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[1.3] SETI Caveman Challenge 03 - Daredevil Satellite Launcher

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Daredevil Satellite Launcher


While work on crew capsules for spaceflight is progressing slowly and cost overruns are common, the recent probes prompted a debate on whether it is cheaper to simply stick to an unmanned spaceprogram for now. Fearing for their future opportunities, a few daredevil pilots brought about the idea of reusable planes as a means to launch small satellites.

The idea is, that a manned plane launches one or two mini satellites, and then safely lands back in the vicinity of the KSC. While more economically thinking kerbals call the concept a wasteful publicity stunt without any benefit, some politicians recognized it as an opportunity to shift public scrutiny away from their own performances. So the idea was quickly approved.


The challenge

Your challenge, should you accept it, is to launch at least one mini satellite (essentially just a probe core) from a manned plane into an orbit around kerbin (periapsis above 70km). The plane must be over 5km altitude above sea level when you launch the satellite. Thus you can use an air breathing plane and launch the sat at 5km altitude above sea level, or a rocket plane and launch the sat at 75km altitude. The plane must then land back around KSC.

Note that the FMRS mod is now part of the mod recommendations and should be used to switch between the plane and the satellite.

Ranking is done by non-recovered mass per satellite. For example in my entry below, I started with 8455kg mass (8555kg minus launch clamp 100kg), had a mass of 3312kg when landed and launched 2 mini satellites into orbits around kerbin. This results in a mass expenditure of 2571.5kg per mini satellite.

Minimum picture requirements for a ranking are
1. Design showing KER readouts in SPH/VAB, especially total vessel mass.
2. In flight, showing KER readouts roughly when launching the satellite(s). Must be over 5km altitude above sea level.
3. The satellite in flight, showing KER readouts with periapsis above 70km.
4. The plane, landed back on kerbin with KSC visible in the background, showing KER readouts, espcially the vehicle mass when landed.

HINT : The Small Hardpoint functions as a separator. If you adjust the ejection force to 0, it does not mess up the vector of the launched object.

Of course additional pictures, videos, etc are very welcome. As is a link if you stream it.


The restrictions

1. No R&D, SPH/VAB, Runway/Launchpad facility upgrades! (=> 30part / 9ton mass limit, other facility upgrades are allowed)
2. Tweakscale is only allowed for wings/control surfaces/landing gear/adapters.
3. No mods except the ones specified below. Visual and similar mods are exempt from this rule.
4. No cheating.
5. Science/parts restrictions as shown here
(thus no parachutes, reaction wheels, etc.)


5pCblLS.png basicRocketry node provides a basic liquid fuel engine


The mods

1. Install CKAN for a separate, clean KSP install.
2. Only select the "SETI-MetaModPack". Click "ApplyChanges".
3. Leave all recommendations selected. Click "Continue".
4. From the suggestions, only SETIprobeControlEnabler is allowed, so that you dont have to worry about a RemoteTech connection. Click "Continue" and wait for the the mods to be installed.
5. RCS Build Aid is among the recommendations, but is currently not available via ckan. You may (highly recommended) install that manually from here: https://github.com/linuxgurugamer/RCSBuildAid/releases
6. Visual mods are allowed at your own discretion.


The ranking

By spent mass per mini satellite:

1. @Yemo with a spent mass of 2571.5kg per mini satellite to kerbin orbit (8455kg launch mass, 8555kg minus launch clamp 100kg, 3312kg mass when landed, 2 mini satellites launched into orbits around kerbin. Thus a mass expenditure of (8455kg - 3312kg) / 2 =2571.5kg per mini satellite.








I went for the rocket plane / high launch concept. Ejection force on Small Hardpoints set to 0 for a clean launch:







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