Duna Outpost Mission Architecture, CHAPTER 12 : Maintenance stuff, preparing following missions !

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Hey there,

This will be the thread linked to my attempt at @Death Engineering  challenge, which is a reboot from @sturmstiger


The objective is to set an permanent outpost on Duna, complete a dozen of achievements and take into consideration a lot of requirements (minimum weight, habitat confort, shuttles..). It is challenge which, just like Constellation's challenge, asks for a lot of planning and forward thinking with design.

Just like @michal.don, I'll post here so the main thread would not be flooded under tons of pictures and various reports.

Questions, feedbacks, remarks are well appreciated :)


The first task is to designed a Standard Launch Vehicle (SLV)  to carry a Nominal Payload Mass (NPM)  into 180*180 orbit maximum. Reusability and NPM will determine how often it is possible to launch a new payload so it is very important to plan everything according to Duna's transfer windows.

I settled on a 87.5t. NPM which will allow me to launch 6 times before year 10 with a tiny margin.




SLV S4 15-3


This is the mighty SuperFour 15 nozzles under 3 bottles, which is a reusable SSTO rocket, a modified version of a 150t. lifter which is now able to put 87.5t. into 180*180 and land safely.

It's easy to fly, has a huge 5m. fairing, requires only 43 parts and is very stable thanks to Vector's gimball.


Launchpad :


NPM into maximum orbit allowed :


Deorbiting :


Landing :



SLV 01 : Duna's Outpost Vermillion's Seeker





SLV 02 : Kerbin Space Station, ISRU 2-g, more nuke pods





SLV 03 : DunaSpaceStation, Outpost extension and 5 new ships !




SLV 04 : Habitat extensions, heavy rover, WoldhoundPod, tank and KERHS prototype




Space Stations

Kerbin Space Station


First part on KSS, will be complete later with a little habitat (and a proper hatch). It is a very usefull plateform with lots of docks, has a large "food" capacity, little monoprop and fuel tanks.


Duna Space Station


This station is build around a lab, it also contain room for 3 Kerbals inside a detachable habitat, a service module with little fuel / food storage (and probe control) and is powered by a Skiff-pod on a 4.5t. tank.




2slots habitat :

This module is part of the original outpost, it will be reorbit and dock to a NukePod to return 2 Kerbonauts at the KSC before Y5. It possess a large amount of food, 3 Sr. docks, and is remote-controlled (with RCS thrusters). It will also act as a hub and provide a hatch to the incomplete KerbinSpaceStation.


Tiny 2 slots :

This little module is a spacecraft on its own, it carries monoprop in the 2 lander cans and has room for 2 on long duration missions with some "food" attached to it. It will be dock to various unmanned pods during interplanetary missions, to make sure that no bad things happens.


MT4 v3 :

Launched on SLV 03, this huge addition to the outpost is capable of supporting 64 Kerbals (32 long duration) at its maximum capacity. It also features a large food container and 2 detachable passenger modules which will be reorbited at some point. Its wide track allows it will provide better stability to the outpost (while rolling at full speed :rolleyes:).


MT10 :

Launched on SLV 04, very heavy habitat with room for 52 on 2 detachable modules. Rover is autonomous, fuel celled powered with huge battery capacity (will double the outpost storage) and has shiny lights in front.



Kerbin Early Return Heat-Shield is a prototype of a extremly heat-resistant and lightweight capsule. It has no probe, battery, antenna, just room for 2 above a cargo bay with a experiment storage unit, a heavy duty heatshield and 2 parachutes (and a jr. dock at the back). It is powered by 4 Spiders with around 700m/s.


Shuttle systems



A module ready to dock in front of DTv2, boasts 1k8 dV (will need a refuel at DSS) and seats 4 kerbals with a large reserve of food. It is also designed to redock under the Dart-tug to land on Ike on its pointy end. Fairing is complete on the final version.




This module will be use to move Kerbonauts between Kerbin and Duna, once it is dock in front of HeavyNukePodv2 (which will provide 5k2 dV). It seats 5 Kerbals with lots of food for long transfers and is a totally independent module (probe, RCS, antenna).


Evac vehicle


4 seats version :

Low weight emergency vehicle, it has a huge TWR and extracts 1500 dV from its tiny fuel tanks, with 4 Kerbonauts in the air.


Emergency v4 :

High-capacity emergency vehicle with 32 seats shielded inside Mk2 cargo bays, also packing 2k dV once loaded. It is the main part of a rover.


Various Pods



DTv2 :

Hi-power lifter, is vertical-docking capable, will be use to reorbit or deorbit stuff on Duna (fuel, pods, habitats ..). It will also be the main propulsion to DunaSpaceBus module.


DTv4 :

Hi-dV lifter, also capable of vertical docking. Its main mission will be to reorbit passenger modules or deorbit wide stuff. It is also more aerodynamic than the previous version, combine a regular docking port, and has a lot more dV.


Nuke Pods


HeavyNukePodv2 + 2 LightNukePod :

High dV tug, is capable to dock to large payloads thanks to its wide track, with or without help of Light Nuke Pods (LNP).


HNP v3 :

High dV Nuke Pod, with 4 fixed engines and a very wide track, it is also an autonomous probe with large antenna.


HNP v4 :

Very simple Nuke Pod with no fuel capacity on its own, is a plateform for 4 LNP. May be used at some point in LKO to throw stuff at Duna.


HNP v5 :

This ugly contraption has 2 fixed engines and can dock 2 LNP, possess a good dV capacity and is an autonomous device. It also has the capacity to dock to a tiny habitat if required.


WolfhoundPod :

Autonomous pod with reasonnable dV, powered by a Wolfhound unit (who would have thought?). It has docking capacity, large antennas and food storage. It is based on a high-drag heatshield hand crafted by SPH teams. Launched on SLV 04, it will be use for extra fast transfer to Duna if (when) life support weakens. It is also one of the first module that do not care too much about its weight and is more based on a fun factor :D


Heavy ISRU


2-d version :

Converto 250 with 2 big drills, has room for 4 so a crew of 2 long duration missions, solar and fuel cells powered, has tiny Cub's to help on take-off, boasts various docks. Will be pushed by various NukePods depending on the mood.


2-g version :

This Converto is a lighter, better, faster, stronger version of the 2-d. This module has almost 0 fuel capacity and uses 2 Terriers to assist on take off once heavy Mk3 fuel tanks are attached to it. Is also capable to dock a tiny habitat.




This strange nameless rover is the rolling module of Emergency v4. It is able to move 32 Kerbals once docked to it, and is fuel cell powered. It uses Ev4 main engines to vertical dock in the front or aft of the outpost.


The world famous RoboTug


This very usefull contraption is able to do a lot of things. It has a powerfull SAS, a large Sr Dock and a Klaw which will help the crew to move inert modules such as Nuke Pods or fuel tanks.




Life Support



USE OF FOOD (0.04 each day per Kerbal)

1st launch : 600 ore

Y1 D40 to Day 164

ISRU 2-d (total 75 food) : 2 Kerbz sent away for mining ops : 9.92Ore (dropped to 65.08)

Y1 D164 to D389

Outpost (total 525 food) : 6 Kerbals = 54 (had to drop 75 to use ISRU)

ISRU 2-d : 2 Kerbals = 18 (65.08 dropped to 47.08)

Y1 D389 to Y2D221

Outpost : 6 Kerbz = 61.92 (450 dropped to 388)

ISRU 2-d : 2 Kerbz = 20.64 (47.08 dropped to 26.44) Will probably have to bring food from the outpost in orbit before they starve (no more food on Y3 D128).

