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The K Prize - 100% reusable spaceplane to orbit and back

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And now for something a bit more massive...

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Landing back at the KSC...

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Nope. I had enough fuel for the atmospheric engines to make it back, but the inability to turn off the rockets meant fuel consumption was too high.

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Obviously, the solution is to savescum and try again.

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Awesomely shuttlesque Jelly, you get the maximalist record for that and a pilot precision award and the Kosmokerbal Commendation.

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Here, you guys can have this. It can get into orbit, but I\'ve failed at landing.

Someone try to successfully land with the beast of a craft.

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Id love to make one.

unfortunatly, id need someone to land it for me, cuz i can NEVER land a spaceplane because of the fact that i have a bad computer for ksp :(

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All right, the KPS Delivery van has been modified for sub-orbital hops... but Jeb took it to orbit!

It can cruise at 360m/s at 13500m then make orbit with fuel left over. 72km with about 160kg, 100km with about 140kg

It also packs ASAS, needed since it\'s an ultralight plane and not for the faint of heart!

As launched: 17 parts, with mass 11.9 (including 3 landing gear... did someone say they\'re mass-less?).

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Full album here.

Flying suggestions:

The problem with this plane (as with all small planes) is the weight is in the back, making it a bit unstable. Everything is as far forward as possible (including even the landing gear), but it can still be endo-ed.

Two coping rules for flying this plane:

[list type=decimal]

[li]Don\'t push the angle of attack too hard, the the plane has a limited turning stability window. Keep ASAS on as much as possible (pulse off with F to maneuver). Watch the ASAS force in between adjustments - if it\'s moving the canards over 25%, you\'re about to \'spin out\', so don\'t turn any harder until the plane\'s velocity catches up with wherever you\'re pointing. Use ASAS force as an indicator of how close you are to the dragon\'s tail.[/li]

[li]Further, your angle of attack must always be nose-up. Never point the nose below your velocity vector (green circle) - if you really need to dive (like you just overshot KSC), roll inverted, then pull up. The only thing keeping the plane stable is the wings being slightly offset on the fuselage, so if the plane is pulling negative Gs, it\'s at risk of rolling out of control.

[/li]

Flight plan to orbit:


  • [li]Turn ASAS on and takeoff full throttle. Pulse ASAS for your takeoff roll, which should be easy (since the gear are forward). Careful not to shear off the rockets.
    [/li]
    [li]
    Once airborne, pick up a bit of speed then pulse ASAS and patiently rotate to an 80 degree climb. Don\'t rush it or it\'ll flip!
    [/li]
    [li]
    Climb, monitoring engine performance.
    [/li]
    [li]
    When engine intake force is at about 100/200 (At about 8000m), pulse ASAS to let the nose gently drop to about 30 degrees. Your speed should pick up, hopefully keeping the turbojet running at 60/60 flow.
    [/li]
    [li]
    Adjust your nose-up to maintain a climb rate of about 10 m/s. When the turbojet can\'t accelerate any more, press space to activate the rockets.
    [/li]
    [li]
    Pitch up to 90 degrees in as large increments as you dare, tapping ASAS off to pitch, and checking the ASAS force in between adjustments. Keep the ASAS force below 30% or you are asking for trouble!
    [/li]
    [li]
    The turbojet should run out of fuel on its own. Continue climbing at 90 degrees orientation.
    [/li]
    [li]
    When your periapsis is about 60,000m, pitch the nose down to the horizon. Never let off the throttle!
    [/li]
    [li]
    Adjust your pitch to keep the periapsis about 10s in the future. Nose up to raise and delay your periapsis, nose to the horizon for efficiency. Your aim is to reach 2,300 m/s with your periapsis and apoapsis just over 70km.
    [/li]
    [li]
    To return from 72km orbit, burn to put your periapsis at 45.3km over KSC. The plane can glide surprisingly far (thanks to the funky physics), but if you think your approach isn\'t perfect, fix it now!. Burn due north or south if your orbit is misinclined.
    [/li]
    [li]
    Your periapsis should disappear as you pass over KerIndia at 43km. If you think you\'re coming up short, you should have spare fuel to boost up a bit. If you\'re coming in long, well, tough.
    [/li]
    [li]
    Re-read post-it notes 1 and 2 before re-entry - the nose should be just above your green velocity vector before you pass 30,000m or you will be in tailspin land. Re-entry speeds make a lot of lift and the center of gravity is as far aft as it\'ll be.
    [/li]
    [li]
    Mind your ASAS force on re-entry... you can do S-turns or nose-up if you want no-fuel course corrections to KSC, but when the ASAS bar creeps up, get that nose in line. Resist the urge to pitch up too soon as you nose-dive past 15,000m - that way lies death.
    [/li]
    [li]
    On the plus side, this thing will glide plenty far with 5 degrees nose-up at 50m/s.[/li]

