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MK16 Parachute Killing my Kerbals


MajorThomas
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Hi Y'all,

I've been playing KSP for almost 2 years now. Really like the changes in 1.0. But I'm losing Kerbals during re-entry, which for me has become maybe 10 times more difficult.

One thing in particular that's recently cost me two Kerbals on "routine" missions with the smallest command pod (one-seater) and the Mk16 parachute: It takes forever to open, so I hit the water or ground before slowing down. Deployment altitude of 2000m no longer works. Heck, even 3000m is too low. But if I deploy at an altitude much higher than this, I'm going so fast (above 250 m/s) that the speed will destroy the chute rather than allow it to open.

So formerly (before the aerodynamic changes for 1.0), you could open a Mk16 chute at just about any altitude and it would open at 500m reliably, and all would be well. Now, open it too soon and it fails, open it too low and you hit the surface before the chute opens. The "narrowing of the window" of operation for this chute is cool and I like how it makes the game more challenging, but in this case...they may have narrowed it to the point I can't do anything to save the Kerbals.

I've searched the forum here and don't see this to be a particular issue, or maybe I just missed it.

Any advice / recommendations? (I suppose I could increase the altitude at which the chute opens, from 500 m to say 800 m...) (Anything else to add?)

Ciao

Edited by Claw
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That's weird, the chute works perfectly for me most of the time, as long as I open it when it's safe (right click it to know if it is). It only fails like that if the speed is to high and the trajectory not shallow enough. If you're coming back from the Mun or higher, don't aim straight down, set your periapsis just above the surface. That way there's more atmosphere to reduce your speed.

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Update: I might have solved it.

I had had a saved craft (actually several) that used the Mk16. In these ships, the Mk16 deployment altitude was set to 500. But building a fresh, brand new ship and using this same part, I now see the deployment altitude is fully 1000 m.

I think something was tweaked between 1.0 and my current 1.0.4 (or whatever it is), meaning indeed the older versions of this part (vintage 1.0.0 etc.) had a "suicidally low deployment altitude" after the changes to the game.

Postscript: Yep, verified. The current atmospheric model is apparently incompatible with the older Mk16 settings. Using the updated Mk16 (just swap the "old" one with a new one from the parts bin), it started deploying at 1000 m as expected, and it took fully 600 m of drop until the ship fully decelerated to the usual 6.5 m/s descent speed. So indeed the 500 m (former Mk16 settings) just weren't enough "runway" to allow the chute to function properly.

RIP two lady Kerbals.

Edited by MajorThomas
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I've also noticed the new aerodynamics have made things ridiculously hard for me. Especially in the early game, before you get droge chutes.

I've effectively given up on tourist missions because any craft I build that can carry more than 1 kerbal (discounting the later 2.5 m capsules) just lawn-darts right into the ground every time. By the time I reach 1000 to 2000 meters the ship is still travelling over 500 m/s, making parachutes impossible to use. Every now and then I'm able to use the capsule's torque to pull out of the dive and use lifting body-effects to idle in the atmosphere for long enough to slow down, but like MjThomas said, the success rate is about 10%.

I'm also annoyed that the capsules still weigh more than the heat shields. When I run out of power the capsules tend to tip over head-towards-the-ground and blow up long before they can slow down. I understand that all of these thermal things can be tweaked in F12, but the fact that the settings are so difficult out of the box really surprises me. Im no noob to the game, but I'm finding it penalizing-ly difficult as is.

Edited by PTNLemay
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By the time I reach 1000 to 2000 meters the ship is still travelling over 500 m/s, making parachutes impossible to use.

It's your play style. Done right it isn't difficult at all.

You are coming in at too steep an angle. 500m/s 2000m off the ground means way too steep of an angle. The old KSP atmosphere spoiled you and you learned bad habits. Now you pay for them. Put your perapsis at 30km or so at re-entry and this won't happen. It isn't hard it's just knowing the limits of the atmosphere and obeying them.

