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Jool-5 with 25 Kerbals

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5 Moons. 25 Kerbals. 5 Kerbals to each moon. The Jool-5 mission is *ON*.

Behold the Jool-5 Mk4, carrying Jebediah, Bill, Bob, Valentina, Megcy, Steltrice, Linissa, Kerbus, Wilsted, Rodgel, Nedrien, Jocee, Margaret, Grasie, Isathy, Cargie, Jedry, Kathvie, Gibie, Leaxy, Willa, Elbo, Payin, Steadith and Willas to the 5 moons of Jool.

Game stats:

  • Version: 1.2.1
  • All parts are stock
  • Mods: KER and the Transfer Window Planner (latter was installed halfway, but only used for some input for the return)

Jool-5 Mk4 stats:

  • 1029 parts
  • 2,997,467 funds
  • 98.6 m tall
  • 4,584.877 tons on launch (most upper tanks are empty)
  • room for 31 Kerbals (25 will board) 


The idea of the ship is explained below: A large mothership (nuclear), with 4 lander stages and a lander-core. The lander core visits all moons, and a dedicated lander stage (which itself consists of multiple stages) gets that lander core down and back up again.


The concept and the lander core was tested already on a Duna / Ike mission, and the Laythe and Tylo stages were tested before using the cheat to get the landers in orbit of those moons. 

I intend to post at least 100 pics, possibly a few more. So, below I will put several chapters in "spoilers", with some of the main pictures visible for all. 


Spoilers like this - but with more info. This is the crew. :) 



LAUNCH! Frame rate was an impressive 2 fps, and time slowed down to about 1 game second per 3 real time seconds. 


Spoiler: 9 pics of the launch to LKO


Gravity turn turned out to be a really bad idea, due to some rather poor aerodynamics choices in the design. Straight up was the only way to go.


The 1st stage (asparagus-coupled) separated with the help of some sepatrons. 

The 2nd stage was the same. The central 9 Mammoths all burned together without asparagus staging - using any fewer would result in slowing down the rocket. Still going straight up at this point.


Then at around 25-30 km, drag is low enough that the Mammoths (and reaction wheels) can control the rocket despite the air. So, a sharp (but still rather slow) turn is made to start gaining horizontal speed. Not very efficient, but at least it worked.


The rocket was pushed almost horizontal while still in the atmosphere. 


A last view of home for those Kerbals having a window seat that looks down. (This also shows how little horizontal progress was made in the first minute of the launch).


The Mammoth stage is separated (can still be seen in the distance below), and the Rhino stage takes over to get the ship in LKO. The Rhinos also just burn simultaneously - no asparagus staging is used.


Almost in LKO


The fairing comes off. By now, with some stages dropped, and the ship in space, the frame rate becomes reasonable (I am guessing 5-10 fps, so playable). The game is still slow though, going at about half speed.


Behold the lander stages. From top to bottom: Laythe (including 2 planes), Vall, Tylo and Bop/Poll. 


Once in orbit, and with the fairing gone, the solar panels extended (which were brought along more for their lavishly good looks rather than their poor efficiency out at Jool). The Jool-5 Mk4 is now a magnificent spaceship.  


The general idea is to launch for the flats of Minmus, where the ship will fill all its tanks. After fueling up, the ISRU will be disposed, and the ship will fly to Jool and back without any refueling. 

Spoiler: 8 pics of the transfer to Minmus


The ship is slow (low TWR and she turns really slow) but other than that the trip to the Minmus flats was routine. 


The Rhino stage was depleted during the burn to Minmus. The NERV stages of the mothership were given enough fuel to get to Minmus and land.

Note: KER gets the dV calculations wrong, because it is not updated to 1.2.1 yet. In reality the nukes have about 1500 m/s, which together with some help from the Rhinos is enough to get to Minmus, land and have some to spare. 


After a long burn, a Minmus encounter was found, with a low periapsis... which is just convenient.  


The ship burned a little to circularize. The waypoints of the Elcano Challenge (forum post, imgur album) are visible, but not relevant for this challenge. 


It came in over the flats a little higher than normal, to allow the ship to slowly turn.


Saving fuel was not necessary, so she just burned to kill all horizontal velocity, then gently floated down to the surface. As a result, the Jool-5 Mk4 came straight down. The lack of excitement may have added to the smiley faces in the bottom right corner.


