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About peadar1987

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  1. So nuclear fuel isn't actually particularly radioactive until the reactor is switched on. The chemical toxicity is actually much more of a problem than the radioactivity, and uranium isn't that much more toxic than, say, lead. If you're using the NTR as an upper stage it's pretty much a complete non-issue. One possible concern would be nuclear proliferation. To save mass you'd use very highly enriched fuel, which could be used to make a nuclear weapon were it to fall into the wrong hands
  2. Because that would load the wings more, making them heavier. It would also potentially increase drag and reduce the efficiency of the control surfaces, as the wingtips are a particularly sensitive part of the aircraft due to the vortices they generate. In general, the roll torque caused by the off-centre vertical stabiliser can easily be offset by using the ailerons. This solution works well enough that it's not worth increasing the wing loading by putting the vertical stabilisers on the wingtips.
  3. And another short update, because work is going well! ------------------------------------------------------- The sound of the Javelin's engine died away, leaving the cabin of the transport aircraft quiet for a few seconds, until it erupted in a babble of competing voices. What had happened to the Javelin? Why had it veered off course? Had Virenna lost consciousness? What had ignited the motor? One by one, each voice faded into silence as the truth of what had actually happened dawned on them. Many kilometres above, the Javelin's engine crackled to a stop. What had been all noise and violence a few seconds previously was replaced in Virenna's ears by a dull ringing. The unplugged jack from her communications headset floated gently past her face, and as she raised her hand to swat it away she realised that she was completely weightless. At the same time, she became aware of a frantic banging on the bulkhead behind her. Twisting her neck, she could just catch a glimpse of her co-pilot, Ramford, in the seat above and behind. His eyes were wild and his mouth was silently shouting as he hammered his fists on the partition between them. Virenna replaced the jack in its socket and flicked the switch to internal communications. "...degrees off course... What were you thinking?! The mission brief specifically called for an abort if the parameters deviated from..." Virenna muted his microphone. "I'm sorry Ramford. I really am. But they're going to keep sending us up in deathtraps until we're all gone. What I'm doing is a risk. Staying in that space programme was a death sentence. I'm sure the Yeflanans will treat us well once we land" She saw Ramford's eyes widen in horror as he mouthed "YEFLANA?!" and the banging on the bulkhead intensified. Even if she had wanted to, there was nothing much she could have done at that stage. The Javelin was nearing the top of its parabola, rolling slowly in the rarified air at 62,000 metres, the control surfaces not giving her any authority. she had crunched the numbers a hundred times, this trajectory would drop them over the Yeflanan air defences and right into Nammard. She looked out of the window, the ugly scar of fortifications and blackened vegetation making the border stand out against the landscape. Small puffs of smoke were periodically appearing on the Yeflanan side, as the last of the SAMs were fired, but the Javelin was far out of range. An increasingly insistent vibration let her know that the Javelin was descending once more into thicker air. A contrail far below gave away the position of a Yeflanan fighter screaming at full throttle towards her impact point. She cruised over it effortlessly and continued to pull away, purely on the speed of her dive. When she lined up her Javelin with the main runway of Nammard International Airport, just 17 minutes had passed since igniting the motor. She guided the aircraft to a gentle touchdown, applied the brakes, and waited for the reception committee. She hoped they would arrive before Ramford found a way of getting into the forward cockpit and killing her.
  4. Mainly I hope this works out well for the Devs. They've produced a game that has probably given me more enjoyment than any other, a game I have dreamed about since I was a small child. They deserve job security, nice bosses, and a free coffee machine in the office!
  5. By the way, if anyone has any characters/settings/themes they'd like to see more or less of, I'm very open to suggestions. I have a fairly solid idea where this story is going, but a less concrete plan for how it's going to get there, so everything is quite flexible in that regard.
