RealKerbal3x's Mission Report Thread (Warning, image heavy!!) [STS-5 + Minmus Mission]

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I see what you did with "Zuyos".

It's "Soyuz" spelled backwards.

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5 hours ago, Ho Lam Kerman said:

I see what you did with "Zuyos".

It's "Soyuz" spelled backwards.

Yep. Kerbalese is backwards Spanish, so I decided to spell that backwards.

And we are now on a second page! Took a while :P

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Hello (almost certainly nonexistent) readers of this thread! I've come up with three projects that I'm definitely going to be doing at some point, and another which I might do, but need to think about more.

I will definitely:

-Deploy a communications network in geostationary Kerbin orbit

-Build a Mun base and space station

-A basic Duna probe (orbiter + minimalist lander)

I might:

-Build a Minmus mining base capable of shuttling fuel to a depot in LKO

The communications network will come first, but I'm not sure when the next Duna window is, so I don't know if the Duna probe will come before or after the Duna base.

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Anyway, love your station, and an comms network sounds cool. How about turning the Duna probe into an entire interplanetary probe program? 

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4 hours ago, SiriusRocketry said:


Anyway, love your station, and an comms network sounds cool. How about turning the Duna probe into an entire interplanetary probe program? 

After the Duna probe, I might build an Eve probe of similar design. After that I might even try a Jool mission.

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I've slightly revised my mission plans, and they now involve 2 exploratory missions to the Mun before I set up my relay network. Props to @linuxgurugamer who is keeping the Kronal Vessel Viewer mod alive, which lets me take these awesome technical drawing-style screenshots. This isn't really a proper report, but I'm going to put it in the OP table of contents anyway.


Coming Soon...

This is a quick update just to show off what I'll be doing next in this mission report. The current plan is to do 2 Constellation-style missions to the Mun before I set up my relay network, to scout ahead for my eventual Mun base. I have both the main crew vehicle and lander built, so let's take a look!


The main crew vehicle, named Scout, is based loosely on the real-life Orion spacecraft. It has space for 3 crew and has 2 point something km/s of dV. Note the engine; this is simply a Terrier with Porkjet's revamp added to it through @Snark's lovely Missing History mod.


Here's the lander, named 'Tender' after the small rowing boats that ferried people from large ships to the shore. Similarly, this reusable lander will ferry crew from a future Munar space station to the surface of the Mun. It is powered by an LV-303 engine, which is a part Porkjet originally planned to add to the game, and which is now added by Missing History.


If you're not familiar with the Constellation mission plan, here's a diagram. I'm not sure what launch vehicle I'll use yet, but for the lander it'll probably just be a standard Kraken V.

Thanks for reading! This mission report is coming Soon(tm)!


Edited by RealKerbal3x
km/s not m/s, get your facts straight!
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You saw the designs last time! Now you get to see them fly! well, one of them at least. It is a pretty standard orbital mission but shhhhh.


Scout Test Flight

Today we will do the first of the three planned missions for The Programme That I Haven't Come Up With A Name For Yet! This is just a quick roundtrip to the space station and back, to test out the Scout crew vehicle.


Here we see Scout I lifting off the pad. It will be put into orbit by this ad-hoc launch vehicle that I put together in five minutes, and is crewed by Kurt (a veteran of the Kerbollo 6 mission, in which he became the second kerbal on Minmus. He is also a reference to the youtuber kurtjmac) and two rookies, Seanvis and Lelie.


A rather annoying problem with this rocket is that the weak and bendy joints between the parts constantly flex, making accurate control rather difficult. If you even think about physics warping have comma and fullstop keys on your keyboard this thing will flop about randomly like a wet noodle.


Booster separation. Note that we are above 10km but are still slightly above 45 degree pitch; this is because my happy rocket is so hard to control.

And now we have first stage separation!


Seanvis: First stage away!
Kurt: Indeeed!
Lelie: Kurt, why do you always say that?
Kurt: I guess it's my catchphrase. Anyway, continuing on!


Kurt: Shutdown, coasting to apoapsis. Indeed, whatnot and excetera. Not really the most efficient ascent..
Lelie: Hey, I can get a direct burn from apoapsis into an orbit where we'll encounter the target!
Kurt: Nice job. Kerbin, I will see time!


While this is definitely not the most efficient rendezvous, it at least tests the capabilities of the Scout crew vehicle, which has over 2km/s of delta-V available. It should be able to get to the Mun using the fuel in the service module alone, which is what the next test will be about.


