a_schack

An RSS/RO/RP-0 video playthrough

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Background

I've watched a far too large amount of videos of peoples' adventures in Realism Overhaul and RP-0, and that's been a great inspiration for me to move to RSS/RO/RP-0.
So I did that about 3 months ago. But I always felt something was missing. As interesting and exciting as it was seeing mission highlights, when I built my rockets, I always wondered "Why did he do that? Why not do something else?" and "I wonder how he designed that? What engines did he use?" and so on. But obviously that's far too much to cram into a 20-30 minute episode.

But after having played RP-0 for a while, I figured "Well, surely others are wondering the same?", and so I gradually decided that since noone'd done it, perhaps I should be the one? I've watched some streamers of other games, and find I always gravitate towards the livestream format of players who know what they're doing and basically think out loud as they're playing, so you get to learn why they do as they do, and sometimes also figure out some of the finer nuances of very complex games. And RP-0 is very complex.

So obviously, a livestream would be the answer, and indeed this series is sort of a re-livestream, but I take far too many breaks to livestream, and I never set specific times, so livestreams just aren't an option. Also, I don't want to restrict it to people who are watching, which noone will be since noone knows me.
Instead I've just recorded myself playing, trying to make my thoughts audible, and this is the result. No editing, no missing that one vital bit I thought noone would care about. Just a rather meticulous guy playing a very complex game and explaining why he does what he does, and what measures he takes to fix his mistakes.

I apologise for the poor microphone quality. There's a fair bit of background noise, so I set up a noise gate filter, but I might have to fiddle a bit more with it, because sometimes it eats a bit of the speech.

The game

This is RP-0 on normal difficulty, but with all game options turned off, so no reverting, no respawning kerbals and having to pay entry costs etc.

I've set myself the restriction of playing only with American engines (since I normally play with Soviet engines and design around their philosophy), and while I have a ton of mods, I won't (read: will only very rarely) be using anything (such as Saturn V tanks, interstages etc.) but procedural parts for most of my rockets. Probe cores and pods are an exception. But you'll probably still find my rockets somewhat resemble the real life counterparts to some degree thanks to RO and TestFlight.

The goal? Getting as far out there as possible eventually! I take things one step at a time, focusing on select space programs with well defined goals before moving on to the next ones.

In this thread I'll post updates on the missions and links to the videos. Because I do videos, I won't be posting screenshots. I'd tried to get GameFramer KSP to work, because it's a lovely addition to my own mission log, but sadly I had some issues where it'd record the small bits of video and the highlights alright, but would fail to note down things such as max altitude, speed etc.

Mission log: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YauwWoZO7qMTdKOs6Te68RKRn_tbZA38KqtXXapkluk/edit?usp=sharing

Bootnote: I realise this format isn't for everyone, and I don't aim for it to be. This isn't made for entertainment purposes, but to serve as an inspiration for others who want a an RSS/RO/RP-0 experience, but get scared off by the complexity or get stuck wondering why their rocket won't go into orbit. I'm not a perfect player and I do and will make mistakes, but the aim is to learn from them, and hopefully for you to learn from them too. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Edit: Mod list since it's been asked for

Spoiler

Core plugins:
Filter Extensions
Advanced Jet Engine
AtmosphereAutopilot
B9 Aerospace Procedural Parts
Community Resource Pack
Connected Living Space
Contract Configurator
CustomBarnKit
DMagic Orbital Science
Contracts Window Plus
Deadly Reentry
Ferram Aerospace Research
Firespitter
RasterPropMonitor
Kerbal Attachment System
Kerbal Inventory System
KSP-AVC Plugin
Kerbal Construction Time
Kerbal Joint Reinforcement
HyperEdit
Infernal Robots
ModularFlightIntegrator
Final Frontier
S.A.V.E
Olympic1's Icon Packs
PlanetShine
Procedural Parts
Procedural Fairings
QuickSearch
RCS Build Aid
Saturatable RW
RealChute
RealSolarSystem
RealismOverhaul
RemoteTech
SCANsat
ShipManifest
SolverEngines
StageRecovery
Strategia
TestFlight
TextureReplacer
TAC Life Support
Trajectories
Alternate Resource Panel
Kerbal Alarm Clock
Transfer Window Planner
TweakScale
Waypoint Manager
[x] Science!
kOS
Science Alert
Blizzy's Toolbar
Action Groups Extended
Asteroid Day
Distant Object Enhancement
Docking Camera (KURS style)
Dynamic Texture Loader
Field Experience
Fusebox
Hangar Extender
Kerbal Renamer
Kopernicus
KSC Switcher
MechJeb 2
PersistentRotation
PreciseNode
RealFuels
RealHeat
Scatterer
Strip Symmetry
Thermometer

