mcdouble

[WIP][RSS/RO] Alternate Apollo

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This is a parts mod that resulted from me wanting some variation in an RP-0 playthrough but I thought maybe some others could get some use out of it. It's my first attempt at modding though so there will not be any great speed or quality. :P

The basic idea is to provide an alternate manned spacecraft to the historical craft available in RP-0 to give more options in alternate history scenarios. In reality the American program was based heavily around landing on the  moon and produced the Gemini spacecraft, which was essentially just a practice vehicle until Apollo was ready, and then Apollo, a very large spacecraft initially designed to land directly on the moon in a direct ascent mission. So if you want to play a different version of history, perhaps one where there wasn't a rush to the moon and instead there was a focus on space stations in LEO, often the historical craft don't make a whole lot of sense.

Anyway I've based the idea on the General Electric D-2 spacecraft, which was a proposal in 1960/1961 for an American manned spacecraft but which was passed over in favour of the historical Apollo CSM. It has a very similar design to the Soyuz with a detachable "mission module" on top of the descent module and could have been used for a wide range of missions.dk7He.jpg

So far I've done the descent module, mission module, parachutes and heatshield decoupler. Left to do is the propulsion/service module, engines and RCS, solar panels and launch escape system. Then I hope to expand on it by making a "block 2" mission module which has docking capability, some space station parts like an American version of Salyut and things like that. Also, I only really made this with 1.3.1 RSS/RO in mind, I tested with stock 1.4.2 and it seemed to work but I guess the scale and masses etc would be out of wack, if that's easy to fix I'll give it a go.

 

XHzd50R.png

7SjYTDs.png

k3wFSWl.png

 

download: https://github.com/mcd0uble/AlternateApollo

license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

Edited by mcdouble

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This is interesting... I'll have to give it a peek in-game.  I definitely agree that a Block 2 that can have a docking port attached to the nose would be a good idea - it substantially increases the flexibility of the design.

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17 hours ago, MOARdV said:

I definitely agree that a Block 2 that can have a docking port attached to the nose would be a good idea - it substantially increases the flexibility of the design.

Yeah it is a bit strange that the initial design has no docking ability, but that seems to be because it was pitched as a vehicle that could do circumlunar and lunar orbital flights quickly (by 1966 in the proposal). It seems almost certain that they would have added it later on to do lunar landing or space station missions.

Anyway here's what the block 2 will basically look like:

wmpJiW6.png

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Updated github with finished Block I configuration, have had a few issues like the collider acting strangely on the propulsion module. To surface attach the RCS you have to place it low down and then slide it up, otherwise it just sort of floats randomly out in space. Run out of ideas trying to fix it though, so I'll just move on to doing block II for now

ML9p8Qz.pngOB9RKII.pngSGHzLUM.png

Full stack with launch escape system:

vuR7Sy2.png

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I played around with it for a little while last night.  Here's some feedback in no particular order:

  1. I hope you can find a solution to the surface attach issue on the propulsion module.  It acts like there's an invisible inverted cone, but DebugStuff shows no colliders there.  I was never able to get the RCS blocks to attach correctly, so I put them on the decoupler ring instead - that was enough to balance the propulsion module RCS.
  2. The D2 interstage adapter (the bottom decoupler part) doesn't fit 3.75m parts.  It's got a noticeable lip/overhang on it when I place it on top of either a stock 3.75m fuel tank or a BDB Sarnus SIVB tank.  If you can narrow the bottom a little bit so it fits better, that would be awesome (I assume the overhang is not intended - it doesn't look right).
  3. The RCS on the propulsion module was deactivated by default, so it took me a minute to figure out that I needed to switch it on (I may have done something wrong and deactivated it myself - I'll investigate it more).
  4. I did not test the LES system yet, but the decoupler didn't show up at first, since I dropped AlternateApollo into the GameData directory (the decoupler is configured to look under ApolloD2).  Maybe change the AlternateApollo folder to GameData so it's obvious how manual installation should work?
  5. I didn't go through weights / fuel quantities too closely (or the config files in general).  I'll get to that some time this week (hopefully).  Everything felt reasonable during the short orbital hop I did.
  6. The mission module should have some batteries - maybe just a few units, like 30 or so.  It's not essential, since the module is not intended for independent operation, but it seems like a good location to have some power.
  7. There's no ablator on the descent module.  Since the bottom looks like it's a heat shield, I assume it should have some?  Granted, I was able to deorbit from 250km with no problem beyond a bit of a glow from heat.
  8. The RO patches applied themselves even though I don't have RO installed (or much of anything in this KSP instance).  I deleted the patches.
  9. There is something funky with the heatshield adapter/decoupler.  When I spawn a craft with it, the craft starts 1000m above the launch pad - even if it's a stock probe core and the adapter and nothing else.  If you launch without clamps, you start in freefall.  If I leave that part out, the rest of the craft spawns normally on the launch pad.  Even with that part, a vessel launches and flies okay (it just starts way up off the ground).

