Death Engineering

Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge

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@Death Engineering once upon a time, I had plans to put the door in the bottom and lower everything on the bed of the truck by winches. In the very beginning, it was all supposed to come packed in crates to boot.

  • The big-s cargo bay flaps would visibly interfere with the wings, for starters.
  • I'd need legs / landing gear tall enough for a truck to go under the bay.
  • I'd need to play a lot of camera games in order to focus on the winch in the bay, and the module it's supposed to attach to.
  • precision parking of trucks in just the right spot is tricky to begin with, it gets trickier when vessels slide around by 5mm/s.

So I scratched all that. The bay opens at the top where I, the player, can easily look into it. After the first run, I increased interaction range and by now, modules are picked from the bay and immediately attached to the base, just like that.

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Hi @Death Engineering, fantastic to see this challenge still happening.  It is my favourite!  Although I was never really happy with the aesthetics of my submissions.  All those ugly TAC-LS containers ... ugh!  I always regretted not putting more effort into mods that might make the design neater (and cooler), like with greenhouses and sustainability, and other cool stuff.

Recently I have been playing with Planetary Base Systems and USI-LS, ( e.g. for my Sarnus Mission) and I have learned how to create a sustainable base provided there is power, ore and water available.  On Duna?  Seems all three are available at the poles (although solar power is a challenge).  Anyway this has re-ignited my interest in the challenge - maybe it's possible to create a really cool solution by utilising sustainability.

Also, my previous submission was deliberately stock only, but I reckon I could make some really cool craft and bases with balanced part mods like SSTU Labs,  SpaceY, Tweakscale, Near Future (e.g. nuclear reactors).  I am keen for your thoughts.  Are there any limitations that apply to this challenge with respect to the use of part mods?

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Hi @jinnantonix, great question on the USI-LS system.  I, too, wanted to explore the full ability of that mod's sustainability. The thing is that the mod suite also includes extra-planetary construction of more than just resources (the Orbital Construction Yard and Mobile Launch Platform specifically).  I sure hate banning the whole suite for that, though. Since I never actually looked too deeply at it, do you have any feedback on how it works and fights the 'only launched parts from Kerbin' rule?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Death Engineering said:

Hi @jinnantonix, great question on the USI-LS system.  I, too, wanted to explore the full ability of that mod's sustainability. The thing is that the mod suite also includes extra-planetary construction of more than just resources (the Orbital Construction Yard and Mobile Launch Platform specifically).  I sure hate banning the whole suite for that, though. Since I never actually looked too deeply at it, do you have any feedback on how it works and fights the 'only launched parts from Kerbin' rule?

USI is modular,  (see https://umbraspaceindustries.github.io/UmbraSpaceIndustries/)  I only have USI-LS component loaded.  I have not seen the Orbital Construction Yard and Mobile Launch Platform parts.  If those parts are banned, then I think you want to ban Modular Kolonisation System (MKS).    

Edit:  In fact, just looking through the other USI modules I would suggest it easiest to only approve USI-LS.  From my perspective, that is all I am using.

I assume Planetary Base Systems is approved, and this is neatly integrated with USI-LS (as it is with TAC-LS). 

What about SSTU Labs and SpaceY?  Their parts seem to be nicely balanced and fit within the challenge rules.

Edited by jinnantonix

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2 hours ago, jinnantonix said:

I only have USI-LS component loaded. 

Ah, that makes sense. The Kerbal Planetary Base Systems pack is great, approved, and incorporated into my next run at this mission.

 

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iNHKVrI.png

First crew of four departs for Duna!

Launch 1: Nuclear tug

Reusable twin-engine NERVA with a two-seat crew pod and limited life support needs. This will return the first two crew home after their short stay.

Launch 2: 8-seat base module with communication sat network

Mn0PGWYl.png

 

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On 5/19/2020 at 8:30 PM, jinnantonix said:

What about SSTU Labs and SpaceY?  Their parts seem to be nicely balanced and fit within the challenge rules.

Good to go on these!  :D 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2020 at 10:23 AM, Death Engineering said:

Good to go on these!  :D 

Great!  The SSTU procedural fuel tank is awesome, and perfect for what I need.  I've decided I don't need SpaceY afterall.

