Question

I've been exploring a lot of new things like the payload devices and Xenon engines, struts and using group actions. Got those things running pretty nice. My rocket is moving much more smoothly, higher speeds, lower, faster orbits. I've circularized orbits within a couple hundred kilometers, got my RCS  working pretty well. I even matched my orbit somewhat to Eve's orbit and at no point did Eve's orbit cross my orbit. I had to tip my orbit pretty radically to be able to touch Eve's. Then I tried to get it even closer but I'm working from such a tiny circle compared with the distance and I'm just lining things up by eye with the sun in my eyes. This is from Kerbin orbit. Is it possible to go from Kerbin orbit to Eve orbit? Or is it required to hit all the objects in between? The orbital lines don't reach. I always get stuck orbiting the sun if I can't get an orbit with a node, but it seems like it should  be possible with enough fuel to go from sun orbit to orbit another planet or at least make a tighter sun orbit. I've got quite a bit of Xenon fuel and 26 gigantor solar units for my 26 xenon engines. They can run for a very long time without running out of electricity.

I did manage to get a descending or ascending node with Eve. Is that the point where I put another node and... I don't know. Sometimes with this game my brain just freezes up. 

Am I nuts to be trying to orbit these outer planets just by eyeballing things?

Can I go from Kerbin to Eve or even further? If not what should I do first? I'm proficient at going to Mun and Minimus and back.

Is there a way to make those orbital lines stretch out further or is there some other trick to know if you've got a chance to rendevous?

What do you think of my long range space traveler with 26 xenon engines and 26 gigantor solar?

Got rid of struts and am using the strut system that comes with SRBs. Attaching to grandparent. Does this method cause less lag or am I imagining?

Which mods should I use and where are the best tutorials for those mods?

I'm using Xenon for the phenomenal ISP. I think I managed to lift off from Minimus and get back to Kerbin but Minimus is very low gravity. I might have problems lifting off from bigger bodies like Eve and so I might have to complicate my landing vehicle eventually with stages or docking devices. I might even have to take things apart and put them back together again in space but that sounds like quite a formidable but attractive task. On the other hand getting to Eve and fiddling with the nodes just turns me off sometimes. Too much to go wrong and when you fail you have to go way back to the beginning. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Chik Sneadlov
added thing about integrated strut system

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7 minutes ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

Am I nuts to be trying to orbit these outer planets just by eyeballing things?

Yes, but you were nuts to start playing anyway so full speed ahead!

7 minutes ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

Can I go from Kerbin to Eve or even further? If not what should I do first? I'm proficient at going to Mun and Minimus and back.

I think you should go to Duna first. It is a bit easier of a target.

7 minutes ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

Is there a way to make those orbital lines stretch out further or is there some other trick to know if you've got a chance to rendevous?

Change your "Conic Patch Limit" in settings. I think the maximum is 6 which is probably enough. You can also go into your settings.cfg file in the root of your ksp folder and set it to any number. I personally prefer 8.

7 minutes ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

What do you think of my long range space traveler with 26 xenon engines and 26 gigantor solar?

I can't see it but ouch xenon. I'd go for chemical rockets or NERVs to start. They have burn times in the minutes, not hours.

As far as mods are concerned, I think the three most important ones are:

1) Kerbal Alarm Clock - Because you're going to be time warping enough to want to go get some coffee or a sandwich.
2) Transfer Window Planner - Learn about porkchop plots, or for your fist time just take whatever it gives you and trust it. Don't worry about the numbers too much just warp to when it tells you and set up a maneuver node to burn to the planet of your choice.
3) Some Maneuver Node Editor: So you can change your burn by fractions of a m/s, not by tugs on pull handles. Traditionally I've used PreciseNode but many prefer Precise Maneuver. Lately I've enjoyed Maneuver Node Evolved.

