Starman4308

The Astronomers of Gael: Blind GPP at 3.2x Scale

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Hello fellow KSPers. Inspired by @CatastrophicFailure's Alien Skies story, I'm running a career in Galileo's Planet Pack at 3.2x scale, deliberately not looking up anything about the planets.

As a request: please don't spoil anything about Galileo's Planet Pack. I'm coming into this blind, using a combination of CactEye telescopes and probes to figure out what the system is like.

Other key mods: FAR, Real Fuels-Stockalike, TAC Life Support, Kerbal Construction Time, Karbonite (with some custom Real Fuels configurations from some prior 6.4x stock system work), kOS, RemoteTech 2 (currently no communcations delay; that may change if I feel brave), and plenty of other mods. Funds rewards are set to 120%, science rewards to 40%.

Note that the early posts are going to lack specific date information and even the year information will be outright guesses, but I'll try to keep better track in the future.

Now, onto the good stuff

The Astronomers of Gael

btVA4ya.png?1

 

The First Year: The Climb to Orbit

Ciro shines upon us, as the Gael Space Center is finally established. It has been three centuries since the Transplantation, a mysterious event that brought our ancestors here from a world named Kerbin, a world much like our own. Fortunately, it also brought food, a library, many tools, and for some reason, the Kerbin Paper Airplane Museum.

We now seek to go to the stars. Our ancestors suspected the Ciro system is in the same galaxy as the Kerbol system, and the answers of how we got here, whether there are still Kerbals on Kerbin, and why the food included RTG-powered freezers full of Minmus-themed mint ice cream await us in space. If the Transplantation was the work of a higher power, clearly, it has a sense of humor.

Sounding Rockets to Space

Before more complicated missions could be carried out, the Gael Space Agency was tasked with something quite simple: "how high is the atmosphere?"

Spoiler

 

BKUMaEY.png

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Our early missions peg this world's Karman line at about 98 km, as well as carrying out valuable experiments, such as exposing samples of several proposed propellants to vacuum (no surprise that the liquid oxygen boiled out). No van Allen belts were detected by this early effort, though they probably exist courtesy of Gael's magnetic field and the fact that we haven't all died of cancer.

Program Kerbin: Suborbital Manned Flights

The Kerballed project begins with relatively simple 1-Kerbal capsules mounted on 6-ton solid rocket boosters. Initial conclusions can be largely summed up as "yep, we can still go to space and zero-gravity, much like our ancestors did with their space program". However, the photographs delivered by Jebediah Kerman have been widely distributed, and the Gael Space Program has a line of tourists paying for suborbital hops... and the actual space program.

Spoiler

 

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lsPNiit.png

 

 

Spoiler

At this point, things became a bit tedious, farming cash to build up infrastructure and not having quite enough science to put up even a simple set of communication relays. This is aggravated by a mistake that will probably be in the next post. If you're reading this soon after the original post, you may be able to find some of my posts in the WDYDIKSPT (What Did You Do In Kerbal Space Program Today) thread, which go farther than what I have written right now.

 

Edited by Starman4308
Reducing page load shenanigans

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Dig it. :cool:

Just wait till you see [REDACTED], and the [REDACTED] of [REDACTED]. And the view from [REDACTED] at night. 

Oh, and always beware of the Klingons near--- nevermind. <_<

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3 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Oh, and always beware of the Klingons near--- nevermind. <_<

Okay, that gave me a chuckle. I installed the Star Trek Kerbonaut uniform pack mostly out of boredom, though I rather like them.

As to Klingons... maybe they're out by Grannus, the giant red maybe-a-gas-giant-maybe-a-red-dwarf?

Speaking of, dangit contract system, don't give me contracts for Grannus. It's about 4 Tm away from Gael at closest approach, and my biggest dish has a whopping range of 288 Mm, barely enough for operations in the Gael system*.

*Though I did substantially buff the ground antennae to 200 Mm, 20 Gm, and 960 Gm for level 1/2/3 tracking stations, and with the square-root rule, I can reach out to Ceti with even the wimpy little always-on ascent antennae. It just seems silly to me that ground stations could barely reach out to Gael's moons (as configured in default settings), when realistically, the Deep Space Network has the biggest, most ludicrously powerful radio antennae out there. After all, what's cheaper, putting a 30m dish here on Earth and hooking it up to your local power station, or putting a 30m dish onto the New Horizons probe?

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omg i really like the idea of starting a career completely blind! i guess your not using the porkchop plotter  and such?

I've been flirting with the idea myself of installing the planet pack later on.  i will definitely consider copying your idea 

thanks for the interesting report!I 

Edited by xendelaar

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To clear up any confusion: for the purposes of this story, it now starts on Year 301, using Earth years (because that's what my game clock displays). Year 301 is still the "first year" from the OP.

Contract Law, or "Check Contract Deadlines for Impossibilities"

Year 301

Early in the year, we've invested in a more sophisticated mission control center to coordinate the plethora of commercial contracts coming our way. We now wish we'd invested in a lawyer, and more importantly, an intern to check the fine print.

The contract parameters: send up a bulky, awkward 1-ton telescope to Gael orbit, before we've even launched an exploratory probe to orbit. Deadline: 50 days from realizing we needed to get cracking on it.

The largest, most sophisticated booster yet was designed to load this awkward payload, scraping the 18-ton limit the engineers had established on the launchpad. Fueled primarily by kerosene and high-test peroxide, along with two SRBs, it had the theoretical delta-V to reach orbit.

Spoiler

CRFHNGz.png

It failed, miserably. The technical team was still struggling to come up with an effective payload fairing, and without fairings, the telescope was just too big, too draggy, and caused far too much instability: the Range Safety Officer was forced to terminate the flight less than thirty seconds in.

This has left us in a tight spot, with less than 50,000 roots worth of funds, and the primary assets being under-construction Kerbin-program vehicles slated for tourism missions.

Back to the grind.

