Jump to content

Setting Foot on Laythe (Chapter 5!)


Recommended Posts

Setting Foot on Laythe


Hello all! Long time no see! These past months, I have been working on a little project, and I have decided to do a mission report on it, so enjoy!

So let’s start with a little story, back in the day, all the way back in update 0.17, I was playing KSP. Planets besides Kerbin had just been added, and it was amazing. I gazed at the Joolian moons in awe, there was so much to explore! However I never really got to th "explore" part. Instead, I would add “moar boosters” until I somehow managed get a Kerbal to these strange new worlds. It was simple, but still fun. When going to Laythe, for example, I would land a lander or capsule there. That was it, nothing else to do. It would have been neat to have space program based there (without just using mods), that way I could fool around all I want.

Fast forward to today, 1.1 is upon us after so much waiting. A lot has changed since then, we have docking, and IRSU, together allowing for endless refueling of ships. Docking… IRSU… Jool exploration… Hmm, now there’s an idea!







-The KSS Knight, Somewhere above Minmus-





After some thinking, I decided to colonize Laythe. It was always something I wanted to do but I never really got around to it. In a previous save file, I had landed a base with a rover and plane there, but I became bored almost immediately. I wanted something more... interesting.

At this point I could just list everything I decided to send over to the Jool system, but I thought you guys would have an appetite for some surprises later on.

Jeb, Bill, Bob, and others on the KSS Knight were shortly told of the plan. They were directed to fly to Minmus for refueling. Bill had recently completed his circumnavigation of the Mun, and he was eager to go home. Too bad. After Minmus the crew was instructed to fly to Vall. Another team of Kerbals were to go to Laythe.

The plan called for many, many rockets. So much that it would take several IRL months to launch them all (I didn’t have endless time to play this game, so setting this up took patience). I think we last left off in this save with this log thing. Sorry but that is discontinued. Actually that was so long ago I don't even remember what that was about. But here we are, nearly a year later. All this past year really consisted of was developing things for this Laythe mission (This thread will mostly stick to relevant activates in the Jool system).

Now, about getting there...


CHAPTER 1 – Launch ALL the things!


Before I could begin the journey to Laythe, I had to launch stuff. Now, I couldn’t just launch stuff willy-nilly, because if you haven’t realized by now, this is career mode. Funds are a thing. Reusable rockets technology came in handy! 

Various rockets with names such as Pelican and Pigeon (I won’t go too far into those now) hefted a multitude of payloads to orbit.  I quickly realized that a bunch of crafts named “Pelican Probe” was a tad unorderly. Some of these launches had occurred a month or two ago (IRL) at the time, how was I supposed to know what each payload was and what it needed? So before things got out of hand, each payload was given a designation of “LP” followed by a number. For example “LP1” was assigned to the first Laythe Payload. I made a spreadsheet document listing each payload, including a description of what the payload was, the status (e.g., “Needs Fuel”), the next maneuver node, its destination, etc. This proved very helpful.

Here is a collection of launch screenshots, not including refueling missions (there were too many to count). There may have been a few I missed, but you get the general idea.



Soon (and by soon I mean a painfully long time) the fleet was assembled and fully fueled!




Another painfully long time later (oh look we're in 1.1 now), much of the fleet was on its way to Jool!



Consider yourselves lucky I didn’t cover any of that. We would be on chapter 10 by now.


Now all that was needed was some crew.


-Kerbal Space Center-




Seven brave Kerbals climbed aboard a Pigeon rocket bound for the Laythe Space Station, parked in LKO. They would join an additional eight Kerbals already stationed on the ship. Consisting of four tourists.

Edlu: “Alright, is everyone prepared for liftoff?”

Summer: “You bet I am!”

Matt: “Yes sir!”

Val: “Ready when you are.”

Jack: “I have my snacks!”

Carlie: “All systems go, Captain.”

Edlu: “Ladies and Gentlekerbals, this is it. Don’t expect to see Kerbin again any time soon.”

Lisa: “I sure will miss this place…”

Edlu: “Initiate liftoff sequence.”

Gene: (comms) “Hey! Don’t forget about me now! I’m still your mission controller.”

Edlu: “My apologies, Gene, I’m not sure what I was thinking.”