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Going for big. Things were going well until they weren\'t; I peaked at over 100Km, dragged down to a nice slow landing speed, and then, without being able to see the ground at night, landed hard enough to knock the wings off. Giving it another go.

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Flight Profile: https://imgur.com/a/5uvWI#4

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I keep coming close on this, and ending up with too light a plane on descent causing uncontrollable pitch-up in the lower atmosphere seconds before landing. Then again, I\'m using the fuels the way they are supposed to be used and using gimballing engines for the rocket portion - I think I just need to play with disabling the 'forward' jet tanks for ascent and draining the rear ones first, saving the front ones for landing and keeping weight forward.

I\'m incredibly close to something that works, though, and I\'ve been avoiding looking any other working spaceplanes so that I learn how to do it myself.

Oh, the current craft during the 'burn both jets and rockets' phase of boost - makes it to orbit with 1/2 rocket tank per rocket and 3/4 jet tank per jet engine still, and I burn all rocket fuel before de-orbiting so that it lands again on just jets.

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After some hefty R&D, a pilot strike and some new safety regulations, I am proud to announce the Jetmaster Aether.

- Features

Very stable, a dream to fly.

Safe to fly to about an 80km orbit.

Plenty of fuel to find and land on your favourite runway.

Ejection system in the likely unlikely event of an emergency.

I\'ll post a Youtube video of it\'s test flight later...

*Edit*

Video is up

http://youtu.be/kbg62yGbg_0

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Is there a quick and dirty way to calculate the mass of a ship, or do I need to add up the part mass myself? I\'ve got a rad spaceplane in stable orbit right now waiting for deorbit burn, and spoiler alert, it\'s kind of big.

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I guess I\'m a bit late for the party. I\'d have posted this over 24 hours ago but the flight was such an interesting odyssey I decided to make a story to go with the pics.

Mind you, I don\'t write. However, I do have to write *something* from time to time just to remind myself again why I should never write. I apologize for the suffering these attempts inflict upon innocent readers.

(full discretion: the flight actually occured as depicted. The story did not. A few screenshots were recreated.)

Oh, I had to split the story between posts. Yep, it\'s that long. Click the spoiler tags at your own peril.

Also, bonus points for catching the less-obvious TV references.

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Bill: It\'s a beautiful morning here at Kerbal Space Center. Winds are 5 knots from the southeast, the temperature is a balmy 23 degrees Kelsius, and as usual, there\'s not a cloud in the sky. We apologize for the delay; KSC has been experiencing some equipment malfunctions this morning and flights have been delayed as a result. I\'m your Captain, Bill Kerman, and with me are Jebediah--

Jeb: Hey everyone!

Bill: -and Bob-

Bob squeaked.

Bill: -your co-pilot and navigator. Thank you for joining us for the maiden flight of Pan Kerbin\'s first commercial spaceliner. This will be a brief tour of the planet, and we will orbit the equator twice before returning to KSC. Estimated travel time is three hours. Please fasten your seatbelts as we are now cleared for takeoff and will be in the air presently, and be careful to follow the safety procedures demonstrated by your flight attendant.

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Bill: This is your captain speaking. We have now reached cruising altitude. Please remain seated and do not unfasten your belts; we are now accelerating to our transition velocity and preparing to engage our rocket engines. Make sure all personal items are safely stowed in the compartment directly in front of you: Once we begin orbital insertion, any loose items can endanger everyone in the cabin.

Jeb: Ya, we don\'t want anyone getting impaled this time, eh?

...

