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After so much time largely merely helping build GPP, I think it's time I do the kerbal thing and try to plant flags everywhere. This is Sandbox, of course, and separate from my science game.

With a bit of provocation from the amazing @astroheiko who is posting mission logs and tearing up GPP with 100% stock ships, I've finally gotten around to starting this, and developed a 700 ton mobile, landable station. There may not be much story to this, but there will be many nice pictures to view, and they'll be easy on your scroll wheel. :) 

Particular mods:

  • GPP v1.2.3 with Thalia Reheat patch. She's nerfed in this version upwards (because players have complained about getting their pants handed to them by the stock heat bug or otherwise), but my personal game has her un-nerfed. 
  • OPT Space Plane v1.9.9 Featuring the new H & KH hulls.
  • OPT Legacy
  • Mk2 Stockalike Expansion
  • Decal Stickers
  • Stational Cunstructs (for the ring part)
  • USI
    • Life Support Habitation always off.
    • Karbonite Plus
  • DeepFreeze Continued
  • Near Future
    • Electric
    • Solar
  • Kerbal Foundries
  • Airline Kuisine
  • Ven's Stock Revamp
  • Homebrew misc. patches
    • Stock Ore drills and giant Ore drills "Industrial Strip Miner" take up Karbonite and MetallicOre (the latter is used for ballast);
    • Stock Convert-O-Tron produces only whatever industrial resources I want; produces no fuels or life support resources.
    • "SuperStock" Makes certain Mk1 and other size 1 parts very heat tolerant, and makes Whiplash into a scramjet.

The Flags

Made by myself and packaged in GPP, there are two grand tour flags. The gold for every last world, and the silver for all except Catullus. Maybe it should be all except Tellumo but I don't know better which is noticeably harder. Both giant bodies require nearly the same amount of launch dV and are incredibly hard in their own ways. 

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The Flagship

This ship may not look it, but it's fit to wear the gold flag. It is appropriately named "GPGT Station" and consists of the station body with scanners, a Mk2 spaceplane with no scanners, and a Mk2 rover with scanners. No probes. With the kinds of mods in this, go ahead and call it cheaty as heck.... I have an even more cheaty ship but it won't be much fun to fly in Sandbox and in GPP alone.

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Edited by JadeOfMaar
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Thalia

First stop, Thalia, the cursed planet. Jebediah alone (out of a crew of 9, 5 of whom are frozen), descends in the spaceplane. While writing the flag he tags Galileo, GPP's main dev, and shows his thanks for the rudimentary but very effective thermal protection provided to anyone on EVA, and then quickly hops back in and returns to orbit.

As it turns out, I had to F9 twice as for some reason the plane's nuclear reactor was being drained faster than it could charge, causing the radiators to fail and the reactor core to actually meltdown and utterly die, dooming Jeb to death. On the third try, my last chance after which I would resign myself to deciding that somehow there was a crippling design flaw, and let Jeb fall to his fiery death and abort the challenge, I realized my own life support device was on. Turning that thing off saved the day. Now he's on his way to Eta, Thalia's moon.The life support device nearly took his life. Seriously...

Spoiler

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Edited by JadeOfMaar
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24 minutes ago, JadeOfMaar said:

With a bit of provocation

:D

People ... get ready for really epic pictures.

Edit: Holy mother...He did not promise too much !!!

Edited by astroheiko
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Eta

Jebediah scurried off to Eta, once he got everything under control. He came in :retrograde: and near-equatorial but then decided to go for the poles, curious to whether his "Dives" were still there. Unfortunately, they apparently were not, or he forgot where they were, so he had to make do with the nearest trench available to jump into. It was a 3km drop to still only 1km above sea level but it was well within his badS powers and those of his jetpack to handle this jump.

Sorry for all the dark pics. The monitor (and separate PC) I play on has high gamma, but the monitor I'm writing this post on has low gamma. The screenshots didn't seem as bad then. Additionally I had to turn off lights for some of these screenshots as the ship lights would shine on the planet or moon in the background at that time.