Gene: (comms) “It was a pleasure working with you guys. Let’s make this final launch one to remember!”

Edlu: “Thanks for everything Gene, it was a pleasure for me also, and we may be back someday you know.”

Gene: (comms) “Be warned, if you ever come back Walt will probably kill you, our little fiasco raising tens of millions funds for the fleet kinda killed the space program reputation.”

Val: “What is the current rep again?”

Gene: (comms) “Negative 500 something, more or less.”



Val: “What?! Well that explains the angry mob outside KSC.”

Edlu: “Oh yes… that.”

Gene: (comms) “Anyways, I’ll guide you out of Kerbin SOI, anything you need. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; we have a launch to do! Initiating launch sequence.”



And so the Pigeon (Falcon 9 inspired) took flight for one last time, lifting my Dragon inspired crew capsule. After stage sep the Pigeon would boost back and land at KSC, recovering a decent amount of funds.





o6Hrmk6.png rrbdO5Y.png


Gene: (comms) “Uhh, looks like the boostback-burn was botched, the booster won’t have enough fuel to break its fall.”

Edlu: “Noted, it’s not like we need that booster again anyways.”

Gene: (comms) “I don’t want a crater on my lawn, man.”



Edlu: “and?”

Gene: (comms) “I’ll tell you later, focus on the mission.”




-Laythe Space Station, in LKO-



Laythe Space station was planned to be a fuel stockpile and general pit stop in low Laythe orbit, but at this point it was to serve as transportation for the Kerbals some cargo. This was the last vessel to depart LKO. (Hopefully I'll think of a better name for it soon).

Randall: “Welcome aboard all! I hope you all have a pleasant ride, I’ll be your pilot for this evening.”

Edlu: “Hey Randall.”

Val: “You’re a scientist.”

Randall: “Pardon?”

Val: “You said you are our pilot, but your name tag says ‘Scientist.’”

Randall: “I’m not sure I understand…”

Edlu: “Anyway, lets prepare for our departure. Is all the cargo secured?”

Randall: “We docked what we could, though we don’t have many securing straps or duct tape.”

Edlu: “Wonderful…”


The late cargo consisted of two aircraft, a small spaceship, some payload maneuvering units, a blow torch (of sorts), and some science equipment. The station would first be propelled (slowly) by a nuclear powered booster, then once that was finished a mainsail would be used to complete the 2000 m/s burn. I half expected the station to not hold together. But first, the Kerbals were given one last look at their home, KSC.



Edlu had a reason to be concerned. I admit the structural integrity of this station could be better.


Here was Randall’s View from the Pilots seat, and he was indeed, by the way, a scientist.




At this point I decided that was enough for one day, the Laythe Space Station was bound for Jool.




-Somewhere around Kerbin-



Jeb: “Are we there yet?”

Bob: “We’ll be there in a year, Jeb…”








Edited by RocketPilot573
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, RocketPilot573 said:

No worries, I'm working on it as I type this. I need the fleet to do a few course corrections on its way to Jool. :wink:



And only a "few."

Have fun!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CHAPTER 2 – Hello Jool







When we last left off, 52 ships had departed Kerbin. But now it was time to go to Jool. The plan was to use Laythe and Tylo to perform gravity assists that would capture the ships in Jool orbit, allowing them to easily make it to their final destinations. All I had to do was plot trajectories for every ship. Time for 52 maneuver nodes!





As a part of this routine, I would timewarp in the tracking station until the next ship’s maneuver node came up. This was because some ships, as it turns out, did not have power generators besides the engine. Power is not used when timewarping in the tracking station. I assume this puts the ships into a hibernation mode of sorts.



Once, (I assure you this actually happened) I accidentally loaded a ship an entire day before its planned maneuver. Annoyed, I thought to myself “whoops, I sure hope this has power generators.”


Only then did I look at the craft.





-Laythe Space Station-




Edlu: “Randall, it’s time for that maneuver I told you about.”

Randall: “The what? OH, right!”

Edlu: “Now, ah, when we left Kerbin I couldn’t help but notice the station nearly broke in two, so if you could please refrain from using too much thrust…”

Randall: “Fine, I’ll be gentle this time-“



Edlu: “I’m not sure you understand the meaning of gentle.”

Charlie: “OOF”

Jack: “My snacks!”