Landing was done visually. KER shows the "Altitude (Terrain)", but that was largely misleading.  Misleading by 41 meters to be exact.


This is probably the largest single ship I put on Minmus. 


On Minmus, I tediously offloaded 25 Kerbals for the mandatory Smiley-Kerbals-with-lander-in-the-background picture. But I gotta say, it looks quite epic so that was worth the time! :)


Note: the two rovers in the background were used for the Elcano challenge. They were launched separately - and were used only to scan for a good mining location, and to pimp the picture even more. They reported ore concentrations of 12% on the Great Flats, so that was excellent. 

Spoiler below: 7 pics, launch from Minmus back to a high Kerbin orbit 


You can see by the position of Kerbin over the horizon that this pic was taken before the one above. Jeb had first planted the flag right in front of the Crew, but that made for a crappy picture. Still, it's the only shot I have with the plaque text... I figured I'd include it, even if that flag was moved. 


10 days later, with all Kerbals safely on board again, and the ship all fueled up, she was ready to go.

(I was really happy that I had attached the mining rig to the ship itself. Earlier versions (Mk1, 2 and 3) used a stationary mining rig, and a tanker-rover, which meant I had to manually fill all the tanks. This was way quicker in terms of time spent by me: just a few seconds at warp 10,000x).


The TWR was low, but sufficient to take off from Minmus with all tanks filled to the brim.  


Since it's Minmus, I steered the ship almost immediately towards the horizon. 


A last view of the Great Flats. Bye Minmus. You're a joke. Hope to be back soon to refuel some other ship. 


The ship circularized near Apoapsis (showing more Elcano waypoints).


Leaving Minmus' SoI.


During the launch from Minmus, the tanks attached to the mining rig were depleted and discarded (while still in Kerbin's SoI). 


Spoiler below of the transfer to Jool, and eventually to Laythe (in 10 pics): 


Launch to Jool was gonna be directly from the high orbit. It was a little more of a puzzle, since the orbit of Kerbin at the height of Minmus takes many days to complete... but Jool is a big target and the transfer windows allowed this strategy. The puny NERV engines would anyway be too weak to really benefit from a low dip to Kerbin which would make Mr. Oberth happy.

Below the maneuver node. Although I have the Transfer Window Planner installed, I did not use it. It suggested a really high normal dV on top of the prograde, which would mean that I had to burn a lot to get in Tylo/Laythe's plane. Instead, I found an encounter with only prograde acceleration, and a tiny mid-course correction. I haven't figured out yet how the in-game mod can let you plan a mid-course correction. The web-based tool can do that though (but I didn't use that either). 


So then it's Engines-on-until-the-map-says-Pe-at-Jool


Bye Kerbin. See you in a few years.


The bottom stage of the mothership was depleted before the end of the burn.


And then the map said Pe, and all Kerbalkind rejoiced. Importantly, the map also showed where the Kerbin and Jool planes met, for the mid-course corrections.


So, at the Ascending Node, the course was adjusted to be in the same plane as Laythe and Tylo, to allow for some gravity assists.


I tried to burn to get a Tylo assist to Laythe too, but Vall was exactly at the wrong position to burn so early to go from Tylo to Laythe. So, I postponed the fine-tuning until I was 60 days out from Jool.  

Laythe was the 1st stop, and Tylo helped a LOT. 

(In frustration with Vall's lack of cooperation at the earlier node, I saved the game, and tried to get a Laythe encounter without any gravity assists, and the difference for the Jool-5 Mk4 was probably at least 50,000 units of liquid fuel, which jeopardized the entire mission. Tylo's help was necessary - I am not sure if I did other things wrong as well... or whether the Tylo assist is really that effective). 


Hello Tylo. We will conquer you later. Val, Jeb and Wilsted are already epically excited at that prospect.


I decided to approach Laythe retrograde, for two reasons:

  1. The Periapsis was on the twilight side (with some light), instead of completely in the night. I would probably land very near to that Pe, since I planned to keep an elliptical orbit. Night landing on Laythe seemed like a bad idea.
  2. I think that it may also still be a gravity assist? Not sure. Anyway, the 1st argument won me over already... Laythe rotates quite slow, so I accepted the losses from that.



So, we got a course to Laythe.


After some years, some burns and correction burns, the crew arrived at Laythe (in a retrograde orbit, which was done on purpose).


Below, the spoiler shows in 8 pics how the lander slowed down enough to start the landing (without heat shields).