We have now completed the burn to send us on our intercept orbit, which was mostly done by the Terrible Rocket(tm) upper stage and completed by the LV-909 engine on the service module. Props to SQUAD for the much improved burn indicators! The velocity match burn will be a rather large 300 m/s. I wish KSP had a similar timer for when to start your target velocity match burn, for quality of life.


While I'd like that in stock, it's pretty easy to do this by yourself. Just find out your intercept velocity, and how long it will take you to expend that dV. Then divide that by two, and start your burn the resulting time before the intercept. In my case, the burn would take approximately 1 minute, so I began my burn 30 seconds before the intercept.


Burn! The Scout has a TWR of less than one, so the burn did take a while.


Soon we were able to park 700 metres from the station, and initiate the final approach. I do wish I could install some visual enhancement mods, but just check my member title.


We burned 5 m/s towards the target, and this brought us in less than 100 metres from the target, close enough to switch to RCS and start the docking approach.


What a beauty. That space station did take me a while to build, and I'm certainly proud of it! This is the second flight to the operational station, after Jeb's Zuyos flight. It's likely that the Zuyos will become the craft for LKO, while the Scout will perform operations around the Mun and possibly Minmus. I'm already thinking about cis-Munar operations, and there will be two Scout spacecraft per cis-Munar crew - one for the surface base crew and one for the space station crew. But anyway, back to business.


Now we are using the RCS system to approach for docking. Once again, I must sing the praises for the Navball Docking Alignment Indicator mod.


Getting closer! You can see the station's solar arrays silhouetted against the sun.


And a nice docking! Speaking of the solar panels, they are simply for looks, as the smaller ones on the core module produce all of the power needed to operate the station. Kurt, Seanvis and Lelie had a look around the station and exchanged snacks with the crew, and then it was time to go home.


Undocking went well, and a short RCS burst was made to slowly back away from the station. A low-thrust burn was made to start the Scout moving away from the station, and then a full-throttle burn was used to de-orbit.



Even before the crew landed, the mission controllers were deeming the mission a total success.However, the spacecraft still had to get through re-entry..


...which it did absolutely fine, due to the heatshield being rated for a Munar return re-entry.


A beauty shot as we prepare to deploy the parachutes. Of course, I forgot to take screenshots of the deployed parachutes. I mean, you've all seen parachutes before, right?


Well, at least I hit F1 at the right time to capture the splashdown.

Thanks for watching reading, dudes! Smash that like button! Like that smash button! :P

Next up is a flight to the Mun with the Scout crew vehicle! Stay tuned :wink:


Edited by RealKerbal3x
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This is a pretty momentous occasion in this report and in my savegame, because it's the first time since Kerbollo 6 that Kerbals have ventured beyond LKO. The Scout 2 spacecraft orbited the Mun three times and collected some pretty good SCIENCE (yes, I know this is a sandbox game, shut up).


Scout to the Mun


So we have a historic evening launch of the Terrible Rocket, going where no Kerbal has not been before.


I don't think this rocket will be flying again, due to its noodle-like tendencies. Milrie, Tanble and Sieuki Kerman crewed this flight.


As I fought with the WASD keys, the boosters ran out of fuel and were jettisoned. They took out an aerodynamic fin on the way to their watery doom, but since this rocket is only barely controllable anyway, it made little difference. The crew look surprisingly happy as their spacecraft wobbles about inside its aerodynamic shroud.


Even the SAS had trouble bringing the craft inline with the prograde vector, so I continued to brawl with the left side of my keyboard. Luckily, the first stage seems to be the source of the Joint Kraken's power, so when it was cast off I was able to actually control the craft. We had a bit of a near miss when we detached the LES, though.


Eventually we inefficiently scraped our way into LKO, and it was time to make our way to the Mun. We blew off the service module's aerodynamic fairing just before the orbital insertion burn.


I just noticed that in the picture above, the 'start burn in' indicator is at 42 seconds. How fitting. If you don't get it, go and read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


A lovely 109 by 110 kilometre orbit. Time to sort out a Munar trajectory.


Looks good, but we'll need a course correction about halfway there. Get ready to leave LKO!


The Scout's service module completing the burn. 


A shot of the map view showing our current trajectory and our trajectory after the course correction.


The correction only took 90ish m/s, and brought us onto a Munar flyby with a periapsis of around 40km. We also performed a small fine-tune burn with the RCS to make our encounter more equatorial.


Next up was the Munar insertion burn, but before that Milrie had some time to take pictures of the Mun as the Scout approached it.


This might be a nice wallpaper, if anyone wants it. 


