Pleb

Cironaut Space Agency - 8. Fly Me to the...Iota?

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Cironaut Space Agency
(A.K.A - Yet Another GPP Playthrough!)


So, after reading many of these mission logs/career playthroughs, I've decided to do one of my own. I know there’s been a few done for the Galileo Planet Pack (GPP), but as I find it’s the best planet pack I’ve come across so far, this is the one I’m using! I’m also not changing the size of the system, as I’m also using the GEP and OPM mods, so combined this makes an already gigantic solar system that I don’t personally feel needs to be any bigger. Also, I’m probably not experienced enough to attempt it yet!

This is a list of mods and contract packs I’m currently using:
 

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Some of these are custom mods that I’ve tweaked, such as:

  • Kerbal Renamer – I’ve modified this so that all the Kerbals/Gaelans have westernised names and surnames and I’ve removed the GPP developers - sorry guys! I’ve also enabled this to be called from other scripts/mods, specifically so that anything that may have used the default/stock KSP naming scheme can instead use this one instead.
  • Contract Configurator – I’ve modified this so that it uses my custom Kerbal Renamer scheme to name randomly generated Kerbals/Gaelans instead of the default/stock KSP naming scheme. Also ‘fixed’ a bug that displayed Gael in lowercase.
  • TRP Hire – I’ve modified this so that it uses my custom Kerbal Renamer scheme to name randomly generated Kerbals/Gaelans instead of the default/stock KSP naming scheme.
  • Far Future Technologies – I’ve recompiled this for version 1.4.3 but I believe this still has issues with heating, which isn’t a problem with this mod but a problem with KSP itself. However, I like the idea of having anti-matter engines on my rockets so hopefully this will work out!
  • New Suits – This is just some of the Replacement mods from GPP tweaked a bit for my own playthrough. The Kerbals/Gaelans have some recoloured suits I’ve made and matching sprites, and I’ve tweaked the male heads a bit so that they use the heads that were for the Admin staff instead. I also tweaked some colours in the descriptions, but this is almost the same as it is normally in GPP. This is all done through Sigma Replacements in the same way the GPP versions were before.
  • Tourism Plus – I’ve removed the contracts that wanted you to take Tourists to specific biomes, as the biomes were specifically for Kerbin. Also given the first tourist a random name rather than ‘Tito Kerman’, as this was not in line with the new naming scheme.
  • Bases and Stations – I’ve tweaked the Life Support-related contracts to support Snacks. I also submitted this as a PR on GitHub which has now been incorporated into the contract pack by its current maintainer (three guesses who that is!).

I’m hoping that in this current career playthrough I’ll be able to visit all the celestial bodies in the Ciro system (incorporating the GPP, OPM and GEP mods) either manned or unmanned. I’m also hoping to unlock all the nodes on the tech tree, which considering I’m using the Community Tech Tree mod should probably take quite a while! However, I’m also using the Hide Empty Tech Tree Nodes mod so that empty nodes are removed, and to hide the tree nodes that haven’t yet been researched (except the ones that immediately proceed from already researched nodes), which I personally feel is a better approach to the tech tree.

And these are the difficulty settings I will be using:
 

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So, let’s get the Cironaut Space Agency started!

1. First Launch

Whilst most organisations on the planet Gael that are trying to reach space are attempting to use computers to send unmanned craft instead, due to the obvious dangers of sending a Gaelan up into space, none of them have currently perfected this technology and are struggling to even get off the ground. However, the Cironaut Space Agency (CSA) have decided to throw caution to the wind and are planning on using actual Gaelans to fly their craft first! This should allow the CSA to gain a significant lead on the space race.

The first batch of Gaelans to join the CSA are David Welch (pilot), Rita Coleman (scientist) and Dale Watson (engineer):

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The Mamba Program ultimately aims to build a craft that can send a Gaelan into space, orbit Gael, and return safely to the surface - without killing the pilot inside in the process! The first craft is named Mamba I and has a small Crew Capsule (with capacity for 1 Gaelan), a solid fuel Flea Engine, a Parachute and some science experiments on board:

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First, the science experiments that are onboard Mamba I are run on the launchpad by David Welch, the pilot:

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Then the rocket is launched from the Gael Space Centre (GSC) into the sky:

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It eventually reaches a height of 8,436 metres above sea-level before starting to plummet back towards the surface:

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When the craft reaches about 1,000 metres above sea-level the parachute is deployed, which slows the craft down and stops it from crashing into the surface:

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The craft then safely lands back on the ground. The pilot has survived, and the mission is a complete success:

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Edited by Pleb
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2. Reaching into Space

After successfully managing to launch a craft into the air, safely return to the surface and recover the crew, the CSA now wants to do this again but this time getting the craft to reach at least the upper atmosphere and possibly even into space itself! 