Bill: This is your captain. We have reached maximum velocity and are now ready for orbital insertion. While our rockets are active, you will notice a strong force pushing you against your seat, and if you look out your window you may think the plane is pointed an unusual direction. Please remain calm, as this is perfectly normal for space flight. The clocks on the ceiling and the screens in front of you will indicate how soon the next rocket burn will begin and how long it will last. Also, an audible tone [ding-ding-ding] will sound one minute before each burn. As you heard, we are counting down from sixty seconds...

Bill: ...Ignition in five seconds--four--three--two--one--

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Bill: You\'ll notice on your screen that we have reached a stable orbit at an altitude of 80km. We will be remaining here for the next two hours before deorbiting and returning to Kerbal Space Center. If you completed your zero-g training class, feel free to explore the cabin. If not, you may prefer to remain in your seat and enjoy the view out your nearest window. We ask that you keep track of any personal belongings in the cabin, as they must be stowed away for safety before we use our rockets. If in doubt, don\'t get it out!

Jeb: But if ya do get horribly injured by a flying iPad, try to bleed in front of one of the cameras, eh? I put the clips on YouTube.

Bill: And... mic off.

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Bill: Jeb, I think we need to have a talk about your... professional behavior.

Jeb: Oh, it\'s all in good fun. The kids love it!

Bill: That\'s not what I meant. You\'re scaring Bob.

Bob: I am not-huh?

Bill: Don\'t worry, Bob; Jeb\'s just being an idiot. Ignore him. Bob, are you alright?

Bob pointed out the window.

Jeb: Ya know, you don\'t usually see clouds in space. Especially green ones.

Bill: Shit, we can\'t maneuver in time. Brace for impact!

Jeb: With a cloud?

Bill: With whatever is *venting* it! There\'s probably a loose oxygen tank in there somewhere!

Bill shut his eyes. When he opened them again, several seconds later, the mist was gone.

Jeb: Well, that was trippy. It reminds me of this guy I know who grows the best...Wow.

Bob was making a sound reminiscent of a balloon with a tiny leak.

Bill: What...oh. Shit.

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Bill: Oh god. What happened?

Jeb: I can\'t raise KSC, and the computer\'s going right nuts. But you can see the constellations...we must be, well, close to home.

Bill: Did something happen to us, or did something happen to Kerbin? Look for landmarks--anything that could give us a clue where in the world we are.

Jeb: Looks like they got the extra long tour, eh?

Bill: What?

Jeb: The passengers.

Bill: Oh god, the passengers! Dim the cabin windows!

Jeb: Don\'t you think we ought to tell them?

Bill: Are you kidding? We need a plan first. If we tell them their home is just...gone, there\'ll be chaos! Do you want that?

Jeb: Sure.

Bill: ...

Jeb: For YouTube, eh?

Bill: Just... just look for landmarks. I\'ll try to fix the computer. Oh, and get Bob out from under his seat...

For the better part of an hour, Jeb surveyed the barren, primeval world beneath them. Had they been catapulted to some distant place? Or had they traveled through time, and were now witnessing the birth--or the death--of Kerbin, their home world? A curious rock arch caught Jeb\'s eye, sticking up from the rim the large crater they were passing over, but like every other strange sight it only brought questions, not answers.

...

Everyone flinched as the Windows startup sound blared through the cockpit speakers.

Bill: Okay, I think I\'ve got the computer fixed. Now to start the navigation software and get a fix on our location.

Jeb: Hey, Bill.

Bill: The nav package is up. Trying to get a lock.

Jeb: Uh, Bill...

Bill: No response from satellites. Switching to star tracking.

Bob: Bill?

Bill: Well, that doesn\'t make any sense. The clock must have reset...

Jeb: KERBIN TO BILL!

Bill: What?

Jeb: I think I found a landmark.

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Bill: Oh god.

Jeb: You say that a lot, ya know?

Bill: But if Kerbin is there, we must be...

Jeb: On the Mun?

Bob: Technically, we\'d have to land to be on the Mun. We\'re currently in a low orbit.

Jeb: Hey, he speaks!

Bill: Shut up, Bob.

Bob squeaked.

Bill: So... how do we get back? Our flight computer wasn\'t designed for this.

Jeb: We could point the plane at that big round thingy and fire the rockets.

Bill: Wait--what\'s that, off to the side? Is that the cloud that brought us here?

Jeb: Well, I dunno, call me racist but all green space clouds look the same to me. Uh, Bill? Rockets? Big round blue thingy? We going?

