The KABOOM Kronicle: (Mis)Adventures in a 3.2x Scale GPP Modded Career - Chapter 23 - Ending on a High Note - SSTO to Tellumo

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Chapter 17 - Our Heroes Return

All of Gael is excited for the upcoming return of Jeb and Bill, fresh from their journey to the surface of Eta and (briefly) Thalia.  Meanwhile, craft design for future missions is occupying a larger portion of KABOOM's engineering efforts.



Jeb and Bill each take turns spacewalking in high Thalia orbit before departing.  Bill finds himself asking the question "What would Bob do?" as he retrieves all the science results from the experiments attached to the Bacchus Packus.  It was decided to leave the fuel tank portion of the BP attached to Tortuga Station to provide additional flexibility for future visits to Thalia's environs.



The transfer window arrives, and Jeb cracks open the throttles again for a high energy transfer back to Gael.  Here we see the Trey making its orbital insertion burn back at Gael.  Since there are no parachutes or other dedicated landing gear on this craft, it has to wait in orbit briefly.  A specialized ship launches to rendezvous with them.



An empty Bluebird is launched into an orbit which is roughly coplanar with the Trey's orbit (about 35 degrees inclination).  This carries a special cargo, in the form of an airbrake/parachute module to dock to the front of the Trey.  Hopefully it will be enough - the engineers took a WAG (Wild A$$ Guess) at how many brakes and chutes would be needed.



Rendezvous and docking went smoothly.  The Bluebird heads over to Vanguard Station for safekeeping, and the Trey heads down, after shifting around some fuel to lower the center of gravity on the craft.



Reentry and landing were by the book, and capped off a fairly successful mission.  The upgraded heat tolerance of most parts (to face the wrath of Thalia) combined with burning a lot of fuel during reentry meant that all the parts survived just fine.  Three airbrakes, three drogue chutes, and six radial chutes were enough to slow the Trey down to 7 m/s, and a short burst of the engines brought the final descent down to less than 2 m/s.



Many colorful ribbons are awarded, courtesy of Final Frontier.  Lots of firsts for this crew.  A parade occurred in some unnamed city located somewhere on the planet.  Maybe we'll see it someday after somebody finishes city lighting in the next release. :wink:



After a short respite, Jeb and Bill are thrown back into the mix, helping refine craft designs for upcoming Niven and Tellumo missions.  Test pilot Burwell Kerman and the rest of the engineering staff had been doing their best, but the results were, shall we say, mixed at best.



This spaceplane design featured three 1.25m cores, with one Rapier and two LV-Ns.  Piloted by Burwell, the craft did OK (not great) on the ascent, but then became totally uncontrollable during reentry.  After multiple failures and near-death experiences, Bill and Jeb's return to the program was quite welcome.  



After Bill made the decision to increase the center core to 2.5m, everything got much better.  Here's the unimaginatively named Tellumo Flyer 4 heading back to KSC after a single orbit.  The design now has two Rapiers.



The Flyer overshot KSC, and had to turn around to approach the runway from the east.  Heavy cloud cover near KSC made the approach a bit exciting, especially given the presence of the volcano nearby - the top of the volcano has a bad habit of hiding in the clouds. 



After landing roughly and careening off the side of the runway, the plane comes to rest facing east-ish.  Now the spaceplane design shows its party trick: the atmospheric scoops are opened and set to collect Karbonite; the 2.5m Karbelectric generator fires up to provide copious power; and the 2.5m Karbonite converter switches on to refill all the LF and LFO storage on board.  Karbonite harvesting is shut down so that the Karbonite tank is empty (or nearly so) for takeoff.  As soon as it's airborne, the Karbonite filters are activated again, and the Karbonite converter changes Karbonite to LF on the fly (ba-dum) during the ascent.



The Flyer takes off again and makes another orbit before returning to KSC.  It spent a bit of fuel burning normal and anti-normal before reentry to lighten the load somewhat.  The design currently achieves orbit with around 7 km/s left in the tank, which makes me cautiously optimistic that the design will work at Tellumo (which requires 11 km/s for an ascent in 3.2x).



It's a nice view of the Flyer rounding the volcano and heading for KSC, as sunset approaches.



On final.  Hopefully we'll stay on the runway this time.



Jeb poses on top of the Flyer, landed in the middle of the runway, in the dying light of the day.  Good landing, Jeb.



