septemberWaves

Extended Kerbol System Exploration

Recommended Posts

This thread is a showcase of the ways that I go about exploring everywhere possible in Kerbal Space Program. I'll be sending regular missions first, followed by long-term research missions and then full-scale colonies, to every planet and all of their moons.

Now, what do I mean by "extended Kerbol system"? Well, of course I mean extended by the addition of numerous celestial bodies. In different saves (to combat lag) I will be exploring:

  1. Xen's Planet Collection, a wonderfully designed planet pack which adds moons to Eve, Duna, and Eeloo, as well as two new planets with moons of their own
  2. Outer Planets, a planet pack that adds analogues for Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto-Charon, along with several moons around each gas giant
  3. Various other planet packs that I come across and like the idea of.

The save is a career game, but all rewards are maximized and all penalties are minimized, because I basically wanted a sandbox save with contracts. I've recently restarted the save for version 1.1.3 of the game, due to mod updates and the fact that my design style has somewhat changed. I had spent a fair amount of time exploring Duna and its moons (that mission is now outdated but it is still a good example of what I'll be doing in this thread), which I have images of as an example of what I'll be doing in future. A lot of images. 85 images to be precise. That album will be shown at the bottom of this post. I'd recommend flicking through it because Duna has had some modifications thanks to Xenonclave, as well as having a new space potato moon.

A list of all missions relating to this thread can be found here. A showcase of all vehicles used in this thread (from game version 1.1.3 onwards) can be found here.

This thread will probably also contain some discussion about my design process and the way everything modular fits together. There's three things that are significant about me as a designer:

  1. I usually prioritise aesthetics over efficiency. If something doesn't look good, I'll rarely let it take off.
  2. I love to make things modular. My launchers are saved as sub-assemblies, my upper stages are saved as sub-assemblies, my interplanetary transfer stages are saved as sub-assemblies, you get the idea.
  3. I am the sort of person whose approach to building a spaceplane is not a highly precise design process involving such 'fun' maths as figuring out how much fuel and oxidizer are needed to 4 significant figures. It instead consists of me being like "well this looks approximately like a plane, hopefully it'll work". Results vary from "literally the best engineered, most efficient, and easiest to handle spaceplane that has ever been constructed" to "it looks good but flies like a moderately aerodynamic brick".

Anyway though, that's about it for an introduction to this thread. Now for an example of what this thread will contain, a Duna mission from an earlier save:

Edited by eloquentJane
Various updates and edits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool!  The red star design is really smart how the core could be reused and the fuel+engines dropped as you go, and it looks really nice too!

Haha aero-broken

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I'm glad you like the design. That particular NPM (Nuclear Propulsion Module) was more guesswork than design on the delta-v to be honest. I know how much it gives the transport without payload, (around 5030, plenty for journeys to most places) but the fact that it was enough for the Athena 1 mission with lander and spare fuel was pure luck. It almost wasn't enough delta-v; with the maneuver I used to get back to Kerbin, I would've needed about a thousand more delta-v to get in to orbit on the first pass, and I ended up wasting a lot of time trying to manipulate gravity assists until I got a nice flyby thanks to Eve.

I'm about to install Outer Planets now that it's updated. No missions there for a while though; my next destination is Mios and one of its moons (it has two moons, but one I think is in retrograde orbit so I'll have to think of a way around reversing my ship's orbit without using too much delta-v, probably involving a small lander and some ion engines).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well there's an interesting bug with the Moons of Eeloo mod. With OPM installed, Moons of Eeloo removes the Charon analogue Alu (since Plock already has a Charon analogue), and is supposed to place the other two moons, Beros and Kyx, in orbit of Plock, or the Plock-Karen barycentre if Sigma Binary is installed. The issue is that Beros and Kyx are actually still in orbit around Eeloo, which is now in orbit of Sarnus. So Eeloo now has two moon-moons. I won't be going to either Sarnus or Plock-Karen until there's a fix for this. But I wasn't planning on going there anyway for at least a few weeks, so it'll probably be fixed by then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, eloquentJane said:

Well there's an interesting bug with the Moons of Eeloo mod. With OPM installed, Moons of Eeloo removes the Charon analogue Alu (since Plock already has a Charon analogue), and is supposed to place the other two moons, Beros and Kyx, in orbit of Plock, or the Plock-Karen barycentre if Sigma Binary is installed. The issue is that Beros and Kyx are actually still in orbit around Eeloo, which is now in orbit of Sarnus. So Eeloo now has two moon-moons. I won't be going to either Sarnus or Plock-Karen until there's a fix for this. But I wasn't planning on going there anyway for at least a few weeks, so it'll probably be fixed by then.