 

Spoiler

m8JFY6q.png

 

Year 302: Orbital Infrastructure

With the first year of the Gael Space Program behind us, it's time to take stock.

We still haven't gotten to orbit.

We finally have a little bit of cash from tourism missions.

It's time for the GSC to go to space and stay there.

Project Hermes: The Relays

To establish a basic presence in space, one of the first steps was to establish basic relays to low Gael orbit. A series of four basic satellites equipped with the GSC's first space-rated PV arrays and lightweight omnidirectional antennae were sent into roughly geosynchronous orbits around Gael, one that still serves today, despite their basic construction. The orbits are not truly geostationary, possessing about 8.6 degrees of inclination; this was in part due to the Rearguard OMS engines, which could only be ignited four times.

Spoiler

 

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Project ROSO: Return of Science from Orbit

To prove ablative heatshield technology, a simple orbital mission was devised, one that would achieve orbital velocity and immediately brake retrograde, as the batteries would last only a half-hour.

It started well.

 

Spoiler

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It ended in fire and disaster, as it moved past line-of-sight from GSC ground antennae, and engineers overestimated the reach of the onboard low-gain antenna, which was incapable of reaching the Hermes relays. Without a control signal, propulsion was lost, and the commands to arm parachutes and separate from propulsion were never sent.

 

Spoiler

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ROSO II had a bigger antenna.

 

Spoiler

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Spoiler

As a side note: about this time, I also piloted an aircraft to the mountains west of GSC to pick up some extra science. Fixed-wing aircraft are hard for me, particularly when using that infuriating level 1 runway of bouncy-explodey doom.

 

Edited by Starman4308

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Runways? Where you're going you don't need... :cool: ...runways.

Seriously, the grass right next to the runway is much smoother. (Don't ask me how I know.)

And if you ever go full signal delay with RemoteTech (or even without), check out SmartParts. It's great for setting up a sequence of events to run without direct control (like when the horizon comes up too fast and your antenna is too small).

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Surveyor Project

Year 302

With basic infrastructure in orbit, the Gael Space Center set its sights on mapping Gael as it never had before, from the ultimate birds-eye view.

The first component was the Latchsat satellite, with a powerful radar scanner for altimetry data and a basic camera to take images of our planet.

Spoiler

 

Q9sIIJV.png

KyCtTIG.png

 

 

The second component was Valentina's historical launch to orbit, the first Kerbal to orbit Gael. Orbiting our planet three times, Valentina described wonders such as seeing a pod of luminous whales come up for air, the auroras over the poles, and the stars overlooking Gael, one of which may be our original Kerbol shining from a vast distance.

Spoiler

 

ym3dGVJ.png

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Year 303: To the Moons of Gael

Project Boomerang

By the end of the second year of GSC operations, mission control and Engineering were feeling confident about the chances of sending an exploratory mission to one of our moons, Iota and Ceti. Iota has been often compared to the Mun, being the closer of two moons, just 87,700 km from Gael; however, its albedo is much higher, shining more brightly in the sky despite being smaller than the Mun.

The scientific staff would like to once again reassure the public that yes, it is just a coincidence that the Mun and Iota both have almost negligible inclinations and eccentricities.

Seriously, stop with the consipracy theories. Giant space monkeys do not need to be invoked to explain four orbital elements.

Project Boomerang, Which Yes, Flew Around Iota

The Boomerang probe, sent to fly by Iota, was carefully constructed with a bevy of scientific instruments, a high-resolution camera, and a powerful antenna.

Spoiler

 

znVZF1Q.png

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Flying a mere 40 km over the Iotan surface, Boomerang obtained excellent measurements of Iota's weak magnetic field, and for the first time ever, executed a scientific program without communication to Gael.

Spoiler

I used kOS for this; essentially, the script just waited until periapsis, and then hit the lights action group, to which I'd bound all the instruments.

 

Spoiler

nHBKugg.png

 

While a repeat mission to Ceti was suggested, this were put on hold, as bigger plans were underway.

 

Spoiler

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Spoiler

First, an explanation for why there seems to be so little action in year 302: Kerbals. In space. Waiting to be rescued, which does not fit in with the Astronomers of Gael story, since there's nobody else in the game to send Kerbals, and if there were, why would they be so careless as to send up so many doomed capsules? Such missions, while I'll continue to accept them, are not going to be discussed in-story.

It did, at least, provide me with some experience in going from a non-equatorial launch site to an equatorial orbit; my usual tactic was to launch east, and wait for apoapsis to cross over the equator (usually ~250-500 km altitude), at which point I'd cut the engines and coast, combining my circularization burn with a plane change into an equatorial orbit.

EXLj3IV.png

1 Internet cookie to the first person to figure out what the Latchsat satellite is a reference to. 2 Internet cookies if I made an unintentional reference to something I wasn't thinking about.

if you catch me accidentally saying "Kerbin" instead of "Gael", please point it out so I can fix it.

I also wish I'd saved an image of launching the first CactEye telescope, though I do at least have a lot of telescopic images for next time on Dragonball Z Astronomers of Gael.

Edited by Starman4308

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The Rayleigh Project: Surveying the Ciro System

Year 303

With substantial payloads being sent to space, the Gael Space Center, in collaboration with the Lippershey Astrononomical Society, funded a 1-ton space telescope equipped with a camera capable of 12,800x zoom, and began to categorize the major bodies of the Ciro system.

Spoiler

As a note: while I'm trying not to look too hard at the tracking station, it was moderately unavoidable at first so I could target things. I also wish I'd had the script I made last night when I started this.

Ciro: The Central Sun

Ciro is the center of the Ciro system, a smallish, pale yellow star 45 Gm from the suspiciously perfectly reasonable circular orbit of Gael. Again, no giant space monkeys need be invoked here. Presumed to not be hospitable to Kerbal livelihood at close distances.

Imagery: Are you going to point your camera directly at a star? I didn't think so.