Bill also tasked his team with figuring out how best to use the Karborundum that would be arriving back at Gael soon.  Here's one of their concepts about to be lofted by a single SpaceY SRB.  The payload is a self-contained engine module capable of docking to the back of any ship with a docking port on the rear centerline.  Early calculations indicate that one of these modules would more than double the thrust of a ship like the Trey, while adding more than 10 km/s of additional delta V.  We'll see if this ends up being the final design... in a future chapter.

Edited by Norcalplanner

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Only about halfway thru this (sooooo many pictures! That's a good thing), but I've just gotta say I love seeing a game screen as cluttered with MechJeb windows as my own. :D

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4 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Only about halfway thru this (sooooo many pictures! That's a good thing), but I've just gotta say I love seeing a game screen as cluttered with MechJeb windows as my own. :D

Glad you're enjoying it, comrade!  Information is our friend. :cool:

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Chapter 18 - Niven Bound

It's time for our intrepid adventurers to land on a planet which isn't trying quite as hard to kill them.  With a Niven transfer window only three months away, the next target for manned interplanetary exploration beckons.  But first, it's time to revisit some lander probes.



The Hermes IV lander probe casts off from the probe mothership, and heads down to Thalia.  The plan is to do a bit of biome hopping, collect some science, and see what sort of resources Thalia can offer.  This upgraded lander probe features four of the small thermal control systems.



Just about down.  While thermal issues are taken care of, with this design, navigation left a bit to be desired.  After hitting Thalia's Abyss, the probe was directed to another biome.  Halfway through the maneuver, mission control realized that the probe could very well run out of fuel if it completed the hop, so the second biome was bypassed and the probe burned straight to orbit instead.



The probe made it back with around 500 m/s to spare, and redocked with the mothership.  Part of the problem is that the mothership is in a high orbit (approx. 700 km) to avoid being cooked by Thalia's radiation.



Buoyed by the (somewhat limited) success of the probe landing on Thalia, the Hermes IIIf lander probe is sent down to a new biome on Icarus.  The two small TCS parts seem adequate for this size of craft.



The lander probe touches down in Icarus' Pearlescence, in the far northern latitudes, and grabs a lot of science.  



With a lot of fuel left, the probe is sent over to the Yellow Coral biome. [foreshadow mode on] Gee, I sure hope that big mountain over there right next to our projected landing site doesn't cause any problems. [foreshadow mode off]  The lander touches down in the Yellow Coral, and gathers requisite science.  Determined to make an efficient rendezvous with the mothership, mission control has MechJeb's SmartASS function lock in an intersecting bearing, at 30 degrees above the horizon.  Determined to put the Ap at the An, mission control is focused on the map view during the ascent.



Oops.  The probe plows into the mountainside next to the landing area.  No science for you.  It didn't even have a chance to transmit copies of the science experiments so that orbital stations could chew on the data.  Dangit.



It's a good thing that KABOOM is rolling in dough.  The Hermes V is quickly whipped up and sent skyward with a replacement lander.



Because we have a contract for a rally including Ceti, Iota, and Icarus, the Hermes V is sent by Gael's moons, including a refueling stop at Sustainer Station, before departing Gael's environs.  I'd also like to note the new skybox, courtesy of Galileo.



Finally heading for Icarus.



With the Niven window approaching, it's time to finalize the mission architecture.  KABOOM's engineers spent a lot of time on this craft, but ultimately it was deemed too large and complicated.



The final design chosen was a variant of the Tortuga Station, dubbed Gibraltar Station.  It includes some arms to make docking a bit easier while the Karbonite collectors are deployed, as well as increase the station crew capacity to meet a contract requirement.



Gibraltar Station was put into a 1,500 km orbit, in part to ensure better accuracy from the low-TWR transfer burn.  The high orbit was also chosen to use up the remaining LFO in the upper stage so it could be discarded, thereby exposing the 2.5m docking port on the bottom of the station.  



A modified Bluebird is launched with the crew bound for Niven.  This version of the Bluebird, fitted with landing legs and science gear, will serve as the lander for the Niven expedition.



The Bluebird is also carrying a KPBS framework with two greenhouse modules and a bunch of fertilizer.  Here it is approaching the station.



Here it is in the final mated configuration.  Not terribly elegant, but it should work.  With Bob in overall command, the craft is sent off to Niven.