Jebediah took-off on Y3D127 to bring 75 food to Bill & Valentina in orbit, ISRU 2-d is now back at +75food while the outpost drops to 313.

2nd launch : 1245 ore

Y2 D139 to Y2 D218

ISRU 2-g : 2 Kerbz = 6.32 (45 dropped to 38.68)

3rd launch : 900 ore

Y3 D238 after injection to Duna

KerbinSpaceStation 600 ore in stock

Duna Mothership :  28 Kerbals and 1500 ore

Y3 D238 to Y4 D95 after capturing around Duna

V'S : 6 Kerbs = 67.92 (388 dropped to 320.08)

Mt4 (outpost extension) : 28 Kerbs = 319.96 (1500 dropped to 1183.04)

Y3 D217 to Y4 D95 (Bill and Val around Duna)

ISRU 2-d : 2 Kerbs = 24.32 (75 dropped to 50.68)

Y4 D95 to Y4 D186 (Anlorf and Catburry left the outpost to return at Kerbin)

Outpost : 34 Kerbals = 123.76 (1183.04 dropped to 1059.28)

Y4 D95 to Y4 D196

ISRU 2-d : Bill and Val (mining ops to landing on Duna) = 8.08 (50.68 dropped to 42.6)

Outpost is now up to 34 Kerbals again

Y4 D186 to Y4 D196

Outpost : 32 Kerbals = 12.8 (1059.28 dropped to 1046.48)

Transfer 12 Ore from ISRU 2-d (dropped to 30) to DunaSpaceBus (up to 12) to support potential long missions on Ike

Y4 D186 to Y4 D418

KerbinEarlyReturn ship : Catburry and Antlorf = 18.56 (20.93 dropped to 2.37)

 4th launch : 180 ore

Y4 D344 to Y5 D66

ISRU 2-g and KER Interception ship : Mike & Franfen = 11.84 (38.4 dropped to 26.56)





1st landing :

6 Kerbals Y1D389, minus 4 days while Jeb was in orbit (Y3D127 - D131) to bring food to Val & Bill.

2nd landing :

28 Kerbals Y4 D96

KerbinEarlyReturn :

Catburry and Anlorf take-of from the outpost to come back at Kerbin on Y4 D186, crew gets down to 32 Kerbals

DunaSpaceBus is available :

Bill and Valentina finally land on the outpost on Y4 D196, back to 34 Kerbals

Lalong, Jacan, Alkin and Stelwig take of to visit Ike on Y4 D197, outpost holds 30 Kerbals until D205 when the 4 explorers landed back.








Edited by Kerbolitto
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First part of this challenge is to launch the first SLV on day 40, depending on NPM choosed it will or will not be possible to launch another rocket before first transfer window.

As I settled for a big NPM I'd get to throw a lot of stuff into orbit to fullfill the first requirements.


This is how it happenned (featuring lots of docking :confused:) :


CHAPTER 1, Orbiting Vermillion's Seeker, Mining, Docking, Mining again, and then Converting before mining.


Part 1 : Orbiting too much stuff all at once :D 



Launchpad on day 40, fairing is somewhat huge :


G-turn, SLV being capable of orbiting 150t. at LKO it has too much TWR for a 87.5t. payload so I relied a lot on throttle control :


Payload into orbit :


Payload's mass :


Crew is then launched to meet on the second orbit.



Valentina & Bill docking to V'S



Part 2 : First flight to Minmus



M700 docked onto half of the payload going to Minmus, first time I tried to dock with no RCS, it's boring ! : D


Minmus arrival, HUGE MARGIN ! :huh: The M700 was launched at the same time than ISRU & nuke pod but arrived before to scan Minmus.


Take-off time, Bill was not sure on how much time he'd need to refuel a huge nuke tug but his capability were surprising. Only 1h30 later everything is packed up.


Departure to Kerbin LKO, huge retroburn, could have done a lot better but KSC needed to make sure that the Nuke pod was worthy :


Finally meeting with V'S after 3 large burns on anti-target :



Part 3 : Vermillion's Seeker sent to Minmus, also more mining



V'S departing to Minmus :


Second landing, had to reassemble some stuff because it was so tight on LF than I could only captured onto an elliptical orbit :


Encounter with ISRU fully fuelled, seen from the outpost :


This was after the 2nd Light nuke pod's mining operation, modularity is a key factor in this challenge :


Again, some reassembly, this time Bill & Valentina are landing with all nuke pods :


Take off after 5th mining :



Part 4 : Return to LKO




Going down to Kerbin, with a little help from the Mun. Valentina had to burn some fuel because Bill put so much Oxidizer into the base that the TWR dropped to 0.2 and it would have been too hard return to Kerbin, undock the outpost, and return to Minmus again for the final mining. Also only the Nuke pod's LF was burning, as the fuel storage around the outpost will be needed to Duna's injection. Not seen in this picture : M700 was redocked because we'll need it around Duna.


Minmus return, again with very little dV margin, had to capture onto a very inclined orbit to avoid changing the inclinaison around Kerbin :


Landing, Valentina had to give everything she had :


After mining agaiiiin, this was the cheap return orbit planned, but it was so delicate that it only stayed as you see it : a plan.


18 days later with help of the Mun, Ap, Pe and inclinaison were finally zeroing on the outpost's orbit :


At last, a reasonnable encounter !


Everything is docked again, ship's got something like 1760dV :



Edited by Kerbolitto
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CHAPTER 1Bis (I know), re-refuelling at Minmus because why not ?


Part 0 : We need more dV !


After the recent events, Gus Kerman figured that it was possible to get even more dV from those mining operations. Kerbonauts already got enough to inject and capture around Duna but since Walt Kerman asked for the fastest landing possible, it was decided to make a special trip to Minmus with the ISRU.

This time, the whole outpost is filled with liquid fuel, and the remnants of oxidizer here and there were burnt to lower the mass of the ship, only M700 and Emergency vehicle kept their full tanks.

The mothership was once again reassembled, with the ISRU pushed by the Heavy nuke pod and 1 Light nuke pod going to Minmus.



Minmus injection :


Landing with more fuel than usual !


Just after burning left oxidizer, take-off, redock with LNP :


This time Valentina could put the ship on a really nice return trajectory. Ejection from Minmus was done with proper inclinaison, followed by a correction maneuver at Kerbin's ap to set two fly-by of the Mun.


Circu around Kerbin and encounter with the left LNP, someone forgot to put a standard dock onto the outpost so Val had to run after it.


Final encounter with Vermillion's Seeker, a bit abrupt :


This time the ship is ready to depart, it has +/- 500Lf more than at the end of the last chapter, which gives it around 1980dV !



Edited by Kerbolitto

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CHAPTER 2, Injection to Duna, landing 224 days later.


Part 1 : Burning a lot of fuel, 3 times 'cause it's more fun



After the previous events, the outpost was left onto a 165x165 orbit around Kerbin, this time with proper refuelling.

Bill and Valentina checked all systems, gauges, relays and napkins supply. They showed that the ship had almost 2k dV but a poor TWR. All was clear nonetheless and the remaining crew was sent onto an orbit to dock at the Vermillion's Seeker, and then burn to Duna.


The encounter planned with Duna was very agressive, because half of this challenge is getting Kerbals on Duna's surface for the longest time possible. I forgot to take a screenshot from the planned node (after multiple tries) but it was something like 1400 m/s. This is the second burn at Pe (3 minutes x2) :


Third and final burn :



Part 2 : Docks, Docks everywhere


Before arriving to Duna, the Nuke pod and Heavy ISRU undocked from the main ship. The plan was to aerobrake the whole outpost while the lighter Pod would retroburn around Duna with its remaining fuel.