Bill: Head for the cloud! With any luck, it\'ll take us back home!

Jeb: Or we could do that, eh?

Bob whined.

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To be continued...

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Continued...

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Bill: What..happened?

Once the psychedelic mist cleared, the blue and green world stretching out below them was the single most wondrous sight in the universe. Unfortunately, it was accompanied by a cacophony of alarms and flashing lights: OFF AXIS--BAD TRAJECTORY--REDUCE SPEED.

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Two tense minutes were spent barking orders and fighting controls. 'Up ten.' 'Bearing 040.' 'Main engines to one third.' 'Oxidizer depleted.' 'Spool up airbreathers.' Despite a long series of creaks, squeals, and groans--several of which came from Bob--the spaceliner held together and was soon on a smooth course sailing high above Kerbin.

Bill: Systems check.

Bob: The Navigation computer is unresponsive. No communication from satellites. Can\'t test star tracking until nightfall. Radar blank, terrain mapping nonfunctional.

Jeb: No response from KSC. There\'s a weak signal, though, and I can make out some local rock and roll channels and somethin\' aboot 'Iteration one-zero-whatever'.

Bob: Local radio uses longer wavelengths and the plane has a special antenna for that. Unfortunately the transmitter is short-range only; we won\'t be able to raise KSC until we\'re right on top of them. Everything else--satellite communications, KPS positioning, radar--all use the microwave antennas, which must have been damaged during re-entry.

Jeb: Or, ya know, I doubt the warranty covers green space clouds.

Bill: Engines and control systems check out OK. Altimeter OK. Gyrocompass OK. We can fly by dead reckoning, but without knowing our position, it doesn\'t do us much good. Jeb, get the charts. Hopefully we\'ll be able to recognize landmarks this time.

Jeb: What about secondary airports?

Bob: What if we-

Bill: Only as a last resort. KSC has the only functioning runway rated for spaceplanes, the rest are under construction. We\'ve already taken damage and navigation is shot; trying to land on a shorter runway would be suicide.

Jeb: Maybe they could clear a long stretch of highway?

Bob: Or better yet-

Bill: Uneven, risky, not something I\'d want to try either. Still, if we happen to fly over a big city, try to reach someone by radio. At least they might point us the right direction.

Bob sighed.

Jeb: I doubt we\'ll reach anyone anytime soon. Of all the land on Kerbin we could have found, why did it have to be the middle of a featureless plain? We could be almost anywhere.

Bob: I think I could, um, work out our coordinates by the clock and Kerbol\'s position in the sky. Assuming the clock is right, of course. Give me a couple-

Bill grabbed the mic.

Bill: This is your captain speaking. We seem to have suffered some instrument and communication malfunction, but everything is currently under control.

He turned off the cabin shade.

Bill: As you can see, we have returned to Kerbin and are en route to KSC for landing. We apologize for the inconvenience.

He clicked the mic off again.

Bill: I need to go talk to the flight attendants and let them know what\'s going on. Hopefully they can help keep the passengers calm. If anyone asks, we\'re on our way to KSC and everything is fine.

Bill left the cockpit.

Jeb: And while we\'re busy finding our ass from a hole in the ground, let\'s have some rock and roll!

He tuned the radio and the cabin was filled with the fuzz guitar of Kerman Greenbaum\'s 'Spirit in the Sky'.

Bob: COULD YOU TURN THAT DOWN, PLEASE?

Jeb: WHAT?

Bob: TURN IT DOWN NOW!

Jeb: NO, SORRY, I\'M NOT CLEARED FOR THAT ACTIVITY. YOU\'LL HAVE TO TAKE IT UP WITH COMMAND.

Bob cranked the dial down.

Jeb: Ya know, I\'m gonna to have to report you for that, eh?

Bob: You *bleep*ing bastard, are you *trying* to screw this mission?

Jeb: Hey, little guy, I\'m just kidding. And stressed. And frustrated. We\'re *home*, how can we be so lost?

Bob: *sigh* ...Sorry. I think the stress is getting to me, too. I tried triangulating our position using the ship\'s clock, but no luck, so I figured it must have been reset when we lost the computer. Then I tried using my own watch, and it still didn\'t add up. I guess the radio was just the last straw. I was out of line. I...want to go home.