Burn for orbit! This went pretty uneventfully, and a few more pics were taken.


What a nice Kerbol-rise, welcoming us to Munar orbit one day, four hours and ten minutes into the mission.


Nicely circularised. Tanble gets into his EVA suit and inspects the exterior of the spacecraft after its nearly two-day-long mission to Munar orbit.


Tanble: Everything seems to be OK.
Sieuki: Alright, you can come back in now.
Tanble: Fine. SPAAAAACE!


Tanble: Hi guys! How you doin'?
Milrie: Try the hatch, Tanble. You can't get in through the window.


Mission Control ordered the crew to bring their periapsis down to 10km above the Munar surface, in order to get a closer look. Here we are passing periapsis.


After approximately 3 orbits of the Mun, and a lot of useful data gathered, it was time to go home. Here we are burning to leave Munar orbit. The reticule on the surface below is the site of the first landing on the Mun.


Goodbye Mun...


...and hello Kerbin! We aimed for a periapsis of ~20km.


Entering Kerbin's atmosphere and dumping the service module. It flew past us at close proximity when the flames started, but luckily didn't hit us.


It was a close shave though! Apparently Kerbals really enjoy being buzzed by burning fuel tanks.


Three lovely parachutes out, and we're home and dry wet, because we're in the ocean.

Thank you for reading! MOAR cis-Munar stuff is coming soon :cool:


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Hello my fellow rocket engineers! I actually did this mission yesterday, but didn't have the time to write up the report, so here it is today. A Constellation-style Mun mission!

By the way, I have installed two of @TriggerAu's lovely plugins, KAC and Transfer Window Planner. I can see them being super-useful in the future. Anyway, let's begin!


Going Full Constellation


A night launch of a Kraken V with a (unnecessary) normal-size upper stage, carrying the Mk2 Tender lander into orbit. (Yes, I have redesigned the Tender since you last saw it. It now has a much safer delta-V margin in case of emergency).


Pitched to 45 degrees at 10km. This is a trusty and reliable launch vehicle that has excellent stability and control authority thanks to those Big-S fins on the first stage.


SECO at 40km. Now we coast to orbital insertion at our 90km apoapsis.


Blowing off the fairings and revealing the redesign of the Tender! I tried to get a KVV orthographic screenshot of the new design, but KVV said 'Nope!' and promptly froze the game. The new version has a 1.875m tank in the centre (you can't really see it here due to the lighting and angle) surrounded by four radial LFO tanks. The landing gear is mounted on those tanks and the engine is an LV-303 Pug, which is a Porkjet engine available in Missing History.


Above, the Tender in a 90 by 91 kilometre orbit, ready for the Scout MPCV to come and rendezvous with it. And here it comes!


Liftoff from KSC, with Valentina (first Kerbal in orbit...I run an equal-opportunities space program) and two rookies, Tanble and Maclin, onboard. This is a redesigned launch vehicle, replacing the noodle-like rocket I used for the first two Scout test flights.


The Mainsail and four Thumper SRBs leave a trail of fire behind as they push the rocket up past 5km.


There was an alarming explosion as the boosters decoupled, but luckily this was only one of the radial decouplers. Still, next time I'll add some Sepratrons to ensure a clean separation.


Ditching the LES and first stage at the same time. That LES is from the PEBCAK pack...great mod!


We had timed our launch so that we'd rendezvous with the Tender less than one orbit after launch. The orbital insertion burn brought us a rendezvous distance of 2.1km, and we performed a small fine-targeting burn to bring us in at 1.6km.



As you can see, my inclination was off from the target's, so the velocity-match burn would be performed in the anti-normal (or normal? I can never remember which is which) direction.


We used the upper stage, which still had a decent amount of fuel left, to perform rendezvous manoeuvres. Here we are parked 1.6km from the target and ready for final approach.


Final docking approach under RCS power. From this angle you can see how the Scout is obviously Orion-inspired.


Docked! I was expecting this to wobble around during rotation, but it was surprisingly firm and stable.


The Kerbin Departure Stage firing to send our heroes and their spacecraft towards the Mun. The KDS was totally overpowered -- it had over 3km/s of delta-v left after delivering the Tender to LKO, and accelerated the docked craft at 4g. I could have used a half-size upper stage and it still would have worked fine.


Our trajectory past the Mun after the TMI burn. This was all fine until we warped into the Mun's sphere of influence and found that the trajectory had changed to a Pe of ~200km. So we created a manoeuvre node to correct that to a lower periapsis.


