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Elcano - Voyage of the Landcano Wayfarer - COMPLETED CIRCUMNAVIGATION

Speeding Mullet

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Long have I pondered whether to do an Elcano challenge.  the other week, when I was thoroughly hacked off at being able to make a very good shuttle but being useless at making an SSTO I had a little play around with rovers and went a little overboard.  The Landcano was born:


Let's have a look at some specifics:  1 panoramic cupola pilot center, and 4 berth driver cabin pod.  Room for 32 passengers.  2 Juno engines for enhanced breaking, and 2 Wheesley Engines for straight line speed.  Many, many wheels.

While stylish and clearly very capable at mountain climbing, it was largely useless in the turns....and at lasting 5 seconds without blowing up the runway apparently:





So now I'd caught the bug.  I'd designed a capable (if explosive) rover, and just needed a little adjustment to get it over the line as something that I'd be happy to spend hours in front of my computer holding W with.  It gives me great pleasure to present the smaller (but no less awesome) Landcano Wayfarer:





Well technically that's the launch vehicle, but let's cover that off first anyway as it's a bit of a beast and rather nicely made.  The mighty S3 KS-25x4 Mammoth provides thrust for the main stack, and 4 LFB KR-1x2 Twin-Boar liquid boosters are strapped to the main stack to get the thing off the ground, and perform a beautiful Korolev's cross separation when spent.  412 parts and 785.9t on the launch pad mean this is no small part count, but the whole vehicle is very detail orientated, and the rover particularly so.

I'm not going to pretend that I got to this design with out some trial and a lot of error.  For example the launch vehicle started out with only 2 strap-ons, and no struts holding the rover in place. Let's take a look at some of those glorious moments where everything went, well, not to plan:




Has the suspense got the best of you yet?  Are you now dying to see what the rover in final form and fine fettle looks like?  Let's finally get around to a review of the rover itself:




Let's talk stats again:  290 parts and 65.2t including the landing module.  The Landcano Wayfarer is powered by 20 ruggedized rover wheels, and has 8 wheel steering (front and back).  In addition the jet engines have been replaced by liquid duel engines.  The Wayfarer features the same front end as the original Landcano, with the addition of some quality of life parts (ladders etc) but also a fully functional IRSU system.  The middle module (only contained fuel) has been entirely removed, and the passenger section and living quarters have shrunk from 32 capacity down to 16.

You've probably guessed by now that this vehicle is not made for a Kerbin Elcano.  A decision was made not to tackle Kerbin (yet!) and instead go for an airless body.  The Mun was mooted, but in the end Minmus won out due in part to it's being much smaller, but also slightly less challenging from a terrain point of view.

With crew selected:

Aldin - Pilot
Melfal - Co-Pilot
Gerfrod - Scientist
Dildred - Engineer
Largerlotte - Scientist
Mirilian - Engineer
Thompoly - Engineer

The only thing to do was strap in, turn on and boost up.  Queue stage 1 of the mission - Getting to Minmus:




What a vehicle!  The crew drives a very short distance to a photogenic and convenient starting point and the starting flag is placed:




In the coming posts as I upload the mission report segments we can follow the journey of the legendary 7 and the Landcano Wayfarer.  Will it make it?  Do the crew survive?  Does anything function as intended?  Let's take a deep breath and find out whether a successful Elcano Challenge entry can be seen out!



Edited by Speeding Mullet
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That's certainly a curious contraption. I know one can do all kinds of cheesy things with TweakScale, but I have found it very useful and not cheesy at all to reduce the part count by scaling up small round batteries; they end up thicker than the normal batteries in their new diameter, but have exactly the same EC/mass ratio.

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5 hours ago, damerell said:

That's certainly a curious contraption. I know one can do all kinds of cheesy things with TweakScale, but I have found it very useful and not cheesy at all to reduce the part count by scaling up small round batteries; they end up thicker than the normal batteries in their new diameter, but have exactly the same EC/mass ratio.

I've made a decision to stick to stock (apart from mechjeb specifically for rover controls) for 1.05.  apart from mechjeb for rovers, I'm totally handballing.  I've had heavily modded installs many times in the past, but this close to 1.1 and with everything going on at the moment I'm just going to sit it out until the mods I want are updated post 1.1, so no tweakscale etc for me at this point.

Reducing part count isn't top of my list of things to achieve really unless I am publishing a craft file for general download, in which case I will go for a balance of part count and detail.  I have a rather powerful computer so I can run the part count up very high without getting significant lag which is a nice luxury to have!






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Part one of the mission see's our crew travel from the starting point to Mint Bowl Massif.  I've just realised that none of the screenshots of the names or descriptions of the flags came out for some reason.  Obviously F1 doesn't work if you are naming a flag and try and screen it.  Anyway the segment was uneventful, with a top speed on the rover of somewhere around 30m/s in a straight line.



