Blasty McBlastblast

Blasty's No Contract Career

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This thread is a submission-in-progress for the No Contract Career Challenge by @5thHorseman made so as not to clutter up the challenge thread with ongoing updates... I expect this may take me some time to complete!

My entry is a completely stock normal career, with only one adjustment to always allow action groups.

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Flight One

A humble beginning, just a quick flea ride up to 7,300m followed by a gentle water landing to collect mystery science!

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  • funds after flight - 117,533
  • science after flight - 45.2
  • technology researched - basic rocketry, engineering 101, survivability, stability
  • buildings upgraded - none

 

Flight Two

Equipped with new science tests and bigger rockets, Jeb's first suborbital flight reached an altitude of 121km before landing safely 430km downrange

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  • funds after flight - 188,480
  • science after flight - 103.2
  • technology researched - basic science, aviation
  • buildings upgraded - none

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Flight Drive Three

With low returns for world-firsts but high returns for science, this is the inevitable KSC science collection. 15 KSC biomes + coasts & grasslands made me glad to have action groups activated!

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  • funds after flight - 188,310
  • science after flight - 359.0
  • technology researched - general rocketry, advanced rocketry, general construction, flight control, fuel systems, electrics
  • buildings upgraded - none

Flight Four

No world firsts here, only an unkerballed suborbital jaunt to recover materials science. Unexpectedly i was able to recover the entire vessel safely without staging by using parachutes and a little retrograde thrusting.

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  • funds after flight - 187,695
  • science after flight - 90.3
  • technology researched - miniaturisation  
  • buildings upgraded - none
Edited by Blasty McBlastblast

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Flight Five

This flight was intended to flyby the Mun and then land safely back on Kerbin, and it sorta-kinda worked out in the end... just barely!

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The launch, circularisation, and transfer burn went smoothly, and a flyby was achieved, however it was soon discovered that not enough (or any) antenna had been added to the craft, making it unable to turn and burn for home.

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After many days of drifting, the craft passed close enough that controllers regained control and could re-orient for a planned partially-controlled full-throttle retrograde burn at the next apoapsis, leading to an eventual reentry... And complete thermal failure of nearly all parts! By sheer luck the science container and parachute survived, making this mission worthwhile afterall. Bill Kerman is currently in "heated" talks with OMB Demolition Enterprises over the ability of their small shields.

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  • funds after flight - 287,538
  • science after flight - 202.8
  • technology researched - propulsion systems, advanced construction
  • buildings upgraded - none

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Feel free to clutter all you'd like :)

I hope you find the challenge as unique an experience as I'm finding it to be!

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Flight Six

"We need to go deeper... into the Mun's gravity well" for science :)

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Launch and transfer went smoothly, with clunky probe parts now able to be protected behind a fancy new fairing.

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With no intention of returning to Kerbin (at least until heatshields are safer!) the lander is sent on it's way to the Mun, this time equipped with state-of-the-art antenna for science transmission. Touchdown in the highlands! (followed by a short hop to the midlands)

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  • funds after flight - 356,360
  • science after flight - 216.4
  • technology researched - aerodynamics, advanced flight control
  • buildings upgraded - none (flight directors are feeling caveman-like urges)

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Flight Seven

The goal of this two part mission mission is rendezvous! First a target probe is launched into a circular-ish 100km orbit

7ZDf1Nc.png

Next up is Jeb in a rocket with all the science stripped out and replaced with RCS

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After completely failing to check where the target was prior to launch, and finding it trailing during ascent, Jeb placed his vessel into a slightly higher (and slower) orbit allowing him time to correct planes and closest approach while the target slowly caught up. This phase took a while, and was harder than expected with no orbit info or ability to target the other craft, fortunately all cockpits still come equipped with a "mk1 eyeball" :wink:

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Eventually the two craft came near enough that RCS could close the gap, then with some gentle translation the two were docked!

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Successful re-entry also gave the program it's first recovered orbital object (and Jeb too I guess)

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  • funds after flight - 412,879
  • science after flight - 62.9
  • technology researched - none
  • buildings upgraded - none (caveman intensifies)

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6 hours ago, Blasty McBlastblast said:

By sheer luck the science container and parachute survived, making this mission worthwhile afterall. Bill Kerman is currently in "heated" talks with OMB Demolition Enterprises over the ability of their small shields.

Science containers are the most heat resistant non heat shield parts in KSP.

oftenly, it’s not the heat shield that blows up but the part directly attached to the shield. Take something fairly heat resistant for that.

Edited by Human Person

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7 hours ago, Blasty McBlastblast said:

This phase took a while, and was harder than expected with no orbit info or ability to target the other craft, fortunately all cockpits still come equipped with a "mk1 eyeball" :wink:

Ah, I'd forgotten this aspect of delayed building upgrades :wink: 

Anyway, interesting challenge.  Good luck!