Spoiler

 

Tracking station screenshot, because CactEye telescopes literally explode when pointed at the central star. Also, those who've played with GPP before will probably note that I'm skipping a couple planets. The short of it is: the two innermost planets are small, close-orbiters that I'll probably never get telescopy of, and I'm trying to decide when would be a story-appropriate time to "discover" them. You'll also notice I'm skipping a couple of the more distant, tiny ones, because I can't zoom in close enough to even see them with the 12,800x scope. Again, trying to decide on a decent story time to "discover" them.

Moons, though... those I know when to "discover": when I see them when zoomed into their parent planets! This was a huge motivator for the kOS script I made, so that I didn't need to go into the tracking station to ID moons, and accidentally discover moons I didn't see next to their parent planets.

FQBGy2b.png

 

Niven

The only other planet known to orbit closer than Gael. Not much is known, in part because we're waiting for a good angle to look at Niven without frying our telescopes.

Imagery: None yet available.

Gael: Home

Our new home-away-from-home. A beautiful, life-bearing planet very similar to our original home, Kerbin. There are three major continents. The GSC, located on an island near the site of the Transplantation, is on the continent Toto. The largest continent is named Glinda, which has two auxiliary launchsites; the DomRok launchsite on an island just west of it, from which we perform retrograde launches, and the Southern Site, located on a bay 60 degrees south, from which we conduct most of our polar launches. The last, smallest continent is named Oz, and has not been explored as well as either of the larger continents.

Spoiler

Please let me not forget what I've named these things. If anybody has a good way to deal with mapping KSP planets and giving places names, I'm all ears.

Imagery: Numerous.

 

Spoiler

KyCtTIG.png

 

Iota: Gael's First Moon

Iota, along with Ceti, gave a strange sense of familiarity to our ancestors when first deposited on the surface of Gael. Relatively small, a mere 320km in radius, and 88,000 km distant, but very bright in our sky thanks to its high albedo. Studies of this moon are underway in preparation for our first landing on another world in the Ciro system.

Spoiler

 

Do3wzQH.png

droXdXP.png

 

 

Ceti: Gael's Second Moon

Ceti is the larger and further of Gael's two moons, at 480km in radius with a semi-major axis of 174,000 km. Much more darkly colored than Iota, and on a more inclined orbit, it is considered a tougher target than Iota, and is second on our priority list. Its strange, mottled appearance is a subject of debate among Kerbal scientists, as it is clear that large sections are dominated by different types of rock.

 

Spoiler

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Tellumo: Our Terrestrial Neighbor

Tellumo is a subject of great interest, as it is A, close to us, and B, well...

Spoiler

H1scVTI.png

Gael is not the only terrestrial world in the Gael system. Its ice caps appear more extensive than those of Gael, and has but one tiny little moon, Lili. No obvious signs of intelligent life exist, although plans for Tellumo exploration include extremely strict planetary protection requirements. A sample of life on Tellumo is greatly desired, to see if it matches Gael life-forms, which would confirm a panspermic hypothesis of how life originated on one or the other world.

 

Spoiler

VMEhJOb.png

 

Lili: Tellumo's Only (known) Moon

What is known about Lili: it appears rocky, it orbits Tellumo, and it's tiny. Bigger telescopes are required.

 

Spoiler

9VhMUvv.png

 

Spoiler

And that's it for today, folks. I keep on underestimating how much time these take to produce, and I have new-found respect for many other authors on this forum, because what I do is certainly not polished nearly to their standards.

Also, the kOS script, for those interested:


//bodyPointer.ks
// Purpose: To point at a body with a small offset, inteded for use with CactEye telescopes.
// Parameters: bodyName (to point at), optional yaw offset (in arcseconds), optional pitch offset (in arcseconds).

DECLARE PARAMETER bodyName, yawOff is 0, pitchOff is 0.

SET theBody TO BODY(bodyName).
SET done TO false.
SET bodyDir TO theBody:DIRECTION.
PRINT "Angle to target " + theBody:NAME + " is " + bodyDir.
SET toDegrees TO 1.0 / 3600.0.
SET yawOff TO yawOff * toDegrees.
SET pitchOff TO pitchOff * toDegrees.
PRINT "Offset (in degrees) is " + yawOff + " in yaw and " + pitchOff + " in pitch.".

PRINT "For help, type HELP then return/enter.".

SAS OFF.

SET theDir to bodyDir.
LOCK steering TO theDir.

SET userIn TO "".
LIST Bodies IN celBods.

UNTIL done {
	SET bodyDir TO theBody:DIRECTION.
	SET yawAng TO bodyDir:YAW + yawOff.
	SET pitchAng TO bodyDir:PITCH + pitchOff.
	SET theDir TO R(pitchAng, yawAng, 0.0).

	UNTIL NOT terminal:input:haschar {
		SET inChar TO TERMINAL:INPUT:GETCHAR().

		// At a newline, process command.
		IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:RETURN) {
			SET uppered TO userIn:toUpper().
			PRINT "Input command: " + uppered.
			SET commLength TO uppered:length().