Parts:
Real Scale Boosters
Universal Storage
VenStockRevamp
Adjustable Landing Gear
AIES Aerospace
Blackheart612 Fairings
FASA
SSTULabs
Taerobee
Salyut Stations and Soyuz Ferries
Skylab
Soviet Pack Core
Soviet Probes
Lack's Stock Extension
Tantares
US Probes Pack

 

Edited by a_schack

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Episode 1: Early sounding rockets and designing our first plane

Right off the get-go, we set our first goals: A sounding rocket program, called SR (original, I know), which will gather science from the atmosphere and lower space around North America as well as fulfill contracts and generally set new records. This program is likely to continue for a while after getting orbital capabilities too.

Because of the recent changes to the TestFlight-config for the WAC Corporal, I have to adjust the design of the first sounding rockets. Gone are the days of 2 minute burn times, it's been reduced to the more realistic 50s. So we design the first of the Mjolnir series of sounding rockets for the task.

Our first mission has the goals of breaking the Karman line and getting thermometer and barometer data from Earth's lower and upper atmosphere.

But the changes immediately cause issues because the TWR is much higher than I'm used to, which means we run headfirst into a very high dynamic pressure on ascent, and the massive drag makes our rocket wobble.

Eventually, by the time we get to the Mjolnir 1b, we've fixed our design issues. We also realise that we won't get higher than about 80km, due to the low delta-v.

So we design the Mjolnir 1c, which should be able to reach 250-300km, provided nothing goes wrong. But we're also going way above the intended burn time for the WAC Corporal, deciding on 75s, which gives us nearly 3k delta-v.

The SR 4-mission is the first to use this stretched design, and the mission goal is to pass the Karman line, get into space and get thermometer and barometer data, but it suffers from early engine shutdown. The same happens with the SR 5 and the SR 6, but eventually I notice that the data units we collect for TestFlight aren't being persisted, and I opt to go with "Parts always have maximum data".

That gives the SR 7-mission, still using the Mjolnir 1c, a much better chance of success. However, 21s after lighting the WAC Corporal, it suffers a loss of thrust. But fortunately it has so much TWR that it can continue its flight, and we definately won't see any high dynamic pressure here. Of course it loses a lot of delta-v to gravity instead, but it makes to 152km, and we consider the mission a success nonetheless.

Parallel to this, after we got the first science, we started researching Early Supersonic Flight, and bought into the X1 Cockpit as well as the XLR-11. This allowed us to design the Y1 plane for the X1 program, which took quite a while of fiddling around with B9 Procedural Wings. Eventually we found what we consider a pretty good design and went to test it, where it performed well above expectations, and should set the stage for some nice records in the next episode. Why not now? Because it took time to research, and because I've not sunk many build points into the SPH, it'll take quite a while to build as well.

Video (My microphone was muted for the last hour, so I had to do post commentary): 

 

 

Edited by a_schack
Video

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This would have been very, very helpful when I started my RO/RP-0 playthrough. I hope people looking to get started find this.

Almost makes me want to give it another go.

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Thank you for your kind words, @NathanKell and @Randazzo. I'm just happy if anyone can find any help or inspiration in here.

Episode 2: Advanced sounding rockets, flying the X-1 and a surprise

Well, two suprises. Three actually. First surprise was that KSP crashed after 15 minutes. That turned out to be because it was trying to address memory above 16GB. Oh well, interesting limit. Lowered RSS textures and tossed out an unneeded mod, and that should be sorted. Second surprise was that sound was missing from the first 15 minutes too. Turns out that was me unticking audio from the first bit in the video editor, so it's re-rendering with audio now and will be uploaded once done. As for the last surprise... well, read on. At least it's a positive one.

We immediately start working on where to go next. As we can pick up the strategy "To Boldly Go..." and get 15k for each new biome we transmit science from, we do just that and set about getting science from them. Because we've exhausted the use of a barometer for now, it'll just be temperature readings, but that's ok too. We'll get some science and some money while passing time.