A little more detail on item 9 - when I spawned a stock probe core + adapter, the log shows a normal

[LOG 08:16:14.200] putting ship to ground: 14.52156

But, once it's finished all of the loading for the flight scene, it shows

[LOG 08:16:17.244] [Untitled Space Craft]: ground contact! - error. Moving Vessel  up 999.466m

So there's something in the adapter mesh that KSP is interpreting as hanging 1000m below the part.  I have no idea what that could be.

Overall, I like the look of the model - it's an interesting blend of Apollo and Soyuz design styles.  I hope you are planning on adding IVA models that fit the interiors (even if it's just seats and windows that line up to the interior, and not much decoration - I'll be happy to provide feedback on that aspect).

I look forward to seeing the rendezvous module Block 2 - that would definitely make this a good general-purpose Kerbin / Mun / Minmus crew vessel.

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Looks amazing @mcdouble, makes me wish we didn't have to have the divide between RO/RSS and stock parts :)

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29 minutes ago, MOARdV said:

I played around with it for a little while last night.  Here's some feedback in no particular order:

Hey, thanks so much for the feedback, as you can probably tell I'm still figuring out this stuff :P

I have to admit since I only really play RSS/RO I had only set stuff up with that in mind, but it would probably be a good idea to give it a basic setup for stock so I'll definitely go over that soon. Some of the stuff like batteries in the mission module and ablator I put in the RO configs but I guess I neglected in the stock configs. I also noticed that spawning 1000m up thing but it only seemed to happen in stock 1.4, couldn't seem to find anything unusual in the mesh so I'll have to look into it more.

As for the weird surface attach thing, I don't know what to do about that one, it seems to just be a problem with any colliders of that shape, as I created another simple mesh with the same basic setup to test it and it appeared again. Attaching the RCS below that point and the using the move tool to slide them up seems to work ok though.

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47 minutes ago, mcdouble said:

I have to admit since I only really play RSS/RO I had only set stuff up with that in mind, but it would probably be a good idea to give it a basic setup for stock so I'll definitely go over that soon. Some of the stuff like batteries in the mission module and ablator I put in the RO configs but I guess I neglected in the stock configs

Other than the batteries and ablator, everything else seemed to be set up okay for stock as-is.  I'll be happy to provide some more feedback once I've had a chance to dig around the configs a bit.

EDIT: Oh, duh: you're on GitHub.  I can open issues and provide pull requests for my feedback.

Edited by MOARdV

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Don't even play RSS/RO but I'm gonna follow the progress of this mod because it's so cool

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30 minutes ago, MOARdV said:

Other than the batteries and ablator, everything else seemed to be set up okay for stock as-is.  I'll be happy to provide some more feedback once I've had a chance to dig around the configs a bit.

EDIT: Oh, duh: you're on GitHub.  I can open issues and provide pull requests for my feedback.

Just did a quick update to add some stuff to stock configs and rescaled everything to be 3.75m. Also to answer your earlier question I definitely plan to do at least basic IVAs, my first attempts at it ended in failure though so I will come back to it. :blush: thanks again for the help

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3 hours ago, MOARdV said:

EDIT: Oh, duh: you're on GitHub.  I can open issues and provide pull requests for my feedback.

Do I smell a new candidate for an IVA to be packaged in MAS?  lol ;)

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49 minutes ago, Stone Blue said:

Do I smell a new candidate for an IVA to be packaged in MAS?  lol ;)

Could be... :)  The MRK turned into a digital / glass cockpit, but I have a soft spot for old-school mechanical cockpits.