Val: “Hey a little warning next time!”


Randle: “In my defense, you never told them to strap in.”

Edlu: “Oh…”


-KSS Knight-


The KSS Knight was a capital ship commissioned some time ago. It was meant to be an exploration vessel, equipped with a large cargo bay, VTOL engines, and IRSU systems. Jeb, the commander of the ship, unexpectedly picked up Bill and his rover on the Mun, probably to show off. At the time of this Jool mission the ship was crewed by Jeb, Bill, Bob, Ted, and Chuck. They were some of the most veteran Kerbals in the space program. But now the ship ventured toward Jool to assist the fleet.






Bill: “Looks like we’re now on course for Jool.”

Bob: “I hope the fleet will make it, some of those ships were looking short on fuel.”

Jeb: “I knew they needed more boosters...”






Eventually, all 52 maneuvers were complete. Nothing exciting happened really. Each craft was on a trajectory that would fly by a moon of Jool, automatically capturing the ships in Joolian orbit. But the real fun was yet to come.


-Jool, a year later-


One by one, the ships entering Jool’s sphere of influence. I oversaw the fleet from the tracking station, slowly timewarping and keeping a close eye on each ship. Coincidentally, the first ship arrive was that fuel cell thing from above, designated “LP7.”




LP7 promptly ran out of fuel and became stranded in a highly elliptical Jool orbit. Off to a good start!


As the next few ships filed in,  I aimlessly bounced the ships in between moons, using gravity assist to adjust orbits. This was my first time at Jool since the 1.0 aerodynamics made it impossible to simply collide with Laythe’s atmosphere, shaving off thousands of m/s without a problem. This gravity assist thing was new to me, but I assumed I could handle it…




I began to have second thoughts when I panned the camera around.




It was then that I realized things were going to get interesting.



I decided that I needed to get my act together, fast. I maneuvered a small ship toward Laythe’s atmosphere. The plan was to carefully aerobrake and achieve orbit around the moon. Laythe’s atmosphere is only 60% that of Kerbin’s at sea level. However due to the reduced gravity the air seems to be spread higher. This was notable when entering the atmosphere. With the atmosphere starting at 50 km, almost immediately the ship ran into a fair amount of air, causing it to decelerate, but also overheat. I found that a PE of about 46 km was useful for shaving off a couple hundred m/s without being too harsh on the temperature.




Of course I mistakenly placed this ship in a retrograde orbit, and it ran out of fuel before it could even circularize. I hoped that I would learn from my mistakes.


I would continue maneuvering the fleet toward both Laythe and Vall for quite some time. I tried my very best to get the ships into safe parking orbits, but more and more ships kept flooding into the Jool system.






From there, things started getting even more confusing. For example apparently it is possible for Laythe to outright capture your ship into orbit on its own…




-Vall Orbit, craft LP34-


The fuel cell thing, LP7, was still stranded in Jool orbit without fuel. As mentioned before, Tylo decided to try and throw it into Jool. Fortunately I was able to avoid this by simply turning the craft 90 degrees, slightly altering the trajectory enough to miss Jool. Because physics. I guess... But that still didn’t solve the problem of LP7 being stranded. Meanwhile, LP34 had arrived in Vall orbit. I noticed that it had a huge surplus of fuel. Suddenly, I had a plan. Some rocket surgery was in order.




LP34 was propelled by a Pelican rocket upper stage acting as a tug. Two large auxiliary fuel tanks connected to the payload gave it enough delta-v to reach Jool. The tug alone would not be able to reach LP7 reliably. It needed one of those big fuel tanks. Of course it couldn’t just drag the payload around, and the tanks had no docking ports. But the real key here was what the payload is: A bunch of docking adapters, including Sr. Port – Claw adapters, intended for just this kind of purpose. A small monopropellant maneuvering unit grabbed the adapter and docked it to the tug.






The makeshift rescue ship immediately set off to rendezvous with the stricken LP7.




11 days later, it arrived.






At this point, several other ships also did not have enough delta-v to reach Vall or Laythe, but they did have some fuel. This allowed them to do minor course corrections to avoid unwanted encounters with the Joolian moons…


But nonetheless, several key ships did indeed reach Vall or Laythe. One even ended up in Tylo orbit (I'll rescue that later). I knew that if I was to get anywhere with this mission, I would need to set up a temporary refueling base ASAP.








