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DOMA Arigato, Duna!

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In this mission series, I'll be attempting the Duna Outpost Mission Architecture Challenge! I'll also be attempting the Insight challenge in my early colony.

Craft files - note that practically all of these were modified fairly extensively after launch with KAS-KIS to accommodate their more glaring design flaws. These were launched without prior testing; buyer beware! Bring screwdrivers.

SLV-1: https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/Aries-Mk5-Duna-Rover

SLV-2: https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/Deep-Space-Vessel-Artemis

SLV-3: https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/SLV-3-Prospector

SLV-4: https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/SLV-4-Rover-Hotel-52.  Note that if I were doing this again, I'd give SLV-4 a hard pass. Not worth the trouble. Use a dup of SLV-6 instead.

SLV-5: https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/SLV-5-Space-Truck-2. I now realize that I probably could have swapped out all those food tins for a honeybadger large cargo or something similar. Next time.

SLV-6 https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/SLV-6-Rover-Mk-VI.

SLV-7: https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/SLV-7-Prospector-mk-VII





DOMA Achievement Scoring (Currently 22/30)

  • Note that the spacecraft for each achievement must be unique, or for modular designs must remain viable, at all times.
  • Presently implemented
  • "Contingency Plans": Complete achievements "Backup plan", "Duna Space Station", "Duna Space Bus", and "Positive uplink". Note that the spacecraft for each achievement must be unique, or for modular designs must remain viable, at all times. This will prevent crew from becoming Over-Stressed.

Crew safety (+3/6):

  • Interplanetary expertise: All crewed interplanetary missions have at least two crew on board. (+1) So far, so good.
  • Backup plan: Duna outpost has a backup ascent system to return all kerbals to Duna orbit separate from the primary Duna ascent module. (+2) Rover Hotel "Bacchus" is now the contingency plan and can lift 40-ish kerbals at a time.
  • Emergency Evac: if the 'Backup plan' ascent system is utilized with any kerbal on board. (+3) Not presently implemented.

Mission robustness (+6):

  • Duna Space Station: Place a space station in orbit around Duna. The space station must have room for minimum of 3 kerbals (Habitation rule applies). (+1) - Done.
  • Duna space bus: Deliver a fully reusable shuttle service to Duna that can ferry at least four crew between Duna's surface and Ike's surface (refueling permitted). (+2) Aries Mk5 rover accomplished this on Y2 D173.
  • Deep space transit: Implement a fully reusable crew transfer vehicle that can complete a Kerbin <-> Duna round trip without refueling (either direction). Must be capable of carrying a minimum of 4 crew. (+3) - DSV Artemis should qualify and has enough delta-V to likely only need refueling on Ike.

Science! value (+3/6):

  • Deep space laboratory: Duna outpost must include at least one Science Lab module. If 'Duna Space Station' is scored, it must also include a Science Lab module. (+1) - Completed Y4 D116
  • Early mission prestige: Safely return at least two kerbals to Kerbin's surface from a Duna mission before Year 5 Day 1. At least one of the crew members must have walked on either Ike or Duna and return a surface sample with them. (+2) - Completed Y4 D13
  • Biome diversity: Return surface samples from at least five of Duna's biomes. (+3) *This can be done all at once or separate. If scored, "Early Mission Prestige" sample does not counts toward the five. - In Progress: Sample progress 3/5

Advanced mission objectives (+6/6):

  • Kerbin space station: Using SLV launch(es), place a space station in orbit around Kerbin. The station must support at least 4 kerbals and may be used as a staging platform for crew to and from Duna, although not required. (+1) - SLV-7 + Prospector will remain in Kerbin SOI and shuttle fuel between Minmus and LKO.
  • Positive uplink: Place a minimum of three relay satellites in orbit around Duna and one around Ike. One of the Duna satellites must be in polar orbit. This also requires Advanced game setting 'Require Signal for Control' ON. (+2) - Complete.
  • Advanced deep space transit: If 'Deep space transit' is scored, it must support a minimum of 5 kerbals and refuel only in Duna SOI (travels from Duna -> Kerbin -> Duna without refueling) (+3) - DSV Artemis should qualify.

Surface Mobility (+6/6):

  • At least 50% of the Duna crew have access to a seat in a Basic Rover during their outpost surface mission. (+1) - Pressurived rovers count.
  • Every crew member has access to a Pressurized Rover seat. (+2) - Done
  • The outpost is land-mobile/Pressurized Rover (Habitation rule applies). (+3) Currently done, subject to change.

For the sake of my own sanity, I'll keep a text log here without pictures, so I have a record that's easy to look up.

Year 1, Day 1 - First crew transfer launch for science.

Day 15 - Second crew transfer launch for science. Rover test to get KSC science rolled over.

Day 29 - Third crew transfer launch for science. Did not reach space. Returned to runway with damage.

Day 40 - Standard Launch Vehicle 1 launched Duna Rover "Aries Mk V".

Day 47 - Rover lands on Minmus. Crew is hungry. Resupply and refuel takes one day. Return will be via moon.

Day 64 - Rover lands on Mun.

Day 68 - Rover leaves the Munar surface. I think there was probably a crew flight in here somewhere for a contract but I don't think I bothered to write it down.

Day 69 - Rover aerobrakes on Kerbin, but due to low heat tolerance still spends 500 dV to circularize. Further missions beyond LKO are put on hold pending SLV 2 due to low dV. Crew transfer vehicle returned crew and science to Kerbin, and tourists toured the rover.

Day 80 - Second crew transfer vehicle acts as a resupply shuttle for the rover. For these resupply missions, snack supplies aboard the rover are locked and only resources from the resupply ship are being consumed, but no supply transfer takes place.

