Nittany Tiger

[Hiatus] Another Voyage Ares Mission, and A KSP'ers Crash Course in Realism Overhaul.

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52 minutes ago, Nittany Tiger said:

I could just patch your MEM to 1.2.2 myself so you can focus on 1.3.  If it's a MM config, I can do it myself.  I've been learning to use MM more with a custom tech tree mod I've been making, so I can update the DEM RO patch to 1.2.2 if needed so you can focus on the 1.3 patch.

I don't know what's different between RO for 1.1.3 and RO for 1.2.2., but I'm confident that either the MEM patch will work find as-is, or it'll just need some tweaks.

Also, some of the KSP modders tell me the Saturn VB was supposed to only have 128" SRBs, and they were more akin to the RSRMs than the Titan UA series.  I need to thumb through the book myself to verify this, but if this is true, it's going to require new launch tests followed by potential changes to part weights and the kOS script.  Fun.  I might just make different versions of the Saturn VB with different SRB configs to see if they all can fly with the Ares command stack.

I'm so much not going to discourage that. :D

You were a great help getting the original RO MM patch done.  The issues I found with the 1.2 config was the RCS.  Because stock did use ModuleRCS, and RO used ModuleRCSFX, but now stock uses ModuleRCSFX as well, some of the patching just didn't work.  And my 5 minute attempt at getting it working led no-where, and I wasn't sure why.  And now I've been trying to rebuild a 1.2.2 RO+RSS install, but between mods that have updated past 1.2.2 and mods that haven't, I haven't got that behaving just yet.  I think I need to go back and clear the whole thing out and manually install all the things.  CKAN does NOT like old versions.

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25 minutes ago, Nittany Tiger said:

I didn't do much other than test your craft in RO 1.1.3.  You did all of the coding.  Still nice to help someone out.

Crashing all those poor kerbals into Mars takes a lot of time.  I did a fair chunk of that too, but there was quite a bit of backwards and forwards, try this, try that.  

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1 minute ago, TiktaalikDreaming said:

Crashing all those poor kerbals into Mars takes a lot of time.  I did a fair chunk of that too, but there was quite a bit of backwards and forwards, try this, try that.  

It does, but I was practicing landing on Mars so I didn't go all the way to Mars to make cheesecake-flavored Kerbal pancakes.  Hyperedit became my simulator for most of the Ares mission.  I still fudge up landings in stock KSP, so I wanted to make sure I could pull it off in RSS.

It did give you some feedback on how the craft flies in RSS, though I didn't use the ballute and chute due to trying to stick to the book's version of the landing.  Using airbrakes throws that out of the window, but still fun to try to land the MEM without the chutes and ballutes.  I have a procedure down to the point where I could have kOS do it for me.

Voyage's MEM is pretty much the NAR MEM except with metylox fuel (CH3/LO2 instead of CH3/FLOX) and no chutes/ballutes.  From what I've read in the book, everything else is the same.

I still need to read up on the SRBs for the Saturn VB, because if they are 128" SRBs, then I might need to trim some weight.  I might need to anyway because I suspect there's not enough dV in the Ares propulsion stack to do the mission, and my Ares stack is, as far as I know, built exactly like the book specifies.

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Mini update just in case I can't make one due to having the forum bug going around.

1. Ported Saturn VB model over to KSP 1.2.2 with RSS+RO.  It's a bit wobbly.  Might have to rebuild it, or part of it. (EDIT: Forgot KSP 1.2.2 had autostruts).

2. Found out from the book that the Saturn VB in Voyage did use the Space Shuttle RSRMs, or at least something like them.  Therefore, I have some rebalancing to do.

3. Had to abort my last attempt at the mission.  A problem I thought I fixed way back hit me, which is LH2 boil-off.  I could swear I set my tanks to cryogenic, and I tested cryogenic FASA parts and I could swear they didn't boil-off the LH2 within days. (I do have a mod called Heat Pump for this now).

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Edited by Nittany Tiger

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I got the Saturn VB version 2 flying. 

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I had to trim some weight in the Ares Command Stack because the RSRMs aren't as powerful as the UA-1564s.  Meant less fuel in the Apollo CSM, less fuel in the OMM, less RCS fuel in the Ares Mission Module, and rebuilding the life support system with CO2 filters and a water recycling system.