Scott: “Edlu, this is Scott, can you hear me?”

Edlu: (over comms) “Some static, we’re still pretty far out, but I can understand you. What is it?”

Scott: “I’ve successfully reached Vall orbit.”

Edlu: (over comms) “Nice work! How’s your fuel levels.”

Scott: “Fuel? Don’t have any.”

Edlu: (over comms) “I’ll see what we can do...”





Edited by RocketPilot573
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, RocketPilot573 said:

When we last left off, 52 ships had departed Kerbin

Holy Kraken and all His Tentacles!  That is sheer awesomeness there!  It's twice as big as my biggest armada!  Fantabulous!

BTW, with 52 ships, maybe you could rename them for each card in a standard deck? :)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

BTW, with 52 ships, maybe you could rename them for each card in a standard deck? :)


Hahaha, I wish I thought of that when I was starting out. :D Unfortunately most of the ships will be disbanded as the payloads get where they need to be, so that 52 figure wont last long. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

CHAPTER 3 – Prospecting Vall




As far as I could tell, Vall was an excellent location for ISRU in the Jool system. Because this mission would be largely based on Laythe, Vall’s proximity to the ocean moon provided for easy commute back and forth, versus Bop and Pol which would require a exceedingly large amount of Delta-V to reach. The extra Delta-V needed to land and take off from Vall was tolerable.

As first order of business, I deployed a mapping satellite to a polar orbit around Vall. This twin ion engine, fuel cell powered design had a variety of science instruments along with several antennae. They were to be deployed on all moons in the system. This was planned to provide ore location data, comms (whenever update 1.2 comes out), and science for “Science data from space around…” contracts.




I decided that this was a decent spot for the mining operation. As you can see it was a large ore deposited along the equator, and the location would put Jool just above the horizon when viewed from the surface as a bonus (it makes for pretty pictures).




Next I had to tackle the landing. Scott Kerman, the first and then only Kerbal in the Jool system, was in charge of piloting the Cargo Dropship (I need to think of better names for all this stuff). This ship was one of my better designs. It included a sleek hull and airbrakes that provided ok aerodynamics (it flies like a brick) The engines allowed for excellent maneuvering, great thrust, 4500 m/s of Delta-V, and were placed high enough to not barbecue anything below. The most important part being the Claw located on the bottom, allowing the Dropship to grab payloads (e.g. base components) and deliver them to the surface of moons like Laythe and Vall. This was arguably the most important ship in the fleet.


-Vall Orbit-




As Scott noted in the previous chapter, the ship had no fuel. This was a precarious situation, as the first objective here was to establish a means of mining more fuel. Without this, well, to be honest half the fleet would have run out of fuel and become stranded in Jool orbit (until an unfortunate gravity assist would either eject the ships from the solar system or send them crashing down to Jool itself). To do this I needed to land a small temporary IRSU base on Vall (to be followed by other payloads), the Dropship, and take off and refuel some ships, rinse and repeat. Obviously fuel was needed to land however. The solution to this fuel problem was simple: Steal fuel from other ships. As it turned out the ship that was transporting the mini IRSU bases also had a small fuel reserve. This ship was directed to rendezvous with the Dropship.




The Dropship grappled to one of the mini IRSU bases and pulled it free, after stealing all the ship’s fuel of course.




A tug that happened to be in the area also generously donated its fuel.




Even with all that, the Dropship only had 1100 m/s of Delta-V. Landing would be… risky.


Edlu: (over comms) “Everything looks good from here, Scott, you have permission to land.”

Scott: “Affirmative, however with these fuel levels I’ll have to practically suicide burn this thing... Anyway, here I go!”

Edlu: (over comms) “Good luck!”









Scott: “OOF! Um, landing successful!”

Edlu: (over comms) “Copy that, let me guess, you ran the tanks dry?

Scott: “Indeed… Anyways I’ll get the drills going and report back to you later.”

Edlu: (over comms): “Thanks.”