After a tiny correction maneuver, the crew began to reassemble the whole outpost using the SuperDart Tug.



Fore modules are ready, M700 in front which will be decoupled in Duna's SOI, parachutes modules, habitat for 2, wheels and tank.


Everything is ready !


Same pic with stats :



Part 3 : Something's red on the radar, and this time its not ketchup


Some stuff happenning around Duna, mainly huge retroburn and taking a lot of heat !



Bill and Valentina in the nuke pod did a correction to arrive first around Duna, which would let time to the rest of the team to crash land safely on a runway.


M700 is then captured too, after a huge burn :


V'S is now descending on Duna, Pe was set at 18 800m.


Peak G-force at 21000m. The outpost is far more sturdy than what its looks suggest, only the big wheels required cooling (read : spinning like crazy).


Now at supersonic speed :


Parachutes deployed :



Part 3 :         Landing (finally !)



Thanks to 2 drogue chutes, 2 radials and 4 Mk16xL chutes, the landing was very easy. The 2 darts provided a usefull thrust to wipe off a bit of speed before final landing.


Brakes on, safety first ! (the fuselage might be radiating intense heat at this point.)


Outpost is operationnal :


Y1 D389 4h30



The crew on surface consists of :

Thompdo (pilot)

Katnard (engineer)

Kathmal (engineer)

Bob (veteran scientist)

Samemy (pilot)

and Jeb (veteran pilot)

(also stuck in orbit : Valentina & Bill !)


This is it, clock starts ticking for this fearless crew, they got a lot to do on Duna's surface (or maybe they'll wait for the next ship, we'll see !).

Edited by Kerbolitto
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Forgot to mention that the challenge requires some kind of life support for every Kerbals, which goes like this : each Kerb "eats" 0.04Ore a day. Obviously you cannot "mine" food supply so it has to be launched from Kerbin to ensure that each Kerbal got his / her own share.

This is a little resume of the "food" consumption on this challenge :




1st launch : 600 ore

Day 40 to Day 164, 2 Kerbz sent away for mining ops : 9.92Ore

Day 164 to day 389, 8 Kerbals sent and landed at Duna : 72 Ore


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CHAPTER 3, Logist-Ike


Part 1 : Iking, how modularity saved the mission


Things were on the loose : after a huge retroburn around Duna with a Pe far too high, the ISRU (with Bill & Val) and Heavy Nuke Pod were left almost stranded on a very elliptic orbit.

Thanks to the various reconfiguration's possibilities between ships and engines,  and Ike's ability to greatly lower the Ap into Duna's system, Valentina managed to bring the ISRU onto Ike.




The ISRU was docked to a Light Nuke Pod, waiting in orbit with all remaining fuel.


On the ground, DartTug and Parachute Pod were put onto their butt after refuelling and repacking chutes :


DT docked above parachutes :


After take off, Parachute pod is left onto orbit (this assemblage is absolutely not aerodynamic, 4 Twitch with high gimballs were a necessity to get some control while flying through the souposphere !)  :


Then the DT was deorbited next to the V'S, without parachutes but extreme drag thanks to the Sr. Dock facing downward :


V'S came to rescue the pod, and after a little jump it was able to refuel completely, every bit of Lf was needed to put the ISRU onto Ike's orbit ! 


Here is the encounter with ISRU, which had to be quite precise because of the speed involved.



Part 2 : Drilling Ike, saving the Heavy Nuke Pod


After the encounter between DT and ISRU, the new assembly had the capability to land -safely-, refuel the DT, and use it to fill up the HNP which was on a crash encounter with Duna.




Valentina managed to land this whole module, which was far too heavy for a single Nuke. She noted that the TWR dropped below 0.2 and had to actually use the Darts to reduce 80m/s on the final approach, before returning the ship to land onto its Nuke. Safety margin was as usual, very high ...


After refuelling the ISRU and DT took of with the help of Cub's engines. The HNP was still on a highly elliptic orbit, passed near Ike which would send it directly lythobraking on Duna, the crew has to catch with it and burn radial to avoid Duna. Valentina noted that it was one of the hardest encounter she had to do because it requires 300+m/s to catch with the HNP, piloting a ship with 0.17 TWR.


Nuke pods were quickly refitted to harmonize the thrust, the ship burned radial to escape Duna's surface and atmosphere, and the ship was left waiting a few days to get a new Ike's encounter. At this point it was, again, very low on fuel.



Part 3 : Drilling Ike, this time with industrial capacity


Now that the HNP was saved, and the crew had a new encounter with Ike, the ship dropped one LNP onto Ike's orbit to took of some weight.



For this 2nd landing, Valentina should have dropped one LNP because the ship was so heavy that it kept crashing into the ground during ""simulations"". Finally she managed to find the perfect approach and dropped the whole contraption on the ground with great .. sweating.


After refuelling the crew took of, and set an encounter with the remaining LNP orbiting slowly around Ike which was quickly docked :


With the ship again complete, Val burned to descend onto Duna low orbit to drop the DartTug fully fuelled, waiting for next assignement. After that, she quickly burned to Ike to top up as much Lf as possible :


The retroburn on Ike's orbit reminded Bill & Valentina of the Jadis-Naguère, used some years before on their Constellation mission, with 3 bright flames shooting radioactive kerosene behind them :


After 3rd mining and refuelling, they took of, get down to Duna, and set an encounter with the DT waiting in LDO :


Now the assembly has a good TWR and Nuke's dV capability with lots of fuel.





The next chapter will be about the second launch around Y2 D139, I don't think I'll document some Duna exploration since I have very few patience when travelling with rovers ! :D

Edited by Kerbolitto

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I like how your modular designs work! I don't think I'm that creative..

Say have you seen the multi docking port building technique? (One surface area that has all three docking ports on it)

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Thank you @Death Engineering ! I focused on lowering weight (even if there's still looots of room for improvements ...) which meant re-use everything, like the parachute pod now orbiting Duna, so I only got to launch them once. Dart-Tug will be use to power the DunaSpaceBus, and the little Light Nuke Pods should be assigned behind the Deep Space Transit. :D

There will be more modules on the next launch, to complete the fleet and allow more flexibility.


As of the multi dock technique I saw KerbalSpaceCommand use it on one of his (great) video, I may use it later but for now almost every module got a Sr. dock to avoid noodl-o-tron, maybe during the end of the challenge if tiny stuff is missing..

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Here is a picture of the upcoming report, a new payload was prepared in the VAB and launched at the first hour of Y2 D139.

The mission require a ton of hardware, some modules will become complete assemblies after 3rd launch, 525 days later, just before the second transfer window to Duna.




The packaging took a very long time to finish, some modules having 4 or 5 iterations to simplify as much as possible while retaining reliability and ease of use.

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CHAPTER 4, Launching SLV 02, Harvesting Minmus



Part 1 : SLV 02 on Launchpad


After launching new stuff some days ago, I noticed that a relay antenna was broken when openning the fairing ... So I decided to reload, then change the fairing, which of course turned into changing a ton of things (that was 4 days ago). :huh:

Not only is the new payload more user-friendly (less stuff to dock) and is lighter, it is also more pretty with added lights and cosmetic stuff (it is a space station after all!).







SLV 02 on launchpad, Anlorf is piloting while Anwise will supervise drilling ops :


Full assembly after detaching from the launcher :


Heavy ISRU 2-g is complete, both Kerbals are now able to burn to Minmus for the first mining operation :


Kerbin Space Station is left on LKO, with remaining modules :



Part 2 : 1st landing on Minmus and coming back to LKO with some much needed Fuel


Anwise and Anlorf arrived at Minmus and are warming up the Convert-o.