The SR 8 is a Mjolnir 1c like the SR 4-7, but this one's angled slightly east and, if successful, will get temperature readings from the lower and higher atmosphere as well as lower space for both shores and ocean. In order to get science from the desert and possibly mountains, we take an exact copy of that, also angled east, and start building it in Vandenberg as the SR 9. Finally we build a completely upright Mjolnir 1c for the SR 10 mission at Kodiak in order to catch the poles.

That should take care of getting us more science and the money from our new strategy, but we want more. We want to break records. We've only just made it into space, and that's with a rocket which is pushing the envelope with regards to burn times, so it's a bit unreliable.

So for the Mjolnir 2, we take a different approach. We base it off the Mjolnir 1c, but we widen it at the bottom and stretch it a bit, so we can fit 3 WAC Corporals (with 3 Tiny Tim boosters underneath), and make sure it won't surpass the rated 50s burn time. This however means it has oodles of thrust, and the TWR is through the roof, which again means we'll suffer from silly amounts of dynamic pressure - to the tune of over 80 kPa. This means that, if all's well, it won't even get to more than 350km despite having the delta-v for far more.

And that's where the Mjolnir 2a enters. It's a stretched Mjolnir 2, which lowers TWR and ups delta-v at the cost of risk, as we set it up for a 76s burn time. But sims show it'll at least get to 530km if it survives.

In a fit of random ingenuity, we decide that a hybrid might be a good idea to get even further up - and hopefully be more reliable, though we don't hold too high hopes. So a Mjolnir 1c without boosters or fins as an upper stage mated to a Mjolnir 2 as a lower stage. That should make for a nice spectacle. The risks are high though, even though we stick to the 50s burn time. If one engine on the Mjolnir 2 stage fails, we'll get asymmetrical thrust, and it's likely to all end in tears. We'll take our chances though. We call it the Mjolnir 3.

How can we get around this then? By mimicking history! A Mjolnir 1c - again without boosters or fins - sitting on top of a completely newly designed A-4 stage with enough fuel to hit exactly the 70s rated burn time. We're rather conservative here, but this is untrodden land. The Mjolnir 4 is born, with its highly innovative active spin stabilization  system (ASSS(tm)). Sims show that it just barely fails to hit 2000km, so if we want to get further than that, we'll either have to push it beyond the design limits, or wait until we get the NAA-75-100. 

We end our design workshop here, because while I could just go on and on and on designing, I am supposed to fly them as well. At least, the game thinks I should!

Between this and launching them, an update for TestFlight was released, fixing the annoying bug we encountered with not getting data units for the WAC Corporal. See the release notes for 1.5.3, to see what it was. I hacked my savegame to give myself a bit of the data units I should've gotten, but it turned out I valued them rather pessimistically. A single launch with a 60s burn gave us 800 du, but oh well.

It was time to launch the SR 8 mission and get science from the shores and the ocean, but sadly we suffered an early shutdown and only made it to 60km. We did get temperature readings over the shores in both low and high atmosphere though, but it we still classified it as a failure.
We re-made the mission as SR 15 and put it on the highest priority, and when it was launched on Day 157, it was after all a success. We did suffer an early loss of thrust coupled with some weird biome behaviour, which means that we didn't get temperature readings from space over the shores, but we got all the oceanic readings we needed as we got to 173km, breaking both altitude and speed records in the process. We decide to not send up any more Mjolnir 1c rockets for temperature readings from Cape Canaveral.

Just prior to that, we launch our first plane for the X1-1 mission. The mission is simple: Get to above 15km and maintain a speed higher than 350m/s for a minute in order to satisfy the contract. We've already proven this in simulations, and it goes without a hitch, and we touch down with the aid of parachutes right next to the strategy office.

The plane's recovered with KCT for a swift turnaround, so we can send it on the X1-2 mission, but we run into a known problem: When editing it in the SPH, it's outside the building, and we can't see it. Thanks to some input from the KCT thread (see page 82), we hack our savegame a bit more, so we can refuel our Y1 plane.

X1-2 will be a mission of unknown quantities. We figure that since we still have about a minute worth of fuel left after getting to 15km at a 45 degree climb, it should probably be able to get to 25km - at least 20km. So we set off, and with the magic of Autopilot Module Manager do an easy climbout. And we climb and climb and climb. And as we get past 15km we see that 20km is easy, and so's 25km. But we keep climbing and we keep picking up so much speed that even when our engines cut out we've made it to well past mach 2 (727m/s) and we keep on climbing until we reach 44km. After that it's just about trying to control it using our subsonic rated wings and control surfaces. We somehow manage it, and when we get subsonic we turn around and head back towards the KSC. Sadly our dive was very, very steep and we dared not push our poor control surfaces too much, so we just didn't have the altitude to glide the roughly 70km back. The plane splashes down on the water using parachutes again, but this time we recover it normally, as we decide to put an end to our X1 program - we simply can't see a way to improve on this resounding success with the current hardware at our disposal.

