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Shuttle Challenge v5 - The STS thread [Stock and Mod Friendly] - MAJOR CHALLENGE ANNOUNCEMENT! - 30.3.2020


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22 hours ago, Alchemist said:

Ok, this looks about as good as it gets

Oh my, this looks so smooth, so under control the whole time.... Beautiful :)

Are the almost-simultaneous landings intentional, or did it just turn out that way? Either way, it probably wouldn't clear safety comitee, but it looks pretty cool :)

Here's your well earned badge:

LOkYAUP.png?1

Oh, and can we expect a RTLS script now? ;)

 

Michal.don

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11 hours ago, michal.don said:

Are the almost-simultaneous landings intentional, or did it just turn out that way?

Given that there turned out to be enough runway, I adjusted the distance at which the launcher turns back accordingly

11 hours ago, michal.don said:

Either way, it probably wouldn't clear safety comitee, but it looks pretty cool :)

Safety committee? Where on Kerbin did you find that? and how would they classify extending physics range for an object moving fast on ground? (well, without that the launcher would freeze the moment it touched the runway if beyond several hundreds meters of active craft)

6 hours ago, michal.don said:

Oh my, this looks so smooth, so under control the whole time.... Beautiful :)

You just hadn't seen how it goes haywire if you go in too steep. At least this time the turn went smooth, but it still shows certain issues, like much higher drag than expected. Also it plunged on the runway with 10 m/s vertical velocity when it should have done it gently and also overshot the start of the runway quite a bit (scratch this one - found a mistake in the code, but now it tends to undershoot).

Anyway, this shuttle has a decent lift but terrible pitch authority (it barely pulls 15 degrees AoA with airbrakes deployed), I guess some autopilot elements just don't like such performance especially at low speeds (not to mention PID loops not liking too sharp turns altogether). I think for this ship it is better to use somewhat gentler approach and with jets enabled to maintain proper airspeed - that's the reason for those engines being there in the first place.
Need to see how this landing script handles something with more shuttle-like aerodynamics...

9 hours ago, michal.don said:

Oh, and can we expect a RTLS script now? ;)

Other than this shuttle's winged booster coming home after the nominal launch?

 

Well, let me think of something... Yes, turns out Buran's RTLS abort sequence (for 1 engine loss) is quite similar to that of Space Shuttle.
Which also shows some interesting insights:

  • looks like reaching up all the way to space is not exactly about aerodynamics requirements for the maneuver (with possible trajectories ranging pretty much twice in terms of maximum altitude and distance), it is more of the burning almost through the entire LH2/LOX tank (which, to think of it, makes the procedure maximally uniform with latest point for RTLS abort which is exactly about just enough fuel to turn around and fly back).
  • of course, loss of a central stage engine would be less of an issue for Buran, since there there are 4 of those engines unlike 3 SSMEs on the Shuttle. So for Buran the windows for RTLS and orbital abort modes even slightly overlap, and gliding to some other airstrip along ascent trajectory would only be used in case some bigger malfunction causes loss of the entire rocket.
  • another thing to cause RTLS would be malfunction of a booster engine. With 1 booster non-operational and diametrically opposite one shut down (more for structural stress not controllability reasons, also this shutdown won't happen until a certain altitude) Energia would lose almost half the thrust at this early stage of flight (BTW, the boosters had valves to flush the LOx at the nominal usage rate in case of engine shutdown), which would end up  in Buran flying not that far or high as in case of second stage engine loss. (at least the liquid fueled boosters give more chance to fix the situation than in case of those SRBs malfunctioning)
  • in both of those cases the actual maneuver would start only after booster separation. Also, the abort program includes OMS burn at the start of RTLS, both to reduce the orbiter mass and likely to help with pitch turn.
  • the separation starts with pitching down while starting OMS, then shutting down the rocket's engines, and quickly pitching up (with use of RCS) straight after separation. OMS continue to run for a while to adjust trajectory and burn fuel. (another note: the program also mentions dumping orbiter's LOX before landing - if still too heavy?)