			IF (uppered = "QUIT") {
				PRINT "Terminating control: program over.".
				SET done TO true.
				UNLOCK steering.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:startsWith("YAW")) {
				SET addOffsetStr TO uppered:substring(3, (commLength - 3)):trim().
				SET addOffset TO addOffsetStr:TONUMBER(0) * toDegrees.
				PRINT "Adding " + addOffset + " degrees to yaw".
				SET yawOff TO addOffset + yawOff.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:startsWith("PITCH")) {
				SET addOffsetStr TO uppered:substring(5, (commLength - 5)):trim().
				SET addOffset TO addOffsetStr:TONUMBER(0) * toDegrees.
				PRINT "Adding " + addOffset + " degrees to pitch".
				SET pitchOff TO addOffset + pitchOff.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:startsWith("ID")) {
				SET nearestBod to BODY("Gael").
				SET nearestAng TO 180.0.
				FOR bod IN celBods {
					SET testDir TO bod:DIRECTION.
					SET testAng TO VECTORANGLE(theDir:VECTOR, testDir:VECTOR).
					IF (testAng < nearestAng) {
						//PRINT "Better candidate found, body " + bod:NAME + " at angle " + testAng.
						SET nearestAng TO testAng.
						SET nearestBod TO bod.
					}
				}
				PRINT "Probable body identity: " + bod:NAME + " at angle " + nearestAng.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:contains("HELP")) {
				PRINT "Usage: bodyPointer.ks bodyName [yawOffset] [pitchOffset]".
				PRINT "bodyName is the name of a planet, yawOffset and pitchOffset are optional and expressed in arc-seconds.".
				PRINT "Program will print out degrees, not arcseconds, but input is arcseconds.".
				PRINT "And yes, the program tracks the target planet, constantly "
				PRINT "Known commands (case-insensitive):".
				PRINT "HELP: Print this help message."."
				PRINT "QUIT: Terminate program.".
				PRINT "PITCH <NUMBER>: Adjust pitch by specified number of arc-seconds.".
				PRINT "YAW <NUMBER>: Adjust yaw by specified number of arc-seconds.".
				PRINT "ID or IDENTIFY: Identifies celestial body that the vessel is closest to pointing at.".
				PRINT "Arrow keys: adjust pitch/yaw by 1 degree at a time.".
			}

			SET userIn TO "".
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:UPCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Adding one arc-second to pitch.".
			SET pitchOff TO pitchOff + toDegrees.
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:DOWNCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Subtracting one arc-second from pitch.".
			SET pitchOff TO pitchOff - toDegrees.
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:RIGHTCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Adding one arc-second to yaw.".
			SET yawOff TO yawOff + toDegrees.
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:LEFTCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Subtracting one arc-second from yaw.".
			SET yawOff TO yawOff - toDegrees.
		}
		 ELSE {
			SET userIn TO userIn + inChar.
		}
	}

	wait 0.1.
}

 

 

Edited by Starman4308

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Oh my goodness, I just realized I'm doing basically the same series as you. Only mine's not blind. I've redone a GPP career 5 times. I have no self control :D , I just restart whenever something falls out of line. Great so far though!

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Psst... about imaging close-in planets... :wink:

 

Spoiler

You need to do so when the sun is blocked by another body, usually Gael. Target the, er, alleged planets with the shutter closed, then wait till they rise above the horizon or the sun sinks just below it. Takes a bit of timing. The GUI will even warn you when you're playing it too close.

 

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You can get beautiful views of any hypothetical close-in planetary bodies by sending a telescope to Iota or Ceti - Gael will eclipse Ciro and its angular diameter will be small enough not to block anything else. 

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Rayleigh Project: The Outer Planets

Year 304

Gratian: Absolutely Not Duna, Nor "Mars" from Human Space Program

A stark, arid planet, very similar to Duna, but with smaller ice caps. While Duna was the first target of the Kerbin-system space program, the GSP will almost certainly focus first on Tellumo, a fellow terrestrial planet. No known moons exist, certainly none so grand as Ike. While no obvious signs of an atmosphere exist, the presence of ice caps is strongly indicative. An exploratory probe will likely be expended to check whether or not there is an atmosphere.

 

Spoiler

VxFDdbq.png

 

 

Otho: The First Gas Giant

The nearest of the gas giants, Otho has four known moons, of which the two largest (Hephaestus and Augustus) are named, with the other two pending naming. Otho, much like Gauss and Nero, is brilliantly banded in ways Jool never was, although some would argue Jool had much more interesting moons.

Spoiler

Going to take a closer look and find the names of the smaller moons once I have another telescope up.

 

Spoiler

fOALvvU.png

 

Augustus: Otho's First Moon

Relatively large and brown with a heterogenuous surface. We need better cameras. Probably airless.

 

Spoiler

OIMuruJ.png

 

Hephaestus: Otho's Second Moon

Also large and brown, although the composition is likely different from Augustus. The Lippershey Society wants another go at this, since the appearance of Otho is clearly artifacted, with possible data corruption.

 

Spoiler

CYWBUfQ.png

 

 

Gauss: The Second Gas Giant, Blues Edition

Blue, unlike the other gas giants, Gauss has very visible turbulence and very large storms. It is known to have two satellites, Catullus and Loki, of which Catullus has its own satellite, Tarsiss

 

Spoiler

DweZpCo.png

 

Catullus: An Interesting Moon

And Tarsiss, its Sub-Satellite

Catullus is a small, grayish moon, with a thin halo possibly indicative of atmosphere, and possible ice-caps. Orbiting it is Tarsiss, a smaller, brown rocky sub-satellite.

 

Spoiler

W2vUn7p.png

 

Loki: A Small Moon of Gauss

No imagery available, because somebody forgot to take the photo of technical difficulties. Approximately the size of Tarsiss. We really, really need better cameras.

 

Nero: The Third Gas Giant

A seemingly more sedate gas giant, Nero is known to have at least one un-named moon. More thorough investigation will be required once we have another telescope up: see technical notes below. The one known moon was discovered using the first version of our telescope pointing software, and the image is... poor.

Spoiler

 

juMeMdB.png

QxN2381.png

 

 

Grannus: The Second Star

It appears the Ciro system is binary, with Grannus orbiting around the larger Ciro with a closest approach of 4 Tm. While it will require very sophisticated antennae to communicate to, we are hopeful that it will provide new knowledge about the formation of solar systems.

 

Spoiler

iiSTIEX.png

 

 

Technical Notes on the Rayleigh Project

There have been two orbital telescopes involved. The first telescope was a temporary affair, launched in the middle of year 302. Due to dissatisfaction with the fixed operating system and underpowered electrical system, it was decided that we would attempt some risky photos of some of the inner planets. This ended in failure, as it pointed too close to Ciro and the optics were fried.

The second orbital telescope was launched four months later, and obtained some brilliant imagery of Tellumo and Grannus before an inexperienced operator accidentally released the camera instead of the shutter. It was used, however, to develop the second version of software for telescopy, which will allow for much improved scanning for moons, allowing consistent pointing at an offset from a planet, instead of having to manually offset, which was a very unsteady process.

