My first attempt at a Grand Tour

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xendelaar    270

Hi Everybody,


Whenever I unlock most of the tech tree during a career-run, I like to “finish” the game with a special tour of some sort. Most of the time, it will be a Jool-5 challenge, but after 10+ careers I like to step things up a bit.

So I decided to take upon the challenge of doing a Grand tour and plant a flag on all landable celestial bodies with one trip.


In this thread, I will report on the design, flight plan and off course the actual journey/ adventure throughout the system.


Before I talk about the general vessel design, let’s start with “da rulez” I set for myself:

  • Plant a flag on all landable bodies in one trip;

  • The “Grand tour Vessel” may be constructed in orbit;

  • Dedicated landers may be discarded after use;

  • After leaving the SOI of a planet with the Main Grand tour vessel, remaining vessels are considered discarded. I will have to bring along all parts I want to use for the whole journey ;

  • Landing on a planet with an atmosphere requires a proper Kerbal crew cabin;

  • Mining ore and converting ore to fuel is allowed;

  • Try to keep clipping at a minimum;

  • No Cheats;

  • Saving and reloading is allowed.


With that out of the way, let’s talk about the general design!


I’m thinking taking 2 kerbals (engineers) for this trip and splitting up the ship into 4 dedicated parts.


  1. The massive Eve lander;

  2. A compact Tylo lander;

  3. An airbreathing Laythe lander;

  4. And last but not least, an all-purpose carry-all-tug. This tug will provide the thrust and fuel to transfer all (dedicated) landers to their destination. It will also be used as a landing and mining vessel for the smaller celestial bodies.


That’s it for now. I will post more info within a day or two.


I can’t wait to start. Wish me luck :wink:


Edited by xendelaar

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I've never got to this point in a career mode, but I'm still thinking of doing at as I've played enough to have done most major missions like yourself.  It looks like you could enter the Ultimate Challenge at the same time :)


Good luck!


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xendelaar    270
8 hours ago, Speeding Mullet said:

  It looks like you could enter the Ultimate Challenge at the same time :)

Oh wow! This challange is perfect for my mission. :) ill have to change some of my rulez though regarding the single launch rule. 

Thanks for the tip!

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TheKorbinger    145

I took a 2000 ton lander to minmus then to the mun, then back to minmus and back to the mun, then landed on Kerbin a fleck on the speck on the tail
On the frog on the bump on the branch
On the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea.


did i win


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sdj64    567

There aren't enough grand tours out there for the name "yet another".  It looks like you have a good plan and doing it in career mode will be that much more rewarding.  Good luck!

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xendelaar    270

So I've got my flight plan all figured out:

  1. Eve, Gilly
  2. Moho
  3. Mun, Minmus
  4. Duna. Ike
  5. Dres
  6. Laythe, Tylo, Vall, Pol & Bop
  7. Eeloo
  8. Kerbin

I know it's not the most efficient route imaginable, but I want to lose some weight first at Eve and finish up the inner planets while I'm already there.

Next, it's time to design some ships! I'm sorry, but I'm currently not able to embed the pictures in this post. So for the time being, here is a link to the album. :S I guess the designs aren't really aesthetically pleasing, but they will get the job done (hopefully).

I made 4 ships:

  • An All purpose carry-all with mining, refining and scanning capabilities:  ~112 tonnes, 3000 delta v with a 60 tonnes payload, TWR ~ 0,3
  • An  Eve lander:  ~35 tonnes, 6500 m/s delta v
  • A Tylo lander: ~ 6.5 tonnes, 7288 m/s delta v
  • A Laythe lander: 5 tonnes airbreathing SSTO


The Eve lander will be shot into orbit by itself while the others are launched together. Assembly will take place in orbit.

Now it's time to fire these babies up! By the Kraken, I hope all goes as planned (haha like that will ever happen!;))


Edited by xendelaar
some minor adjustments

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Oh, my, a grand tour. To re-iterate sdj64's point, there's no such thing as "yet another" grand tour. Every single one is a special occasion, not least of which due to the astronomical amount of time they take to do. And don't worry, sometimes things like this do go to plan. No, really. They do.

Good luck!