The trick is, get your ejection maneuver node to just tell you you got an encounter, or barring that just get the encounter markers for your ship and the planet to be as close as you can. Then do that burn, warp out of the Kerbin system, and in Sun orbit set up another maneuver and tweak it until you get a periapsis really close to the planet. For Eve, I'd go 150km, maybe 200. For Duna, I'd do 100km. Then do that burn, and warp to the planet. Then at periapsis, burn retrograde until you're in orbit.

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16 minutes ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

I might have problems lifting off from bigger bodies like Eve

Eve is nearly impossible to take off from.  I've only seen very advanced players manage it.  If you plan on landing on Eve (which can be tricky as well), anticipate Eve to be your landing craft's new home.  Do a google image search for "Eve Lander" and you can see how ridiculous they can be.

As @5thHorseman said, go for Duna.  Easy to land on and take off from while still having an atmosphere to deal with.  Just bring lots of parachutes.

 

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11 hours ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

...I even matched my orbit somewhat to Eve's orbit and at no point did Eve's orbit cross my orbit. I had to tip my orbit pretty radically to be able to touch Eve's. ...

I did manage to get a descending or ascending node with Eve. Is that the point where I put another node and... I don't know. Sometimes with this game my brain just freezes up. 

Am I nuts to be trying to orbit these outer planets just by eyeballing things?

Can I go from Kerbin to Eve or even further? If not what should I do first? I'm proficient at going to Mun and Minimus and back.

Is there a way to make those orbital lines stretch out further or is there some other trick to know if you've got a chance to rendevous?

No problem with eyeballing. As long as you mean "eyeballing with nodes" because I'd hate to try doing it without...

The thing that you need to get your head around, is that when you touch Eve's orbit, you need Eve to be at that exact spot. Just like the Mun or Minmus. Since Eve orbits faster than Kerbin, that means you need to leave Kerbin before Eve has caught up (roughly a sixth or an eighth of an orbit behind Kerbin), so you do exactly half an orbit during the transfer and Eve does a bit more.

The trouble with Eve is that its orbit is inclined enough to make getting a hit a pain. You need to do it in a few steps, then rinse and repeat until done:

  1. Select Eve as target. Drop a node so that you'll eject Kerbin's SOI retrograde, and add enough prograde to that burn so that your final Pe is touching (sort of) Eve's orbit. Probably about 1200 m/s. At the very least, you should get an AN/DN somewhere in sun orbit.
    • At first, drag the node around so that it is "most efficient"... meaning Ap on the resulting orbit around the sun should have Ap more or less where you are now. This might have to change to get a hit, later, but at least start by trying on the most efficient path.
  2. Drop a second node just before AN/DN, and add anti-normal (if AN) or normal (if DN) until the AN/DN marker touches Eve's orbit at Pe. That should give you the encounter/intercept markers.
  3. Go back to your first node, and very carefully drag it along your Kerbin orbit to close the gap between the encounter/intercept markers. If this is a problem, use the radial in/out vectors instead since this has the same effect. Add or subtract prograde to keep Pe down on Eve's orbit.
  4. Go back to 2. and either adjust it or delete it and replace with a new node.

If this still doesn't work, you'll need a more aggressive approach. The principle is the same but you stop trying to hit Eve at Pe (since the timing won't work) and instead you either dive down to hit it much sooner (because Eve is too close to Kerbin and is too far ahead at Pe) or you start by heading out from the Sun before re-crossing Kerbin's orbit and reaching Eve much later (because Eve is too far behind Kerbin... but you'd be better just waiting a few days in this case). This can get very very expensive. Either way, you do the same steps as above but you start with a much larger burn (say 1500-1800 m/s or so). If you're doing the "diving down" thing, any midcourse AN/DN changes will be huge, so you're best adding normal/antinormal to your ejection burn to minimise that - in fact you should be able to get a good encounter without any course-change later in this case.

Remember that any change in inclination when leaving Kerbin will have zero effect on your position exactly half an orbit later, only on your inclination. Therefore any normal/antinormal burns at Kerbin will only be useful to (a) increase or reduce the midcourse plane change* you need to get an encounter at Pe, or (b) get a hit if you meet Eve earlier or later than Pe.