The mini IRSU bases were meant to serve as simple fuel outposts for pretty much everything, planes, VTOLs, spacecraft, rovers, you name it. I originally intended to have a simple claw mounted on the base to dock to those vehicles. However I quickly realized the single claw would not suffice due to its fixed height. So I put an additional claw attached to an empty fuel tank with a reaction wheel, and with the first claw set to free pivot this would function as an articulated grabber arm. These bases could be scattered around the Jool system, for example they could act as a fuel stop on Bop or Pol.



The mini IRSU base (maybe we can just call these MIBs or MIRSUBs? Or some other acronym?) then used it’s built in vernor thrusters to roll toward the Dropship and grapple. Scott Kerman, being a level 3 engineer, used his skills to give the drills a boost. The base also included a seat for an engineer to be stationed on it long term.






Scott: “Welp, I finally made it. Vall… This place should be interesting.”


-Vall, sometime later-


A few hours later, the Cargo Dropship, now fully fueled, flew back to orbit. Once there it was to grab two rovers before returning return to the temporary Vall base.






As you can see, the rovers were left in a slightly, precarious situation… (especially this being 1.1.2 with the explosive rover wheels).




I assure you Scott knew exactly what he was doing.




(I’ll clean up the debris later).


Next up on the to-do list was to find a more ideal base location. This place was already quite good, with over nine percent ore concentration, but I knew there would be a better spot within about 50 km. So I had Scott board a rover and went for a drive.




This is the Scorpion series of rovers. They were designed over 1 year ago IRL. One of the first experimental Scorpions was Bill’s rover back on my Mun Elcano Challenge. These rovers included two ion engines for high speed driving, and landing gear for greater stability. They were fuel cell driven as solar power was not available in the Jool system. This was my first time driving this rover design in a while and I was pleased to find it working quite well on Vall, and in update 1.1.  (Expect to see more of these rovers in the future).




I finally settled on a piece of land with exactly 10.00% ore. There were higher concentrations but those were on hills and/or were far from the equator (it is more efficient to land and take off from the equator).






And so Vall Base Alpha was founded. This would be the main IRSU base for the Jool system. (I know the mini IRSU bases alone could suffice, but they are slow and boring). This base was planned to be capable of rapidly refueling big fuel tankers which would ferry fuel to large ships and space stations.


With the short expedition over, Scott made his way back to the temporary base.






-Laythe Orbit-




Edlu: “Start the scan, hopefully we’ll find a suitable location before we arrive.”

Charlie: “Affirmative.”


-Vall Surface-


Scott and his Cargo Dropship would have to bring down Alpha Base one module at a time. Landing too much payload at once was dangerous. The first delivery was another mini IRSU base meant to refuel the Dropship until the final base became operational.




I clawed the other mini IRSU base to one of the rovers and drove it to Alpha Base remotely, because twice the IRSU would be awesome. The makeshift tractor trailer managed to reach about 20 m/s before things got unsafe… Stopping was a challenge too.




Normally I’d use a specific variant of the Scorpion, one with a trailer hitch (a claw) on the back for towing base modules, but that was- (You know, with all these ships it’s hard to keep track… Um, let’s see, I think it was… *flips through paperwork* No, that’s not… AHA!) -stranded in Jool orbit.






Payload number one was an IRSU converter module. Off to a good start!




The Dropship must be landed very carefully and slowly, otherwise the inertia of the heavy ship would crush the payload. Even 0.5 m/s was dangerously fast. Once landed the Dropship generally decoupled from the payload and hovered over to the mini IRSU base. That is, assuming there was fuel left…




-Tylo Orbit-


This one ship somehow ended up in Tylo orbit instead of Vall. A retrograde orbit too. I blame my intern. Thankfully it was rescued thanks to the Cargo Dropship refueling things.




-Alpha Base Build Site-


Next on the delivery list was two more IRSU converter modules (the thing pictured above). Each module has 3 Convert-O-Tron 250s for maximum converting.




As it turned out the near 30 ton payload was pushing the Dropship to its limits fuel wise. There was barley enough delta-V to land




In an attempt to get back to the IRSU base (I was too lazy to just move the base), the Vector engines gave one last burst of thrust before running out altogether. The landing legs absorbed the impact but without RCS the Dropship keeled over.




Charlie: (over comms) “Whoa Scott are you alright? I was checking the telemetry and I saw this g force spike…”

Scott: “I’m uh… fine! Just scratched the paint slightly that’s all.”

Charlie: (over comms) “You know we’re screwed without that ship right?”




