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Everything posted by TheSaint

  1. So, it's 1995, I'm three years out of the Navy. I'm working as a tech writer and going to church. And the church building is 50 years old, it's a wreck. And the guy the church has put in charge of maintaining the building is a guy by the name of Mike. He was a licensed contractor, did a lot of remodeling work. Really great guy, I liked Mike. So I volunteered to help out maintaining the building, even though I knew nothing about maintaining buildings (at the time). So I remember this particular work day, Mike put me to work doing some drywall work in the basement. Before this day, I couldn't even spell drywall, now I was installing it. I totally kluged it. It was all messed up. The spackle was all uneven, you could see the screws, it was a mess. Mike comes down to look at what I've done, and I'm really upset, practically in tears. Mike looks over the wall, and says, "Honestly, if I could call in ten guys like you, I wouldn't be living hand-to-mouth." I was shocked. He goes on. "This isn't the best, but you did what I told you to do. And you showed up when you were supposed to this morning. That's all I really need. I could teach you to do everything else." That stuck with me. And I really miss Mike. He was solid. So, @Spacescifi, if you want a life lesson from that: show up on time, do what you are told to do.
  2. Is Pathfinder going to get some lovin' as well?
  3. Mission 509 - Minmus Base Refinery Extractor Module and Converter Module So after three days of investigations and deliberations, the Mission 508 Incident Investigation Board releases its findings. The failure of the #2 engine on Liberty was due to a failed position indicator on a combustion chamber inlet damper. The damper was moving correctly in response to control input, but because it's position wasn't being reported correctly to the engine computer the computer shut the engine down. While this incident did not result in an immediate threat to crew safety, it did uncover several deficiencies in vehicle engineering and operating procedures. The board has released the following recommendations: This specific position indication switch, and several other key instrumentation items in the engines should be re-engineered to provide redundancy. While these changes aren't considered to be immediate necessities, they should be incorporated as the engines are overhauled and replaced over the lifetime of the spaceplane fleet. The spaceplane's engines and other key components should be subjected to more detailed inspection and maintenance between each mission. This will require a reduction of the current operating tempo of the spaceplane fleet. Currently there is a three-day turnaround between spaceplane launches, allowing one mission per day. Because of the more detailed teardown and testing required on each engine now, turnaround will be increased to at least six days. This will reduce the launch tempo to at most every other day, possibly less. This is obviously disappointing news to the folks at KSA, but in the interest of maintaining program safety they're accepting the board findings and implementing their recommendations. Independence is fresh off of her first maintenance availability, so she will be flying the first mission after the break. Liberty's payload has been moved over to her cargo bay, so she will be carrying up the extractor and converter modules for the fuel refinery on Minmus. Her flight crew is: Commander Arlene Koehler Pilot Duane Kong Flight Engineer Dawn Kirkpatrick Payload Specialist Justin Kennedy Mission Specialist Mattie Kearns Mission Specialist Marlin Ketchum Independence is rolled out to the runway on a bright and sunny morning of day 53. As the tugs roll away, Flight Engineer Kirkpatrick double-checks her pre-flight checklist. Even though the techs have gone over everything with a fine-tooth comb, everyone is still a little on edge. Finally, she gives the 'Go'. Commander Koehler brings the engines to life, and Independence takes flight. As Independence approaches the closed-cycle transition point, Koehler glances nervously at the levers. But the transition goes flawlessly, as it has many times before. Independence cruises to orbit, and everyone heaves a sigh of relief. Once in orbit, the crew of Independence has an hour to wait before their first rendezvous burn. So the crew decides to relieve the tension by watching a quick movie. Marlin's suggestion of "Airport" is quickly dismissed. After an hour has passed, they take their seats and burn to rendezvous with Kerbin Station. Pilot Kong takes the conn and brings Independence in to dock at Kerbin Station. Once the hatches are open, Independence's crew is greeted heartily by the crew of Kerbin Station after their extended absence. Kerbin Station is becoming crowded with hardware waiting for the tugs to return from Minmus. They will have to do some maneuvering to get the modules settled. So they get to work. Payload Specialist Kennedy deploys the modules in Independence's cargo bay. Then Captain Koontz brings Cargo Drone 2 online and moves it over to dock with the Converter Module. She extracts the module and brings it up to dock with the zenith side of the station docking complex. She then undocks the drone and brings it back around to dock with the Extractor Module. She pulls the Extractor Module out of the cargo bay and moves it up to dock with the Converter Module. She then undocks the drone and brings it around to dock at its usual storage location. There are now four cargo stacks at Kerbin Station awaiting delivery to Minmus. The crew can now relax and enjoy their post-mission dinner. Then they all settle in for the night. After a good night's sleep, the crew of Independence is awakened by Mission Control. They say their goodbyes to Kerbin Station, then close the hatches and undock. They burn for reentry, and soon are roaring through the atmosphere once again. As they lose speed and altitude, Commander Koehler takes control once again and guides Independence in to a perfect landing. So, Kerbin Station is reaching its capacity for storing modules destined for Minmus. However, one problem still remains: fuel.