  6. Eighteen hours earlier, Deadkerbal pit test facility, western Yeflanan desert. The LV-8 engine was Tombart's latest attempt to upscale his designs into something capable of lifting a spacecraft into low Kerbin orbit. A new turbopump had been developed specifically for the task, and vibration tested with the larger engine bell. An experimental alloy had been used in the blades to try and address the fatigue problems that had plagued the earlier prototypes, and doomed the Arkus-1 launch. It was lighter, stronger, and more advanced than anything tested up until this point, and if it worked, it would be capable of putting Yeflana into the lead in the space race. In contrast to the fanfare of the Arkus-1 launch, this test firing would be witnessed only by Tombart, Matrick, and the technical team. No officials wanted to travel for over a day into the scorching hot desert to watch another failure. Without the Top Brass to impress, and badly pushed for time, there was no Big Red Button to press this time. Instead, to ignite the motor, Tombart simply connected two bare wires together in the observation bunker. A bright blue spark popped briefly between the ends, and the motor on the test stand jumped on its restraints as a stream of fire leapt from its nozzle. The bank of instruments in front of Tombart leapt into life, needles wildly swinging up and down as they marked telemetry feeds on scrolls of paper, seismograph style. "Thrust at 90% of rated value. Burn time, 25 seconds", reported a technician to Tombart's left. Just when it looked like the engine was going to survive the test, one of the needles jumped to the top of its scroll, stayed there for a couple of seconds, then fell to the bottom. "Turbopump two's vibration sensor just spiked" "Cut supply to pump two, let's complete the burn on pump one" Matrick had control of the engine's subsystems. It was considered good practice for flying the actual craft in the future. He carefully closed the valve feeding fuel to pump two, in a previous test shutting the valve too quickly had caused the entire engine to distribute itself evenly across a ten hectare patch of desert. As he did so, another needle began to jump. "We're getting combustion instability in the chamber" "Vibration is spiking again" "Shut it down!" But as Matrick reached for the control to turbopump one, a cloud of vapour spurted from the side of the engine, before detonating. "Sensors report fuel line rupture on turbopump one. Test result: Catastrophic failure. Damn it!" Matrick thumped his fist on the control panel in frustration. "Technical crew, prepare test article B, let's get it on the test stand for tomorrow morning. Let's use the backup injector and see if that helps with the combustion instabilities any." Tombart met Matrick's eye and shook his head apologetically. They had pushed the limits of manufacturing and material science, and were still a million miles from getting anything into orbit. Six hours earlier, Tespen airpsace Security was tight at the Tespen space centre for the return of Javelin flights after the crash some months previously. The base was still a military facility, and tensions between Yeflana and the Tespen Confederation had been ramping up considerably in the previous few months. The king of Ormo, whose country bordered Yeflana, had been calling loudly for full-scale war. Even the other monarchs had been making thinly-veiled threats to the Yeflanan government about withdrawing from the disputed border region or "facing the consequences". The Yeflanans, being ignorant, ignoble, poorly-bred desert-dwellers who wanted to tear down the natural social order, had obviously ignored this reasonable warning and had moved another fighter squadron to the border. Meanwhile, General Billgren had been replaced as head of the program by a Prince from one of the eastern kingdoms by the name of Humbart. He was young, dashing, and had flatly refused to stay in Billgren's spartan quarters on the airbase, so he was a complete mystery to most of the astronaut corps. This particular morning was a fine day for flying, but Virenna still seemed nervous when walking to the needle-like aircraft parked on the tarmac. She had given Jadra a huge hug before leaving the locker room, which was almost completely unheard of in the macho atmosphere of the space program. The talk from the engineers in the canteen was that the modifications to the Javelin since the explosion had been almost exclusively to power and burn time, with little thought given to safety, and that this was why Rayely, who was the daughter of a baroness from Samish, had been allowed to develop a mysteriously asymptomatic ear infection on the morning of the flight, to be replaced by common-born Virenna. Jadra, if anything, was even more nervous. She walked up the steps to the door of a transport of the exact same design as the one that had killed so many of her friends, and made a conscious choice to sit on the opposite side of the cabin to where she had been on that fateful day. The engines of both aircraft idled with a gentle whine as the flight plan was read out. Climb to 10,000metres, hold airspeed of 300 knots, Javelin to fire its engine on a north-easterly course at an angle of 30 degrees to horizontal, and glide in for a landing at the airbase on the Greller peninsula. Under no circumstances were the aircraft to attempt an overflight of the missile facility at Wemmel. All this watched over by Prince Humbart from the sidelines through mirrored sunglasses from an air-conditioned control tower. The two aircraft cruised along completing the final pre-ignition checks, the transport a safe distance to the starboard side of the Javelin this time. Virenna's voice came over the intercom, an audible shake in it as she listed off subsystems, followed by "green light". Then came Humbert's voice, the rounded vowel sounds of a noble upbringing obvious even over the crackling link to the ground. "Javelin 5, you are cleared for primary motor ignition, increase pitch angle to 30 degrees" Jadra pictured her friend in the cockpit pulling back on the stick, control wires tugging on the elevators to raise the nose of her aircraft. Humbert's voice still crackled over the intercom: "Ignition in ten, nine, eight... Javelin 5, you appear to be deviating from your course, please confirm heading" Jadra looked more closely at the Javelin. It was indeed veering off-course to port. Her heart jumped, the Javelin was dangerously close to its stall speed at 250 knots. Any deviation from the planned flight envelope could send it into a catastrophic stall. "Javelin 5, you are now 90 degrees off-course. Abort ignition sequence and provide status report" Silence from Virenna in the cockpit of the Javelin as it swung round to the south-west and the nose rose to a near-suicidal 50 degree elevation. "Javelin 5, please report! Virenna? Amfred? Are you receiving me?" Suddenly, with a shower of sparks, the initiator of the Javelin's solid rocket motor fired into life. The red flame being quickly and smoothly replaced by the blinding yellowish-white of the solid fuel. A second later, the roar of the motor washed over the transport, shaking it violently. The Javelin leapt off to the south, climbing rapidly atop a pillar of smoke and flame, accelerating at five G. In the Yeflanan Strategic Air Command, an alarm stirred into life reporting a large incoming thermal signature from the north.