KABOOM's administrators are feeling confident, and choose the Niven Program strategy.  This dovetails nicely with other contracts to plant a flag on Niven, to build a space station around Niven, and to return to Gael after conducting a spacewalk in Niven orbit.



At the tail end of the transfer window, KABOOM administration has second thoughts, and decides to send another craft to supplement Gibraltar Station.  The Trey III is sent unmanned to help out Bob and crew.  We'll cover this craft more in a future chapter.  For now, let's just look at the pretty lighting and skybox.



All throughout this time of exploration, KABOOM has had to shift its focus every 50 days or so back to the stations around Gael, Iota, and Ceti, as they churn away on science.  It's ultimately deemed too distracting to run three stations simultaneously, so the decision is made to only keep Thunderer going in orbit around Ceti.  However, it's getting low on supplies.  The humorously-named Chuck Wagon is sent up to keep Thunderer humming along for the next few years.



The portly supply craft approaches Thunderer and docks.  The crew should be good for six more years, maybe more - it's hard to tell with the recyclers in play.  Conqueror will be abandoned when it runs out of food in a few more months... in the next chapter.

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Chapter 19 - Boots on Niven, and the Chariot Returns

It's an exciting time in KABOOM mission control.  Bob and crew are approaching Niven, a new probe is heading to Icarus, and other missions to various corners of the solar system continue to move forward.  All this activity means that time is starting to pass more slowly, and the dreaded yellow numbers are making an appearance in the upper left corner of the screen.  So before we do anything else, it's time for a bit of cleanup.



Most of the Vanguard Station crew, including mission commander Valentina, hops into a Bluebird and heads back to Gael.  A small caretaker crew of two is left aboard, with approximately six years of supplies.


Valentina, Madberta, Siuna, and Signy Kerman are all given decorations upon their return.



Next to arrive back at Gael is the crew of Conqueror Station.  They were running low on supplies, so the station is abandoned altogether for the time being.


Everyone makes it home safe and sound, and still more decorations are given.  Final Frontier has a big warehouse full of medals.



A few bits of debris are found and destroyed, but the dreaded yellow numbers are still present.  It's decided to retire some old craft.  Here's the Papago II attempting to make a powered reentry.  This ended with the craft slamming into the sea at 120 m/s.


The tiny Unicorn I satellite, our first in HGO, is put on a path where it will burn up in Gael's atmosphere.  


Pioneer Station joins the fiery fun.  Much of the obsolete station burns up on reentry, but most of the core remains intact until it slams into the surface of the water.



It was around this time that @JadeOfMaar helpfully provided a module manager patch from the Mk2 Expansion mod, which solved my problems with IntakeAtm for Karbonite-burning jets and turbofans.  I think this will do just fine... as soon as I increase the heat tolerance on some more parts with Kerbal R&D. :wink:



It's time for the Apollo I to come home with its load of Karborundum, so it burns at low Ciro periapsis to raise its apoapsis back up for a close approach to Gael.  The great thing about this maneuver is that the craft can keep harvesting Karborundum during and after the burn, so it will enter Gael's SOI with a nearly full tank.



Staying in the inner part of the system for a moment, Hermes V arrives at Icarus with a new, upgraded lander.  Four small deployable radiators ought to do it.


After conducting an 11 km/s orbital insertion burn, the lander casts off and heads down to Icarus.  Four radiators work much better than two, comfortably dissipating all the heat that Icarus has to offer.  


Rugged terrain and poor lighting make for an interesting biome-hopping experience, but KABOOM mission controllers spend much less time in map mode and avoid slamming into anything.


After hitting three biomes, the lander heads back up to dock with the mothership.  It transmitted a bunch of science from the surface, but the duplicates are loaded into the mothership for later transmission to Thunderer Station.



The Trey Mk III arrives at Niven ahead of Gibraltar Station and easily enters into orbit.  This craft has real gumption, and will be used as the return craft to bring the Niven explorers back home.


Here's the only image found in KABOOM's archives documenting Gibraltar Station's arrival at Niven.  The photographer is given a stern talking to.


After Gibraltar Station enters orbit, the Trey rendezvouses and docks.  You can see in this image that this upgraded version of the Trey has two Hitchhikers, six of the medium deployable radiators, and three retractable solar panels to supplement the RTGs (handy when transmitting science).  A 2.5m life support cannister is now integral to the craft, and the "flame job" lights have been removed in favor of a more functional arrangement.  It also has uprated engines and parachutes, so it's able to enter and land on words with atmospheres more easily.