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xendelaar    270

Thanks everybody :D
I guess the title isn't really appropriate for this mission, but I can't change that now. (EDIT: I noticed I CAN change the thread title. So I did :))

Well, here is a small update. After 2-3 hours of space-floating and trajectory fiddling, I found out I made a huuuuuuuge n00b mistake.
Everything was going fairly well until I landed on Eve:







If you look closely you can I forgot one of the most important parts.... THE FREAKING LADDER

I feel so silly haha! Before I launched my first vessel I literally said to my, "I'll probably forget something like a ladder or a battery..."!

Pfff... I will have to restart the entire mission. "Luckily" I noticed the non-existent ladder on my first landing and not during the last one haha.
I'm glad I made a save on the launchpad. I don't have enough money to fund a new mission. Besides that, I don't like leaving Kerbals stranded in space either.
I also noticed that I could use a better antenna for my probe core on the Eve lander.  I didn't think I would need one, but the signal range of the probe cores seems really week . So the no-ladder-setback gives me the opportunity to make some final adjustments like the antenna. That's a good thing, I guess. :)

I need to recharge myself before I start over again. At the moment, the love for KSP is completely gone, but it will return. It always does. :D I will try over later today.



<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="a/rFo8y"><a href="//imgur.com/rFo8y">Grand tour: Vessel assembly</a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


Edited by xendelaar
Added a spoiler to hide the picture

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something    328

Alternatively mount a crew cabin at the bottom and get your crew up and down by the transfer option. Saves quite a lot of parts which might be an issue in any big mission...

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xendelaar    270

This weekend I restarted the Grand Tour … again.

This time I put an extra crew ship under the Eve Lander (@something, Thanks for the tip) and put some additional stuff on the other vessels as well.


Like the last time, We’ll head off for Eve first to shed off approximately 42 tonnes of Eve Lander junk. ( I borrowed the design from @foxter. My initial design was almost 10 tonnes heavier J)


First, We’ll have to assemble the Eve lander rig to the all-purpose carry all. Getting both vessels into orbit was easy. Getting them to dock was a bit more tricky since I don’t use RSC.


Carry All












Eve lander










After docking we’re good to go. I hope we didn’t forget to bring anything essential with us this time. Hehe. Here’s a picture of the Grand tour carry all.



Like I said before, we’ll head off to Eve first. Bill found a mediocre encounter with the purple planet. The descending node was very close to the encounter point which made the correction burn somewhat expensive.  The kerbals didn’t feel like waiting so we started burning for departure.







After almost a year bill and verenna arrived at Eve . After the circulization maneuver, Bill lowered the ships periapsis to 65km, transferred to the lander crew cabin and undocked the Lander module. Next, Bill inflated the 5 heat shields to protect the ship against the harsh elements of Eve. 
On board the Carry all, Verenna accelerated the ship again in order to stay in orbit and watched Bill descend.










Soon the lander entered Eve’s atmosphere. I had to redo this sequence a couple of times in order to find a proper landing spot. After 2 hours of fiddling Bill found a spot to his liking and set down on the surface of Eve. The descent was easy peasy.










Now it was time to plant our first flag. Bill jumped out of the cabin and slabbed the flag pole into the purple dirt! He also took some surface samples as proof.  1 down, 14 to go…




Getting back in the crew cabin was a challenge! It was a bit too high for Bill to reach hehe. With a bit of RCS and leg force, Bill was finally able to reach the ladder.

Now, Bill was ready  to gead back towards the carry all. After discarding all excess weight, Bob started his ascend. It took a couple of iterations before we got into a rather less-than-optimal orbit, but the Carry all had enough spare fuel to change its inclination.

Verenna plotted a rendezvous course with Bob’s cabin and after two orbits both Kerbals were united once again.







With 3km/s delta V left, we plotted a course towards our next destination: Gilly



Edited by xendelaar

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xendelaar    270

Hi Everybody,

Here's a small summary of the mission from the last couple of days.

Like I said in my previous post, the next stop was Gilly, which is off course an easy target. Here, we refuelled the Carry all and planted a flag.


Then it was time for the inferno desserts of Moho. We had some trouble finding a proper refueling spot. The resolution of the orbital surface scanner just isn't high enough to get a proper reading. We had to land at three different locations before we struck gold. Jeb also planted a flag and after that we plotted a course to the next destination: Kerbin.


We discovered that we didn't have enough juice to get back to Kerbin in one shot, so we took a detour to Gilly.

With all tanks filled up it was easy to get from Gilly to Kerbin. 