Day 133 - LKO rescue mission recruits a new engineer, pioneering a new class of ship called the "Captain's Gig".

Day 139 - Resupply ship 2 is low on snacks and returns home. Snacks aboard the rover are unlocked until a new resupply ship can arrive.

Day 147 - Resupply ship 3 (CG-2) arrives at the rover. Snacks aboard the rover are again locked.

Day 200 - Resupply ship 4 (CG-3) arrives at the rover with tourists. CG-2 and Aries are docked to CG-3.

Day 226 - Standard Launch Vehicle 2 launched Duna Recon Orbiter 'Ezekiel', the Deep Space Vessel "Artemis", two cube satellites "Nehemiah" and "Hosea" and two 4-man Duna Escape LifeBoats. Encounted Aries in orbit and went to Minmus for final refueling.

Day 235 - Second touchdown on Minmus. Refueling commences.

Day 242 - Minmus ejection burn.

Day 249 - Kerbin ejection burn to Duna. The unmanned Ezekiel and the cubesats separate from the deep space vessel, now called Expedition Aries. Aries crewmembers may become "Over-stressed" between Y4 D40 and Y4 D249 depending on how launchd date is figured.

Day 305 - Expedition Aries does mid-course correction and collects 153 solar science.

Day 352 - Expedition Aries performs a second mid-course correction because Kerbals were eating 6 snacks per day instead of 3 snacks per day. Snacks adjusted to account for glitch; Kerbals now eat 4 snacks per day.

Day 412 - Standard Launch Vehicle 3 launched with the Prospector light miner, a science station and habitation pods.

Day 416 - Expedition Aries entered the Duna system ahead of schedule and made landfall on Ike. Began refueling operation (starting with Snacks!) and collected 1423 science for a total of 1576.

Day 419 - Prospector made landfall on Minmus and began refueling operation.

Day 430 - Ezekiel entered the Duna system and reached an equatorial orbit of 200/300km over Duna.

Day 433 (Y2 D007) - Refueling on Ike complete. Aries rover and two lifeboats made landfall on Duna and began refueling operations. Collected 1229 Duna Highlands science plus 1981 Midlands science for a total of 4786.

Y2 D027 Cubesat 2 "Hosea" entered synchronous orbit to Ezekiel, trailing Ezekiel by about 800 KM. Hosea has line of sight to Ezekiel and extends amount of time equatorial bases remain in communications with Kerbin.

Y2 D036 - Aries 15G "Elisha" and Aries Scansat "Daniel" entered the Duna SOI and parked in polar orbit over Ike and Duna, respectively. Daniel nets 50 science for scanning Duna and Aries collects 538 science scanning the Duna Lowlands for a total of 5368 science gathered for Insight.

Y2 D051 - Prospector miner returns to orbiting science lab from SLV-3.

Y2 D082 - Cubesat 1 "Nehemiah" entered Duna SOI and parked in equatorial orbit. This completes "Positive Uplink" and the "Duna Insight" challenge. Final score for Insight is 528.4

Y2 D172 - Standard Launch Vehicle 4 "Rover Hotel-52" launches. Aries rover lifts off from Duna, leaving 2 crew behind in lifeboats.

Y2 D173 - Crew transfer between Aries and Artemis on Ike. Refueling commences. This proves the "Duna Space Bus" accomplishment for the Aries.

Y2, D358 Standard Launch Vehicle 5 launched Space Truck 2. Moved Wave 2 to Minmus to begin fueling operations. Fleet currently has over 39,000 snack capacity, which should be enough for about 39 kerbals.

Y3, D117 - SLV 6 launched I guess? It was there when I got here, anyhow. Launched Aries for 6 days, leaving just Claufrod and Nelby on the ground while everyone else transferred food and a bit of fuel to Artemis for the long walk home.

Y3, D225 - Artemis departs Duna for Kerbin.

Y3, D303 - SLV-7 launched. Prospector transfers snacks to SLV-7 and lands on Mun for refueling. Wave 2 (SLV 3, 4, 5, 6) departs Kerbin for Duna, minus Prospector who is staying behind to help fuel Wave 3.

Y4 D13 - Artemis re-entered LKO and docked with SLV-7.

Y4 D95 - Aries lifts off from Duna, leaving 3 kolonists in a command rover behind.

Y4 D100 - Rover Hotel "Bacchus" and Aries land on Duna. They begin refueling, which completes "Backup Plan". 31 kolonists on Duna.

Y4 D116 Rover Hotel "Mars Technica" lands on Duna. This completes "Deep Space Laboratory." 45 kolonists on Duna.

Edited by dire
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My first flight to Duna will more or less coincide with the first Duna transfer window. Per the DOMA rules, I'll have a nominal payload mass of 31 tons with a reusable Standard Launch Vehicle. The Launch Vehicle has a turnaround time of 186 days, so my first flight won't leave until at least day 226, probably more like Day 240-260 due to ISRU operations on Minmus.

In addition to the standard DOMA and Duna Insight challenge restrictions, this will be a career mode campaign. I gave myself initial seed funding of 10 million credits, as well as 5000 science. This is enough to get some fancy engines and the ISRU technology, but I will be unable to unlock other end-game science nodes until after my first launch gets me some science.