The Laythe Crew was transferred into the lander core: Megcy, Steltrice, Linissa and Kerbus.


And Jeb as the pilot.


The lander, with its two airplanes attached, separated from the mothership.

Some features:

The lander has 8 Rapier engines. The 4 outer droptanks contain some LFO, but also regular LF, and have a backwards facing air intake, so that the engines can always work in airbreathing mode (if low enough). The ship has no heat shields, because I decided that I'd rather give her extra rocket fuel, to slow down and not blow up. 


Aerobraking was used to slow the ship, because I decided to leave the mothership in an elliptical orbit, which meant that the velocity at periapsis was a few hundred m/s higher than planned. 


Heat shields would have been welcome. I needed to do some aerobraking, and without heat shields, 47,800 m was the absolute max for the ship. Stuff blew up on my first attempt at 45,000 m, so I had to reload. (In Kerbin's atmosphere, 5000 meters below space, so at 65,000m, nothing much happens, so this caught me by surprise). 


... which meant she only slowed down some 30 m/s for every pass through the atmosphere. In white: orbit of the mothership. In blue: the lander after 1 round of aerobraking.


But patience eventually paid off, and the lander got a mostly circular orbit.


At the final pass, the atmospheric analysis got REALLY hot - it was sticking out the most so received a lot of friction.


Not shown in pics: the lander made a short burn at Ap, to raise the Pe out of the atmosphere, and make the orbit roughly circular. The goal: to get more freedom to choose a good landing site. 

As soon as the lander hit the atmosphere, she slowed down using the Rapiers (in rocket-mode) so that the velocity was low enough, and nothing blew up.

The lander was supposed to be able to steer a bit, but the approach of the landing site was a little less elegant than planned: the lander was going sideways as much as she was going forward.


Below in spoiler: Laythe descent.


The fortunate result was that she slowed down more due to drag, and less fuel was needed. I am not sure what last-minute changes caused the lander to be such an aerodynamic disaster, but she performed better in the test phase, and was even able to steer a little bit. This lander however flew as well as a brick.


But luck made the lander slow down over a nice area, with some gently slopes.


The timing of the deployment of the drogues and main chutes allows for a little control over the landing area.


The main chutes were deployed quite late, on purpose.


The ground approached a little fast (because the drop tanks were still nearly full, and had not been dropped as planned). A last second burn would be needed to kill a few m/s. Since the drop tanks were full of LFO (and some LF), the rapiers were switched back to rocket-mode, for better control of the quick burst. 


It worked, and the lander came down softly. I'd like to mention that it was on the 1st try as well - no reloads after the mistakes with aerobraking. 


That moment when you take a look at the surroundings, to see where the heck you've landed, and you see this giant planet over the horizon, together with the Sun. Epic. 



I'll post more as soon as I have time (tomorrow)! Hope that the use of spoilers keeps the thread readable. 

Imgur album of these pics - contains nothing that's not already here:

Edited by Magzimum
typos and other small stuff

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So, with the lander safely on Laythe it was time for the mandatory picture-with-crew-and-lander-in-the-background. 


The two planes were offloaded for some biome hopping and science gathering (yes, I have all science unlocked already, but still made an effort).


Offloading the planes was not so easy and required a lot of wiggling around with the WASDQE keys. 


The planes have enough TWR to launch straight up, which is easy enough from a perfectly straight surface, but the tricky bit is not to crash while they are going slow and take off at an angle. 


It was a pity that the island where the crew landed only had 2 biomes: shores and dunes. (I didn't know, and only found out after plenty of flying around). Here Jeb and Megcy are on their way to the Dunes.



Jeb and Megcy probably had around 10-15 minutes of flying time before fuel ran out (the plane has a front docking port for refueling, but that's just anticipating some large Laythe base which I haven't even designed yet and may never exist).


It was tricky to find the Dunes biome, since it looks the same as the Shores biome. 


Jeb and Megcy eventually found the Dunes, managed to land without crashing, and performed some experiments. 


Spoiler below: 15 pics, flying on Laythe and getting attacked by the Laythe Kraken.


The jet performed quite well, although it was necessary to pump some fuel into the forward tank to keep it stable. 


Here Jeb wanted to do a low fly-by for extra coolness.


Unfortunately, on a 2nd low(er) flyby, a judgement error caused the plane to crash catastrophically. A reload (quicksave in mid-flight) invited the Laythe Kraken to eat the landing gear, and spit it out again at weird angles.