Jeb: You and me both, kid. But chill and think about somethin\' else for a while, ya know? Like--why does the plane have a FM radio, anyway--I thought they took out everything non-essential to save on weight? Think some engineer just needed his music fix?

Bob: Oh, no, FM is only a side effect. The low frequency radio is mainly for old-style air-to-air comms and... Jeb, you\'re a genius.

Jeb: I know. How?

Bob: The low frequency radio is required safety equipment on all large aircraft, used for VOR and ILS in case of satellite outage.

Jeb: Come again?

Bob: The old instrument landing systems. No one uses them anymore, but major airports still have to operate it. Why didn\'t I think of it earlier? We may not know where we are, but if we\'re on the same side of the planet as KSC we could ride its beam in like a homing missile!

Jeb: Ride in like a homing missile... Mind if I write that down? I\'m going to use that line.

Bob: Just try not to go kaboom at the end. Anyway, here in the chart book is KSC\'s frequency and I\'m locking it in now. Yes! It\'s weak, but it\'s there! We\'re going home!

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The door opened and Bill stepped into the cockpit.

Bill: I felt the plane bank. Have we got our position?

Jeb: Not exactly. Bob figured out how to lock on to KSC\'s beacon; we\'re riding it in like a homing missile!

Bill: Hopefully without the boom at the end.

Bob: That\'s what-

Bill: Nice work.

Bob: Thanks, it-

Bill: So, do we have an ETA? I\'d like to have something to tell the passengers.

Bob: Well, I didn\'t have much luck getting our location, as our clocks seem to be off and the beacon only gives us direction. I did some calculations on the signal strength, and time of day, terrain features, and the relative strength of stations from known locations-

Bill: Jeb, do you know?

Jeb: Bob told me it\'d be aboot an hour, give or take. The autopilot\'s locked in and we could sleep through the rest of the flight.

Bill: Thanks, Jeb. I\'ll go talk to the passengers.

Bob whined.

Jeb spent the next half hour thinking about the flight\'s events. How could they have traveled to the Mun? How did they get back? Was it a natural phenomenon, something which defied everything he had been taught, or was it some sort of constructed gateway between worlds? What did it mean?

When Bill returned, the plane had begun its long descent. This was, under normal circumstances, the most dangerous part of a flight. The huge plane had to descend nose-up, and the heat shield blocked view of the ground below. It was hard enough to trust the autopilot when they had the benefit of satellites and terrain maps; how much more with only a radio beam and barely functioning communications and radar? Jeb and Bob handled the the stress in their usual manner--Jebediah wore his trademark grin, while Bob was hunched in a fetal position in his chair.

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Bill: Have we tried raising KSC?

Jeb: Ten minutes ago. Some static, not much more.

Bill: We should give it another go. Even with a broken antenna we should get some signal at this range.

Jeb: Kerbal Space Center, this is Pan Kerbal Flight 33. Do you copy?

Through the static, a distorted voice replied 'This is Kerbal Space Center, say again? Message not received.'

Bill grabbed the mic. 'Kerbal Space Center, this is Pan Kerbal Flight 33. Our navigation system has been damaged. Please confirm our approach trajectory, over.'

'Negative, Flight 33. Our radar is not yet operational. We have a visual on your plane and you appear to be on a good approach, over.'

The tower helped walk them down through the last stages of descent. Finally, the autopilot leveled the craft out, the gear lowered, and they saw the familiar building of Kerbal Space Center.

Jeb: Uh, Bill... where\'s the runway?

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Sure enough, there was only a barely leveled dirt strip where the enormous KSC tarmac should have been.

Bill: Oh god...Autopilot off! Abort! Abort!

As they stopped their descent, a piercing alarm filled the cockpit.

TERRAIN--PULL UP--TERRAIN--PULL UP

They were heading straight for a canyon wall a short distance ahead. Whatever normally frequented this airstrip must have been far nimbler than a spaceliner.

Jeb: We should probably do somethin\' aboot that, ya know?

Punching the throttle and pulling hard on the yoke, they were able to steer up and out of a slightly shallower part of the canyon, though they came far too close to the rim for anyone\'s liking.

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Bill: What just happened?

Jeb: Yeah, so KSC is in the mountains now? I should probably sell my surfboard.

Bill: Did you lock on to the wrong beacon, Bob?

