HSP: The Eve problem.

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Great looking double-torus station!

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Getting this update done turned out to be a bit of an adventure, partly because I wanted to get in the return of Daring 4, which kind of turned out to be further off than I thought, and partly because I wasted a few more days experimenting with my 1.3.0 setup for my still-hypothetical next career. (See boring stuff for more on that.) With the end of Daring 4 and the departure from Jool of Daring 6, I've now pretty much finished all the "easy" targets--only Laythe, Tylo, Jool and Eve remain. Preparations for those missions will probably start in the next update with test flights of the Laythe and Eve landing craft, but the actual missions might take a while to get underway, since I'd like to send a few more unkermanned missions to those targets before risking kerbals on any of them. The current plan is for the next major kermanned expedition to be Daring 7 to Laythe, but that may change.


Boring stuff:


A few smallish mod changes this time: I've (reluctantly) uninstalled SVT and Kopernicus--they looked great, and were perfectly playable most of the time, but they just made surface ops too laggy to be practical. I may run into this problem again if/when I install OPM, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I also installed Slingshotter, which predicts the future positions of ships and planets, mainly to help with the Philosophy 1 series of Eve flybys. (And then uninstalled it, because it was causing weird amounts of lag in the tracking station, but I'll put it back in if I need it again.)

And of course I'm still thinking about the next-save question. One idea I've been kicking around would be to have two space agencies competing against each other in a kerballized space race (I believe @NotAgain is doing something a bit like this). They'd be in the same save and use the same career mode resources, but have differing agendas and possibly incompatible hardware. Might make things a little more interesting, since I'd be able to come up with two different solutions to the same problems. With this idea in mind I've been messing with KSC Switcher configs for GPO, so the two agencies could have separate launch sites.

Two mods I'm especially looking forward to in the next save are BARIS (which I'll most likely use instead of KCT for both ship construction and part failures) and Kessler Syndrome (both for the titular effect and for the orbital decay function), which I think will make things a lot more interesting, especially paired with the two-different-space-agencies idea, an unfamiliar planetary system, and a life support mod (probably Snacks!). This should make the new save a little more exciting than HSP where, let's face it, most mission reports have boiled down to "everything pretty much went to plan," with only a few notable exceptions (one of which is in this update, as it happens). In the new save I should be able to take my time and have fun dealing with things going wrong.

TL;DR: Uninstalled SVT (too much lag), installed Slingshotter, still thinking about ideas for next save.




Dauntless 2101 takes off on its first full crew rotation.


Sanity, Philosophy, Lucidity: the Eve probe fleet.



Of the three unkermanned probes launched to Eve at the last window, mapping orbiter Sanity 4 was the first to arrive; it returned data on subsurface ore deposits that may be used to refuel future kermanned landers.



Philosophy 1 completed the first of three planned flybys of Eve which will lower its periapsis to near-sun space.



Lucidity 4, the Space Program's first attempt to land on Eve since the Circumspection program more than a decade ago, entered an eccentric orbit before jettisoning its transfer stage for atmospheric entry.



The entry, descent, and landing went mostly smoothly and the probe set down on the surface of Eve only about ten kilometers from the targeted site.



After the sun had risen over the landing site, Lucidity 4 deployed its solar arrays and transmitted the first science data and images from Eve's peaks.


Station Permanence: exploration of Duna.



Starbus Elizabeth arrived at Duna station Permanence with the crew of Expedition Permanence 5.



After the station was refueled by Super Aqualung 15, the crew boarded LC-2 for the first landing on Duna in several years. Engineer Chris performed an EVA to repack the lander's parachutes.



Melxie, Chris, Laselle, and Debty explored Duna's Eastern Canyon before returning to Permanence.


Daring 6: departure from Pol.



After two short hops to visit nearby biomes, Vasya and Darina lifted off and returned to Exceeds Expectations.



The landing craft was powered down and left in Pol orbit; the orbiter performed a short departure burn to put in back in orbit of Jool.



A second burn a few weeks later set Daring 6 on its way back to Kerbin; it will return in about two years.


KS-3: an unexpectedly interesting crew rotation.