Leaving Sambert alone in the station, the lander heads down with Bob, Burwell, and Henley Kerman inside.  The docking port is open on purpose - it acts like a mini air brake, and helps keep the craft oriented correctly during reentry.


Almost down.  With two drogues and two standard radial chutes, final descent speed is 21 m/s.  A quick burst of the engines just prior to contact ensures a soft landing.


This is why we came.  Bob and crew are genuinely thrilled to pose for the camera, marking the first time that Kerbals have planted a flag on another planet in the system.  (Eta was just a moon, and Thalia was too dang hot for Jeb and Bill to get out of the ship.) 


A quick hop to one more biome, then it's time to head back up.  The sun has just set, so the clock is ticking.  This craft is is dependent on solar power.


The ascent was not without incident.  First, an ill-timed transmission of a science experiment resulted in the antenna being sheared off by the slipstream.  Second, the Gibraltar Lander ran out of fuel before rendezvousing back with the station.  Sambert, eager to help (and get a little glory), heads out in the Trey to tow the lander back to the station.  Here we see the "Papago" DNA of the Trey in action, functioning as a nuclear tug, as they approach the station.  The next landing will be attempted with the Trey itself.


Sambert is given the honor of conducting an orbital EVA to fulfill a contract.  While he's outside, he grabs the science from the lander and manually transfers it to the Science Lab.  Somehow we neglected to put a single science container on any of the Niven craft.  We'll give the crew a well-deserved rest before sending them down again.



Shifting back to Gael, Apollo I finally arrives home.  The 11 km/s orbital insertion burn takes a little while, but eventually the craft is directed into a 500 km equatorial orbit.


The Hawk I is sent up to retrieve a sample of the Karborundum and return it to KSC.  Everyone is rubbing their hands together with glee... especially Mortimer.


The Hawk I siphons off 600 units of Karborundum (out of the 57,000 which Apollo I brought back) then reenters on a trajectory which will put it down a few kilometers from KSC.  Karborundum is heavy, so this little 1.25m craft has four radial chutes and engines to slow down the final descent.


YEAH BABY!  At a price of almost 4,000 funds per unit of Karborundum, this small sample is enough to pay for the entire Apollo program and then some.


The Schwalbe is quickly launched.  After docking to Apollo I, it grabs 2,500 units of Karborundum and is ready to rumble.  By itself, the seven-part craft (which includes a nuclear reactor for electrical power) has over 250 km/s of delta V.  Pushing a craft like the Trey, it should add several dozen km/s.  We'll need to do some more experiments to figure out how best to use this, since the conventional wisdom is that it's always better to burn lower Isp fuel first.  This 1.25m engine, upgraded with Kerbal R&D, puts out 500 kN of thrust at an Isp of 12,500. :0.0:

We'll play around with this... in a future chapter.

Edited by Norcalplanner

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Chapter 20 - Karborundum Space Program

The KABOOM team gazes out at the near-infinite possibilities before them, thanks to the Karborundum brought back by Apollo I.  With so many choices, a bit of analysis-paralysis sets in:  Should we do a hundred-ton SSTO grand tour mothership?  Launch a station that makes Vanguard look small?  Try to set a new speed record for Kerballed exploration to Hox or Leto?  After a few days of thinking of possibilities, calmer heads prevail.  A small unmanned probe powered by Karborundum is designed, intended to explore the reaches of the outer system far faster than the existing Hermes craft.  That will be followed by a small Kerballed transport.  And since Karborundum is so awesome (and valuable!), we need to obtain more of it.  But first, let's shift over to Niven.



With the antenna damaged on the Gibraltar Station Lander, it's decided to try landing the Trey III on Niven, with Sambert and Henley Kerman on-board.  Sambert stayed on the station last time, so he's looking forward to getting some experience.  Because the Trey III was never designed to land on a body with any significant atmosphere, it's decided ahead of time that this will be a "simulation". [F5]


Aerodynamic and CoM issues result in the Trey careening toward the surface nose-first, smashing into the ground before the chutes could deploy. [F9]


After much transferring of fuel to alter the CoM, the Trey III enters tail first, and is able to deploy the drogues, but engine braking is late and the craft still smashes into the ground at 80 m/s. [F9]


On the third try, Sambert and Henley set the craft down in the Nivenean (sp?) Trench.  After Henley repacks the chutes, Sambert plants a flag - because, of course, the best way to become a more effective scientist in the lab is to pound a metal rod with a hammer while wearing an EVA suit.  In an ill-considered attempt at getting more science, the two explorers hop over to the nearby Lowlands.  Ummm, that terrain looks pretty steep...