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I did manage to get the weight down enough for the new Saturn VB to make orbit. 

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This also means more dV for the Ares itself when it goes to Mars since the only changes so far to the Ares Propulsion Module are the addition of heat pump radiators to prevent boil-off.

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Turns out I was wrong about KSP's patched conics having an issue with gravity assists.  After discussing it with people in the Principia thread, turns out I can do the flyby proper without Principia.

I had some suspicions that it was a bad trajectory, but went with the idea that stock patched conics was wrong.  Oh well.  Learn something new every day.

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Made a change to the Ares Propulsion Stack.  Changed the design and texture to more match the description in the novel.

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Also added radiators from the Heat Pump mod to prevent H2 boil-off and separation motors.

Edited by Nittany Tiger

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On 29/09/2017 at 6:32 PM, Nittany Tiger said:

I did manage to get the weight down enough for the new Saturn VB to make orbit. 

 

Do you find the TLS components inordanitly heavy?  It difficult to determine the exact weights supplies should be, but I always seem to find these components add more mass that I would expect.

Oh any by the way, nice builds!  Keep going, I like it!

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TLS base resources are pretty heavy.  That's why I switched to using converters.  I saved some weight by adding a CO2 scrubber and enough water filtration for three crew.  There's no way AFAIK to produce food with TAC LS, so I just packed enough for the trip and some extra.

Fuel also added quite a lot of mass, so I ended up removing fuel from the CSM, OMM, and AMM RCS tank.  The CSM in Voyage actually is described as having more RCS and less AJ-10 SPS fuel than the Block II that was used to go to the Moon.  It's because the SPS is only used to de-orbit after the mission is complete.

And thank

2 hours ago, Wallygator said:

Oh any by the way, nice builds!  Keep going, I like it!

Thanks.  A year on and off working on this and I hope to get a good mission in soon.  Going to make another practice attempt today.  Should have more dV for the whole trip, and took care of boil-off, though it's not a canon solution to the problem.

Furthermore, decided to work on another key craft in the Voyageverse.

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It's the infamous Apollo-N rocket.  Spent a day putting this together, and had some help fitting the long NERVA's mount to the S-IVB tank.  Might also put together Skylab Wet Workshop and Moonlab as well.

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Started the second full attempt after the updates and changes to the craft.

Images here: https://imgur.com/a/DbZhA

Some highlights:

B7FCA0E604FDA2AC5E9E98BD9CBE957B80B2A1AF

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Also, I really like Principia's target-relative body-centered reference mode.  Really makes planning rendezvous easier when you get to understanding it.

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Edited by Nittany Tiger

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More cool shots from this current mission run:

Approaching the Ares Propulsion Module:

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Natalie York's view of the approaching propulsion stack:

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Docking:

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Those silvery tanks do look nice.

Also, a blooper.  Some bad driving on my part.

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No broken parts.  Just scratches.  I'm sure the crew will make Natalie get out there and buff them being the rookie and all. :P

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Rough month.  Also still learning Principia, so TCI took more than one try.  Especially annoying when playing RSS at 5 FPS on a 2-year-old laptop.

Anyway, more screenshots.

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I've hit a snag.  I have worked weeks to try and recreate the flight path of Ares in KSP using both RSS with and without Princpia.  The main problem is that I can't seem to get a proper trajectory that approaches Venus from the correct vector to allow a dark-side flyby that boosts Ares to Mars.  All of the trajectories I can find either through guided trial-and-error and using flyby finding software for KSP always produce a light-side flyby option.  I'm not sure what I'm getting wrong to not get the proper Earth-Venus flight path.

For reference, here's the flight path given in the book (in Spanish.  I can't find an English version, though I could scan my copy of Voyage and post the flight plan there):

ares_1.jpg

This represents the Earth-Venus ellipse I typically get:

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The only ellipse that intercepts Venus has a lower perihelion than the one in the book.  I have tried to match the perihelion of my E-V ellipse and I usually get a path that doesn't intercept Venus.  This is both in the patched conics model and n-body model.  I can say that maybe I should vary my starting inclination, but I feel that varying the normal vector for the burn covers all possible starting inclinations.