Using the science data obtained from the experiments run on the Mamba I craft, new technologies have been developed by the CSA to further its space program:

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Using these new technologies, the CSA have designed the Mamba II craft, which has a small Crew Capsule (with capacity for 1 Gaelan), a solid fuel Hammer Engine, two solid fuel Flea Engines (used as boosters), a Parachute, a Heat Shield (in case the craft reaches space and needs this for re-entry) and several science experiments:

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Once again some of the science experiments are run on the launch pad by the pilot, David Welch:

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Then the Mamba II is launched into the air:

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Once the Flea Engines have run out of fuel they are ejected from the craft, so that the extra weight they carry is removed from the craft as they are no longer needed:

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The capsule is then ejected from the rest of the craft and Mamba II manages to get past the upper atmosphere no problem, reaching 73,084 metres above sea-level before leveling out and beginning its decent towards the surface:

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The capsule then deploys its parachute around 1,000 above sea-level:

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Once again, the craft lands safely on the surface, this time splashing down into the ocean, and the pilot is alive and well:

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3. Orbiting Gael

With the recent success of the Mamba II reaching space, the data gathered from the experiments that were ran during its mission have fled to the development of more technology for the CSA:

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The Mamba III has been designed to be the first craft to orbit Gael! It will also be the first craft to use the new liquid fuel tanks and engine, which should allow grater control of the vessel via the ability to control the throttle. The craft has a small Crew Capsule (with capacity for 1 Gaelan), a liquid fuel Swivel Engine, four solid fuel Hammer Engines (used as boosters), a Parachute, a Heat Shield and several science experiments:

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It's hoped that although using liquid fuel is a lot more expensive than solid fuel that this will pay off and finally allow the pilot, David Welch, to perform maneuvers whilst flying, and also conserve fuel rather than being forced to burn it all in one go.

The craft is rolled out onto the launchpad and blast off into the air:

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Soon the craft is blasting off high above the GSC, aided by the four solid fuel boosters:

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It's not long before the Mamba III is flying high in the atmosphere. But David is worried that his fuel has gotten rather low:

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There's enough fuel to bring the craft's periapsis just above the 70,000 metre mark to officially consider this a successful orbit:

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And just barely enough to perform a de-orbit burn:

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After the capsule is ejected from the rest of the rocket, it takes a long while to come back into the atmosphere, due to the angle it is travelling at:

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However the capsule eventually makes it closer to the surface and manages to deploy its parachute:

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And the capsule splashes down into the water just off the coast line, with David safe and sound to fly another day:

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So the Mamba Program has managed to produce a craft that took a Gaelan into space, orbited Gael, and returned to the surface safely and brought back the pilot alive. However because of the serious shortage of fuel on board it was a close call and David nearly didn't make it back at all because of it. As such another craft will need to be designed and built so that there is a lot more fuel on board to allow for any unforeseen circumstances that could have prevented this mission from being a success.

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Posted (edited)

4. Orbiting Gael (Again!)

Whilst the latest mission with the Mamba III was a success and resulted in the first time anything or anyone has orbited Gael, because the fuel nearly ran out the CSA wants a better craft to be able to get into orbit. Fortunately the science data gathered on the mission has enabled the development of additional technologies to assist with this goal:

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The Mamba IV is to be the first liquid fuel only craft, replacing the four solid fuel boosters on the Mamba III with two liquid fuel tanks and Relliant Engines. The main liquid fuel tank has also been extended. Other than that the craft is very similar to the Mamba III:

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Although this craft is a bit more expensive to construct it's hoped this will be a more efficient vehicle and not run the risk of running out of fuel whilst performing orbiting maneuvers.

The Mamba IV is brought out onto the launchpad and take off into the sky above:

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The craft gains a much better altitude, and the pilot David Welch brings the periapsis to around 100,000 metres above sea-level to establish a stable orbit with plenty of fuel to return to the surface:

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After spending some time in orbit enjoying the view, David performs the de-orbit burn to bring the craft home:

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The capsule successfully detaches from the rocket:

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It then passes through the atmosphere, and deploys its parachute:

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And safely splashes down into the water, with David intact:

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So this seems to be the best way to currently get into orbit and safely return, and the CSA is happy that it now has a blueprint on which to build future launchers. However there is still room for improvement so the Mamba Program will continue for now. However the CSA needs more funds and scientific data in order to develop new technology, so new ways to generate this must be found closer to home...

