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Saddest sacrifice you had to make in order to save the mission/crew


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Have you ever had a situation so dire that you had to leave a kerbal behind? Did you have to crash the asteroid into the ocean under manual control in order to save KSC from an asteroid disaster? Share your stories here and may my condolences be passed on to the families of the kerbals/ships/missions involved.

Allow me to start...

This mission failed due to a stupid design flaw that I didn't discover until I couldn't revert to VAB. I had landed on the Mun for the first time in a career mode save when I realized that there was only room for one Kerbal in the return vessel. I went with the apollo approach when it came to landing on the Mun: 2 vessels (and orbiter and a lander).

I could have conducted a rescue mission if I hadn't been a cheap [email protected]#rd and gave the lander just enough DeltaV to rendevous with the orbiter and then head home... but the orbiter had only 1 space, and the lander had only one space. I sent 2 kerbals (as planned) but could only bring one home and leave the other to crash back on the mun since the lander was on a sub-orbital trajectory. The Kerbals involved were Jeb and Val. This was my first time landing the duo on the Mun, so Jeb "volunteered" since he had a good life and he actually landed on the Mun many times before in previous lives. Valentina would make it home after her first time on the Mun on my PC, but at a large cost. I've felt guilty for Jeb since.:(

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I have previously rectified a similar situation in a very Kerbal manner by taking off with one Kerbal in the capsule and another holding on to the ladder.

You have to thrust VERY carefully (I only did it on Minmus, might not be feasible with higher gravity!) and periodically switch to the Kerbal on the ladder to climb up a bit as they tend to slide down the ladders under thrust.

Obviously you can't re-enter with a Kerbal hanging off the ladder but you can ferry them to somewhere where rescue is a bit easier, such as Kerbin orbit.

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First time I tried a life support mod I miscalculated the requirements for a 3-kerbal Duna mission. When the return window opened, I only had enough supplies for one kerbal to make it, if I sent all three they all would have died. So two stayed behind and died so that the other might live, which was a pretty sad moment.

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So far I haven't lost any of my crews, but I came very close was when 1.0.4 came out, and a couple of my space stations had bad overheating problems. I was able to launch rescue missions, but I lost millions in funds, and came very, very close to losing several of my best Kerbals.

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As the consequence of an unfortunate gravitational encounter turning time warping, five of my Kerbals had to remain at Jool while a single Kerbal took their entire payload of science from five different worlds on a 56-year journey back to Kerbin.

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This one's not a "deliberate sacrifice" so much as a desperate rescue mission that went wrong (but still kind of worked).

There were two ships, K.S.V. Edford (crewed by Will, Haddas, and Sidbal Kerman) and K.S.V. Lulo (crewed by Chadwig and Burbles Kerman). Both were sent to Duna, with contracts to run seismic scans on both Duna and Ike. Edford did a landing on Ike and completed the contract as planned with a rover, then returned to Duna's orbit and transferred some fuel (and Sidbal, and the rover) to Lulo, which then landed ... about two hundred kilometers short of the south pole, where it was supposed to touch down. Worse, the ship then did a belly flop and I couldn't stand it up to take off again. So three Kerbals were stranded on the surface, on the other side of the planet from where they were supposed to be. And neither ship had enough life support to last until a rescue mission could arrive from Kerbin.

I eventually decided to make their sacrifice count for something, and sent Burbles off in the rover to make the trip to the south pole. Which he pulled off with forty minutes of oxygen left, out of a supply for eighteen hours. So the contract was complete, but now Burbles was dead and Chadwig and Sidbal were still stranded.

Edford was supposed to make its way back to Kerbin at the next window, but instead Will and Haddas elected to go back for their friends. They managed to land very close to Lulo, and brought Chadwig and Sidbal aboard with a load of life support supplies. They then took off and managed to crawl back into orbit, completely out of fuel but with just enough life support to await rescue.

I got a bit ambitious at this point, and decided to attempt to rescue Lulo herself from Duna's surface. In addition to a big tank of life support, the rescue craft (christened K.S.V. Burbles, of course) was designed to land on Duna and allow Haddas to strap some 24/77s onto Lulo and lift her back into the correct orientation. From there Haddas took the battered cruiser back into orbit and docked with Edford again. The five Kerbals now had plenty of life support and the resources of two cruisers, as well as just enough fuel to get home.

They made the transfer as planned, but I unfortunately aimed too shallow for the aerocapture and I didn't get the ships into the planned LKO. Instead, it stuck them into a Mun encounter which then dumped my Kerbin perigee below 500km. And I had 24m/s to counter it and save the ships (still docked together).