The only time this is tricky is returning from Eeloo when you have a ton of speed but even then it's not hard to do a couple of aerobreak passes before coming in for a final landing.

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Rocket Farmer: I think you missed these are (presumably suborbital) tourist contracts. What's going on is that while a real-scale two-person capsule would be slowed sufficiently by Kerbin's atmosphere (since it's fairly close to Earth's), the way one flies suborbital missions on Kerbin, combined with the fact that to make a two-person spacecraft it generally involves not increasing frontal area but rather daisy-chaining Mk1 pods, further combined with the fact that the capsules mass as much as a Mercury capsule but have only 40% the surface area (chained together it's only ~28% the surface area)....well, it makes suborbital flights tough.

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I'm also annoyed that the capsules still weigh more than the heat shields. When I run out of power the capsules tend to tip over head-towards-the-ground and blow up long before they can slow down. I understand that all of these thermal things can be tweaked in F12, but the fact that the settings are so difficult out of the box really surprises me. Im no noob to the game, but I'm finding it penalizing-ly difficult as is.

That doesn't seem true. A standard reentry vehicle (capsule + heatshield + chute) orients itself properly for me.

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The main issue - new settings for the parachute - seems to have been addressed. There have been a couple of threads on this; note that the tutorials have not been updated either so Mun 2 is a killer.

For sub-orbital and tourists, I use this. It includes science and goo because if you're doing suborbital you can presumably still use the science from wherever you land. Nice and simple, balanced so it comes down sideways and lands gently on the legs if you give it a SAS-nudge (legs shown deployed so you can see them, but launch retracted).

cTWfB0Zl.png

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Hey

You might want to re-enter on a more shallow angle, your periapsis should be at 20,000 meters.

Under these circumstances, i can usually release my chute at 1,500 m and still have some time to spare.

Cheers

Isn't that a little low?, even for smaller craft around 50km seems to be the sweet spot.

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Here is the profile I use fo land recoverable launch stage from 12T to 600T from LKO.

- Aim PE at 5-10km

- Use airbrakes (I use 2 to 24)

- Use 1 or 2 drogue chutes : Min pressure = 0.4, deploy 5000m

- Use chutes (I use 6 to 24 radials) : Min pressure = 0.65, deploy 1000m

When deorbiting in space, stage everything and wait, nothing to do. Beware of mountains though, you'll crash on them...

This configuration limit is my 600T return stage, but with a 12T is ultra safe (I could tweak it down a lot). I'm used to land 20-100km East of KSC

Airbrakes helps slowing down, if you don't have them, aim for 20-25PE

Drogue helps to slowdown fast from 700 to 250m/s before opening your real chutes.

http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/123195

For my usual landers (return ships from space stations), I usually use airbrakes and regular chutes and aim for 30km. Moho return require a burn to slowdown (1000m/s out of 5000) before entering Kerbine atmosphere.

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Note: to anyone who upgraded to 1.0.x and is having kerbals killed by default parachute settings (without putting more than expected mass on the parachute), make sure you have everything updated (under Steam there is a "verify" download setting). My defaults were sufficiently off (a disaster for newbie players) that I enter a bug report only to find out that it is a completely different bug (updater issue). Just verify the update if this happens to you.

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You can also tweak cute open time (if you don't fear g forces)

Still, if you are super sonic at less than angels 5, you are coming in too steep for your coefficient of friction. Low drag of a blessing on launch, but a challenge on reentry. Tumble your craft to increase drag. It also could be worth keeping the previous stage (with it's low density tanks) attached for reentry.

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You can also tweak cute open time (if you don't fear g forces)

Chute opening times are not tweakable in stock. You'd have to edit the .cfg to change the times.

And yes, any craft built before 1.0.4 will likely have old values, because those are saved specifically for that craft. The game has no idea if the value was set special by you, or if it's a hold-over from the previous version.

Cheers,

-Claw

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