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Origin Grand Tour - Stock, no refueling, no ISRU - FINISHED!


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Several people have done ISRU grand tours, or almost tours (without Eve) since the release of KSP 1.0. However no one has even attempted a grand tour in the old style - bring everything you'll need with you from the beginning. Not until now. (Teutooni has started a grand tour here, check it out!)



Origin Grand Tour


Jeb remembers the good old days. When his piloting skills, not some probe core's advanced SAS functions, saved the ship from certain destruction. When engineers had to strap on Moar Boosters, instead of strapping on an ISRU converter and drills. When he could ride on a command seat strapped to a missile falling through Eve's atmosphere. When he could pilot his spaceplane to any planet in the system, and back from most of them.

This mission fixes only one of those things. Sorry Jeb. The mission will be run in KSP 1.0.4 on a Science mode save with Kerbal Engineer Redux, Stock Bug Fix, and Better Timewarp. In addition to landing on all planets with a solid surface, we'll try to do a Jool 5 challenge at Jeb's level, and collect some spare bits and pieces of ScienceTM along the way.

Current progress:



Giant photo album of the whole trip!



Science gathered:


25738.1 Science total.  11473 from the Jool system (for Jool-5 challenge scoring purposes).



The Ship:

Borrowing the best elements of hard sci-fi aesthetics and Kerbal ingenuity, the Origin Interplanetary Ship will take 5 Kerbals on a tour of the system. It's built for efficiency and aerobraking ability.

Mass: 138 tons

TWR fully fueled: 0.13 (Kerbin)

Delta V: 7500 (with all equipment except Eve lander)




The Eve Lander:

The Starfighter Eve Lander is the pinnacle of technology for landing on Eve's pinnacles and returning to tell the tale. Its wings give it the ability to reduce speed in the upper atmosphere and then glide down to a mountaintop landing.

Mass: 20 tons

TWR at launch: 1.42 (Eve)

Delta V: 7000




The Landers and Equipment:

From left to right, the Pip Ion Lander, Pop LFO Lander, Tylo Booster, Interplanetary Pod, RTG module, RCS tug, and Laythe jet booster. Like the Eve lander, they use our patented seat in a service bay non-pressurized pod to reduce weight. The Interplanetary Pod will ensure that the mission stays within the Jool 5 rules, no seats for interplanetary transfers. The landers include small science parts.

Combined Mass: 12 tons

Ion Lander dV: 9000

LFO Lander dV: 2650




Edited by sdj64
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Good luck on your mission! Have you ever thought of using ion engines for the mother ship? You can easily surpass 10km/s of delta v. Just a lot of patience is required.

Thought about it, but providing power would be a challenge in the outer system. I did have a prototype that used ions, but the part count is very high and you need a ton of batteries or just use fuel cells, which reduces their effective ISP to somewhere around 1200.

I'm planning on starting with the Mun and Minmus. Alnica Kerman got into the ion lander, and quickly ran into the problem of not having enough solar power. The RCS tug was deployed to re-dock the lander, but the meager battery promptly died. It flew off into space. Alnica bailed and used her jetpack to get back to the ship.

I think these might have been older versions that snuck in when I was dealing with the fairing issues. Since I haven't technically started yet, I'm going to send up some replacements...

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  • 2 weeks later...

A spaceplane resupply mission was sent. Jeb and Bill flew up to the ship, deployed the new equipment, and wished the Kerbonauts goodbye.

Why aren't Jeb and Bill on the mission, you ask? Jeb couldn't stand the thought of flying only one rocket for the next thirty years, and Bill is scared that they'll be stranded somewhere around Eeloo. The original four are near and dear for early career mode, but in sandbox and science mode I don't use them much at all. The white suits need their chance in the spotlight.

Then the Kraken struck and I had to start over. This one will go much better. I think. A fairing for orbit and a lighter (fewer parts) scaffold should give more performance early on when there are still a lot of parts on the ship. All of the new equipment is pre-installed so no more 2 seconds per frame docking maneuvers. It took about half an hour to get to the second screenshot.



Album in the OP is updated with the new pictures.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good luck man! I love how the mothership really looks like it is designed for heavy aerobraking with the custom fairing heatshield. The way my mothership was built aerobraking at Eve was a nightmare. It took hundreds of passes to bring apoapsis down, and the initial aerocapture was not possible, had to burn some fuel. Your design should have easier time I reckon.

