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Early Career Mun Landing


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I was watching a new KSP player streaming, and he was trying for a Mun landing early in his career game.  Like a lot of new players he was smitten with SRB's... because they are cheap.  I told him with the parts he had, he could do it with no SRB's and the rocket would be easier to control.  I didn't have an early career Mun lander saved in my own game to show him.  So I built a new one and tested it from launch pad to Mun landing, and back to Kerbin landing.  So I figured I would post it up in case any new players were stuck and needed ideas.

 

There are many variations of rockets capable of getting you to the Mun & back.  For this particular build you'll need to first upgrade your launch pad & VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) to level 2.  Also, it's certainly possible to get there & back WITHOUT upgrading the tracking station... and I encourage you to try.  Now granted I'm not a new player, so if you try this rocket you may not make it on your first attempt.  Keep trying!  I promise it will do the job.

 

A quick tip I like to give new players:  It is recommended before executing a maneuver node, or doing a major engine burn, that you press Alt+F5.  This allows you to make a game save and give it a unique name.  To reload press Alt+F9.  By using Alt F5 instead of just F5 alone, you can make incremental saves throughout a mission.  This is useful for practicing a particular situation... like the descent from orbit and the actual landing. 

 

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nice guide, works well for the tech i can see on the rocket.   and helps to show how liquid boosters are more efficient, tho more expensive.

 

also i almost feel like im cheating sometimes cause  playing on normal, if one doesnt care about looks, you can get away with taking out the service bay and just surface attach the gear inside to the side of the rocket and pod.. while not ideal,  you really dont need your launch  to be perfect,  and itll help keep the lander shorter, which would help newer players handle any slope they came down on.   you can then just pull all the results.  this will also help with the re-entry pod, and youd only need 1 parachute with no need to worry about the bay being crushed.

then once you get the fairings you can just have them surface attached under them lol i cant think of the last time i actually used a service bay lol

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Nice post and pictures.  A bit of wow, though: that's a LOT of ship.  Some small adjustments and some solar panels, and that can bounce around the Kerbol system, particularly if you goof off with Eve's gravity assists.  Playing with the fuel flow and building in early asparagus on that gets you ~7,170 d/v from the pad (I just built it in my own game to fiddle with it).  Also, you'd only need the two radial chutes for the weight. The nose is overkill and that nets you a little d/v.  Brings the ship in at 29,060 roots (in hard). A single extra tank on each of the early dropped asparagus setups brings you to 7,618 d/v.  You can easily intercept and orbit Eeloo with that, though you won't land there.

Now, I realize you're bringing a ton of science along, but for an early Mun Landing, a single upgrade to the pad is all you need for a consistent flyer that's cheap:

9xQQQYD.png

30 tons, 30 parts.  Thumper SRBs give you a lot of bang for little part count in the early stages of career.

That ship runs a T30 on the tail after the BACC's run out, finishes orbital insertion on the Terrier, which also handles the Mun injection burn, Mun orbital burn, and most of the braking burn.  The spark on the tail is what you land with and come home on.  Aero at 42k to keep from detonating during insertion.

Now, if you want to bring your science along, you'll absolutely have to beef up your available part count, but can still be done on the cheap:

FrvQw5o.png

1 more Thumper and a spare FL-T100 on the lander is all the modifications that needs when adding in the heat shield, cargo bay, 200 battery, goo/therm/pressure.  38 tons, 41 parts, 18k in roots.  Cash is important in early career, so I absolutely recommend SRBs once you get the Thumpers.  The Trashcans are meh, they're fine for very early orbiting but aren't really needed.  At 850/Thumper, they're cheaper than just the engine of a T30 (1,100) or a T-45(1,200), nevermind the fuel, and have more ASL TWR than any of the other engines you have available at that moment, so you don't have to start throwing engines at it to lift more engines.

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  • 2 weeks later...

No solar panels?  A bit risky for my blood.  I like to unlock electricity first.  This means solar panels (and I can hit Minmus first, while you *can* get to the Mun without solar panels, it is a mad rush to get back before your power runs out [not sure how turning off batteries works in 1.2]) *and* Probododyne OKTOs.  OKTOs let you send Bill instead of Jeb or Val and get full science for every biome you encounter.

Is the service module really needed?  Even Jeb (and Val) can spacewalk out, take the science, and then bring it home for full value even if the instruments are burned up.  And you *will* unlock spacewalking if only to plant that flag (you certainly want the soil sample: it has the highest science value of anything).

If you have unlocked fuel transfer (I think it requires a science upgrade, so it doesn't buy you much else when funds are tight), you don't need both LV-909 engines.  Just put one on top of the capsule (the side chutes are included in the original rocket) and keep pumping the top fuel to the bottom fuel tank.  While it barely saves you any mass, saving mass in the second stage is always good (but likely not enough to justify upgrading the science building just for that ... although if you can stretch this into a multiple biome Minmus rocket it probably would be.  Definitely check the delta-v delta from slapping additional thumpers (and attach them directly to the other thumpers, you don't want to pay the funds or the parts in adding additional decouplers).