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@Human Person I think you may be right about the point of failure, I had used a probe who's corners were slightly over hanging the heatshield (pictured), next time i'll try using a heat sink or a smaller probe!

4zE2X6E.png?2

 

Flight Eight 

Another probe lander, this time to Minmus, launched under fairings with a little help from some fleas.

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Once into low Kerbin orbit, transfer was achieved by waiting for Minmus to rise over the horizon then burning to lift the apoapsis without worrying too much about inclination. A course adjustment was performed once past the Mun, requiring less fuel than properly matching planes yet ensuring a Minmus intercept.

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Dreams of ultra-lightweight antenna landing legs were quashed when they were found to clip through the minty surface, luckily the low gravity meant that the tiny probe reaction wheel was easily able to get things upright for relaunch. In total 5 biomes were visited for temperature and pressure testing, with results transmitted home.

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  • funds after flight - 534,630
  • science after flight - 387.2
  • technology researched - heavy rocketry, landing, space exploration (caveman completed!)
  • buildings upgraded - mission control 2, launch pad 2, tracking station 2, astronaut complex 2

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7 minutes ago, Blasty McBlastblast said:

Dreams of ultra-lightweight antenna landing legs were quashed when they were found to clip through the minty surface

Awww I thought they fixed that. You're not the first to try that trick! :)

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Flight Nine

New facilities mean new opportunities for world firsts! Bob is chosen for his bravery (but also mostly for his ability to clean out test tubes) to be the first Kerbal to walk in space and to visit the Mun. 

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Lift off is a breeze with the larger boosters allowed at the upgraded launch pad.

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Things go well! The Mun is orbited, science is collected over 8 biomes, milestones are completed, and there is even some fuel left over hmm... After several minutes of envelope-scribbling and node-fiddling a plan is cobbled together to also visit Minmus :)

A series of burns is planned to first escape the moon and lower the periapsis, then a transfer burn to raise the apoapsis out to Minmus, and then a course adjustment to ensure intercept. What could go wrong?

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Nothing. Nothing went wrong! Everything worked perfectly and Bob got to take these amazingly happy selfies while looking down at Minmus. After surveying 8 biomes over several orbits, Bob gathered his data and burned for home, splashing down safely 21 days after launch.

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  • funds after flight - 342,150
  • science after flight - 1156.1
  • technology researched - none
  • buildings upgraded - vehicle assembly building 2

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Flight Ten

Val was determined to show off her local knowledge by flying a prototype plane to various mystery locations.

The nearby abandoned airfield was quickly toured before turning westwards. After crossing the ocean and a desert, grand ancient structures are revealed.

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Next, some mysterious buildings are located at the source of a radio relay... could this strange facility be stealing science data?

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Finally, after heading north to the limits of the craft's fuel range the faintest speck of an unusual craft is spotted against the snowy vista (images of the craft have been classified!)

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  • funds after flight - 133,075
  • science after flight - 1,264.5
  • technology researched - none
  • buildings upgraded - none

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Flight Eleven

From the launchpad, tucked away under an upside-down fairing, Jeb grumbled that SRB's were a bad idea. Sure they were cheap and had lots of punch, but they lacked in dV... Yet the accountants had insisted, saying the funds were needed elsewhere for facility upgrades.

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As the Mun happened to be rising during launch, the circularisation burn also became the transfer burn... almost... as the second stage burned out early and the lander was required to fire it's engine.

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Touchdown was successful, despite overshooting the intended landing site by nearly 10km. Jeb elected to preserve ship fuel by jetpacking to the target location for the flag planting ceremony, but the distance was too far and so much eva fuel was consumed that Jeb would be forced to walk back to lander.

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And so a 4 minute jetpack became a 3 hour walk!! I'm not ashamed to admit that I rigged up a rubber band and an eraser to hold down the "W" key while I went and did some household chores (vacuuming, fold the laundry, restock some herb jars). Eventually Jeb made it, and swore  never to do this again!

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After taking off from and escaping the Mun the inevitable happened: the ship ran out of fuel. Refusing to be beaten and with the ship's periapsis firmly stuck 800km above where it needed to be, Jeb did what any determined Kerbal would do: he got out and pushed it home! :D

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  • funds after flight - 180,213
  • science after flight - 1,619.5
  • technology researched - none
  • buildings upgraded - none
Edited by Blasty McBlastblast

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That's a nice little "run around" aircraft Val has.  I hadn't thought about attaching the tail section like that before.

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P.S. I was so taken with Val's Prototype aircraft that the images were studied and copied used to build a replica.  It flew well straight out of the SPH, without even looking at the CoM/CoL overlays.  As a result, I finally got around to visiting the deserted island airport, East of KSC.  Thanks! 

