My Duna Expeditions (KSP 1.3.x / Heavily Modded)

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This is a record of the exploration of the Red planet in the Kerbol system, including a variety of un-kerbaled and kerbaled missions.

A few additional notes on the missions. Some of this is based on experimenting with craft and timing for the missions (I'm calling them "simulations") where I actually run the mission, but don't save it to my main save game.

Mission Structure

  1. Unkerballed Survey Probe (Polar orbit)
  2. Unkerballed Rover (scouting for future ground facilities)
  3. Kerballed Ship with Lander
  4. Unkerballed Refueling Ship / Permanent Fuel Depot (higher Duna orbit)
  5. Long-term Habitat / Space Station (not manufacturing, orbit TBD)
  6. Kerballed Ground Facility
  7. Unkerballed Mining Rigs / Platforms (placement TBD)
  8. Ike-specific missions: Survey Probe, Landing Craft, etc.

This may also result in additional craft or infrastructure in LKO to support the Duna missions.

Edited by scottadges

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Simulation 001: Duna Survey Orbiter Mk1A (Not Successful)

This design was based largely on the Kerbin Polar Orbiter platform, with some communications changes and added Xenon fuel capacity.  The platform was successful in simulated tests around Minmus (i.e. alternate saves/quicksaves from the main save file), but apparently the propulsion and electrical systems were not adequately tested under full load.

This simulated version utilized a transfer stage for Kerbin escape and orbital adjustments. But upon Duna orbital insertion... with the Ion engine at full throttle... the nuclear reactor suffered a complete meltdown when core temperatures hit almost 200% nominal. The cooling systems were apparently not enough to keep it within proper temperatures. 

Additional testing will be completed after checking cooling requirements and possibly utilizing other cooling technologies.


Edited by scottadges

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Simulation 002: Duna Survey Orbiter Mk2 (Successful Reactor & Engine Testing)

Now we're getting somewhere. Here are shots from the LKO shakedown testing flight.

Running tests on the reactor and engines, it was clear that the upgraded cooling systems were adequate for the amount of electric charge needed. This platform comprises 2x 1.25m reactors capable of outputting 100e/s each, which is more than sufficient for the 180e/s requirement of the VASMIR engine.

While the two reactors were each able to run at 40-50% total capacity, energy generation also comes from the 4x large solar panels. This was enough to run the VASMIR engine at full throttle for a long time. And at 50% capacity on the reactors, their lifespace was well over 15 years. I'll need to evaluate if I can reduce to only 1x reactor and still have enough electrical output.

In that case, it will save a great deal of weight and increase overall dV for the craft. I'll likely maintain the large-ish solar panels, since they should still produce an adequate amount of energy in orbit around Duna (unlike out as far as Jool).


Edited by scottadges

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Designing Spacecraft

[Moving this to my History of Spaceflight thread]


Edited by scottadges

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21 hours ago, scottadges said:

There's a creative pride that comes from this iteration process.

And justly so.  You make cool stuff.  

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Simulation 003: Duna Rover Landing System

I've got my unmanned rover ready to send to Duna, but I was experimenting with different ways to get it to the surface. For some reason... I thought there would be more heat coming in from orbit, so I started designing a system to cocoon it in heat shields (Spoiler alert: Duna's atmosphere doesn't produce that much heat on de-orbit at 900m/s... duh)

Anyway, it was a cool experiment and maybe I'll use it when I send something to Eve!



I didn't get any good screenshots during actual descent (I forgot to turn off 4x timewarp and it landed too quickly). Decouplers blew the top of the frame off. Then it kraken'd around for a bit until I was able to roll over away from the radiator & airbag mess. The landing legs were only to help tip over the frame so I could extricate the rover, since I wasn't sure how it was going to orient in the end.

I won't use all the heat shields for Duna, but I'm still using the airbag concept.

Edited by scottadges

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I like the look of your creations. They are all so pretty! Do you have a mod list?

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8 hours ago, scottadges said:

(Spoiler alert: Duna's atmosphere doesn't produce that much heat on de-orbit at 900m/s... duh)

Yeah, Duna's air is very friendly.  It's my favorite atmosphere in the game.  Too thin to be a problem but just thick enough to be useful.  Rather the opposite of the real-life Martian atmosphere.

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7 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

Do you have a mod list?

Thanks! Appreciate your comment. 

Here's my mod list, if that helps (spoiler'd below).