(* bearing in mind that plane changes are always best when going slowly, therefore always as far away from the body you're orbiting as possible)

Also remember to make full use of the "right click to stay visible" feature for intercept markers, AN/DN markers and suchlike. There is no need to stay blinded by the Sun when doing all this, you can zoom out and do everything except for the "dragging around orbit" bits from a distance.

And to see where your orbit will go next, you can always add a node: this will automatically make the path in the next SOI show up.

And if you added radial in/out to your transfer burn, remember that this has much the same effect as dragging your node along the orbit line. To reduce the cost of the burn, simply start burning earlier (if radial out) or later (if radial in) than the node says to burn, and it will cancel out some of that added cost. However, in this case you'll certainly have to eyeball it on map view and stop when the orbit lines align, slightly before the end of the proposed burn.

Finally, once you have done your ejection burn, you want to change focus to Eve and alter your mid-course correction so that you end up just grazing Eve's atmosphere (90km altitude) for capture. Don't even think about aerobraking at Eve if you don't have heatshields.

And in any event, @5thHorseman is right... start with Duna, it's way easier. And the atmosphere won't burn you to a crisp in seconds.

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I adjusted my Conic Patch Limit to 6 as suggested, but the little blue line is still short. I did notice the orbital lines around eve though so I set course and set another course and another and eventually I made it to an Eve encounter, but ran out of fuel as I tried to get into a big elliptical orbit. (I couldn't even see Eve when squinting, but the map said it was out there in the darkness about a million km away) There were several screw ups and unforseen things that happened like getting too far from the sun and having engines die on three sides and losing SAS. With a lopsided cluster of engines running the ship started wouldn't stay on target.

I'm now trying to improve the rocket by setting up asparagus staging but I see its worse than ever. I'm trying to set fuel flow from the tanks but there's a number in parentheses that I don't know what it means and the game adds numbers to the number I picked and then later it gives all the tanks the same number and screws everything up. Why can't I just click on the thing I want to fall off and put it a number like 1 and then go to the other side and put in 2. They make you roll through all the numbers with no way to speed it up and no way to enter by typing and then the numbers reset for no reason. 

some time later... Okay, the game kind of gave tanks logical numbers and I trusted it, but found out in deep space that it was screwed up again. I have three clusters of Xenon tanks mounted on radial decouplers. Each cluster has three Xenon tanks. Two of the tanks in each cluster are the same fuel priority number but one is off by ten so it starts draining a tank from another side. I have to shut that tank down to get it to drain from the right tank and then decouple manually after packing up the many gigantor solar including the 7 or 8 gigantor that I forgot to add to the gear group. Lots of opportunity for screw ups, never-the-less I am proceeding to Eeloo. I've got an encounter mapped out after about a 1 hour 10 minute burn. My orbit will probably come short about 30 million km or so. 

26 minutes left on the burn and so far I've ejected six of the xenon tanks with no problem. I must be a little lighter but I'm burning through fuel at an unsettling rate. I had a lot of trouble getting things to stick to other things as usual because Kerbal just doesn't like to let anything stick to anything else. Took me forever to build the thing that I attach my 25 engines to, but it ended up being very light and flat. My asparagus staging just isn't very efficient. There's room for a lot more tanks but its such a headache and it always comes out wrong. At least they let you change fuel priority numbers while piloting. That's pretty cool. I had hoped to attach gigantor solar to gigantor solar so that they'd reach out further, but they don't stick to anything that expands. I brought along an expanding heat shield this time and mounted it on the tip of the rocket. It game me quite a bit of trouble until I auto struted it and also added struts. 

Ten minutes left to burn and I just ejected the last cluster of tanks. I've got five big tanks left in the center and then that's it. 4.6 km/sec. All the staging went smoothly. Didn't lose any solar panels or anything. All engines firing but we're close to Kerbin and the sun right now.

