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THE LUNEX CHALLENGE Before Apollo, there was another U.S. program to land on the moon: the Lunex project. It would involve an expendable launch vehicle and recoverable, lifting body crew module with direct-to-orbit return from the moon. The challenge? Develop a reusable, crewed, and winged orbiter that lands on another celestial body using an expendable launcher, landing stage, and return stage. Heavily inspired by the wonderful Shuttle Challenge, from which most missions were inspired. @sturmhauke has provided some amazing badges. Thanks a ton to him. THE RULES Unbalanced mods are not allowed. Entries with modded parts will be separated from unmodded. Unbalanced mods primarily concern engines with Isp or TWR significantly higher than stock engines. Vehicle launches vertically on top of the stack, lands on another body vertically, and returns to Kerbin horizontally. The crewed portion of the vehicle should glide back to Kerbin. Hyperedit is not allowed, except for testing. All submissions must have either an image album or video with significant events of the flight. You must use your own craft for all missions. Missions should be completed in order from the start of each series, with the exception of Mun Lunex 1 and Mun Lunex 2, which can be completed together. UPDATES 10-2-20: Removed entries list as it was going to become impractical to maintain. MISSIONS Mun Series (Lunex 1-4) Duna Series (Duna Lunex 1-3) Jool Series (TBA) Eeloo Series (TBA)
THE MULLETEX MISSIONS A MISSION REPORT THREAD FOR THE LUNEX CHALLENGE THREAD I haven't played KSP since August 2019. My last mission was an Elcano of Duna, along with a Von Braun of Duna and fly by return to Kerbin via Eve. Given I hadn't booted up KSP in anger in well over a year (and its been a rough year or two) I trawled the forums and happened across the Lunex Challenge thread. Its something very familiar to me as a one time (Self considered) Shuttle connoisseur and I thought it'd give me a nice easy route back into playing the game again that wouldn't put me off, and hopefully brings me back to this great community a little. I probably like a lot of people need a little more support than normal, and this is one small way I can do that, by being a part of something I've previously enjoyed immensely. Without further ado, here's the first mission. Lunex Mission 1 and 2 can be flown as one mission, so I took the opportunity to knock both out at the same time. As usual the link to the full mission report (written up) is in the title, and I've pulled a few select pictures out so as not to clog up the page with too many images. Mission Log 1 - Lunex Missions 1 and 2: Full Mission Report Image captured by way-to-close-bodyne The nearly 700t beast lumbers into the air. Originally designed without fairings but too unstable to fly, the Mulletex is...interestingly shaped. None the less, fly it does. Probodobodyne drone-bodobodyne launch photography is dangerous, but exquisite. The rocket uses 3 stages to get to orbit. Firstly the solid boosters stage, followed by the core. At this stage the rocket is fully expendable apart from the Mulletex glider. That could change in later missions though. Finally the 3rd stage all but completes circularisation before being de-orbited. The 4th, kicker stage ignites briefly to complete the launch. Image courtesy of Mullet-Dyne Very standard operations set up the Mulletex for its trip to the Mun. On its way "up" we get a chance to see the revamped textures for the first time from any altitude. Image captured by Snapfan Kerman. Copyright Mullet Dyne 2020 all rights reserved. Yes that's right, I'm still in orbit since the last mission. Still here. Rescue me.....PLEASE! Once in the vicinity of the Mun, the kicker stage which did the grunt work getting the Mulletex to Mun is nearly expended. Its last act is to achieve capture before it is staged away to forever orbit the Mun. Future missions might well add enough fuel to make sure the stage can either crash into the surface, or kick itself out to a solar orbit. On the surface the Mulletex system is capable, and cutting edge. Auto levelling landing legs (lie) ensure the ship always remains completely vertical and stable. The rover lowers from the cargo bay on a telescopic piston, and apart from a small accident with the brakes on the rover not being set resulting in a chase, everything goes perfectly. Valentina visits two different science locations on the rim of the crater, and the base of the crater. Science is done, people are happy. Image captured by the latest camera offering from C7 Aerospace Image reproduced with kind permission of....wait, we don't need permission. Here's a photo. Look at it! Once the ground operations are complete its time for Valentina to return home. First the rover is stored back up inside the base for future use if anyone visits again. The base is capable of delivering long term power to the rover, as well as protecting it from damage by the harsh Mmunar environment. Then the Mulletex uses its RE-L10 Poodle engine to lift off and return home. Aerocapture is achieved, followed by 2 further aerobraking passes before EDL is performed. Once the final EDL is started, the Mulletex cannot re-ignite its Poodle engine, so it must complete a highly accurate de-orbit if it is to hit the runway at KSC. Luckily, everything goes well apart from a hair raising moment with a large explosion caused by one of the RCS ports letting go on impact with the runway. Dinkelstein Kerman likes low riders too much.... Over-all a highly successful return to KSP after more than a year out! What a joy to be playing this game again, and hopefully its not a year until I fly my next mission this time. Mulletex performed well, but as I get my eye back into the engineering side of things, there are already areas that I can see need some improvement. Ride height for one . Welcome back me !!! SM
I've just spotted Doing it LUNEX Style! in challenges and wonder, could that ever have worked? Specifically reentry -- am I right to assume that shuttle-style tiles are totally out of the question? Would ablative material still work?