  7. Seeing the title, I thought you might be looking to blackmail Jupiter or something
  8. It's been a while since I wrote the patch, so not 100% sure... Try changing the section: @atmosphereCurve { @key,0[1, ] *= 0.4 @key,1[1, ] *= 0.4 @key,2[1, ] *= 0.4 //@key,4[2, ] *= 0.4 } to @atmosphereCurve { @key,0[1, ] *= 0.3 @key,1[1, ] *= 0.65 @key,2[1, ] *= 1 //@key,4[2, ] *= 0.4 } } KSP doesn't have a sharp distinction between vacuum ISP and atmo ISP, it's a curve, so this should give you a fairly smooth fade-out from 30% of Vanilla at sea level to 100% in vacuum.
  9. Thanks, glad you're enjoying it! I made the map using Used the map of Kerbin off Kerbal Maps, set it as a background, and traced over it in a separate layer. Kerbal maps appears to be dead now though, which is sad, the best I could find today was the archived version:
  10. "This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one" Oops, looks like I've neglected the fic again On the plus side I do have 45,000 words of thesis on paper now! -------------------------- The headquarters of Yeflanan Strategic Air Command in Nammard was an unassuming, squat building on the outskirts of the city, close to the international airport. Most of it was taken up with offices in which earnest Kerbals pored over reports and data on proposed new aircraft designs, industrial output, and Tespen incursions. The centrepiece, however, was the Situation Room, a giant, windowless chamber, filled with rows of desks, and dominated by an enormous screen which took up most of one wall. In front of the desk was a table adorned with a map of Yeflana, covered in small models representing Yeflanan and enemy forces. Most of the time, this room was quiet. It was designed for full-scale war, not single intruders or spy planes. Even Jadra's foray across the border three years previously had only caused a minor flurry. Therefore, Yaffie, a young mathematician in only her first year at the Command, was bored. On that particular summer's morning, she was flicking through the latest issue of Truth, the government-run newspaper. The lead story was, as almost always these days, space-related, reporting another successful test firing of the LV-7 engine. Inside, more of the usual. Vague rumours of a superweapon of unimaginable power being developed by the Tespens, urging Yeflanans to stay patriotic in the face of this threat. A popular and flamboyant party official who had been sent to a labour camp after a shock corruption scandal. A dry business story about a new tungsten mine, which was expected to alleviate the shortage that had existed since West Atlavand stopped their exports... It wasn't even sportsflying season, so she couldn't read about the exploits of her favourite pilots. Her reading was interrupted by a low-key alarm. She barely even looked up. She knew the drill, single intruder, it would fly into Yeflanan airspace, provoke a response, then turn back before it could be attacked. She was ready to start reading a story about increased agricultural output on the Kibbin peninsula when the pitch of the alarm changed and the room broke into nervous chatter. "How is it doing that?" "It's going so quickly!" "Is it still climbing?" Yaffie looked up at the screen, and it was immediately clear that this was no normal intrusion. The bogey was climbing fast, and accelerating, and its heat signature was enormous. It would cross the Yeflanan border in almost no time. "Scramble fighters! Alert the gunnery battalions! I want that craft taken down!" "Gunnery commanders reporting the aircraft is too high to target, and still climbing" "What is this thing?!" "Fighters have lost contact, altitude is 40,000 metres and climbing" Yaffie looked on helplessly at the screen as the dots representing the most advanced SAMs in the Yeflanan arsenal fell behind the intruder and ran out of fuel. "Heat signature has shut off, but we still have it on radar. Looks like it's on a ballistic trajectory. I want someone crunching the numbers on this now!" Yaffie grabbed her slide rule and notepad. Ballistic trajectories were easy compared to calculating the flight path of a SAM. It was immediately obvious that this intruder was going to loop straight over the Yeflanan defences, almost touching the edge of space before touching down in... "Nammard. Commander, it's going to hit here"
  11. I think it also had to do with the risk of the Bends in the event of depressurisation.
  12. Is the flammability of materials in oxygen determined solely by the partial pressure of the oxygen, or will a buffer gas change things? i.e. are things more or less flammable in a 20kPa oxygen atmosphere than in normal air at the same temperature?
  13. And because there aren't infinite numbers of people on earth to produce the infinite amounts of energy required to launch infinite refuelling missions. Not to mention we don't have infinite reserves of the materials needed to make spacecraft and fuel for them.
  14. Yup, they'd hear the booms alright. As to whether it would damage the planes or not, I would say no, my gut says the force from a sonic boom at that range would be less than the forces the aircraft is designed to withstand in normal operation. Although I think then wake turbulence could become an issue for both aircraft after passing each other