Once refueled, getting the Dropship back on it's feet again was surprisingly easy with the Vector engines.




This time the payload in question was 2 ore storage modules. I didn’t have the 2.5 meter ore tank unlocked at the time of this mission so I had to settle on a bunch of smaller tanks.






(That's all for today folks! Next time we’ll be assembling and hopefully finishing Alpha Base).













Edited by RocketPilot573
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 8/29/2016 at 1:49 PM, DMSP said:

I'm wondering, @RocketPilot573, is your fleet still up and running?

Hi, sorry for not responding sooner (busy week). Anyways, it certainly is! I have a long weekend starting now so I plan to work a lot on this save. Expect a new chapter within a week perhaps.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

CHAPTER 4 – Alpha Base





Today on Setting Foot on Laythe, the insanity continues! Over 20 ships still on escape trajectories and/or stranded without fuel are meticulously maneuvered into place. All the while I ponder about what the future (1.2) has in store and what it means for the Fleet. Anyways, time to finish that Vall base!


-Vall Orbit-


Previously, I had begun setting up Alpha Base. This was to be an enormous IRSU facility that would serve as the primary fuel source for the entire Jool Fleet. Here we see Scott doing a routine check on the Dropship’s systems.




First I wanted to get the base core down on the surface. This was basically a control center tower thingy for the engineer Kerbals to sit in.




I was concerned that the Dropship’s claw would not be able to latch on due to the landing leg structure being in the way, but I was able to force it in.






Usually I just grabbed payloads with the Dropship as they arrived in Vall orbit, however numerous craft did not have nearly enough fuel to actually slow down. Some were approaching Vall with virtually no fuel at all! The procedure here was to have these craft aim for a close approach with Vall. Meanwhile the Dropship would fuel a tug or tanker already in Vall orbit. That tanker would then rendezvous with the craft mid approach and slow it to orbit.




I’ll admit, sometimes these craft wouldn’t stop without a fight. As it turns out it’s not as easy as you may think to stop a 30 ton craft going a couple thousand m/s faster than orbital velocity, but I managed. Except for that one slip up were that tug ended up being tossed into Jool…


https://gfycat.com/HelpfulDimCommongonolek (link if gif doesn't show)

But we can just pretend that never happened.


In this case, the payload was able to make it to an eccentric Vall orbit, piece of cake for the (overpowered) Dropship.




The fuel cell unit was landed safely.




Next up was one of three ore container units.




As you may have noticed, there lacked a way to actually assemble the base. The Dropship was far too big and clumsy to dock the pieces together, so another solution was needed.




The Dropship grabbed a version of the Scorpion rover that came equipped with a claw for towing things. This would be able to assemble the base.




I’m not entirely sure why that part there was glowing pink…








At last construction began. The rover was driven by Scott who rolled the modules into place.




This version of the Scorpion also includes vernor thrusters for moving heavy loads.










Now I realize this base may seem a bit… much, but I think it will be useful in the long run.




Scott approved of the command tower.




With all the present modules in place, it was time to go fetch some more!




-Meanwhile at Laythe-


While all that was unfolding, more and more ships were arriving at Laythe.









I had an interesting case of two ships arriving together.


To be continued…




To help condense this chapter into something manageable here is an album of the Vall base assembly:


https://imgur.com/a/IjVAk   (Embedded albums seem to be broken to so follow this link)



After an eternity and a half Alpha Base was complete! All that there was to do now was start it up. To be honest I did have a few concerns. Would the radiators keep it cool? Would there be enough electric charge? Only one way to find out!












Before starting the drills the fuel cells had to be activated. Unfortunately for me someone had neglected to bind them to an action group, meaning I had to toggle all 40 or so of them individually.


https://gfycat.com/ReflectingNeglectedEmperorshrimp (link if gif doesn't show)

Thankfully the drills were indeed bound to action groups. Here we go!


https://gfycat.com/EagerColorfulHen (link if gif doesn't show)

Scott: “All 40 drills running, awaiting confirmation of convertor start up.”

Charlie: (over comms) “Everything looks good from here… hold it, all nine convertors have red indicators.”

Scott: “Something’s not right… I’ll power everything down and check everything. I’ll contact you when I have more information.”

Charlie: “Affirmative.”