There's a simple fix for that. Open Eeloo's moons' config files, and under "referenceBody", set "Plock" instead of "Eeloo". It's really easy to do and doesn't takes more than 2 minutes.

Edited by Elowiny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks (though actually it's the Plock-Karen barycentre that they should be orbiting so I'd have to look through the files and find the name the code uses for that). Even so, I've reported the issue to Xenonclave and presumably it will be relatively trivial to fix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've added a list of all of my missions for this series to the original post, to give an idea of my current plans. Any mission suggestions are welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

", Larinax Solar System, a protostar pack I am very excited for..." 

Well, better get into updating it ASAP before I can do anything.

...

**** KittopiaTech hasn't been updated....

And before you ask, it allows me to update ScaledSpace. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't rush yourself to update. I won't be sending anything out farther than Dres for at least a month and a half (until my exams are over), and in any case I'm unlikely to even get through all of the missions that are currently on the planned missions list before that point (speaking of which, I'll probably move that list to a post further down in this thread rather than making the main post increasingly huge as I add more missions). Plus I feel like it would be better to update at your own pace to make sure everything is as you want it, rather than trying to accelerate development and potentially overlooking things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, eloquentJane said:

Don't rush yourself to update. I won't be sending anything out farther than Dres for at least a month and a half (until my exams are over), and in any case I'm unlikely to even get through all of the missions that are currently on the planned missions list before that point (speaking of which, I'll probably move that list to a post further down in this thread rather than making the main post increasingly huge as I add more missions). Plus I feel like it would be better to update at your own pace to make sure everything is as you want it, rather than trying to accelerate development and potentially overlooking things.

True, but I want Laephus and Laemya completely done before I do anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mission List

Names and destinations of mission series

  1. Moho: Helios
  2. Eve system: Tanzanite
  3. Mun: Medusa (1), (2)
  4. Minmus: Artemis (1)
  5. Asclepius system: Arkangel
  6. Duna system: Athena (1)
  7. Mios system: Minerva
  8. Dres: Demeter
  9. Richell system: Osiris
  10. Jool system: Hera
  11. Sarnus system: Serket
  12. Urlum system: Calliope
  13. Neidon system: Nix
  14. Plock-Karen dwarf binary system: Proserpina
Edited by eloquentJane
Added link to Medusa 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've decided to add a few parts mods to this challenge. They're stock-alike, but I like what they add to the game too much to not install them. In any case, this challenge is more about exploring planets than about doing stuff with stock parts, so I feel like it doesn't make too much difference except to the aesthetics of my spacecraft and the successfulness of my spaceplanes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, so a progress update from my mod you may want to look into. It takes over 20000km/s of DV to get to Laemya orbit. And I mean by not using a warp drive.

(With a warp drive to the same orbital velocity around Larinax as 700km orbit around Kerbin, it takes 10000, for inclination changes and the actual encounter set up.)

Oh and BTW Laemya is not a good body for a gravity assist to slow down your craft.

Edited by RA3236

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update. I was actually planning on sending all interstellar vehicles to a refuelling base in the Plock-Karen system (probably situated on Kyx) before transferring them to their destinations. This of course means that I have to set up a Plock-Karen refuelling base but that's fine. In any case though it should cut at least a few thousand delta-v from that 20000. On top of that, Laepmya may not be the best for gravity assists, but Laephus's high gravity should at least help out. Alternatively, if the system gets any gas giants later on those should definitely help out. If not, it's still not a problem, since the few ideas I currently have for interstellar transports should be able to deal with that 20000 delta-v anyway once the design process is complete. Plus, Laephus has an atmosphere, and I have access to colossal heat shields.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, eloquentJane said:

Thanks for the update. I was actually planning on sending all interstellar vehicles to a refuelling base in the Plock-Karen system (probably situated on Kyx) before transferring them to their destinations. This of course means that I have to set up a Plock-Karen refuelling base but that's fine. In any case though it should cut at least a few thousand delta-v from that 20000. On top of that, Laepmya may not be the best for gravity assists, but Laephus's high gravity should at least help out. Alternatively, if the system gets any gas giants later on those should definitely help out. If not, it's still not a problem, since the few ideas I currently have for interstellar transports should be able to deal with that 20000 delta-v anyway once the design process is complete. Plus, Laephus has an atmosphere, and I have access to colossal heat shields.