Part two of the mission is the drive from Mint Bowl Massif to Challenger flats and is again largely uneventful.  That is unless you consider nearly trashing the mission at an early stage uneventful.  There were also some beautiful views and challenging terrain changes to negotiate:



Part three and the crew are well into the mission by now. Turns out this circumnavigation thing is fine, and the flats on Minmus provide an ideal opportunity to for a spot of easy driving before the next set of hills.  An ISRU stop is required soon, but the crew believes that the big flat plateau of "the step" will hold a decent concentration of ore.  Let's just hope they are right otherwise it's going to be a dangerous drop off the top:



Part four will come soon enough, and will see the crew break some records for their circumnavigation effort to date.  Look forward to the update!



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Part four see's the crew traverse the step, a massive monolithic tabletop mountain covering a large area on Minmus.  Nothing of note at the top, and so the crew powers on.  At this point they've covered nearly a third of the moons surface, and the circumnavigation is going smooth as:



Part five is the Downhill Runs.  After the Steps, there is a massive smooth downhill with a very gently rolling surface.  Perfect for pushing the Landcano Wayfarer to near maximum capability.  The suspension is worked hard on this leg, soaking up the bumps at nearly 54 m/s.  Quite the plaid speed for a rover!



Part six - Downhill runs to Over the hill and race to the plain.  Here the crew plans to investigate the hill so large that they will technically be in orbit according to their instrumentation.  Another large tabletop with some promising features, and weird measurements according to some of the probes that have previously visited.  I wonder what will happen?!



Part seven and the crew, amazed at having discovered such a large floating rock, push onwards, keen to make progress, but also get to the next reporting stop where they can send their measurements back to KSC.  In this instance they are headed slightly north from their largely equatorial route.  They've spotted an opportunity to go for a totally straight line across the flats, and will be pushing the rover to it's absolute limits to try and make some decent time after the recent tough terrain.



Part eight and a massive traverse of the lowlands coming up for the crew.  All they really need to do is take the rover up to top speed and just relax (or timewarp and panic).  Let's check in and see how they handle the boring, but hair raising stretch of this mission.  Real distance and speed setting records coming up here and possibly no accidents at all so stay tuned:


Part nine Just a smidge over half way through the journey now and the crew is getting rather keen to smash out the rest of the journey.  It takes skill and concentration (and an awesome rover) to circumnavigate Minmus, and even at the speed that the Wayfarer is capable of the crew is beginning to slip a little.  This leg of the journey see's them cover from in the shadow of the hillock at the far end of the flats, to here be fuel flats.  Let's guess what we find there then!


Part ten and here be fuel flats are crossed in record time, the far point being named Racing Flats.  We really did race across these at top speed of 59.8 m/s!!!  From Racing flats we are around 90 km from the starting point so there really is not far to go and the crew is pushing the Wayfarer to it's limits in the dash for home.  Hey wait, have we even organised a lift home for the crew?!  Erm.....cross that bridge I guess!  Anyway, the biggest in sheer size table top mountain awaits us, and the dangers of "You shall not pass" pass are the last major obstacle on the route to The Last Step:


Part eleven Is the real home stretch.  The crew can shake loose, relax safe in the knowledge that they have all but made it.  Or have they?  Let's find out whether it's the sweet taste of success, or the bitter taste of failure at the final hurdle that awaits the crew:



So that's it.  I mean technically I should bring the crew home, but I'm also half inclined to leave them there.  The rover is large, comfortable, capable, and full of snacks so they wouldn't suffer, but at the same time I feel slightly obliged to send up a tin can or two to bring the hero's that they are home and complete the full circle.  What does everyone think?!

I really enjoyed circumnavigating Minmus.  It was very interesting, and I didn't give it nearly enough credit for the beautiful landscapes that it constantly puts in front of you.  I could have taken so many more screenshots, but had to reign myself in slightly.  Let's take a look at the final view of Minmus with all the flags planted:

Equatorial circumnavigation of Minmus complete

uppy downy, but an interesting route!


10/10 would Elcano again.  Maybe....


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On 2/25/2016 at 10:37 PM, Geschosskopf said:

Wow. awesome rover!  Congrats!

Thanks very much indeed!  Took a while to get it to the point where it was Elcano worthy, but in the end it exceeded expectations on the ground!

8 hours ago, Claw said:

Nice job! That's quite a fantastic rover design. :)


Thanks very much, as above.  I reckon it could certainly take on Mun and also Duna without much of an issue.  Getting it down to Moho may take a bit of gas though! :)


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