I can also send Crew Transfer Vehicles to anywhere within Low Kerbin Orbit up to an altitude of 180km, allowing me to gain near-Kerbin science and complete contracts (like LKO rescue contracts for crew members). This also lets me train all my crew to one star. Simply to make sure I don't abuse the crew transfer too much, I'll limit myself to one SSTO / JATO per week, with an additional one-week downtime if I fail to return the craft to the KSC or damage it. So I can send one JATO on day one, one on day 15, and so on (my first one splashed down just off the coast of KSC. It just grabbed some low-altitude and high altitude science to help me grab a couple more nodes before my first SLV launch. I tried to reach orbit, but it didn't quite make it.). My next launch will probably be a ground crawler for near-KSC ground science and some near-KSC ISRU for more funds on day 15, followed by a training flight to get my first crew to one star on day 22 or 29.

The first thing I did was upgrade my Space Center using about 4 million of my seed funds. The launchpad and science center are level 3, but everything else is level 2 for now. I may need to upgrade the tracking center to help maintain contact to Duna, but I won't do that quite yet.

The plan for my first launch is a crawler and near-KSC exploration vessel. Its mass on the launchpad is 30.962 tons - bearing in mind our maximum payload mass is 31 tons. But first, I need to get enough near-Kerbin science to research a seismic accelerometer for the Insight challenge! I might need to shuffle the payload on my probes a bit to make room.

The rover will launch on day 40.

First launch is success!


We landed the SLV upright 43.4 KM from the Space Center with no damage.


Note the final iteration of the SLV has payload tanks to allow samples to be returned to Kerbin for money; however on this first flight those tanks will be empty.

Transfer to Minmus will take the lander 5 days. @PrvDancer85


Once landed, we will refuel the Aries Mark 5 and resupply it using potatoes grown in the low-G environment of Minmus in preparation for its full complement of 8 Kerbals. However, it's unable to hold enough food, even with recycling, to keep all 8 kerbals fed for the entire duration of a Duna transfer, even though it has sufficient delta-V to make the transfer. We'll have to wait for launch 2 with an interplanetary cargo stage which can carry the vast quantities of Snacks the kerbals require. 

Edited by dire
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Previous iteration of the craft. It evolved quite a lot- one version weighs ten tons and assumes a mission will include several of them, but testing showed that regardless of whether multiple units were better in theory, managing the fleet quickly became tedious and having just one per mission increases the chances that I'll actually do all the things I need to do for each craft to complete a successful mission.


And the later version successfully landed on Minmus! The initial craft had about 1500-1600 dv and the dv map suggested I needed about 1270 to get from LKO to Minmus surface, so I should have had loads of DV to spare, but I actually ran out of fuel just above the surface and going about 20 meters per second. Luckily my craft is pretty sturdy, and although I bounced twice I was able to keep my wheels down -- testing on the runway on Day 15 showed that a rollover with this craft at that speed is catastrophic on Kerbin, resulting in the destruction of engines, probes and radiators. Minmus is probably a bit more forgiving about the damage but it's also a lot harder to effect repairs on whatever damage I do take.

Kerbonauts on this slope have an unfortunate tendency to glitch through the ground and explode, and I feel fully justified in quickloading when that happens. I don't think I have any mods that affect ground physics in that way (maybe KIS/KAS?) -- I think that's a stock glitch.


Also had an issue en route with Snack supplies. The vessel launched with about 100 snacks and 3 crew, which should have kept them happily fed for the entire trip (Kerbals eat about 3 snacks per day) -- note that we're producing more food on day 8. However, they ran out of food roughly two days out from Minmus, and the error message suggested there might be a stowaway aboard -- although I only brought three crew, the captain reported missing food for five kerbals!


Edited by dire
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I did mean Minmus, sorry. *stealth edits* The return craft has onboard life support systems, which it refuels with ISRU on Minmus. That's the green wedge-looking semicircle about 2/3 of the way back on the top of the craft. With MKS not functioning for my game right now and therefore hab time not being an issue, and using the Snacks life support mod, the craft is entirely self-sufficient while landed until the onboard nuclear plant runs out of fuel in about 14 years for its full rated crew of 8 kerbals (simulating hab time by giving every kerbal two seats).

I thought the SOS challenge was to just get to Minmus within the time limit; once rescued the kerbals use the rescue craft's life support. 

If you want a real Minmus race, you should challenge people to get there and back to the KSC within seven days. To complete THAT challenge this craft would need to launch with full tanks rather than empty ones (its mass with -just- enough fuel to land on Minmus is 30.9+ tons out of 31 tons for my nominal payload, vs 41 tons fully laden) and I'd want to switch out all the probes for more lithium tanks. If it had another 4 tons of wet lithium tankage it'd probably have on the order of 3000 delta-V.

Edited by dire
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Sorry, my mistake.

Swinging the rover past the Mun for fun and science on my way home, which really kills my round trip time but allows me to circularize to an equatorial Kerbin orbit by landing on the Munar equator from a polar orbit and then launching again after I've fueled up. I might be stuck in LKO until my second SLV launches, though, as I'm not sure I have enough fuel capacity to leave the munar surface, get to LKO and then land back on Minmus all on one tank of gas.

I also learned that Lithium seems to refuel many times faster than LFO, though, which simplifies logistics. I think going forward I'm probably going to focus on VASIMIR-type engines despite their absurd power requirements, with LFO backups, instead of LFO mains and VASIMIR backups like my rover has.

This screenshot is mission day 24 for the rover.



Edited by dire
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Aerobraking maneuver from the Mun...again...and again...six aerobraking passes (I think? I kinda lost count) in total, just scraping the atmosphere from 50-55km because the relay dish on my probe, in particular, just could not take very much heat. Bill was able to stow a couple of solar panels prior to reentry which were not foldable (there was a menu option to fold them, but it doesn't seem to have worked).