This version is lighter than the 2-d, it is able to easily carry a Mk3 fuselage and it has 2 Terriers facing downward to provide vertical boost during take-off. It is also designed to dock a light mobile habitat with room for 2 on long duration missions.




The first landing of this new ISRU took place 9 days later :


ISRU 2-g is now fully fuelled and ready to take off, with only 2 Nukes the TWR dropped to 0.21 :


Anlorf planned a gravity assist with the Mun to bring Apoapsis down, which will save a lot of fuel :


After 3 retroburn in LKO, the 2-g is now docked again with KSS, which was left on Minmus inclination :


The crew re-arranged some modules to make sure every Nuke engines are pointing in the same direction, and is now heading to Minmus with the whole assembly :



Part 3 : KSS chillin around Minmus, crew took some mint pictures


Our brave crew is now orbiting around Minmus with a whole space station and is ready to mine a lot more stuff !






Crew meeting KSS after 2nd mining :


2-g taking off with Terrier's help :


RoboTug is using its Klaw to move some modules again, this is a SkiffPod with the SolarComSat attached behind :


Anlorf plotted another Mun assist to get down to Kerbin, this time zeroiing the inclination relative to the ecliptic :



Part 4 : Getting KSS down in LKO, pushing buttons to make it alive


Now that KSS is fuelled, the crew lit up all 8 Nukes to come back in LKO. They also took time to watch the Mun because it's beautifull at this season.





Anlorf brought back KSS around Kerbin on a 154x154 orbit with 0 inclination to the Mun. All ComSat are fuelled and there's even some Monoprop left :



Part 5 : Last departure to Minmus


Now that KSS is back where it belongs, Anwise and Anlorf are preparing for a last mining session. They now have some experience with Minmus departures.




This time the 2-g has to change its inclination, the dV margin is a little tight again :


5th landing, actually there is some Lf left !


2-g is fuelled at its maximum :


Maneuver to LKO, this Mun-thing is really handy !



Part 6 : Packing up modules, waiting for SLV 03


Now that the crew and 2-g came down on KSS with a lot of fuel, some modules are re-attached onto KSS for later use. The 3 Nukes pods are docked in a usable order, when will come the time to push the second to Duna.




Everything is ready, the whole ship weights 131t. and has more than 3k5 dV in its current version :




Ships list on 1st post is now updated

Edited by Kerbolitto
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CHAPTER 5, Exploring Duna, more mining !



Part 1 : GTA Stunts


After realizing the crew had nothing to do while waiting for some friends to join them on the surface, they decided to use the outpost big wheels to actually go somewhere.

They headed north-east through lowlands, midlands, highlands, get down in the Northern Bassin, followed the Northwest Canyon and are now bouncing on the equator in the Midland Sea , under Ike's watch.

The outpost is actually very robust, it can speed up to 65m/s but the wheels loose traction above 40-45m/s. RCS thrusters on the 2 seats habitats at the very back of the outpost allows for a good control during high jumps :rolleyes:





Northern Bassin :




Northwest Canyon :




Part 2 : Food problem !


When the outpost was deorbited right into Duna's scarlet face, the crew somehow forgot to share snacks with Bill & Valentina, who would be waiting around the planet for a long period. A rescue mission was set up using DTv2 and the 2seats habitat which would later serve for the early Kerbin's return so everyone could have its fair share of chips and knackis.

Jebediah sat in the habitat during 4 days and met up in orbit with Val and Bill in the ISRU 2-d, while the DTv2 was refuelling on the ground. Those maneuvers were not part of the planning and involved some dangerous dockings on the ground but somehow nothing was broken thanks to A LOT of simulations.

Just before those multiple dockings (somehow a common theme on this challenge) it was also decided that all the stuff in orbit would be packed together, the ParachutePod and one LNP were still drifting.





DTv2 was left in orbit with its tanks filled up, and is now put at use again.

Deorbit :


Landing almost on target, actually the Outpost was 0.3° higher than the equator :


Docking on top of the little habitat to refuel, this maneuver was made easier with 4 Twitch to provide a much needed gimball :


DTv2 taking off, with Jeb inside the habitat below it :


The bags of chips are transferred to Valentina and Bill's food closets, at this point they were eating the very last few crumbs of Gene Kerman's apple pie.

Hopefully the lack of communication network allowed the three to party all night without worrying about mission control !


DTv2 was again deorbited on the outpost for refuelling :



DTv2 after take-off, docked on top of the habitat to deorbit it and bring back Jeb on the ground :


Luckily the food containers were put below the habitat so CoM is at the center of every docks, they were used as landing leg, every potato survived.


This was one of the hardest docking performed by the crew, someone forgot to turn off RCS so it was all wasted, and the thrust of both Darts was quite hard to adjust. Samemy who was remote-controlling the pod decided to land it on a little slope, so the outpost could be parked below, the scrapping of the 2 docks due to inclination helping to guide the procedure.



Part 3 : Consequences


Now that Bill and Valentina got all the food they can eat, the DTv2 had to be refuelled at Ike. It is a necessity that all fuel tanks are topped up, to deorbit Kerbals who will later join the crew on Duna's ground. With no pressure and too much fuel, the 2 Kerbonauts set a new encounter with Ike.





In the order from left to right : ISRU 2-d, HeavyNukePod + 2 LightNukePods, DTv2 and ParachutePod which was somehow part of the flight since someone forgot to undock it.. !


Landing on Ike, both LNP were docked together and the PP was left on a different orbit to help later encounter maneuvers :


Take-off was really hard to achieve. Valentina had to carefully use Cubs for vertical thrust, light up Darts a little, while not aiming too high to avoid breaking the solar arrays trailing behind, all of this with a TWR of 0.18 on Nukes (also the forward facing dock was flipped over :huh:) :


The ship docked to PP and both LNP, ready to get down on Duna low orbit :


Ship's back on a 108x108 parking orbit with almost the same fuel remaining that it had before the whole food-rescue mission :




Edited by Kerbolitto
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CHAPTER 6, SLV 03 and second transfer to Duna



Part 1 : Launch, encounter with KSS


The time as come to launch again some new parts, after another 525 days rotation to prepare the rocket. SLV 03 weights a tiny bit less than 87.5tons like every other payloads, but this one is quite special.

After many hours of forward thinking the engineers were able to pack every remaining modules in this third launch. What that mean is, every achievements should be complete with all the hardware orbiting Kerbin and Duna. Inside this streamlined fairing is combined a lot of cool stuff and a huge rolling habitat to pursue the mission with a crew of 28 (+2 piloting the injection's pod).






Some numbers about SLV 03 :


Encounter with KSS :



Part 2 : Maneuvers and dockings to complete DunaSpaceStation


After joining KerbinSpaceStation, the crew remote-controlled RoboTug to switch every necessary modules. All 3 NukePods and DunaSpaceStation Habitat-module, which were launched on SLV 02, are now docked to DSS after reconfiguration. DeepSpaceTransit (a taxi capable of flying Duna-Kerbin-Duna without refuelling with a crew of 5) is docked to KSS, waiting for the next transfer window. Docking maneuvers were quite tedious with very limited monopropellant (and lot of lag) so after completing its mission, RoboTug was left drifting until next launch.