Yeah, sounds interesting...

http://buran.ru/images/gif/ranchik1.gif

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On 5/31/2018 at 11:42 PM, Alchemist said:

Well, let me think of something... Yes, turns out Buran's RTLS abort sequence (for 1 engine loss) is quite similar to that of Space Shuttle.

Thanks for the link - I've never seen Buran abort procedures, it looks like I have a bit of reading to do..... Regarding your scripts - I am truly impressed, probably more so because I've never tried KOS myself..... Like I mentioned before in this thread, I consider it to be some sort of witchcraft that I respect tremendously :)

 

Another news - another "Test pilot" mission will be available in a few days, and we're going into the "what if?" realm.

EiFs40Tf_GyWXQYzF80ee_PIK2z0wLCq3xCmQXLv

 

You guys recognize this one? And possibly know what the mission will be? :) 

 

For a bit of history reading, and a description of the almost-real-if-the-shuttle-wasn't-delayed-so-many-gosh-darn-times mission, head here.

 

Michal.don

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6 hours ago, michal.don said:

almost-real-if-the-shuttle-wasn't-delayed-so-many-gosh-darn-times

It's quite ironic how such stories tend to repeat.

Just a decade after that there were some plans to bring Salyut 7 after it has been decommissioned back to Earth (presumably, just the station core; there also was a TKS docked to it as a module). Unfortunately, by the time Buran launched for the first (and, as it turned out, the last) time, the station practically ran out of fuel for orbit corrections and soon after that (while the further flights for Buran just weren't happening) fell into the atmosphere...
Recovering a station module - could be a good idea for another test mission?

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9 hours ago, michal.don said:

You guys recognize this one? And possibly know what the mission will be? :) 

I'd guess raising the station by means of an attached booster?

2 hours ago, Alchemist said:

Just a decade after that there were some plans to bring Salyut 7 after it has been decommissioned back to Earth (presumably, just the station core; there also was a TKS docked to it as a module). Unfortunately, by the time Buran launched for the first (and, as it turned out, the last) time, the station practically ran out of fuel for orbit corrections and soon after that (while the further flights for Buran just weren't happening) fell into the atmosphere...

Funny how that happened twice to competing nations, guess building an actual shuttle is no where like as easy as KSP

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18 hours ago, Alchemist said:

It's quite ironic how such stories tend to repeat.

Different nations, different space programs, but the playground is the same - leading to very similar problems, this time with pretty much identical outome.....

 

15 hours ago, hoioh said:

I'd guess raising the station by means of an attached booster?

That will be the main part of the mission indeed, but I'm trying to figure out additional objectives. We'll find out soon enough :)

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8 hours ago, michal.don said:

Different nations, different space programs, but the playground is the same - leading to very similar problems, this time with pretty much identical outome.....

And those were just the kind of missions - large-scale orbital repair and payload recovery - that shuttles of this class are perfect for.
Because, let's be honest, most other things STS was used for are either perfectly doable with smaller rockets (at least NASA Shuttle could pull off the argument of having the orbiter as mostly reusable second stage... which still ended up not that cost-efficient; Buran had no such thing, so unless you absolutely need the orbiter you are better slapping 100 tons of payload right on the side of Energia or if you need to launch only 20-30 tons use Proton or Energia-M) or can be designed to be doable without a shuttle unless you specifically put your stake on using the Shuttle (docking a module to the station? TKS-based modules have no problem docking themselves)

On the other side, it is a huge shame that it all came to both space programs crashing down to the point of barely having resources to keep existing things going. Where are all the Mun Moon bases, Mars expeditions, just more optimized vehicles for Earth orbit operations? (OK, at least now SpaceX is doing something real on the last part) Even ISS was mostly made from parts each side was developing for their own station

Has humanity really lost the interest in space exploration? (Well, apart from Elon Musk)
Great, now I'm thinking of some kind of techno-hippies demanding "Make SCIENCE not weapons!"

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20 hours ago, Alchemist said:

Has humanity really lost the interest in space exploration?