  4. Well, except for Chair Force.... Oh, God, one of my cousin's kids joined the Peace Corps and the stories she came back with will turn your hair white. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don't join the Peace Corps. Go do something worthwhile and useful, like playing piano in a cathouse. This. If you want to be a writer, then write. Don't let anyone tell you to do otherwise. But, if writing isn't putting food on the table, have a Plan B. Also this. Having roommates also helps you learn how to get along with other people, which is an invaluable skill. One of my friends in high school got into the electrical trades in Hollywood right after he graduated. He's been doing great ever since, getting ready for early retirement here in a couple of years. You'll do well in any of the skilled trades, actually. Hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs waiting for workers. Go watch any of Mike Rowe's rants on the subject.
  5. Having served six years in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club I'm kinda biased here. It's not for everyone, and if you enlist and then figure out that it isn't for you it can have lifetime repercussions. But, yes, it is an option. If I could have toughed it out for thirty years I would have retired with a full pension five years ago, which would have been totally awesome. But that didn't happen. YMMV.
  6. Amazon has DCs in every state in the union. They aren't picky. If you quit in CA they will hire you in AZ, TX, TN, wherever. Go somewhere where the cost of living is lower, CA is killing you.
  7. You mean, "Whole Paycheck"? We actually had a Whole Foods here for a very brief time. They bought the local natural foods store in town, and then decided that they couldn't make a go of it, so they closed down. Not a fan.
  8. What is your skill set? My niece worked on a cruise ship, and it was like getting paid to go on vacation for six months at a time. She was stage manager for the shows on board. I've looked at IT jobs on cruise ships, and it's fairly similar. If nothing breaks you relax in your cabin and the crew bar for the voyage. Don't know what you were looking at. It's frigging awesome if you're single. Your car is an expense, don't get emotionally attached to it. If it is costing you money, and you don't need it, sell it. I can also tell you from personal experience: California is super-expensive for everything. If you're having trouble making ends meet with your current skill set in California: Move somewhere else. Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, all sorts of points further east. (I have a buddy who retired from public service in CA who is living like a king in Tennessee right now, and I am super jealous.) Broaden your horizons.
  9. I'm all, "DUDE! Get off me! Go buy your own dang instrument!" Maybe I just have personal space issues... Here, my wife just found four guys playing Ravel's Bolero on one cello. This will totally set off your haphephobia.
  10. Vin Scully died yesterday, at the age of 94. This is probably kinda local, even for US folks, but it's personal for me. Not because I'm a huge sports fan. (I'm not.) But because some of my fondest memories of my childhood are me hanging out in the garage with my dad, puttering around with stuff, with Vin Scully narrating the Dodgers game on his little transistor radio. I will never forget his voice. God speed, Vin.