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Good luck man! I love how the mothership really looks like it is designed for heavy aerobraking with the custom fairing heatshield. The way my mothership was built aerobraking at Eve was a nightmare. It took hundreds of passes to bring apoapsis down, and the initial aerocapture was not possible, had to burn some fuel. Your design should have easier time I reckon.

Thanks! I was actually lucky enough to have some fuel left over in the booster stage, so I used that to get into a high elliptical orbit. The mothership doesn't need to go all the way down to low orbit so its first real aerobrake will be at Duna.

Eve operations are continuing smoothly. Isalla Kerman, the only pilot on the mission, took the Eve lander down to the surface after multiple aerobraking passes. The lander glided down to a landing at about 6300m atop a cliff-like mountain range. Here I noticed that the mothership was orbiting retrograde, adding precious delta-V to the ascent. After a few tries, success! The Liquid Fueled Lander was sent autonomously to retrieve our intrepid pilot, and made it back to the mothership's high orbit with almost 400 dV to spare.

Then Scott Kerman docked the Interplanetary Pod to the Ion Lander and set out to land on Gilly and Moho. Stay tuned for the harrowing Moho landing (only 1.05 TWR full).

Refueling situation: The mothership has 360 LF for the lander, which can hold 72. That means 5 full refuels. It has to land on most of the outer planets: Duna, Dres, Vall, Tylo, Laythe, Bop, and Eeloo. Tylo and Laythe have booster stages, we can't touch the fuel in those or they won't make orbit. Pol can be done with a jetpack, and Ike is close enough to the sun for the ion lander to land without depleting its batteries. Only Vall, Tylo, and Laythe will use a full tank. The ion lander has used up almost 1 full Xenon tank for the Mun and Minmus, and has four full refills. One to two full tanks will be used for Moho, giving the ion lander two tanks of Xenon to work with for its job as a moon-orbit tug in the Jool system and for the Ike landing.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Duna and Ike complete, and transferred to Dres!

1.0.5 and the mission is still underway. Not too many signs of broken stuff. The turbojet on the Laythe booster is longer. The landing gear will no longer reach the ground and the jet is now clipping into the RCS tug. Luckily there are extra docking ports so I can move the tug. More drag has led to more fuel used on the Duna landing, but it looks like still enough to pull this off.

Fuel situation:

Mothership: 5000 dV. Plan is Dres -> Laythe -> Tylo -> Eeloo -> Kerbin.

LF lander: enough oxidizer for 4 full refuels. Laythe, Vall, and Tylo each take one so hoping Dres and Eeloo can share the last tank.

Ion lander: enough xenon for 2 full refuels. Should be more than enough for pulling the LF lander around Jool and landing on Bop and Pol.


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  • 2 weeks later...
The big three Joolian moons have been finished, albeit rather haphazardly. The jet updates of 1.0.5 reared their ugly head, as the landing gear no longer reach the bottom of the much longer turbojet. It also proved difficult to return to the lander's seat. There was much misjudging of "yeah, there's enough fuel for that!" and the ion lander was used to rescue one too many times, losing a solar panel in the darkness (and I quicksaved again before I realized). Because of the loss of the panel, the lander might have an easier or harder time doing the small moons (lighter weight, but unbalanced and less electric generation). Levels of all fuels look good for finishing up.

Again the album in the OP has been updated. It's at 211 images, getting dangerously close to the max of 250. I might have to split it up.

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Bop and Pol complete, only one to go! The ion lander and LF lander together headed to Pol first, with the ion lander landing and knocking off the other solar panel in the process. The LF lander landed on Bop and they returned to low Tylo orbit to meet the mothership, using up 3/4 of a tank of Xenon.

We're gonna make it! The mothership has some 3500 dV left, enough to go to Eeloo and then head home. Stay tuned for the final landing and return journey!


Edited by sdj64
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The forums are back!  And the crew returns victorious to Kerbin!  Eeloo was a tough challenge with the fuel left over, I started with a high-dV trajectory that minimized my time in space.  The crew were already up for 18 years, and it's the least I could do to try to get them home for Thanksgiving.  Alas it was not to be, and I reloaded and plotted a new trajectory that minimized delta V but took 24 years, more than the entire rest of the mission!  But that left enough fuel to slow down and avoid burning up in Kerbin's atmosphere on the way home.


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  • 2 months later...
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  • 2 weeks later...

Design question: How did you prevent the nosecone of your Eve lander from exploding on atmospheric entry? I'm working on a similar lander design and my top nosecone keeps exploding within the first few seconds of heating-way before anything else has even begun to show heating bars.

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