After that was done, it was time for the Munar orbit insertion burn. This took a while, due to the low TWR of the Scout (especially with the Tender docked). I could have kept the KDS attached and used that to brake into Munar orbit, but that's not how the IRL Constellation mission would have done it. (Actually, in the real mission, the LSAM (Moon lander) would have braked the docked vehicles into orbit, but my lander has an even less powerful engine than the CSM, so that would not have been practical either).


Burn! This took almost a minute and a half, but eventually we were safe in a 25 by 23 kilometre orbit, and ready to head down to the surface of the Mun!



Undocking from the Scout and turning retrograde in preparation for the de-orbit burn. Note that we have all three crew this way the Constellation mission differs from the Apollo mission as the whole crew heads down to the lunar surface while the CSM remains in orbit, unmanned. I have an OKTO2 probe core underneath the Scout's docking port for this purpose.


Heading down...we are using the standard method of lowering our trajectory to just impact the terrain, then performing a big retrograde burn to bring us into a vertical descent a couple of thousand metres above the surface.


About halfway through the braking burn. At this point I noticed how close I was going to land to my original Munar landing site. Accidental pinpoint landing!


I ended up coming down about 3km from the site, which is close enough to fly a Kerbal over on jetpack power.


I wanted to land as softly as I could to avoid bouncing on those springy landing legs, but the lander ended up bouncing a couple of times before it settled onto the surface. 


OK! We have returned to the Mun! Time to do an EVA and plant a flag.


Valentina flipped her lucky 3-sided coin (wonder where she got that?) and it ended up being Maclin the scientist who got to do the EVA. 


About this flag design...this was a 'world flag' that my dad designed for Earth, but I thought that it would fit in nicely with my idea of a unified Kerbin-wide society, so I used it as my new KSP flag.


A shot of the landing party (Val, Tanble and Maclin, in case you forgot), the Tender lander, and the flag. Next, engineer Tanble took it upon himself to visit the original Munar landing site, named Bob Base after the CSM pilot on that mission.



Tanble looking up at the Aquarius lander's descent stage. The ascent stage is still up in the orbit where it rendezvoused with the CSM after the surface mission. That mission was back in 1.3.1, hence the old-style tanks. I remember writing the IRL date of the landing on the flag, but I don't actually remember the date itself...I guess we should read the plaque and see!


12th of January! I remember that it only took me a couple of tries to successfully land on the Mun, but it took me weeks to figure out orbital rendezvous afterwards. I even had to create a thread in Gameplay Questions to get help on it.


After Tanble did a thorough inspection of the descent stage, it was time to head back to the lander. Here he is flying along on RCS power.


I mean, of course he screwed up the landing. He was apparently not injured though, so the crew piled back into the Tender and waited for the Scout to pass over so that they could launch.


Liftoff from the Munar surface. Here we are looking towards the east, back towards the Aquarius landing site.


On the Mun there is no atmosphere to get over, so we almost immediately start to pitch over. 



My ascent azimuth was not perfectly in line with the Scout's orbit, so we ended up further from it than I'd like at apoapsis. However, I carefully tweaked the orbital insertion burn to bring us in only half a kilometre from the target.



The burn went well. Soon we were on course for the rendezvous. The intercept velocity would be only 11m/s, too!



After using the RCS to move in closer, I was able to go direct into a docking manoeuvre. A particularly beautiful shot, below:



After docking, we transferred some fuel from the Scout into the Tender so it could possibly make another landing in the future. The Tender has a probe core onboard so it can be controlled without a crew -- this could be useful for rescuing Kerbals stranded on the Mun without having to risk another crew.


After that was done, we cast off the Tender for it to remain in orbit around the Mun. You can see it to the bottom right of the Scout as it performs its Munar escape burn.


After the Scout escaped the Mun, it descended and accelerated back towards Kerbin. Here it is above Kerbin's largest landmass (I need to come up with some names for Kerbin terrain features) as it heads to its ~20km Pe.


Another close pass by the service module as we begin our re-entry. I should probably release it in a radial-out direction in future rather than being lazy and just releasing it in a retrograde direction.


Three good parachutes out in reefed condition...


...and a clean transition into a fully deployed state. Our Kerbals are home safe.


Mission elapsed time: two days, five hours, thirty-five minutes, thirty-nine seconds.

On another note: I used Transfer Window Planner in conjunction with Kerbal Alarm Clock to calculate the next transfer window to Duna, and it will happen in 141 days. Before we send a probe out though, we will need a communications network in order to stay in contact. Stay tuned!