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Should be working with stock a lot better now, I rescaled everything to fit 2.5m tanks, which seems to be a more appropriate scale and fits nicely with BDB S-IV stage. Also fixed those collider bugs.

E4c5aPO.png

27 minutes ago, TiktaalikDreaming said:

That is very nice.  Diagrams by Scott Lowther?

Not sure, I think the diagram is just from one of the GE documents.

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9 minutes ago, mcdouble said:

Should be working with stock a lot better now, I rescaled everything to fit 2.5m tanks, which seems to be a more appropriate scale and fits nicely with BDB S-IV stage. Also fixed those collider bugs.

E4c5aPO.png

Not sure, I think the diagram is just from one of the GE documents.

That's a no then. :). Scott does a lot of rediagramming old space things over at aerospace project review. This is right up his alley. But the originals are the source of (unbuilt) truth.

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9 hours ago, mcdouble said:

Yep, I will work on it

Thanks! :D

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I can confirm the collider bugs are gone - surface mount works fine, and the ship doesn't spawn 1km in the air now.  Good work!

I think, at the new scale, the propulsion module resource amounts need to be reduced by about 50% for stock balance.  450 units of LF matches the BDB Block 2 SM, which is substantially larger than the D-2 SM at this scale.  Although it's probably a bit early to be balancing resources, since you're still working on the design.  This size seems to be about right for the common Real World to Kerbin scale conversion.

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@mcdouble just did some measurements on one of the diagrams to try and establish the diameters. Using the distance in the diagram below from station 0.00 to station 238.57, I was able to determine that, at stock scales, the descent module diameter should be 1.875m, and the base of the shroud on the service module (the widest part of the craft, basically) should be (probably) 3.125m - it could also be 3.75m, but I think it belongs more on a S-IV than an S-IVB. Unfortunately that means that it probably won't adapt nicely to stock sizes, unless you do a bit of remodeling to change the slope of the SM. Related, but at that scale the top of the DM (and thus bottom of the MM) should be 1.25m. Again, idk if that would take remodeling.

dk7He.jpg

Also, what do you make of this Astronautix image? Seems like its maybe unreliable/inaccurate, since all the other drawings have the above proportions.

soyuzge.gif

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9 hours ago, CobaltWolf said:

@mcdouble just did some measurements on one of the diagrams to try and establish the diameters. 

Thanks for that, yeah there does seem to be a lot of variation in the depictions (that second image looks very Soyuz-y), but I would guess the technical diagrams would be most accurate. I'm still not sure in that diagram where the actual bottom of the vehicle is, I think it must be at sta. 376.57 because the engines stick out the back in the artwork, and I guess the rest of it is an adapter since the diameter at the very far right is about 5.5m which would match the S-IV it was supposed to attach to on the Saturn C-2. I will have a look at the parts and see if I can make them fit with stock.

 

10 hours ago, MOARdV said:

I think, at the new scale, the propulsion module resource amounts need to be reduced by about 50% for stock balance.  450 units of LF matches the BDB Block 2 SM, which is substantially larger than the D-2 SM at this scale.

Yep, that also probably needs to be fixed, I'll try to bring it into line with other similar parts.

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There is no docking port on the front of that right? I mean in the design there is not. Its a bit sad trough...

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On 5/24/2018 at 5:13 AM, RedParadize said:

There is no docking port on the front of that right? I mean in the design there is not. Its a bit sad trough...

Yeah that's just how it was in the actual design. I've just finished the block II mission module though, which has space on top to attach a 0.625m docking port, so that should hopefully make it a more useful craft.

3nx1UwP.png

Just have to do a nosecone/launch escape system for this configuration now.

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Added some more stuff to finish off the block II version, there's now deployable solar panels and a dish antenna as well as an alternate skirt section which has a single engine mount, more suitable for low orbit missions. Also the part scaling should hopefully be more consistent now, the propulsion module and base of the descent module are now at 1.875m diameter in stock and 3m in RO, with the block I skirt flaring out to 2.5m (or 4m in RO).

Not really all that happy with the solar panels, they are probably too small but it's pretty hard to get them to realistically fit inside some kind of aerodynamic fairing without it becoming too bulky. Might try to think of a different solution there...

QXUCd5M.png

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