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I'm Stuck Orbiting Kerbin!!


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Guys, please, I need help.

I went on science mode, and managed to go into munar orbit and back to kerbin orbit.

Thing is, I didn't add any heat shields, and I won't survive reentry. I guarantee, I will die. I have quick saved more times than I can count.

Can someone please help?

This is my first post, and I don't know why I can't put pictures, but my ship is basically 

Mk1 command module

TR-18A Stack Decoupler

Science Junior (Already dead weight)

Science Junior

Two mystery goo containers on either side of it(All dead weight)

FL-T400 Fuel Tank (18.26 liquid fuel and 22.32 oxidizer)

4 Z-100 Rechargable battery packs on the sides of it

LV-909 "Terrier" Liquid fuel engine

 

I tried sending out another with a bigger crew cabin to save him, but I can't catch up with the other one.

 

So someone, PLEASE, help me, and save poor Jebediah, and all the important science he has.

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Hmm. Don't panic. All is not lost.

Are you playing on the steam version?  If so the screenshot button is f12.  Right click KSP in your game library and go to screenshots.  Upload the shot to public.  View it online.  Click on it to get the embiggenated version, highlight the URL numbers at the top, and control C.  In your forum post at the bottom IIRC click insert image from other media and control V in the box. 

Ok back to the situation.  I have a couple of questions.  What is your Apoapsis, and your periapsis relative to Kerbin?  Did you orbit Mun or just pass through the SOI?  Do you have fuel left?

I need an image and answers to be sure, but the situation sounds survivable to me.  You may need to make a few high passes through Kerbins' atmo but you should be ok.

Standing by for assistance.

Edited by Aethon
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A Mk1 command pod can easily re-enter from LKO without a heat shield.  You, er, don't mention a parachute at all though?  Without that it's going to be a bit 'sticky'.

Anyway: get your orbit (Ap and Pe) down to 70-75km, point retrograde and burn until your Pe is 30km or lower.  I can't guess your dV from the amount of fuel but if you can't do that, GOAP (Get Out And Push - EVA Kerbal, use RCS jetpack to push ship backwards, re-board to refuel jetpack, repeat as required).  Hold retrograde all the way down.  If things at the back start popping then jettison them with your decoupler.  Do that anyway when the ship flips to point forwards or you reach about 10km altitude.  Turn capsule back retrograde if necessary, wait for velocity to reduce to 250m/s or less, deploy parachute.  Make a cup of tea.

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If, indeed, no parachutes are on the ship, aim for the ocean, and BAIL when you get subsonic. Kerbals are a lot more damage resistant than some parts, specially the helmet! To fall head-first, left-click and drag while your Kerbal is EVA with jetpacks enabled, and that will let you re-orient it.

Val once survived such a fall. It was ABSOLUTELY THRILLING. I keep forgetting parachutes.

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Okay, the lack of heat shields should not be a problem here.  Provided your entry is gentle enough, you should not need them.  Heat shields are mostly useful for particularly aggressive aerobreaking or protecting especially delicate parts.  The lack of a parachute though is a bit more of a problem.  Without that, your landing is going to be particularly rough, and I cannot guarantee Jeb would survive.  An experienced player might be able to successfully lithobreak or splashdown in a way that preserves the command capsule, but it does not sound like you have the kind of experience needed to pull that off yet.  

What is your Astronaut Complex level at?  If you have not upgraded it, then you will be unable to perform EVA, which is going to be a problem.  But if you have upgraded it, your Kerbals will be able to get out of their rockets and move between nearby vehicles, which will probably be your best bet for rescuing Jeb.  I suggest you try to do an orbital rendezvous and get Jeb from his capsule into an uncrewed capsule on a rescue rocket (this will be good practice for later too.)  

I know you said you could not catch up a rescue mission with this capsule.  I do not know what kind of Kerbin orbit you have, but is it something highly ecliptic?  I noticed you had just a little fuel left, which with your Terrier might be just enough to attempt an aerobreaking maneuver to lower your orbit.  Here is how you do it:  wait until you are at the apoapsis (the highest point) of your orbit, then gently (with low throttle) thrust retrograte (opposite the direction you are moving) until your periapsis (the lowest point) of your orbit is between 50K and 70K above the surface of Kerbin.  That is enough to get it to skim the upper atmosphere, but save a little fuel for later (you will need it.)  Then you wait.  Each time it passes the periapsis, the apoapsis will get a little bit lower due to the atmospheric friction taking a little of your kinetic energy.  It will not be much, but in space a lot of little forces can add up to a big overall change.  Once you complete a pass where the apoapsis is between 70K and 90K or so, wait until you get to the apoapsis and thrust prograde (in the direction you are going) until your periapsis is just over 70K (this is why I said to save a little fuel.)  You should then be in a low, stable, and relatively circular orbit and much easier to rendezvous with.