DeepSpaceTransit docking to KSS with the help of RoboTug :


DunaSpaceStation Habitat-module transferred to DSS :


RoboTug left with no propellant after completing its task :



Part 3 : Mothership complete, injection to Duna


After completing every module needed for this transfer, the whole contraption is ready to get to Duna. It's more like a mothership than a simple Station at this point .. The whole thing weights 183t. with its crew capacity and fuel tanks half empty. Since it has more dV than needed the mission control planned a quick injection to put everything in orbit around Y4D92.






Some numbers with the mothership complete, it has +2300m/s despite fuel tanks being half empty. Despite being powered by 8 Nukes, it has a TWR of only 0.27.


The injection was split in 3 burns, first took 70 sec, second 120 sec


Third and last burn was 700 m/s, which bring the ship close to Duna :



Part 4 : Bringing back 4 nukes


Ship's now on its way to a new world, Hilpont and Monand detached from it to bring back one NukePod in LKO. They burned retrograde to recapture Kerbin's SOI and used a Mun gravity assist to lower them on a parking orbit.

Mission control decided that there's no point having dozens of Nukes sitting around Duna until they bring everyone's back home, on the last transfer before Year10.






Tug recapturing around Kerbin after completing the injection :


dV margins were tight but the tug only needed to get back to LKO, it will be redock / refuell later :


It is now waiting on a 159x179 orbit, within the margin of a shuttle to bring the crew back on the surface :



Whole ship complete, now on a transfer path to Duna :




Next chapter should be maneuvers around Duna, and return of 2 Kerbals on Kerbin before Y5, using a totally non-hohmann transfer !

List of ships has just been updated.


Thanks for reading :)

Edited by Kerbolitto

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CHAPTER 7, ComNetwork, Capturing Outpost's extension, Preparing Kerbin early return



Part 1 : Kerbin, do you copy?


1 Solar-orbit relay, 3 Duna relays and one last for Ike were detached from the mothership before it arrives in Duna's SOI. GroundControl decided that capturing one ship at a time was too easy so they asked foxes at Tracking Station to drink a lot of coffee, and be prepared to remote-capture 5 ships in 16 minutes. After laughing nervously, they replied that they'll do it but it would be the last time that they'd accept this kind of treatment. Hopefully for GroundControl, no more Relays would ever be launched during this mission.

ComNetWork consists of 3 RA-2 around Duna (1 polar and 2 inclined), 1 RA-2 around Ike (polar orbit), and the most important, one RA-15 leading Duna by a few thousands kilometers. There's also a few HG-5 around Duna and the outpost on the ground possess a multi hop capable guidance unit with a pilot on the bridge at any time. It allows the 6 Kerbs on the ground and the other 2 in orbit to pass a call at KSC for the first time since almost a thousand days !







Solar relay maneuver : it was detached 165 days before the mothership enters Duna SOI and will not be captured around it. What you see here is the best way in my opinion, to set a solar relay on the same orbit as a planet. It is very close to be captured which means it almost exactly matches the speed of the planet relative to Kerbol.


5 ships coming at the same time near Duna :



All relays got a lot of dV because Duna's approach might have been a non-hohmann transfer. R700 was almost non captured due to this after the first injection, so the designers took time to add lots of fuel (more than needed) to each relay.


Part 2 : Mothership's capture and reconfiguration


28 more Kerbs coming to visit Duna ! Everyone's very excited to welcome the outpost extension and its large crew, not only they come with a powerfull comnetwork, they also brought bottles of Kerbi-Kola and the missing mayonnaise ! The mothership packs a huge habitat with lots and lots of food, DunaSpaceBus (Duna-Ike-Duna shuttle), a brand new DartTug, a modulable fuel tank to make Bill & Valentina happy, and a fully autonomous DunaSpaceStation.






Mothership captures a bit late on schedule with more dV than needed since all 5 Relays decoupled earlier. It will stay on a convenient 215x215 orbit :


DTv2 seen here moving the outpost's extension (it is also a reliable RCS tug !) :


Habitat docks to the emergency module after the crew made sure its pointy end is in the correct direction :


DTv4 is moving to dock on the habitat, its wide track makes it perfect to deorbit large stuff :



Part 3 : Landing, and why you always want seatbelts


Once the outpost extension was rearranged, docked to it's emergency module, parachutes pod and engines, GroundControl sent its approval to deorbit all that shiny stuff. This operation is a testimony to the capability of KSC engineers to produce contraptions that are easy to fly, reliable, and always very safe. (sarcasm font)

No one choked up after reading the instructions, but there was some nervous coughing in the back of the briefing room.








MT4v3 deorbiting, DartTug is tilted to allow its flames to safely burn away from the passenger modules (1 or 2 meters is enough). :


The enormous drag of the Emergency module turns the whole assemblage facing the wrong direction, but parachutes will rectify that (speed is already quite low considering theweight and high orbit altitude of the deorbit maneuver, it even slows down to 200m/s at 6700m. before deploying chutes):


Safe touchdown :


DTv4 detached and waiting near the module :


MT4 is waiting next to it, on its wheels !


DTv4 docked on top of the outpost, ready to refuel :



Now there are 34 Kerbals on the surface of Duna !




Part 4 : Servicing stuff in orbit !


Since the outpost is live and all systems turned green (even its inhabitants), Bill & Valentina joined DunaSpaceStation to service various modules, prepared NukePods for the Early-Kerbin-Return and filling up different fuel tanks.







Bill & Val docked DunaSpaceStation fuel tank, which is a modular and will in the need bethe core of the ISRU as an autonomous ship:


1st landing at Ike :


Take off is uneasy, the whole ship weights almost 100t. :


NukePods are reconfigured, you can see that LightNukePods are now fitted to the massive fuel tank :


After a second landing, the ship is coming down to Duna on a very high orbit :


ISRU is retroburning to Duna, after leaving the HeavyNukePod between Ike and Duna's orbit (it will be use later to perform a huge burn to Kerbin) :



Again, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy these aventures :)

Next chapter should be Early-Kerbin-Return before Y5, and the final configuration of Duna Space Station, maybe some shuttle stuff to Ike aswell :)



Edited by Kerbolitto
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Those modular designs are very impressive.

Also, I may be changing my relay network design to work more like yours, I think yours is lighter.

Edited by Mad Rocket Scientist
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11 minutes ago, Mad Rocket Scientist said:

Those modular designs are very impressive.

Also, I may be changing my relay network design to work more like yours, I think yours is lighter.

Thank you :)

Modularity was a baseline from the start in the way I envisionned this challenge, this way I don't send tons of parachutes or heavy autonomous designs with their own engines, antennas and stuff.. Also fairings truss structure is so usefull I just can't design without it anymore !

I used the network that I planned on my Constellation-challenge, and it works ok. Might be better with a larger Solar relay but this one is just enough to keep a steady com (might be even lighter with less fuel tanks for each relays).

Edited by Kerbolitto

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CHAPTER 8, First steps of Kerbin Early Return



Part 1 : Packing every Nukes available


One aspect of this mission's architecture requires an early return to Kerbin, bringing home before Y5 at least 2 Kerbals who walked on Ike or Duna, and a surface sample. MissionControl decided that a very late return could be feasible. This would be possible after collecting all NukePods, DunaSpaceStation large fuel tank, and the little habitat in front of Vermillion's Seeker (the rolling outpost on Duna). Part of this was accomplished at the end of Chapter 7, when 2 H(eavy)N(uke)P(od) were left on a high orbit just below Ike's SOI. This would later help to complete the very long burn (12 minutes) to get down on Kerbin because the orbit is so large that the ship would only deal with a very marginal drift.

The last HNP was docked on DunaSpaceStation so Bill and Valentina, who really are the backbone of the whole mission's architecture, get down from their high orbit to meet with it. They also took time to complete the Station (Monoprop tanks are not empty anymore !), adjusting every modules where it belongs to create a real spacecraft. Once this was done, they, again, headed to Ike to complete Liquid Fuel tanks.