Wow, those deployable radiators sure make a nice mess when they break. [F9]

Sambert and Henley remove their VR goggles, and quickly decide that someone is trying to tell them something.  Dying three times in the simulation is more than enough.  They're quite happy to remain in orbit.



We interrupt this chapter to announce that a Hermes probe has finally entered Otho's SOI.  That is all...



Back on Gael, Jebediah is wrapping up stress-testing of the mobile Resolution Base, destined for Iota.  Simple lines, combined with some strategically-placed I-beams, result in a base which won't break during most tumbles.  Unless we hit the rim of a crater and crack the base in two like an egg on a the edge of a bowl, we should be OK.


Because of the size of the mobile base, a 7.5m launcher is used.  The mobile base isn't terribly heavy, but it is bulky, and the 7.5m fairing base is the largest we have available.


Deploying the massive fairing.


A much smaller transfer stage is sufficient to bring the unmanned base to Iota.  I'd also like to note the use of the endangered and elusive Thud, an engine as controversial as it is rare.


With a surplus of delta V in the transfer stage, the jettisonable landing pods aren't needed; the transfer stage brings the base all the way down to Iota's surface, where it then flops forward and lands on its wheels.  The chosen spot is an interesting canyon-ey area, previously noted as a possible location  for a base.  Now we just need to send up a crew and start some motorin'.



To obtain more Karborundum, a new craft is launched - the Apollo III.  Where the Apollo I had a single 3.75m Karborundum tank and three of the large Karborundum collectors, the Apollo III has three of the 5m tanks and eight of the collectors.  If I've done my math right, this will bring back over a billion funds worth of the stuff.  Ludicrous speed is so yesterday - ludicrous funds is now where it's at.


To provide another place to store the wonder-fuel in orbit, a new station with seven of the 5m holding tanks is launched.


To put the new fuel to the test for real, the Mosquito I probe is launched aboard a custom lifter featuring the largest 2.5m SpaceY SRB as a first stage.  It recovers nicely with three of the large radial LET parachutes.  The fairing is bigger than normal because we ended up putting the big stock resource scanner on the side of the probe body.


The Mosquito I heads in to dock with the Apollo I while still docked to the transfer stage.  No RCS thrusters or tanks are fitted to the probe itself to save weight and increase delta V.


After ditching the transfer stage, the Mosquito burns 14.5 km/s worth of Karborundum to do a high-energy speed run to Nero.


Here's a shot with all the data for you data hounds.  After conducting the burn, the Mosquito I will still have almost 170 km/s (!) of delta V left in the tank.


To finish off the Karborundum section of the chapter, here's a small Kerballed craft powered by Karborundum.  Using the same drive section as the Mosquito I, this craft (which is still undergoing testing) should have approximately 66 km/s in the tank and an initial TWR of 1.27.  It should be capable of getting from LGO to the surface of Icarus and back again in less than a year.  

What I can't decide is what to call it.  Names under consideration include: Uno I, Meteor I, Pocket Rocket, and Icarus Express.  Please chime in and let me know your favorite, or feel free to suggest a name of your own.

Hopefully we'll take the finished version of this craft on its maiden voyage... in the next chapter.

Edited by Norcalplanner

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Chapter 21 - Gael Exploration

Keeping with the card theme, the Karborundum-powered craft at the end of the previous chapter is dubbed The Ace.  While KABOOM mission control is anxious to send it out, it's decided that it will wait until the current Niven mission is over to send any more Kerbals interplanetary.  The chances of a missed SOI change or inadvertent shortage of life support are just too high for multiple manned interplanetary missions.  Instead, some miscellaneous missions are flown, mainly on and around Gael.



KABOOM accepted a mission to put a five-Kerbal station into Ciro orbit.  As an exercise to see how cheaply it could be done, this design costing less than 41K funds is launched.


Decrepit Station reaches orbit.  Not much to write home about.  Poodles are very capable at this point, weighing half as much as they do in stock, and putting out 375 kN of thrust at an Isp of 437.5.


After burning out of Gael's SOI, the contract is complete.  The first stage was recovered with Stage Recovery to reclaim 15K funds, so the net profit is 148K funds.



