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The KSP Interstellar Proxima Centauri Challenge


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Ok, I think I'll try to bite. I'm using RSS + SMURFF + Far Future Technologies + No life support + EPL to expand the base

The Far Future Technologies Z-Pinch fusion drive can get me ships with over 300,000 m/s dV with a large payload. If I'm reading things right, that should mean I should be able to put the ships at 0.3-0.5c and have enough to circularize at Proxima and then maneuver to Proxima B, right?

How do I go about burning towards Proxima Centauri? Do I get into solar orbit (so the navball doesn't become a mess when leaving Earth' SOI), select Proxima as a target, point the ship towards the target using the navball and fire the engines?

As I see it, the mission profile is as follows:

The travel times should be fast enough so the fission reactors powering the ships (and keeping the fusion fuel tanks cooled) don't run out. Rtgs wouldn't last the journey and solar panels will only be useful once close to Proxima. And without power, I loose the fuel and can't slow down at the destination.

The target planet has no moon to serve as a gas station, a 54km high atmosphere which only gets thick below 5-10km, so it's hard to use to slow down, and it takes about 8,000-9,000 dv to land or achieve orbit.

Nertea's FFT engines tend to be useless in an atmosphere, except for the nuclear salt water engine. But considering it's a colonization and not a "let's irradiate the whole place" mission, a ground rule of not using NSW engines inside B's atmosphere must be established. For the same reason, ships can't stage away nuclear thermal engines while in the atmosphere or in suborbital flight.

So in other words, landers have to use conventional engines or, if they use nuclear thermal, they must be SSTO (or more precisely, Single Stage to the Surface). LH2 can't be kept in the tanks for such a long trip without boil off, and even methalox may strain the electric power budget for the trip. So it's either LFO ships, or they use LH2, but will carry ore and convert it into LH2 once in the orbit of Proxima B. The ore tanks can be used as pretended shields against high velocity particles during the journey (yes, yes, they aren't modeled in KSP, but let's pretend it's important)

A scansat satellite should also be brought, in order to find a good base site and also to explore Proxima C.

So, the tentative plan is as follows:

A space station with a large centrifugal habitat carries the kerbals. This ship doesn't land, and will remain in orbit around B.

One single stage to surface lander with a nuclear thermal aerospike. The landing will be assisted with parachutes. Since it uses LH2, it will travel with the tanks dry and an ore tank attached to the top in order to produce the fuel in orbit (oh, yes, a moon would have been so convenient). In can also work as an SSTO for the colony, but without a moon, it can't refuel in orbit, so once it reaches orbit, it can't go down again.

Two barely mobile bases made with Planetary Base Systems, one for ore mining (and fuel production) and nuclear fuel recycling, the other for EPL and OSE Workshop production. They will be delivered with spaceplanes, which can stay in the low atmosphere long enough to slow down - they'll use inflatable heat shields to provide additional drag. Their hopefully controlled litobrake will be parachute assisted. If the spaceplanes survive, they'll serve to explore the place. Since I won't be able to reliably aim at the landing site, the bases will drive there using Bon Voyage. The bases mass is in the 16-18 tons range.

A scansat satellite with a vasimir engine will be delivered with some of these ships.

 

EDIT: Huh... right, no. The speed of light is about 300,000 km/s. 300,000 m/s is one thousands of that

Edited by juanml82
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