Edited by RealKerbal3x
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The Kerbin relay network is done :D Here's a teaser image:


The report will be written up tomorrow. Don't worry, I got plenty of screenshots.

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Good afternoon (or evening, or morning) KSP Forum-goers! This report now comes to you through the OuterNet relay network in Kerbo-Synchronous Orbit (and totally not some nameless comsat in geosynchronous orbit). 

Note: I actually have two reports to write this weekend; this one, and a shuttle logistics mission (mission STS-4). I still need to bring the shuttle back down from orbit, so I'll post that report tomorrow.

Anyway, on with the report :D


Internet in Space


Liftoff! This is the first launch of this rocket - the Kraken X - and today it is delivering the OuterNet relay network to Kerbo-synchronous orbit.


We are following a standard launch trajectory, bringing the nose to 45 degrees at 10km altitude.


This launch vehicle is powered by six Vector engines, with their gimbal tweaked to 25 percent to avoid flipping the rocket when doing large pitch manoeuvres.


Separating the first stage, which will bring the spacecraft into Kerbo-synchronous transfer orbit. The 5m diameter tanks in Making History are useful for making huge rockets - I can see this one being useful for launching Mun - bound payloads.


The orbital insertion burn. You can see the three satellites attached within the fairing's built-in truss structure.


Now we have reached orbit. You can see that my inclination was a bit off, so we did a small burn at the descending node to bring it down to 0.0.



Next, a manoeuvre was set up to bring our apoapsis close to the altitude of Kerbo-synchronous orbit. We, however, would not be inserting directly into a Kerbo-synchronous orbit, as if we did that all of our satellites would be clumped together on one side of the orbit. Not useful. So we would be inserting the carrier into a Kerbo-synchronous transfer orbit, from which the three satellites could put themselves into a nice three-pointed constellation.


Burning for an apoapsis of 2,863 kilometres. We later shut off the engines and used RCS to fine-tune the orbit.


Note that I have the Mun targeted: this is because I was using the Mun as a reference to zero out my inclination relative to Kerbin's equator (as the Mun has zero-degree inclination) and forgot to unset it as my target.


After a couple more orbits and some more fine-tuning with the RCS, here's our final KTO. We are now ready to deploy our first relay!


There it is. I reduced the ejection force on the decouplers to zero, as otherwise they could change our orbit slightly when decoupling. These sats use the largest relay dishes, so that I can communicate with whatever probes I end up sending across the Kerbol system.


Circularising the first comsat. They each have a Doughnut tank (RIP ROUND-8 ;.;) and Spark engine for manoeuvring.


The first satellite's final orbit has a period of 5h 59m 9.something seconds. I could have mucked around more to bring it into a perfect Kerbo-synchronous orbit, but this will do for now.


The second relay was deployed on the next orbit, and it too was circularised into a 5h 59m 9.blahblah second orbit.


Up goes the third sat into KSO, and we now have...


...A lovely equilateral triangle in orbit! Streaming Netflix in space will no longer be an issue for my Kerbonauts.


Finally, it was time to dispose of the no-longer-needed carrier craft that was still hanging out in KTO. This thing was totally overpowered and still had 2.5 km/s left in the tanks, but it was serving no purpose and had no docking ports to offload fuel, so it was de-orbited and given a Viking burial (which I did not take any screenshots of, sorry. I know you all love a gratuitous re-entry, but not today).

Thank you for reading! I will likely have another report ready for you tomorrow :D


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Yes! I'm back again! The space station has a ton of RCS thrusters and monopropellant tanks in its storage module that are taking up space, so I decided to send up a shuttle mission to bring those back to Kerbin and deliver 2 MMUs that might be useful in the future for adding more modules to the station (or just for mucking around in zero-G).


Space Station Logistics Mission (STS-4)


Lift-off! Dislantis and her crew launch for a rendezvous with the space station. They look terrified at the moment, but I think it's their first launch to space, so it's understandable. Inside the payload bay is an empty inline KIS container which will contain the payload for its journey back to Kerbin.


The Shuttle follows a standard launch trajectory. At an altitude of 30 kilometres the SRBs run out of fuel and are detached, leaving the stack to continue into orbit on the power of the three main engines.


After sufficient altitude and speed has been attained, the ET is discarded and the monopropellant OMS engines circularise the orbit. The crew are now happy as can be, as they are now in SPAAACE.


Once we were in orbit, I set up a manoeuvre to bring us in close to the station. Due to the limited delta-V of the OMS once in orbit, the Shuttle must wait for two days in order for the station to catch up with it. Note that the manoeuvre bar is red: this is a bug with the new manoeuvre node system in 1.5 that I believe will be ironed out in the 1.6 update.