With the Apollo III heading to low Ciro orbit to obtain more Karborundum, KABOOM administration decides to siphon off some more and return it to Gael for the funds.  The Hawk II is launched to bring back 4,500 units of the wonder-fuel.


Docking with the Apollo I.  Because Karborundum is so dense, this return craft is fitted with an inflatable heat shield, along with eight drogues and twelve radial chutes.


Returning was uneventful, except that the weight of the Karborundum meant that a precision return to KSC wasn't possible. Apollo I is in an equatorial orbit, and the Hawk II ran out of LFO before completing its reentry/plane change burn.


Ouch.  865 km from KSC, for a return percentage of only 85%.  Still got over 15 million funds, though.



With next to nothing known about most of the rest of the planet, planes are sent out to reconnoiter some anomalies found by orbital satellites.  Here's a first person view of the Jade I heading over to Nerd's Luck.  Powered by two Karbonite-fueled turbojets, and with the tanks constantly topped off by atmospheric Karbonite scoops, the limiting factor with this jet is how much LS is carried on board.  Pretty fast, too.


Placing an anomaly marker seems to be a very inexact science.  There's nothing at the marker location itself (unless there's something beneath the sea), but there's a strange, flat island nearby.  Jeb heads over to the island to check it out.


Wow.  Definitely some structures down there.  With the land mass blue and a bunch of sea life around, it looks like this is some sort of space-faring Kerbal version of Atlantis.


Jeb sets the Jade I down and finds a number of old buildings, including a monolith hovering in mid-air.  Note to self - don't use the large landing gear as a nose wheel, since it doesn't steer.



Wing loading was a bit high on the Jade I, so some angled wing extensions and other minor changes turn it into the Jade II.  And now it has a steerable nose wheel.  We located an anomaly from orbit somewhere around here, which is on a different continent.


Tthe only thing Jeb could find was this large green rock, and more undersea plants on the land.


Despite flying back and forth near the target area, no structures or anything else of interest were seen.  Jeb tests the field landing capability of the craft, and the Jade II passes with flying colors.  With the newly installed ladders, Jeb is also able to descend to the surface without falling, and can then reenter the cockpit afterward.



With the program flush in funds and 10 Kerbals still not having made it out of LGO, the Magnificent I is designed and launched.  This large training craft is designed around a massive lander.


Because the lander includes 3.75m parts, the bottom two stages are 7.5m and the upper stage is 5m so that there's a correct sense of proportion.  


After a brief orbit around Ceti, the Magnificent I heads over to Iota for a landing.


Success.  Most of the crew decided to stay in the craft while mission commander Val planted a flag.  These LET landing legs must have repulsorlift technology, since they don't seem to be actually touching the surface.


The craft wasn't as stable as we thought it would be on reentry.  Thankfully all the key parts have had their heat tolerance upgraded with Kerbal R&D.


Landed in the highlands - which seem to have cacti in them, for some reason.  Much experience and many Final Frontier ribbons were earned by the crew.



Finally, the Apollo III arrives in the correct orbit and begins harvesting Karborundum.  Its Ap is lowered inside of Icarus' orbit to prevent any unintended gravity assists, and may still be lowered further.  As it is, it's going to take at least seven or eight passes to fill up the tanks all the way.  We'll see just how long it takes... in the next chapter.

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Chapter 22 - Kerbals on Icarus, and The Beginning of the End

It's time to start wrapping things up with this career save.  Galileo's Planet Pack version 1.2 has come out, and after some spirited debate, I've decided to do a 10.6257x career using SMURFF, but no Kerbal RnD.  I've almost gotten the new install working correctly, and the bright new shiny thing beckons.  In addition, I've never been able to get the TAC Greenhouses or agroponics modules working correctly, so plans for long-term colonies aren't going to materialize.  Glitches are starting to increase (the save file is over 11 MB at this point) so it's time to finish up.  There will likely be one more chapter after this, but that'll be it.  So now, to recap the last few things which have happened...



A Gibraltar-class station, Capetown Station, is sent to Tellumo to acts as a base of operations and refueling station.



After a somewhat tedious 11 passes through Ciro's Karborundum zone, the Apollo III begins raising its Ap and setting up a Gael encounter.  It's long, slow work - the craft was 85 tons when it arrived, and now masses over 2,800 tons.  TWR is down around 0.15.



