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There been a lot of talk about this with people ik irl and people saying similar to this idea but I feel like we are missing out if they don't add this mode. When it comes to me I had played ksp for years but was never really any good at it. But when the career mode was introduced it forced me to learn each step and vitalize the items I had on me. I made me feel like an engineer to face the problem of money restraint and vitalizing my designs so they do exactly what the need to do. All though if I had to add a system with it it be a rival space industry race me for contracts and we need to make co op missions to help each other out or don't. Make a space colony/dock to make money with other companies etc. I just dont want only exploration I want to be invested in each action I do. I want my mistakes to have value, I want were theirs limited food, water, and the air they breath. I want it so i need to worry about my kerbals mental health and physical health. I truly want to live in this solar system and the galaxy itself and face all the real complications of those ways to get there. I know this would make the game so much harder and complex but wouldn't you want to face all the obstacles of it to better understand what we need to face in real life and what we can do to solve these problems. I know some have the same opinion and some don't but it should be an option if we want to face it.
Prologue. Let me take you through this mission, what I felt as an epic journey, whit this after-action report / photolog. It is a long one. This wasn't easy, was my first time on Eve and just visited Mun, Minmus and Duna before. So let me tell you the whole history and a bit of the background. This is a long story, and English is not my first language, so please bear with me. I'm playing on career mode. All stock, vanilla game with Breaking Ground expansion, no mods. And I don't like to time-warp travel times between planets so I can use those intermediate times to send some other missions to other places and keep on collecting science points and completing contracts. But it has a downside: if the mission fails and I have to revert to a savegame pre-launch, I also loose a lot of missions done during it's travel time. So I must try to be as "not-so-bad" as I can. I try to take as much profit as I can when an planetary intercept window arrives. But also there will be some of them fliying at the same time to different destinations, so there will be a lot of maneuver nodes, landings, dockings... all at very close timings, so the fewer ships, the easier to control all them. That makes the start for this epic voyage. Chapter one: planning the mission. While I was conducting some other missions (satellites, maned missions to Mun and Minmus, completing contracts, etc.), Eve's interplanetary intercept window came. And I wanted to sent to it as much as I can. So planned to send all this: a space station with a science module. an exploration satellite. a lander to reach Eve's surface with two kebals, put an unmanned Rover, scientific experiments and return to low orbit. and a ship to return to Kerbin with 3 kerbals and all the science you can, being able to recover the low orbit lander before if necessary. Then I started the design phase, trying to accomplish it all with my current science tree, not fully unlocked by then, and also staying in my budget. As maybe you can assume by the ship's name, multiple, realy a lot of versions and variants of the ship were made. Until I finally opted for this one... after a lot of failures that made me go back to pre-launch savegame and loosing lots of other game advances. It's a somehow "frustrating/epic funny" process, if you know what I mean. On this ship, all modules except the return / rescue module have an unmanned control unit, so they don't need pilots. With all other missions going on at the same time, I didn't have much of them and new contracts would have made it all blow up out of my budget. Val will be the mission commander and only pilot onboard. The ship has configured a series of action keys to facilitate certain tasks (mainly, the collection of science data and saved in the correct module). Chapter two: Time to launch. And that was the mission, step by step (without all the "*return to control station*", manage some other missions to other destinations and back to this one parts, for the reader's mental sanity) The final shuttle weights about 4,000 tons, so I learned (by the hard way) that I had to put the ship on launch pad when I was goint to launch it. Due to its monstrous weight (about 4,000 tons), it does not hold long on the ramp without starting to loose parts, no more than 20 seconds. During the ascent phase in the Kerbin atmosphere, several stages had to be released. I had to drop them aiming perfectly prograde, failure on this make this ship the most expensive fireworks ever. Also learned by the hard way. Out of the atmosphere, used Val to release the return / rescue ship from the rocket and dock it to the Space Station module. Once docked to the Space Station, to give it more rigidity against accelerations, used the options menu of the capsule to add auto-struts. Deactivated it's nuclear engine so it won't start when tthrottling the engines of the whole ship. Once escaped Kerbin's sphere of influence, before reaching the descending node between the ship's orbit around the sun and Eve's orbit, released the satellite module and programed two maneuvers: one on the main ship to intercept Eve at the equator, and another on the exploration