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Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

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2 hours ago, somepersondunno said:

Gotcha. Thanks! I need to see what kinda thing I can use for stage recovery, as StageRecovery seems to be broke for me.


I had a similar problem so I went for the 'once around' approach. My SLV takes the payload to 170km circular orbit and then deorbits back to KSC. So I don't need FMRS or stage recovery mods for that. 

Also, I will land each and every SLV that I launch, but it is only mandatory to demonstrate the ability once, after which it itsn't required to land any further SLV's

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  • 3 months later...


It's time for another run at this challenge! This is something I'd been thinking about for awhile, simmering on ideas for better surface base plans and more effective use of in-situ resource production. Originally, the idea was to incorporate USI Life Support plus MKS/OKS systems and get right into the advanced resource framework those mods provide. However, that mod has the capability of off-planet fabrication of more than just resources, making it banned from this challenge. Hrmph.

So.. this entry will instead be using the USI Life Support mod only, along with the Nils277 Planetary Base Systems and Feline Utility Rovers for primary base construction. The Stockalike Station Parts Redux will round out parts for orbital and interplanetary construction. Initial testing is going well and all parts seem to be playing nice together so far, but will be awhile before even a basic launch schedule is up.

For now, mod list:

  • Feline Utility Rovers
  • Planetary Base Systems
  • Stockalike Station Parts Redux
  • Restock
  • USI Life Support
  • Kerbal Alarm Clock
  • KRASH (Kerbal Simulator)
  • Stock Visual Terrain
  • Sci-Fi Visual Enhancements

Primary Lifter:

  • 30t NPM
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Days between new lifter: 180
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  • 2 months later...
On 8/1/2019 at 11:22 PM, dire said:

Hey if I pick this back up can I redo launches 3-6 ? Or if not I might just scrub them and take the points hit. That giant tower of doom is difficult and tedious to work with. 

Missed this, sorry.

Going back to an earlier save point is fine, did that myself when a save broke. Just relaunching in the same "timeline", no...

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It's fine,I spent literally all of yesterday flying over to Minmus with it,  and reconfigured it so once it's got some gas I can add more engines to the thrusty end. That'll make it a lot more pleasant to fly.

I should rename this flight the "Sunk Cost," though.

Edited by dire
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Been looking at this and running the payload numbers, think I might go for "lightweight" attempt with an 8-ton reusable SLV.


Any tips or advice? Expecting a lot of orbital construction and minimalist design.


Also, is the reusable mass return requirement the dry weight of the vehicle?

Edited by BrightBritches
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On 8/8/2019 at 3:18 AM, BrightBritches said:

Been looking at this and running the payload numbers, think I might go for "lightweight" attempt with an 8-ton reusable SLV.


Any tips or advice? Expecting a lot of orbital construction and minimalist design.


Also, is the reusable mass return requirement the dry weight of the vehicle?

I feel like that could start feeling tedious by about launch 30 or 40 where you're launching the same rocket into the same LKO. The smaller the payload, the bigger the fraction of your time repeating the same task over, and over, and over again, so if you really enjoy launching into LKO, doing a rendezvous, and then docking in space, you're going to have a lot of fun with this, but you're eventually going to do that like sixty times here. The actual Duna missions are likely to represent only a tiny portion of your actual playtime.

I run a crappy laptop so in order to make my game as enjoyable as possible I really have to minimize part count, and that's very difficult with tiny launches. Your mileage may vary, but my rovers are evolving towards one or two 3.5 meter or mk3 parts, like a 16-kerbal passenger cabin or a big fuel tank, and then a few supporting parts like landing gear, wheels, docking rings, and so on. My latest rover is shaping up to have about a third as many parts as my first one, and that's going to make my computer much happier when I have three of them plus a transfer stage all docked together.

The reusable mass is dry weight. It's actually quite difficult to get to orbit and back with 50% wet mass remaining, and it's so inefficient that it kind of makes "reusable" a joke.