It took some maths to figure out when to burn (this reminded me of the old manoeuvre node system) but I got it figured out. Here we are, two days later (rather than timewarp in orbit, which is limited depending on how high you are, I set a KAC alarm and timewarped from the KSC) and performing the burn.


Next up: the rendezvous! I have recently installed Better Burn Time, which gives a nice readout of when to burn to match velocities if you have a rendezvous coming up.


Firing up the OMS to match velocities. I mean, of course the docking is going to happen in the dark :mad:


A nice UI-less shot as we approach the station.


Now moving in towards the docking port under RCS power. Docking the Shuttle is quite annoying, due to the off-axis docking port, but I managed it.


After we docked, I timewarped around to the sunlit side of the planet and took this screenshot of the Shuttle docked to inline port 2 of the Station.


Next: the transfer of cargo. All of the RCS thrusters and tanks were moved into the Shuttle, and I imagine that some food was also moved from the Shuttle into the station.


Then it was time for Crisdous and James Kerman to do an EVA. The two MMU ports were attached to either side of the station's airlock, and then the MMUs were flown across from the Shuttle's cargo bay and docked to them. I'm not really sure what I'll use these MMUs for, but they are certainly fun to fly around!

Before the Shuttle left I took a few beauty shots of the two craft docked together. Feel free to use these as wallpapers if you want.




Then it was time to leave. Cersted, Patnard, Crisdous and James said their goodbyes before undocking.


I also took a couple more beauty shots as the Shuttle slowly departed.




Time to go home. I have an angled OKTO2 probe core between the OMS engines to keep the orbiter in the right orientation when performing burns with the OMS.


Entry interface. We are still controlling from the probe core to give us a small AOA on re-entry.


As the plasma began to flicker around the Orbiter, I realised that the angled probe core had confused Trajectories during the de-orbit burn, and it was now reporting that we would land somewhere in the middle of the ocean.


To combat this, I tried pitching up more, but this did next to nothing and I ended up overflying KSC at about 50 klicks.



Initiating emergency ditch! I've landed a shuttle in the ocean before (on the unkerballed UTP-1 test mission), but this time we have crew aboard, so I need to try not to kill them.


Surprisingly, I managed a perfect ditch with no damage to the vehicle at all. Now the recovery vehicles need to find them.

Thank you for reading! Please tell me what you reckon I should do next - while the Duna transfer window is coming up in 134 days, I want to be realistic (to a degree) and not just timewarp through that time. I feel like recreating SpaceX launches would be fun, but please tell me if you have any ideas!


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I have updated to version 1.6, and it is all kinds of awesome! Look forward to some cool stuff with the new features in the near future.

For now, have this short update. I decided that I should reload the quicksave before I landed my space shuttle, as I felt that I could do a better job at landing at KSC. Enjoy!


Shuttle Landing Redux


I did not get any pictures of the de-orbit burn, since that was on the dark side of the orbit, but here we come screaming back into Kerbin's atmosphere, on course for a landing at KSC.


Pitching down to avoid overflying KSC did not go so well, and ended in a flat spin. Luckily the SAS was able to get it under control or the crew would be dead. Here, they are just regaining consciousness.


Once our attitude had been brought under control, we entered a steep dive towards the runway. I LOVE KSP 1.6's new dV indicator, but it doesn't seem to agree with CA's monoprop OMS engines.


The outer elevons were sufficient to align us with the runway for our landing - if we used the large inner elevons we had too much control authority and ended up doing flips.




...and touchdown! Deploy the drogue chute!


We rolled safely to a stop right in front of the Spaceplane Hangar. I'm sure the engineers would wheel the Orbiter back in through those doors to prepare it for its next flight, but I just clicked 'Recover Vessel'.

If you look closely you'll note that I no longer have KER installed - I'm now using the stock dV readouts in conjunction with Basic Orbit by @DMagic - a great mod for orbital info in the flight view. KER is a fantastic mod, and the first I ever installed, but I've now found a lightweight alternative to it, so I no longer need it.


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Hi guys, I've decided to start doing some SpaceX-style missions in KSP. For my Falcon 9 analogue (named Pigeon 9) I will be starting with v1.0 (no recovery hardware, a shorter first-stage tank) and continuing onto v1.1 and Block 5. Here we are delivering a Munar prospector satellite to scan for our upcoming Mun base.

We will start with some dialogue between Gene and Elon Kerman - enjoy!


