played over the spacecraft hull; they shrank over the lip of the open payload bay and were swallowed by the deeper shadow within. “Manipulator unstowed, Flight. All set for the shakeout sequence.” “Copy that, Payload,” Lucan replied. “Let’s get this tugboat up and running - we’re needed at the shipyard.” —————— “Okay, Bill. Get the second one done and we’ll call it a day.” “Understood.” Bill waited for the flow of air across the inside of his helmet to clear the fog in front of his face before checking that his air hose and tether were free from any obstructions. Hand over hand, he worked his way across the hub module, stopping every second hand-hold to reposition his lines. Finally, he pushed away from the hull then, straining against the stiff confines of his spacesuit, he slowly bent at the waist and hooked his feet under a pair of restraining bars. Ahead, the twin protuberances of spoke adaptor no. 4 jutted sideways from the curving expanse of the hull, with only the sides of adaptors no. 3 and no. 5 visible through his helmet visor. For a moment, Bill let his arms rest, watching as they floated in front of him. The illusion of zero gravity was somewhat spoiled by the sight of a kerbal swimming past, dressed only in shorts and breathing apparatus. Bill sighed, gave the safety diver a thumbs-up and retrieved his power wrench from its holster. “Undogging petal four.” Bill checked his wrench settings then, bracing himself against a nearby handhold, fitted it over the bolt securing petal four in place, and squeezed the trigger. He felt the tool twisting against his hands as the bolt began to turn. Muttering under his breath, he swapped his wrench for a looped cord, one end of which was tethered to his belt. He fumbled the loop over the bolt head then drew it closed. “These were a nice idea, Tomcas, but I’m not sure they’re going to be practical on orbit.” “Yeah, James was having trouble with them too.” Tomcas sighed, “I’ll have a word with Roncott this afternoon - see if he’s got any bright ideas. Not that I don’t think you space-walkers couldn’t deal with the bolts but…” “Anything to make the job easier,” agreed Bill. “I’ll give some thought to it myself, Tom. Anyway - this one’s tied on and ready.” The wrench grumbled in his hand and the bolt came free. Bill tucked it into a pouch. “Petal undogged - moving to pivot point.” Eight triangular frames, or petals, ringed the edge of the hub module, each joined to it by a hinge and all but two of them lying flat against the hull. Bill inspected the hinge of petal no. 4, and, satisfied, worked his way along to the blunt conical latching post at its tip. He took hold of the crossbar welded just behind the latching post and, gritting his teeth, pulled. The combination of water resistance and working inside a cumbersome spacesuit made rotating the petal a demanding exercise, and Bill was sweating freely by the time he’d heaved it into position. Tomcas could hear the kerbonaut’s laboured breathing over the suit radio, followed by the rushing sound of a suit fan being turned up to full. “You’re doing great, Bill. Take it easy for two. At least the manipulator will have you covered for this part, up in space.” He received a grunt in reply but exactly two minutes later, the fan noise diminished to normal levels. “Moving petal to pre-latch.” Bill nudged the crossbar home, both eyes fixed firmly on the latching post as its tip slid into a matching recess on the mocked-up bridge module. “That’s a good coarse alignment.” Another nudge and the green indicator stripe on the latching post hovered on the lip of the recess. “Ready to latch.” One of the safety divers swam up with a camera, careful to keep out of the kerbonaut’s field of view. Tomcas studied the image on his screen. “Looking good, Bill. Clear for preload.” Bill gripped the handlebar set into the upper surface of the latching post, twisted it through a half turn and checked the indicator stripe, which had now disappeared. “Fine alignment confimed.” He twisted the handlebar through its remaining half turn. “Latched.” “Good work, Bill. Run me through the tensioning sequence.” “Bolts alpha through delta, clockwise. Six turns on the first go-around, eight on the second, four on the final pass.” “Copy that. Alpha through delta clockwise, six by eight by four.” Bill unclipped his wrench from his belt, fitted it over the first bolt and set to work. Two hours and two increasingly sore hands later, Bill pushed himself away from the two Tenacity trainer modules and floated alongside them for a moment, inspecting his work. The triangular frame making up petal no. 4 was secured to the bridge module by four bolts, the handlebar at its tip back in its unlatched position. On orbit, he knew, the eight petals would reinforce the central, airtight connection made through the CORDS-3 adaptor, and hold the two sections ofTenacity