Once DunaSpaceStation was complete (required moving its Hab module and the Skiff engine), Valentina & Bill performs a burn to meet with Ike :


After mining, they met up with HNPs just below Ike's orbit, and docked everything together :


(one more mining mission not seen here)


Part 2 : Catburry and Anlorf leave Duna


After democratically drawing straws, the malicious crew buried half of Anlorf and Catburry in the Midland's Sea red sand so they could bring back bits of surface on their spacesuits. They also gave them pockets with various rocks samples from other biomes, which were properly sealed because there's only so much exposure to red a Kerbal can take. At the end of the festivities Catburry and Anlorf took place in what will become their home for more than half a year. The strangely looking DartTugv4 took-of at the end of the night with a fuzzy crew.







Anlorf and Catburry docked onto DunaSpaceStation, they detached the ParachutePod still attached to the orbiter since the last landing. Catburry repacked every chutes because it's easier in orbit, while Anlorf worked the pumps to bring almost all the remaining liquid fuel of the station :


DTv4 and K(erbin)E(arly)R(eturn) module approaching HNPs :



Part 3 : BURN to Kerbin


Once the habitat docked on HNPs, they took time to say hi to Bill and Valentina who were greener than ever with all the radiations in space, while Catburry and Anlorf were still a bit red because of the crew's prank. After sharing a cake they began refuelling and reassembling all Pods needed to come back at Kerbin. Valentina hide Ike's samples in a bottle of shampoo because sitting with Bill since almost 4 years put a strain on her judgement. This would cause the surprise of Anlorf later in the flight.








Return maneuver is very agressive because Kerbin is no more in position for a hohmann transfer. At the time, departure burn was 3k m/s and 200x200 Kerbin orbit required 4100+ m/s but those plans were changed later.


The ship's tanks, almost 65t. of liquid fuel and just enough food for the trip. There was a flaw in the design of one NukePod, a structural element not in place supporting one Nuke engine induced a bit of torque (Y axis) but still within SAS adjustments :


Fuel tanks and pods were arranged in a way that allow some kind of staging, one NukePod and DSS-FuelTank would remain in Duna's SOI to motor the ISRU. After providing 1700m/s this part was detached with enough fuel left in the pod so it could retroburn in a proper orbit. At this point, the whole assembly was just short of 8000m/s (stage 1 & 2):


(Since I'm playing stock, the maneuver node had a reset after undocking the NukePod :huh:, I just continued in the same direction knowing that there was +/- 1300m/s left) :


DSS-FuelTank with its L(ight)N(uke)P(ods) retroburning to capture around Duna, final orbit 1959x2359 :


Once this maneuver was done, it has just enough fuel to set an encounter with Ike and capture around it in an elliptical orbit (TWR was >1 so it required very little fuel) :



Some time after completing KER ejection burn, TrackingStation called MissionControl. They run some calculations (read : random accident) and show a very interresting trajectory.

Minmus was almost in perfect position to set an encounter during the ship's capture around Kerbin. This would save more than 500m/s and put all those shiny fuel tanks on a parking orbit around Minmus waiting to be refuelled. Problem was, the crew would be at least 2 weeks late after Year5. Once Gene Kerman spurted his coffee, he looked at a dusty box on the shelf labelled "Crazy Ideas". He then smiled and began to laugh frantically, only stopping to call Wernher.. There was some excitment in the air, said a controller.




Part 4 : More mining (really?)


Once everything departed, Valentina and Bill planned another mining mission. They were now rocket-powered and it was a relief to feel some gravity in their bones (do they have some ?), after spending most of the time in orbit, on Ike, or behind Nukes engines producing 0.3g at the very best






ISRU 2d descending on Ike, the rocket-powered mode requires a vertical docking of the tug. The crew was pleased to feel only minor torque vectoring during the various firings of Darts :


DSS-FLT and ISRU docked together after take-of, next part will be filling up every fuel tanks around Duna so the DunaSpaceBus and DunaSpaceStation will be usable ships.



Thank you for reading this new chapter, the fuel part took some time to figure but I like how this turns out, especially the encounter with Minmus, which will be very interresting for future refuellings. :P

Edited by Kerbolitto
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CHAPTER 9, Visiting Ike using DunaSpaceBus !



Part 1 : Refuelling on Ike, getting down in Duna low orbit to meet with DunaSpaceStation


At the end of the last chapter, we left Catburry and Antlorf on their way to Kerbin.


You may spot Duna almost right on top of the antenna !


This time we'll see more actions near Duna, once that DunaSpaceBus cranks up. In order to start-up this new module Bill and Valentina had to mine Ike anooooother time. They then plotted a new encounter with the Station.






ISRU 2-d, DartTugv4 and DunaSpaceStation docked together : I'm not showing you the mining stage, it's always the same stuff



Part 2 : DunaSpaceBus blips on the screen


One part of this challenge is to service a Bus which could ferry at least 4 Kerbalz between Duna's surface, onto Ike. In order to reduce overall weight, the engineers decided that a pointy habitat module docked on top of a DartTug would be sufficient enough, they even wrote a very safe landing procedure to accomodate Ike's rough terrain ! Once Val finished the completion of module, she and Bill took place in it and prepared to finally walk on Duna after years in orbit.







Undocking DSB habitat :


DSB docked on DTv2, its fairing hides 3 mk1 cockpit and a medium ore tank to deorbit food if needed. It also has 3 Mk2 radial chutes.



Part 3 : Valentina and Bill touchdown, and finally : la photo de famille !


After defining a suitable deorbiting procedure, Bill and Valentina landed on Duna to meet with the outpost's crew. They brought back old memories of mining Minmus, Ike, Minmus Minmus, and Ike, also waiting in orbit. Everyone had a good fun, especially when looking at the champagne's bubble on a low gravity planet.

KSC called and required a family picture of all members, Walt Kerman at PublicRelations stated that's what social media asked so why not please Kwitter audience? The mood was so good that someone started the idea to light-up the rover and do some rounds around the outpost, hopefully no one felt motion sickness allegedly.



Only Bob is looking the other way, because that's what scientists have to do.



Part 4 : Lalong, Jacan, Alkin and Stelwig first hop to Ike


A mission to Ike was plotted, once everyone calmed down. Jacan and Alkin, 2 scientists, were asked to land on Ike to study samples of the dark stuff Bill and Valentina were still covered of. They'd be supported by Stelwig (pilot) and Lalong (miner, parachute repacker). Their first hop would be a rather simple landing on the equator, mainly to test the Bus. They also needed a refuelling encounter with the Station. Stelwig choked a bit after reading how she would have to modulate the ship in order to be able to touch the surface on the pointy end.







DSB approach DSS, ready to dock (almost no fuel left after a bad ascent and the encounter with the station) :


DSB before / after landing on Ike : you can also see that in its Ike's lander position the engine pods pulls rather than push the habitat, to land on the command pod's struts.




Part 5 : Extended mission


Almost all DSB systems were clear, which was a relief, only a minor instability coming from the Tug pod, still within the counter torque SAS capability, annoyed a bit Stelwig. Alkin and Jacan were able to produce fantastic science on Ike (read : 2 surface samples and 1 badly written report) and asked for an extended mission to take cool pictures visit something else on Ike.

Once the green light received, Stelwig took a phone call to the ISRU 2-d probe and asked it to join the crew around Ike. Maneuvring on a polar orbit after landing / take-of was well beyond the capacities of the ship so a complete refuel would have to happen. Lalong and Stelwig deorbited the ISRU, after cleaning the smell of Bill and Valentina's very long period in the ship, and completed all fuel tanks.






