Tex

Starting From Scratch: Getting Back in the Game

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Kerbal Space Program.... We meet again, old friend.

I haven't really sat down and played the game for real in a very, very long time. I'm talking many months, if honestly not more than a year. Waking up this morning and coming to my gaming rig, I decided, "You know what? I think it's time to go to space again." And so that's what I'm doing. I want to try and get back into the game I love, and I want to do it with a bit of accountability, in the form of this mission report. I want to see myself grow, and get further than I've been before. I want to visit Jool, land on Laythe, maybe, and send Kerbals to the furthest reaches of the solar system and back. Actually capture asteroids. All the stuff I haven't been able to do before.

I'm starting my game with custom difficulties. No respawns, no reverts, comms blackouts enabled, all the things I consider to be "realism" settings in the vanilla game options, just for my own fun. Other than that, it's standard KSP Career mode, 25,000 to begin with. I'll use this OP post to record a table of contents, and update in various posts with whatever I decide to do. Already I know I'm going to be grouping many of my early missions together-  you know the drill; I mean, they don't take long to complete and don't get anything super groundbreaking done. 

All right, no more talking. Let's get down to business. And up to space.

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A-Series
The A-Series of missions and rockets is just the initial forays into space exploration. Super basic, nothing really special about the launchers and/or capsules.

A1

Spoiler

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For the first mission, it was standard stuff, though I actually did things differently than I usually do for the first launch of a career game. I forgot to edit the thrust limiter for the "Flea" booster, so I took off with a higher rate of acceleration than I usually like to do. I did set the chute to deploy at 800m, because I never like waiting for an hour for the capsules to descend and land safely in the ocean- calculated risks, let's say. I got the "Launch the first vessel" and "Collect data from the atmosphere" contracts first, and overall netted 24.7 science when all was said and done. Jeb got an XP point, no stars yet.

I noticed when building my vessel that, because I didn't have any decouplers or anything, the parachute and solid booster were grouped in the same stage. Luckily I remembered to check that before launch, because chute malfunctions like that have been the cause of many a launch failure. I remember that being one of the things that always bugged me, but really I don't think I can blame the game for it. The rules were being followed.

 

A2

Spoiler

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Pre-Launch: I invested some of the funds from the first mission into upgrading the launch pad, and spent ten science points unlocking basic rocketry and XXXX. For the A2 rocket, I decided to go with a two-staged solid booster design for simplicity. In keeping with tradition, I've assigned Valentina Kerman for the second launch, as she's the only other Pilot kosmonaut I have. Here's hoping the mission goes according to plan.

Post Launch: Things went well. There was a scare, like there always is on my second mission of a game, that maybe I overdid it, maybe I put too much boost on, or the capsule is going to re-enter at too steep an angle, or a bunch of other things like that. However, once the warning temperature gauge on the command pod went away, I knew I was in the clear. Valentina managed to get to about 81km up, and recorded some Mystery Goo observations, plus the temperature log and a crew report. Situation normal, and I finished the flight with 68.7 Science so I can get some real parachutes and safety measures for future flights.

 

A3

Spoiler

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Pre-Launch: For the A3, I went liquid-fueled for the first time, though I am keeping some solid boosters on the side, to assist with the first push into orbit. I always like to overestimate the delta-v I'd need for any given scenario, especially with my math-free approach to rocket science. Better to have it and not need it and the rest of the analogy, right? I've put Jeb back on the mission, as per rotation. I've also added the obligatory heat shield- even though, through my launches, I found that, with the right angle of re-entry, a heat shield for the Mk-1 Command Pod plus a few accessories isn't actually neccesary. However, better to have it and not need i- Oh, I already used that one.

Mid-Launch: Wheeeeeeew. I made it to orbit by the skin of my teeth. I had two FL-T200 tanks for my last rocket stage, giving 180 units of fuel and whatever oxidizer it had. When I got to a periapse of just 72km, I had 4.78 units of liquid fuel and 3.91 units of oxidizer left. I was trying to eke it out so I could have some to actually do a retrofire, and it looks like Jeb has just enough to do so.

Post-Launch: The mission went well, nothing notable about the re-entry, other than my addition of drogue chutes for further playing-it-safe-ness. Jeb landed safely in the Highlands somewhere, and the Science total is up to 77.8. I plan to invest the Science into getting the Aviation tech next, because I like to run observation contracts for easy Science and funds.

 

A4

Spoiler

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Pre-Launch: For vehicle/mission A4, I decided to develop an airplane rather than rocket. The reason being, as I explained with the A3, I like performing observation flights with airplanes to generate extra science/funds in early game. I'm going with a simple 2-engine design, and I did add parachutes for safety. I mean, according to what I remember about designing planes, it should be able to fly.

Spoiler

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Flight 1: Well, the first flight didn't end so well. It had a strange list to it, which shouldn't have been there, as the wheels were aligned well enough. However, I did notice it wasn't producing the lift it needed to actually take off. I'm going to angle the wings upward just a hair and try again. Jeb is as eager as ever, despite the little rollover.