  11. At Fry's here in AZ they used to have a PB maker in the store. You grabbed an empty plastic tub, placed it under the spout, and it ground fresh peanuts into PB right in front of you. That was the best PB ever. You had to bring it home and mix salt into it yourself, because it was nothing but ground peanuts. Unfortunately they removed it a couple of years ago. So disappointed.
  12. In South Africa, everything was built of red brick, because they had tons of clay and no wood. The apartment complex I lived in actually paved their driveways with red brick. So my girlfriend was very wary of moving to the United States, where the houses were all wood frame. At one point she asks me, "So, in America, do you tell your children the story of The Three Little Pigs?" "Yeah." "How do you explain to them that you all live in houses made of sticks?"
  13. I have a Yahoo address that I have been using since 1995 that is just my first initial and last name. I constantly have people handing it out to random places all around the country, so I get all sorts of interesting emails. Usually just junk, but occasionally I wind up having conversations with folks along the lines of, "I don't know who gave you this email address, but it isn't theirs." In other news, I have a new toy tool. It's printing a test print as I type this, but once I get the hang of it I'm going to start with printing out some miniatures for our Traveller campaign.
  14. Just an FYI: The mission report will be going on hiatus for the next couple of weeks. Look for another update near the end of the first week in August. Have a great couple of weeks, go out and do something fun.
  15. Minmus Orbital Operations - Y1 D51-53 While the engineers are taking Liberty apart bolt by bolt, and the politicians are warming up their commission seats, the folks out at Minmus set about to getting some work done. When Minmus Station comes back around in its orbit again, Commander Kauffman undocks Orbital Tug 5 and backs it away from the station. Then, as it approaches its return window, Mission Control guides it through its return burn and it begins its journey back to Kerbin Station. Meanwhile, XO Kimball undocks Cargo Drone 5 and brings it over to dock with the first survey rover. Then, as the station approaches Candidate Site A, she undocks the drone and rover and burns for landing. The drone sets down on the edge of the Great Flat, in an area the survey satellite had indicated contained useful water deposits. Chief Scientist Klinger takes control of the rover and guides it out of its capsule. He maneuvers the rover away from the drone and begins to survey the area. Back up on Minmus Station, Captain Kauffman undocks Cargo Drone 6 and brings it over to dock with the next survey rover. The drone is now ready to bring the next rover down, but the next two candidate sites are still shrouded in darkness. However, Minmus Station has come back around in its orbit over Candidate Site A, so XO Kimball guides Cargo Drone 5 through liftoff and rendezvous to return to Minmus Station. She brings it in to dock with an unused port on the docking complex. Then, as Minmus Station makes yet another orbit, Candidate Site B moves into daylight. So Captain Kauffman undocks Cargo Drone 6 and uses it to bring Survey Rover 2 down to the surface. The drone sets down on a moderate slope, so Kauffman needs to keep a steady hand on the controls while Assistant Scientist Kemp carefully guides the rover out of its capsule. While the initial landing site is obviously unsuitable for base construction, Kemp quickly finds a level area in a nearby valley and uses that as a starting point for her survey. Back on Minmus Station, XO Kimball undocks Cargo Drone 5 from the spent capsule and brings it over to dock with the last survey rover. However, once again, Candidate Site C is still in darkness, so the last landing will have to wait. As Minmus Station once again passes over Candidate Site B, Kauffman guides Cargo Drone 6 through its liftoff and rendezvous. He guides it in to dock, depositing the spent rover capsule in the stack with the previous one. Now, as Minmus Station passes around the moon again, Candidate Site C has finally been illuminated. XO Kimball undocks Cargo Drone 5 and burns for landing. Candidate Site C is a small hill, just at the south edge of the Lesser Flat. Kimball sets the drone down right at the edge of the flat and Klinger drives the rover out onto the moon's surface. He drives the rover up into the hills and begins the survey. Back up on Minmus Station, Kauffman is preparing for the return of the last capsule. He undocks Cargo Drone 6 and brings it over to a convenient parking spot on the core module. Then, when Minmus Station comes back around in its orbit again, Kimball brings Cargo Drone 5 back to orbit and docks it with the stack of expended drone capsules. Then she maneuvers the drone around and parks it in a spot on the docking complex, clearing the capsule stack to be brought back to Kerbin Station by the next available orbital tug. Over the next couple of days the scientists on board Minmus Station will use the rovers to continue surveying the candidate base sites to determine which of them will provide the best location for Minmus Base. Once all that data has been compiled and transmitted back to KSA headquarters, management will make the final decision. We'll keep you posted.