Next up, sending a boatload of tourists onto the vessel in order to tour it for massive funds, and shuffling the crew so the heroes can spend some time back on Kerbin before shipping out to Duna. My delta-V coming back from the Mun was about 1400 (the VASIMIR engines really confuse KER) but I spent so much fuel on aerobraking that I will have to wait for SLV 2 for my next trip to Minmus. I really regret having my center fuel segment be LFO, I think at this point I would much rather have a 2.5m lithium tank there (although that would probably have made aerobraking even more painful. I can repaint the Karibou part, but not to Lithium. I swapped it over to ore, since I can process ore into Lithium; I think that's a reasonable compromise for now.

I am making notes on how the rover performs because I do expect SLV number 3 to be a more-or-less identical rover, with some minor changes based on my notes. Possibly SLV number 6 also.

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Tourists made it up without a hitch, although I had to iterate the craft a number of times to get a delta-V figure I was happy with in orbit. Even so, it ran out of oxidizer while deorbiting, and instead of landing at the KSC I splashed down 454 km off the coast with no damage. Other thoughts on the craft: It's got plenty of food and elbow room for this sort of crew transfer, but it urgently needs solar panels; I ran out of electric charge while docking and couldn't replenish it. I think if I add drop tanks to the first four SRB's it'll add enough delta-V to let me make encounters more easily; I wound up spending about 50 delta-V from my NPM, which is totally fine because I'm not doing my next Minmus run until SLV 2 lifts off, but it still stings a bit. The craft has tons of drag on descent with airbrakes up and I felt like the reentry itself was very forgiving. I wound up with 900 liquid fuel after my oxidizer burnt out, which let me cruise for quite a bit but didn't make up for deorbiting to 53 km instead of 35 km. Now that I've got Whiplashes unlocked I should swap out at least two of the Panthers, and that'll also help my ascent profile.


The rover's jaunt through the near-Kerbin system netted about 3800 science, and the three crew members are my first two-star kerbals! Between the massively profitable "Tour the Rover" contracts and all the near-Kerbin discovery and world firsts, I'm sitting pretty at 7.8 million funds. 

Barring any juicy near-Kerbin contracts (another "Tour the Rover" contract maybe?) my next launch is going to be SLV 2, the deep space vessel. I've been tinkering with designs and at one point it started looking like the Starship Enterprise, but ultimately I think it's going to bear only a very passing resemblance. Engine nacelles are a must so it can tug assorted cargo on a rear dock, other than that we'll see what I come up with. I definitely value function over form, but I can maybe spare a couple tons on this launch to hide the really ugly stuff.


Am thinking I might go for more of a star wars-y look. This version still has almost 4 tons for probes and reserve fuel, so that should be interesting. I think I'm going to roughly estimate that each kerbal needs about a thousand snacks to get to Duna, which in theory should last them for over 300 days! In practice, I plan to also ship with a full ore hold that I can convert to food or fuel as needed, as kind of an insurance policy. The interplanetary vessel also *should* have enough recycling to give two kerbals "free lunches", so in theory if I pack 6000 food I should have enough for eight kerbals to cycle over to Duna on my first transfer. I have just over 4000 food storage on the transfer vessel, and over 3000 on the rover itself, but after my math fell apart on my trip to Minmus I just have a hard time trusting my Kerbals not to eat themselves to death.

Because my soil recyclers all seem to be hab modules, my deep space vehicle effortlessly fits five kerbals comfortably, or eleven in a pinch, and under normal flight conditions each crew member gets their own individual Buffalo Short Crew Cabin (except the pilot, who apparently sleeps in the cockpit). It's hard to compete with the Buffalo Short for recycler mass efficiency; it recycles 0.5 kerbal-waste-days per day (if I understand how soil works) and the cabin plus an airlock weigh just half a ton dry and can also store 600 snacks, which is enough for just about 0.5 kerbal-transfers! That means two short cabins should comfortably be able to transfer two kerbals to Duna. In theory, anyway. First I have to get SLV 2 into space and load my final crew complement. I'm thinking Val and an engineer aboard the Diplomatic Vessel, and Bill, Bob, and Jeb on the rover plus a miner, a farmer, and a kolonist. Who is not dead weight, he is a morale officer.

Edited by dire
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Day 80 - Recovered the tourist crew transfer vehicle, but realized that the new, larger crew for the rover are going to potentially eat all their snacks before SLV 2 launches and they can refuel on Minmus. So I sent another tourist bus up. Only two tourists, but it also has a whole heap of snacks to keep them happy until it's time to rock.

Day 133 - Sent a rescue vehicle into orbit to rescue Lanson Kerman, a level 0 engineer. It took some time to find a spaceplane configuration that I liked; I eventually re-used the big orange tank design I put on the tourist bus just to give it enough drop tankage to get to orbit and encounter. Turns out I gave it a little too much delta-V for its mission, but too much is much better than not enough, and I think I'll be using the Captain's Gig again Recovered it on the runway but lost a wheel somewhere along the way. I don't actually know where the wheel went but I'm reasonably sure I started with 4 rear wheels, not 3. Recovered 68k credits from craft and I now have 7.98 million.

Had to try re-entry twice because for some reason, SAS remains on during plasma blackout, which drained all my batteries because it was fighting the air brakes. On the second round I turned SAS off before plasma blackout and the air brakes actually did a good job of directing my nose off of prograde and keeping my nose (relatively) cool.


SLV 2 (31 ton NPM) will launch on day 226 (SLV 1 launched on day 40, plus 186 days for turnaround).