I have one more issue to resolve - wheels.  It's not for a rover.  I need support for about 10-50 tons (variable) on Duna for a habitation module lifting crane.  The stock TR-2L "ruggedized wheel" can do the job, but just doesn't look right for the lifter requirement -  looking for something with a more "industrial" look and feel.  The stock S2 is way too small, and the XL3 is way too big, but would otherwise look and function perfectly.  I used Tweakscale, and got the below options.  Both are a bit heavy at about 0.2 tons each, but look perfect, and perform OK.  So am I OK to go with Tweakscale for this part?

 

Q2mTI2z.png

 

 

 

Edited by jinnantonix

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5 hours ago, jinnantonix said:

go with Tweakscale

Had to look at the thread as I've just never had a use for that one, and it says 1.4.x.. are you playing in that version?  Just curious  :)

At any rate, it seems to scale mass/cost 'fairly', so yeah sure go ahead on that one, too. 

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Posted (edited)

DOMA Redux

I have my mod list sorted, and an architectural plan that can put some Kerbals on Duna.

Mods:

  • Version 1.7.3 with DLCs (robotics parts used)
  • Kerbal Planetary Base Systems - I love this mod, used to create a sustainable base with greenhouse and algae farm.
  • USI-LS  - no other USI mods are used, I know they are banned
  • SSTU Labs - using the procedural fuel tanks, and there are some other parts like inflatable habitats that I might use, or maybe not.
  • Tweakscale - skycrane wheels, and some SLV components.
  • Trajectories - initial landing guidance to target Duna base landings
  • MechJeb - used mainly for automated SLV launches, precision landing at bases, and docking automation
  • Kerbal Alarm Clock
  • Kerbal Engineer
  • Minimum Ambient Lighting
  • Stock Visual Enhancements

SLV design:

  • 31t NPM
  • Re-usable: Days between launches: 186

My previous submission was raw and just intent on challenge points.  This time I am focused on aesthetics and a realistic architectural plan.

  • Use ISRU to make fuel and life support supplies on Minmus and Ike to reduce launch mass
  • Establish and grow a sustainable base that mines ore, water and uses solar power near the Duna north pole (yes there is water there)
  • Create a facility for planetary base building, with reliable orbit-surface shuttle facilities and assembly cranes
  • Collect science, establish satellite links, build utility craft and space stations as guided by the challenge rules. 

Initial SLV design (re-usable, 50% of the craft launch mass recoverable):
klxJdmi.png

 

 

 

 

  

 

Edited by jinnantonix

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Posted (edited)

DOMA Redux

Demonstration of SLV re-usability.  [v2 - Final SLV design with universal payload fairing and robotic launch platform]

 

 

 

Edited by jinnantonix

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Posted (edited)

DOMA Redux

Checkpoint 1:

Transit Vehicle 1:

  • Launch 1 (Y1 D40):  Prime Mover and ISRU.  Refuels autonomously at Minmus then by aerobraking returns to Kerbin orbit with near full tanks
  • Launch 2 (Y1 D226):   Habitat and Primary Relay, 5 Kerbals
  • Assembly in Kerbin orbit
  • Trans Vehicle 1 Kerbin - Minmus transit:  Land and refuel
  • TV1 Minmus-Duna transit (Y1 D235): Duna elliptical orbit:  Release Relay in Duna distant polar orbit (alt = 25Mm)
  • Launch 3 (Y1 D412):  Transit Vehicle 2 Prime Mover and ISRU + 3xRelays.  Refuels autonomously at Minmus
  • TV1 Ike encounter:  Land prime mover + ISRU and refuel
  • TV1 Ike to low Duna polar orbit transit
  • Land and assemble habitat at north pole site, refuel and resupply for prime mover ready to return to Kerbin
  • Collect science (surface samples) from 5 biomes for return to Kerbin.
  • .p5TNx13.jpg

Architectural Notes: 

The design uses liquid fueled engines (Cheetahs) in a dual use prime mover - a combined Duna "skycrane" (for delivering the habitat to the surface) and also the transit vehicle tug.  The reason for using the Cheetah engines rather than NERVAs is that ISRU makes fuel basically free (except for the initial launch to Minmus), the Cheetahs are relatively light and have reasonable efficiency, and they also have enough thrust for Duna descent and ascent, and the craft can be upgraded later to DAV, DSB or ADST vehicle.  According to the rules non-nuclear engines can use aerobraking which provides improved efficiency in the critical first stages of the mission.