You also may want to consider a 6000m/s reentry, might be more...

Also consider the difficulty of planning an encounter-encounter-aerobrake-multiple times, since that may be a little hard...

And BetterTimeWarp may be your friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just added in Interstellar Adventure Revived, and it adds a new star system significantly closer to Kerbol than Cercani or Larinax, and in a low inclination as well. There are some low-gravity moons there perfect for a mining outpost, so anything headed further out will stop by in the Cervantes system to refuel. It's probable that I'll then transfer to Jool or Sarnus from Cervantes for a gravity assist, and then get another gravity assist from Cervantes to match inclination with the farther out star system, and also to reduce relative velocity when I get there. This method (or something similar) should cut down significantly on that 20000m s-1 of delta-v for Larinax, or the similar amount for Cercani. I'm not overly experienced with gravity assists, but they are incredibly helpful if they can be figured out properly.

----------------------------------------------------------------

I've reset the save, because I'd experienced some bugs when installing new planets. Vessels were moved around, and contracts had their parameters changed (such as a contract to explore Glac changed into one to explore Neidon, including landing on the non-existent surface of the gas planet). This also gives me a chance to implement some much-needed redesigns to my spacecraft based on the fact that I now have mods.

Edited by eloquentJane
Minor correction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This comment was an update that is now obsolete and not useful.

Edited by eloquentJane
Removed obsolete information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Updating this thread for 1.1.3 because I need to make changes.

I'm only installing one planet pack at a time now, and using most of the same mods to explore everywhere (but the mods will be listed wherever is relevant anyway). I don't know which planet packs will be updated and/or functional from now on, so I'll only add them to the list in the original post as I discover what I can do. I will have one thread in this topic for each series of missions (e.g. a single thread for all Athena missions) and will update those with new missions. I will make posts stating when I have updated these, but I want to keep all similar missions in the same place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Artemis 1

Mission goals:

  1. Achieve a crewed orbit of Minmus
  2. Conduct an EVA in orbit of Minmus
  3. Gather scientific data from space around Minmus
  4. Achieve a crewed landing on Minmus
  5. Conduct an EVA on the surface of Minmus; plant a flag on the surface of Minmus
  6. Gather scientific data from the surface of Minmus
  7. Return all crew members and scientific data to Kerbin

The original Mercury 1 capsule that the Artemis 1 lander is based on can be found in my spacecraft showcasing thread.

Design and Planning

For this mission, I decided to use a direct ascent profile instead of Minmus orbit rendezvous. This is because Minmus has such low gravity that it's just easier to conduct that sort of mission. Since I already had the Mercury 1 capsule and am very pleased with how that design turned out, I decided to modify it to use it as a Minmus lander. The numerous additional fuel tanks meant that it had a lot of spare delta-v, and probably could've worked pretty well as a Mun lander too (but I didn't think of that when designing Medusa 1). I used a larger service bay to incorporate more science equipment, I kept the docking port on top just in case I needed to send a rescue mission (not that that was likely though with the amount of redundancy I build into everything), and I replaced the Swivel engine with a Terrier because I couldn't clip it far enough into the adaptor whilst maintaining a good aesthetic. In any case, I was quite pleased with how it turned out. Having already spent some time updating the Tano series of launchers to use engines from Vanguard Astrodynamics, and consequently updating my knowledge of their new payload capacities, it was pretty simple to decide to use the Tano X2 for the ~20t lander. This was kind of overkill because all of my Tano launchers are designed for transporting things to a 1000km orbit and thus have several hundred more delta-v than is actually needed to get their "maximum" payload to a parking orbit. However, I elected to use the upper stage for most of the transfer burn to Minmus in order to save a bit of extra delta-v on the lander. The lander would easily have been capable of several biome hops with this extra fuel considered, but since this playthrough is for extended exploration I decided to only land in the lesser flats and save the other biomes for later missions. The 1.25m fairing base at the top did somewhat limit my maximum radius, meaning that I had to adjust the initial position of the landing gear, but this was not an issue.

