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The Kerbal Cup Challenge


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Dateline Kerbopolis:

Kerbal Media CEO Rupert Kerdoch today announced a competition for the private space industry: Using only off-the-shelf parts, contestants must put a communications satellite in a 150km orbit, observe it for at least one orbit to verify orbital stability, and return the crew safely to Kearth (and an exclusive first interview on KNN.)

Winners will receive fame, glory, and a cheap plastic trophy, mailed parcel post. Kerdoch denied that this contest was a disguised attempt at getting a satellite into orbit on the cheap, stating 'For too long, we have waited for the government to properly utilize space. The Kerbal Cup Challenge will show that private industry can do it faster and cheaper.'

Contest Rules

[list type=decimal][li]Download the 'Stellarcom Communications Satellite' from the Kerbal Space Repository.[/li]

[li]Contestants may only use the 'vanilla' rocket parts that are included with Kerbal Space Program, aside from the satellite itself.[/li]

[li]Deploy the satellite in a circular orbit 150km high.[/li]

[li]Observe the satellite for at least one orbit to verify circular orbit.[/li]

[li]Return the crew safely to Kearth.[/li]

Winner will be determined by who gets the satellite into the prescribed orbit cheapest, with the tiebreaker being the one who is closest to 150km exactly.

Contest deadline is August 4, 00:01 GMT (August 3, 8:01pm EDT.)

Entries should be posted in the 'Kerbal Cup Challenge' contest thread on the official forums. (EDIT: Please include rocket configuration in each entry.) In the event of multiple entries by the same person, only the latest/last entry will be considered.

Contestants will need to submit the following screenshots:


  • [li]The rocket on the launchpad[/li]
    [li]The satellite deployed in a circular 150km orbit[/li]
    [li]A second screenshot of the satellite 20 minutes later, showing it at same altitude[/li]
    [li]A third screenshot of the satellite 40 minutes after the first (which will be a bit more than one orbit,) showing it at same altitude.[/li]
    [li]A screenshot of the capsule safely landed.[/li]

A margin of error +/- 250m is allowed in the orbit.

Screenshots should be of the entire game screen, so that time elapsed, altimeter, etc can be seen.

And yes, I will ship a cheap plastic trophy to the winner. ;)

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I *was* going to ask for .craft files, but that seems too much trouble. With shots of the rocket on the pad, I'm hoping that I and others will be able to recreate the rocket and see if the capabilities match any dubious claims.

I also just realized that I forgot to state that rocket configuration should be included in entries. (That's what I get for starting the post, going to the movies and coming home to finish it.)

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We're talking in IRC right now of the possibility of getting some MD5 sums or something we can use to compare .craft files. Of course, if someone wanted to cheat, they could send a different .craft file and photoshop the screenshots. :P I'm hoping that requiring configurations to be listed will prevent that, as others can and will try to replicate their feat using the same rocket.

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Just to chip in an opinion regarding photoshopping, md5 sums, etc etc... it's for bragging rights. I don't think the community already gotten to where we can't trust people even that much, has it? I mean, really... ;)

It's not only for bragging rights. It's also for a cheap plastic trophy!

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First attempt: Designed and built a launch vehicle that seemed to make the grade. Except it exploded immediately on the launch pad. . .

May I ask for permission to use ONE non-standard part apart from the satellite? I'd just like to install an escape tower on my rocket - I can't bear to see Jeb, Bill and Bob's terrified faces as they meet mortality head on . . . .

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I've gotten up to 150km and stayed there pretty steady, but every time I release the satellite it takes off far away. I launch it behind me and it fades away, I launch it in front of me and it takes off and I can barely keep track of it.

Need to get this figured out, driving me crazy

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The trouble I have had so far is getting the rocket to stay in any way stable while its got a dirty great big satellite under it!

I am starting to realise another reason why Satellites are usually unmanned . . :)

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