5.9km/sec I'm stopped at 100,000,000km orbit. Never got the encounter indicators so this is all screwed up because of the long burn times and bad timing. Still have about 3000 xenon so I might be able to get closer. 

 

Edited by Chik Sneadlov

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2 minutes ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

I'm now trying to improve the rocket by setting up asparagus staging but I see its worse than ever. I'm trying to set fuel flow from the tanks but there's a number in parentheses that I don't know what it means and the game adds numbers to the number I picked and then later it gives all the tanks the same number and screws everything up. Why can't I just click on the thing I want to fall off and put it a number like 1 and then go to the other side and put in 2. They make you roll through all the numbers with no way to speed it up and no way to enter by typing and then the numbers reset for no reason. 

some time later... Okay, the game kind of gave tanks logical numbers and I trusted it, but found out in deep space that it was screwed up again. I have three clusters of Xenon tanks mounted on radial decouplers. Each cluster has three Xenon tanks. Two of the tanks in each cluster are the same fuel priority number but one is off by ten so it starts draining a tank from another side. I have to shut that tank down to get it to drain from the right tank and then decouple manually after packing up the many gigantor solar including the 7 or 8 gigantor that I forgot to add to the gear group.

First principle when building in the VAB: only ever build in multiples with radial symmetry (two, three or more) unless you really really know what you're doing. The only things you should ever put singly are the node-attached things on the central core, the "light" science instruments, batteries and antennae.

The number in brackets is how far off the default fuel priority number it is.

If you change staging order (in the VAB or in space) the fuel priority will change too. However, as long as you placed the tanks with symmetry, they should always be identical for each booster (and if one of the tanks has a different priority, all symmetrical tanks should have the same difference, so it isn't a problem). Rather than lock off the tank, just click on the +/- buttons to get them where you want them. Again, if placed symmetrically then that change should affect all tanks equally.

The exception to all this is if you deliberately separate decouplers into separate stage numbers. If you do that, you will have problems unless you are very sure you're doing it symmetrically.

27 minutes ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

(I couldn't even see Eve when squinting, but the map said it was out there in the darkness about a million km away)

Zoom out!

There is no need to keep squinting. Once zoomed out, a click on Kerbin will bring your maneouvre node back up again. You only need to zoom in to drag your node around the orbit to get a hit. Once you have a hit, zoom out and adjust the node vectors to get the closest approach.

And adjust your approach on the way. Nobody ever gets a perfect hit direct from Kerbin orbit. You really must do your capture burn low over your destination planet (except Jool, which is another story), and you can only get that by making a course correction somewhere along the way.

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I've been reading all your posts and also navigating and plotting. Thats good to know about the numbers in parenthese. I looked at Eeloo on the wiki. Its low gravity and no atomosphere. Escape velocity is 841 m/sec. I'm guessing thats at the edge of it's SOI. I'm going 5.9km/sec right now. I think I might be going faster when I'm nearest Eeloo so I'll have to slow down a lot. I'll probably run out of fuel doing that and won't get close enough to the SOI, but maybe I can smash into it. Let me check with Bob and see if he's okay with that. .... Sure. Bob would love to impact Eeloo. I bet its going to be cold out there. No seat heaters in KSP. They should have the Kerbals age and grow beards as time goes on. If they run out of food they should wither. I'd like disturbing stuff like that. Bob doesn't know this yet, but I left my porn collection behind his seat. Bob's been to rehab for sex addiction and got cleaned up. This might be a problem.

I do attach things symetrically, radially but its very easy to forget what the radial settings are when you are attaching one antenna. If you touch the ship in the wrong spot it will change the number of radial attachments. With the radially mounted Xenon tanks, I had to rotate the tanks (a nightmare on it's own) to get them to stick to the decoupler. I also suffer occasional lag and bizarre mouse malfunctions. The game just picks things up sometimes. "Snap"! Oh no. You can undo, but there's a lag for that too. I wish there had been one auto strut grandparent button for the whole rocket. That's how I strutted the thing up. The struts just waste time and cause screw ups galore. I love it, but it gets annoying. 