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@Clipperride i'm glad you enjoyed the plane! If I had been quicker I would have put in up on kerbalX for you, actually... here it is anyway, for science! :)

It is a little sluggish to turn, but steady as a rock when flying at 4x time acceleration. Cruising altitude is around 10km @ 310m/s 

I find the secret to building sturdy craft is to minimise the branching of parts from the heaviest part (no more than 2 or 3 branches), and maybe include a sneaky strut! 

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Flight Twelve

For this mission Val decided to head to Minmus, and show Jeb how a landing should be done! After the debacle of the last flight the lander and transfer stage were redesigned to save weight, and at Jebs insistence a liquid fuelled first stage was developed, relegating SRB to the role of booster only.

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After launching it was discovered that the first stage was still lacking in performance, burning out early. Fortunately the improved transfer stage had more than enough dV to circularise and make it to Minmus

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Flags were planted, and two biomes were visited before Val returned home with a cheeky smile and a comfortable fuel reserve.

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  • funds after flight - 221,048
  • science after flight - 2,187.9
  • technology researched - none
  • buildings upgraded - none

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Flight Thirteen

The milestones in the Kerbin system were nearly depleted, so it was time to go further afield... to Duna! Bill and Jeb had been tinkering with the troublesome first stage, trying all kinds of solutions and eventually settling on a simple asparagus arrangement with two side LFO boosters also supplying a central core. Some SRB were also added to give some more kick off of the launch pad. Bob helped out too by gluing on some extra mystery goo pods.

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After many months in mission control with a protractor held to the screen, the day of the big launch finally arrived. The improved first stage delivering Jeb practically all the way to orbit, leaving the second stage primed to burn for Duna.

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Once underway, Jeb was a little saddened to discover he was no the first to orbit the sun: turns out a piece of debris from an earlier mission beat him to the punch! Science was collected and transmitted back to Kerbin until the radio was out of range, and then Jeb was all alone... except for a red dot getting bigger in the window.

Duna's thin atmosphere was used to gently aerocapture into an orbit, and to intercept Ike without burning any fuel. Some cheeky science was also gathered while slowing the craft in Duna's upper atmosphere, with Jeb even stepping out into the flames momentarily to collect an EVA report!

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Science was collected in high space and low for both Duna and Ike, and then the lander was used for.. well... landing!

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Touchdown was a breeze, Jeb later said that it was "like landing on the moon, only easier" Two biomes were visited via "hopping" before all the science tests were consumed and it was time to return to space. Heading home to Kerbin involved a low parking orbit around Duna and more time spent in mission control with a protractor, eventually making it back 2 years 304 days after launch with fuel to spare.

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  • funds after flight - 1,188,436
  • science after flight - 4,832.9
  • technology researched - almost everything at tier two!! all that remains is large volume containment, composites, and heavy aerodynamics
  • buildings upgraded - research and development 2, launch pad 3

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Wow, looks like somebody beat me to interplanetary space. That is fast progression if I say so myself.

Happy Explosions!

 

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Well done on the early transfer to Duna!

The plane flies nicely and I've had fun tinkering around with it. [Experimented with widening the tailplane to 3 rather than 2 sections. Swapping out the engine - the aerospike tips her over backwards, but with a TWR of more than 1, it's not really a problem!?! :wink: ]

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On 2/20/2018 at 5:44 AM, Blasty McBlastblast said:

Jeb grumbled that SRB's were a bad idea

That's so un-Jeb.... :) 

 

On 2/20/2018 at 5:44 AM, Blasty McBlastblast said:

And so a 4 minute jetpack became a 3 hour walk!! I'm not ashamed to admit that I rigged up a rubber band and an eraser to hold down the "W" key

There's a mod for that.  But I've never used it, either.  Or, if you happen to have some big ball bearings, you can use them instead.

 

8 hours ago, Blasty McBlastblast said:

After many months in mission control with a protractor held to the screen,

Hehehe, I always feel like I'm using an old astrolabe when doing such things :wink: 

 

8 hours ago, Blasty McBlastblast said:

Some cheeky science was also gathered while slowing the craft in Duna's upper atmosphere, with Jeb even stepping out into the flames momentarily to collect an EVA report!

Now THAT's very Jeb :) 

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Flight Fourteen 

Resting on the pad, Jeb’s finger hovered over the go button for 290 tonnes of liquid fuelled bang! With five Kerbals aboard (including Theolo, a new scientist) things would be more fun than Jeb’s solo flight to Duna. 

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The side boosters separated perfectly, but with no possibility of recovery...