I prefer mostly part-related and quality-of-life mods (tools, UI, etc.) rather than changing core mechanics of the game. And I haven't gotten into the whole USI/KIS/KAS/Life Support stuff yet.


[x] Science! (xScience v5.11)
6 Crew Science Lab (SixCrewScienceLab 1.1)
6 Seat Mk3 Cockpit (SixSeatMk3cockpit 1.1)
Action Groups Extended (AGExt 2.3.1)
AirlockPlus (AirlockPlus v0.0.9)
Alternate Resource Panel (AlternateResourcePanel v2.9.2.0)
AutoAsparagus (AutoAsparagus 1:v2.2.8)
B9 Aerospace Parts Pack (B9 1:v6.4.0)
B9 Aerospace Props (B9-props 1:v6.4.0)
B9 Animation Modules (B9AnimationModules v1.1.0)
B9 Part Switch (B9PartSwitch v2.1.1)
BahamutoD Animation Modules (BDAnimationModules 1:v0.6.5.1)
BetterBurnTime (BetterBurnTime 1.6.1)
BetterCrewAssignment (BetterCrewAssignment 1.3.1)
BetterTimeWarpContinued (BetterTimeWarpCont 2.3.9)
Bluedog Design Bureau (BluedogDB v1.4.1)
Camera Tools (CameraTools v1.9.0)
CapCom - Mission Control On The Go (CapCom 2.7)
Collision FX (CollisionFX v4.0)
Colorful Fuel Lines (ColorfulFuelLines 0.3.2)
Community Category Kit (CommunityCategoryKit
Community Resource Pack (CommunityResourcePack
Community Tech Tree (CommunityTechTree 1:3.2.1)
Community Trait Icons (CommunityTraitIcons v0.1.2)
Contract Parser (ContractParser 7.0)
Corvus CF (Corvus125mTwoKerbalPod v1.3.1)
Cryogenic Engines (CryoEngines 1:0.5.11)
Cryogenic Engines Extras: LFO Patch (CryoEngines-LFO 1:0.5.11)
Cryogenic Tanks (CryoTanks 0.4.11)
Deflatable Heat Shield (DeflatableHeatShield 0.0.3)
Deployable Engines Plugin (DeployableEngines 0.4.11)
Destruction Effects (DestructionEffects 2:v1.7.0)
Distant Object Enhancement (DistantObject v1.9.1)
Distant Object Enhancement default config (DistantObject-default v1.9.1)
DMagic Orbital Science (DMagicOrbitalScience 1.3.11)
DMModuleScienceAnimateGeneric (DMagicScienceAnimate v0.19)
Docking Port Alignment Indicator (DockingPortAlignmentIndicator 6.7.0)
Dr. Jet's Chop Shop (ChopShop 1:0.11.1)
Dynamic Battery Storage (DynamicBatteryStorage 1:0.4.11)
Earn Your Stripes! (EarnYourStripes 1.3.3)
Easy Vessel Switch (EVS) (EasyVesselSwitch 1.5)
Editor Extensions Redux (EditorExtensionsRedux 3.3.16)
Environmental Visual Enhancements (EnvironmentalVisualEnhancements 2:EVE-1.2.2-1)
EVA Enhancements Continued (EVAEnhancementsContinued
FASA (FASA 1:v7.2)
Feline Utility Rovers (FelineUtilityRovers 1.0.6)
Firespitter Core (FirespitterCore v7.6.0)
Firespitter Resources config (FirespitterResourcesConfig v7.6.0)
Fuel Tank Expansion Rebuilt (MunarIndustriesFTX 0.9.6)
Fuel Tanks Plus (FuelTanksPlus 1.12.1)
HangerExtender (HangerExtenderExtended 3.5.2)
Heat Control (HeatControl 0.4.4)
HyperEdit (HyperEdit
IndicatorLights (IndicatorLights 1.2.12)
IndicatorLights Community Extensions (IndicatorLightsCommunityExtensions 1.3.1)
Interstellar Fuel Switch (InterstellarFuelSwitch 2.10.3)
Interstellar Fuel Switch Core (InterstellarFuelSwitch-Core 2.10.3)
JoolBiomes (JoolBiomes 1.1)
JoolOrbitalis (JoolOrbitalis v.1.0)
Keep It Straight (KeepItStraight 1.0.3)
Kerbal Alarm Clock (KerbalAlarmClock v3.8.5.0)
Kerbal Atomics (KerbalAtomics 1:0.4.11)
Kerbal Engineer Redux (KerbalEngineerRedux