With no other alternative, I launched a tanker to rendezvous and deliver fuel. Which it did exactly ten minutes before impact, and it wasn't enough. In the end, both Edford and Lulo were completely destroyed and only Sidbal survived on one of the command pods that thankfully had a parachute built in just in case.

TL;DR: Saved a stupidly-overcomplicated dual mission to Duna and Ike, only to lose both my ships and all but one of my Kerbals to the fiery atmosphere and the G-forces of Kerbin.

:(

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The only sacrifice I've had to make to save a mission was to cut loose the Crew Return Vehicle so the rest of the vehicle (crew quarters, science lab, miner/refiner, small tug) would have enough dV to enter an extremely elliptical orbit around Dres. The burn was made as the ship went screaming 1km above the North Pole of Dres. The last whiffs of fuel were used to raise the Pe to a somewhat safer 5km

Jeb and co have just arrived in Dres orbit, piloting the MegaTug with a new and improved CRV and loads of fuel so the mission can now proceed. Jeb just has to dock those 2 behemoths.

That probably means I lean on Quickload too much, if that's my biggest sacrifice

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Kerbin Supply Mission bringing a crew pod up to my space station, I followed my standard mission procedure and loaded it full of Kerbals before takeoff, to avoid needing to send a second shuttle loaded with seats and spend an unpleasant 20 minutes performing EVA crew transfers.

About 10 minutes into my flight, I ditched the first stage of my two-stage-to-orbit spaceplane. Second stage came online shortly after, only to notice I'm at about 1/3 my usual fuel capacity. Now is when I start to remember that thought I had back about 30 minutes before I launched the ship: "This crew pod is about 6 tons heavier than my usual fuel-tank-probe with docking hardware. I should probably add some solid boosters to this, chuck the main two stages higher up and increase overall delta-V before I launch, but everything's saying I have the delta-V to make it to orbit."

Now, one thing I knew was that if I attempted to land with a load in the payload bay, I'd kill everyone because A: the ship isn't glide-safe with a payload, B: even if it was glide-safe, the emergency chutes can't take the extra weight, and C: even if the chutes could take the weight, there was no way the ship would stay intact on landing, not with that kind of weight in the bay. The landing gear could barely hold the landing craft up without flexing under the strain.

So, I had a hard decision to make. Lose 8 Kerbals in the Crew Pod/Science Bay/Monoprop Supply Can, or lose all 16 Kerbals onboard the ship (was planning on using the onboard spare four to do a crew rotation at the same time, so I had the XL version of my plane up there.)

I opened the payload bay, rolled the plane so gravity would assist unloading, and staged. The sacrifice of 8 saved 8 others, rather than writing off 16 and the ship (I play by a simple rule: if it crashes, it cannot be flown again. It must be rebuilt and flown as a new ship.) With an empty payload bay, I was able to make the glide to land instead of falling short, deployed emergency chutes (because it wasn't a runway landing or near KSC), and came to a sudden, gentle stop on the ground. One of the crew, Valentina Kerman, exited the craft to plant the flag honoring the 8 Kerbals who lost their lives to save everyone else.

Not, perhaps, my proudest moment, but it's guaranteed that I don't load crew cans down with Kerbals until I've gotten them to space. The spaceplanes have been redesigned to have higher weight capacities, and more crew capacity so I can load an 8-Kerbal Crew Can, eject it, and then dock it neatly onto my station without ever putting 8 Kerbals at risk if I have to abort and eject the payload. Crew-Can payloads also now carry parachutes, just in case they are actually loaded by accident on take-off. I've learned from the experience, and I've also redesigned the spaceplanes to be able to land fully loaded with both fuel and heavy payload, just in case disaster happens with the primary launch stage.

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I never think of stranding Kerbals as a "sacrifice"... it's an opportunity for an extended mission! What could be more exciting for a Kerbal than getting extra time to explore in space while another ship is launched to collect you? ;)

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The one time I actually bothered to attempt a true rescue mission, I pretty much had to break continuity within my little universe to do it. The problem was that I was still using a 2 man lander within the time frame I had set myself in, and my only real 3 man lander that didn't look too KSP-y was something that wasn't supposed to come into the time until way way after the mission in question. So naturally, when my 2 man lander failed and stranded the kerbalnauts on the Mun, I had to say screw all that and sent it in anyway, mostly because I just wanted to rescue them for a change. But they did get home alright!