To say it loosely after Neil Tyson: "There are only two reasonable incentives to spend money on space exploration; 1. You don't want to die. 2. You don't wanna die poor."

@michal.don Back in the days there was a challenge on reddit which you perhaps want to modify and include in your test missions.

I'll be back soon with my mun base missions. Engineering is done, it's time to go to space again.

 

Edited by funk
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13 hours ago, Alchemist said:

And those were just the kind of missions - large-scale orbital repair and payload recovery - that shuttles of this class are perfect for.

Yeah, thats Hubble, and..... No, that's pretty much it. Shuttle was a perfect machine for missions that nobody needed or wanted. Still, I can't help but love the shuttle, it's more of an emotional rather than a rational thing for me :)

And about the techno-hippies - I love the concept, let's start a techno-hippie union :D

 

50 minutes ago, funk said:

Back in the days there was a challenge on reddit which you perhaps want to modify and include in your test missions.

Thanks for the link! But I think that apart from the "one orbit" requirement, it's basicly an easier STS-2b (fuel pod recovery). I'll think on it though, maybe I'll figure out a way to make it more challenging.

 

Michal.don

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4 hours ago, RealKerbal3x said:

When will the new test pilot mission come out?

Sorry, but I can't make any promises now - my job is keeping me busy until friday, and one of my best friends is getting married this weekend (yes, I'm approaching that age now :) ). Bute hopefully during the next week.....

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9 minutes ago, michal.don said:

Sorry, but I can't make any promises now - my job is keeping me busy until friday, and one of my best friends is getting married this weekend (yes, I'm approaching that age now :) ). Bute hopefully during the next week.....

Damn real life. I swear it’s only there to stop us playing KSP :P

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11 hours ago, michal.don said:

Yeah, thats Hubble, and..... No, that's pretty much it. Shuttle was a perfect machine for missions that nobody needed or wanted.

 

Yeah, something as complex and expensive as Hubble is probably the only kind of payload that is worth being serviced by a Shuttle.

And that's pretty much the problem of too much versatility combined with high capacity - you just barely ever get a job that is worth all of that (at least unless it is some emergency "screw efficiency, let's quickly adjust an existing vessel for this").
Pretty much the same story happened to TKS - it just turned out to be better turned into station modules than used as supply craft

Another funny thing is,  the question of station supply just got stuck with Soyuz & Progress on one side - which are really a bit too small for anything larger than Salyut - and the Shuttle on the other side - which is basically half the size of the station, a bit overkill for just regular supply and crew rotation runs, isn't it? (well, unless somebody actually finds reason and funding for that Mir-2 idea with multiple 100 ton modules - for that Buran would probably be an appropriate supply craft). At least nowadays there are Dragon and ATV as more appropriate-sized supply vessels.

11 hours ago, michal.don said:

Still, I can't help but love the shuttle, it's more of an emotional rather than a rational thing for me :)

Well, my mentality is more soviet (even if USSR fell apart before I was old enough to remember anything... not fully sure why I picked that up or what to do with it in the modern world), so I'm more inclined to the other side, except it is much more exciting to look through scraps of Buran-era projects (or even earlier, but guess who had the nasty habit of burying old ideas each time when starting anew), than what actually has been happening ever since.

To name a few Buran-era developments that would really be a huge improvement for actual space infrastructure:

  • Zarya spacecraft - launched by Zenit rocket and featuring a reusable capsule pretty much twice larger that Soyuz descent module. Not exactly shuttle-related, but supposed to act as both crew transport for Mir (and at least with somewhat decent capacity for returning experimental packages, unlike Soyuz) and crew rescue option for Buran (in case reentry becomes unsafe). Also they really considered propulsive landing (reminds of something, doesn't it?)
  • MAKS mini-shuttle - highly reusable (still features single-use ET), air-launched (speaking of stealing satellites...) and featuring tri-propellant engines (Kerosene/LH2/LOx for maximum thrust and lower ET volume on initial ascent, continuing in LH2/LOx mode after kerosene used up). How many times have they been talking about reviving this project?
  • Energia-2 - a fully reusable launcher done right (kind of slapping Buran's wings and heat protection on second stage of Energia). Basically, with no crew capacity and thus no need to keep it perfectly man-rated, it should be much cheaper to operate that STS while having a bit more payload capacity (but no capacity for payload recovery). Options for first stage vary from using normal Energia boosters as initial variant (those are reusable, but you'll need to pick them up from where they land), to having boosters with deployable wings and small jets to fly back to base, to even replacing them with one winged booster similar in size to second stage (just fueled with Kerosene instead of hydrogen) attached to it belly-to-belly.