Even if the south pole had no volcano, as it was supposed after seeing the planet in orbit, the crew landed and sat a bit to appreciate the view. Jacan stated that it was at least 7/10 breathtaking.



ISRU 2-d meeting DSB, there was some fuel transfers to take back the left oxidizer in the fuselage, and adding more Lf to the nukes. ISRU came from LDO with very low margin to let as much fuel as possible on the Station :


DSB refuelled, here's Stelwig's maneuver to bring the ship in a polar orbit :



Part 6 : Mission complete, returning to the base !


The crew was really taken aback by the beautifull scenery from the south pole. They let the ship's probe plot maneuvers to LDO (refuelling at Station) / Surface, which explains why it took so long and was probably a bit innefficient .. After being spotted by the outpost tracking radar, they landed near the target and sent a beacon to be recovered just before midnight, right on time to the pyjama party.






Maneuvers to LDO, coming back from poles is not that fun ! Aerobraking final value set to 30k


DSS encounter, again quite a long time to wait :


DSS still holds a lot of fuel :


Deorbiting targets, doesn't help much but they look good !



Here it is for Chapter 9, next one will be SLV 04, which will take place on Y4 D337 so choose a front row seat because this will be a big one ! (probably too big for the fairing :D)

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If you followed the life support part, you may have notice that the outpost will run out of food around Y6 D143 at the extreme maximum. This will happens around 120 days after the 3rd mothership's transfer to Duna occurs.

In the following chapters will take place :

_Early Kerbin Return, or how it will be possible to land 2 Kerbals before Y5 on a ship that's coming at 7000m/s at Kerbin's Pe (rough estimation) and has not enough fuel to circularize in LKO.

_Food Express Delivery, or how a rescue procedure is designed to transfer 2 Kerbals and supplies to the outpost, departing Kerbin around 250 days before 3rd transfer. They will also use a home-made heatshield to circularize around Duna before transferring the supplies to DunaSpaceBus which has a little food capacity hidden in its fairing.

_SLV 04 planned at Y4 D337

_SLV 05 planned at Y6 D10, followed by the injection to Duna of this 3rd mothership. (combined modules of SLV 04 / 05).



The restrictions of this challenge (weight, timing, no aerobraking with nukes and so on) implies a lot of actions and acrobatic transfers :confused:

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CHAPTER 10, SLV 04, Fuel ops, KerbinEarlyReturn's planification



Part 1 : SLV 04


KSC is on fever those days. SLV 04 will be launched in a few days and the teams are trying to fit everything right on time, there were some tensions when the fairing's office tried to reach every manufacturers to cover the enormous payload. They had to complete it with rolls of paper coming from the surrounding trees.. SPH division took a long time to make sure that all docks are in line for interplanetary transport and ground docking.

The S4 15-3 is based on a old design with high margins in regard to it's dV budget and also has a fairly good TWR, it once again puts  the 87.5t. payload in LKO with ease.







SLV 04 numbers, you may notice an Ablator line, which will vaporize at some point :


Encounter with HNP KerbinInjecter after circularization :



Part 2 : Deployement, docking, transfer to Minmus


SLV 04 consists of 4 modules :

_Heavy autonomous rover powered by fuel-cell, which docks on top 2 rather large habitats with room for 26 each.

_Wolfhound pod with handcrafted heatshield, will be used for very special operations.

_Mk3 medium fuselage with some fuel.

_KER HeatShield, super lightweight module with extreme heat resistance.

Mission planning's squad would have liked to launch food rather than fuel but there was no other choice. The last ops at LKO used a high liquid fuel volume due to the sheer weight of the 2nd transfer to Duna. First step was to refuel HNPKerbinInjecter, whose last service was to retroburn around Kerbin after transferring the mothership to Duna. In order to get more maneuvrability Mike and Franfen will then depart to Minmus, using the trusty ISRU 2-g and a collection of giant Mk3 fuel tanks. They will rendez-vous with the ISRU using a quite inefficient shuttle, with fancy red lights.







SLV 04 undocks from S4 15-3 :


Encounter and docking to HNPKI :


HNPKI has now 20% fuel, went down on KSS to attach the ISRU, mission control then set a maneuver to Minmus using a low energy transfer. It occured at a descending node, thus eliminating almost all change of attitude but prograde burn.



Part 3 : Minmus once


After rendez-vous-ing with a complete ISRU ship, Franfen and Mike headed a first time to Minmus to bring back some fuel and monoprop, which will be use to dock properly modules form SLV 04 to KSS. Nothing special happenned, Kerbin is blue and Minmus isn't. Also nuclear radiations are good for tanning.






Mike & Franfen burn to Minmus, dV margin is higher than expected :


LKO maneuver after refuelling, this time with a close fly by of the Mun :



Part 4 : Fancy dockings !


Our 2 Kerbals are back in LKO with a tons of fuel to share. Ground control asked them to use some monoprop to move some hardware to KSS and take some nice pics for the press conference. SLV 04 had some weight margins that allowed for the installation of various light bulbs, which makes ships even cooler to attract future Kerbonauts !







Encounter with SLV 04, HNPISRU now tugs the WolfhoundPod, Mk3 Fuselage and the extremly valuable KERH(eat)S(shield) :


Mike now docks all that stuff to KSS, some fuel and monoprop is left behind :


Ship's ready for a second trip to Minmus with a lot of tanks to fill-up !



Part 5 : Minmus twice !


Second trip to Minmus, now with litteraly tons of room for liquid fuel ! Franfen supervises the drills while Mike is speaking with Mission Control. He needs informations for the following maneuvers and takes many notes, never before KSC put so much burden on a pilot and Mike starts to understand why nobody wanted to jump into that shuttle.. Franfen doesn't care while she's making holes into the ground, but she'll be part of the journey too and will receive her fair share of excitment !





Once refuel happenned, the crew left the ISRU with a tank and 2 LNP behind them. They won't need anything more where they're going :


Transfer stage is ready, Franfen feels unsure while Mike sweat a bit. Time has come and they will need every ounce of liquid fuel to achieve their mission :



Part 6 : Was the sun this big yesterday ?


"Anlorf, stop washing your hairs, this dust's not gonna leave anytime soon.. Come see here and tell me what you read"

"Hmpf damn pranks .. Well, 14350, 14400 and counting ? Wait, isn't that the speedometer ?!"

"... I hope they know what they're doing"




Next chapter will show why there's no need to use Nervas for Duna missions,  but what's possible once you get them in sufficient numbers :D

As always after each SLV, ship's list has been updated.

Edited by Kerbolitto
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CHAPTER 11, KerbinEarlyReturn capture, Dissipating heat



Part 1 : *cough* "Tell me again how we get there?"


Mike and Franfen had just finished assembling their ship that it's already time to leave. No one at the KSC thought time would have run out so fast. After gathering infos from the Tracking Station, Mike was able to plot a set of maneuvers that'll send them to a very close encounter with the incoming KER. At first he found a way to use Kerbin for a gravity assist but the encounter would have been close to Kerbin's Pe and he feared that it would have reduce too much the time allowed to prepare the capture. Second option was an encounter in solar orbit which would require a large radial burn on Kerbin, but save more time to dock and maneuver the KERH(eat)S(hield).

The 4 burns would have to be very precise since a tiny error in thrust would result in a miss by hundreds of kilometers. After verifying the Nerva's cooling system (there was none) Franfen strapped into her seat and watch Mike crank-up the fuel pump..