Day 147 - Rotating out the shuttle providing food to the rover. as the shuttle's food is depleted. Rover has a skeleton crew eating their their NPM food from day 139 to day 147, but that shold be fine. Tourists return home. Funds go to 8.1 million as the shuttle is recovered on the runway with no damage. Airbrakes are definitely a "get out of jail free" card for re-entry to Kerbin and I'm starting to consider them essential for any spaceplane.


Am thinking that in the future, two 2.5 meter hab modules or even three Mk 2 crew cabins will be a superior pick to the Karibou 10-man crew cabin, simply because the Karibou doesn't do soil recycling which the stock parts do, and I'm starting to consider snacks to likely be the limiting factor to how many kerbals I can transport to Duna.

Edited by dire
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Redesigned my Deep Space vessel again, by the time I actually launch it I'm probably going to be up to about iteration 9 (or so). The reason for that is because I'd really like my original 8 kerbals to stay down for more or less the entire duration (and not be so stressed out that they resign, so their score counts), and therefore I need to score "Contingency Plans" on my first run, which is my lightest run and doesn't have any infrastructure in place (like a handy Deep Space Vessel to shuttle it around). 

"Contingency Plans": Complete achievements "Backup plan", "Duna Space Station", "Duna Space Bus", and "Positive uplink". Note that the spacecraft for each achievement must be unique, or for modular designs must remain viable, at all times.

This means that, to score Contingency plan on my first launch, I need the following:

* An orbital space station capable of keeping three kerbals comfortable. Not sure whether it's required that this be manned to score other achievements, will have to ask. This can also be life support tankage on its maiden voyage, and it needs room to eventually include a science lab. My initial station will be very, very humble, providing little more than a bus stop for kolonists waiting for the bus down to the surface.

* Duna Space Bus - A reusable vessel capable of lifting off from Duna and landing on Ike with four passengers, then refueling and landing back on Duna. My primary rover should be able to fill this role handily.

* Backup Plan - Additional vehicles capable of returning all Duna colonists to orbit around Duna. I've actually specially created some "life boat" style ships that should handily fulfil this function. Since I hate wasting tonnage, they'll also act as soil recyclers and life support tankage on the trip over, allowing me to potentially ferry another pair of kerbals on my first mission. However, I only have life boats for eight kerbals, so my initial colony size is still limited to eight.

* Positive Uplink - Four relay probes, including one around Ike and one in a polar orbit around Duna. This also requires probe communications enabled in the difficulty settings, which I have. The rover already launched with four probes, but dropped one as a relay around Minmus. In addition, SLV 2 is going to launch with a pair of cubesat relay probes which will be fueled on Minmus, then stay for the initial transfer burn to Duna before separating and making their own way. Hopefully at least one of them will be able to capture, otherwise I'll have to try and direct the Minmus probe to capture on Duna, and I'm not sure it's able to do that. It has 1600 dV and is already Minmus orbit, so we'll see, I guess. I have a hunch it'll be a pain to try to synchronize Minmus into a Duna launch window.

Regardless, if the cube sats make it to Duna in time for the rover to relay through them, that should satisfy the requirements of Tier 2 of the Duna Insight Challenge. @sturmhauke Not sure if the deep space vessel satisfies your definition of a Duna Recon Satellite; although it is capable of being a relay point. I could try to separate the rover from the DSV after the initial transfer burn and adjust the DSV to arrive first. They both should have enough dV to circularize, I would imagine.

Current nominal payload mass for SLV 2 is sitting at 30.989 (I have a couple of really tiny lithium tanks which let me adjust in 20-kilo increments, although I should probably stuff a couple of snacks on board just in case Jeb stows away during launch).


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That's certainly an ambitious plan. Let me clarify a few things though. For Rank 2 on the InSight challenge, the lander and cubesats need to be launched at the same time, on a single vehicle, and then travel separately to Duna. For Rank 3, the DRO needs to be launched earlier, on a separate vehicle, and be in Duna orbit before the other spacecraft arrive. The assumption is that it was already there on an earlier mission, and InSight is just borrowing some bandwidth.

Looking at the DOMA requirements, I'll say for the DRO you can use either the Duna Space Station or one of the Positive Uplink relays. It's supposed to be a permanent satellite of Duna, not a mobile craft, so the Duna Space Bus and Deep Space Transit are out.

If you can fulfill all the requirements of InSight Rank 3 and DOMA at the same time, that will qualify you for Rank 4 madness. Good luck!

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9 minutes ago, sturmhauke said:

That's certainly an ambitious plan. Let me clarify a few things though. For Rank 2 on the InSight challenge, the lander and cubesats need to be launched at the same time, on a single vehicle, and then travel separately to Duna. For Rank 3, the DRO needs to be launched earlier, on a separate vehicle, and be in Duna orbit before the other spacecraft arrive. The assumption is that it was already there on an earlier mission, and InSight is just borrowing some bandwidth.

 Looking at the DOMA requirements, I'll say for the DRO you can use either the Duna Space Station or one of the Positive Uplink relays. It's supposed to be a permanent satellite of Duna, not a mobile craft, so the Duna Space Bus and Deep Space Transit are out.

 If you can fulfill all the requirements of InSight Rank 3 and DOMA at the same time, that will qualify you for Rank 4 madness. Good luck!

OK, I'm thinking the Duna Space Station is an excellent candidate for a DRO, but it needs more tankage and a much beefier relay dish if it's going to be arriving separate from the rest of the fleet. Also some science. Right now it's only got about 700 dv, really only there for orbital encounters and stationkeeping.

Time for more tinkering!