Going forward, short of waiting for the X15 parts, I can only see two ways of pushing this further: Either we stretch it, but I'm uncertain how much more we'll get from that. The alternative is to launch it on top of a rocket, but that will almost certainly require me to invest in the supersonic wings and control surfaces, and they cost 10k each. It'll also present some interesting challenges as it'll have both a center of drag ahead of the center of mass, not to mention a (at least slightly) offset center of mass due to the tailplane. I might do it, or I might not. It's also worth noting that the X1 cockpit isn't rated for more than mach 3, and we've already made it to mach 2.5. And we had an awful time trying to control our dive as we dropped from our 44km altitude. By we in this case, I mean our fly-by-wire system.

But that concludes it for this part. Since I'm on vacation, the updates will probably be pretty frequent over the next week or two, after which it'll settle down with a slightly slower pace.

 

Edited by a_schack

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Episode 3: Getting into orbit

Before we start worrying about getting into orbit, we still have a number of sounding rockets still to go up using our new designs. We've designed the Mjolnir 2, 2a, 3 and 4, and they're all in the build queue.

First up is SR 11, which is a Mjolnir 2 with the goal of getting up to 340km. While we do break our existing altitude record, we don't get close to our goal as all three engines set out over the duration of the flight. Hardly a surprise with the WAC Corporal. The surprising thing is that we have enough spin on it that the uneven thrust doesn't make it wobble much, so we do get to 212km.

20 days later it's the Mjolnir 2a - the stretched Mjolnir 2 - to go up on the SR 12 mission with the intention of getting above 500km. This was flown yesterday, so the latest updates to Realism Overhaul, namely that you can get a major fault after a small one, were not implemented. So despite us losing thrust on two of the engines and the third shutting down, we just made it to 506km, which means a successful mission!

Finally we unlock Early Orbital Rocketry, and it's time to go and design our first orbit capable launch vehicle. We decide to have a design contest with ourselves instead of just using the first orbit capable rocket we can design. The reason? Well, there are a couple. First off, I've mainly been playing with the soviet engines and haven't actually used the NAA-75-100 A-6 before, so my usual design might not work and so I want to test a few different ones. Secondly, rated burn times have been reduced for these early engines, so I can't use my normal design here either. And lastly, I want to test out a few different types.

We first design the Phantom 1a candidate, which is based off how I used to design my first orbital rocket with the RD-103 as a booster with some liquid upper stages and one or more Baby Sergeant kick stages. This turns out to be a terrible mess, which ends up with an A-6, AJ10-37, AJ10-27, another AJ10-27, an 11x Baby Sergeant Cluster, 3x BS cluster, 1x and finally 1x Baby Sergeant. A total - when including ullage, separation and everything else - of 38 parts across 20 stages!

After the horror that is the Phantom 1a, we make the Phantom 1b candidate. This one's meant to be simplicity itself, and that's what we eventually achieve. An A-6 booster with 3 upper stages; AJ10-37, AJ10-27 and finally XASR-1. We choose the XASR-1 for the kick stage because it has better isp than the AJ10-27 and we don't need the thrust. A measly 32 parts in just 7 stages. And even better, it has both excess delta-v and doesn't run for the full rated burn time, making it less susceptible to failures.

We were supposed to make another candidate, the Phantom 1c, using radial boosters with Vanguard x405 engines, but after seeing how simple and easy it can be done with the Phantom 1b, we decide to not bother.

So instead we test fly the Phantom 1b. I'd imagined it'd take at least a few flights to dial it in with MechJeb Ascent Guidance, fiddling with turn end and turn shape parameters, but my default parameters of 160km and 40% just work perfectly, and it gets into a highly eccentric orbit without any issues.

So we re-christen it the Phantom 1 and set it building, prioritising it over anything else.

On the 251st day of the first year, the time has come to reach our first major milestone - hopefully! Mentally we're prepared to write off the first couple of missions as the engines are still quite untested, and we'll probably be needing to break them in. So much to our surprise, astonishment and pride, the very first attempt at putting an artificial satellite into orbit goes off without a hitch. The excess delta-v means we achieve an orbit of 186x1828km, and after the mandatory celebrations, we set up about doing temperature scans and gathering telemetry.