Departure maneuvers, timing did not allow to use much of Kerbin's gravity well to throw the ship in the good direction while saving some time for docking maneuvers and stuff. Planned intersection would occur 32 days later, approximately 30 minutes before entering Kerbin's SOI and 5h before periapsis.


After carefull burns to minimize the final deviations, the crew was on its way on a solar orbit, to a very hot encounter. Here's the final rendez-vous :



Part 2 : Thermonuclear all the way !


The ship's computer would not let Mike see how the encounter develops, and after trying one or two tricks, he then let it down and turned the ship for a heavy nuclear burn on anti-target.

Nervas had to spit liquid fuel during 30+ minutes, without taking lateral drift into account.To avoid wasting time and fuel, Mike decided to gradually lower the ship's orbital speed into different corrections. Ground control thought that the switch between solar and Kerbin's SOI had somehow crash the tracking capabilities of the computer.

They crossed fingers when they saw the nuclear engines glows on the infrared.





Since he was almost in the dark, Mike tried to plot a precise maneuver to meet KER's mission but it proved to be too complicated. Eyeballing relative speed and burntime, he started the first retroburn almost 30 minutes before intersection :


Still 4000m/s to go, at this point half of the fuel had already been consumed. It was crucial to reduce the speed some time before entering Kerbin's SOI, because the computer's bug made anti-target go crazy on the instruments if both ships were not orbiting the same celestial body.


Using his pilot capabilities and common-sense, Mike decided to point his ship's path in the very same direction as the target. This way he could let KER catch him and accelerates gradually to approach it from above.



Where is it ? Franfen was concerned about the heat developping around the Nervas but it turns out that they held very well all along !


With the tracking computer lost, Mike used a simple method to estimate how much time he got before KER pass them. This technique is not depicted in the pilot's manual for obvious reasons !


KER is finally seen by the tracker's radar ! Last corrections before effective encounter, the ship's very low on fuel :



Part 3 : No time to waste !


Mike and Franfen pulled a very impressive maneuver but the clock was still running (actually they got more time than expected). They parked their very hot ship next to KER and prepared KERHS module to allow Catburry and Anlorf's transfer, only waving at them through a window. Mike quickly docked longitudinally to the Mk3 fuselage, and then attached on the KER at an angle that allowed all engines to burn at the same time. He then prepared to capture around Kerbin using all remaining fuel.

Ground Control was extatic and promoted Mike to First-class Interceptor Pilot. He and Franfen will surely be sent to new acrobatic adventures in the future !






Fuel's supplies are lower than expected, Mike and Franfen left Minmus with more than 7000m/s but they had to use almost everything, and the added weight of their ship to KER seriously lowered their dV budget.


Even if the ships encountered above Minmus orbit, Kerbin's periapsis would come less than 4 hours later. Franfen and Mike once again strapped on their seats to capture in a highly elliptical orbit :


After capturing, the ship was sent on a very convenient orbit to Minmus where the ISRU awaits. MissionControl sent a PlanB message if the capture around the minty planet would fail due to low fuel.



Part 4 : KERHS "Catburry, what's glowing outside?"


In between those last events, Catburry and Anlorf transferred to KERHS prototype. This very parcitular module was designed by some of the craziest minds of the SPH  teams, to build an extreme re-entry pod. It is very rough around the edges and features almost nothing but heat-resistant parts. Also, nobody ever tested it in Kerbin's atmosphere.

First thing to do was to bring the datas to this new contraption, and turn on the 4 Spiders to slow down orbital velocity. Not only would this make re-entry cooler (kind of) but this would allow the Tracking Station to help KER capturing before they'd switch onto KERHS to follow its descent to the ground. As expected, coming into the souposphere at more than 5500m/s put quite a strain on the crew.. and the ship.







Catburry thank to bring all Duna's datas with her :


KERHS maneuver lowered its speed relative to Kerbin and more importantly to KER which needed at least 10 minutes to capture and plot a path to Minmus. It would also hit very low in the atmosphere to ensure an effective capture (18550m.) :


Speed is rising, Catburry detached the tank and engines and turned the ship in the good direction (heatshield facing forward is a good idea). The two hold hands and prepared for impacting the atmosphere :


After passing out and recovering during the hardest part of the re-entry, Anlorf openned the door to vomit in Kerbin fresh air while Catburry read him how they would enter Kuiness Book :


Splashdown ! IN THE WATER !



Part 5 : Recovery


Tracking Station received the module's beacon at 1h28 and quickly sent greenlight to the rescue mission. Catburry and Anlorf were really strained by their journey. Team was ready four minutes later and was very happy to meet their friends. They have been away from home for many years and everyone was super excited to help them, and also discover what kind of datas they brought back.

SPH provided another very strange creation to rescue team, the extensively tried and tested (not quite, but still !) H(ydro)P(lane)EVACv4. This low efficiency and busy looking airplane was, for once, designed with high-safety in mind (also it looks cool and has lights for purposes).







Pilots said this thing is almost enjoyable to fly at ... 320m/s tops :



Part 6 : "Breaking News : Catburry and Anlorf finally made it !"


Once the plane landed on KSC runway, the whole thing went crazy. Friends were here, ground control, SPH and VAB teams, launchpad's maintenance guys, medias, everyone but the tracking station team who had to monitor the path of KER to Minmus. Thousands of people (not seen on those pictures) were present to congratulate the two heroes, and the whole KSC efforts behind their success ! Scientists were extremly pleased with the new studies the two brought back, but this would have to wait the end of the celebrations and 5th new year's party which would happen just a week after this success !






Surface samples, also date of the day :


VS path on Duna, almost each flag was a sample experiment :




I'm quite happy with how this thing turns out, and how the solar rendez-vous developped ... !

Next chapter should be some mining at Minmus and maybe SLV 05 before 3rd injection to Duna :)

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the maneuvers :D

Edited by Kerbolitto
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Chapter 12, KER arrives at Minmus, some mining and dockings in LKO to prepare next mission



Part 1 : KER circularizes around Minmus


With the last droplets of fuel, Franfen and Mike succeed to capture around Minmus and set an encounter with the ISRU. They docked it with 41Lf left, rearranged the ISRU and nuke pods, then landed 2 times to mine and fill the giants Mk3 fuselages.






KER after capturing, encounter with the ISRU which was left around Minmus at a bad angle.. :


KER docked to ISRU and its fuel tanks :



Part 2 : Return to LKO, docking maneuvers to catch modules drifting around


Once all fuel levels were completed, the crew prepared to get down in LKO. They would then dock to KerbinSpaceStation and left some fuel tanks and HNP here.







Return to LKO, as usual with a Mun assist to lower Ap, you can see that all nuke pods and fuel tanks possess an enormous dV when combined together.


HNP + FLT docked to KSS :



Part 3 : Return to Minmus, final dockings !


Mike and Franfen left once again KSS to make another trip to Minmus, this time to refuel the WolfHoundPod which will be use for the next trip to Duna. This mission will provide life support to the outpost before SLV 04 arrival, which will use a more conventionnal hohmann transfer. After getting down in LKO, remote controlled probes finished some docking maneuvers, ensuring that every ship around Kerbin is attached to KSS.









ISRU undocked from HNP + WHP, ready to return in LKO !


KSS with every modules docked to it, left to right : WolfHoundPod, DeepSpaceTransit, KerbinSpaceStation with RoboTug clawed on top of it, some HNP, SLV 04 rover, HNP + Tiny2slots habitat.



Thanks for reading :)

Next chapter will be an emergency mission to Duna, to quickly bring life support by a non-hohmann transfer !

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