At Duna, the transit vehicle completes a retrograde burn to highly elliptical orbit, then at Ap, slows to zero orbital speed, releases the RA-100 relay (which then burns to distant circular polar orbit).  The transit vehicle then burns to prograde orbit and Ike encounter.  The prime mover then lands on Ike with ISRU, executing descent, refueling, ascent and redocking.  The transit vehicle then transits to low Duna polar orbit for landing the habitat at the north pole.

The habitat is a self sustaining module capable of supporting 5 kerbals initially, but will be expanded with subsequent transits to support more kerbals.  In accordance with USI-LS capabilities, the hab mines ore for liquid fuel and LOX, and also feeds the algae farm to create fertilizer, which in turn combines with mined water in the greenhouse to make supplies (NOMs).  The huge amounts of power needed is supplied by solar power which due to the polar location is available for nearly a full Duna day, with fuel cells maintaining the hab during the brief periods of dark.  The hab creates excess fuel and supplies, needed for returning Jeb and Val back to Kerbin on the next Hohmann transfer window.

In theory the design could have supported 7 kerbals, however the mass of USI-LS supplies (NOMs) and life support recyclers required for more than 5 kerbals for the transit exceeded the limit of 31t per launch.  The spare seats will be filled in future missions.

GBStfUp.png

 

Edited by jinnantonix

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Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2020 at 12:58 AM, jinnantonix said:

Checkpoint 1

Excited to see this progress! Very high utility on that first transfer. Do you have a specific landing site selected? 

Very nice use of LS converters! 

I had a similar plan with the space taxi to deliver surface packages, but opting for integrated/semi disposable landing system. I thought it would be cool to pick modules up and relocate them. No..

Good luck with your mission! :cool:

Edited by Death Engineering

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On 6/27/2020 at 11:06 AM, Death Engineering said:

Excited to see this progress! Very high utility on that first transfer.

The key to high utility was to launch very little fuel, and get most of it from mining at Minmus, and using aerobraking to station a tug with plenty of fuel in LKO.

Quote

Do you have a specific landing site selected? 

Yes. The trick was to fly around with ISRU looking for a high flat area which had near perpetual sunlight.  There were a number of locations, but Lat =87.628 Lon= 118.567 was ideal.  There is a short period of darkness where the fuel cells take over from the solar panels, but the area is large and flat so plenty of room to build my Duna outpost.

Quote

I had a similar plan with the space taxi to deliver surface packages, but opting for integrated/semi disposable landing system. I thought it would be cool to pick modules up and relocate them. No..

I used semi disposable landing equipment in my previous mission.  A re-usable dual use craft ("space taxi") is possibly not as efficient, but I have had a whole lot of fun designing it.

 

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Posted (edited)

A cool shot during assembly of Transit Vehicle 2 in low Kerbin Orbit.

OzUpPpQ.png

 

 

 

Edited by jinnantonix

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As I was drawing up some plans for this challenge today, I encountered a couple things I don't quite understand.

  1. Resources are not allowed to be transferred to/from the crew shuttle, but are the samples for "Biome Diversity" allowed to be returned on the crew shuttle?
  2. If the base is mobile does it score all 6 points for Surface Mobility, or just 3?
  3. I am planning on sending an ISRU mission to Minmus first.  If the transfer time is less than ten days, can I have zero ore (for life support) aboard until I arrive?
  4. In the mission end rules, it says I need to bring all the kerbals back in the end (point 2), but it also says the outpost needs to stay active (point 3).  Do I need to bring some kerbals back to the base or something?

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8 hours ago, RoninFrog said:
  1. Resources are not allowed to be transferred to/from the crew shuttle, but are the samples for "Biome Diversity" allowed to be returned on the crew shuttle?

Since Jeb has collected 5 biome samples, and is now on his way back to Kerbin, this question has me a bit concerned.  The rules state: "only crew may be launched on these missions; no fuel or any other supplies may be transferred on crew launches. ".   I had not interpreted that as disallowing biome samples to be carried on the crew shuttle from orbit to the KSC, because (a) samples are not fuel or resources, and (b) the rule says nothing about transferring "to" or "via" the shuttle for return to the KSC.  I await DM's adjudication with trepidation.  Jeb may yet die horribly in a flaming wreck in a vain attempt to re-enter the atmosphere in an unsuitable craft.

Perhaps this is an option?  I mean there is no transfer of anything, is there?

 

Edited by jinnantonix

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On 7/1/2020 at 8:36 PM, RoninFrog said:

As I was drawing up some plans..