I'm sure I'm missing something.  I think I might end up doing a mathematical and physical analysis to see if the trajectory in Voyage is possible.  I've been very tempted to do that, but thought it might be too much work compared to maneuver node trial and error.  However, it might be necessary now, and I have some ideas on how to tackle that problem.

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Update!  Thank you everyone for following this thread over the years of this project.  I expected to have it done much sooner.

This project isn't dead.  I won't let it die until it's finished.  I've just had a combination of real life issues and snags in the project slow things down.  I thought I was actually near completion, but it turns out that recreating the trajectory in KSP is going to take a lot of work.  I could just accept a non-canon trajectory, but I really want to adhere to canon here.

I did try to find the trajectory using mathematics with patched conics, but things blew up in difficulty when trying to convert the hyperbolic trajectory equation from a Venus inertial frame to a solar inertial frame.  I was hung up on trying to incorporate the movement of Venus around the sun and converting true anomalies between co-ordinate systems.  I researched astronavitation and learned a lot though, and I learned how hard it is to find these trajectories analytically.  It was also very sobering to not be able to find the equation for the trajectory of the craft in the solar inertial frame while it is near Venus.  I did get an implicit equation after weeks of hard and frustrating work, but it was very large and I feel might be erroneous somewhere.

Luckily @icedown introduced me to a couple of programs that may help me out.  One is a TOT for planning real missions.  It's like KSP TOT, but uses the real solar system, not RSS, and it works a little differently from KSP TOT.  The other is called GMAT, and this tool looks to be extremely flexible an able to find what I want.  It has a learning curve, but I've climbed the majority of it.

So, I've been playing with TOT and GMAT after giving up on hand math and trying to get GMAT to find me that opposition-class path to Mars with the dark-side Venus flyby.  Hopefully, KSP with RSS and Principia does a good enough job approximating the real motions and interactions of the planets so that what I find in GMAT works in KSP.  If not, I'm sure there are options that involve some config file tweaking.

I still think the hardest part to come will be the video of this I want to do, if I ever get to that stage.  I've never done extensive video editing and machinima.  I don't think it'll be a problem for me to learn it and practice it, though.

Edited by Nittany Tiger

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Hey everyone.  Happy New Year.

Been busy with GMAT.  I finally got it to find a possible opposition class trajectory that's a dark-side flyby.  Took trial and error, and I wish I had the optimizer, but I made do.

What I ended up doing was placing Ares at Venus, using numbers from the book to construct the equation of the hyperbolic trajectory, and then using GMAT to first make some initial guesses on unknown variables like the hyperbolic flyby RAAN (or LAN), AOP, and inclination such that the first heliocentric elliptical leg intercepts Earth.  This meant using backwards propagation.  Then I ran GMAT's differential correction solver to get a decent solution varying the AOP and inclination.  LAN was kept at 180 degrees in a MJ2000 Ecliptic frame of reference.

So my solution for the Earth-Venus leg is as follows (all legs start and end at local true anomalies of zero degrees):

Quote

Incoming Venus Hyperbolic Trajectory for 300 km x 300 km at 30 degree Earth Parking Orbit (Venus Periapsis at Epoch September 8, 1985 13:30:00 UTC):

Semi-Major Axis = -3886.324399392418;
Eccentricity = 3.862999999965818;
Inclination = 12.32453159993468;
Longitude of Ascending Node = 180.1027846691773; (essentially 180 degrees)
Argument of Periapsis = 193.9647251911217;

Outgoing Hyperbolic Trajectory from Earth (Date of Depature: March 19, 1985 20:04:33 UTC):

Earth Inertial Reference Frame.
Semi-Major Axis  =  -23152.527345666 km
Eccentricity  =   1.2881298535348
Inclination  =   30.000257091855 deg (Was seeking 30 degree exit vectors, so this is arbitrary).
Longitude of Ascending Node =   309.97919903028 deg
Argument of Periapsis  =   355.30633851878 deg
 

Delta V for this maneuver is:

Quote

Periapsis Velocity of Outbound Hyperbola - Circular Velocity of 300 km orbit    

=   11.692729135514 km/s - 7.72989184736 km/s = 3.96283728815 km/s

I'm sure I can optimize this dv.