When we arrived near Kerbin, we first stopped at the Mun. I found a nice ore-rich landing spot near an anomely. Jeb thought it would be nice to plant a flag on it... so he did. :)





We then headed for the minty surface of Minmus.


After planting the flag, we plotted a course for  Jool. We still have two desposable crafts stuck on the carry all and I want to lose the weight (~14 tonnes) before we land on Duna or Dres. We don't need the extra delta V but I sure would like to have bit more thrust when I visit the red planet.

We're currently on a course to Jool and we're having trouble to get a proper encounter with Tylo. I can't seem to find the best moment to place the manouveur node in order to get the encounter when the relative velocity with Tylo is at a minimum, if you know what I mean. Should I dervert my course near kerbin and make a larger adjustment burn when I get closer to Jool or are there other way's to delay or increase my encounter date?



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xendelaar    270
Posted (edited)

Hi there,

In this report, I will talk about the landings on Vall, Laythe, Tylo, Pol and Bop.

When we finally arrived in the SOI of Jool, we slowed down using Tylo's gravity and made an orbit around Vall.


On Vall, we planted a flag and refuelled the carry all. Nothing special.


Then we headed towards Laythe, where we undocked the SSTO and headed down the atmosphere. The carry all would stay in orbit off course. It took me a couple of tries before I found a solid landing spot. Water is apparently not a surface one can plant a flag upon. :D







After planting the flag we started our ascend towards the carry all. The fine tuning of the encounter was done in EVA. I had a brain fart and ran out of jet pack fuel getting a close encounter with the ship. So I  had to us the ships' engines  to get the kerbal "bounce" against the crew cabin, which was pretty difficult. IN the end it all worked out!










With both of our kerbals stowed away we headed for Tylo where we would lose our last dedicated lander. The landing went smooth and soon we had a flag also on this heavy rock.




Embarking the dedicated lander






After taking some samples we headed back towards the main ship.We had plenty of delta V and thrust on board the dedicated lander (and ascend vehicle) so getting back was easy as pie.

We then flew towards Poll for refuelling. Here we landed near an anomaly and planted a flag. From there we headed towards Bop and repeated the same procedure (without finding any anomalies). These trips went without any trouble.










We're currently flying toward Eeloo which will take approximately 12 years. I hope our green friends took along some snacks.. it's gonna be a longgggg flight hehe.


To do list:

V Bop   V Dress  X Duna  X Eeloo  V Eve  V Gilly X  Ike  V Laythe  V Minmus V Moho V Mun  V Pol  V Tylo V Vall

Edited by xendelaar
Spell checking Iteration 1

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xendelaar    270

Just a small update:

I just landed on Eeloo... near the monolith.

Bill took the opportunity to plant our first custom made flag, with special thanks to @cratercracker who made it for the crew! It looks pretty sweet huh? :D 









Enough Jibba Jabba. Now it's time to refuel somewhere near the equator (or poles) and head back to give some TLC to lonesome Dres!


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xendelaar    270
Posted (edited)

This will be my last mission update.

We left from Eeloo and headed towards Dress. Here, we planted @cratercracker special Dres Flag on top of the monolith.





After refuelling we plotted a course for Ike. We used the atmosphere of Duna to brake the Carry all to get captured . After that we directly got captured by the gravity well of Ike. Luck had nothing to do with it. :wink: Landing on Ike was easy.









Next on the list was Duna. We ascended from the surface of Ike and flew towards the Red planet. Landing was a bit tricky because we landed on a steep slope a couple of times. After several tries we found a relative flat surface where we could plant a flag











Our final destination was off course Kerbin. We tried to land near the space station, which worked out pretty well. Here we planted our last flag:














There you have it folks! MY FIRST GRAND TOUR. It took us approximately 60 kerbal years, we made about 8.000.000 Kredits (from convenient missions that would pop up) and earned 3500 science points.



If I would ever start over, I would definitely make a  couple of changes:

  • I would make a Carry all with a little more thrust. Getting off Moho with a local TWR of 1.1 was a pain in the ass.
  • I would have a bit more delta V for the carry all with the Tylo and Laythe vessel attached.
  • I would make dedicated tugs to haul the Eve and Laythe lander into the atmosphere. Now I used the carry all which made predicting the atmospheric trajectory nearly impossible because of its weird dimension.
  • I would use more reaction wheels. The carry all was a bit flip happy when landing on a slope.


Thanks for reading. Have a great day :)



Edited by xendelaar

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