The crew from Vanguard station picks up the crew from Leviathan station, makes a short trip to the surface of Iota for experience, then heads back to Gael.  One less crew now to worry about in orbit.



Another Mosquito-class probe is launched, fills up on Karborundum from Apollo I, and hightails it to Nero.  A number of probes are launched, each bound for an ultra-high energy transfer to one of the outer planets.  All these probes arrive years, and sometimes decades, ahead of their nuclear powered predecessors.


They can paint a pretty picture as they burn for the outer reaches of the system.  20 km/s burn in one orbit?  No problem.  



Sambert and Henley Kerman decide to take the lander with the broken antenna down to Niven from Gibraltar Station.  Thankfully the good comms enabled the inherent antenna in the probe core to be enough to direct the craft.



The Audacious probe finally reached Lili after burning from Niven, allowing a long-standing orbital survey contract to be completed.



Capetown Station arrives around Tellumo, and takes up orbit just outside the rings.



Apollo III arrives back at Gael.  Ironically, this triumph dramatically reduced my interest in this career.  With 1.6 BILLION funds worth of Karborundum in orbit and the tech tree fully completed, it seemed like the challenge was over.



The Trey III leaves Niven to head back to Gael.  This craft is pretty dang capable, but it's nothing compared to its successor - more on that in a bit.


With plenty of fuel on tap, the Trek is able to help out with retropropulsion quite a bit.  The touchdown in the Midlands was by the book.  


No new experience was granted, since everyone had leveled up at Gibraltar Station before heading home.  Lots of new ribbons, though.



This unassuming craft is the lifter for The Ace, the Karborundum-powered successor to the Trey.  


The Ace heads in to dock with the Apollo III and fill up her tank.  With every extra ounce of weight removed, this craft has over 78 km/s of delta V on tap from only 600 units of Karborundum.  


Jeb, Bill, Bob, and Val are all on board.  Destination - Icarus.  Here's the craft finishing up the ejection burn from high Gael orbit.  Data for the data hounds.


A short time later, the fearless four complete a 12 km/s insertion burn at Icarus.


Heading down to the surface.  The four upgraded medium radiators are working hard.  We may not be able to get out for long.


Touchdown!  Sadly, none of the crew were able to get out long enough to plant a flag - every attempt ended with the Kerbal in question doing their best Spinal Tap drummer impression.  Poof.  


We tried heading over to the shady side of Icarus, but still no dice.  What we need is some sort of wearable radiator system, using KIS or something similar, which allows Kerbals to spend more than a few seconds in an environment like this.


After a wait of only a few months, the crew heads back to Gael.  With so much range still on tap, they enter orbit while an atmospheric landing system is launched.


Similar to the old Trey I, a module with airbrakes, drogues, and radial chutes is docked to the front of the ship so it can land.  This thing has a spot waiting for it in the Kerbsonian.


Sadly, no photos of the actual landing were taken.  Here's the crew receiving their accolades, with both Jeb and Bill achieving lofty five-star status.

With the trip to Icarus in the rear view mirror, the only thing really left to do is try out my Karbonite-powered SSTO at Tellumo... in the next (and probably last) chapter.

Edited by Norcalplanner

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Chapter 23 - Ending on a High Note - SSTO to Tellumo

It's time to wrap up this career save and this mission report.  As promised, here it is - my SSTO Tellumo mission.  For those of you who may not have read the whole thread, I'm using Kerbal Research and Development in this save.  I've dumped at least 20,000 science points worth of upgrades into the various parts that make up this craft, including bumping up the heat tolerance on every part to over 4,800 degrees C.  The LV-Ns which provide the main power for the craft have an Isp of 1160, a weight of 1.2 tons, and put out 161 kN of thrust each.  In other words, don't try this in a standard 3.2x GPP save - it won't work.  With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get to it.


Meet the Indomitable.  A more fully developed version of the Tellumo Flyer craft, this will take Jeb and Bill to Tellumo.  And hopefully, back to Gael.


First step is to grab a supply pod, the Chuck Wagon II, so that they won't starve on the way to and from Tellumo.  Next step is to visit Leviathan Station in high Gael orbit to top off the tanks.


After an ejection burn on the dark side of Gael, the Indomitable arrives at Tellumo approximately 350 days later.


The capture burn is approximately 5 km/s for a 300 km orbit.  With the tanks fairly dry, Jeb casts off the Chuck Wagon II, then proceeds to enter the atmosphere.