Once you have a rescue capsule up there (remember the parachute!) and you are in position to rendezvous, have Jeb get out of his capsule by clicking the little EVA button on his portrait.  He will hang onto the outside of the door.  While he is hanging here, right click the capsule, and click the "Take Data" button.  Jeb will grab all the science experiment results he has stashed in there and take it with him.  Then press the space bar to have him let go and float off into free-fall.  Activate his jetpack and use that to move (slowly!) toward the other capsule.  Once you are in front of the hatch, hit "F" to grab, then once Jeb has a firm grip, have him get in.  Then deorbit and recover as normal.  

Then congratulate Jeb on successfully escaping an impossible situation.

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2 minutes ago, Fearless Son said:

What is your Astronaut Complex level at?  If you have not upgraded it, then you will be unable to perform EVA, which is going to be a problem.

Forgot to mention, but this is an issue in my subsonic-bail-headfirst-dive solution, too.

Edited by monstah
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He's on science mode so that shouldn't be a problem. I'm guessing you can't get into low kerbin orbit with that amount of fuel, but try get into as circular orbit as possible. Leave a bit of fuel to get home, and then at apogee burn retrograde until your perigee is 30km. EVA Jeb and collect all the science from the science modules and store it in the capsule. Reenter with only the capsule and at about 3km jump out. Turn on Jebs RCS pack and thrust upwards as hard as you can - you should slow down to about 35 m/s and hope that Jeb doesn't go poof.

EDIT: Fearless sons plan will work, but a highly elliptical rendezvous is difficult to do - you'll never have enough fuel to circulise the orbit.

 

Edited by rocketbuilder
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You know, I did some more thinking on this, and you might have just enough fuel left to pull off a landing.  Challenging, but you could do it.  I advise quicksaving before making the attempt though.  

Do the first part of what I said above, get your periapsis down below 70K.  It does not have to be much below that, and in fact should not be much below that.  You want to do a high atmospheric pass.  Like above, every time you pass through the atmosphere your orbit will get a little smaller.  This is good, it means you are slowing down, and the slower you are going when you get into the deeper parts of the atmosphere, the less heat shielding you will need (since this was a big concern of yours.)

Unlike my above advice, do not try to correct your orbit back to a stable one once the apoapsis is low enough, just continue to let it drop.  Eventually it will drop to the surface, the camera angle will change, and you will be on a slow downward trajectory toward the surface.  Statistically you will likely be over the ocean, which will make this easier.  If you are balanced at all the way I think you are, you should be able to flip the rocket around on the capsule torque and come in Terrier-first after getting through the worst of the atmospheric breaking.  You can even deactivate SAS and let the aerodynamics correct your position so you are eventually falling almost straight down, with the command capsule on top.  You should have some small amount of fuel still left at this point, because you let atmospheric friction do almost all the work of slowing you down.  

Once you are close to the ground, maybe a few hundred meters, maybe just a hundred (it will depend on your thrust to weight ratio and speed and the terrain you are over) set your engine to thrust upward to slow your descent.  You may not have enough thrust to completely arrest your descent, and you almost certainly will not have enough fuel to make any big corrections, but that is not what you want to do.  All you need to do is get your rocket slowed to a survivable crash speed.  You may end up crushing the Terrier and your fuel tank, possibly some of the scientific apparatus too, but so long as the capsule survives (and those low-tier capsules are surprisingly tough) you should be good using this (non-ironic, for once) lithobreaking technique.  

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It won't work - that sort of craft is aerodynamically stable prograde and is first to streamlined to slow down enough and second your rocket won't be facing towards space. 

Edit: Just tested it - mk1 doesn't survive a 30 km periapsis from the mun without a heat shield.

Either you get a rescue, or you turn re-entry heat down and bring a heat shield next time! 

Edited by rocketbuilder
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You will need lots of luck, but have Jeb collect all the science from the experiments and take them to the command pod, and like others have said take the whole unit in  and try to slow it down as much as possible with the terrier, and land on the terrier- if you are lucky the pod will be rolling around when the smoke clears. Your batteries will explode so you could very well run out of power on the way down- next time put them high up on the command pod (next to the chute :P ).

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Just now, Waxing_Kibbous said:

You will need lots of luck, but have Jeb collect all the science from the experiments and take them to the command pod, and like others have said take the whole unit in  and try to slow it down as much as possible with the terrier, and land on the terrier- if you are lucky the pod will be rolling around when the smoke clears. Your batteries will explode so you could very well run out of power on the way down- next time put them high up on the command pod (next to the chute :P ).

Don't follow this - I tested it and the spacecraft will fall forward and the terrier will push the spacecraft towards the ground - and it won't survive re-entry.

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37 minutes ago, rocketbuilder said:

Edit: Just tested it - mk1 doesn't survive a 30 km periapsis from the mun without a heat shield.