Some variety of spacecraft sharing key technologies would probably been much more interesting (and more feasible as well) option than trying to stretch a single design onto all the applications

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I'm happy to report that I successfully completed the STS-1A challenge! This would be the first time I legitimately launched a proper shuttle and landed it without some kind of mod or cheat.

https://imgur.com/a/p2UfcVf

I built a Mk2-3 shuttle, as I like the Mk2 but thought it would be cool if it had the cargo capacity of the Mk3. It also has a detachable crew compartment with an abort system, as I figured they would want that given the number of failures during development. 

Behold, the Mk2C Shuttle!

M6YnEHq.png

I has a charming sort of ugliness, I think. And it's fairly stable, once I went through several revisions that flipped and spun every way imaginable. For giggles, I've put shots of those in an album, too. https://imgur.com/a/9MWfcns

As far as mods go, KER and Better Burn Time are the only gameplay changing mods I use, just for the extra info it gives me. I like mods that improve the experience mostly, such as DMagic Orbital Science, Distant Object Enhancement, Chatterer, and various UI improvements like Hanger Extender and Janitor's Closet. I like to keep the gameplay stock and occasionally add fun parts to make it interesting. This craft had one "aftermarket" part, the small bay on the back of the crew module came from Mk2 Expansion, but it doesn't affect the craft in any way (except adds a little mass).

I can't wait to do the next mission!

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Well, I finally finished up the LOP-G mission.  Imgur is being...unreliable, but here is the album for parts 1 and 2:

https://imgur.com/a/m3O1Wtn (I apologize if some of the images are out of order. I did the best I could)

And here's the third mission, along with the station burning to raise its orbit to >2,000 km:

https://imgur.com/a/VM1alYx

With luxury accommodations for 16, this thing's a beauty.  Every room comes with panoramic views, away from the noise of the laboratory.  Docking ports of all sizes ensure compatibility with resupply ships, crew transfers, or future expansion modules.  After raising its orbit to just over 2,000km, the station still has 5 km/s worth of fuel.

Man, those ion engines make for some nice screenshots...

 

 

Edited by zolotiyeruki
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6 hours ago, doggonemess said:

I'm happy to report that I successfully completed the STS-1A challenge!

Welcome to the challenge!

For being your first shuttle, I must say that the design looks pretty capable - large cargo bay, and a powerful launch system. Good job on landing on the runway too - learning the flight profile is not an easy thing to do!

The only minor problem I see is losing an airbrake on landing - maybe it's possible to retract them just prior to touchdown?

Other than that, great mission, and I'm looking forward to seeing more from you :)

Here's your first badge, commander, wear it proudly!

QThe6Sf.jpg?1

 

2 hours ago, zolotiyeruki said:

Well, I finally finished up the LOP-G mission.  Imgur is being...unreliable, but here is the album for parts 1 and 2:

Yeah, the images are scrambled a bit, but I think I can see what happened in your missions.

First - your LOP-G design is really nice, I like the hammer-like shape :)

Second - is that a new shuttle design? I don't recall the drop-tank-boosters, but I might have just forgotten....

Third - the ions really do look great on the screenshots...... :)

 

So, great job on building the station, and here's your badge:

w1diq3g.png?1

Congratulations!

 

Michal.don

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3 hours ago, michal.don said:

Welcome to the challenge!

For being your first shuttle, I must say that the design looks pretty capable - large cargo bay, and a powerful launch system. Good job on landing on the runway too - learning the flight profile is not an easy thing to do!