  16. Mission 508 - Minmus Base Refinery Extractor Module and Converter Module This mission will be lifting the last two pieces of the fuel refinery for Minmus Base: the extractor module which contains the drills to extract the water from the subsurface deposits, and the converter module which will crack the water into hydrogen and oxygen and then chill and compress it into a liquid state. Once these modules have arrived at Minmus then everything required to make Minmus Base operational will be on location. Independence has flown her fifteenth mission, which means that she is due for the first of three scheduled maintenance periods that will take place over the life of each spaceplane. So Liberty will be taking her place in the rotation, flying her thirteenth flight. Her flight crew will be as follows: Commander Charles Kern Pilot Keith Kilpatrick Flight Engineer Selma Knotts Payload Specialist Clarice Kopp Mission Specialist Cleo Kiser Mission Specialist Gary Knight The ground crew rolls Liberty out to the runway on a sunny morning, and the crew takes their seats and runs through their pre-flight checklist. When everything is Go, Commander Kern runs the throttles up to full and takes Liberty to the skies. She cruises through Mach 1 and then transitions to closed-cycle, proceeding to orbit. Hold on.... There appears to be a problem onboard the spacecraft. We're cutting over to the live comm feed for more information. "Control, Liberty, number two engine has failed on transition. Attempting to restart, over." "Copy that, Liberty, over." Liberty is currently 165 kilometers downrange at an altitude of about 20,000 meters, speed is approximately Mach 4, and it appears that one of the main engines has cut out when it was instructed to transition to use internal liquid oxygen. The crew is attempting to restart the engine to continue the climb to orbit, but if the engine cannot be restarted the mission will have to be aborted. More on comms... "Control, Liberty, number two engine restart failed. Combustion chamber 2C inlet damper position indication is intermediate, manual cycle did not restore indication. Engaging RTLS mission abort plan, over." "Copy that, Liberty. Engaging RTLS mission abort plan, over." So, the crew was unable to restart the engine. One of the combustion chamber dampers is in an intermediate position, so the engine computer will not allow the engine to start in either open or closed-cycle mode. This means that the mission cannot continue, so the crew has moved into abort procedure. In this case they will be executing a return-to-launch-site, or RTLS abort, where the spacecraft will turn around and land back at KSC without proceeding to orbit. The crew has already cut the throttles as part of the engine troubleshooting procedures. Now Commander Kern pitches Liberty nose down to begin losing altitude and speed. At the same time, Flight Engineer Knotts begins dumping liquid oxygen out of Liberty's tanks to reduce the ship's weight and transitions the three good engines back to open-cycle. Finally, Liberty reaches about 9,000 meters altitude and drops below Mach 2. She is inside of her maneuvering envelope now, the speed/altitude regime where she can turn without placing undue stress on her airframe. Commander Kern takes control and begins to bank her around to return to KSC, now almost 300 kilometers away. The flight back to KSC is uneventful, although the crew maintains a close watch on the #2 engine to ensure that nothing else goes wrong with it. As they begin their final approach to KSC, Commander Kern shuts down the #1 engine as well. This will help keep the ship's thrust symmetrical during the delicate process of landing. He lines Liberty up with the runway and brings her in for a smooth touchdown. Everyone in Mission Control heaves a huge sigh of relief as Liberty rolls to a stop at the end of the runway. Obviously there will need to be an investigation into why this engine has failed. Until that investigation has been completed the spaceplane fleet is grounded, except for emergency support. However, this does not mean that everything drags to a halt. Back out at Minmus Station, the crew can begin deploying their rovers to investigate the base candidate sites.
