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The logistics of this mission boggle my mind


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OK, try to follow all of this.

I had missions to land on both Laythe and Tylo. This is the story of those missions. Names have been changed to protect the stupid.

Chapter 1: The Lander

I sent the Laythe mission first, with a pilot. He's the only pilot that's important here. So this ship included two main elements:

1 - the Laythe Lander. The only ship involved that can land back on Kerbin with The Pilot, because it's the only one with parachutes. Let's call her "The Eagle", because she's a lander, and a plane. 

2 - the Laythe Transfer Stage - the nuclear-engined vehicle to move the Laythe Lander to Laythe, and back. I'll call him "Skimpy", because as it turns out, he had nowhere near enough fuel to get The Eagle back to Kerbin. This happens to me a lot with Laythe. 

So we have, basically, two vessels involved here. I get to Laythe, land, do the science, everything is fine. I return to orbit and redock with Skimpy, the transfer stage with basically no fuel left.

What do I do? I send an ISRU unit to Jool space, so I can make some new fuel, refuel Skimpy, and get The Eagle back to Kerbin.

Chapter 2: The Refueler

I send an ISRU unit, capable of extracting and refining fuels, to Vall. I like to use Vall as an ISRU base. Pretty low gravity, and pretty close to the middle of the Jool system. This ISRU mission, again, has two main vessels.

3 - The ISRU Lander. Capable of landing, extracting, converting, and re-orbiting, with extra fuel and ore. It works great.

4 - The ISRU Transfer Stage. I'll call this "The Beater." It's a fuel truck, and a transfer stage! It gets the ISRU to Vall in fine fashion, and should be useful after that as a fuel truck, to drive fuel around the system. But it's not really good for that, you see, because the bonehead that designed it forgot a critical element: A standard docking port. See, Skimpy the Transfer Stage only has a regular-sized docking port, but sadly, The Beater only has a big Senior docking port. Kerbals can be stupid, you see, but not nearly so stupid as human players of Kerbal Space Program, who forget docking ports.

Luckily, I'm in a good position to send the Tylo lander to Jool space. "Aha!" I think. "I'll create a new fuel truck, with a standard docking port, and all will be fine." I mean, I already meant to send a separate Tylo lander (Tylo is challenging, and requires a specialized lander). Also, I neglected to send a scanning orbiter with the ISRU unit, because I'm kind of goofy like that (you'll notice a pattern by now). So I'll send the Tylo lander, a scanner to detect the ore, and a new, fancy Transfter Stage/Fuel Truck. On to Launch #3!

Chapter 3: The Tylo Lander and the New Fuel Truck

So, I send this THIRD MISSION to Jool Space, having recovered nothing yet from the Laythe landing (The Eagle is still stuck in Laythe orbit, with Skimpy, the empty transfer stage). Again, having learned my lesson, this third mission also gets to Jool Space with fuel to spare. This mission includes:

5 - Stubby, the Tylo Lander. It has no pilot - I intend to transfer The Pilot from The Eagle and put him back when I'm done.

6 - The Swiss Army Fuel Truck ("Swiss Army", for short), which has so many docking ports on it that I can dock with things that haven't even been invented yet. These extra docking ports are stuck on the side of the vessel.

But you know, I actually thought ahead for this one. I didn't want The Beater to be useless, so I also included another, small vehicle, which I call "The Converter." This is simply a senior docking port on one end and a standard docking port on the other. It's an adapter, so I can convert The Beater into a transfer stage for The Eagle, or dock with a standard docking port.

Are you confused yet? I don't blame you. I have 6 (almost 7) vehicles in Jool space now, and The Pilot is still floating around Laythe like a goofball, wondering what the heck is going on.

I may post pictures later. I'll continue this in another post, because I'm just about to go get The Pilot from The Eagle and land on Tylo. But it's not that simple, as you may have figured out. Also, this is your chance to bail on this whole thread if you're bored.




Edited by RocketBlam
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Probably. An admin should move it. Although it's really more of an epic, like Lord of the Rings. But to continue.

Having gotten all of these vehicles into Jool space, I eventually realize that each vehicle is different. In fact it's almost starting to feel like a thought experiment. I have:

1 - The Eagle, the only vessel that can land on Kerbin.

2 - Skimpy, which can dock with The Eagle as a transfer stage.

3 - The ISRU.

4 - The Beater, which cannot act as a transfer stage without The Converter.

5 - Stubby, the Tylo Lander, which, incredibly... you may find this hard to believe at this point, but it's true... has NO DOCKING PORTS. I didn't think I'd need them! But I never think I need them, and I ALWAYS need them!

6 - Swiss Army, the Transfer Stage That Can Dock With Anything, but... remember, it's regular docking port is on the side, so it cannot act as a transfer stage! You can't transfer things with big vessels stuck on the SIDE of your transfer stage, they have to be on the FRONT. The front of Swiss Army is a Senior docking port, but The Eagle has only a standard docking port. 

I'm writing this down in stages, because it's so dang complicated, I'm not sure I'll remember it all at this point.

Edited by RocketBlam
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So here is the grand plan.

The Grand Plan

Since we have all of the vehicles in Jool space, I'll just start from there.

1. Land the ISRU. Make some free fuel. Return to orbit.

2. Refuel The Beater. 

3. Send The Beater to Stubby the Tylo Lander and Swiss Army. This will allow The Beater to pick up The Converter. Now Beater has a regular docking port, for the first time. Attach The Beater to Stubby, and send it to Laythe to pick up The Pilot, so he can land on Tylo.

Note: You may wonder why I didn't just send Stubby with his original transfer stage, Swiss Army, to Laythe to get The Pilot. Well, guess what? If you guessed "the designer is an idiot", you are correct! I designed my transfer stages with nuclear engines on the side, and the senior docking ports can't actually re-dock with each other because the nuclear engines get in the way. I mean, it's really close, but it's just not workable. So, the ISRU cannot use its senior docking port to transfer fuel to any of the transfer stages because the nuclear engines get in the way. So the two transfer stages can only receive fuel from the ISRU using regular docking ports - which means The Beater needs The Converter, thus allowing him to dock with the ISRU, which thank God has a regular docking port. Luckily, I never disconnected The Converter from Stubby, because as you know, Stubby cannot redock with anything, because it has no ports. I connected The Beater to The Converter while it was still attached to Stubby - probably the only smart thing I did in this mission.

4. Pick up The Pilot in Stubby, and go to Tylo, and land there, and PRAY TO GOD that the Delta-V chart I found online is accurate about Tylo D/V needs. I've only ever landed there once before, and that took several tries.

5. Send The Beater (after dropping off Stubby at Tylo) back to The Eagle to pick up The Eagle and take it to Tylo, because remember, Stubby the Tylo Lander has no docking ports, so It can't reconnect with a transfer stage. Once it gets back into Tylo Orbit, that's as far as it will ever go. I have to go get The Eagle, take it back to Tylo, and pick up The Pilot, who is almost certainly completely sick of all of this crap.

Edited by RocketBlam
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My Duna mission is turning out like that. I've got the original cruise stage and ISRU lander, and I'm having to send a new one of both out to correct my screwups with the first one being subpar. And maybe a fuel truck as well, to ferry between the ISRU lander and the Duna lander and the huge cruise stage.

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Mission update: ran out of fuel in The Beater after landing on Tylo (Yes!). The Pilot now stuck in orbit around Tylo. New plan: Send Swiss Army to refuel Skimpy, and use that to send The Eagle to pick up The Pilot.

In case you're wondering who "The Pilot" is... his name starts with J.

Oh yeah....

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