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MaxL_1023

Pale Blue Pixel - A RSS/RO/RP-0 KSP Stream

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Using the time travel capability known as "previous version steam beta" the universe defined by the realism overhaul suite has been recovered. This thread documents the progress made by our brave Kerbals in exploring the Sol system, from humble beginnings involving V-2 engines and Aerobees to potential crewed interplanetary flight. Live Streams of career progress are found here:

https://www.twitch.tv/maxl_1023

Highlights and eventual edited videos will be posted here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0QP0BvaZg2x2z1YK3tt3AQ

I am separating this thread from my 1.21 GPP stream ("Bringing Debris to the Masses") , as it uses a completely different KSP installation and I do plan to play both in parallel over the next few weeks. I will also add highlight screenshots directly to this thread, and post replies to announce my stream (as I both want someone to watch it and have no idea how else to do it). 

The main modlist:

- Realism Overhaul

- RP-0

- Real Solar System

- TAC Life Support

- Remote Tech (Without signal delay for now)

- Dmagic Orbital Science and Scansat

- Whatever visual enhancement mods I can get working

- Many more minor mods for parts, etc. 

Edited by MaxL_1023

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Testflight is the most annoying mod I have ever installed. "Lets have your orbital insertion stage randomly fail halfway into the burn!" - I guess it makes you pay for trying to orbit with 1950s level technology. 

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I have updated my mod folder - I have removed Testflight, added a bunch of small mods and also have added Fog of Tech. No more 2000s era rocket tech visible on January 1st, 1950!

With these new settings, I am planning to restart my career this evening, with the plan to have all my engines actually work as opposed to randomly breaking after 30 seconds of flight time. I know it is less realistic, but in this case I think it is excessive given the general game infrastructure. 

The stream will be up momentarily - time to see if I can get to space using Wac Corporals and V2 engines!

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Pale Blue Pixel Episode I : Explosive Beginnings

https://www.twitch.tv/maxl_1023/v/110516999

After the horrors of the second world war (theorized to have been fought primarily over snacks, as is everything else when Kerbals are involved), a brave group of visionaries sought to turn swords into plowshares. They re-purposed military rocket technology, seeking to initiate the peaceful exploration of space. Either that, or Pilot Jebediah Kerman just saw his best chance to ride a controlled explosion into what lay beyond. The engineers and scientists believed they had the technology (referred to as the "Start Node") to make an attempt at breaching the atmosphere. After several minutes of intensive design and construction, the Kerbal I was born:

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The Kerbal I was a humble design, consisting of a re-purposed V2 rocket engine. This engine conveniently ran on 75% Ethanol, allowing it to burn moonshine confiscated from the astronaut barracks. While the engine was not efficient enough to make a serious attempt at orbit, it was powerful enough to lob a reasonable payload onto an exo-atmospheric parabola. A guidance unit, biological sample container (filled with mice caught in the fields near mission control), a thermometer and barometer were duct-taped to a parachute, then enclosed in a fairing. The ensemble was completed with all-moving control fins (as gimbals were a pipe dream at this point) and the mandatory launch clamps. The rocket was rolled out to the launchpit (as a pad had not yet been built) and scheduled for a morning liftoff. 

At the appointed time, the Kerbal 1 leaped into the air. However, the lack of wind tunnel testing, general aerodynamics knowledge and the possibility of the entire engineering team being a bunch of basement hobbyists lead to a rather unstable ascent. An attempt to override the guidance unit and take manual control lead to the primary rocket body breaking up at roughly 15,000 meters.

Kerbal%201%20Apex_zpsluu14ayp.jpg 

The payload persevered, held together by industrial strength tape (kerbal joint reinforcement) and KerbalGlue (autostrut). While the final altitude was within the range of sounding balloons and a few intrepid aircraft pilots, the data obtained from the biological payload provided valuable information on the ability of living organisms to withstand the rigors of a rocket launch. Long story short - 15 G's of deceleration is survivable by a Tardigrade, but not much larger. 

Learning from their mistakes, the design team spend several additional minutes in the revision cycle. The payload was unchanged, having performed admirably despite near worst-case conditions. However, the fuel tank was lengthened slightly, the control fins were replaced with less extreme models (no more all-moving insanity) and the launch program was debugged. The Kerbal 2 was rolled out to the pad. This time, a near vertical ascent was planned to minimize aerodynamic stress on the still embryonic piloting and guidance equipment. 