  17. Personally, I like Option 1 better. It feels more like the Kerbal is actually climbing a ladder. But if Option 2 makes your life easier, by all means go with that. It's not that important.
  18. Mission 507 - Minmus Base Supply Module & Refinery Radiator Module This mission will continue to bring up modules for Minmus Base. The supply module, loaded with seventeen tons of beef jerky and BARs, and a radiator tower for the fuel refinery. Opportunity is doing this run, her tenth flight. Her flight crew is: Commander Darryl Koehler Pilot Hannah Kinnard Flight Engineer Stella Kunz Payload Specialist Goldie Kennedy Mission Specialist Bob Keen Mission Specialist Sydney Kirchner Once Opportunity has been rolled out to the runway and the crew has finished their pre-flight checks, Commander Koehler takes her aloft. Opportunity roars through the atmosphere and soon the crew is taking her through her orbital insertion burn. After an hour, the crew guides Opportunity through her rendezvous burns and brings her in to dock at Kerbin Station. Once onboard, the crews say hello and then get down to work. Payload Specialist Kennedy deploys the radiator module in the cargo bay. Assistant Pilot Kearney brings Cargo Drone 1 online and brings it over to dock with the supply module. He then undocks the supply module and moves it to an unused port on the docking complex. Then he brings the drone back around to pick up the radiator module. Extracting the radiator module, he brings it around to dock with the supply module Then he brings the drone back to its parking spot. With the mission now over, the crews settle down to more important things: FOOD! Once the feast is over, they settle down for the night. Meanwhile, Orbital Tug 5 has arrived at Minmus. Mission Control guides it through its orbital insertion burn and rendezvous burns. Then XO Kimball at Minmus Station takes control of the Tug and guides it in to dock with the station. Over the next day or so the crew of Minmus Station will begin to land the rovers on Minmus to investigate candidate sites for Minmus Base. Back on Kerbin Station, the time has come for Opportunity to return home. The crew says farewell and closes the hatches, then undocks. She burns for reentry, and then Commander Koehler brings her around and guides her in to a perfect landing at KSC. Another successful mission in the books. The next mission will bring up the next two modules for the Minmus Base fuel refinery.
  19. Am I the only one who hears this music when I see your spacedock? Thread is awesome. Can't wait for more.
  20. Well, you don't really need that either. We don't have that level of AI, but we're already fielding drone aircraft and tanks that are remotely controlled by human pilots. No reason to think that space warfare will do any different. Really, it comes down to how much science you want in your science fiction. On the Star Wars/Star Trek/space opera end of the scale you can have your characters standing in shirt sleeves next to a massive hull breach, tut-tutting about how much more uncivilized the universe has become since they were kids. At the other end, your warships will probably be unmanned drones with no humans onboard that therefore don't care about decompression. But, if you're somewhere in the middle, where your gallant adventurers still sit on a ship that goes into harm's way but are not protected by magic force screens, then they're probably going to want to wear some form of vacuum protection. I have seen it in some settings where, when a military ship is going into combat, the crew puts on suits and then decompresses the ship completely, Prevents cabin pressure from making hull breaches worse. I would have to think more about that than I have time to this morning before I actually endorse it. Suit repair kit, standard issue in any science fiction setting. Bunch of peel-off-stick-on patches in an external pocket of the suit. Or, you can make the suit self-sealing. Or both. When it comes down to feeding my oxygen addiction, I would vote for both. There's room for that too. I seem to recall a certain video game discussed here occasionally that has no conflict or weapons at all in it that some folks enjoy. Well, yes, but actually no. You want it to be well protected, but you want it to be large enough that everyone who needs to be able to communicate with each other can communicate with each other, unless you plan on sealing each crew member in their own individual cockpit and only communicating electronically. And you want your systems to be redundant so that a single hit probably won't take out your ability to fight. That would be the point. And, if my plan for vacuum protection in the event of a breach involves moving there, or putting this on, or activating that, then I'm setting myself up to fail. I want to be as protected as possible before disaster strikes in that sort of situation.