Pigeon 9 v.1.0 with Munar Satellite

Several days earlier...

(Gene, sitting at his desk, absentmindedly organises a stack of paper on the desk. There is a knock on the door.)
Gene: Come in.
(Elon Kerman walks in. He is dressed casually.)
Elon: Hi.
Gene: Who, exactly, are you?
Elon: I'm Elon Kerman, head of SpaceK.
Gene: OK. And why are you here?
Elon: I'll cut to the chase. My company, SpaceK, has developed a launch vehicle we call the Pigeon 9.
Gene: Pigeon?
Elon: Named after the Millennium Pigeon in Kerb Wars. Anyway, we have developed this launch capability - (Gene interrupts)
Gene: So you want to buy KASA - developed engines to power your Pigeon 9?
Elon: That will not be necessary. We have built our own engines - we already have sea-level and vacuum variants of what we call the Marlin -
Gene: OK. So you want to use our VAB to assemble your launch vehicle?
Elon: Not necessary either. We have already assembled two Pigeon 9 version 1.0 rockets and they are ready for launch as soon as we have a launch site for them. We bought the abandoned Dessert Airfield and are rebuilding that, but it will take at least a month and we want to launch as soon as we can.
Gene: Ah, I see. You want to use the KSC launchpad. I'm afraid the KSC launch schedule is fully booked up at the moment - we plan to start launching infrastructure for our Mun base as soon as possible.
Elon: I have a proposition for you. We want to test the P9 as soon as possible, so we're willing to launch a lightweight KASA Mun base payload to the Mun if you'd like. In return, we would have permission to use your launchpad a couple of times more in order to test our Moth space station resupply vehicle.
Gene: Hang on. So you want to both send a payload to the Mun for us and resupply our space station in return for the use of our pad?
Elon: Exactly.
Gene: I think we have a deal. And we have just the payload for your rocket...


So, a couple of days later (Kerbals work fast) the Munar Prospector satellite lifts off on a SpaceK Pigeon 9 v1.0 on its way to the Mun. Ignore that landing pad on the right (by @Omega482, by the way), that was just me messing about in Kerbal Konstructs and forgetting to remove it afterwards.


Following a standard KASA trajectory, the Pigeon pitches to 45 degrees by 10km. The Prospector satellite was originally planned to launch on the same kind of rocket that the Scout spacecraft is launched on, so SpaceK have been told to follow a similar trajectory to that launch vehicle.


Pitched at zero degrees at an altitude of 30km. The first stage was running out of fuel at this point, but was able to put the apoapsis just above the atmosphere on a sub-optimal launch trajectory (to blame: my sloppy piloting). The crowds watching at KSC were all wondering why SpaceK had given the first stage such a generous delta-V budget when the P9's regime was to be LKO.


Shutdown and separation of the first stage. The vacuum-optimised Marlin engine on the second stage kicked in and propelled the spacecraft the rest of the way to orbit.


MECO, and fairing separation. The spacecraft coasted to apoapsis, where it performed an orbital insertion burn. Below: the circularisation burn itself.


The orbit ended up nice and circular. Next, the SpaceK controllers planned a manoeuvre node to send the craft toward a polar Mun orbit.



The burn would take 994.4 m/s of delta-V -- luckily the P9 second stage still had over 3km/s left in the tanks.


Here, the burn is almost complete.


Next up, a small burn was made to send the P9 second stage on a collision course with the Mun (in order to minimise space debris).


Then the satellite itself was detached, and fired its engine in order for it to fly past the Mun instead of hit it.


As the satellite coasted towards the Mun, I took this beauty shot. Even stock KSP visuals can be beautiful at times.


Finally, the Prospector (with its enormous - almost 3km/s - amount of dV) inserted itself into a polar Mun orbit. Orbital surveys will begin soon, but for now it's goodbye from me, Gene and Elon Kerman. See you soon!


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Hi again. Sorry for the longish wait - I had all of the images ready but just couldn't be bothered to go through the tedium of uploading them to Imgur. Here they are now! Despite what Elon calls a 'parachute anomaly' the mission accomplished all of its objectives (the recovery of the vehicle was a secondary objective).

I also have a shuttle mission ready for its report to be written - that will come tomorrow. For now, enjoy!


SpaceK Moth DM-1


Liftoff of DM-1 from KSC LC-1. Elon and Gene are watching from within the Mission Control building.

Elon: This'll be the last launch for the Pigeon 9 v1.0. We're moving on to version 1.1.
Gene: What are the changes?
Elon: Top secret at the moment. We're going to be doing something that no conventional launch vehicle has ever done.