Oddly, on the landing gear and the seat on the right side were affected. Other parts (most notably the wings) remained in place, so the plane could still fly. Below, you can clearly see that Megcy is a little closer to Jeb. Maybe the Kraken does strange things to the crew. Romance? Aww! So cute.


Luckily, they still managed to land safely (not in the picture, I actually landed 2 km away and slowly drove back - I did not try to land near the lander, but instead looked for the flattest spot in the area). 


The second plane went out to the ocean. Linissa and Kerbus wanted to get some science from above the Shallows. Also, flying low over Laythe's shores is just cool.

(Btw, the only reason that there are 2 planes is to balance the lander: I could not figure out any way to mount only 1 plane onto the lander).


Linissa hoped to land on the tiny island, but since it was just the Shores biome she did not risk it. 


Linissa and Kerbus, looking very Kerbal.


In a reckless moment, Linissa however decided to ditch the plane into the water once they were in the Shallows (I did a quicksave before it, to make sure I did not risk my Kerbals). Surprisingly, the plane did not perform a RUD, but stayed in one piece. Extra science points! 


Even more surprisingly, the plane accelerated to about 10 m/s while still in the water... then with some wiggling with the WS keys (up/down), she actually became airborne again and managed to take off from the water! I had anticipated to boat back to the shore, but that was awesome. 


Upon the final approach, I made another quick save...


And after another crash (landing near the lander was much more difficult than it looked), this plane too was eaten by the Laythe Kraken, in a much worse way.


The wheels were bent into angles that just looked wrong.


Also, the Kerbals took a more laid-back position, which looked funny (I may use that in a future design) but wasquite worrying.


I actually did not manage to land this plane safely. She blew up every time I touched down - usually killing the Kerbals too. So, I quit the game, and reloaded. The game luckily fixed the gear, and I could continue from mid-flight, and land the crew.

... and that is how the plane looks normal again here, 27 seconds after the previous picture was taken.


All fun comes to an end. Time to pack up, get back into orbit and move on.




One last picture of Jeb looking quite epic before climbing aboard.


You can see the science experiments and Sr. docking port here. Everything above the port will be kept, and everything below is 'disposable'.


The engines too appeared to be Krakened a bit: one engine showed no fuel and appeared to be off when it should be on. I think I fixed that by toggling between airbreathing and closed cycle. 


Finally, the parachutes weer decoupled.


And because parachutes are packed with explosives, the decoupling was followed by fireworks. The crew look terrified, as if this was not the plan... Maybe we should inform them next time. 


Blast off! 

The lander used the closed cycle first, quickly using up the leftover rocket fuel in the outer tanks, then switched to the airbreathing mode. 



The gravity turn was a bit messy - the lander lacked some aerodynamic features which was compensated by frantic use of the QWEASD keys. 


At around 20 km altitude, Jeb had managed to wrestle the lander to be pointing prograde, and to a 270 degree heading (remember: going into a retrograde orbit).


Btw, I got the feeling that the airbreathing mode works at much higher altitude than on Kerbin. Here at 24 


It accelerated in airbreathing mode until the Apoapsis was outside the atmosphere. Because the lander had not used all the fuel on the descent, she now had excess liquid fuel for the ascent. 



In space, the liquid fuel tanks were dropped. 


Rocket power to reach LLO.



Final orbit was not perfectly circular, but who cares. It was almost in the same plane as the mothership, which helped a lot.


The nosecones (on Jr docking ports) could be separated.


And after separating all stages as well as the nosecones, the lander core is revealed: this is the part of the rocket that will visit all moons and will make it back to Kerbin. (It's flying over the landing site, marked by the little square  on the surface). 



A rendezvous is planned:


Slowing down to meet up with the mothership:


Moving slowly with low thrust to get to a docking position.


Finally lining up with the mothership, and docking using only the RCS. The lander core was nicely balanced so the translations (moving sideways) did not rotate the lander core.


So the crew get back to the mothership, docking to the Vall lander. 

Laythe visit: Check.

Onwards, to Vall.



The lander core could refuel from two tanks on the mothership, which have enough fuel to completely refill the lander core's tanks 4 times. 


A long burn go the Jool-5 Mk4 out of Laythe's SoI


Plotting a course straight to Vall.


A nice low periapsis should be good for fuel efficiency.