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With only 203s of liftoff ISP, this design had no chance of slipping the bounds of earth completely. However, it was hoped that this iteration would finally prove once and for all that Earth was NOT surrounded by a glass sphere which kept all the air from escaping. Hopefully, it would travel high enough to at least make those Flat-Earther Kerbals have to come up with better conspiracy theories. In any case, the liftoff was more successful. While control difficulties were again encountered (likely due to the offset between the control point and the center of thrust) the Kerbal 2 made it to engine burnout. In fact, it picked up enough vertical velocity to reach a final altitude of over 250 kilometers. 

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Backlit by the blinding sun (with no atmosphere to attenuate its hard radiation) valuable science data was obtained from the domain known as near-Earth space. The barometer insisted that it was in a Vacuum, doing so at any altitude exceeding roughly 140 Kilometers. Therefore, scientists theorized that gravity alone confined the atmosphere - Aristotle Kerman must be spinning in his grave. The thermometer was not of much use - alternating between completely frozen and over 100 degrees Celsius based purely on whether or not it was facing the sun. Measuring the temperature of space is more complicated than we thought. It also turns out that bats don't do too well in microgravity. After spending several minutes in space, the science payload re-entered the atmosphere. The large cross-sectional area of the guidance unit protected the remaining equipment, while ending up only slightly melted. It is theorized that conditions would be much more severe re-entering from orbit - additional technology is likely needed for anything to survive this trip. After falling back to Earth on parachutes (found by the side of the road and/or stolen from the local skydiving enthusiasts) the science data recovered was sufficient to bankroll additional research. More powerful and efficient engines were coming down the pipeline, with lightweight guidance units and long range antennas. Unanimously, the Kerbals decided that their next objective was to launch something up into space, then sideways so fast that it missed Earth when falling back down. They call this phenomenon "orbit". 

 

 

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Had some tech trouble with my audio - stream is fixed and back up. The good news - I got to the moon. The bad news - nobody could have heard me get there. Next up is a Kerballed Lunar Orbit. 

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The Pale Blue Pixel Space Program is now live on Twitch:

https://www.twitch.tv/maxl_1023

This time, I am going to try and launch a small metal object in such a way as to end up circling Venus, hopefully determining once and for all whether or not female Kerbals actually originate there. 

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Pale Blue Pixel Episode II: The Kerbnik Series

Kerbal science is strange - their government even more so. Idealistic to a fault, Kerbal researchers tend to obsessively focus on any area which is currently providing new data. The space program is no different. When the Kerbal series returned the first scientific data from the upper atmosphere, dozens of talented (and somewhat unstable) scientists flocked to Wherner Von Kerman's research lab. Every single one of them wanted to research some aspect of space travel. At this point, low hanging fruit was still available. Basic electrical technology and improved guidance computers were already present in aircraft and ground-based infrastructure. All that was needed was some reprogramming, debugging and hardening against the conditions found in near-vacuum. Before long, the Kerbal 2 provided the final push needed by the research program, sending back information from beyond Earth's atmosphere. The proof that space existed, was reachable and was survivable by the use properly protected equipment (as opposed to riding a firecracker using a command seat) led to a crash program to develop technology known as "Early Orbital Rocketry." According to the now overexcited Kerbals, these engines had a chance of pushing an object so hard that it could reach orbit. The Kerbnik program was born.

The amount of kinetic energy required to put something in orbit dwarfs that needed to merely peek above the atmosphere. When Wherner first calculated the launch requirements, he discovered that using the engines then available (The V2 engine and the small Wac-Corporal sustainer) launching anything larger than a can of soda to orbit would need a launcher so large that Earth was more likely to orbit it as opposed to the other way around. Such was the tyranny of the rocket equation. Better engines were needed. The first design was named the RD-103 - a more powerful descendant of the venerable V2 engine. Burning the same re-purposed home-brew (however at an industrial scale, or at least that of a medium sized fraternity party) it provided enough thrust to lift impressively heavy rockets off the ground. Its small profile assisted in engine clustering, and the improved turbopump control system reduced the damaging thrust oscillations found in its older cousin. The disadvantage of the RD-103 was its terrible fuel efficiency, providing barely 200 seconds of ISP on the pad and not much more when in Vacuum. Lifting its own weight to orbit would be difficult.