Edited by Pleb

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5. Science Farming

The CSA Research and Development department are close to developing some new technologies for the space program, but in order to complete their designs they need a little bit more data. Fortunately, the GSC is the perfect place to perform some science experiments, so we won't have to travel far!

First up is the runway. We haven't built any spaceplanes yet so we've taken the capsule and the science experiments from the Mamba IV craft and are going to roll it out onto the runway so we can perform some experiments:

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There was a lot to learn out on the runway but we also need to get data from the other areas around the GSC:

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So, by using some left over bits and pieces lying around the VAB, we've managed to construct a rocket-powered ground vehicle loaded with scientific experiments:

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Whilst our resident pilot, David Welch, was itching to take the 'rocket car' out for a spin, as this was a purely scientific mission it made sense for our resident scientist Cironaut, Rita Coleman, to be the one doing this mission:

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And so off Rita goes, slowly at first but picking up speed quite quickly:

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Once momentum has been gained the rocket doesn't need to be firing, as the vehicle can propel itself along the ground:

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However Rita is not a pilot, so it was no surprise when she managed to crash the vehicle not long after starting out:

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But once the craft was restored Rita was keen to get back out there, and soon she had visited all corners of the GSC and ran as many experiments as she possibly could to ensure the R&D department had all the data it needed:

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So after almost no time at all and only a small cost, we've managed to develop plenty of new technologies for the CSA:

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That was a close call for David on the first orbital flight. Good thing he managed to return. This is progressing nicely.

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Posted (edited)

@SBKerman Yeah I was a bit ambitious with how small and cheap I could make a rocket get into orbit. Still you live you learn...quite literally in this case! :D

Edited by Pleb
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6. First Satellite

Whilst the CSA has been progressing along with their successful manned missions, the other space agencies on Gael have managed to improve the computer systems needed to remotely control a spacecraft, allowing for unmanned missions to begin. The CSA has agreed with the other agencies to share their capsule technology in exchange for the probe core technology, in order to progress their own space program and help the other programs as well.

Another technology recently developed is Radar technology, potentially allowing for maps to be accurately created by scanning the planet from above. The organisation that helped develop the technology in collaboration with the CSA and other agencies has set a goal that the first agency to scan up to 75% of the surface of Gael will received a cash reward. However in order to do this a craft would need to be in polar orbit, something not yet attempted on Gael, and also it would require multiple orbits around the planet in order to complete which could be a problem for a manned mission, as the pilot would likely run out of Snacks before the mission was complete! Also power is an issue, as the amount of power required would be huge unless there was a way of generating more power whilst in orbit. This is why this task has yet to be completed by any of the other agencies. The CSA has just recently helped develop a way of generating this required power by harnessing the solar energy from Ciro (the sun) by absorbing it with solar panels and converting this into electricity.

With the new probe core technology it has acquired and the solar technology it has helped develop, the CSA feels it can now take up this challenge:

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Using the Mamba IV launcher a small satellite, SurvSAT I, has been constructed, with solar panels attached to absorb the solar energy and a rechargeable battery on board to store the captured energy. A small communications device has been fitted so that the data can be relayed back to the GSC and the Radar technology itself, in order to scan and survey the surface of Gael.

The satellite is launched successfully from the GSC:

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It adjusts its heading accordingly to put it on a polar orbit:

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After screeching through the atmosphere it makes it into space and disengages its engines, drifting up to around 250,000 metres above sea-level:

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When finally reaching the optimum altitude, the craft fires up it's engines and the boosters separate shortly after, having used most of their fuel in order to reach orbit:

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Once establishing a stable polar orbit, the satellite ejects from the launcher and deploys the scanner. Its mission to survey Gael can begin:

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The survey mission will no doubt take several days to complete, so  the scientists at the CSA will be spending that time analysing the data that is being transmitted back to the GSC. However we've just been made another offer of a reward for another first-of-its-kind mission. One that might lead to a way of making some much needed money to further our space program...

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Posted (edited)

7. Space Tourism

A millionaire wants to go into space and has offered the CSA a lot of money to take her there:

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Whilst we don't really want to become a space taxi business, and also would not normally even consider taking someone into space that has had little to no experience, we do need funds and this could be a good ways to make more, providing the mission is a success. We've therefore decided to take Janice Campbell into space as she's requested.