Spoiler

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Since the trench's floor happened to be another biome, he was able to plant a flag down there in addition to the landing site. Come departure time Bill called in and advised him that it would be a better idea to bring the station to Eta, rather than he run back to the station. The spaceplane does not run on LFO, and the station has no means of restocking its Karborundum supply in flight so a refuel would have to be requested and shipped from Gael, or wherever Karborundum can be mined from. A particularly dumb kerbal in charge of things forgot to load the station's Karborundum tanks before the initial departure.

Spoiler

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The Thalia-Icarus charter, with an additional 3km/s capture burn following all of this.

Found a very annoying lingering bug with the station itself. for some reason, fuel will drain slower from one of the three arms, including either draining before the other two of a given part in symmetry with it, or draining slower than them. I never thought TAC Fuel Balancer would become so necessary.

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Edited by JadeOfMaar
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Icarus

Encounter at the innermost planet. It took, what, 7km/s to get here from Thalia? Believe it. The next step on the mission plan was to change to a low polar orbit and scan for Ore and Karbonite then perform the first station landing on this tour. Rather than use the spaceplane (the wise idea), the rover was deployed, with Jeb, Bob and Bill aboard. Bill had to fix the wheels first, since they all broke in timewarp during the Gael departure for... Reasons™.

Spoiler

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Unfortunately the leisurely drive was far shorter than ever expected, once landed. This was even near 2km up from sea level and it was still blistering hot. The real problem was that no one thought to buff the command seats' thermal protection. Neither did Jeb have much time to pose with the rover and flag, nor was there any time fo Bill and Bob to get out and pose with him. With just 1200K heat tolerance in the seats, Jeb once again had to scramble and get back to orbit ASAP. The command seats reached 95% of their limit before heat stopped coming.

Spoiler

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After a brief meet-up with the station they hopped aboard, leaving the rover in orbit, and proceeded to execute the landing strategy. Unfortunately, the design plan, which leisurely left out SCANsat terrain scanners didn't account for the rush for a good landing which would be induced by Icarus' heat. The risk could not be taken to land near or at sea level even with apparently enough heat control.... What if the DeepFreeze chambers get compromised and the 5 sleeping kerbals died?

Bill hops out from the (illuminated) J Crew Cabin and promptly falls and breaks a medium solar panel, and somehow gets his footing on the stub. The loss is accepted (within reason) and Bill proceeds to the ground to plant a flag marking the landing site. Then he runs to a DeepFreeze chamber to escape from getting scolded by Bob (immediately anyway). At this point, Jeb and Bill also go into cryo-sleep and let Mission Control handle the ascent, recovery of the rover, and the journey to the next planet, after which they will wake again. Between now and the transfer window, the only thing to do is to let the station refuel and restock Fertilizer.

Unfortunately it turns out that I need to cheat and move the station just far enough that slope is minimal and the drills can clip the ground. They weren't vertically offset enough in the VAB and now barely manage to clip indeed. It's really displeasing to have to think of that. Also, Bill's flag gets lost. Timewarp made it fall into Icarus and explode. I'm canonically accepting the lost radiator. Did I mention that without a SCANsat map it was fairly harder to land this? The only option is to land in the mountains.

Spoiler

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Edited by JadeOfMaar
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7 hours ago, JadeOfMaar said:

Bill had to fix the wheels first, since they all broke in timewarp during the Gael departure for... Reasons™.

Dontcha just hate them space potholes? You oughtta file a complaint with SpaceDOT. :D

7 hours ago, JadeOfMaar said:

J Crew Cabin

How disturbingly trendy. :sticktongue: J Crew is still a thing, right? I'm not up on fashion trends...

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43 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Dontcha just hate them space potholes?

