Pleb

Cironaut Space Agency - 9. First Landing on Iota

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Posted (edited)

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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EDIT: As requested by @HansonKerman, here are some screenshots of the solar system for this playthrough, taken in the Tracking Station:

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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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Could you give a TS screenshot in the top so we can see what, exactly, your solar system is like?

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2 hours ago, HansonKerman said:

Could you give a TS screenshot in the top so we can see what, exactly, your solar system is like?

Sorry I haven't updated this in ages, I've been distracted (playing No Man's Sky).

I'll try and get round to continuing this playthrough later this week and will update the first post with a solar system screenshot from the Tracking Station as requested.

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Great! I wish GPP had dwarf planets you could explore. besides

Don't open this spoiler if you don't want to see hard to reach bodies.

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Hox and Leto

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, The Minmus Derp said:

Great! I wish GPP had dwarf planets you could explore

There's already so many planets and moons in GPP/OPM/GEP though, I've yet to visit even half of them! I'm still a newbie at this game despite well over a 100 hours of playing.

Edited by Pleb
Typo!

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9. First Landing on Iota

The CSA wants to first make sure it is able to safely orbit Iota and return before attempting landing a craft there. David Welch is certain that the Mamba VI design does not need to be modified, and the flight recorder has supported his theory that there should be enough fuel on board to attempt this.

A new Mamba VI is rolled out onto the launchpad:

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And takes off into with no problems:

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It blasts through the sky with ease:

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Once the liquid fuel boosters run out of fuel they are ejected from the craft, their residual fuel levels pumped into the main fuel tank:

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It reaches space with no complications:

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And begins its orbit insertion burn:

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Once in orbit a course is plotted to bring the craft into proximity of Iota and the Mamba VI rocket begins its transfer burn, the fuel in the main fuel tank of the first stage now nearly empty:

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Once the fuel runs out the first stage is ejected and then second stage continues its burn towards Iota:

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Once the burn is completed the craft proceeds to leave Gael behind and set off towards Iota:

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Getting further away from Gael:

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And closer to Iota:

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Once inside Iota's gravity pull, David begins the orbit insertion burn to bring the craft into orbit around the moon:

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And soon the craft is in an elliptical orbit around Iota, a new achievement for all Gaelan-kind:

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David decides to circularise his orbit around the moon, despite his fuel levels starting to look a bit low, and waits until he reaches the periapsis before beginning his burn:

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And soon the craft is in a stable low-orbit around Iota:

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After orbiting a few times and gathering as much scientific data as he can, David performs a transfer burn to return the craft to Gael, the fuel now getting dangerously low after David's risky maneuver before to circularise the orbit around Iota :

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Fortunately there's been enough fuel on board to get him home and just enough to slow his descent as he reaches Gael:

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The command capsule is ejected from the second stage and the discarded fuel tank and engine burn up safely in the atmosphere, as the capsule also burns through the sky towards the surface:

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David is able to deploy his parachute and drifts gently towards the ocean:

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Splashing down David is safe, although he may get a telling off from his superiors back at the CSA for nearly running out of fuel trying to perform a maneuver not on the schedule. However all will no doubt be forgiven in the long run, as he once again brings fame and glory to their space agency:

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So with some more gains in scientific data obtained from the mission, the CSA is able to research more technologies to further their space program:

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The CSA now feels the time is right for an attempt at landing on Iota. David has been let off with a warning regarding his actions in the previous mission, mainly because they need him for this one - the first ever landing on Iota! All the peoples of Gael will be watching as he becomes the first Gaelan to walk on another celestial body. Of course, first of all they've got to actually get there and land without blowing up!

The Mamba VII is constructed, using a similar design to previous rockets in the Mamba series, but with some new additions as well. This rocket will have four liquid fuel boosters and will use a asparagus staging, whereby fuel is fed from two of the boosters on opposites sides into the next nearest boosters. These will then eject first, and the residual fuel will go into the remaining two boosters. Then when these run out of fuel the residual fuel in these will feed into the main fuel tank in the first stage. Also as well as having a second stage in order to get the craft to Iota, the craft will have a third stage, equipped with landing legs so the the craft can land on the surface of Iota. This thirs stage will have to contain enough fuel to not only land on the surface of Iota but also take off, get back into orbit and then return to Gael:

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The Mamba VII is rolled out onto the launchpad:

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The rocket takes off and blasts into the air:

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It flies up into the sky and the first two boosters are ejected once they run out of fuel:

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The craft continues to blast through the sky and into the atmosphere, finally ejecting the second two boosters once they too run out of fuel:

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Once reaching space David begins the orbit insertion burn to put the Mamba VII into orbit around Gael:

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Once orbit is reached a course for Iota is set and the craft begins its transfer burn, ejecting the first stage once the fuel has run out:

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The second stage now drifts majestically through the darkness of space, on course for Iota:

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Soon Gael is left far behind:

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And Iota looms nearer:

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Once arriving at Iota David puts the craft into orbit, first an elliptical orbit and then circularising this to bring it into a stable low orbit around the moon:

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A landing site has been chosen on the surface that would appear to be flat, based off of the pictures that David brought back from his previous mission. A debate had been held before that perhaps a survey satellite should have been put into orbit around Iota before this landing was attempted, but the CSA had not wanted to wait too long and perhaps miss their chance to be the first agency to get a Gael on the surface. David changed the orbit of the craft so that its path was directly above the landing site and then waited until it was at the right point in which to begin the de-orbit burn and begins the craft's descent towards the surface:

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The craft slowly makes its way towards the surface, as David prepares to eject the second stage:

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The second stage is ejected, tumbling towards the surface of the moon ahead of the third stage, which David slows down by performing intermittent burns of the engine:

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Eventually the craft is nearly at the surface, which luckily appears to indeed be very flat and should not be too difficult to land upon. David extends the landing legs so that the craft may land safely:

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And slows the engines just before impact:

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David becomes the first Gael to land on the surface of another celestial body! It doesn't take him long to suit up and go outside, walking upon the surface of Iota and planting a flag to commemorate the historic moment:

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From here, David ponders that Gael looks pretty small among the vastness of space:

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After performing many scientific experiments and gathering as much data as possible, David re-enters the craft and blasts off back into space:

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Leaving the surface behind David flies up into space above Iota to begin the orbital insertion burn:

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Once reaching about 15,000 metres above the surface he begins the insertion burn:

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Soon the craft is back in orbit and David makes the necessary burn to take him back to Gael, leaving behind Iota and the flag he has planted on the surface:

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The craft drifts towards Gael:

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David ejects the command capsule from the third stage:

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Which subsequently burns up and explodes in the atmosphere whilst the command capsule burns through the atmosphere, protected by its heat shield:

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David manages to deploy the parachute and the craft drifts towards the surface of the planet:

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And he's done it! David has managed to travel to Iota, land on it's surface and return safely. This is a certainly the beginning in a new chapter of space exploration for Gael-kind:

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And with the scientific data David brought back with him, the CSA continues to improve its technology:

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The CSA is now looking at launching a survey satellite into orbit around Iota with a communications array on board, to aid in future missions to Iota...

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2 hours ago, SBKerman said:

A fine landing. The CSA is making good progress.

The landing area I chose I already knew was flat from previously playing, and also a handy hint in the GPP thread on the forum. It's a good place for an easy landing and is a good site for bases as well.

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