Edited by dire
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  • 2 weeks later...

First Launch Album, verifying reusability, payload weight, orbits, etc.

1st Launch - Day 40

The first of 5 payloads that will come together for the initial transfer window, this one is a combination of 3 smaller modules including:

  • Ion powered relay satellite for Duna
  • Life support supplies/recyclers for Duna <-> Kerbin transfers
  • Additional fuel tank section with expansion points for the Nuclear Propulsion Unit in the next launch


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Minmus Moon is best moon.


Edit: Just realized that with Wave 2 on its way, I really don't need anybody in orbit for like six months. And here I've been spending hours trying to dock everything and get Prospector to make fuel runs in Kerbin SOI. I can just wait for Artemis to show up; she's going to hit kerbin SOI with like 5000 dV and is designed for exactly the sort of push-pull stuff I'm doing.

So, time to land the shuttle full of hopefuls. Need to tell them to fill out more paperwork now that they have their space wings.

Edited by dire
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Y4 D13, we got 49 experiments turned in for 2747 science, we got Early Mission Prestige +2 for Arhat and Bob plus an Ike sample, we got 3/5 Duna samples For Science! and we rescued Peggy Kerman to the surface of Kerbin from Ike Orbit. Next trip I'll have to bring her station hub and some polar samples to Catch em All, but that's probably a couple years off.

And there was a minimum of regurgitated pizza.

Worth noting is that Arhat continued to have a death grip on his screwdriver, so I'll need to send another one (or two, or three) up with SLV-8. The doctors assure everyone that if amputation must occur, it will occur on the drill end of the fusion and not the hand end of the fusion. 


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Third Launch Album, verifying, payload weight, orbits, etc.

3rd Launch - Day 136

This launch is a little different as the payload won't be leaving the Kerbin SOE. An all in one mining unit, the MMU will dock with the tanks and engine section from the Duna Transfer Vehicle to form the Minmus Mining Stack. 

The use of ISRU allows me to essentially "create" more launch mass before the transfer window, as such this is arguably the most important component of the early challenge. It's also gloriously asymmetrical so it has a special place in my heart.

I wanted to do something fancy with servos and rotating engines, but due to launch mass restrictions had to settle for an exciting landing technique where the whole stack comes to a (near) full stop above the surface, then flips entirely around to land using RCS and a cluster of control thrusters underneath the MMU.

I'd be lying if I said that I got it on the first try.


Minmus Mining Stack all wobbly landed and mining away.


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4 hours ago, dire said:

@BrightBritches how is your fuel getting off Minmus? Are those tiny reaction wheels enough to flip the whole thing when it's full?

Yep, its the reverse process of the landing. Hard burn with RCS to get off the surface, then flip and use the engine when you get to about 50m of clearance.

They are tiny, but having 6 of them spaced out gives a fair amount of torque.

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Alright this album is a big one, as it encompasses launch #5, final assembly of the Duna Transfer Vehicle, and departure on the first transfer window.

Launch #5 - Day 232

Here's the Duna Ascent Module and the final life support supplies for the crew's stay on the red planet


Following some orbital ballet and the arrival of the propulsion section from Minmus, the complete Duna Transfer Vehicle


Last but not least, our brave Kerbinauts on their way towards Duna


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Y4 Day 100 Decided to name this rover hotel "Bacchus," landed it and docked Aries to it to refuel (it doesn't have an ISRU, unfortunately). With it refueling I think it now counts as a "Backup Plan" -- double checking in VAB it's got a TWR of 1.5 and 1000 dV on the surface of Duna, meaning it should have no trouble getting back to orbit (Full lithium tanks give it another 2000 dV but the average TWR on unicorn drives is so bad that they aren't generally useful contributors to most launch dV), and that means my "Contingency plans" are complete! The longest any kerbal spent from launch to Contingencies Operational was 3 years 60 days so I think I'm good on that front. I also netted an extra 3 million credits from tourists touring already, with more on the way.


Edited by dire
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