Solution for the Venus - Mars leg is as follows:

Quote

Outgoing Venus Hyperbolic Trajectory (Epoch: September 8, 1985 13:30:00 UTC)

Semi-Major Axis = -3886.324399392418;
Eccentricity = 3.862999999965818;
Inclination = 10.33418586441924;
Longitude of Ascending Node = 180.1027846691773; (180 degrees)
Argument of Periapsis = 194.4475339762178;

Incoming Mars Hyperbolic Trajectory (B * T = -8000 km, B * R = 0 km, Date of Arrival: March 20th, 1986 2:35:41 UTC):

Mars Inertial Reference Frame:

Semi-Major Axis  =  -1397.8974151936 km
Eccentricity  =   5.8095925481319
Inclination =   158.31103503134 deg
Longitude of Ascending Node =   31.359965934326 deg
Argument of Periapsis  =   189.91163411424 deg

Delta V to insert into Martian Orbit is:

Quote

Periapsis Velocity of Inbound Hyperbola - Circular Velocity Orbit at Periapsis (3333 km)

= 6.5861900693487 km/s - 2.52391085251 km/s = 4.06227921684 km/s

This is a very high insertion orbit.  Definitely not going to aim for a 3333km circular orbit.  Entering into the more subtle 354 km x 20296 km orbit (the canon one) would take 2.141 km/s of dv.

There are some oddities with the orbits as they transition between reference frames, but I guess the canon trajectory is very much realistic.  Question is now is it possible in KSP RSS?  I'd say the worst case scenario is that I have to force the planets into whatever epochs they were in IRL.  Hopefully, Principia will allow me to get the proper or near-proper epochs just from running time forward in the game using the Principia gravity model.

Hoping this last big hurdle to doing this mission is behind me.

P.S. So the trajectory drawn in the book is wrong.  In fact, the book mentions Ares coming closer to the sun than Venus at one point.  So, yeah, can't trust the shape of that trajectory at all.  The Earth-Venus ellipse I get is actually more accurate compared to the real trajectory.

Edited by Nittany Tiger

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Status update on this project.

So I haven't been active on this project for months due to personal issues, and unfortunately personal issues and life issues keep slowing this project down so that it's now been over a year since I started it.  My end goal was just to make a video, but I feel I've taken so long on that now.  I'm not sure how long it takes some users to make KSP videos, but I don't think it's a year and a half.  However, I did start this without having played much RSS, and I did shoot for realism along with wanting to automate the launch, so that's taken time.  Overall, though, having so many delays and taken so much time on this doesn't make me feel productive, and I fear people losing interest in this before I ever put out that video or anything else.

There's also the issue of hardware limitations.  I've been working off of a gaming laptop ever since I started this, and I cannot afford anything else then or at this time.  I would love something more powerful so I can play my RSS install without a 20-minute burn taking an hour, but I can only work with what I have.  I don't even know if my laptop can handle running KSP and recording footage as well.

Point is, I was hoping to have a faster pace with this project because I wanted to move on to other projects after this.  I have had some good ideas with Voyage videos, though, such as videos of the other missions down to an entire machinima of the book, but the latter would take a lot of time.

Either way, I do want to finish this and make a video.  I guess I'm just afraid of taking too long on this and thus putting out a video that no-one really cares about in the end.

In the meantime, I've had an idea for an interim video that would be easier to produce.  I was thinking of a video along the styles of 1980's Shuttle launch news broadcasts such as this:

Wouldn't have the TV anchors, but it would have the graphics and feel of a TV broadcast from the 1980s.  This could be my way of learning video editing and game recording for the main video.

Also, not sure if I want to do a single Ares video or a series of videos.  A series of videos could let me show more detail in the mission.  They could also be in the news style, could be typical videos with music, or could have commentary.  Whatever people like, I'll do.

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Maybe just have videos of each notable piece of the Ares vehicle? (So the core engines, one of the side drop tanks, an example tanker launch and the grand finale of the Ares crew stack.)