The ship approaches Vall for stage 2 of the Jool-5 challenge.


Moar Posts coming soon! 


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So, the crew have their eyes set on Vall, 2nd moon in the Jool system. 


The Vall mission begins by transferring the Vall-crew to the lander core. Wilsted is the pilot. 


With Bill, Bob, Rodgel and Nedrien as crew.


A little space walk was also needed to restore the science experiments. This was actually a very frequent activity, since the lander contained only 1 Science Jr experiment. It was conveniently (by design) located directly next to the crew hatches.


Here the ship is approaching Vall - the capture burn was made a lot lower, so no activity yet. 


A capture burn was made while flying low over Vall. Mr. Oberth smiled, even though Vall's gravity well is kinda puny. It's a pity that moons and planets are always 50% in the dark. They should really do something about that. It makes for lousy pictures! :mad: 


Once in orbit, the Vall lander was detached.


It is a lot smaller than the Laythe lander. It's just a straightforward lander (no rovers or planes), and the moon is obviously a lot smaller. 


It turned out that the fuel lines did not work, for reasons known only to the Kraken (probably because this lander was designed in v1.1.3, and then copied). But Vall's gravity is weak enough to give the crew some time to pump fuel over in time for the landing burns.


A landing area was chosen, based on its friendly blue color (and because it looked a bit flat from a distance). 


The landing approach was close to a suicide burn, but killing all horizontal velocity a few hundred meters above the surface, then proceeding straight down to the landing spot. 


The landing was really easy, due to the flat terrain. Blue, flat, weak gravity... it was almost like Minmus, but then a little bigger.


Bob: "It's a huge leap for Kerbalkind, but this moon looks less like candy then Minmus".


Obviously, all the crew were offloaded and shepherded to the same spot where the flag ceremony would take place.


Bob made an attempt to write the least creative flag plaque ever, but the smiley at the end ruined that record attempt. 


After landing and a cup of tea, the crew made an effort to look happy on the mandatory crew-with-flag-and-lander-in-the-background-picture.



("Don't move, one more, one more, this time with the lander's solar panels extended". "Smile!".)



Sol Omnibus Lucet, meaning the Sun Shines for Everyone. Except if you're on the dark side of the moon, which we complained about earlier already.


All experiments were restored before take off.


Blast off of the Jool-5 Mk4 lander stage, on a rendezvous with destiny. Remind me to never call a spaceship "Destiny". It's so cheesy. It's even worse than "Jool-5 Mk4".



Accelerating to get to LVO (Low Vall Orbit), and trying not to forget to manually pump fuel into the central tank.


Finally, the tanks are empty. The ship is in orbit, and can easily make it back to the mothership with the fuel it has left. 


In this configuration, the lander looks small and nimble. 


Around Jool, there is always a good picture: Jool, Laythe and Tylo. 


A rendezvous was planned, with the Jool-5 Mk4 (and with destiny).


The approach was of course in the dark again, because 99% of all dockings happens in the dark. 


The lander first docked with its front-side docking Jr, to transfer excess fuel from the lander stage into some empty tanks of the mothership.



Then the now-empty lander stage was detached and discarded to litter Jool with space debris, while the core was going to dock with the Tylo stage.


Little ship big ship: at this angle the mothership looks majestic, and the lander core looks tiny... 


The docking procedure was becoming routine (having practiced docking for ages, and docking with this particular lander core also around Duna/Ike).


This particular docking step was more precise: the stairs of the lander core and the Tylo stage had to line up. After docking, this was checked by an EVA. 





All set to go to Tylo.


A small burn later, and the Tylo encounter is set. While Mr. Oberth advocates a very low Pe, the Pe was kept a little higher by mistake (and lowered later). 


A quick check of the fuel status: All looking good.


While approaching the Tylo periapsis, the crew was transferred into the lander core. Val is the pilot of the Tylo crew.


Jocee, Margaret, Grasie and Isathy also joined the team. 



Next post: the Tylo landing! 

Imgur album for this and the next post (which contains nothing extra, really):

Edited by Magzimum

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The Tylo adventure starts with a burn. Because in KSP all adventures start with burning stuff, which may explain the game's popularity.



The orbit shown below is not the final orbit of the mothership. She lowered the orbit a little more, to make sure that the lander had enough fuel to land and get back. Tylo is nasty. 


The lander was separated. KER shows the final orbit of the mothership: 668 km x 245 km, with a Pe at the day-side of Tylo. Landing on the night side would have been more efficient perhaps but also more suicidal.