Last night I tried putting on a downward facing payload fairing. The goal was to wrap the boosters except the fins and exhaust, but it wouldn't let me quit the fairing. I guess you have to wrap it up and put a nose cone on it but why? Why not wrap the upper part of your boosters and leave the bottoms exposed. The tops of the boosters are under the upper fairing, but I'm not sure they are out of the wind. In real life they'd mostly be out of the wind, but some on the edge would really get hammered, I think. No nose cones. It would have been nice to wrap the entire rocket in some kind of single fairing that smoothed this all out but I am getting very high speeds now so it is improved. 

I had a nice node set up. It said I needed to do a 30 minute burn. I accidentally fired up the engines a little when I was trying to get the camera focus off of Kerbin and onto the command module and the burn time changed to 30 seconds. I warped to within 15 seconds and the moment I fired up the engines it changed the burn time to 27 minutes from 30 seconds. Why do they even have that glitchy burn time thing on there. If I'd not trusted it and instead just looked at the orbit, I'd have seen that it needed a huge burn. Now I'm going to miss again. 

 

Edited by Chik Sneadlov
added whining and indignation

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1 hour ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

I've been reading all your posts and also navigating and plotting. Thats good to know about the numbers in parenthese. I looked at Eeloo on the wiki. Its low gravity and no atomosphere. Escape velocity is 841 m/sec. I'm guessing thats at the edge of it's SOI. I'm going 5.9km/sec right now. I think I might be going faster when I'm nearest Eeloo so I'll have to slow down a lot. I'll probably run out of fuel doing that and won't get close enough to the SOI, but maybe I can smash into it. Let me check with Bob and see if he's okay with that. .... Sure. Bob would love to impact Eeloo. I bet its going to be cold out there. No seat heaters in KSP. They should have the Kerbals age and grow beards as time goes on. If they run out of food they should wither. I'd like disturbing stuff like that. Bob doesn't know this yet, but I left my porn collection behind his seat. Bob's been to rehab for sex addiction and got cleaned up. This might be a problem.

...

Last night I tried putting on a downward facing payload fairing. The goal was to wrap the boosters except the fins and exhaust, but it wouldn't let me quit the fairing. I guess you have to wrap it up and put a nose cone on it but why? Why not wrap the upper part of your boosters and leave the bottoms exposed. The tops of the boosters are under the upper fairing, but I'm not sure they are out of the wind. In real life they'd mostly be out of the wind, but some on the edge would really get hammered, I think. No nose cones. It would have been nice to wrap the entire rocket in some kind of single fairing that smoothed this all out but I am getting very high speeds now so it is improved. 

...

"Escape velocity" is the speed you need to go at a certain altiude to get to very nearly zero m/s at the edge of the SOI. I'm pretty sure that for all planets without an atmpsphere, that means at the surface of the planet.
So if you take off from the surface of Eeloo at 841m/s, you will end up only just escaping Eeloo's SOI.

Escape velocity doesn't really tell you anything about how much you need to change speed to capture. Eeloo's orbital velocity, however, will matter for that. And your current speed will drop quite a bit before you get there. Expect at least 1500 m/s to capture, probably quite a bit more.

Eeloo is very hard to hit. I'm not sure why you're trying this before getting guaranteed captures at Duna and Eve... it's way way up the learning curve. And your power generation from solar panels will be terrible out there. Not a great place for ion drives.

 

Oh and you can wrap fairings onto cylindrical parts of the rocket, and it will stop building if you get it right. I don't do it myself but it's a thing.