Scott was right, something was not right indeed. I realized that half the base was not docked to the control tower. Embarrassing, I know. I grabbed the rover, disassembled the base slightly, and put it back together again, completely together, this time.



Finally the base was finished, for real. Now all there was to do was restart the drills and-



https://gfycat.com/BlaringNearCheetah (link if gif doesn't show)



Hmm, it looks like I’ve overworked KSP again. I hear the 1.2 pre-release has some bug fixes and fun new features… So long 1.1.3!





Edited by RocketPilot573
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

CHAPTER 5 – Arrival





-Laythe Space Station-




Edlu: "Keep trying."

Charlie: "I'm trying Ed, we've lost contact. Something must of knocked out comms with the base."

Edlu: "Contact the Knight, maybe they can get to Scott."

Charlie: "Right. Jeb always answers. Usually to brag about something- What the heck?"

Edlu: "What is it?"

Charlie: "There's no signal! I swear we had it five minutes ago! I don't see anything. Not a single ship! We're blind here."

Edlu: "It can’t be... Has this ever happened before?"

Charlie: "Ever happened... Ed this is physically impossible. Comms cannot just fail."

Edlu: “They do now."


Unfortunately, Edlu Kerman was right. 1.2 had added antenna range and the fleet was dead in the water. Only the ships with the large orange antenna could communicate with Kerbin, leaving the majority of the fleet with no connection. Prior to 1.2 I had assumed that the old orange dishes would be able to relay signals to ships with smaller antennas, but that was not the case. Only special relay antennas could enable communications from ship to ship.




First things first, let's discuss the game settings. 1.2 added many new amazing features. As the Kerbals have noticed, comms are enabled. Communication blackout during reentry is also enabled. Kerbin's DSN however, is disabled to add an extra challenge.




Back on Kerbin, a simple communication array was constructed to ensure uninterrupted communication with KSC.




Next I decided to fix the whole comms problem. I assume that if I had started this mission in 1.2, the mission would have included numerous relay satellites. Of course that was not the case, so to make things manageable in the meantime I decided to add a medium sized relay dish to Laythe Space Station to give Jool a spotty but functioning comms network. The Kerbals on the Station devised a plan to cannibalize unnecessary equipment to construct a simple relay antenna (don’t worry they won’t be doing things like this often).




I’m sure the Mechjeb unit and the Avionics nosecone contained all the necessary components.




The makeshift relay antenna was successfully installed following a long and dangerous EVA.




-Vall Base-


The good news is that despite Charlie's fears, Scott and the base were in good health. What could have went wrong, anyway?




In all seriousness, the base did have an issue. Upon physics load the whole facility would jump up several meters and come crashing down. After some investigation, I determined that the likely culprit is the mini IRSU bases I clawed to it. It appeared that they were clipping into the ground whenever the base unloaded. Anyways long story short, it looked like Alpha Base would not be usable for a while…






In the meantime, I needed a reliable way of transporting fuel around en masse. Scott’s Dropship was good, but it was optimized for landing things, not refueling. The alternative was to use a large Fuel Tanker, designed for transporting fuel from Vall orbit to other Joolian moons. But with Vall Alpha Base out of action so soon, a replacement mining base was needed. Thankfully I still had spare IRSU units in Vall orbit. The Dropship departed the base to pick up one of those modules.




The module was set down where the original temporary base was; one of the spare rovers was still there. Next a large tug landed at the outpost, ready for refueling!




Some timewarping later, the tug was fueled and launched up to Neldon and his Fuel Tanker.




Unfortunately, the percentage of fuel the tug actually transported to the Tanker was… disappointing. I realized how many refueling missions I would’ve had to do (10, 20?!). Suddenly a better idea came to mind.


Neldon: “Um, Mr. Scott. Can you hear me?”

Scott: Over comms “I’m here,  was the refueling successful?”

Neldon: “Yea but-“

Scott: Over comms “Good! I’ll have the tug read to go in a few hours!"

Neldon: “No-no-no I don’t want that it’s not enough.”

Scott: Over comms “Neldon this is a space program, we don’t rush things here.”

Neldon: “I’m bringing my ship down there.”

Scott: Over comms “What?!”