I personally never read Voyage, but the Ares mission profile is very interesting. I may attempt to try the STS Mars plan someday.

Edited by T-10a

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1 hour ago, T-10a said:

Maybe just have videos of each notable piece of the Ares vehicle? (So the core engines, one of the side drop tanks, an example tanker launch and the grand finale of the Ares crew stack.)

I personally never read Voyage, but the Ares mission profile is very interesting. I may attempt to try the STS Mars plan someday.

Most of the Ares vehicle is just repurposed Saturn V hardware.  Not sure if it's that notable other than having a few upgrades.  For me, the mission itself is a lot more notable.

I could do the assembly missions though.  I thought about it many times.  Those aren't in the book, but there are plans for it done up by fans.

I had an idea before to do videos on all of the notable missions of Voyage.  That would include Apollo 11 (with Joe Muldoon replacing Buzz Aldrin), Skylab 1 and 2, Moonlab 1, Apollo N, Ares E' (Gershon's MEM test flight), the assembly flights, and then Ares proper (Ares F?  I forget if it had a letter).  Dunno if I'd include the ill-fated Ares A-2 flight since that would be a short video and an event that I don't think can be reproduced properly in KSP.  I mean, I can reproduce some of the events and make a rocket explode, but not in the way the book details it.  It would just be anticlimactic.

Again, I'm thinking if I do Ares proper, I might do episodes instead of one long video.  Episode 1 can be the assembly flights, episode 2 can be the crew launch, episode 3 rendezvous, episode 4 Venus flyby, episode 5 Mars intercept and Mars orbital insertion, Episode 6 the Mars landing, and Episode 7 would be the Mars surface ops, return, and trip home.

These are just ideas.

Still thinking of post-Ares missions as well like Ares II or a Titan visit.

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Yes, this project is on hiatus.

Real life stuff getting in the way.  Plus, I'm not sure if my laptop can do video recording and editing.  It may, but not sure, and it would be at an atrocious frame rate with how I have KSP 1.2.2 + RSS/RO set up.

Plus, trying to land on Eve for fun.

I promise not to let this project die, but it's been hard to motivate myself to do it lately, which is not good since I really wanted to finish this.

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On 5/26/2018 at 12:45 AM, Nittany Tiger said:

 I'm not sure if my laptop can do video recording and editing.

What laptop do you have?

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Hey everyone.  Just want to give an update concerning this project.  I hope it's OK that I update a thread that is warning me about reviving it, but it is my thread, and it's relevant information about this project.

I hope to start back work at the end of this year.  A lot of what's holding me back is personal stuff and not knowing if I can finish this on my laptop.  My 1.2.2 RSS/RO install became very laggy when part mods, visual mods, and Principa were all installed.  I hope to resolve this by only installing necessary parts in KSP RSS/RO 1.3.1.1.

When I restart this project, I will rebuild the Saturn VB with DECQ's Saturn V model and RSB's RSRMs.  I might try to create my own custom part for the Ares Mission Module to save on part count.  Might ask a good friend to help me with Blender on that front.  Also can't wait to use @AlphaMensae's launchpads mod for realistic Saturn V launch pads and launch towers.

As far as the Ares Propulsion Module, I may keep the current one, which will require me to install some FASA parts, or I may switch to another Saturn V parts pack (Either DECQ or even BDB).  Could create custom external tanks to save part count as well.

Going to also make tweaks and bug fixes to the Saturn VB launch guidance script.  I want to smooth out that pitch change after the guidance mode shifts from gravity turn to inertial guidance.  I also suspect my current ascent profile is not the most efficient.

If I can get a new desktop around New Years or later in the year, it should definitely make things easier since I hopefully won't have to deal with severe lag in the game.  I should also be able to record the game without much fear of crippling lag.

I definitely want to try the idea of a newscast or even a machinima of the book, but I'll have to see what's feasible when I get to that point.  Even with knocking out the things to do above, I still need to practice the flyby and flight to Mars a few times.

In the meantime, I am working on an Ares mission for the Making History mission builder.  That will be in stock KSP and not RSS/RO, obviously.  I'll create a new thread about it once I feel it's ready for testing and almost ready for release.

Edited by Nittany Tiger

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