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About Alchemist

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    PowerTech Chief Engineer

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  1. Alchemist

    What did you do in KSP today?

    With this shape and size of the shuttle, you could seriously benefit from a fairing. You can even leave the cockpit out. And now you know the reason why most spaceplane-on-top designs have the spaceplane either covered in fairings (at least partially, you can find designs with tips of the wings sticking out) or blending in with the shape of the launcher. Plus the typical story story about low AoA ascent and highly responsive attitude control.
  2. Well, not too surprisingly I took the same shuttle out of my hangar
  3. Well, most of that are just various things I recall being brought up from couple previous versions of the challenge. But it would be difficult to try finding those over several threads of such size, especially for the newcomers Probably you are right given similar functionality in current stock. I recall there was a statement that it would be too much change (in terms of designing a shuttle that doesn't wobble itself apart on ascent) to allow in stock category, but that definitely was before autostruts. So if you feel it to be balanced enough (personally, I have no experience with this mod), feel free to allow it.
  4. Alchemist

    [1.4.1] kOS v1.1.5.2 : kOS Scriptable Autopilot System

    There is such suffix, it's inherited from Orbitable. Ant it's the position of center of mass. But yes, there is no such option for apoapsis or periapsis. So you'll have to add the radius if you need them this way
  5. Alchemist

    [1.4.1] kOS v1.1.5.2 : kOS Scriptable Autopilot System

    body:position:mag Ok, it actually would be (body:position-ship:position):mag , but the reference point typically is the active vessel
  6. Well, I did it a bit the other way around... First, I didn't really bothered with using an actual proper aircraft Yup, it's my HRO (Heavy Recovery Orbiter) Also such shuttle is not that great at taking off just on jets But we get there Deploy everything! And then the drogue chutes Right, the ship capable of doing this on Duna really doesn't need much landing strip... Now the payload... it was waiting here. And it turned out to have trouble getting in there - wheels just kept popping on the ramp, so we had to use some runway for gaining the speed to get in there. Sorry, somehow missed screenshot with the payload just loaded. Anyway, after a bunch of tries and rather annoyed with repairing wheels Bill, it got in there But can we get enough speed here for... That's why we took some rocket fuel! What? I already said it's not a cargo plane, but an interplanetary shuttle. Oh, and jets do much better job if get to 200 m/s first Well, this is with proper payload, so let's not do tricks. Just the normal airliner-style landing And proceed with deploying the payload Wheels popping, payload getting stuck, had to raise the nose to get it out. Also turned out brakes were on, even with the indicator off And the mass is... Wait what? The request was 30 tons? Right, 40 tons was nominal landing payload in the HRO specifications. HRO delivery services: now with 40% more payload than asked for!
  7. Since life support is basically adding a few more things on top of what would work for stock, you can use it and still qualify for stock categogy
  8. Last time mod question was seriously discussed, the general consensus was like this - if it doesn't affect mission performance (aside from dead weight), it can be allowed under stock category. Which basically boils down to: Modded shuttle/launcher propulsion and/or airframe components (including structural properties alteration like KJR part welding) = modded category * since the introduction of auto-struts, Kerbal Joint Reinforcement is considered well enough balanced with current stock Visual, information mods, autopilots (within what allowed by the rules), as well as extra weight like life support = allowed in stock category Any stuff in the payload added on top of fulfilling mission specifications = allowed for stock category. For example on STS-3 it's completely OK to bring a modded telescope, you just still have to design the mission the way so that it still requires the orbital assembly. Payload components that are required by mission specifications or crucial for mission execution - that might be negotiable for stock-alike parts, but anything that allows better packing (or notably less mass) of the necessary stuff in the payload bay or easier deployment from there (like the various rover and base parts do, especially for surface deployment) is more of the modded category material. Relying on modded functionality for completing mission parameters (like for surface base assembly) = modded category Using modded functionality to bypass mission requirements (like using KAS for assembly on STS-3) = not allowed at all
  9. Alchemist

    Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

    Well, there isn't too much nitrogen, if you take in the account atmospheric density and that there is 95% CO2. But N2 is still reasonably easy to harvest from this atmosphere, water is more of a problem on Mars. Much bigger problem is rocky bodies without atmosphere in the inner Solar system. Namely, the Moon. Basically, nitrogen just has no tendency to form low-volatile vacuum-stable minerals. And carbon also has this kind of issue - carbonates may be relatively abundant, but they don't survive on lunar surface. Well, if you intend on mining trace isotopes put there by solar wind (namely, Helium-3), you'd probably end up extracting decent amounts of carbon, nitrogen and especially hydrogen in the same process. Otherwise, craters in polar areas are the best pick for volatile elements, but it's still a huge question if you can find any much nitrogen there
  10. Alchemist

    Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

    Actually, on Mars that wouldn't really be a problem - if you just freeze CO2 (which is much easier than liquefying N2 or O2) out of the atmospheric air, you'll end up with a mixture of nitrogen and argon. On the other hand, the only big concern for nitrogen is supplying it for plants to make protein, and only if you go for certain nitrogen-binding microorganisms (instead of making fertilizer), you'd really need a certain amount of N2 in air, otherwise having another inert gas or even reduced pressure (just don't drop it too quickly) doesn't make too much difference as long as you have 21 kPa of O2 in the mix and manageable amount of CO2
  11. Alchemist

    Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

    And here goes the second episode of my entry. To be fair, nothing really much going on here, just driving all around. And searching for the anomalies - so consider it a spoiler alert Quick summary: The first expedition will bring samples from all the biomes (yup, overkill) and selfies with the anomalies No minable water in near-equatorial regions at all, we'll have to settle on the polar cap (and the only other biome that has has any H2O was polar craters and with quite bad content of it) The base turned out to have not that great power generation (especially with half of those damn panels apparently broken during crew shuttle docking back in LKO) and battery capacity for this terrain, the first crew transfer vehicle will bring some spare parts Overall, I've got driving overdose even with cruise control. And I'll still have some driving to do to meet with the first crew transfer vehicle. Time to finally get back to some space flying
  12. Alchemist

    Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

    There is the Midlands Sea biome which is pretty flat (may be the flattest out there), very low on altimeter and literally covers almost half the Ike-facing side. Speaking of which... asking for samples from 5-6 biomes has implications, especially combined with mobile base condition. Yes, that's where I've been stuck lately... already got 10 biomes and there is 4 more clustered down in the south. Also searching for these On another note, I think I'm satisfied with this design for what my third launch will be Yup, a pile of everything, but the launcher doesn't mind, especially if it's couple tons lighter than standard payload. The package includes: a lander for 4 crew with long-term life support. And a sturdy reentry capsule 2 boosters/tankers for it (the delta budget v for quick return from Duna surface turned out a bit too tight, so we'll leave some fuel in orbit - also the tankers might get further use down the line) a literal scrapton (or maybe a few) of spare parts for the first base module - just some little improvements, especially in power department (also some more things will be stripped from the lander that could be used for other purposes) 2 more commsats (under fairings) a transfer stage for the next launch no fuel (there is more than enough time to mine it)
  13. Alchemist

    Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

    PBS works nicely with TAC-LS and the converters are mostly based on stock anyway. However I have to note that both have identical off-screen behavior for converters inherited from stock ISRU. Meaning, the conversion quickly catches up on loading. Therefore, if you rely on reprocessing some waste products (now that's something TAC-LS does with offloaded vessels in real time - both supply consumption and waste generation), you better ensure you have the capacity to store those for whatever time periods you intend to leave the base unattended, or those will get wasted (not to mention the capacity for life support resources themselves, even if you are planning on 100% generating them on-site) If I understand it correctly, the rule implies that as the alternative way of transportation to whatever interplanetary craft you have in case the primary ascent vehicle is lost or otherwise unavailable. Everything else, including some lore for why and how it is useful is up to you. My own concept is a bunch of small landers that can also be used in case some part (be it a rover-module on independent mission or the space-bus having issues on landing) of the crew is stuck in a damaged vehicle with failing life support and the space bus is incapable of responding quickly enough (it would take too long to refuel or it is the problem itself) - to evac the crew from there either to orbital infrastructure or to the main base. And as for getting the entire crew out of the base ans then waiting for the window in orbit - yeah, unless you have a huge stockpile up there, in most cases it would be more plausible to try surviving on the ground with the backup vessel and whatever left of the base. However, there is a place where some clarification is needed for a potentially reusable backup solution as the base grows - in what time frame getting the entire crew out of there is required? Do we have to be able to provide seats for everybody at once or is it OK that the backup vehicles can replace the bare minimum crew shipping capacity for normally getting the crew to the interplanetary shuttle (which won't probably be able to get the entire crew back at once anyway)?
  14. Alchemist

    Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

    A couple more thoughts on planning... I have 2 more launches before second window. And the craft I want to launch on launch 4 (second base module) is a bit too heavy - it's already over 40 tons (with 50 tons launcher capacity) without the transfer stage, and I still need to make a few additions. Meaning I will likely have to launch the transfer stage separately. But the craft planned for launch 3 is not that heavy, especially if I don't launch the fuel (there will be more than enough time for the Minmus outpost to deal with that), so here is the perfect opportunity to launch the transfer stage for the base module. And some commsats for Minmus - the tanker needs those for uninterrupted operations And then there are 3 more launches before third window. Duna station, space bus, a pack of rescue landers, interplanetary shuttle... plenty of things to launch there Thanks! I'm really quite proud of this development. In fact, one of the main reasons why I just couldn't pass the opportunity to use it for this challenge is that it was originally created to be a part of something quite similar. I was really thinking of interplanetary infrastructure with high degree of automation - with main hub around Minmus and a 100% reusable crew shuttle to ferry crew and tourists around Kerbin system. So that's where the crew shuttle comes into play - as the first step of this infrastructure (incidentally, I was thinking about refueling it in LKO with tankers based on the same design, similar to how SpaceX BFR would operate - but the shuttle turned out to have just enough delta v without that. And that's before the new engine from MH). And also, depending on payload mass and TWR, the launcher would be used for most other infrastructure elements - with second stage in cases the vessel being launched has no capacity to perform orbital insertion from such suborbital separation (well, at least now I've finished the 2-stage version)
  15. Alchemist

    Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

    Well, I'll just leave this here