satellite to intercept Eve at the poles. It's easier (albeit slow) to modify the satellite's trajectory, so tryed to get Kerbin's escape maneuver node to get the whole shuttle as close to Eve's equator as possible. Both maneouvers, on the main shuttle and on the satellite, diverted them appart and made the satellite ETA to Eve's SOI some hours later than the main shuttle. And that was great, concurring on the same time will make it a bit of a dissaster of at least one of them. The X3-A5-2 Mission continued its journey. I used that time to continue and start some other missions. Until the day when they reach the awaited planet SOI. Excitement and fear, all combined in just one feeling. Chapter three: reaching Eve. When making the capture burn into Eve´s orbit with this configuration, the stage with interplanetary engines, the side ones, ran out of fuel and had to drop them and continue burning with the nuclear engines of the Space Station. By having the return / rescue ship docked sideways, this generated a twist on the shuttle. To make the ship controllable can do one of two things: wait to release the side tanks stage when you have finished the maneuver release the side tanks stage and rotate on the longitudinal axis quickly and constantly (by pressing "Q" or "E") while you finish the burn with the nuclear engines to cause a gyroscope effect so the return / rescue module docked doesn't produce lateral torque that impide you to maintaining stability. The second option allows to save more fuel from the Space Station's nuclear thrusters. I used both for half the maneuver each one (didn't realize the second one until then). One the main shuttle is on Eve's orbit, it's time to shift and perform the capture burn with the satellite module, so it remains in a stable polar orbit below 1,500 km high. And let him do his job. That was easy. Slow, really slow (thanks, Ion thrusters!), but easy. Now, let´s start with the hard part of the mission. Chapter four: the descent to Eve For the landing, I sent to the lander capsule a scientist and an engineer. That capsule doesn't need a pilot to have full control of the SAE as it has a module for unmanned flight. With the main spacecraft in orbit around Eve, on the apoapsis I made a retrograde ignition, it decreased the periapsis to approximately 70km, then released the lander so that it follows an atmospheric flight path, and accelerated prograde again with the remaining Space Station to recover a periapsis height of not less than 110 km to continue its orbit. The Space station can then use its nuclear engines more efficiently to modify its orbit. Shifted to the lander. During the descent towards an atmospheric flight path, inflated the two heat shields and used SAS to maintain retrograde orientation during entry into the atmosphere. When descending to Eve, if you depart from a good orbit you can entry into the atmosphere on the first descent and reach the planet's surface. If you departed from a very elliptical orbit, you may needed multiple orbits and aerobraking before reaching the surface of the planet. Anyway, once targeted 70km height on periapsis and released the lander module, it is on it's course to the surface. Just a matter of time... with all fingers crossed. During the descent, my kerbonauts seemed to be more worried than impressed , as you can se up there. In the descent flight over Eve, I had to wait to be fully vertical (approximately 10km above the surface) to detach the upper thermal shield just before pre-deploying the parachutes. A bad release of the upper heat shield would have caused the lander to break and the capsule with the kerbals to separate from the rest of the module and all of it, two brave kerbals included, would only be some kind of a crater on the surface. I had to wait until the parachutes were open (about 800 meters above Eve's surface) to release the lower heat shield. It gives stability and helps to stop the fall during the entire descent. Releasing it prematurely could cause it to impact the lander and destroy some parts. Learned through the hard way. Extended the landing gear after the lower heat shield was released. And went down about 7 m/s until gently touching the surface, without the need to start engines. If I would have needed to abort the landing on Eve (from descending into water, for example) I had a plan: advance the list of stages until the engines start and, with a pre-programmed action group, cut all the parachutes and try to get back to orbit. That would be a total failure, but with no casualties. But fortunately, the trajectory lead me to the surface. So, finally, we land on Eve's surface. Chapter Five: Time to work on the surface. After all, we weren't there for holidays. Before doing anything else, I released the stage with the upper parachute bindings. These were meant to cause a few explosions around the lander, so it was better to be done before deploying any kerbal or anything else over there. Then deployed the rover with its corresponding stage. After that, I extended all the stairs (it has a lot of them, all pre-programed on an action group). And finally a kerbal stepped on Eve's surface. The two kerbals went to the surface to plant the flag, take surface samples and make reports. On the lower cargo module, inside in a SEQ-9 module, there were some portable science modules (a control unit, communications, solar panels and science experiments) to be deployed on Eve's surface. That was the reason for taking to the surface a scientist (more science from the experiments) and an engineer (less solar panels required). Before