Spoiler

 

"Version 1" of the software was just using MechJeb to point at planets and moons. I became dissatisfied with this quite quickly, in part because taking good images of moons required looking at the map, which is something I'm trying to avoid. I also had no idea how I was supposed to build telescopes initially: I put an asteroid camera and a wide-field camera on gyroscopes attached to the first telescope, instead of putting it in the service bay.

Have an image, then the script for any who are interested.

 

Spoiler

w7Jpjlo.png

 

Spoiler

 


//bodyPointer.ks
// Purpose: To point at a body with a small offset, inteded for use with CactEye telescopes.
// Parameters: bodyName (to point at), optional yaw offset (in arcseconds), optional pitch offset (in arcseconds).

DECLARE PARAMETER bodyName, yawOff is 0, pitchOff is 0.

SET theBody TO BODY(bodyName).
SET done TO false.
SET bodyDir TO theBody:DIRECTION.
PRINT "Angle to target " + theBody:NAME + " is " + bodyDir.
SET toDegrees TO 1.0 / 3600.0.
SET yawOff TO yawOff * toDegrees.
SET pitchOff TO pitchOff * toDegrees.
PRINT "Offset (in degrees) is " + yawOff + " in yaw and " + pitchOff + " in pitch.".

PRINT "For help, type HELP then return/enter.".

SAS OFF.

SET theDir to bodyDir.
LOCK steering TO theDir.

SET userIn TO "".
LIST Bodies IN celBods.

UNTIL done {
	SET bodyDir TO theBody:DIRECTION.
	SET yawAng TO bodyDir:YAW + yawOff.
	SET pitchAng TO bodyDir:PITCH + pitchOff.
	SET theDir TO R(pitchAng, yawAng, 0.0).

	UNTIL NOT terminal:input:haschar {
		SET inChar TO TERMINAL:INPUT:GETCHAR().

		// At a newline, process command.
		IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:RETURN) {
			SET uppered TO userIn:toUpper().
			PRINT "Input command: " + uppered.
			SET commLength TO uppered:length().

			IF (uppered = "QUIT") {
				PRINT "Terminating control: program over.".
				SET done TO true.
				UNLOCK steering.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:startsWith("YAW")) {
				SET addOffsetStr TO uppered:substring(3, (commLength - 3)):trim().
				SET addOffset TO addOffsetStr:TONUMBER(0) * toDegrees.
				PRINT "Adding " + addOffset + " degrees to yaw".
				SET yawOff TO addOffset + yawOff.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:startsWith("PITCH")) {
				SET addOffsetStr TO uppered:substring(5, (commLength - 5)):trim().
				SET addOffset TO addOffsetStr:TONUMBER(0) * toDegrees.
				PRINT "Adding " + addOffset + " degrees to pitch".
				SET pitchOff TO addOffset + pitchOff.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:startsWith("ID")) {
				SET nearestBod to BODY("Gael").
				SET nearestAng TO 180.0.
				FOR bod IN celBods {
					SET testDir TO bod:DIRECTION.
					SET testAng TO VECTORANGLE(theDir:VECTOR, testDir:VECTOR).
					IF (testAng < nearestAng) {
						//PRINT "Better candidate found, body " + bod:NAME + " at angle " + testAng.
						SET nearestAng TO testAng.
						SET nearestBod TO bod.
					}
				}
				PRINT "Probable body identity: " + bod:NAME + " at angle " + nearestAng.
			} ELSE IF (uppered:contains("HELP")) {
				PRINT "Usage: bodyPointer.ks bodyName [yawOffset] [pitchOffset]".
				PRINT "bodyName is the name of a planet, yawOffset and pitchOffset are optional and expressed in arc-seconds.".
				PRINT "Program will print out degrees, not arcseconds, but input is arcseconds.".
				PRINT "And yes, the program tracks the target planet, constantly "
				PRINT "Known commands (case-insensitive):".
				PRINT "HELP: Print this help message."."
				PRINT "QUIT: Terminate program.".
				PRINT "PITCH <NUMBER>: Adjust pitch by specified number of arc-seconds.".
				PRINT "YAW <NUMBER>: Adjust yaw by specified number of arc-seconds.".
				PRINT "ID or IDENTIFY: Identifies celestial body that the vessel is closest to pointing at.".
				PRINT "Arrow keys: adjust pitch/yaw by 1 degree at a time.".
			}

			SET userIn TO "".
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:UPCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Adding one arc-second to pitch.".
			SET pitchOff TO pitchOff + toDegrees.
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:DOWNCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Subtracting one arc-second from pitch.".
			SET pitchOff TO pitchOff - toDegrees.
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:RIGHTCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Adding one arc-second to yaw.".
			SET yawOff TO yawOff + toDegrees.
		} ELSE IF (inChar = TERMINAL:INPUT:LEFTCURSORONE) {
			PRINT "Subtracting one arc-second from yaw.".
			SET yawOff TO yawOff - toDegrees.
		}
		 ELSE {
			SET userIn TO userIn + inChar.
		}
	}

	wait 0.1.
}

 

 

 

 

Edited by Starman4308

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Project Hermes II: Year 302-303

In preparation for extended lunar activities, communication relays were placed in polar orbits over Ceti and Iota, with two powerful directional antennae, one always pointed at Gael, the other oriented to assist in communicating with inbound vehicles. Placed about 5,000 km above the poles, these relays have only two small dead-zones near the equator, which move as the moons rotate beneath the relays, and may be covered by direct communications to Gael. More constant equatorial communications could be achieved either via a pair of satellites in highly elliptical orbits reminiscent of Molniya orbits, or a trio in equatorial orbits. Unfortunately, geostationary orbit around these moons is impossible, as they rotate so slowly that geosynchronous orbit is well outside their Hill spheres.