Using the Mamba IV launcher again, we've taken off the scientific equipment and replace it with a passenger module, capable of carrying 2 Gaelans. We've moved the heat shield to the bottom and have attached additional heat shield panels to the side of the passenger module, in hope that this will stop the craft from getting too hot and roasting the passengers alive! Additional parachutes have been fitted as well, which may not be needed but it will make everyone feel safer nonetheless aboard the new Mamba V:

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The craft will be piloted by our resident Cironaut pilot, David Welch, and one of the passenger seats will be filled by Naomi Campbell, our first space tourist. As there is a spare seat, we figured it was time our Cironaut engineer Dale Watson had a chance to take part in a mission.

The Mamba V is rolled out onto the launchpad and takes off successfully:

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It manages to reach orbit safely, and will be spending at least 4 hours up there to allow Naomi to take as many pictures as possible. No doubt Dale will take a few as well:

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The time goes by without incident and when the 4 hours are up, David shifts the craft into position to begin its de-orbit burn to allow it to return to the surface:

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The de-orbit burn is successful and the command capsule and passenger module eject safely from the rocket:

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Whilst coming into the upper atmosphere Naomi gets the last opportunity to take some pictures, as the craft will be descending towards Gael at night:

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The craft initially comes in fine, the heat panels and shields keeping the craft at a safe temperature:

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However David soon loses control of the craft, and it flips round nose first towards the surface. David struggles to get the craft to tilt the right way and it continues to speed towards the planet. Fortunately the craft slows just enough to allow the parachutes to deploy, allowing the craft to slow down and correct its orientation, saving the crew and passenger:

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The craft then safely splashes down into the ocean and everyone is recovered safe and sound, if not a bit a shaken up by their almost-demise:

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Whilst this could have been a complete disaster if the craft had been destroyed, and could have even still been a partial failure after the harrowing experience Naomi had, she seemed to be thrilled that she had been up into space and was quick to ask if she could go again. The CSA is now getting more requests for others to fly into space as well. We may need to work on the craft's suitability for future space tourism, but at least this incident has not deterred anyone from flying again!

Also we've now managed to scan about 77% of the planet's surface:

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So the cash reward from this achievement, along with the money given to us by Naomi for her trip into space, means we can now upgrade the VAB and build bigger and better spaceships!

Edited by Pleb
Forgot to put an image in spoilers!
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8. Fly Me to the...Iota?

So with the recent upgrade done to the VAB, the CSA can now look to start building bigger and better spaceships. As such, we're hoping to be able to send the first craft to do a flyby of Gael's nearest moon, Iota. As the CSA originally went with manned over unmanned missions, this will be no different and David Welch will be flying the fly-by mission in the new Mamba VI:

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Whilst similar in design to the last few Mamba craft, the Mamba VI utilises some new features that weren't possible in previous models. First, we've now been able to add fuel lines between the booster fuel tanks and the main fuel tank, so that when the boosters are separated/ejected from the rest of the craft any residual fuel in these tanks can be pumped into the main tank, giving it a boost of fuel. A second stage has been added in between the command capsule and the main fuel tank, powered by a Terrier Engine, allowing for the craft to travel further and more efficiently once in space. Also launch clamps have been added to the craft to help with stability when launching, especially as this is the biggest craft the CSA, or indeed any of Gael's space agencies, has ever launched. As a test though, the CSA only fits three tail wings instead of four to see if this will make any difference.

The Mamba VI is rolled out onto the launchpad and blasts off into the sky with no issues:

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It's not long before the boosters separate and the main stage reaches into space, the craft gliding up to the optimum altitude to begin it's orbit burn:

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Once in orbit of Gael, David waits until the craft is in position to begin it's next manuvere to put it on course for a fly-by of Iota, then engages the engine:

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The first stage runs out of fuel and is ejected, whilst the second stage continue its burn towards Iota:

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The craft then sails through the stars, travelling further and further away from Gael:

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And closer towards Iota:

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David reckons he has more than enough fuel aboard to try an orbital insertion burn and put the craft into orbit around Iota, but mission control don't want to risk it and he continues on his way back to Gael:

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The command capsule separates from the second stage and re-enters the atmosphere:

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And David and the command capsule, along with all the scientific data he amassed from his trip, are safely recovered and brought back to the GSC. However David is keen to get back out there and thinks they won't need to make any changes to the Mamba VI in order to put the craft into orbit around Iota. However if they want to land there, they may need a different design...

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