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Mine was about a year ago. I had just finished docking my lander module to my main transport around Laythe. I had decided to hit every moon in the Jool system at once and was carrying a massive payload of science with me. Unfortunately a fuel tank I had jettisoned previously swung back around and obliterated everything except the command capsule, which fortunately had all the science stored in it, and the lander module. This meant I had to spend the time to try and figure out how to use what fuel I had left in the lander to slingshot everything around a couple of the moons and still retain enough to hit Kerbin atmo. After working out all the math and getting on my way I realized that I only had enough life support to return 1 of my 3 Kerbals since I had lost my main system in the accident. I had a bit of spare life support if I only returned 1 Kerbal so I waited until we were securely in solar orbit and then my Kerbals drew straws to see who got to live and the others chose to take a permanent space walk among the stars. Seeing them drift away from the ship with smiles on their faces was probably the saddest thing I ever witnessed in KSP.

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During a space station abort one of two recently rescued kerbals kept there for medical rehabilitation (I was too lazy to land their craft that had lost one of two engines and spun wildly every time I fired the engine except for when it was at stupidly low thrust.) died because He had to leave to detach (With KAS explosives) the crew cabin the CRV was attached to which made room for the other. Sadly he died in the resulting explosion from the detonation.

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I've yet to deliberately sacrifice a Kerbal but I've had my share of "the mission must go on" moments. In particular my grand Duna and Ike mission (with an asteroid in tow, no less) back in 0.23.5 had many mishaps, with both the Duna lander and the Ike lander crashing into Duna as well as a fatal accident on landing one of the crew return capsules at Kerbin. Playing without quickloads any Kerbal death is a blow, but I just had to pick myself up and carry on.

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I have never needed to do such an sacrifice but i have done another:

I sent an lander to duna but when i got to an stable orbit i realized that i forgot the parachutes... The solution: The mission was to transport resources to duna to my base so i rounded up all my kerbals there on the base and used them like an pillow...

The thrusters on the lander weren´t strong enough alone but with the kerbal pillow i managed to save the resources but many of the kerbals died RIP: Everyone accepted they who dident die or something like that

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Back in 0.90 I had a crash-landing that killed some of the crew and my last available save was from several real-time hours of play earlier.

It was painful, but better than sacrificing Kerbals.

After 1.0.4 came out I had a number of in-progress missions that were not prepared for the new physics, some of them took multiple landing attempts to keep the crew all alive, usually sacrificing the engines and most of the ship below the crew sections.

Admittedly there was one time I may have sacrificed a cou0ple Kerbals unintentionally, as I was going to assign for a mission and noticed that a couple of orange suits mysteriously dropped down to 0 XP.

(They were included in the next training mission of course to get them back up to 3 stars, and now they are all at 4 stars with some only needing a return to get 5 stars).

Back in 0.90 there was also an occasion where I had a Kerbal land in a new biome and take some surface samples. The pod could only hold one copy, so I took a second sample to be recovered with the Kerbal, then recoved the ship(with the Kerbal standing on the ground outside) and then the Kerbal who had been standing safely on the surface of Kerbin went MIA before I could recover them. (I do not consider this a sacrifice however, I consider it an extended vacation as they were safe at home and were only lost due to a bug)

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Jeb is currently standing on the surface of Minmus, his craft exploded via some strange bug when he went eva. I've sent three rescue craft, none of them can land at jebs position. Jeb is now walking (or flying) to the great flats in the hope that I can get a craft to pick him up. If I was using a life support mod, he would have been long dead by now, a preserved corpse in a space suit.

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Jeb is currently standing on the surface of Minmus, his craft exploded via some strange bug when he went eva. I've sent three rescue craft, none of them can land at jebs position. Jeb is now walking (or flying) to the great flats in the hope that I can get a craft to pick him up. If I was using a life support mod, he would have been long dead by now, a preserved corpse in a space suit.
If you want an awesome alternative, stop the rescue ship in a hover near Jeb's position then switch to Jeb and have him jetpack to the rescue ship and board.
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I have never needed to do such an sacrifice but i have done another:

I sent an lander to duna but when i got to an stable orbit i realized that i forgot the parachutes... The solution: The mission was to transport resources to duna to my base so i rounded up all my kerbals there on the base and used them like an pillow...

The thrusters on the lander weren´t strong enough alone but with the kerbal pillow i managed to save the resources but many of the kerbals died RIP: Everyone accepted they who dident die or something like that

...dang. That is Stone Cold Steve Austin.

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