All the parts are able to (barely) handle the heat.  The airbrakes in particular are sensitive, and are closer to the CoM than is ideal simply so that they'll survive reentry.  The best angle for reentry is 40 degrees above surface prograde.


Shedding almost 8 km/s of orbital speed through aerobraking takes longer than anticipated.  The craft misses the continent we were aiming for, and passes over the terminator into the night.


After slowing to a subsonic speed, the Indomitable makes a U-turn and heads back toward daylight and dry land.  Ciro peeks above the horizon once again as the craft heads west at 1,400 m/s.  A lot of tweaking of Karbonite-harvesting parts and throttle levels was done to stretch the liquid fuel supply.


Eventually Jeb and Bill reach dry land, and head for a promising piece of ground about 4 km above sea level.  Data for the data hounds.


This is it.  On final.


The full color photo for the New Kerbal Times front page.  Only Bill went down to the surface, because of a glaring oversight - no ladders.  Jeb stayed on top of the Indomitable so at least one of them could make it home.  Thankfully, retracting the landing gear while Bill stood under the cockpit and mashed the "B" key allowed him to finally reenter the ship.


The process of refueling the craft begins.  Karbonite is harvested from the atmosphere, then converted to liquid fuel and oxidizer.  A Karbonite-powered electric generator ensures that the craft will have adequate power for harvesting and refining.


With full tanks, the Indomitable turns around on the ground, then takes off on a 90 degree heading.  As soon as the craft is airborne, more Karbonite is harvested, to be converted to LF during the ascent.


The Indomitable heads back over to the night side during the ascent.


During the latter part of the ascent, a fairly large positive pitch is required.  You can see that the Ap was still less than 10 seconds in front of the craft at this point, despite our speed.


But eventually, Jeb and Bill made it.  Here they are performing a small circularization burn to get back into a 300 km orbit.


More data for the data hounds.  With the remaining 2.1 km/s in the tank, we should be able to make it to Cape Town station and refuel.


Docking to Cape Town station, which was sent to Tellumo one transfer window ahead of time.  The Indomitable still had 500 m/s in the tank when it finally docked.  Docking was also a bit tricky, since neither of these craft had RCS thrusters.


After refueling and an epic celebration, Bill and Jeb head back to grab the Chuck Wagon II for the trip home.


Burning for home.  Gael, here we come.


With EVE clouds glitching again, the ship ditches the supplies module and inserts itself into a 100 km orbit before heading down.  We needed to burn up the fuel anyway before reentry.  Only 300 m/s remain in the tank after orbital insertion.


Gael reentry.  Sadly, Jeb and Bill seem to have learned nothing, and overshot the target continent again.  The end up doing a U turn and heading westward again to land.


Almost down.  With nearly empty tanks, the final approach speed is down around 50 m/s.


And they're finally back on Gael, 1 year and 62 days after casting off from Capetown Station.  Welcome home, boys.

Well, dear readers, it's been fun.  This wraps up this mission report.  I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed playing it.  The current plan is to take a short breather, then jump into yet another GPP career save, this time in the full-blown scale of 10.6257x, focusing more on colonization and exploration of the outer bodies in the system.  I'll post a link to the new thread once it's up.  In the meantime, I'd encourage everyone who hasn't done so to check out Galileo's Planet Pack.  Getting it working takes a little bit of effort due to all the components (and no CKAN), but it's been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding mods I've ever used.  Major thanks to Galileo, JadeofMaar, Poodmund, Ohio Bob, and everyone else who's helped with GPP.   

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On 4/8/2017 at 8:48 PM, Norcalplanner said:

Only Bill went down to the surface, because of a glaring oversight - no ladder

I was just starting to think, "gee, I hope he brought a... oh. Oops.":D


Onwards to even bigger and better things!

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Just now, CatastrophicFailure said:

I was just starting to think, "gee, I hope he brought a... oh. Oops.":D


Onwards to even bigger and better things!

Yep, definitely bigger and better.  I'll get a mission report thread going sometime soon for my 10.6x GPP career.  Having a lot of fun so far with BDB, although I think it may have scaling problems...


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Quick question. What texture replacer addon adds the little occupation icon in the bottom left window?

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On 5/11/2017 at 11:59 AM, Steeeeve said:

Quick question. What texture replacer addon adds the little occupation icon in the bottom left window?

It's called Portrait Stats, and is one of DMagic's modlets.  You can find it here:


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