As an almost afterthought, we design the Mjolnir 1d, which is a stretched Mjolnir 1c with the upgraded XASR-1 engine which will be used for the SR 16 mission. The goal is to finally get those temperature readings in lower space above the poles, so we're off course building it at Kodiak. We could've just sent up another Mjolnir 1c, but the miserable reliability of the WAC Corporal caused us to wait until we got the XASR-1. I dare not think what WAC stands for...

On this high note we end episode 3 and mentally prepare for the next stage of our budding space program.

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Episode 4: The challenges of sounding rockets

After the highs of our first orbit, we get back down to earth - literally. It's time to do some more sounding rockets while we research the techs that'll take us to the moon and upgrade the facilities to support it.

We only had a single rocket in the pipeline, the SR 16 mission to get temperature from low space over the poles, launching out of Kodiak, but there's one thing we've thus far completely neglected; biological samples. The capsules didn't have the form factor to fit our original designs, and when combining the cost of the experiment, the parachute needed to bring it safely back and the inherent risk of using the horrible WAC Corporal, it was decided to wait with this one.

But no more. Since biological samples are situation specific rather than biome specific, we need just 3; one for low atmosphere, one for high atmosphere and one for low space. Should be easy enough, right?

Wrong! Due to a number of factors including me wanting to do it with the simplest and most elegant rocket, and the entirely new form factor (short and fat as opposed to long and sleek), we run into a whole range of issues. If you ever wondered why your rockets fail, you should probably watch this! :)

Eventually, after well over an hour of designing, testing, refining, testing, refining, testing and so on, we manage to sort all of the issues (including, but not limited to: center of mass compared to center of drag, acceleration, dynamic pressure, stability, center of mass compared to center of drag (again), delta-v, burn time and all of them probably several times). We name the launch vehicle then Mjolnir 1e and build 3 of them for the SR 17-19 missions, and set about launching them.

SR 17 goes off without a hitch, much to our astonishment, and we bring back lovely science data from space. SR 18 also just works and burns for the full duration with excellent stability and we pick up science from the upper atmosphere this time. It eventually splashes down off the coast of Florida somewhere in the dark... and then, while rolling over in the water, decides that this world is a much too harsh place and promptly explodes...

So we build another one for SR 20 and change the mission statement of SR 19 to be to get bio science from the upper atmosphere while much head scratching takes place in mission control.

In between SR 17 and 18, we launch SR 16 from Kodiak on the Mjolnir 1d rocket. It successfully gets temperature readings from space above the poles.

We also suffer from KSP crashes. I'd let KSP run all day as I recorded this over an entire day on and off, and that seems to have pushed it beyond the limits. Even on Linux, Unity apparently can't access more than 16GB RAM, so there still is a memory limit, it's just a bit higher.

As we go to launch SR 20, we suffer yet another crash, which is somewhat more surprising considering that KSP hadn't run for a long time at this point. I may have to review my mod list if this continues, and prune out the less necessary ones...

But this is where we call it a night. At least we'll have SR 20 to launch in the next episode as we wait for tech nodes to unlock and buildings to build.

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Episode 5: Another orbit, more sounding rockets

This episode is all about harvesting that science. We send up SR 20 to get the last bio sample data, this one from the lower atmosphere, and as we get Early Avionics, we start measuring radiation and micrometeorites everywhere.

Phantom 2 is built on the Phantom 1b launch vehicle to get radiation data from nearly all the biomes in space around earth, while we build SR 21-23 to get it from the low and high atmosphere as well as space over the poles.

SR 24's mission description is to take micrometeorite recordings in high and low atmosphere as well as low space as that experiment is situation specific rather than biome specific.

We started building all the sounding rockets as well as Phantom 2 before we actually unlocked the science experiments and then edited our half finished vehicles to include the experiments after unlocking them. It's a neat little trick if you're not really building anything else.

First launch is Phantom 2, and initially the launch goes off without a hitch, but about 10 seconds before second stage cutoff, the AJ10-37 unexpectedly shuts down. Fortunately, we were carrying excess delta-v on the next two stages for this exact eventuality, and so the slight loss didn't ruin our launch. We end up in a 153x845km orbit and set about getting our science data.