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I'm just back at Kerbal after not playing for a couple of years. I'm discovering all these new things like Xenon, I like the incredible efficiency. I want to see what those engines can do and I'm finding out. They aren't easy. I want them to do better. Maybe ISP isn't all that. The engines are kind of heavy compared to the power they produce even though the fuel seems to burn for a long time. Maybe I'm just mislead. Before this I was using those "nuclear" engines. They didn't need an oxidizer and they had a good ISP, but they're so weak I gave up on them. As far as solar, I thought I'd be able to make some kind of folding structure that I could mount lots of gigantors to, but I haven't seen how I can do that. Things that fold in Kerbal don't allow other things to be attached. 

With Duna I didn't like all the mystery objects in the way. I thought their gravity might affect my flight and I couldn't make an orbital loop with Duna any more than I can with Eve or Eeloo.

I was setting a course when I got an encounter. Didn't realize it was with Jool, but it only took a tiny burn so now I'm heading for Jool and you're right. Solar power is poor out here. I thought it might be a quarter the strength it is near Kerbin but seems like its more like 1% of the power near Kerbin. Its taking forever to recharge the batteries so I think I'm going to escape Jool's  gravity and get stuck around the sun again. I'm really starting to dislike Xenon and these engines. 

Just went back to the spacecenter and worked on the current rocket. Set my SRBs to 87.5. Put on some huge fins, the plane tail fins actually and the flight seemed smoother. There was still some wandering towards the end so maybe take off another 10% power. This time I'm heading for Dres. Still have the Xenon. Added 9 more tanks asparagus. Kind of pointless because I think that's enough to take me to another galaxy and I'm not going to be leaving Dres with these engines, but that's what I'm doing now. Every now and then my SAS doesn't seem to work at all. I don't know if it was that I hadn't brought up the navigation ball or what, but it happens when I need to do things fast. 

Edited by Chik Sneadlov
current flight

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1 hour ago, Chik Sneadlov said:

I'm really starting to dislike Xenon and these engines. 

You are by far not the only one.

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If I build a huge frame and put 200 of those electric engines on there with 200 solar panels and some xenon, will I be able to rise into orbit around Kerbin? It would almost be like a balloon launch to another planet.

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From memory, I don't think there is any feasible way of getting anywhere near a TWR of 1 with ion engines.

From all you've said in here, I really think you should go back to chemical rockets and get Duna and Eve captures sorted. Shorter burns, taking care to make a good correction burn halfway there (while focusing on the target system) to get Pe very close to the target. With the burns done in the right places you don't need all that extra dv. Once you have that sussed, you can start doing difficult places like Eeloo and Dres (which is very hard to hit, I find).

Maybe start just sending a couple of largish relay antennae (15g) with capable probe cores on chemical rockets to both Eve and Duna. That way there is no risk of having SAS fail on you (due to no connection to KSC) except perhaps as you approach the target planet, and you can always use retrograde hold and full thrust to capture even without a KSC connection. Don't worry about the unknown objects, they have no gravity influence and the chances of hitting one are infinitessimal (and zero during warp since you can only collide with planets and moons when warping).

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I tried Dres. I got a nice view of it as I hurtled past. Not enough fuel to slow down and be captured by it's gravity. I decided to try a planet with atmosphere to slow me down, so I went to Duna since I did have an inflatable heat shield. I've charted some nice close passes to Duna but matching the actual trajectory to the chart is harder. I came within sight of Duna I think, but I had problems with asparagus staging and normal staging and fuel flow. I gave the tanks number for fuel flow, but they weren't in fives or tens. I separated them by 1 and the computer ignored the numbers and burned them all. Then it wouldn't let them go or start the last engine so I had to do it all manually and by then I was not going to get my encounter. The nodes are giving me problems. Just when I need it most they don't tell my how long the burn is going to be. Whenever I'm a galaxy away it always tells me to the second how long to burn, but when it counts and I've spent two hours getting this close it refuses to calculate. 