Skipping ahead, the P9 is now at a zero-degree pitch, and on track for its orbit.


With stage 1 out of fuel, stage 2 ignites, bringing the apoapsis into space.


In the interest of keeping this report short, I've skipped ahead to the rendezvous with the SSEK. I tend to rendezvous pretty aggressively..:P


Once the two spacecraft had matched velocities, docking happened smoothly. As this is just a demonstration mission, the Moth is only carrying a dummy payload of ore.


After Madsey and Bill conducted a thorough check of the Moth's systems, it was time to undock and de-orbit. This took several minutes, due to the station's altitude (188km) and the low TWR of the Moth's RCS thrusters (its only source of propulsion after it detaches from the P9 upper stage.


Re-entry went well, with the PIKA heatshield standing up to the heat well.


Unfortunately, the parachute failed to deploy (I forgot parachutes :sealed:) and the Moth ended up lithobraking. Luckily, the mission was otherwise successful and I think we'll be seeing more Moths going to the space station in the near future. See you next time :)


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I decided to not do a full report of my shuttle mission, because I just did a Minmus landing mission yesterday and wanted to write about it without having to do two reports. So here's the combined report!


STS-5 + Minmus Mission


Liftoff of STS-5 from KSC, carrying the 15 ton Kerbin Sentinel satellite (the heaviest operational payload that the Shuttle has ever carried - 'operational' is a key word here, as the second uncrewed test mission carried an 18 ton dummy payload into orbit for payload capacity testing) whose mission is to orbit Kerbol in an orbit similar to Kerbin's in order to track any incoming asteroids.


I'm skimming over this lightly, as I also have a Minmus mission to cover. Up in orbit, the Sentinel deploys from the cargo bay...


...and performs its Kerbin escape burn...


...while the Orbiter returns to KSC. A successful mission!

Anyway, time for a trip to Minmus! On the previous mission to the minty moon, Kerbollo 6, scientist Rosgar did not land on the surface, as engineer Kurt needed to test building a rover in situ. As a result, the samples collected were not very comprehensive. This time, KSC planners chose to send a combination rover/lander to explore, as well as scientist Melbur. To ensure that the crew did not go stir-crazy during the almost month-long trip, only two Kerbals (as opposed to three) were sent. This would also be the first time that mission commander, Valentina, would venture beyond low Kerbin orbit.


Liftoff from the Dessert launch site, which has just the right position to allow a transfer to Minmus without doing a plane change. This is a standard Kraken V rocket with a half-size upper stage.


I skipped over the ascent to keep this short, but here we are inserting into LKO.


A nice circular 82km orbit. It didn't take too long to figure out a trajectory to Minmus, so we were able to do a TMI within the first orbit.


The high TWR of the Rhino engine means that Val and Melbur pull 5G, but they don't have to endure it for too long.


Next up is the transposition and docking, which goes flawlessly (after a couple of quickloads).


A couple of course corrections and 27 days later, the combined spacecraft insert into a circular Minmus orbit.


Leaving the Scout crew module on automatic mode, Val and Melbur climb into their Roverlander spacecraft and descend to the surface of Minmus.


The Roverlander is much less overpowered than my previous Minmus lander, but it still has way more fuel than it needs. The touchdown went nicely, and the girls got out for an EVA.


Melbur planted a flag, and then set up a camera to take a selfie. I got this shot just as Val was saluting - perfect timing!


Next, we set off driving. I was hoping to be able to drive to the site of the first Minmus landing at Rosgar Flat, but unfortunately this rover was just a pain to drive in Minmus' low gravity.


Stuff like this kept happening, so Melbur took a few more samples and they stayed the night, before aborting the surface mission and heading back to the Scout in orbit. If I ever have anything like a mining outpost on Minmus, I'll need to design the rovers to be much wider with a lower centre of gravity.


The boost back to orbit was nominal, although it did take a bit of fiddling to get a rendezvous within 100 metres of the target.


I tried to dock the Scout to the Roverlander using the probe core, but for some reason it was acting up and not responding to commands. So I had to EVA Val over to get control.


With the crew back up in space, it was time to go home. We undocked from the Roverlander and made a 400m/s burn to send us on a fast-track trajectory back to Kerbin in only a couple of days.


Re-entry went fine...


...and we splashed safely into the ocean. Great job girls!

Hmm, I think that next I should start setting up my Mun exploration infrastructure. So, probably a satellite network around the Mun will be next.


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