SR 21-24 technically also went well, but I messed up on SR 22 and opened my science window before staging, which meant it disappeared when I staged. This was a bit of a bummer as I hadn't bound it to an action group, and the rocket was sufficiently wobbly that I couldn't peek inside the nose cone and grab it from there until the very last moment, and so we only managed to get radiation data from the low atmosphere over the poles. Thus the SR 25 is being built to replace it.

And that's really all there is to this episode. No new designs, no tests, just a bit of building and launching. I do wonder how on earth I could spend this long on it, but I suspect I might just be the careful type who likes to think things through three times at least...

Edited by a_schack

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Episode 6: Designing a modular launch vehicle to take us to the moon

This is a very long episode. The reason being that we design a modular launch vehicle which will be able to handle payloads ranging from 1.5t to 5t and probably more. The benefit is obviously, as it's modular, that we won't spend that much time designing rockets going forward - at least not until we unlock the next engines.

But before we start the design and testing process, we launch SR 25, our last sounding rocket for now. Mission: To grab radiation data from low and high atmosphere as well as low space over the poles.

Our base 5t LV consists of the Borr A3 lower stage and the Alpha A1 upper stage. The Borr A3 is based on a core stage with 2x LR79 engines and 3 radial boosters with 1 LR79 each. Plans are that it can be adapted from 0 to 4 boosters depending on upper stage. Our initial upper stage, the Alpha A1, is using the LR105. While technically not an upper stage engine, it looks to be the best there is for it currently, beating out the LR91 due to having nearly twice the burn time. Thanks to my flawed memory we also purchased the LR91 because I thought the LR105 had less thrust, but oh well. We expect to design further upper stages based on the Agena for lesser payloads.

Having quickly tested the Borr A3 Alpha 1 in simulations and finding it just worked perfectly as is, we set about designing the Mani 1, the rocket that will have us impact the moon.
Thanks to new technology, the probe and the TLI combined weigh just 1.75t, considerably less than the 3t we'd expected. We stick it on top of a slightly adjusted LV, the Borr A1 Alpha 1A. The Borr A1 is a Borr A3 without the radial boosters and the Alpha 1A is a slightly shortened Alpha 1.

And this should just be it, shouldn't it? Well, no. Due to the design we have over half the delta-v on the upper stage while also having quite high thrust to weight ratio on it. This causes issues with the ascent profile, and we spend a fair amount of simulations on screen trying various ascent profiles, and then go and do even more offscreen before finally deciding on the rather unorthodox profile of coasting for 45s before igniting the second stage. It turns out to work really well though, and will get us into a pretty circular low orbit.

In total we spent nearly 4 hours on something that can be wrapped up in a few lines, but there you have it. In the next episode we'll launch Mani and try to impact the moon.

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Episode 7: Designing a lunar orbiter and launching our lunar impactor

A rather calm day at the office. Before launching Mani, our lunar impactor, we set about designing Mani 3, our lunar orbiter. It's mission is to orbit the moon with a periapsis below 150km (the limit for in space low). This requires an uprated TLI stage to carry the extra weight as well as smaller lunar orbit insertion stage. As we're still restricted in terms of avionics, we're using the Able avionics unit, which sadly uses quite a lot of electricity, forcing us to also carry a more of that. The total payload (TLI, insertion stage and probe) comes in at 4.7t, which is perfect for our Borr A3 Alpha 1 launch vehicle. We do two quick sims to make sure it'll get into a proper orbit and set it to build. It's much larger than the Mani 1, so it takes about twice as long to build. But we buy into a lot of tech node research, giving us a couple of further upgrade points, cutting build time a bit.

But finally it's time to launch Mani 1. Fortunately, we're right on the moon's orbit when it rolls out, so it's just a question of pressing launch! It's a tense experience as we unleash the LR79s and the LR105 for the first time, but thankfully the ascent goes off without a hitch, though we cut off the upper stage a bit early and end up in a 144x209km. We use RCS to just boost ourselves to a 167x324km orbit and start planning our TLI.

We get a pretty good and rather swift TLI, but it's very sensitive with regards to delta-v, and we have a lot of thrust on the AJ10-104D towards the end, but that's why we carry RCS. It's still cut far too short though, but we make a manuever node to burn the rest of the fuel, ending in an impact.

And this is where it all ends in tears as the AJ10 shuts down before managing to spool up, and we eventually end up far too short to even intercept the moon. Even all our RCS won't save us, and the Mani 1 is relegated to space junk.

We wrap up this episode by building the Mani 3, an exact replica of Mani 1, and prioritise it over Mani 2.

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