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Day 200 - Made a spaceplane sandwich with four tourists on board. Contract was to "Tour the Captain's Gig" and I'm not sure if they wanted to actually tour the previous resupply ship, or tour the rover. So they get to tour both. It turns out the original model of the Captain's Gig did in fact launch with three wheels, but Captain's Gig 2 has 4 wheels and Captain's Gig 3 also has an additional docking port (I had to undock the rover, dock the new ship to the resupply ship, then flip the mated spaceplanes around to dock the rover on the back).


Day 212 - Recovered Captain's Gig #2 with four happy tourists and Val with no damage. Val chose an extremely aggressive deorbit profile, dropping almost straight down from 150 km to a periapsis of zero just past the KSC rather than waiting an extra orbit for a more gentle insertion. The spaceplane was able to handle it nicely, however, and although her orbit took her well north of the KSC she was able to turn south, land on the runway and grab her first star. She'll get about a two week leave of absence before personally taking command of SLV 2 aboard the deep space vessel.


Day 228. Decided I need to send a space tug to normalize the rover's orbit before I send Val up in SLV 2 to encounter, dock and head to Minmus. Therefore I need Nelby to come back in CG-3 because having a CG docked to the rover is just going to get in the way of this operation. Nelby doesn't quite have Val's touch when it comes to reentry maneuvers, though, and he splashed down in the grasslands 102 km from the KSC after running out of fuel. Still a 93% recovery and he was able to get 17 grasslands science from it.


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Day 228. Realized I was spending so much time and effort trying to make a spaceplane tug and get it to encounter SLV-1 that I could use the exact same technique and effort with SLV-2 and save myself a trip. SLV-2 launched with what I expect to be a surplus of delta-V; it must first encounter SLV-1 then tug the rover to Minmus for final refueling and snack resupply before hitting the D240 Duna window (with a lot of leeway because really, if fuel were the limiting factor I could just head to Jool and visit all the muns).

Snacks! says that with 11 crew on board I have enough snacks at 20% capacity (mostly all from the snacks the rover had previously mined) for about 80 days, which means this setup should, in theory, have 400 days of snacks for the 11 kerbals on full tanks, which is promising because for my second flight I can probably bring on the order of 30 or 40 kerbals over. I expect an empty NPM of about one ton per kerbal, roughly, if I only consider snacks, which with other considers means I should be able to bring at least 20 kerbals per launch. At 5 launches per window, my next flight should probably house on the order of 100 kerbals.

First though, I have to get Expedition Aries safely to Duna's surface, with separate flights for the main deep space vehicle tugging the rover, a separate flight for the orbital station which will serve as my primary relay point to Kerbin and act as a Duna Recon Orbiter, and one additional flight for each of two cube satellites, which if I don't mess anything up will turn into part of my relay network. Or if I do mess something up, they will fly by and I'll probably have to cobble together a probe out of spare parts in situ. 

SLV-2 launched beautifully with the exception of two medium thermal systems which were outside the main fairing and were destroyed. I had thought I moved those, but apparently not. While unfortunate, this will only limit the maximum reactor and conversion load of the DSV while not coupled to the rover. It won't completely cripple the DSV on solo refuel runs because it still has small thermal systems and radiator panels, but it will limit the reactor quite a bit.

I was able to time the launch to coincide with the rover's orbit passing over KSC, and when I decoupled the launch vehicle I only needed a bare whisper of fuel to complete the encounter, which made me very happy as the rover is on a 10-degree inclined orbit and my initial simulation runs met with dismal failure. Nevertheless, the expedition accomplished its first docking successfully and must now proceed to Minmus.


The launch vehicle experienced an anomaly on reentry, with a maximum G-force loading of 191 G's (that's almost two hundred) and was destroyed. Mission control is calling this a Kraken sighting about two hundred KM southeast of the space center. Recovery of scrap is to be determined. Telemetry indicates the SLV was about 50 meters over the surface and parachutes had been successfully deployed, but now tracks debris on a solar escape trajectory.

Day 235: Second touchdown on Minmus. I am continually amazed and concerned at how a 950 dV transfer, a 150 dV correction and a 300-dV landing seem to translate into about 2800 dV of Lithium burned. The stuff is amazing on paper but between the fantastic power requirements and the fact that it never seems to perform up to snuff, I think it's best as a secondary propulsion unit for my main ships. Even with 31000 electric charge and an additional 86000 capacitance (click the capacitors or use an action group to discharge them quickly, and then they charge slowly over time) AND with 500 charge per second between two nuclear plants and a really big solar array, my deep space vessel only gets about 200 meters per second of full thrust and then it has to throttle down to 20% power output. Which I suspect the low-power mode must be less efficient but the ISP numbers are the same, so I don't know what's going on.

Regardless, I was able to deorbit over minmus, detach the rover over the surface at 2 meters per second, and touchdown, then reassemble them into a temporary mining base. All is well and refueling is going as planned. And yes, those fuel gauges DO read about 2% fuel remaining. Why do you ask?



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Minmal ejection burn. My map won't actually tell me what my interplanetary trajectory looks like yet, so I'll have to make some adjustments when I leave Minmus SOI, but I'll be going in more or less the right direction at roughly the right speed. Should be able to save "a bit" of delta-V compared to a simple LKO burn, but more importantly, once fully fueled my two 31-ton launch vehicles weigh about 90 tons, in other words I basically got an entire free launch of fuel and food by launching with mostly-empty tanks and filling up on Minmus. About 6000 nominal dV and snacks for between 274 and 394 days according to my snack tray. 11 crew launching with 9100 snacks should eat 33 snacks per day roughly, so unless I accidentally brought Schlock the Mercenary on board I should be ok for any reasonable transfer.

