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kOS Automatic-Lander Challenge


Terra1
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So, the challenge is to create a kOS program that will launch a spacecraft, put it into a stable orbit around Kerbin, and land the first stage of the rocket on Kerbin, without any manual control (Except starting the program, of course)

There is a point system

Here is the amount of points you get or lose from doing certain things:

MINIMUM: Get to stable orbit, deploy a payload, and land automatically, 1 point.

Optional:

Payload around Mun: 5 points

Costs less than 10000: 5 points

Payload weight larger than 50 tons: 2 points

Lands near KSC: 3 points

Lands on the launch pad: 10 points

Lands without parachutes: 5 points

Able to configure program to launch different vehicles just by tweaking a few values at the start of the program: 20 points

Payload around Duna: 10 points

Entire mission to Jool, with an orbiter relay satellite that deploys a probe with a heat shield and returns tons of data automatically: 50 points

Good luck!

 

 

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I love the idea of this challenge, but I think it needs some clarifications of the conditions.  Awarding points based on things that are a bit subjective or perhaps fuzzily defined can lead to problems.

For example:

- "near KSC" - maybe a latitude/longitude zone or a "within X km of the launchpad" or something like that would make it clear how "near" is enough.

- "Able to configure....etc...." - maybe provide 2 example craft that both can do the challenge but are quite different from each other (different TWR's and different staging configurations).  Then the test would be "can your single script launch these two as well as your own, with just some provided setting changes you give?  If so you get the 20 points."  This would be a lot more clear than just "launch different vehicles" without much specification about just how different they need to be.  (You don't want someone being able to say, "Well, these *are* two different vehicles - I added an extra battery to one of them, see?")  Actually providing 2 sample craft files that the script must work with in addition to the actual craft of the submission would make it objective and unambiguous what is the minimum versatility the script needs to have to qualify.

- "Payload Weight larger than 50 tones" (I think technically you should say mass, not weight here). What is the "payload" definition for this?  I'm assuming it's the piece that stays in orbit when you're done detaching the launcher, but in the case of, say, trying to go to the mun, is the payload just the part that orbits the mun or is it the part that parks in Kerbin orbit before getting to the Mun?  The exact definition being used should be nailed down,  I think.  (i.e. let's say I have a >50 tonne ship in orbit of Kerbin, giving me the 2 point bonus for that, and then I perform a transfer to the Mun and get in a captured orbit of the Mun and after that the craft now only has 30 tonnes left.  How much extra score did going to the Mun give me?  Going to the mun is +5, but spending the fuel to do it puts me below the 50 tonne +2 bonus.  Depending on what the definition of payload is for this scoring, I either netted 5 points by doing this, or just 3.)

- The challenge only says the first stage has to land, and what the payload must be.  It doesn't really mention anything about any intermediate stages between those two.  If I spend 2 stages to get the payload into orbit (the payload being stage 3), Can I try to cheat the system by making my first stage extremely irrelevant and tiny so it detaches very very early in the flight and only goes a few meters off the pad and then lands itself, then the 2nd stage (that doesn't have to be landed) does all the actual work to get to orbit?  A clearer definition of how much dV must come from stage 1 would help fix this problem.

- Is the FMRS mod allowed?  It's a very important question for this challenge because it allows you to have the first stage detach while still in atmosphere and be able to both recover it and get the rest of the rocket into orbit.  Without FMRS the only real way to do it is to have the first stage make it all the way to vacuum, then have the second stage just do the circularization burn (and get it done with quickly) so you can switch back to the first stage while it's still in vaccum and hasn't fallen back yet.

 

Edited by Steven Mading
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Actually, if recovery is the real challenge, perhaps a good way to do it is recovered portion of the total cost to deploy the payload.  (For this sake, the payload itself is not part of the total rocket cost because it's not being thrown away - the payload is working and in orbit doing its job.)

Deployment cost = (craft cost in VAB at launch) - (payload cost in VAB when everything else detached))

Recovery portion = (total recovered cost) / (Deployment cost).

Then some kind of score based on how good a job you do at the recovery portion would sort of roll together a lot of the above bullet points.  You get better recovery percentage for landing closer to the KSC, so that would be factored in automatically.  You get better recovery percentage the more of your launcher is recovered, so that answers the messy questions I had about cheating with a puny irrelevant first stage and throwing away the bulk of the rocket that does the work.

 

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9 hours ago, Steven Mading said:

I love the idea of this challenge, but I think it needs some clarifications of the conditions.  Awarding points based on things that are a bit subjective or perhaps fuzzily defined can lead to problems.

For example:

- "near KSC" - maybe a latitude/longitude zone or a "within X km of the launchpad" or something like that would make it clear how "near" is enough.

- "Able to configure....etc...." - maybe provide 2 example craft that both can do the challenge but are quite different from each other (different TWR's and different staging configurations).  Then the test would be "can your single script launch these two as well as your own, with just some provided setting changes you give?  If so you get the 20 points."  This would be a lot more clear than just "launch different vehicles" without much specification about just how different they need to be.  (You don't want someone being able to say, "Well, these *are* two different vehicles - I added an extra battery to one of them, see?")  Actually providing 2 sample craft files that the script must work with in addition to the actual craft of the submission would make it objective and unambiguous what is the minimum versatility the script needs to have to qualify.

- "Payload Weight larger than 50 tones" (I think technically you should say mass, not weight here). What is the "payload" definition for this?  I'm assuming it's the piece that stays in orbit when you're done detaching the launcher, but in the case of, say, trying to go to the mun, is the payload just the part that orbits the mun or is it the part that parks in Kerbin orbit before getting to the Mun?  The exact definition being used should be nailed down,  I think.  (i.e. let's say I have a >50 tonne ship in orbit of Kerbin, giving me the 2 point bonus for that, and then I perform a transfer to the Mun and get in a captured orbit of the Mun and after that the craft now only has 30 tonnes left.  How much extra score did going to the Mun give me?  Going to the mun is +5, but spending the fuel to do it puts me below the 50 tonne +2 bonus.  Depending on what the definition of payload is for this scoring, I either netted 5 points by doing this, or just 3.)

- The challenge only says the first stage has to land, and what the payload must be.  It doesn't really mention anything about any intermediate stages between those two.  If I spend 2 stages to get the payload into orbit (the payload being stage 3), Can I try to cheat the system by making my first stage extremely irrelevant and tiny so it detaches very very early in the flight and only goes a few meters off the pad and then lands itself, then the 2nd stage (that doesn't have to be landed) does all the actual work to get to orbit?  A clearer definition of how much dV must come from stage 1 would help fix this problem.

- Is the FMRS mod allowed?  It's a very important question for this challenge because it allows you to have the first stage detach while still in atmosphere and be able to both recover it and get the rest of the rocket into orbit.  Without FMRS the only real way to do it is to have the first stage make it all the way to vacuum, then have the second stage just do the circularization burn (and get it done with quickly) so you can switch back to the first stage while it's still in vaccum and hasn't fallen back yet.

 

1: Near KSC means any of the KSC buldings and the biome around the KSC buildings, nothing else.

2: The payload weight is the satellite you deploy, in the case of an orbit around kerbin, or the lander, in the case of the mun, in all other circumstances, it's just the last stage of the rocket.

3: This isn't programming, if the first stage is clearly just cheating, it'll get disqualified.

4: All mods are allowed, as long as they aren't absurdly overpowered (Like a mod that adds a 1.25m engine with insane thrust, no weight, and no fuel consumption)

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