The only minor problem I see is losing an airbrake on landing - maybe it's possible to retract them just prior to touchdown?

Other than that, great mission, and I'm looking forward to seeing more from you :)

Here's your first badge, commander, wear it proudly!

QThe6Sf.jpg?1

 

Thanks, this is high praise coming from you guys! I've built a bunch of planes and a few SSTOs, so I used what I learned from that to build the shuttle. Good call on the airbrakes, that would make it safer, too, as I don't want to bleed off too much speed right at the end. I'm going to give it another go with a payload and see what happens.

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15 hours ago, michal.don said:

Yeah, the images are scrambled a bit, but I think I can see what happened in your missions.

First - your LOP-G design is really nice, I like the hammer-like shape :)

Second - is that a new shuttle design? I don't recall the drop-tank-boosters, but I might have just forgotten....

Third - the ions really do look great on the screenshots...... :)

Thanks!  I like to think it almost looks like something from Star Wars.

Yeah, for the LOP-G missions I opted for a traditional STS design, to try out that configuration.  Since I didn't have to disembark any cargo, and because the dV and payload requirements were lower, I stripped it down a lot (no LV-Ns!).  As a result, it's a *lot* lighter.  The von Braun shuttle landed at 29 tons, and these landed at 18.  I may yet revert to the high-wing version for the training flights.

For the LOP-G missions, I did indeed stage off the booster engines along with some of the side-mounted tanks, and finished orbital insertion with the fuel in the remaining side tanks.  It's not a super elegant design, but it's about as well as I could do while keeping it pretty simple.

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I am also happy to report that I completed STS 1B, delivering the payload to orbit. I decided to get as tight as possible on this one.

yZD7OZ7.png

The orbit is circular within 1 meter. That's the closest I've ever gotten it.

Here's some highlights from the mission: https://imgur.com/a/p8ZxaXU

I read ahead to see what was coming, and I'm going to have fun bringing it back down, I think.

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11 hours ago, doggonemess said:

The orbit is circular within 1 meter. That's the closest I've ever gotten it.

Sorry to disappoint, but it's 9 meters. That's a really nicely tight orbit all the same! Good mission @doggonemess

Also, (everybody is experiencing the same problem with imgur) if you want your images to show in the correct order the easiest way to achieve that is to upload them, 1 at a time, in reverse order

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1 hour ago, hoioh said:

Sorry to disappoint, but it's 9 meters. That's a really nicely tight orbit all the same! Good mission @doggonemess

Also, (everybody is experiencing the same problem with imgur) if you want your images to show in the correct order the easiest way to achieve that is to upload them, 1 at a time, in reverse order

Heh, oops. Good thing I'm a blacksmith and not a mathematician. Thanks for the imgur advice, I'll go with that.

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A new test pilot mission is ready!

MufjVhH.png?1

We're going to rescue Skylab!

All the information is in the OP.

Good luck!

 

Unfortunately, I can't review any entries today, hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow. 

Michal.don

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On 6/6/2018 at 3:25 PM, RealKerbal3x said:

Damn real life. I swear it’s only there to stop us playing KSP :P

I was THIS close to getting a job at NASA in Greenbelt, MD. One I things I was pitching was more community outreach using games, especially KSP. I suggested NASA make official mods for all their biggest missions. I would NEVER have to stop playing KSP!

Alas, it didn't pan out. I'm still trying to get a job there, though.

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STS 2A complete!

I put together three identical KerbComm satellites. They were delivered into keosynchronous orbit, as I forgot that keostationary was something different. Good thing synchronous is also stationary relative to each to each other!

Mission log, this time with 100% more chronological order: https://imgur.com/a/RcQrvJG

bg01AE2.png

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2 hours ago, michal.don said:

A new test pilot mission is ready!

MufjVhH.png?1

We're going to rescue Skylab!

All the information is in the OP.

Good luck!

 

Unfortunately, I can't review any entries today, hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow. 

Michal.don

Ooh, new mission!!

I'd try this immediately, but I'm caught up in building a station of my own at the moment. :) I'll do this when I get the chance.

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