My ejection burn will take at least a week, meaning instead of leaving on day 240 I'm leaving on more like day 250, but in theory I have so much delta-V that shouldn't matter. I'll set a nice fast trip and then decouple the DRO and some cube sats who will go even faster.


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30 minutes ago, dire said:

My map won't actually tell me what my interplanetary trajectory looks like yet

You can turn up the number of conics in the settings from the main menu (maybe in-game too? not sure). The max is 6, which is plenty to go interplanetary. You'll only use all 6 at a time if you're chaining multiple gravity assists together.

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Y1 D249: Alright, did a final ejection burn around Kerbin which was 450 m/s or so, but after Minmal orbital costs and everything else I think I maybe spent 850 or 950 total on ejection. Was worried that the cube sats would impact something if I used their decouplers, so I got Bill out on EVA and he detached the by hand. Cubesat 2 still shot into the DSV primary reactor pretty hard, so I'm glad I didn't use the decoupler. Everything detached OK and I now have a fleet of four ships en route to Duna.


The Duna Orbital Station / DRO has been renamed the Ezekiel Duna Recon Orbiter and will enter Duna's SOI in about 180 days, after a 250 m/s mid-course correction.

Cubesat 1 will enter the Duna SOI in about 202 days.

Expedition Aries contains the lander, all 11 crew and the deep space vehicle, and will enter the Duna SOI in about 212 days. I lost about 1300 food when I detached Ezekiel but we still have over 300 days of life support, so we should still be fine. It turns out I didn't fill up my ore tanks (or my 30 monoprop units) on Minmus so I've only got about 130 ore of reserves instead of 1300 ore of reserves, but I also have about 5000 nominal delta-V and 50% more food than I need, so I really shouldn't need to turn my ore into potatoes or gas.

Finally, Cubesat 2 will enter the Duna SOI in about 252 days.


When Aries arrives, it'll capture and then land on Ike to restock food and the rover's LFO. The rover has a few parachutes and can in theory take a 50 m/s fall if it doesn't roll over, but it doesn't have a ton of delta-V for landing maneuvers on Duna. I can probably just drop it straight from low orbit to surface, but I'd rather not be proven wrong and have to save scum this. I've actually never landed anything on Duna before so I'd rather have more delta-V than I need rather than run out halfway down and see whether my parachutes slow me down enough for a dead stick landing. Also, although I did transfer a large radiator panel from the DSV to act as a heat shield for my long Buffalo cabin, the buffalo parts in particular can't take reentry heating at all. If they've got a Karibou part in front they are usually OK, but if I go belly-to at all, I don't want the rover to burn in half. That would not be a good day.

Attached the escape pods to the rover and discovered that I forgot to turn my ISRU off when I left Minmus! It's been burning my ore this entire time and now I have no ore left. However, I do have quite a lot of Lithium.


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Still Day 249. Upgraded my Astronaut Complex to level 3 and hired 36 applicants, including 3 each scientist, engineer and pilot. I was hoping scouts could do basic piloting, but apparently the only thing they do is "tough it out" better than other Kerbals. Not sure what they're actually good for beside that.

Anyway, I eventually hope to have a ship class that fits 36 colonists into a single NPM, and launch at least 2 or 3 of those for Wave 2, but my next launch is going to be an all-in-one kind of vessel to do my near-Kerbin missions that aren't in LKO.

Hiring all those people and upgrading my complex dropped me about 1.4 million credits. My starting science for Insight is 531 and I'll keep track of my mission gains separately from the Duna gains.


@sturmhauke Does solar science count for the Insight challenge? Or only Duna SOI?

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Well, I am playing Kerbal Complicated Bookkeeping Program ;)

And here is Expedition Aries, the crew-bearing portion of our armada, just after its mid-course correction showing its low flyby of Ike and a gain of 153 science from high solar orbit.

I'm going to be spending about 550 of that on new toys for Wave 2, although I'm not sure yet what I'm going to get. Probably nuclear engines for a better interplanetary transit system, these lithium engines are just a huge hassle. They're basically giant ion engines, but on full power my main engines draw 2000 energy per second. I have my eye on something called a Trinity engine which can run on explodium that incurs negative rep penalties if I use it anywhere near Kerbin, which sounds like just what the doctor ordered xD

And yes, KER does say we have over 7000 dV in our tanks, more than the 6000 we had when we started our interplanetary transit burn. This is because we've lost a lot of weight by shedding the DRO and the two cubesats, which are primarily LFO-powered and thus have much lower dV potential. We are down from 90 tons to 64.


Dubbed the cube sats Cube Sat 1 "Nehemiah" and Cube Sat 2 "Hosea"

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Disaster is looming large over the expedition. After tinkering with the lifeboats to ensure optimal placement on the rover to survive descent, Bill and Val ran a routine diagnosis of their Snack supplies. The result: 2635 snacks remain out of 8000 snack capacity, meaning the kerbals have eaten 5365 snacks with still about half the voyage ahead of them! The snacks computer insists that there are - barely - enough snacks remaining to reach the Duna SOI, with 110 days of snacks left and 109 days to the outer bounds of Duna. It's then going to be a long, hungry drop to Ike, however, and that's only if the Kerbals manage to curb their appetites and ration the remaining third of their cookies.

While discussing how a) the Ezekiel departed with almost 1600 snacks still remaining in its cabins and b) how it totally was not Bill's fault that the processor turned all their ore reserves into Lithium instead of potatoes, Val realized that the only solution would be to perform a high delta-V maneuver - not to reach the Ezekiel and loot its snacks, as Bill had suggested, but rather to reach Ike well ahead of schedule so they could mine more ore.