fast. And one day, that same arrangement of CORDS-3 and petals would fuse two similar modules into the prow of an interplanetary spacecraft. Behind the transparent bubble of his spacesuit helmet, Bill’s eyes lost their focus. Then he shook his head and, deliberately turning away from the EVA trainer, he signalled one of the safety divers, making two chopping movements with the flat of his hand. The diver swam up and hooked a set of weights onto his belt. Bill drifted slowly to the bottom of the pool, knees bending automatically as he came to rest. He set off in a gliding lope, coasting from foot to foot across the tiled floor to the lift. Settling himself, he thumped the oversized push-plate that was the lift’s only control and, moments later, emerged dripping wet from the training pool. ——————— It was, Bill thought, almost like the old days. The Mission Control bunker, filled with the earthy scent of overheated bodies and stuffed with as many kerbals as could fit inside without encroaching too noticeably on the flight controllers at their consoles. He glanced over at Jeb and Geneney standing side by side with Director Lodan and smiled to himself. Not quite like the old days. James and Calley, his crewmates for the first Tenacity assembly flight, stood by his side, eyes fixed on the main screen, and its image of the Tenacity hub module crawling towards them, continents and clouds drifting past behind it. Puffs of vapour spurted from the sides of the screen and the hub module stopped, then rotated by an almost imperceptible amount. Numbers chattered past on one of the telemetry screens. “Flight, Guidance. PAL alignment is Go.” “Thank you, Guidance. Payload?” “Go for final approach, Flight.” “Understood. Take us in.” The hub module began to edge forward again. A shiver ran down Bill’s spine at the sight of the eight furled petals around the docking adapter ring, identical from this distance to the mock-ups he’d been training on two days earlier. Vapour puffed out and the hub module slowed to a near standstill, crawling down the screen towards them. “Soft dock confirmed, Flight…” The bunker fell deathly silent. The screen juddered and then stilled. “And we have a hard dock!” Bill’s breath gusted out. He wiped his forehead on his sleeve before looking up to find several of the engineers around him doing exactly the same. An excited buzz of conversation filled the room, not quite loud enough to drown out the status reports from the consoles. Calley flashed him a quick grin, James stood motionless, eyes still on the main screen. “Flight, Guidance.” “Go ahead, Guidance.” “Guidance mode docked, Flight. Go for RCS checkout sequence.” “Thank you, Guidance. Let’s start with the roll thrusters.” —————— Sunlight glinted from the antique brass key in its glass fronted cabinet, the reflection catching Halsy’s eye. The Director of the Berelgan Institute looked up from his desk, brow furrowed in concentration. He saw the key on its stand, sighed and turned back to his work. Before him lay a ring binder, open at two grids of yellow squares, each one marked with a reference code and each a different shade to its neighbour. A handful of the squares were annotated with the names of various soil-dwelling species. Halsy flipped open another ring binder, riffling through its contents until he found the page he was looking for. Running his finger down a list of species names, he found two that had been marked on the yellow grid and crossed them out. Then he turned to an already marked page and ran his finger down it, eyes flicking between list and grid. By the time the clock on his office wall chimed mid-morning, Halsy was more than ready for a break. He pushed back his chair and got to his feet, tucking both folders under his arm. Locking his office door behind him, he walked down the corridor until he came to a door sporting a temporary cardboard nameplate. Checking his watch, he knocked on the door and waited for a reply. “Come in.” Obrett looked up from the papers arrayed on her desk, most of them headed with the seal of the Accident Investigation Department. “Oh - good morning, Halsy. Is it that time already?” Halsy nodded. “I thought I’d bring him the latest concordance data to look over.” Obrett smiled. “Mallas is keeping busy I see.” She stacked her papers together and put them in her desk drawer. “Has he managed to send any data from Jonelle’s - Guardian Jonelle’s I should say - Grove yet?” “Not yet. When I spoke to him last, I understood that she and Joenie hadn’t quite mastered the use of Joenie’s eyes for long enough at a time.” Halsy chuckled, “It wasn’t a long chat. Then he was straight down to the lab to pick up more sample cases and equipment and back on the next train to the Capital.” Obrett pulled her office door closed and followed Halsy along the corridor and out of the laboratory building. “It sounds like