leaving Eve's surface, when the kerbals went back up to the capsule, there was a storage unit next to the ladder so they can save all their reports. But this report won't be a report without the crew and the flag photo. After that, they went back to the module and started to get ready for take off. It was time to do one of the most difficult parts of the mission: beat again this level's boss, Eve's atmosphere, and return to Eve's low orbit. Chapter six: returning to orbit. For the takeoff, retracted all the ladders, closed the lower cargo module, made sure the rover was away and safe from the ship, and retracted all the solar panels from the lander. I didn't want to have any innecesary aerodynamic drag. Then, throttle to maximum and released the lower stage. Some explosions occurred below, as expected. Released the next stage (landing gear) a second later, when the lander was already climbing. And some more explosions down there. Just check their face. Mine was almost the same during this phase. During the climb, the stages were in aspargarus configuration, so I had to keep an eye on when a stage run out of fuel to release it and not cause unnecesary aerodynamic drag. Eve's atmosphere is dense as hell. Aimed completely vertical until passing 20 kilometers high, there I began a very smooth gravitational turn to reach 100 kilometers height low orbit on Eve. Not the best profile probably and you can be sure that wasn't the best execution, but I made it to orbit. Didlreda and Gregbruna were way to happier then. As it was a bad ascension, with the remaining fuel in the lander capsule I wasn't able to fully intercept the the Space Station. That was once of the contingencys expected. So Val took the return / rescue module from the space station, intercepted the lander module, docked to it and tow it to the space station. It could be done by simply taking the kerbals and the science of the lander module, but the return / rescue ship had delta-V enough to make it anyway. The lower part of the lander, the one that has a cargo bay, was left on Eve's surface. This is intended so it then is used as a base - communications repeater. Shifted to it and, with a pre-programed action group, it was time to open the cargo module doors, extend its solar panels, and unfold its antennas. Sorry, with all the emotions I didn't take any photo of it. Chapter seven: time to depart to Kerbin. Back at the Space Station, I reviewed what science and kerbals would remain on it and what I would go back to Kerbin. Some scientist would be left on the Space Station doing research with part of the science obtained to multiply the science points untill further missions to this planet. Half of the mission was accomplished by then, but in the career mode science points are more valuable than gold, didn't want to loose anything by transmitting them, so I thought that investigating with duplicates and take to Kerbin all the rest was the best option. Time to say goodbye to part of the crew, and continue different roads. Uncoupled the return module and departed to Kerbin. Chapter eight: back to Kerbin. The return module had fuel for its nuclear engine enough to return to Kerbin's sphere of influence and perform a retrograde burn to slow down the capsule before entering the atmosphere. It also could be done by aerobraking directly with the atmosphere, executing an intercept orbit that take it to less than 20 kilometers from the surface of Kerbin on the first approach. But there were a lot delta-V on this module, so I used it. The return capsule entered Kerbin's atmosphere, they were finally back at home. Deployed parachutes and wait until touched Kerbin's surface once again. It was a long trip, fulled with a lot of emotions. All the missions were acomplished but some were not finished yet. Eve was no longer out of our frontiers. Some heros and some equipment were still there, getting those valuable points, waiting further missions to come... all for the Science. Our history on Eve has just started. It is to be continued... Epilogue. I'm sure that a lot of you have done it before. And probably with better, more efficient and more beautifull ships. But this was a real challenge for me and my almost 250 hours of KSP by then, I felt very happy to achieve this. So I wanted to share it with all you. I also uploaded this whole Shuttle to Steam WorkShop, so anyone could use it if they want: X3-A5-2 Multi-mission launcher to Eve and back It's the same shuttle I used here, and it has pre-programmed this action groups: Extend intermediate solar panels (in side rocket interplanetary stage, for the trip to Eve) Inflate lander’s thermal shields. Cut lander’s parachutes Extend / retract lander’s ladders Execute robotic's action to extend panels and antennas in the base module on Eve Observe port material’s module and Mystery Goo. Observe starboard material’s module and Mystery Goo. Collect science from all resettable experiments in the lander / rover Store all the science of the ship in the container of the lander Store all the science of the ship in the container of the return module. For science pickup, you can use Action Key 8 on all stages of the flight: solar orbit, Eve's atmosphere entry, Eve surface, and in every single opportunity. You can also use action group 6 and 7 as much as you want ir the lander module is still connected to the Space Station, as you can take the data and reset the experiments from the Station Science Module. You can also use one of them (6 or 7) on when the lander is on Eve's atmospheric flight and the other one when you are landed on Eve. After executing anyone of these action groups, execute action 10 (or 9 if you are only with the lander) to save all the reports in the return module. You can also send the data you want to the research module if you have scientists to carry out an investigation. Before leaving the space station back for Kerbin, perform Action 10 to pass all of the science collected to the return module and take it back with you. I think I forget to do this on some stages of the flight, but anyway I get more than 2,400 science points returned to Kerbin, and many more being generated by investigation conducted in the Space Station. So, apart from the excitement of achieving all this, I think I can call it a great mission. Thanks for letting me share this with all of you. Hope to see you on every Kerbol System's planet.