Well that is part of the problem right there: of course trying to do a 30 KM periapsis will result in an overheated mk1 capsule.  This is why I recommend a more conservative aerobreaking of at least 50K.  It will take longer to get the orbit down, but the heat does not build up all at once and exceed the safe threshold, having a chance to radiate out between its orbital passes.  By the time it makes its terminal pass, it should be slow enough to take the full reentry safely.  

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Lets wait with the diagnosis until we have a little more info on the craft/ situation first.  There's some good advice in this thread and some bad advice, but it's hard to know which is which until the OP updates us with a better sit rep.

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You could always do the old alt + F12 trick with infinite fuel, infinite heat resistance, and hacked gravity. Which would be cheating, but it's not like anyone would know...

Burn retrograde at the apoapsis to get your perapsis down to 50 km, no lower. Wait until you aerobreak enough to bring the apoapsis down to 60 KM or so. 

There are 2 methods of doing this. Number one is to point your ship prograde, engage SAS, and then point it upwards at a 40 degree angle. If bad things start to happen, turn it down (not up) 130 degrees, so the ship is facing downwards. You should be creating enough drag to slow yourself down enough, and not explode if you did the first part.

The second method is to point your engines at the ground and fire them. Not directly retrograde, but actually straight up. If you flip, decouple the command pod and wait until you're slow enough to pop the chutes. 

100% guaranteed to work, 70% of the time!

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Rereading, it sounds like the problem is the ship is on the way back from the Mun, with a Kerbin periapsis that it can't survive.

The solution then is to raise the Kerbin periapsis. Do this as early as possible, using either a prograde or a radial-out burn depending on exactly what your orbit is like. It shouldn't take much fuel to bring it up to something like 50 km, enough to slow you down a bit but not burn up. Then make several orbits aerobraking each time.

If this fails, then EVA out and use the jetpack to get into a stable orbit. *Don't* try aerobraking in the jetpack, just get periapsis above the atmosphere then burn retrograde at periapsis to bring apoapsis down so you don't get caught by the Mun again. Then leave the Kerbal in that safe orbit until you can rescue him.

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3 hours ago, rocketbuilder said:

 EVA Jeb and collect all the science from the science modules and store it in the capsule. Reenter with only the capsule and at about 3km jump out.

 

I'm pretty sure you will lose the science this way- once Jeb collects the science and re-enters the capsule the science gets stored in the capsule. When you leave it again you have to grab it, which will be pretty hard because EVAing from a fast moving object blows the Kerbal right off, and the capsule will get destroyed.

There are only 2 ways to get Jeb and the science back- an orbital rescue mission or getting very lucky during a lithobrake.

Quote

I went on science mode, and managed to go into munar orbit and back to kerbin orbit.

It sounds like the craft is in Kerbin orbit.

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Bring your periapsis to NO LOWER THAN 50km.  Just let the atmospheric drag bring your velocity down.  It will take some time, and you will need to go around for several orbits, but I do it all the time.  Also, don't stage.  You can use the rocket as a heat shield.

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15 minutes ago, joekidd1992 said:

I wonder if he survived. He never came back to tell us.

Yeah, I'm also worried about the little green guy... should we start fundraising for a rescue mission ?

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On 2015/12/23 at 6:40 PM, MikeyLavender said:

.....Thing is, I didn't add any heat shields,

LV-909 "Terrier" Liquid fuel engine

 

Right there is all the heat shield you will need.

Re-enter, put your perigee at about 40km.

Fly backasswards.

Your engine is quite capable of absorbing this level of heat. Shtuff that is mounted towards the outside of your rocket may tend to explode off, just bear with it.

Keep your orientation as engine first, rocket body a bit closer to horizon than flight path, so you get a decent lift element without incurring max heat on the weaker parts.

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Announcing Kerbal Life Alert:

Has this ever happened to you?

"Help! I'm stuck in Kerbal Orbit and I can't get down!"

Press the button on your necklace and a rescue mission will be assembled and launched to you straight away (for the low monthly cost of $7000 KB/mo)

Patent pending ... :)

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On December 23, 2015 at 11:40 AM, MikeyLavender said:

Guys, please, I need help.

I went on science mode, and managed to go into munar orbit and back to kerbin orbit.

Thing is, I didn't add any heat shields, and I won't survive reentry. I guarantee, I will die. I have quick saved more times than I can count.

Can someone please help?

This is my first post, and I don't know why I can't put pictures, but my ship is basically 

Mk1 command module

TR-18A Stack Decoupler

Science Junior (Already dead weight)

Science Junior

Two mystery goo containers on either side of it(All dead weight)

FL-T400 Fuel Tank (18.26 liquid fuel and 22.32 oxidizer)

4 Z-100 Rechargable battery packs on the sides of it

LV-909 "Terrier" Liquid fuel engine

 

I tried sending out another with a bigger crew cabin to save him, but I can't catch up with the other one.

 

So someone, PLEASE, help me, and save poor Jebediah, and all the important science he has.

Engines tend to suck up a lot of heat before exploding. You can try to use your engine as a heat shield.

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