he’s enjoying himself out at Barkton.” “Oh Kerm yes. From what he was saying, he’s Communing with Guardian Elton almost every day, the experiments are going well, and I rather think he’s enjoying the family time in the evenings. Not to mention his time spent teaching Joenie.” Obrett smiled again. “Yes - they got on well when she came to visit with Jonton. An engaging kerblet - and bright for her age.” She shook her head ruefully. “Not to mention caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Thank the Kerm she’s young enough to take it in her stride.” Obrett gave Halsy a sideways glance. “You should offer her a scholarship once she’s finished with compulsory schooling. She’d be an invaluable addition to the xeno-ecology team. “The thought had crossed my mind. She’d only be a couple of years younger than our first year undergraduates - such things are hardly unprecedented.” “And by then, Jonelle should have grown up enough to let her go.” Halsy climbed into one of the campus minivans and waited for Obrett to get in. “That’s a good point. I wouldn’t fancy the task of telling a sapient Kerm that her Keeper was going to be away for weeks at a time.” Obrett sighed. “We can only hope she’ll be studying in more peaceful times. Having Joenie able to fly home for the weekend would make it much easier for both of them.” The journey out to the former planting site, passed in silence, both kerbals wrapped up in their own thoughts. Halsy parked at a polite distance from the new Grove and retrieved his ring binders from the back seat. The grass was springy underfoot and the air was scented with resin and just a hint of cinnamon, as he and Obrett walked up the path to Erlin’s hut and knocked on the door. They heard footsteps and then Gusemy opened the door and beckoned them inside. Halsy took one look at the other’s carefully composed features and stopped dead. “What’s happened?” “I… think. I hope… You’d better come on through.” As they entered the sleep room, Halsy was relieved to see Erlin’s kerbal body sitting by his trunk and swathed in leaves and healing vines as normal. “Morning, boss. Brought the latest Project results for you.” His voice sounded brittle and forced in his own ears. “I look forward to talking them over with you,” Erlin replied. “But we have some results of our own to go through first.” Halsy felt his heart begin to pound. He turned to Gusemy and was answered by a nod. “It happened this morning. Just as Enely described it - a soap-bubble membrane and a quiet voice behind it calling for help.” Obrett looked at him solemnly. “How long do we have?” “A few days yet. They called in a medical team before trying to awaken Elton, remember?” Halsy cleared his throat. “I’ll get back to my office now and let Chief Ambassador Donman know that we have need of that same team again. I’ve already been advised that they’ll be given priority transportation.” “Thank you, Halsy,” Erlin replied quietly. He turned to Obrett. “I already know Gus’s answer but…” Obrett’s throat constricted. “Of course, Keeper. My answer also remains unchanged.” —————— “Sweet Kerm above…” The voice was almost reverential.” “Easy, Payload. It’s going to get a lot bigger than that before we’re done.” “And the real thing will be more impressive yet,” murmured James. Bill glanced at him in surprise before turning back to the main screen, which was showing the outer ring and recessed hatch of a CORDS-3 docking adaptor, both gleaming in the sunlight. “Sorry, Flight.” Payload entered a command on her keyboard and a sequence of indicator lights lit up on her console. “Confirming capture program loaded. Docking probes extended and ready.” “Thank you. Guidance?” “Spacecraft alignment is Go. RCS to FINE, auto-reverse loaded.” Lucan’s knuckles turned white on the arms of his chair although his voice remained calm. “Copy, Guidance. Take us in.” “That’s affirmative, Flight.” On screen, the aft end of Tenacity’s observation module crept closer. Bill held his breath as the docking port rim slipped out of sight, the view from the PAL spacecraft camera hidden by the hub module and its array of petals and spoke adaptors. “Inside the capture zone, Flight. Standing by for contact.” A set of red lights on the payload controller’s console flipped to amber and Bill blew out his cheeks in relief, accompanied by a stifled grunt from James. “Contact! Coarse alignment confirmed.” The amber lights turned green. “Ready to latch!” “RCS OFF!” came the call from the Guidance console. “Auto-reverse disengaged.” The image on the main screen barely quivered as the two spacecraft sections touched and then held. A susurrus of murmured comments rippled around the bunker, the tension in the room still palpable despite the, reassuring glow from the latching lights. “All latches at pre-tension, Flight. Fine alignment confirmed.” There was a long pause. ‘“Initiating hard