Edited by eloquentJane
Added mission goals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medusa 1

Mission goals:

  1. Achieve a crewed orbit of the Mun
  2. Conduct an EVA in orbit of the Mun
  3. Gather scientific data from space around the Mun
  4. Achieve a crewed landing on the Mun
  5. Conduct an EVA on the surface of the Mun; plant a flag on the surface of the Mun
  6. Gather scientific data from the surface of the Mun
  7. Return all crew members and scientific data to Kerbin

The original Mercury 1 capsule which the Medusa 1 command/service module is based on can be found in my spacecraft showcasing thread.

Design and Planning

With the very successful appearance of my new Mercury 1 capsule, I decided to use it for an Apollo-style (Munar Orbit Rendezvous profile) Mun mission. The capsule is identical except for the lack of a service bay at the top, since I chose to put all science equipment on the lander (and the fact that the Medusa capsule has solar panels). In an emergency, the capsule could land on the Mun to serve as a habitat for the crew whilst a rescue mission was prepared. The lander is composed of an ascent module and a descent module. The ascent module consists of a docking port, crew capsule, MechJeb pod, and solar panels, as well as a single Iota engine hidden in the toroidal fuel tanks. The descent module has a lot more fuel, and four Iota engines (only one is necessary but it's good to have a fairly high thrust to weight ratio on landers). This level of complexity wasn't necessary, but it works well. The lander was over-engineered and could've done a couple of biome hops to nearby biomes, but I decided to wait until later missions before exploring other biomes. Much like with Artemis 1, the size of the fairing meant that I had to adjust landing gear position slightly. Once the command/service module and lander were complete, I had to decide on a launch vehicle. I decided to use the Tano Heavy, the latest upgrade to the Tano series of launchers. It is too powerful to get the just-over 20t assembly to Kerbin orbit, but it's perfect for transporting it to an elliptical Munar orbit with the upper stage (the command/service module engine had to be used to circularise but that wasn't an issue). There aren't a huge number of emergency features in this vessel because the Mun is close enough to Kerbin that it doesn't take too long to send rescue missions.

Edited by eloquentJane
Added mission goals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Athena 1

Mission goals:

  1. Construct a reusable interplanetary transport vehicle
  2. Achieve a crewed orbit of Duna
  3. Conduct an EVA in orbit of Duna
  4. Gather scientific data from space around Duna
  5. Deploy the first module of Athena Station in orbit of Duna
  6. Enter the atmosphere of Duna
  7. Gather scientific data from the atmosphere of Duna
  8. Achieve a crewed landing on Duna
  9. Conduct an EVA on the surface of Duna; plant a flag on the surface of Duna
  10. Gather scientific data from the surface of Duna
  11. Achieve a crewed orbit of Ike
  12. Conduct an EVA in orbit of Ike
  13. Gather scientific data from space around Ike
  14. Achieve a crewed landing on Ike
  15. Conduct an EVA on the surface of Ike; plant a flag on the surface of Ike
  16. Gather scientific data from the surface of Ike
  17. Achieve a crewed orbit of Nyke
  18. Conduct an EVA in orbit of Nyke
  19. Gather scientific data from space around Nyke
  20. Achieve a crewed landing on Nyke
  21. Conduct an EVA on the surface of Nyke; plant a flag on the surface of Nyke
  22. Gather scientific data from the surface of Nyke
  23. Return all crew members and scientific data to Kerbin

 

Constructing the IPT Red Star

The IPT Red Star is the first Organa-class transport (it is Organa-class because it uses the Organa series of modules). It is a multi-purpose vessel for transporting 6 kerbals and a fairly large amount of cargo to/from the Duna system.