I should have tried Dres with fewer SRBs. Too  much speed and no way to slow except burn tons of fuel which I didn't have. I love the way Kerbal doesn't have some idiotic magic device that slows a ship like a car pulling up to a stop sign or even a huge tanker full of oil trying to dock, although that's pretty close to what its like. I'd like to put way too much delta V on a huge oil tanker and send it in to port. They'd at least have the satisfaction of hard steering that would change their course. 

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Landed on Duna. On my feet! Didn't use the heat shield. I slowed with the atmosphere and then with rockets. I added another stage in the middle with the huge tanks of liquid fuel and a big engine since my TWR was very high. It slowed my ascent through the atmosphere of Kerbal which was nice. Smoother, lower orbit. Then I had a lot of fuel to get to Duna. I still had fuel in the second stage when I landed. Its too bad they don't let you move the nav ball when you're trying to land. I crashed a few times. The chute opened fine even with the heat shield above it, which seems wrong, but you have to slow yourself with the rockets. The chute alone isn't enough on Duna.

The worst thing is that the capsule is blocked by either a light or part of another parachute so I'm trapped in the capsule. I would buy detachable, ejectable lights, everything ejectable. The inflatable heat shield might be used to right a fallen rocket if it can be stuck to another inflatable heat shield. At least it could get the engines pointing at the ground at an angle so you can retry a landing.  I landed one time and closed all but one landing leg. The module was up on a hill with this one leg sticking up and I thought if these were real astronauts they'd find a stick and attach it to that one leg and then hang on to the end and try to leverage that ship back up onto it's feet. 

The approach was interesting with Ike being right there. I thought I was going to hit it but the planets are all smaller than they look in the map. Still Ike looked to be about as big as Duna and its gravity affected me. Had to change course about three times coming in and ended up landing on the darker side which wasn't all that dark. 

Tomorrow I can try to take off and land on Ike or go back to Kerbin. 

"Morning light on Duna created long shadows on the cold, red, soil. I blasted off and easily got into orbit around Ike. Landed standing up on my remaining live engine. This would make an excellent place to practice orbiting and landing in atomospheres and without atmosphere. Still trapped in the capsule. I tried once to fall on the lamp by decoupling my last fuel tank, but I landed on the wrong side. 

I set an ambitious course for Laythe, one of the moons of Jool and three quarters of the way across the solar system. Was surprised to get an encounter with Jool. It'll be about three years before I actually see the green planet with my eyes. God I wish I could empty this latrine bucket.

"Six years and three hundred eighteen days trapped in this capsule. In nineteen days I'll be at the Jool periapsis. I'll blow right past it and circle the sun endlessly. I have to do something. Maybe this tool box. Yes. A drill, a small cutting tool, some Gorilla Glue and small explosive charges that should have been attached to the lights and parachute. I might be able to cut my way out of here, detach the RCS system and arrange them to all blow in one direction. I've got a lot of monopropellant. If I hold down the button for 18 days maybe I can slow enough to be captured by Jool's SOI and then the atmosphere will slow me down enough so that I can descend and.... die.... on this horrible, giant green planet instead of space. I've got to take a chance. It'll be worth it just to toss out the bucket and take a dump on the outside. Just to be able to do something! At least if they find me they'll know I went down fighting.

I did it! I'm out and slowing down. I think I'm going to make it! Man is going to Laythe. The green giant will give up it's secrets. Talk to you later." 

- Valentina, Space Explorer and the first person on Jool

For 12 years Jebediah Kerman circled the sun, trapped in his capsule. He clawed and scraped furiously at the door trying to get out with the only "tools" he had which were a power saw and drills he'd drawn on some scrap paper, but he remained forever entombed in the capsule trapped by a misplaced light and bizarrely, thinking he was Valentina. He was finally "rescued" in 3249 when a space merchant stumbled on the wreck of the Beta 2 and found the mummified body of Jebediah, something red smeared on his lips, still inside with his notes, a testament to the hazards of space and the horrors isolation can wreak on the fragile human mind.

 

Edited by Chik Sneadlov

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