Finally, I would only suggest adding solar panels and the service module delete for new players.  While spacewalking is tricky, this is the easiest spacewalking to do and a good place to start.  Pumping fuel while getting into orbit probably isn't a good idea until you can achieve orbit in your sleep.  Do not underestimate the shear thrust nor the cheap delta-v SRBs can provide.  And once you unlock both kickbacks and AV-R8 winglets (the ones that give you the control you need) it is hard to justify using anything else as a first stage (unless recovered). [Hint: often you can get away with aligning two AV-R8's North and South (for East-West control).  This lets you control the gravity turn and rely on SAS for North-South control [which should be minor]].

PS.  Once simple trick is to use a single LV-T45 and change the rest to LV-T30s.  This works even better once you unlock fuel lines and switch to asparagus staging (the LV-45 is slightly more efficient in vacuum, but I suspect the lower mass of the LV-T30 helps enough even without aspargus tricks.

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Just some thoughts on the OP design, you can remove the 2 radial chutes if you put the service bay after the decoupler- you could lose out on some Kerbin science though. 2 drogues and the top chute will land the command pod, lander can and a heat shield, it may work for this while cutting some weight (lately I've had a few Mun returns with < 10 fuel left so I'm a bit mass crazy these days).

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The 6 failed tries :P to land on the Mun for me was because of my crappy landing skills. The rockets on this thread are similar to my failed designs, but on my actual Mun landing I went for an insanely overpowered rocket and I had 2k delta v on the Mun...

No risks involved, only 30k funds.

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks for the idea, Pi_. Great idea to have the Swivel engines, by the way. I kept using Reliant in the past, but it's caused my ship to wobble more times than I can count. Thanks to Swivel, keeping the ship in a straight line has never been easier and more cost-effective.

Getting to Mun was easy - and timing the Hohmann Transfer was medium-difficulty - but landing was the hard part. I modified your design to transport an unmanned probe with scientific equipment instead of a capsule; I was able to get it on the moon, but something blew up upon impact. Despite being unable to get it off the Mun, I was able to transmit all the scientific data as planned.

* that's pretty much the reason why I started with a probe in the first place. I knew I would suck at landing it, so I chose the safe route.

Crewed or not, I recommend installing flashlights on the bottom of your lander so you can see where your craft is going, regardless of which side of the moon you're on. Don't forget the solar panels, too.

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  • 8 months later...
On 12/5/2016 at 1:59 AM, The Space Dino said:

The 6 failed tries :P to land on the Mun for me was because of my crappy landing skills. The rockets on this thread are similar to my failed designs, but on my actual Mun landing I went for an insanely overpowered rocket and I had 2k delta v on the Mun...

No risks involved, only 30k funds.

Could you post your design?  I need that extra delta V.

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On 11/20/2016 at 2:58 PM, WanderingKid said:

Nice post and pictures.  A bit of wow, though: that's a LOT of ship.  Some small adjustments and some solar panels, and that can bounce around the Kerbol system, particularly if you goof off with Eve's gravity assists.  Playing with the fuel flow and building in early asparagus on that gets you ~7,170 d/v from the pad (I just built it in my own game to fiddle with it).  Also, you'd only need the two radial chutes for the weight. The nose is overkill and that nets you a little d/v.  Brings the ship in at 29,060 roots (in hard). A single extra tank on each of the early dropped asparagus setups brings you to 7,618 d/v.  You can easily intercept and orbit Eeloo with that, though you won't land there.

Now, I realize you're bringing a ton of science along, but for an early Mun Landing, a single upgrade to the pad is all you need for a consistent flyer that's cheap:

9xQQQYD.png

30 tons, 30 parts.  Thumper SRBs give you a lot of bang for little part count in the early stages of career.

That ship runs a T30 on the tail after the BACC's run out, finishes orbital insertion on the Terrier, which also handles the Mun injection burn, Mun orbital burn, and most of the braking burn.  The spark on the tail is what you land with and come home on.  Aero at 42k to keep from detonating during insertion.

Now, if you want to bring your science along, you'll absolutely have to beef up your available part count, but can still be done on the cheap:

FrvQw5o.png

1 more Thumper and a spare FL-T100 on the lander is all the modifications that needs when adding in the heat shield, cargo bay, 200 battery, goo/therm/pressure.  38 tons, 41 parts, 18k in roots.  Cash is important in early career, so I absolutely recommend SRBs once you get the Thumpers.  The Trashcans are meh, they're fine for very early orbiting but aren't really needed.  At 850/Thumper, they're cheaper than just the engine of a T30 (1,100) or a T-45(1,200), nevermind the fuel, and have more ASL TWR than any of the other engines you have available at that moment, so you don't have to start throwing engines at it to lift more engines.

Are these designs still valid?  I'm trying to build your bottom one and the stats just don't work out.  I can't get into orbit, get to Mun, Land, take off and get back with that little bit of engine.  I do have a bit more weight up top and I'm not leaving the science jr. at home because I need to recover all the science.  But even if I switch to 4 SRB's it's not enough.

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19 minutes ago, jpinard said:

Are these designs still valid?  I'm trying to build your bottom one and the stats just don't work out.  I can't get into orbit, get to Mun, Land, take off and get back with that little bit of engine.  I do have a bit more weight up top and I'm not leaving the science jr. at home because I need to recover all the science.  But even if I switch to 4 SRB's it's not enough.

You'd prolly have more success starting your own thread asking for help with early Mun lander designs than poking around in 3 year old threads. :wink:

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  • 1 month later...
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