Jeb grabbed Bob\'s chart book. 'Looks fine to me. There\'s the map, there\'s the frequency, there\'s the radio. It checks out. Besides, they identified themselves as KSC.

Bob: Um, I have a theory.

The radio crackled to life again. 'What the hell are you kids flying?'

Bill: Tower, please identify yourself. Over.

'This is Kerbal Space Center. Who are you people, over?'

Bob: Excuse me.

Bill: Kerbal Space Center is on the coast. Impersonating a traffic controller and operating a false beacon is a criminal offence. I can have you arrested!

Bob: Um, Tower, what year is it?

'Kerbal Space Center is RIGHT HERE, and it\'s September 13, 3439. Now get off this frequency! I\'m reporting this incident to the KAA! Out!'

Bill switched off the radio in disgust.

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Bob: That explains it.

Bill: Explains what?

Bob: This is where the KSC was originally built; where the first few satellites were launched. The equipment was later moved south, to the equator, when we started launching rockets in earnest.

Bill: But I\'ve been with the program for a decade. I\'ve never heard of operations going on at this location.

Bob: Because this KSC hasn\'t been here for almost twenty years... our time.

Bill: Our time? Wait...are you saying that nut job is right and it IS the year 3439?

Bob: It makes more sense than building a fake base where the old KSC used to be just to fool wayward space planes, doesn\'t it?

Jeb: Curiouser and curiouser, eh?

Bill: So assuming I believe you--which I don\'t--what\'s our next move? Can we reach the green cloud again?

Jeb: Nah, rocket fuel\'s gone. Even if we could, who knows where it would send us next?

Bob: At least we now know our location--so we can plot a course. The space plane runway at our KSC was already built in 3439, before the rest of the base; they used it for freight carriers. Assuming we can reach it, we can land, refuel, and plan how to get back to *our* Kerbin. And if we end up stuck here, we might even set the space program ahead a couple decades.

Jeb: Any port in a storm, then?

Bob and Jeb studied the charts, fuel consumption tables, and finally worked out a flight plan that would reach home just as fuel ran out. Bill tried to reassure the crew and passengers, and they set out on the long journey back home.

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Bob: Huh, there it goes again.

Jeb: What?

Bob: For just a second, we had what looked like a weak satellite signal. That\'s the third time in the last hour.

Jeb: That\'s good, right?

Bob: But in 3439, these satellites didn\'t exist yet.

Jeb: That\'s still good, right?

Bob: I don\'t know. I hope so.

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After hours of flying, and with the fuel tanks all but empty, they finally spotted the familiar mountains and coast. Home was just ahead!

Bob: Still negative response on VOR and IFR. We\'ll have to fly in the hard way. Fuel\'s gone, but it shouldn\'t matter now.

Just then, the radio crackled to life. 'Unknown craft on approach vector, this is Kerbal Space Center. Please identify, over.'

Bill grabbed the radio. 'Kerbal Space Center, this is Pan Kerbin Flight 33, requesting landing assistance, over!'

'Flight 33? Boy, are we glad to see you. You disappeared from our scopes shortly after launch; is your transponder malfunctioning, over?'

Bill: Our microwave antenna is damaged. We need someone to guide us in, over.

'Roger that. Your vector is looking good. We will continue to advise.'

Bob: And tower... what year is it?

'It\'s...well, it\'s 3461. I don\'t think you\'ve been gone *that* long, Flight 33.'

Jeb: You\'d be surprised...

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The descent was mostly uneventful. KSC\'s instructions were spot on, and the only exciting moment came during final approach:

Bob: Hey...guys?

Bill: What is it now?

Bob: There\'s--something--on--the--wing!

Bill: WHAT?

Bob: It was a joke.

Bill: Shut up, Bob.

Bob sulked.

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With a squeal and a shudder, the landing gear hit the tarmac. The huge craft stalled and tipped slightly, making contact with all four wheels, before finally coming to a halt near the end of the runway.

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As they sat, waiting for the emergency crews to escort the passengers and crew off the damaged plane, Kerbol peeked above the horizon.

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Bill: Home. Isn\'t it the most beautiful thing you\'ve ever seen?

Bob nodded his head.

Bob: You know, this will give the world a lot to think about.