 

Spoiler

yYPU3mG.png

 

Project Richter: With Sincerest Apologies to the Moons

Year 303, Day 140: Richter 1 Launches

Now confident in our capabilities for remote vehicle control, plans were laid for our first robotic landers, under the aegis of Project Richter. Massing 21 tons at launch, propelled by a KW Maverick-1D, with the lander itself massing 3 tons (750 kg dry), the design was relatively minimalistic: no heavyweight experiments were included, just a lightweight RWPS, magnetometer, thermometer, barometer, and seismometer, which would be used to record the effects of lunar impacts.

 

Spoiler

IQB99o6.png

 

Day 142: Richter 1 Landing

The landing was, almost surprisingly, successful, although significant over-throttling was applied, leading to wastage of propellant on descent. The lander continues to operate today as a seismometer, although no more full-time staff are assigned to its mission.

Spoiler

 

CO35YYw.png

sEGA3zo.png

 

 

Day 175: Richter 2 Launch

Day 183: Richter 2 Landing

An identical probe was sent to Ceti. Standing policy has been to design probes and landers capable of landing at both moons, as delta-V requirements are similar, and the vast majority of scientific experiments can be conducted at both moons. Landing was once again a success; a weak magnetic field was detected, indicating that the core does rotate, albeit slowly.

Spoiler

Man, how I wish there were DMagic science configurations for GPP. I'm making this up as I go along, based on "well, Iota looks made out of whiter rocks, maybe limestone and marble, versus Iota, which probably has loads of iron oxide?"

 

Spoiler

 

vMUaGS7.png

mChndVu.png

 

 

Year 303: A Foray into Double-Dipping Contracts

Multiple commercial objectives were met with a single probe. A radio company was hosting a PR stunt to advertise their radio antennae as being able to hear transmissions all the way from Iota, one of our primary fuel-tank contractors wanted to test a heat pump for cryogenic propellants, and we needed a good impact to help calibrate the sensors on Richter 1.

Spoiler

The contracts were "satellite in specific orbit", "suborbital test of the radiator over Iota", and "return seismometer recording". Don't ask me why; I had to stretch my imagination to the limit to come up with some plausible reason for these three.

It was a smashing success.

 

Spoiler

rQiWbh3.png

 

Project Rayleigh-Cartographer: Orbital Telescopes and Multispectral Scanning of Gael

Year 303

Once again combining objectives, project Rayleigh-Cartographer combined launching the second ill-fated orbital telescope with a Gael survey telescope and a multi-spectral sensor to help further map Gael. It accomplished its Gael-survey objective in a week, before returning to a lower orbit for telescopy observations, returning the famous "A Distant Blue Miracle" photo of Tellumo.

Spoiler

 

JM1HOVr.png

AMwC308.png

 

 

H1scVTI.png

Edited by Starman4308

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1 hour ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Man, I don't know how you're doing it but your scope pix are gorgeous. :D

I'm not 100% sure why. My only real guess is I was able to afford a reasonably nice GPU, which I can use to throttle KSP graphics to the max.

Will try to post one more chapter tonight: I'm working on the Theseus-Ariadne project, and once that's up, I'll pretty much be caught up with my backlog of things to post. Right now, I'm filming it using NVIDIA ShadowPlay, and realizing I have no idea what I'm doing with the movie. I'm now treating it as a practice run for later missions.

If you have any comments, by the way, fire away. This is my first real creative project in a long, long time, and I am almost certainly making mistakes.

Like not turning the video recording on or leaving my microphone off. There are multiple reasons why the video of Theseus-Ariadne II will never see the Internet.

Edited by Starman4308

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As a note: I'm going to start putting images in spoilers so the page loads aren't quite so brutal; I put a lot of full-up 1080p images on here.

The Ariadne-Theseus Project: Lunar Surface Return

Year 304

The Ariadne-Theseus project was a 2-part mission to return samples from the surface of Gael's moons and return home, as well as to put Kerbals in orbit of the moons to make visual observations. By far the boldest mission planned to date, Ariadne-Theseus has been proclaimed the "first big mission" of the Kerbals of Gael.

 

Project Theseus: The Landers

A long-ago myth tells of Theseus, who ventured into a deep labyrinth to slay a ferocious monster.

Massing 52 tonnes at launch, with a 3.9 tonne lander (1.427 tonnes dry), Theseus is one of the last missions propelled by custom-designed boosters with hypergolic upper stages. Equipped with a plethora of scientific instruments, Theseus's mission was to land on Iota and Ceti, and then return to low orbit over those moons, to later rendezvous with Ariadne. To lighten the Theseus landers, it was decided that they would not have full 6-DoF control, just a pair of linear RCS thrusters to provide ullage; Ariadne would be the active participant in docking.

Spoiler

Originally I had the naming the other way around, with the "Ariadne" landers and the Theseus manned portion. As of writing this post, I decided it made more sense the other way around. Much more sense.

Images in below spoiler:

Spoiler

 

Fat0Ai3.png

JnUkmUx.png

2NZ4Maj.png

0regWt0.png

 

 

Project Ariadne: The Return Vessels

The same myth tells also of Ariadne, who gifted Theseus with a light, and a cord of string, that he might find his way back out of the labyrinth after slaying the monster. Thus is named Ariadne, which carried back the scientific results from the Theseus landers to Gael.

Project Ariadne began with the Ariadne prototype, intended to test the reentry vehicle after a free-return from Iota, without the unnecessary mass that would be a part of the main vessels. The reentry vehicle was a modification of the Kerbin-project vehicle, with a quincunx of experiment storage units beneath the capsule proper, with a custom-build heat shield beneath those. The Ariadne prototype was successful in the goal of testing the reentry vehicle, which had a smooth reentry with no crispy edges on the experiment storage units.