The lander lowered its Ap and Pe a little more, then started what is essentially one huge suicide burn. The lander has a Mainsail on the central tank. The 6 outer tanks each have a Dart (aerospike) engine. The lander should have a little over 7,000 m/s dV (KER underestimates it as usual, because it doesn't understand my intended use of the docking port). 



The outer tanks were coupled in an asparagus staging. In tests, four of the six tanks would be dropped before landing. 


Stage one separates. Still going really fast, and flying really high.


Stage 2 was empty at 3.6 km above the surface. The crew are looking surprisingly cool. If they should have ever been screaming, it would be now. 


Landed! The crew, still looking incredibly calm, must have snacked on some Minmus crystals or something... they don't seem to realize they survived.

(At this stage, I really was not sure if the lander had enough fuel to make it back. It appears it had burned way more than 50% of the fuel. But I played on).


Val is the first to climb out.


Unsurprisingly, after landing, the 5 Kerbals lined up for the mandatory crew-with-flag-and-a-lander-in-the-background-and-Jool-and-Vall-and-Laythe-on-the-horizon picture. Such behavior comes natural to Kerbals. For reasons unknown to even the Kraken, this crew left their smiley faces on the mothership. Nobody died, girls! You're on Tylo, and you're alive! 



After some pictures, surface samples and EVA reports, it's time to put the Kerbals back into their natural habitat, which is to be locked up in a small can. 


Margaret and Val had some last words outside the lander, when they noticed that either the lander was moving, or they were. The Kraken kept harassing the crew, even though this trick was harmless. 


(I did not move either the Kerbals or the ship between taking the pic above and below. They moved by several meters in the span of about 1 minute. The clock in the top-left corner does not display the time, because I switched between the 2 Kerbals before taking the pictures).


The lift off went without problem (but I was too busy to take a screenshot). Val steered the ship towards the horizon as soon as possible. 



The Kraken continued to taunt the crew. This time, the fuel lines did keep the central tank filled. Instead, all tanks were depleted simultaneously. So, it came as a bit of a shock that there was no fuel left for the Mainsail after the radial tanks were decoupled, and the periapsis was still below the surface.


The lander core continued to accelerate (with its puny engines). 


The lander core managed a rendezvous (it helps that it has >1000 m/s of dV).


Docking is a routine job.


Slow down.


Line up. RCS on. Dock.


And thus the Jool-5 Mk4 was complete again, albeit a little shorter than before. Now that the large Tylo stage had been used, confidence grew that there was enough fuel in the nuclear stage to finish the mission. That had always been the biggest worry. 


Bop will be dealt with quite thoroughly in the next post!

(imgur album with all pics - and nothing more, so no need to check it:


Edited by Magzimum

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The Tylo escape plan was not really a plan. A simple burn got the Jool-5 Mk4 into a Joolian orbit with an apoapsis that touched the orbit of Bop. Then the ship burned to match planes with Bop, and only then the intercept was planned. At least, that was the plan. 


In the spoiler below some details of the transfer to Bop. Not much excitement, actually.


So, the NERVs kicked into action again. 


At some point the outer stage ran dry.


So it was decoupled.


And the upper NERVs were activated.


Meanwhile, your photographer was so busy taking these screenshots that the ship overshot the desired orbit by a few thousand km. 


But that was fixed by a little retrograde burn. Next: plane change to match Bop's orbital plane. 


A little anti-normal action.


And finally, a meetup with Bop was arranged.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Jool-5 Mk4 got itself to Bop. Was that worth 9 pictures? Probably not. But hey, you don't have to read the spoilers! :) 


"Hello Bop! You're looking lumpy today!


The Bop lander was decoupled.



The Bop lander had more than enough dV to be a little wasteful. The lander simply killed all its horizontal velocity at quite a high altitude, and then just fluttered down onto the surface. 


It was an easy landing, on a nice flat surface. 



After landing, the crew did what the crew does best: pose and smile for the camera. I bet they would be great at cutting ribbons too. The crew, by the way, consists of Elbo, Willa, Willas, Payin and Steadith, and they were having significantly more fun than the Tylo crew.


The lander had so much excess dV that it could easily do a little biome-hopping. The first landing was in the "Ridges" biome (which was surprisingly flat, for a ridge). It then moved to the Slopes and Valley (both in the spoiler below) before flying to the Peaks biome.