dock.” Aboard Tenacity electric motors hummed into life, extending a ring of solid bolts from one CORDS-3 adaptor into waiting receiver nuts on the other. Successful contact of all sixteen bolts triggers the final tensioning sequence, pair by pair tightening up step by step in a carefully choreographed sequence. At last, sixteen pressure sensors report a correctly loaded joint and a signal flashes back to Mission Control. “Flight, Payload.” The voice was studied, with a deliberate calm that fooled nobody, least of all Lucan. “Go ahead, Payload.” “We have a hard dock, Flight. Tenacity is… The pent-up tension broke with a roar of applause that drowned out the end of the controller’s report. Across the room, Bill turned to his crewmates and three green hands clasped in quiet triumph at the sight of two joined Starseed modules and one PAL orbital tug, soaring through space, against a glowing, green-and-blue horizon.
  7. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    Joking aside, I think they did. Logically, extending the legs should increase the booster's moment of inertia, thus helping slow its spin* - and from watching the video again, I think they did just that. Okay, the legs weren't ever going to stop the booster falling over, but I'm thinking that taking out that last bit of spin before landing probably helped it to stay intact when it did. * Edit - apologies to @Mad Rocket Scientist who already explained this bit.
  8. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    After watching that landing video where the engines alone were able to steer a busted rocket to a safe landing, it doesn't sound like an implausible idea. Unless Starship requires all engines burning to land (which seems unlikely), it may be able to use the other engines if anything goes wrong. Or in the argot of this particular forum, it's the 'moar boosters' approach to emergency escape systems. In other news - we have an early look at the root cause of the grid fin pump failure. "This'll teach you to pack mouldy chow..."
  9. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    And just pinching this from the commentary over at Ars Technica. "This wasn't a water landing - it was aquabraking." Well I was amused anyway.
  10. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    Gas generator exhaust used for roll control I think? Witness the large gouts of sideways moving fire on Das Valdez's video.
  11. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    Yep. A case of a video saying a thousand Twitter posts. Good move getting that out asap. Not only was it clear that the booster was never going anywhere other than over water, the system as a whole was reliable enough to completely take out that spin. Heck, the booster probably could have landed, although splashing down was absolutely the right call. It also occurs to me that SpaceX didn't get a repeat of that fuel tank problem they had on one of the early landing attempts (pre grid-fin I think?) where the cold-gas thrusters ran out of well... gas, cue spinning booster, cue centrifugal forces throwing propellants against the tank walls and starving the engine causing a crash. A very visible example of lessons learned and mistakes not repeated.
  12. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    All true and understood. It's more the perception I'm worried about - especially on Twitter which, as you say, isn't the best medium for more detailed explanations.
  13. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    Ouch. I get what he's saying - as @tater pointed out, the failsafe mode for landing is exactly what just happened, so I can understand the lack of a backup pump, but I'm a bit worried about how that might go down in a certain, recently announced review. Something considered ground safety critical doesn't get a backup system...I can see that being jumped all over.
  14. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    I hate to draw the obvious parallel here... Although if Elon's initial reaction is correct, I admit that I'm not seeing an obvious link between a stalled hydraulic pump and ice clipping the grid fin. And that landing was impressively controlled all things considered. If that had been a returning crew vessel, I'm thinking it may even have been survivable, presuming the crew could egress with haste once it hit the water. I don't think that either Crew Dragon or Starship intended / intend to use grid fins for landing though.
  15. KSK

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    Random thought - I wonder how consistent the scorching will be on multiply-flown Falcon 9s? As in, will it be possible to eyeball the booster and get an estimate of how many times it's flown? And will the scorching ever become heavy enough to affect propellant loading? There's a reason that rockets don't tend to be painted black right?