Another image spoiler

Spoiler

 

iqRR8oh.png

076nwpD.png

XniGjKJ.png

 

 

Ariadne 1: Return from Iota

Launch: Year 304, Day 154

Ariadne 1, piloted by the scientist Bob Kerman, launched from GSC aboard the custom-designed Ariadne booster, massing 130 tonnes at launch, down to 31.5 tonnes after MECO, with 9.9 tonnes of Command/Service Module. Bob's job, in addition to rendezvous with Theseus 1, was to make observations on the way into and out of Iota orbit, with a set of tools to reset the experiments carried onboard Ariadne 1 for re-use. While the first stage was a highly conventional kerolox core with solid boosters, the second stage was somewhat unusual, a cryogenic hydrolox stage with four radially attached Rockomax 56-8U engines to supplement the central Poodle engine during ascent. While it was initially intended that the 56-8Us would be discarded upon achieving orbit, in practice, they were discarded earlier, when it was apparent that the central Poodle would be sufficient without undue gravity losses.

Image spoiler:

Spoiler

 

dDTSMN8.png

i3Sed6O.png

7vCWOos.png

0aH8pjm.png

 

During docking with Theseus 1, Bob took a stunning image of Gael disappearing just over the horizon of Iota.

Spoiler

 

xNwEkqh.png

DlT93On.png

 

After taking observations of Iota, Bob then departed back for home, with an uneventful reentry peaking at 3.6G of deceleration, splashing down at sea.

Spoiler

 

CPCcYgJ.png

uDxkJHL.png

 

The return party at GSC was well-remembered for cameraderie, plans for the future, and GSC staff having the cost of an entire Neutron-1 booster taken collectively out of their next paychecks.

Spoiler

Also, I lied: I won't be caught up as of this post. Theseus-Ariadne II will come in the next post, and probably the preliminary testing of the new Lifson vehicle capable of transporting four Kerbals at a time.

 

Edited by Starman4308
Mixed up Theseus and Ariadne.

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I recommend you look at Gratian again - you probably got trolled by orbital dynamics. 

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2 hours ago, Starman4308 said:

a cryogenic hydrolox stage with four radially attached Rockomax 56-8U engines to supplement the central Poodle engine during ascent.

Digging those recessed mounts, what are they from?

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8 hours ago, MaxL_1023 said:

I recommend you look at Gratian again - you probably got trolled by orbital dynamics. 

You mean to say I might have missed a moon (or more) because of random chance and amazingly mediocre capacity to point telescopes at things? Say it ain't so.

I've got Electronics under research, though, which means the third orbital telescope is going to have better zoom than the first two. It'll also mean basic interplanetary antennae, which means Tellumo is on the menu.

7 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Digging those recessed mounts, what are they from?

It's the SD-01 Radial Engine Pod from Near Future Spacecraft. In a related note: I have 48,322 lines worth of config file in GameData to grep through each time I want to figure out exactly which mod added a given part.

Edited by Starman4308
But what does it mean?

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If you could spot a moon around Nero you would see anything which may or may not orbit Gratian. In fact, you could probably spot it with the naked eye at maximum elongation.

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Ariadne 2: Destination Ceti

Year 304, Day 178

Spoiler

Two small author's notes here: first, I'm pretty sure the game calendar is running off 12-hour Gael days, so some of my estimations have been off. Second, knowing about Dr. Sally Ride, I couldn't not take Sally Kerman's rescue contract.

Following on the heels of Bob's mission to Iota, Sally Kerman was selected for the significantly longer mission to Ceti. Two modifications were made to the vehicle: a third life support tank was added to give Sally Kerman's vehicle a 32-day duration (with a 20-day estimated mission time, 2 would have left almost no margin), and two of the second-stage engine pods were removed to save mass.

Spoiler

 

DTveiVS.png

oOoAaPN.png

 

In a striking coincidence, Sally docked a Gael rose over the limb of Ceti, much as Bob docked as Gael fell beneath the limb of Iota.

Spoiler

 

PDAqcX4.png

OiDLLI3.png

 

 

Sally returned to Gael on day 198 of year 4, with the record of longest crewed mission. Her flight was noted for not just for this long duration and the first Kerbal around Ceti, but also for the truly awful singing of a Kerbonaut locked into a tiny one-Kerbal capsule for 240 hours with only occasional EVAs.

Spoiler

h1dWJsg.png

 

Spoiler

Note: longest crewed mission with the exception of Kerbals trapped in orbit before I send up a rescue mission, but those, we do not speak of.

 

Lifson Advanced Crew Vehicle Prototyping

During Sally Kerman's voyage to Ceti, another step forwards was taken by the GSP, with the first test of the Lifson Advanced Crew Vehicle, capable of seating four. The first prototype tested reentry from low Gael orbit; the second prototype will be sent on a free return around Iota. The Lifson prototype is the first payload to use one of GSC's new standardized launch vehicles, the Laythe booster capable of sending ten tonnes of payload to lunar injection.

Spoiler

 

Kxw9kNI.png

vI2pc9N.png

 

 

Spoiler

The next chapter will probably go into more detail about the new launch vehicles being used: the 1-ton-payload Neutron, a not-yet-permanently-named 4-ton booster, and the previously mentioned 10-ton Laythe (payload masses, not booster masses). See you next time, and I hope you enjoy.

Also, ditching the policy of images-in-spoilers. Too hard to distinguish between authors-notes spoilers and image spoilers without being able to title them.

 

Edited by Starman4308
Spoilers for pageload shenanigans

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5 hours ago, Starman4308 said:

Also, ditching the policy of images-in-spoilers. Too hard to distinguish between authors-notes spoilers and image spoilers without being able to title them.

FWIW, I've found it helpful to go back and only put previous episodes in spoilers when posting a new one. Keeps the page load shenanigans down while still keeping stuff available for stragglers. :D

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This is a note about one of the celestial bodies, author do not read

Spoiler

Can't wait to see his catluss lander thinking it's a small airless rock instead of Eve on steroids

 

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On 5/19/2017 at 1:30 PM, insert_name said:

This is a note about one of the celestial bodies, author do not read

Thanks for the warning: I was almost about to click.