  1. Only fuel/supplies are prohibited from transfer between the crew shuttle and payload. Kerbals, science samples and experiments (and because it will happen incidentally, EC) are OK to transfer.
  2. This has come up before, and I will try to go back and review the thread later, but I'm pretty sure it landed like this:
    • If the entire base is mobile, the +2 and +3 applies but not the +1. 
  3. Two parts to this question, if I'm reading it right:
    • Do I need life support for missions <10 days?  A: NO.
    • Can I mine 'LS-ore'? A: NO (see below)
      "Life support supplies can be modeled with stock parts by using the Ore resource. If life support is modeled in this way, supplies (Ore) will need to be included in the SLV launches. None of the Ore that is designated as life support can be utilized for ISRU production and any Ore harvested for ISRU cannot be used as life support. Ore (life support mass) should be jettisoned as it is "consumed"."
  4. Technically, the only Kerb's that need to come back points-wise are the two for the 'Early Prestige' points. What the rule states, in essence, is that at the end-game point all kerbals could be safely returned to home world. None would be lost due to life support requirements and there is enough resources to make it happen. For example, if there are 30 kerbs on the surface and your interplanetary taxi supports 5 kerbs, there needs to be a viable contingency for your taxi to complete 6 round trips before anyone runs out of LS. That is a bigger ask than it appears, since those 6 round trips would have to occur on transfer windows.

 

On 7/2/2020 at 7:47 PM, RoninFrog said:

..so far..

Welcome to the challenge, @RoninFrog! I think yours might be the first stock-LS-modeled entry, and all looks good so far but I had to clarify on the 'ORE' note above (mined ORE cannot be LS). If this were not the case, interplanetary and Duna surface LS needs would be trivial. Hope that doesn't mess things up too bad.

At any rate, good luck and I'll be watching your thread!  :cool:

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No mining for LS?  Oof!  Okay, I think the first launch is okay since the 7.5 ore it came with is good for almost 100 days, but the base is gonna need a serious redesign.

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1 hour ago, RoninFrog said:

No mining for LS?  Oof!  Okay, I think the first launch is okay since the 7.5 ore it came with is good for almost 100 days, but the base is gonna need a serious redesign.

I hate to see planning and design wasted. I don't really use stock mining , so make a case how to model it for LS and we'll evolve the challenge. 

Ie it can't be free food!:cool:

Edited by Death Engineering

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Maybe have a research lab dedicated to converting minerals into an edible form. It wouldn't actually do anything in game mechanics terms, but it acts a stand-in for a greenhouse or whatever.

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3 hours ago, Death Engineering said:

I hate to see planning and design wasted. I don't really use stock mining , so make a case how to model it for LS and we'll evolve the challenge. 

Ie it can't be free food!:cool:

How about Monopropellant as LS, as it has to get processed in an ISRU?  Maybe restrict LS Monoprop production to the large ISRU?  The proportional consumption rate would be 0.1 units/kerbal/day.

Edit:  Plus, since the command pods all have some built in, the 10-day free period could be removed.

Edit 2:  Plus, instead of subtracting 2 kerbals from my old design, I could add 4... :)

Edited by RoninFrog

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6 hours ago, RoninFrog said:

How about Monopropellant as LS ...

In my original mission, I launched from the KSC all life support supplied to Duna, which is the intent of the challenge.  And I kept 100 Kerbals in my outpost alive, and had enough supplies left to bring them all home after the 10 year mission.

My current mission uses USI-LS, which requires a very complex (and heavy) system of greenhouses and algae farms and power supply, and water as well as ore drilling, in order to create a sustainable outpost.  It is not as efficient as carrying supplies from the KSC, I am expecting to only support 50-70 Kerbals but I am working hard at improving this number.

Allow Kerbals to eat monoprop?  Sounds like free food to me.  My two cents worth.

12 hours ago, Death Engineering said:
  1. Only fuel/supplies are prohibited from transfer between the crew shuttle and payload. Kerbals, science samples and experiments (and because it will happen incidentally, EC) are OK to transfer.

Thanks.  Actually I had forgotten that Launch 8 occurs before Jeb returns to Kerbin, so I could have launched a pod to return to him and Val and the samples to the KSC safely.  But good news they can now return safely in the crew shuttle -  I had designed the shuttle specifically for both launching and returning crew from orbit so happy I can use the craft as designed.

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