The plan was simple: land the Fuel Tanker and refuel it all at once. Of course, the Tanker did not have any landing gear, or landing engines, so Neldon would have to land on the engine bells, being very careful to not tip the very tall ship.




Neldon: “Nearly down, steady…”

Scott: “Neldon, watch the rover!”

Neldon: “The what?!”

Scott: “Check your mirrors, dammit!”

Neldon: “Sorry this thing has a huge blindspot I can’t see behind me!”

Scott: “You’ve nearly flattened a rover, but you’re clear now.”


At the last moment, Neldon hovered clear of the rover. The engine gimbals were disabled because the engines tilting could tip the ship when on the ground. The Fuel Tanker gently settled onto the ground, upright.







Many days later (shame I couldn’t be using Vall Alpha Base) it was time for Neldon to return to space. And just in time to! Laythe Space Station was about to do a Vall fly-by and desperately needed fuel!






-Laythe Space Station, Jool orbit-









As you can see, the Station was on course to fly by Vall before arriving at its final destination, Laythe. However it lacked the fuel necessary to circularize around Laythe. This meant that the Fuel Tanker would have to rendezvous with the Station mid fly-by. Once the fuel was transferred, the Fuel tanker would slow down and remain Vall orbit, while the Station would continue on its original trajectory.








Once within range, Neldon unleashed the full power of the three Rhino engines, accelerating to match speeds with the Station.






Edlu: “He’s coming in pretty fast.”

Charlie: “That guy must be a madman… piloting that ship like that.

Edlu: “Or an idiot.”

Randall: “He’s not gonna stop, is he?



Edlu: “And there he goes…”

Neldon: over comms “Oh jeez I’m so sorry pretend that didn’t happen please!”







Once Neldon clumsily docked with the Station, fuel transfer commenced. This would ensure Laythe Space Station had enough delta-v to reach Low Laythe Orbit.






Before Neldon left, a small payload consisting of two tiny RCS tugs and a fuel cell thingy was transferred from the Station to the Fuel Tanker. The payload was bound for Vall, not Laythe. The RCS things are for moving space station bits around and the fuel cell is to power the Knight’s IRSU equipment (solar panels don’t work here).






While the Fuel Tanker returned to Vall orbit, Laythe Space Station did a small course correction while passing Vall.


-Vall Surface-


After that adventure, another ship was attempting to reach Vall Orbit. This one was big, but did not have enough fuel to reach orbit and had no docking port for refueling. I could have fetched a claw adapter from another vessel, but with the Fuel Tanker already in space and low on fuel, there simply wasn’t enough time. Scott’s Dropship and the large tug would have to handle this.




The large tug launched, immediately followed by the Dropship. They docked in orbit for an attempt to intercept the ship.






The original plan was to use the tug’s fuel to give the Dropship extended range, then the Dropship would attach to ship using its claw. However I quickly realized that the Dropship would never be able to reach the ship due to the huge delta-V required. Instead, the Dropship’s fuel was transferred to the tug so the tug could do the intercept.






The ship is question was none other than the Ferry: a boat designing for transporting things by sea. I did not intend to park the Ferry in Vall orbit, but that would have to do for now. It would not be needed on Laythe for a while. The Ferry had a large propulsion module duct taped to the back, but it had no more fuel, and as I mentioned before there were no docking ports on the ship. Leaving only one option: Push it.




To get rid of dead weight, the small amount of remaining fuel was transferred to the Ferry, and the propulsion stage was jettisoned, leaving only the Ferry’s landing pods.




The tug maneuvered around to the back of the Ferry. The ship would have to slow down by about 1000 m/s to achieve stable orbit.






Unfortunately the makeshift tug-Ferry ship quickly lost control and spun out. The tug was repositioned once again.






Miraculously the plan actually worked, the Ferry reached orbit. It did a minor course adjustment with its landing pods and I declared the mission a success.












The Station used most of its fuel to reach a 150 km orbit.






Summer and Matt Kerman were chosen to be the first Kerbals on Laythe. A small ship, called the Kygnus Shuttle was directed the Station. This vehicle was chosen to perform the first landing because it was actually designed for atmospheric entry, unlike most other ships available. The Shuttle’s fuel tanks were topped off and the Kerbals were on their way to the surface.









Edited by RocketPilot573
Link to comment
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.

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.


  • Create New...