Jeb: Are you silly? After we get debriefed they\'re going to call it all an 'instrument malfunction'.

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Hey...Bill?

What, Jeb?

Why do the ground crew all look like ponies, eh?

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I finally achieved this after many many hours. After achieving orbit, there were 8 full fuel tanks remaining. I messed up the deorbit burn a bit and landed way short of KSC, but land it I did.

It weighs in at 49.19 tons, and flies like a dream.

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Thanks for your report and screenies antbin, did you land safely? I took a look and there was a screeny which looked suspiciously like a touchdown fireball at the very end !!

Keep going keptin and khyron42, interesting designs, looking forward to seeing them complete the mission.

Thanks for your story pushingrobot and grats on your planetoid SOI, I guesstimate you have taken JellyCubes\' maximalist crown (for now) and likewise gained a pilot precision award and the Kosmokerbal Commendation and last but not least a free pass to the back stage party at the Dog & Booster. Things are lookin\' up eh!?

speedollama, she is an elegant looking ship, like a Gerry Anderson version of Concord. Its close to pushingrobot\'s estimated weight but I am guessing slightly lighter so he probably pipped you for the maximalist record, happy to revise that if new evidence comes to light (like a definite weight for pushingrobot\'s craft).

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Hey boolybooly, how come I didn\'t get the advanced pilot precision award?

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Sorry, it didn\'t twig. You are undoubtedly entitled to the coveted ... Advanced Pilot Precision Award.

*Fixed* 8)

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Thanks for that boolybooly, I\'ll remember to post the important pics in future, I just didn\'t want to image spam the KSP forums :D

Spoiler tags, gotta remember spoiler tags.

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Spoiler tags and screenies, yes please to both, it does help to have the evidence up front, also helps to be able to put it away again.

Also further to my oversight, I confused myself there for a moment because somehow I knew your max altitude, but now I remember, I viewed your max altitude on the orbital map screeny and was distracted by the need to compare it to silent_prtoagonist\'s max altitude shot and didnt get to the end screeny landing in the kerfuffle, sorry again.

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I really need to remember to hit F5 while in orbit instead of just going 'wooo! cool! made it to orbit again (about the 6th time), time to try the hard part again - keeping it from behaving like a leaf in a hurricane when it gets back down to 1000 meters.'

but the main reason for my design - the rockets are physically unable to draw from the jet fuel tanks, and by the time the jets would get anywhere near drawing from the rocket ones, those are empty. Hmmm... that gives me an idea...

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Thanks for your report and screenies antbin, did you land safely?

I pinky swear that I landed safely, and could have continued to brake to a stop... The imp of the perverse (aka Jeb) just convinced me I should taxi right up to the SPH.

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OK antbin, cool, if you made a pinky swear that\'s fine.

I am pleased to be able to add myself to the guest list at last.

I overshot and had to turn around but had separate fuel reserves for the aeroengines so it was doable. I found I saved a lot of fuel by adding an acceleration phase at 12000m-15000m where I flew level and added about 200m/s to my speed taking it over 400m/s before pitching up and then lighting the rocket. The ship is not self righting exactly but almost has a snap to 90° ability for upright, left and right roll (doesn\'t like to go inverted) and will fly true if not pushed out of its comfort zone and is responsive once you work out how to use the pitch up controls to turn the ship after flipping it on its side.

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Confirmed that I can, in fact, make a free return. Now I wonder if I could do a full landing and return with some drop tanks... (another 1500 m/s dV isn\'t that much, right? :P)

eoVsP.png

kvl7J.png

TbejP.png

QcYU8.jpg

My final orbit after a few aerobraking passes. I haven\'t bothered bringing them home yet, but I\'ve got plenty of fuel for the deorbit burn, so it shouldn\'t be a problem.

sMGoR.png

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I would be interested to see how it goes silent, not sure if you are forgetting the challenge rules though (no decoupling fyi) ^.^

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I would be interested to see how it goes silent, not sure if you are forgetting the challenge rules though (no decoupling fyi) ^.^

Yea, I\'m just pondering it for my own amusement. I\'ve already built a VTOL STTM, but it was a real beast. Squeezing out that last 1500 m/s is tough.

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May I suggest a separate honor list for mod-users? I\'m just using slightly lighter engines and bigger fuel tanks. And heavier struts. And larger lander legs.

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