Booster Standardization Program: Year 304

To reduce development costs and improve reliability, a booster standardization program was initiated in Year 304, with set mass-to-Gael-escape targets. These are largely 2- and 2.5-stage rockets with about 7.7 km/sec of delta-V with restartable upper stages; the lower stages generally have parachutes for recovery and refurbishment.

A note: in parentheses will be the mod any given engine comes from, and many stock engines are reskinned by Ven's Stock Part Revamp.

Neutron: 1 Tonne Payloads

The Neutron booster is the cheapest and lightest standardized vehicle, massing just 14 tonnes at launch and costing 6,000 roots. A single kerolox BA-8 "Flare" (Lack's SXT) powers the first stage for 2 minutes, and a pair of MRS Sparkler hydrolox engines (Modular Rocket Systems) under a cryogenic tank power the second stage.

Also visible are the RCS pods, with a pair of hydrazine-powered linear RCS thrusters underneath.

The Gael Space Program would like to take this opportunity to deny rumors that a Neutron booster was totalled during the party following Bob Kerman's return from the Ariadne I mission.

Spoiler

nmG6Djg.png

 

Alanine: 2.5 Tonne Payloads

The Alanine booster is commissioned for payloads that do not quite fit aboard the Neutron booster, with both a much larger, 2.5 meter fairing base and much more lift capacity. Because of the large gap between the Neutron and Alanine boosters, plans are being mulled for a Neutron-Plus booster with strap-on SRB assistance.

A K1 "Kiwi" kerolox engine (SpaceY) and two Mk-55 Thuds power the first stage for 106 seconds, at which a hydrolox RE-L10 Poodle takes over. While a lighter second-stage engine might have been preferred, no suitable candidates were found, leading to use of a relatively overpowered second stage on a lightweight first stage.

Spoiler

No, really, in my installation, there's a paucity of good orbital engines in the 50-600 kg range. The 40-kg Sparkler is excellent, but large clusters of those engines get expensive in a hurry. The Kopo-4e Pancake only has configs for the hypergolic propellants, which are very expensive and not super efficient. The LV-900 and LV-909 exist, but have terrible thrust-to-weight ratios and mediocre specific impulses, having been binned as low-tech parts.

Spoiler

eNvbZLt.png

 

Nucleus: 4 Tonne Payloads

The first 2.5-stage booster, the 58-tonne Nucleus booster shares a great deal of parts commonality with the Alanine booster, trading its Mk-55 Thuds for a pair of Globe X solid rocket boosters (KW Rocketry) that burn for 71 seconds, after which the central Kiwi core burns for another 132 seconds.

Spoiler

7mP1IeL.png

 

Pebble: 6 Tonne Payloads

The 66-tonne Pebble booster uses an atypical staging arrangement borrowed from the Ariadne-project boosters. While the first stage is highly conventional, an M1 Moa (SpaceY) supplemented with three Mk-55 Thuds that burns for 113 seconds, the second stage has a hydrolox Poodle core initially supplemented by a quartet of Rockomax 56-8U engines in pods that are detached once the extra thrust is unnecessary.

Spoiler

And yes, that's a procedural NRAP test weight on there. I haven't yet launched a real payload with it, so I did a very short KRASH simulation to grab a screenshot for you guys.

Spoiler

oVpFiwW.png

 

Oz: 10 Tonne Payloads

The 146-tonne Oz booster, named after the continent of Oz, has more engines than any other vehicle currently in use. The first, almost comically short stage is powered by three K1 Kiwi engines, with a pair of S1 SRB-KD25k Kickback SRBs to provide additional thrust for the first 88 seconds of the 153-second first-stage burn. Above this is a hydrolox stage powered by a trio of Poodle engines underneath a 3.75-meter payload base.

Spoiler

jSYvjnK.png

 

Laythe: 16 Tonne Payloads

The 219 tonne Laythe booster, the largest in current use by the Gael Space Program, is the booster of choice for the Lifson crew transfer vehicle. The first stage uses a pair of Globe X-5 Thor SRBs (KW Rocketry) that burn for 87 seconds, followed by another 87 seconds on the core RE-M3 kerolox Mainsail engine. The second stage, instead of the hydrolox engines used by every other standard booster, uses a single kerolox-powered Vesta VR-9D engine (KW Rocketry). While the specific impulse is less than that achievable by hydrolox, the kerosene fuel is much cheaper, much denser, non-cryogenic, and gives the engine better thrust than similar hydrolox engines.

It also is largely responsible for why the core 3.75m stack is shorter than the X-5 Thor SRBs surrounding it, because that high density means relatively small tanks.

The Gael Space Center would like to take this chance to deny rumors that every time the Laythe booster has flied, the SRBs have wrecked at least one of the core-stage fins upon separation.

Spoiler

SJ0DyW8.png

 

Spoiler

 

One final author's note: the theme for my first flight of standardized boosters can be roughly summed up as "exponential growth in size of what they're named after"; neutrons are much smaller than alanine molecules, which are much smaller than cellular nuclei, which are much smaller than a pebble, which are much smaller than continents, which are much smaller than Laythe.

If I need a 25-tonne booster*, I'll have to call it Ciro or Grannus. If I need a 40-tonne booster, well... time to make another set of standardized boosters.

*There's a pattern: 1, 1.6, 2.5, 4, 6, 10, 16, 25, 40, 60, 100, etc. I skipped the 1.6-tonne booster because of the tiny price difference between the 6k-root Neutron and 8.3k-root Alanine.

One thing that annoys me about myself is that my boosters tend to follow a pattern, and I kinda want to do more things like the real-world Atlas boosters, where you can add and remove some boosters to match a payload target. I'm not sure I'm describing my annoyance with my own boosters very well.

 

 

Edited by Starman4308
The Alanine and Nucleus are similar but not that similar. Replaced a duplicate image.

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You could standardize the first stage core for a 10 ton payload (for example), then by changing the upper stage and adding 2, 4 or 6 strap-on SRBs probably get anywhere from 8 to 15 tons on it without needing to change that much. 

Also, did you take a second look at Gratian?

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