First a quick look at the plaque that was placed on the flag. The crew is looking ecstatic.




Next, the lander went to the "slopes", which looked identical, and was possibly even flatter than the Ridges.


Elbo went a little AWOL, but eventually returned. 


So that the ship could land in the Valley.


For the first time, the name seemed appropriate. This really was a low area in between higher areas.

The lander showed that 3 legs was more than enough.


Obviously, at every spot, a flag was planted, an EVA report was filed (even so far from home, Kerbals are real bureaucrats), and a surface sample was taken ("nobody said I cannot take it, so I took it" is an attitude that is actually encouraged in space exploration). 

The ship then moved to the Peaks biome.


The ship was landed at a stunning 21,748 meters altitude. 


According to the wikipedia site on Bop (early November 2016), this is not the highest location in the solar system. That should be 21.758m altitude (so 10 m higher), also on Bop... but I actually flew to the location where that peak was supposed to be and could not find anything nearly so high. Anyway, whether this is the highest peak in the solar system or not, it was bloody high and a good picture. 

Also interesting: the ship had switched its navball to 'orbit', perhaps because of the altitude.

Finally the ship also flew to the Poles biome, and then got back into an equatorial orbit, made a rendezvous with the mothership and docked (all in the spoiler below).


Warp speed on Bop is max. 1x at altitudes below 24,500 m, which was a little annoying. So, I used phys. warp a lot. Btw, this lander also suffered from the same problem with the fuel lines, so at least that was consistent. 


You'll all have to believe that the crew also set foot in the poles. There's no screenshot. Here they are flying towards the north pole.


The outer tanks were empty and were added to Bop's lumpiness.


And here (and also in the pic above) the lander is already flying back again, showing a little marker on the Poles where the ship landed.


The plan for rendezvous with the Mothership was simple: get to the equator. Kill southward velocity. Accelerate to catch up with mothership. Meet up. Dock. Life is so much simpler with low gravity.


Burn a bit, fly a bit, burn a bit, fly a bit... not the most efficient, but when you're orbital velocity is under 200 m/s, all that efficiency will only gain you a few m/s... so who cares.


After all the biome hopping, the lander still had some excess fuel, which was transferred into the mothership's tanks.


After meeting up with the mothership (Jr docking port on the side), transferring the excess fuel into some empty tanks of the mothership, the bottom stage was decouped to litter Bop forever. The lander core continued to dock (Sr docking port at the front).



The lander core was docked again, reuniting the Jool-5 crew again.


And a little burn later, the mothership left Bop's tiny SoI.


Bye Bop, you were fun to play with. Next and final stop: Pol.

imgur album here

Edited by Magzimum

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The first bits (matching orbital plane, meet up with Pol) are put in the spoiler. I think it's a little boring.


Matching planes.


Burning normal.


Plotting an encounter.


Actually getting an encounter.


Getting into orbit.


After the regular maneuvers, the Jool-5 Mk4 found itself in a Pollen orbit.


Pol is so small that the lander core does not need any additional stages. It has more than enough dV.

The Pol crew consisted of Cargie (pilot), Jedry, Kathvie, Gibie and Leaxy.


In the twilight areas, you can clearly see how bumpy Pol is. 


The lander core was undocked, and killed its horizontal velocity.


It gently floated down in Pol's puny gravity. 

Because the lander core does not even have landing legs, it was probably a good idea to land on a relatively flat surface. Using the "SURF" tab of KER, the slope is shown when you fly low enough. This allowed the lander core to move a little along the surface until it was over an area with a slope of just 2.2 degrees.


Which is where it landed.


On the surface, the Pol crew did the mandatory thing: a picture-with-a-flag-and-the-lander-in-the-background. 

The flag was backwards, which probably fueled a lot of conspiracy theories that this was all staged in a studio in Kollywood, but we from the Honesty-department assure you that this really happened.


After this, the crew got a little excited about planting flags.



Actually, the crew planted a total of 13 flags...


From above, these flags mark 3 areas...


And after the lander had been moved out of the way...


... to a spot just outside these areas...


... the mothership could plan a rendezvous on the surface with the lander.


While still 7 km above the surface, the mothership killed its horizontal velocity. 


Turned its NERVs towards the surface.


Floated down to within visual range of the marked areas.


Set its throttle such that it practically hovered... and maneuvered until it was right over one of these areas...