(OOC: In future I don't expect to give these more than a cursory mention--the whole point of the passenger Dauntless was to save time spent on crew rotations--but seeing as this was the first one (and turned out a little more exciting than planned) I'm going into some detail just this once.)



Dauntless 2101 took off on mission KS-3, the first full Kerbin system crew rotation.



With 21 kermen aboard--20 passengers and veteran pilot Burmin--the Dauntless nearly doubled the old record set by the Vorpal/Valiance system on Hotaru Star Lines Flight 5 many years previously. (OOC: I can't be absolutely sure without sifting through thousands of old screenshots, but I believe this is a personal record across all my saves--I did once build a Mk 3 SSTO in sandbox that could have carried 4 crew and 32 passengers, but I don't think it ever flew at capacity. A "stretch" version of the Dauntless could probably match that, but I don't foresee ever needing to orbit 37 kerbals at once.)



The first stop was Kerbin station Immutability; the Dauntless picked up the old crew and dropped off Expedition Immutability 5: P3 Gemliana, E3 Mitrie, S3 Tangel and S3 Wenmy.



2101 then rendezvoused with Starbus Valerie and Super Aqualung 9; Burmin and the passengers for the Mun and Minmus transferred to Valerie while the returning Immutability crew stayed aboard 2101.



Valerie, operating at capacity for the first time with 16 passengers and pilot Burmin, departed Kerbin orbit for the Mun.



This was scientist Agalinne's departing view of Kerbin; except for Burmin, none of the kermen aboard Valerie will return for two years.



Valerie stopped first at Mun station Persistence, where it dropped off P3 Lemlock, E1 Gergun, S2 Addan, and S1 Addon and picked up the previous crew.



While Valerie waited for the sun to rise at base Constancy, a Vorpal II lifted off with Super Aqualung 17 and additional fuel for its round-trip to the surface. (And showed off our nifty new pad lighting system.)



After refueling, Valerie met rover Brevity II on the surface to swap crews for Mun base Constancy, dropping off P4 Janbe, E3 Jochelle, S4 Agalinne and S2 Temy and picking up the previous crew.



It then made a five-day transfer to Minmus, where it dropped off the first crew of station Perpetuity: P2 Eiliel, E1 Crisdia, S4 Gledia and S1 Jenra.



With Perpetuity activated, Valerie disengaged and began its descent to base Tenacity.



While the landing at Constancy was only roughly targeted for the Munar Farside Crater, the plan was for Valerie to make a precision landing at Tenacity. Everything went well until, in the final meters of the descent, Burmin set the guidance computer for landing.



He insists he pressed the same button he always did--the one at bottom-left--but because Valerie's computer was set to target the base, that button set the ship into Target mode rather than the intended Radial mode.



Burmin says the KSC engineers need to read up on things like "mode confusion" and "kerman factors engineering" and "making #$%@ buttons not all look the @#$% same." The engineers say that a veteran kerbonaut should be fully capable of the relatively simple task of pressing one button instead of a different one. In any case, Valerie was wrecked beyond any possibility of repair, although thanks to sheer dumb luck epic piloting skill, the station was not damaged in the collision. (It's worth mentioning that the only other tipped-over-lander incident in the Space Program's history--Intrepidity 20--was also commanded by Burmin. Apparently he doesn't get along with ladders or buttons.)



Fortunately, Valerie's sister ship Starbus Phoebe was available in Kerbin orbit; it rendezvoused with Dauntless 2101 and Super Aqualung 9 to take on fuel, while pilot Virlina and engineer Corrick (of the returning Immutability crew) were shanghaied into kermanning the rescue mission.



Five days later, Phoebe touched down smoothly just a few meters from the wreck of Valerie, successfully demonstrating the precision-landing and correct-button-pressing capabilities that were meant to be proved by the previous attempt.



Engineer Daphthy collected Valerie's valuable radioisotope batteries for return to Kerbin (OOC: using KIS, which isn't exactly stock but I didn't want them cluttering up the base site and adding to an already laggy situation).