Competing Kerbal designers provided a new engine design, called the Vangaurd Booster. It burned refined jet fuel, leading to somewhat better efficiency. This engine pioneered the gas generator cycle, where small amounts of fuel were burned separately from the main combustion chamber in order to drive the main turbopumps. While somewhat unreliable, the elimination of a third propellant and the superior controlability provided by the generator suggested myriads of future applications for this engine topology. The drawback of this design was its relatively low thrust, being only about one third as powerful as the competing RD-103. It was not strong enough to support an orbital launcher at a scale useful to the space program. 

A third engine design was developed by the poor Kerbals in charge of cleaning out (mostly) empty fuel tanks which were littered around the test stands. They used a rather overpowered leaf blower to push any remaining fuel or contaminants out of the tanks. By connecting an overfilled balloon to a straw which then emptied a small bulb of water, the idea was formed to pressurize the fuel inside reinforced tanks, proving enough energy to eliminate the need for a turbopump. These pressure fed engines were ideal for small scale, restartable designs - especially those using hypergolic fuels which only needed to look at each other to ignite into a propulsive inferno. The result of these labors was the first of the AJ10 series. While far too small to life anything practical off the ground, it was the safest and most efficient of the available engine designs. However, no engine currently available was capable of meeting the requirements of the Kerbnik program.

The breakthrough came when a bored intern was playing with a sketchily-constructed model rocket. Using solid fuel, it normally could only rise about 50 meters before burning out. However, when this one was lit off (with the intent of scaring the local wildlife) a defect in the rocket body caused the bottom half of the rocket to fall off shortly after launch. Thankfully, the combustion point had already risen past the break. The rocket kept rising - at an accelerated rate. No longer dragging the heavy bottom assembly, the remaining piece (while somewhat unstable) managed to reach nearly 100 meters before falling back to the ground. This gave the intern an idea - what if they took a big rocket, then launched a smaller rocket from the top of it? After some rather sketchy concept art, staging was discovered. It was decided to use the AJ-10 as the final stage, igniting in vacuum to provide the final push to orbit. The payload and AJ-10 stage would be lifted from the middle atmosphere by twin Vanguard boosters. This larger assembly would be de-lithobraked by a cluster of three RD-103 engines. Operating in series, the resulting design could theoretically put a reasonably sized science package into low Earth orbit. Enter Kerbnik I.

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The Kerbnik I was many times larger than anything previously constructed. Standing over 30 meters tall, it represented the efforts of hundreds of Kerbals, thousands of snacks and several rapid dissassemblies (both planned and unplanned). Early one morning, the Kerbals first attempt at an orbital launcher was rolled out to the pad. When the time came, the trio of RD-103s were lit. When they built up to full thrust, strain gauges within the four symmetrical launch clamps triggered their release. Kerbnik 1 began to slowly rise into the morning sky, on launch managing roughly 5 m/s2 of vertical acceleration. As fuel drained from the tanks, this figure quickly rose. After barely a minute of flight, Kerbal 1 had reached higher than any air-breathing craft, travelling at 3 times the speed of sound. At this point, all became quite. Fully spent, the first stage was dropped to fall into the Atlantic ocean. After separation was verified, the Vanguard engines were ignited. A trickle of kerosene and pure liquid oxygen were fed into a small chamber, where a spark ignited them into a miniature version of the engine itself. While woefully insufficient for lifting purposes, this process provided enough energy to push a flood of propellant into the main combustion chamber. There, the first gas-generator engine was ignited, continuing Kerbnik I's flight. 