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Jeb made sure to leave the fairing and core booster on a suborbital trajectory; “combatting Kessler” he said, however mission control suspected Jeb just didn’t want any more debris beating him to world firsts.

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Bob collected some science for perusal en route, while final adjustments were made for transfer to Eve.

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Transfer burn underway! Aside from one mid-course correction the journey to Eve was uneventful, with the scientists toiling away in their lab while the other crew bounced about the hitchhiker module.

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On final approach to Eve  the solar arrays were retracted in preparation for aero-capture. Everyone was nervous for this manoeuvre, having never encountered an atmosphere this thick and this fast before!

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Heat tolerances were pushed to the very limit as the craft dipped down to 80km altitude and captured into a long elliptical orbit. Over the next weeks several more passes were made (although none so deep) for science and to arrange an eventual intercept with Gilly.

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The mystery cargo was deployed into a parking orbit of Eve in preparation for an eventual landing.

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The amount of fuel required to circularise around Gilly was unexpectedly high! Mission planners had anticipated some gravity assistance, however Gilly didn’t seem to have any... Concerns that the crew might become stranded were growing, and back at mission control the beard-scratching had commenced as several solutions were tested on paper... Forging ahead regardless of danger, the crew detached the landing vessel and headed for the surface.

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Landing easily (if slowly) it was noted that a much smaller landing craft might have been used. All three biomes were visited, and the new guy earned his stripes when he was the first to notice the lander tipping and sliding away during a photo shoot!

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Val handled the ascent (having beaten Jeb in a foot-race to the driver’s seat) and completed one of the slowest rendezvous and docking in recorded history. With the new ship arrangement extra care would need to be taken at each burn to ensure the engines were pointing in the correct direction.

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While mission planners were determining how bad the fuel situation was, the main ship was left to orbit Gilly and attention was refocused to the mystery cargo. Control of the cargo was limited due to it's short range comms, but after Gilly completed an orbit the main ship’s relay antennas were back in range, and entry into Eve’s atmosphere was able to be set.

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Things were looking hot, but the extra flames were needed to ensure the cargo got to the surface while still within radio range.

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Like a butterfly, the baby rover emerges from it's fairing cocoon, tasting sunlight for the first time as it floats gently to the surface.

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The little rover looks happy on the surface, despite the crushing pressure and scorching temperature! Science was transmitted from two biomes.

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Back on the main craft calculations were being made to return home, but more and more it seemed that the dV needed (up to 1,930dV from Eve orbit according to the dV map on the wall at mission control) exceeded the amount available.  Possible options were devised to increase the dV of the craft: 

  • option A - burn the monopropellant, then the LFO for 1,197dV total
  • option B - burn the LFO, jettison the lab and empty tanks, then burn the monopropellant for 1,388dV total (but then have no power generation)
  • option C - ditch the heatshield then do "option B" for 1,481dV total (but then risk a dangerous reentry at Kerbin, and also have no power generation)

Things were looking grim, as none of the options would come close to working, until a flight planner devised a bold stratagem for a minimal dV return using the following steps:

  • Escape from Gilly and park in an even higher circular orbit (45,000km) for 130dV
  • Wait for the Kerbin transfer window to open
  • From the high orbit, lower the periapsis to 100km for 330dV using use two burns over two orbits, ensuring the new periapsis aligns with both the ejection angle (location) and transfer window (time)
  • Transfer burn now only requires 120dV to escape Eve! Huzzah! 

So for the bargain price of 580dV everyone would be heading home, and Jeb would not have to get out and push this time. So long Eve! 

IaUhN6P.png

By shear dumb luck the Kerbin intercept aligned with the descending node, so no fuel was required for a plane change. This bonus fuel was used to place the lab with it's relays into a parking orbit of Kerbin, while the crew parachuted safely to the surface in the lander.

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  • funds after flight - 1,160,501
  • science after flight - 16,924.5 (enough to finish the tech tree, once R&D is upgraded)
  • technology researched - large volume containment, composites, and heavy aerodynamics
  • buildings upgraded - tracking station 3

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1 hour ago, Blasty McBlastblast said:

Flight Fourteen 

<snip>

Things were looking grim, as none of the options would come close to working, until a flight planner devised a bold stratagem for a minimal dV return using the following steps:

  • Escape from Gilly and park in an even higher circular orbit (45,000km) for 130dV
  • Wait for the Kerbin transfer window to open
  • From the high orbit, lower the periapsis to 100km for 330dV using use two burns over two orbits, ensuring the new periapsis aligns with both the ejection angle (location) and transfer window (time)
  • Transfer burn now only requires 120dV to escape Eve! Huzzah! 

So for the bargain price of 580dV everyone would be heading home, and Jeb would not have to get out and push this time. So long Eve! 

 

Awesome work!  This shows tenacity in planning!

Peace.

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