Burmin, the Transience/Tenacity crew, and Valerie's stranded passengers transferred to Phoebe for the trip back to Kerbin, while P2 Jate, E4 Erithis, S3 Alvis and S3 Erigee stayed at the base. (OOC: Good thing there weren't any tourists on this trip...)



Phoebe lifted off, made a final stop at Minmus station Perpetuity to drop off some science data from the surface, and departed for Kerbin.



The crew and passengers transferred to Dauntless 2101 in low Kerbin orbit, and Burmin piloted the shuttle to a safe landing back at KSC.


Brevity II: circumnavigation of the Mun.


With Mun base Constancy running low on science data, the KSC engineers proposed a more ambitious rover expedition than usual to collect more--a full surface circumnavigation, including visits to several previously-unexplored regions. The PR department was in favor of squeezing a little more publicity out of the old Brevity II rover, and the finance department pointed out that it wouldn't require any expensive new hardware, so the administration approved the plan.

(OOC: This wasn't a true Elcano mission because it was 99% with Bon Voyage driving the rover. I have done a surface circumnavigation of the Mun in the past, and though I'm glad I did it once, I have no particular desire to repeat the experience.)


So the crew of Expedition Constancy 6 boarded the rover and headed east to their first destination, the nearside East Crater.



They then turned south to visit the previously-unexplored Twin Craters...



...traveled to the north polar region to visit a rugged highland crater...



...made a stop in the Farside Basin...



...on the way to their final objective, the East Farside Crater.



They finally returned to Constancy after a roughly week-long expedition covering approximately 1600 kilometers.



Jochelle, Janbe, Agalinne, Temy: first kermen to circumnavigate the Mun!


Daring 4: return from Eeloo.



Four years after its departure from Eeloo, Daring 4 finally approached the Kerbin system. After a final data transmission, Are We There Yet?'s orbital module was jettisoned into kerbolar orbit while the crew prepared for arrival in the command module.



With its single remaining LV-N motor, the Space Program's first nuclear vvessel took nearly half an hour to burn into a wide elliptical orbit of Kerbin, leaving just enough fuel for a deorbit burn at apoapsis.



The crew had their first view of Kerbin in nearly six years as Are We There Yet? coasted away from the planet after the insertion maneuver; this was pilot Lodald's view from the command module.



Reentry was relatively gentle by interplanetary standards, since the spacecraft was traveling at less than 3 kilometers per second (compared to 5 km/s during Daring 3's reentry from Dres).



The command module splashed down safely in the ocean; mission commander Kerzer watched the sun rise from its inflatable heat shield as the crew awaited recovery.



(OOC: Four check marks in four updates, not terrible. Of course it'll be hard to beat three checks in ONE update when Daring 6 gets back.)




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7 hours ago, Hotaru said:

(I believe @NotAgain is doing something a bit like this).

I am indeed. I'd reccomend not letting your list of agencies get out of control, like mine has. Also, a little bit of backstory/plot to the two agencies would probably be great, like the friendly (but highly politicised) rivalry between the KSA and Metkosmos, which I should honestly expand upon. *Goes and starts writing*

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Project Daredevil test series: Eve ascent vehicles.


With the completion of Daring 6's mission to explore Vall, Bop and Pol, the administration turned its attention to the four destinations left unvisited in the kerbolar system: Laythe, Tylo, Jool, and Eve. The former two the engineers believe to be relatively straightforward challenges, although they will require larger landing craft than the LLC series used by Daring 3 through 6. Jool and Eve are more difficult problems, requiring much higher combinations of thrust and impulse than have so far been demonstrated.

The engineers proposed several possible solutions to the Eve/Jool problem, including a massive nuclear-powered vehicle that would have returned four kermen from the surface of Eve or the deep atmosphere of Jool and options involving refueling a lander on the surface of Eve. In the end, the concept the administration approved was, unsurprisingly, the cheapest one: Project Daredevil, a bare-bones vehicle distantly descended from the old Manxome VI launch vehicle, equipped with new engines, a new second stage, and (for the kermanned version) a single seat inside fairing at the top.



The prototype, Daredevil "Annabelle," was rolled out to the pad and surprised everyone by successfully standing up under its own weight.