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Not as voracious as the previous engines, the second stage pushed the Kerbnik I onto an ever lengthening ballistic arc. Designed to burn for 3 and a half minutes, this stage was quickly the fastest object ever created by Kerbals. Travelling onwards and upwards, the second stage pushed itself to an eventual apogee of nearly 280 Kilometers. When it was finally spent, the velocity gauge showed 4.7 km/s relative to Earth's center. While not fast enough for orbit, it was far beyond anything previously seen. The spent second stage was detached, to eventually land somewhere in the Eastern Tropical Atlantic. At this point, pent up pressure in the final-stage fuel tanks was allowed to vent through the AJ-10. On contact, the propellants ignited, producing a relatively gentle push. While nowhere near as strong as the earlier stages, the now much lighter assembly continued to quickly accelerate. Barely 3 minutes later, the velocity gauge reached the critical value of 7800 m/s. From now on, Kerbnik I would not fall back to Earth. Instead, it world circle the globe, potentially for hundreds of years. 

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The designers of the Kerbnik I packed a little more fuel than was absolutely necessary, being unsure how the relatively untested engines and guidance software would perform during their first true test. Therefore, mission controllers were pleasantly surprised to find that the little AJ-10 was still burning away after orbital velocity was reached. When it finally ran out of fuel, the third stage and attached payload had reached 8357.8 m/s - fast enough to travel on an elliptical path which reached a point 3000 kilometers above the South Pacific. For the first time, a Kerbal-made object was high enough to see the entire Earth as the blue globe it was. Sadly, Kerbnik I did not have a camera, having as of yet no way to get pictures back to the ground. However, the Geiger Counter, Micrometeorite Detector, Thermometer, Barometer and the control core still provided valuable information spanning all of low Earth orbit. With a final bust from onboard attitude Jets, Kerbnik I raised its Perigee high enough to clear the last remnants of the atmosphere, ensuring that it would ensure as a testament to Kerbal engineering for thousands of years to come. 

Kerbnik%20I%20Orbit_zpsltxkypjj.jpg

While the Kerbnik I was the first object to reach orbit, it would not be the last. The moon has beckoned Kerbalkind for thousands of years (or at least since they figured out it was not a floating dinner plate), and Jebediah really, really wants to try this "rocket launch" business out for himself. The Pale Blue Pixel Space Program will strive to make his dream a reality. 

Video Links: 

https://www.twitch.tv/maxl_1023/v/110989438

 

Edited by MaxL_1023

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Now streaming the design, launch and occupation of Kerbal-kinds first permanent space station!

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Now streaming the first probe to the red planet, finally answering the question of whether or not Male Kerbals originated here. There only seem to be 3 of them on Earth at the moment - they have to be somewhere!

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I would like to thank everyone for getting my Twitch Channel to 5000 views! I know it isn't much, but it's a start. 

Any comments or questions are welcome, either here or on Twitch. 

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Now live! I am planning to launch another space station and then additional planetary probes to either the surface of Venus, Phobos/Deimos or Jupiter depending on the launch window timing. Another manned Lunar mission is also a possibility. 

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I am now Live-Streaming the design and launch of Kerbioneer X, the first probe to explore Jupiter!

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I somehow managed to have a Callisto impact trajectory after making a plane correction burn. I also had to maneuver to dodge a Europa impact. Jupiter's moons are more hazardous than I thought!

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Well, I made it to the moon, although I forgot to fuel up my lunar insertion/return stage. Thankfully, I overdesigned my transfer stage enough to allow insertion, and overdesigned my LM enough to have it push my command pod back to Earth. Thank Kerm for Kerbal Engineering Practices (More Boosters). 

Also, my computer was performing like crap, so I am going to try and clean it up so the game runs better next stream. 

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The stream will be up momentarily - I think I am going to try for a Mars mission including probe landings on Mars, Phobos and Deimos. I would do a crewed landing, but no space agency in their right mind would land Kerbals before a probe - Jebediah is not in charge (thankfully). 

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I am now streaming the continuation of my Mars exploration mission -  Jeb, Bob and Bill are in for an adventure!

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I probably won't make it online tonight - I am trying to figure out how to split my audio into game sounds + voice tracks and then learn how to edit my videos. Eventually, I want to be able to speed it up when my game lags, cut out long loading sequences and make actual reasonably competent videos for upload. My computer is probably Kerbal made (prone to overheating and possible explosions) so I just can't get by with everything I do being live - my Youtube channel deserves better. 

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Back from a break - now streaming a mission to somewhere I have never been before - Pluto!

Edit: My ambition broke my game. Restarting - will be online in 10 minutes!

Edited by MaxL_1023

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