Flight 2: Again, a bit of a failure, but this time Jeb could actually keep it on the road. Runway, anyway. It's still not getting enough lift, so I'm going to the big guns and adding winglets on the front of the aircraft to help get the darn nose up. Flight 3 is going to be the winner- only time will tell if it can be set back down again.

Flight 3: I gotta tell you, having no respawns helps keep things..... interesting. I want to keep Jeb alive, as any mission controller would, so I called off another flight. It still won't go nose up, so what I'm going to do this time is slide the rear landing gear forward to reduce the angle it needs to take off. Generally I try to avoid doing so because, as we all know, the starter landing gear is ridiculously low to the ground, and therefore offers not much room in the way of ground clearance. The engines will be more at risk, but it's worth it in the long run. If this next run doesn't go as planned, I'll redesign the plane a bit from, say, square 2 or 3.

Flight 4:  About 44 or 45 seconds into the flight, I think I may have narrowed down the root cause of the plane's lack of flying-ness as being too heavy. This came at an inopportune time, as Jebediah was killed on impact 51 seconds into the flight.

Losing a crew member is always a great regret of mine, but in the words of Elieen Collins, shuttle astronaut: "Some people said, 'we don't wanna risk astronaut's lives anymore, we need to stop doing this.' Well, the astronauts don't feel that way."

Spoiler

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Flight 5: Man, maybe I'm just not very good at early plane building. The newly redesigned plane, the A5, as pictured above, worked surprisingly well- It was just a shortened and less heavy version of the A4, and was actually able to take off without winglets towards the front of the plane. HOWEVER, I made a judgement call when there was a tail strike, resulting in a very strange looking damaged vessel that I was unfortunately unable to get a picture of, because, as I was attempting to set the plane down again, the nose of the craft tipped forwards and impacted the ground, resulting in another death.

I think I'll go back to rockets for a little bit.

 

A5

Spoiler

 

Pre-Launch: For the A5, I decided to take a half step backwards. I took the capsule stage from the A3 and put on a simplified liquid-fueled rocket booster on the bottom. What I need is just ten more Science points so I can get a passenger fuselage and then do some moneymaking tourist runs. In addition, this will be Dessen Kerman's first flight, as he was the first Kerbal I was able to hire for the pilot position. Should be fairly straightforward.

Post-Launch: Mission went swimmingly, and Dessen's first mission was a great success. It was a suborbital flight, but it brought me to a total of 56.7 Science, which is more than enough. The Space Program is saved!

 

Edited by Tex
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Good to be back. I'm hoping to stay on track with this one.

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52 minutes ago, Tex said:

Good to be back. I'm hoping to stay on track with this one.

Well, stick around then! Post some images, even if they do go horribly wrong... those can be fun...

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Welcome back @Tex! I recently-ish did something like this!

 

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KSP Tourism Department
Have you ever wanted to explore space? Have you ever NOT wanted to go through the rigorous physical and mental examinations required to join the Kosmonaut corps? Do you love throwing up into barf bags? If so, the KSP Tourism Department is here for you! For the low low price of a few thousand Funds, you too can join an elite fraternity, and wander amongst the stars! At least until the "please fasten seatbelts" light comes back on.

Tourist Rocket Fleet

"Nervous"

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Seats: 3 (1 pilot + 2 passengers)
Travel Capabilities: LKO
Successful Flights: 1

Safety Rating: 100%

The "Nervous" is the first of a line of luxurious space cruisers, blasting their way through the heavens with style and convenience. It's certainly the cheapest method to get to space yet devised, and you better bring along a plus one you can stand staring in the face of! Because you two are gonna get close. Real close. Okay, not that close. But pretty close. Close to that amount of close. Does "close" not sound like a word anymore?

 

 

Edited by Tex

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Dessen's Big Scare

I had gotten the contacts to do a flyby of the Mun, which I desperately needed the funds and science from in order to continue my space program. The mission went well enough, even though it took literally a month of game time to get an encounter with the stupid thing (Because yours truly has gotten a little rusty in guesstimating encounter locations along orbital trajectories), and I had to use some aerobraking in order to come to a safe stop. The short of it is, I had to do two passes through the atmosphere to slow down because I was being cautious about the rate with which I let Dessen descend, because, as we all know, friction plus metal equals slimy metal, and dead pilots.

On the second pass, I was wanting to make sure that he was actually going to slow down enough to actually make it to the surface, so I spent my time in the map view, watching the apoapse falling in height. I watched for a while, maybe fifteen seconds or so, and then it occurred to me- Hey, he's been in the mid atmosphere a while, maybe I should check on him.... Why is is comms signal getting weaker? (I had noticed the line connecting the spacecraft to a ground station was now red.) At this point, something hit my brain: re-entry blackout. This was not a good thought to have.

I switched to vessel view as the spacecraft was burning up- I forget now if something actually exploded or if the explosion happened after I smashed the spacebar- and the temperature gauge for the capsule was rising super fast. Dessen had perhaps two seconds left to live if I didn't decouple the final rocket stage and orient the heat shield to retrograde, which fortunately the atmosphere itself helped me with. The temperature fell, as did the apoapse, and once I saw that everything was situation normal, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Mission landed and I got a heaping of Science and funds from it, and best of all, Dessen made it back home. Scary stuff.

Edited by Tex
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