  21. So, in terms of science fiction, this one really depends on one question: Does your setting have force fields? That's the reason why settings like Star Wars and Star Trek don't worry about explosive decompression. Their explanation is that if their ship experiences a hull breach they just project a force field and prevent the air from escaping out of it. If that's not an option in your setting, then, yes, anyone with half a brain is going to be wearing a pressure suit in a combat situation. If a weapon strike blows a meter-wide hole in your compartment you aren't going to want to waste time fiddling with a rescue ball. Especially since, if your ship is still functioning, and you miraculously don't have any holes in you, you may want to be focused on trying to make meter-wide holes in the other guy.
  22. Mission 506 - Minmus Base Reactor Radiator Tower & Airlock The radiator tower for the Minmus Base reactor showed up just in time, the night before the payload integration deadline. The folks over at Kerbal Atomics assure us that it is 100% ready to go, although there was a plastic bag in the crate with it, full of nuts and bolts, with a note that said, "Keep just in case." Not sure what that's all about. In any case, this mission is lifting the new, advanced radiator tower for Minmus Station's reactor, which should be able to handle a much higher heat load and temperature. This mission will also be lifting the airlock module for the base. It's a tight fit, but everything clears. Freedom is doing the honors this time on her eleventh flight. Taking their seats on the flight deck will be: Commander Elaine Kohn Pilot Dominic Kozak Flight Engineer Judi Keith Payload Specialist Clayton Kilgore Mission Specialist Irwin Kimmel Mission Specialist Phillip Kemper The ground crew rolls Freedom out to the runway on a beautiful, sunny morning. The crew board and go through their pre-flight checks, and then Commander Kohn lights her up and takes her aloft. Freedom cruises to hypersonic speeds, then transitions to closed-cycle and continues to orbit. The crew rigs her for orbital operations and awaits their first rendezvous burn. While Freedom is waiting for her first window, Minmus Station reaches its next return window. XO Kimball undocks Orbital Tug 2 and backs it away from the station. When it has cleared the station, she hands it off to Mission Control and they guide it through its return burn. It will be back in Kerbin orbit in about eight days. Soon after, Freedom reaches its rendezvous window. Commander Kohn guides her through her burns, and then Pilot Kozak takes over and guides her in to dock at Kerbin Station. Once the hatches are opened and the crews have made their greetings, it's time to get to work. Payload Specialist Kilgore releases the clamps holding the modules in Freedom's cargo bay and deploys the cargo erectors. Captain Koontz brings Cargo Drone 1 online and undocks it from the escape pod hub. She maneuvers it over and docks it to the radiator tower. She then extracts the radiator tower from the cargo bay and docks it to the station's docking complex. Then she undocks the drone from the tower and brings it over to dock with the airlock module. Extracting the airlock module, she brings it over and docks it with the radiator tower. Once the airlock module is placed in its cargo stack, Koontz undocks the drone and brings it back over to its parking spot. And now it's time for everyone's favorite part of the mission: gathering in the wardroom for eatin' and drinkin' and telling stories. Then everyone wanders off to bed. While the crew of Freedom sleeps, Minmus Station reaches its return window once again and Captain Kauffman undocks Orbital Tug 4 from the station for its return flight. He backs it away from Minmus Station, and then turns control over to Mission Control. They upload its flight plan and it too is on its way back to Kerbin Station. The next morning, the crew of Freedom awakens. They say their goodbyes to the crew of Kerbin Station and close the hatches. Then they break away from the station and burn for reentry. Freedom glides through the heat of reentry, then as she reaches the lower atmosphere Commander Kohn takes the yoke once again and guides her in for a landing at KSC. The next mission will bring up the ever-important supply module for Minmus Base, as well as the first of the modules for the fuel refinery.
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