Yea I do. :huh: While leaving Gael I had another engineer fix the wheels but he went between them and triggered a kraken (maybe they don't like being scaled). The rover broke off from the station and he was kicked with 4km/s of acceleration into a retrograde escape vector. Now I know an engineer has plenty distance over which to stand back and fix KF wheels. No more worries for more kraken... I think.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Niven

The KIS Deliverance departs Gael at last, within 30 days of the station's arrival at Niven, and enters the same SOI after around 150 days. It's only at their encounter that some crew are woken from cryosleep: Valentina and Harmund. Harmund takes the two KIS containers and stows them in the convenient service bay behind the cupola (station's bridge), and attaches the delivered scanner parts to the trunk connecting the station's core stack to its ring. No docking was done but instead the Deliverance hovered nearby at < 0.1m/s relative speed.

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After that craft was dismissed, the station lowered its orbit, then Valentina and Harmund boarded the rover, fixed its wheels and descended. These women went vertical, arresting all horizontal velocity. The rover's VTOL is strong enough that it can ascend, and has the dV with it to SSTO, otherwise it would not be an option for a Niven landing (0.5g ASL). Thanks to Ven, this vehicle now has a parachute that no one knew they needed, so it was put to the test. Sadly, the chute turned out to be completely ineffective due to the very warm and thin atmosphere.

A flag was planted at the landing spot and latter on at the edge of what was apparently a trench in a trench... (a valley within the Nivenean Trench biome). They drove roughly 24km to the nearest mountaintop, including a 38­° climb in which case they took some help from the rover's horizontal rockets. Once they were up there they rested in the cabin and camped for the night.

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Nivenean Nights? Yeah. The best part of stargazing was catching Icarus, Grannus and Thalia (from horizon upward) shining very brightly right before sunrise.

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Edited by JadeOfMaar
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  • 4 weeks later...

Tellumo

The station arrives and slides into an equatorial 2000km orbit. Three hands awaken and board the spaceplane, targeting Lili first. Word on the vine (might be a watermelon vine. I like watermelons.) said to go for the poles, not the equator, so they did. The only problem encountered was that at a point, Lili swept herself through the orbital descent path. That meant, if the pilot went for a restroom break without noticing, the plane would get surprise T-boned and its pieces sprayed into Tellumo's rings. :ph34r: The descent itself was so slow, forcing Lancott to thrust down at the moon to nudge things along.

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Maybe I should have personally actually tested this plane, because it took me two failed tries to get down smoothly...without retro-burning too much. Moreover, the plane is extremely lawn-dart-alike and can't pitch up without thrusting. Once again the surprise docking port parachute came in handy but only to end a powered horizontal run. At touchdown the shield struck the terrain and crumpled. Landing vertical was not an option. On top of this I feel guilty F9-ing again after the Thalia incidents.

After the hors d'oeuvre were sampled it was time to dig into the main course and hopefully not break all of one's teeth. Too bad, though, because exactly that had happened. Tellumo is vicious and the pilot is a newbie. There was no smooth, tumble-free descent. Fortunately kerbal seat belts can hold a kerbal's body in despite whatever unspeakable g force is being applied to the craft.

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Boldly, everyone stepped out of the plane and into the super-thick (this is at 1.1km from sea level, so the pressure is over 9x normal) but apparently safe atmosphere and beheld the sunrise. It was quickly discovered that dV was incredibly restricted at these low altitude so heading far for more scenic snaps for the album was ruled out--that plus the pitching problem.

Ascent was sharp and easy with > 1.5 TWR, and circularizing was a pressed affair with 10g of force. The crew took some time to reflect and remorse. It was a burning shame that three more hands couldn't come down with them, and that the plane was only half full on Ore. If there was any less there would be the very real risk of the Hotel California thing happening and this tour possibly being aborted. Return to the station was uneventful and quick. The Gratian window was 100 days away at this point, and no one was going back on ice for this trip.

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Edited by JadeOfMaar
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