Design and Planning

The modules are designed independently, but with similar vehicles in mind. The IPT Red Star was put together out of several of these modules (initially in the VAB to check delta-v information) which were chosen with a specific mission profile in mind: transport crew and cargo for early Athena missions, and assist on later Athena missions. The crew modules can in theory carry 13 kerbals (not including Athena Lab or other cargo) but I always give my kerbals a good amount of space on any missions longer than a few weeks. For that reason, the maximum crew capacity of this vessel on journeys to/from Duna is 6. For a similar sense of realism, I decided that certain parts of the vessel are pressurised, and other parts are not pressurised. Kerbals can only transfer without EVA between sections which are connected by 1.25m or 2.5m docking ports directly, and which do not involve movement through fuel tanks or non-pressurised sections (I am aware that there is a mod which has a similar effect, but I'd rather not add more mods when I can achieve the same effect manually). I also made the decision that this spacecraft requires at least two crew members in the command pod (a pilot and a [flight] engineer) in order to control it safely once fully assembled. This is another decision for realism purposes only, but it ties in with the 6-kerbal crew capacity for reasons which will become apparent during the Athena 1 mission. I was rather minimalistic with the module design, so the final vessel (including all Athena 1 cargo) consists of only 105 parts. The mass before the Duna transfer is just under 200 tonnes (I think it might be exactly 200 tonnes if the monopropellant tanks were filled). The main safety measures of this vehicle are the vast excess of delta-v, the large heat shields, and the fact that if something goes wrong with the habitation module, the entire crew can survive inside the command module for long enough to get them back to Kerbin orbit.

----------------------------------------------------------------

IPT Red Star System Checks

Between this mission and the Duna transfer window, the Medusa 2 mission was conducted.

Edited by eloquentJane
Corrected link.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medusa 2

Mission goals:

  1. Deploy first module of Medusa Station in orbit of the Mun
  2. Deploy small survey satellite in orbit of the Mun
  3. Achieve a crewed landing in the Mun's East Crater using new recoverable lander
  4. Plant a flag on the surface of the Mun
  5. Gather surface samples from the Mun's East Crater
  6. Achieve orbit of the Mun using the new recoverable lander
  7. Test docking capabilities of the new recoverable lander by docking with the existing module of Medusa Station
  8. Return crew and science data to Kerbin

Design and Planning

Medusa 2 was an interesting mission to design. This was the first time a vessel had to re-enter from a Munar trajectory without a heat shield, and it only just survived the heating. The new lander was based on the Mercury capsule design, since that proved to be effective for a Minmus lander. It has a lot of excess delta-v in order to leave a lot of room for error, and uses a Swivel engine for a high thrust-to-weight ratio. One good thing about this new lander is that I managed to attach a ladder to it, unlike the Medusa 1 lander. The design proved to be unsafe for re-entry, however it did serve as proof-of-concept for an efficient single-stage Mun lander. The station module is a standardised module design which simply had to be attached beneath the Mun lander, and the probe was very simply put together so that it had a reaction wheel, a good amount of delta-v, and enough power generation to transmit its experiment data. The probe was attached where it was because it corrected the slightly misaligned (because of the station module) center of mass. Once everything was assembled, it was a simple matter to choose the Jool 3B as the launch vehicle, because that was the smallest one with enough delta-v for the task.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is impressive! Your vehicle designs are imaginative but they look so clean (and therefore plausible) at the same time.

I like the presentation too, very concise and clean. I get the impression you enjoy making them. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An update: I have recently suffered a major setback in terms of computer technology, and so it's possible that I might have to take a break from this series if my current replacement computer can't run the game at a reasonable rate. I have yet to test it out but if I am gone for quite a while then that is the reason.

----------------------------------------------------------------

@Randazzo I'm glad you like my designs, I have spent quite a lot of time constructing all of my vehicles and it's good to know that that design work is appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: the IPT Red Star is back! Unfortunately, I lost the save in which I had previously prepared for the Athena 1 mission. However, I have rebuilt the IPT Red Star using updated versions of the Organa-class modules. Here is what it looks like now:

http://imgur.com/tvMwCz6

The continuation of Athena 1 will be added shortly, as will the Minerva 1 mission to the Mios system. After that, well. I have a couple of other inner Kerbol system missions planned. That, and the Phasma-class Deep Space Transports are being prepared. Once I have finalised the necessary modules I will be able to visit the outer Kerbol system too, starting with finally completing a Jool 5 mission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.