Unfortunately, it then proceeded to surprise absolutely no one by turning out to be completely unstable; it crashed into the ocean shortly after liftoff.



The second prototype, "Bonnie," with added fins, was more successful.



It achieved orbit without difficulty and the upper stage made a powered reentry and was recovered near KSC as planned.



Of course, getting it to go up (at least on Kerbin) was the easy part; now the engineers had to find out if it could go down. So the third test vehicle, "Charlotte," the first to have landing hardware installed, was rolled out on a Vorpal II rocket.



"Charlotte" survived reentry, but the engineers weren't satisfied with its performance: it showed a disturbing tendency to yaw during the highest period of deceleration, exposing the upper parts of the vehicle to reentry heating.



It also had to start its engines and burn a considerable amount of fuel in order to make a safe landing, although the engineers were satisfied with its ability to settle onto a slope without toppling over.



After a successful landing, "Charlotte" lifted off again, becoming the first vehicle ever to launch to space twice without refueling; again, its upper stage was deorbited and recovered near KSC.



Although the finance department wanted to leave it at that, the engineers figured that "kind of works" on Kerbin would translate to "doesn't work at all" on Eve, so they rolled out another one, "Daisy," with more airbrakes and parachutes.



That didn't help at all! "Daisy" also landed safely, but the engineers were forced to come to the conclusion that the only way to make the thing stable would be to add more heat shields at the top.



So, much to the annoyance of the finance department, they rolled out "Emily" on yet another Vorpal II.



To the engineers' surprise, the complicated system of girders they had rigged up to support the rear heat shield actually worked, and "Emily" remained stable through reentry.



They were less satisfied by the performance of their system for jettisoning the rear shields; "Emily" wasn't damaged, but they didn't like the idea of just assuming the rocket would be sturdier than the jettisoned girders.



So they modified the system slightly and, with the finance department breathing down their necks for having already used up a million spacebucks' worth of Vorpal IIs on test flights, rolled out what may be the most kerbal vehicle the space program has ever conceived: Daredevil "Florence."



The idea was that they could simulate the environment in which the heat shields were deployed by dragging the upper section of a Daredevil vehicle into flight backwards and then activating the system.



To their astonishment, it worked smoothly; the heat shields and their supporting girders were all jettisoned without hitting the vehicle.



They all started to celebrate, and then immediately stopped when they realized they hadn't given any thought to what would happen to "Florence" after the test was complete.



With no ability to either steer the vehicle or stop its engines, they commanded it to deploy the parachutes on the (fully-functional) Daredevil nose section.



Bizarrely, the parachutes turned out to be both fireproof (!) and big enough to overpower the four solid rockets; "Florence" landed mostly intact, which is more than could be said for the launch pad, and was recovered.


Daredevil "Ginny:" first unkermanned Eve ascent.



With the engineers finally satisfied that the Daredevil system would probably work (and the finance department flatly refusing to fund another test flight), a Vorpal III was rolled out to the repaired pad with Daredevil "Ginny," the space program's first attempt to return a payload from the surface of Eve.



A few weeks after launch, the stretched Vorpal second stage delivered the 40-ton "Ginny" into low Eve orbit.



Entry went as smoothly as the engineers could've hoped for: there were no signs of overheating or instability (although they were slightly concerned that the G-meter spent a good twenty seconds off the scale).



The heat shields were jettisoned, parachutes deployed, and "Ginny" set down smoothly on the surface of Eve.



It collected science data (to be retrieved from orbit by a future kermanned expedition), jettisoned its parachutes and airbrakes, and lifted off shortly after landing.



A few minutes later, the upper stage was safely in orbit--the Space Program's first vehicle ever to return to space from the surface of Eve! (The parachute was unnecessary, but was left on from the test vehicles because it approximates the weight of a space-suited kerman.)


The engineers were more than satisfied with "Ginny's" performance--it took off from the relatively low elevation of 1400 meters, followed a very inefficient ascent profile, and still achieved orbit with 800 meters per second worth of fuel remaining. Plans are underway for a kermanned version to go to Eve with Daring 8 at the next launch window.


Edited by Hotaru
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