And ...



The mothership then landed in one of the flagged areas that indicated a horizontal patch of ground.




Jeb was the first sixth Kerbal to EVA on Pol. 


He floated over to the lander.


"Knock, knock"...


"Who's there"?




"Jeb who?".


"Jeb and 19 of his friends".

And OF COURSE they were all gonna stand next to a flag, with the lander and mothership in the background. 



Next, the crew was loaded up again.


And the mothership turn its NERVs to max.,



Blasted off... quickly turned towards the horizon... 


... leaving a tiny radioactive spot on the surface, conveniently marked by several flags.



The mothership took a reasonably low circular orbit, to await the arrival of the lander core.


The lander core was still at the surface.


The lander then also took off, to rendezvous with the mothership in orbit.



It immediately turned towards the horizon.


Which was actually too soon - there were some mountains in between it and orbit. 


Organizing a rendezvous was easy enough.



The approach was routine: Get close first.


Align the ships orientations.


Then align the ships completely.


And dock for the last time.


And thus, with all Kerbals back in LPO (Low Pol Orbit), the Jool-5 was completed. 25 Kerbals visited 5 moons, 4 of which were visited by 5 Kerbals on the surface, and the 5th, Pol, was visited by all 25.


All that remained now was to plot a course back to Kerbin, and land these Kerbals safely. That meant leaving Pol.


... bye Pol. You were cool. 

Next post will be the last: plotting a course back to Kerbin, and landing 25 Kerbals safely on the surface.



Edited by Magzimum

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Plotting a course back to Kerbin is (at least for me) a difficult task. I chose to circularize my Joolian orbit, so that I could use the Transfer Window Planner tool. I first matched the plane of Laythe, then made the orbit circular.





The Jool-5 Mk4 had enough fuel left that it did not have to wait for the very best transfer window. So, it chose the first opportunity.


The bottom stage was depleted during the burn back to Kerbin, so it was left behind.


A bunch of plane and velocity corrections were made before the Kerbin encounter was achieved.


Despite doing roughly what the transfer window planner said, there was no Kerbin encounter yet. Course corrections would be made later.


A last view of Jool (tiny green dot near the mouse cursor). Bye Jool. Next time, we will visit your atmosphere too.


At the ascending node, the Jool-5 Mk4 matched Kerbin's orbital plane. 


Then found that there was still a little more course-correcting to do.


A little retrograde burn fixed that.



And after some fine-tuning, the course went towards a low Kerbin orbit.



The ship turned retrograde, anticipating the last long burn of the trip.


It burned for about 10 minutes, while flying by Kerbin.


However, so much of the burn had been quite a few km away from the Periapsis, that it had actually lowered that periapsis to within the atmosphere.


Good thing that there was still plenty of fuel. The periapsis was again increased to 103 km, so that the upper stage of the othership (which still contained 13,000 units of liquid fuel) could be left in LKO


The last stage was decoupled.


And the ship reached LKO without much trouble.



Next, the habitat and lander core were decoupled from what was left of the mothership.


The small bit that remained of the mothership would remain in orbit. It can either be used as a refueling station for smaller missions, or it can be sent to another planet as a relay (it has 11,000 m/s worth of dV, because all the payloads have been decoupled, and the tanks are mostly full). 


The habitat and lander meanwhile made a small final burn to lower their periapsis into Kerbin's atmosphere.


The atmosphere did the rest.





The idea was to land the ship at the KSC, but when it turned out that it was going to land on the other side of the mountains, nobody complained.


Drogues deployed.




And thus the Jool-5 challenge was completed!! 


Now, the Kerbals wouldn't be Kerbals if they didn't take this last opportunity to quickly plant a flag and pose next to it, with a lander in the background... 


... Before being recovered, together with their ship.

The mission gathered a whopping 26,387.7 science points, which will not be used on anything, since all science nodes have already been researched. 


Cash is no issue either, but it's still nice to get some funds from recovered parts. 


And the KSC now has 25 five-star Kerbonauts available for its next mission! 







This adventure probably took me over 100 hrs to plan and execute, if not double that. That is also the reason I decided to make such a lengthy mission report. If you made it this far, thanks a lot for reading this! 

*** THE END ***





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Great job! I like the idea of having a 2-stage lander with specialised lower stages. And you brought planes to play with on Laythe too! With the extra landing on Pol by the mothership, does that make it a Jool-6? :D

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