Kerbal Foundries2 (KerbalFoundriesContinued
Kerbal Joint Reinforcement (KerbalJointReinforcement v3.3.3)
Kerbal Planetary Base Systems (KerbalPlanetaryBaseSystems v1.5.8)
Kerbal-Konstructs (KerbalKonstructs
Konstruction (Konstruction
Kopernicus Planetary System Modifier (Kopernicus 2:release-1.3.1-3)
KSP Wheel (KSPWheel
Malemute Rover (MalemuteRover
MechJeb 2 (MechJeb2
MechJeb and Engineer for all! (MechJebForAll
Mk2 Stockalike Expansion (Mk2Expansion 2:1.8.06)
Mk2.5 Spaceplane Parts (RaginCaucasian
Modular Rocket Systems (ModularRocketSystem 1.13.1)
ModularFlightIntegrator (ModularFlightIntegrator
Module Manager (ModuleManager 3.0.1)
Near Future Construction (NearFutureConstruction 0.8.4)
Near Future Electrical (NearFutureElectrical 0.9.8)
Near Future Electrical Core (NearFutureElectrical-Core 0.9.8)
Near Future IVA Props (NearFutureProps 0.7.5)
Near Future Launch Vehicles (NearFutureLaunchVehicles 1.1.3)
Near Future Propulsion (NearFuturePropulsion 0.9.5)
Near Future Solar (NearFutureSolar 0.8.8)
Near Future Solar Core (NearFutureSolar-Core 0.8.8)
Near Future Spacecraft (NearFutureSpacecraft 0.7.5)
OctoSat Continued (OctosatContinued 1:0.1.8)
OPT Space Plane Parts (OPTSpacePlaneMain v2.0.1)
Orbital Survey Plus (OrbitalSurveyPlus 2.3.5)
Patch Manager (PatchManager 0.0.13)
Portrait Stats (PortraitStats 15.1)
Progress Parser (ProgressParser 8.0)
RasterPropMonitor (RasterPropMonitor 1:v0.29.3)
RasterPropMonitor Core (RasterPropMonitor-Core 1:v0.29.3)
RCS Build Aid Continued (RCSBuildAidCont 0.9.5)
Retractable Lifting Surface Module (RetractableLiftingSurface 0.1.5)
scatterer (Scatterer 2:v0.0320b)
scatterer - default config (Scatterer-config 2:v0.0320b)
scatterer - sunflare (Scatterer-sunflare 2:v0.0320b)
Selectable Data Transmitter Module (SelectableDataTransmitter 0.1.4)
SimpleConstruction (SimpleConstruction 1:3.4.6)
SmartStage (SmartStage 1:2.9.9)
SmokeScreen - Extended FX Plugin (SmokeScreen
SpaceY Expanded (SpaceY-Expanded 1.3.1)
SpaceY Heavy Lifters (SpaceY-Lifters 1.16)
Stock Visual Enhancements (StockVisualEnhancements 3:
Stock Visual Enhancements-Medium Resolution Textures (SVE-MediumResolution 3:1.0.3)
Stockalike Mining Extension (StockalikeMiningExtension 0.97)
Stockalike Station Parts Expansion (StationPartsExpansion 0.5.2)
Streamline - Engines, RCSs and fueltanks (StreamlineEnginesRCSsandfueltanks 1.1)
SXTContinued (SXTContinued 1:0.3.20)
TAC Fuel Balancer (TacFuelBalancer v2.14)
TextureReplacerReplaced (TextureReplacerReplaced V0.5.4)
The Janitor's Closet (JanitorsCloset 0.3.3)
Tokamak Refurbished Parts (TokamakRefurbishedParts
Toolbar (Toolbar
Trajectories (Trajectories v1.7.1)
Transfer Window Planner (TransferWindowPlanner v1.6.2.0)
TriggerAu Flags (TriggerAu-Flags v2.9.2.0)
TRP-Hire (TRPHire 0.6.8)
TweakScale - Rescale Everything! (TweakScale v2.3.7)
USI Asteroid Recycling Technologies (USI-ART 1:
USI Core (USI-Core
USI Exploration Pack (USI-EXP
USI Freight Transport Technologies (USI-FTT
USI Tools (USITools
VesselCategorizer (VesselCategorizer 1.1)
Wheels Collection (formerly rollkage & better wheels)  (WheelsCollection 1.2)
Xenon ISRU (XenonISRU 0.0.1)


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