Val also made a note to tell Mission Control to add space rock tracking to future expeditions. It'd be very handy to be able to harvest a nearby asteroid for potatoes right about now.



In order to lighten the load as much as possible, Bill hand-launches a relay satellite and a resource scanning satellite; they can make their own way to Duna and will enter their orbits after the expedition's food supply is out of danger. And then we begin the long, slow burn at 1.00 meters per second squared.

Concerned about what other systems might not be reporting accurately, Val aborted her burn early. Despite only burning about 500 delta-V, her computer now estimated she had only 4972 delta-V, down from 7381 previously. Jeb from the Aries rover reminded her that it only reported engines that were active; she had switched off the rover's LFO engine midway through the burn to power up her plasma thrusters. Regardless, she still had a 163-dV correction and then would blaze through the Duna system in only a few hours, in just under 65 days. They'd have a 1684 dV braking burn to enter orbit low over Ike, and then touch down on Ike to resupply.

Val also implemented what was perhaps the most desperate measure she, as commander of the expedition, could do: She measured out 31 nominal days of food, and then locked the rest with her personal password. If the food survived at least 24 days to D375, she could unlock the rest of the food early, but if it survived less than 24 days she'd have to ration out the remainder, flirting with mutiny by starving her loyal expedition a day at a time. By transferring food out only every other day, she hoped to give the reprocessors time to produce more Snacks from the recycled soil; every soil container was full and more was being produced that had to be jettisoned, so every bit of soil that could be recycled meant a better chance of the expedition surviving.


@sturmhauke Not sure if that disqualifies my DRO, but if my Kerbals all starve to death (my snacks settings make them starve after missing 30 meals, which should be about 10 days) then that is mission failure. In fact, if at least 5 of my kerbals starve I more or less fail the DOMA challenge :p Otherwise I could just jettison a couple of kolonists and have everyone else eat their food. The Ezekiel does not have enough for a matching burn; it has 2200 dV, which is enough to reach Duna orbit without burning off anything sensitive in the atmosphere; every dV I spend to shorten my travel time is a dV I have to spend again when I am slowing down as my craft are generally not aerobraking.

@Death Engineering If I alternate starving and feeding my Kerbals, will that cause any problems with the DOMA challenge? I can probably get by with starving them for less than ten days total (ideally, I don't have to starve them at all, but Snacks is acting weird). I did bring enough, my Kerbals are just eating too much :p

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9 hours ago, dire said:

@sturmhauke Not sure if that disqualifies my DRO, but if my Kerbals all starve to death (my snacks settings make them starve after missing 30 meals, which should be about 10 days) then that is mission failure. In fact, if at least 5 of my kerbals starve I more or less fail the DOMA challenge :p Otherwise I could just jettison a couple of kolonists and have everyone else eat their food. The Ezekiel does not have enough for a matching burn; it has 2200 dV, which is enough to reach Duna orbit without burning off anything sensitive in the atmosphere; every dV I spend to shorten my travel time is a dV I have to spend again when I am slowing down as my craft are generally not aerobraking.

You could use an autonomous ghost ship for the DRO, as long as it meets the other requirements. But a bunch of dead kerbals won't get you to Rank 4.

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Testing shows that my 31-day nominal snack load lasted about 15 days, which means snacks is running food twice per meal, more than likely. Turned meals per day down from 3 to 2, which means Kerbals should now eat 4 snacks per day, still more than the 3 they are supposed to but now falling within the contingencies I set up.

Just prior to the Aries Ike-fall (hopefully a very slow, very graceful fall), SLV-3 launches with its 30.986 ton payload mass! Half of this NPM is going to stay in orbit for a bit, and the other half is going to Minmus for some extra fuel and snacks.


SLV-3 was recovered 710.7 miles west of the KSC, with 64.8% of its dry value less two airbrakes that burned off during plasma blackout. It recovered 55,126 funds which helps offset some of the fines Val's been accruing for not feeding her kolonists.

I do have "Kerbals die after missed meals" enabled, which is currently set to 30, but I'm not sure if lowering that to 20 will kill my kerbals after 5 days or 10 days because Snacks is broken, so I'm going to leave it there. If I have a kerbal starve to death, we'll find out then, I suppose.

A few days later and in high orbit over another planet, it's become clear that Val's desperate mid-course correction and her draconian measures limiting the kerbals to only 4 meals a day have saved the expedition, as  even with those measures in place the kerbals consumed about 2200 out of their 2600 available supplies during the shortened remainder of the trip to Duna, leaving less than two weeks of supplies left that would have had to last them for an additional 40 to 50 days, had Val not acted.

I am burning early to the node because the way the plasma engines work, I spend most of my time at about 20% power on long burns and I'd rather have more control coming into my periapsis rather than trying to play catch up after losing power and shooting past both Duna and Ike at high speed.


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OK, successful landing on Ike and docked on the surface for final refueling. I just now realized I don't have a food processor on the deep space vessel, but it won't be a problem in the immediate future. Recording a starting science of 592 and an ending science of 2015 on Ike, which doesn't count things like high Duna and high Ike discovery, but I didn't think to grab the science screen just prior to entering Duna. So that's 1423 science plus the 153 solar science for 1574 total science at the moment. Not counting my Minmus and Munar science which the rover did that came out to about 3600 just because I don't think I have screen shots of before and after.


And after...


Could go roving for fun and profit, but I'm not going to risk the rover at this point. There's loads of time for that later. Next up, topping up the food tanks and then Ezekiel, the probes and Aries landing, although the exact timing will depend on how fast I can fill my tanks. Probably Aries landing first, then Ezekiel and then the probes.

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