This isn't a full mission write up, but instead a brief description of some of the more recent events in my 1.2 career game. Tourists to Mun Minmus and Duna A group of five tourists wanted to see the sights of these three bodies, including atmospheric flight over Duna. After filling up their tanks in Minmus orbit, courtesy of the orbital filling station there, the trip went smoothly. Leaving Minmus surface In Duna orbit Return vehicle sent into Kerbin orbit to being them back home for that sweet tourist cash. Getting toasty in the return. Mission to Moho This started out well enough with another vehicle stopping off at Minmus to fill up before heading out into the system. A resource scanning satellite was put into Moho orbit to find a good source of ore to refine. However a miscalculation meant that the manned vehicle only had enough fuel to get into Moho orbit and not to take it down to the surface, so it will remain there until a refueling vessel is sent out to put something in its tanks to allow a descent to the surface. Trip to Dres A mission to everyone's favourite stopping off point, Dres. Oribital insertion Detaching the resource scanner. On the surface at last, after running out of fuel a few metres above the surface, which made for a slightly bumpy landing. The return to Kerbin started out as planned, but there was too little fuel to make the insertion burn into Kerbin orbit and velocity was too high to burn some of it off by passing through the atmosphere, so a tanker vehicle was dispatched from Minmus to catch up with the speeding vehicle and give it sufficient fuel. High speed interception (the Dres vehicle was moving at over 4km/s). Caught up at last with just enough fuel to pass on to the Dres vehicle to allow it to adjust its trajectory for an intercept with Kerbin about 300 days later. Finally the Dress lander made it back into Kerbin orbit, for a later rendezvous with a surface return vehicle. Out to the Moons of Jool A complex mission to the Joolian system with a total of five vehcles (interplanetary transfer, lander, 2x probes and a resource scanning satellite) Like the other missions above, this one started with a stop off at Minmus to top up with fuel, this time from the vehicle used to transfer it from the surface mining base to orbit. Again fuel was to be an issue, but this time on entry to the Joolian system... ... which necessitated a slingshot around Tylo to reduce fuel consumption. One of the crew stretching their legs with a trip around the vehicle on the way to Pol. Another landing site, another resource scanner, this time in Pol orbit. To support the two probes on board a large communications relay was dispatched from Kerbin separately from the Manned vehicle. Touching down on Pol Next up for the crew was Laythe, with the valuable science to be picked up in orbit as well as from a probe to be sent to the surface. Here Verxy is seen resetting the instruments. Dispatching the probe for the surface. Unfortunately the parachutes were not sufficient to slow the probe down for a landing and even with the engine being burned the vehicle hit the water at about 60m/s but fortunately it wasn't a complete loss as science was gathered both in low orbit and in the atmosphere. Having left Laythe for Vall, Verxy reset the science parts again. Vall approaches After a straightforward landing the crew took to the surface for more science and the obligatory flag raising. After considerable time in the system the crew headed home with their pockets full of science. No problems with fuel this time for a returning crew, just had to park the vehicle and wait for a return vehicle to bring them home. But as this vehicle was now coated in tasty science morsels, it was decided to being it back to the surface as well as its crew. Unfortunately the return vehicle didn't have any parachutes, so had to rely on the deceleration given by the inflatable heat shield and then to use the tried and tested method of cross your fingers and waiting for the impact. Back in one piece (well one of the engines fell off), but the head shield took the brunt of the 65km/s "landing" leaving the crew and the science smeared vehicle available for recovery. In other news A pair of comms birds were sent to the inner system to give crystal clear communications in the environs of Moho. We pick up junk for cash... another hunk of space junk retrieved under contract. An asteroid snagged and placed in Kerbin orbit. Another comms bird adding to the great net, this time in orbit of Duna. Last but not least, the Minmus rescue vehicle, which has been going strong as a one kerbal transfer vehicle between Kerbin, Mun and Minmus, since being sent to the great mint gobstopper in the sky, following its use in a rescue contract to Minmus early in this career game.