dire

DOMA Arigato, Duna!

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Played a little bit with aerobraking on Duna with Ezekiel station, burned a few hundred meters per second off my orbit but still had to spend quite a lot of fuel to enter an orbit. Lost comm signal while burning and wound up spending all my LFO and electric charge doing a full burn with a dead probe, but luckily I lost power before I had burned all my lithium. Once Ezekiel came back into the sunlight and re-established connection to Kerbin, I was able to circularize, but I still have about a 3 degree eccentricity on a 200km / 300 km orbit. That should be fine for now. I think I actually wound up spending more dV from the aerocapture than I would have spent without it.

Aries Expedition is more or less refueled and I plan to dock the DSV back to Ezekiel while the rover makes landfall, but that's a project for another day. Cubesat 2 arrives at Duna in 19 days, so Aries will likely already be on the surface by then.

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The Prospector from SLV-3 is refueling incredibly slowly on Minmus. It's going to be there a while, but it has time to burn. It has three static seats, plus two 'emergency habs' that are rated for two kerbals each, so in theory it can seat up to seven but it's going to look a little silly flying those big orange tents around. I am tinkering with the idea of using the emergency habs as deployable auxiliary living quarters on Duna, which would give me a lot of leeway to have heavy habs on my deep space vessels that recycle soil for efficient long-term transport, and the deploy these lightweight habs on Duna where I can mine ore and turn it into potatoes, where snack capacity and soil recycling isn't an issue. That's potentially a lot more efficient in the long term, but actually I don't know that I have so many launch windows that doing that would be worth it.

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Edited by dire
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Year 02, day 7. Landed on Duna with 8 kolonists. Landing was a little rough but I think just moving some parachutes around will fix that for next time. Plan is to refuel, then leave the escape capsules and two kolonists on the ground and re-orbit with the rover, then meet with Ezekiel and the DSV, transfer two of the ground crew to the DSV and two of the DSV crew to the ground, and transfer science to the DSV, then land again with the rover and meet with the escape capsules. I seriously considered using one of the escape capsules to check off "Used contingency plan" but I'm honestly not confident that they can survive re-entry solo, and I need both capsules on the ground to keep my kolonists from becoming homesick.

Deorbit shot shows 215 science (I not only unlocked some sweet tech nodes, I boldly downloaded entirely new mods which may show up in Launch 4!) 

Crew shot shows Y02 Day007 and 1444 science, so I can get a delta of 1229 science and a total of 2805.

Mods installed were FTT, Malemute and DSEV, which are roverdude and snack-guy mods so I presume they're OK. They seem pretty balanced.

Then headed to the midlands and collected some low-flying science as well as midlands science and surface samples. Additional science delta of 1981 and new science total of 4786 total science collected, and I still need to actually return 30+ experiments, so this should be good. That is biome number 2, giving me a good start on the "collect 6 surface samples" quest. Also discovered that this craft still does not fly especially well even after moving the parachutes around, but it should be enough to take off and land a couple of times until a beefier Duna Shuttle arrives.

Year 2, day 26. Cubesat 2 "Hosea" enters the Duna system and enters a synchronous orbit to Ezekiel Station, trailing by about 800km. While I could send the cube sats on adventures for fun and profit, I think I'm better served at the moment by leaving them in orbit. Hosea has plenty of fuel left for stationkeeping and I might put it in a higher orbit just so it has better line of sight lines to the surface.

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Edited by dire
Screen shots compressed to save bandwidth
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Roved over to the lowlands to grab some more science...and forgot to take a "Before" screenshot until my science was half done....but it's fine. That lifeboat is not broken, it just didn't want to land on its wheels when I tried to detach it, so I'm reassembling it to decouple onto its wheels. Although flight tests are a little...disappointing...I think ultimately to get it into orbit I might have to stand it up on its tail.

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And two more probes have arrived, marking the expected arrival date of Aries Expedition and adding an Ike relay and a polar Duna relay to my comsat collection. When Cubesat 2 arrives the collection - and "Positive Uplink" - will be complete. So that's 582 extra science from lowlands and scanning and 5368 total.

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Edited by dire
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Am going to start merging screenshots to save on bandwidth. If anyone has a problem with that let me know and I can start posting links to the originals also.

Y2 D37: Launched a Crew Transfer Vehicle up to the SLV-3 orbiting science lab. Seriously considered sending a screwdriver in the shuttle (which would not have left LKO) but decided to wait for SLV-4. Am really liking the new, upgraded engines on the RATO-19. A vehicle that previously could barely get into an LKO encounter now has 1200 dV to spare, and the only thing I changed was swapping panthers for whiplashes and sabers.

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And apparently I hate myself, because I picked the most torturous, laborious way to get Prospector back into orbit possible. I think this took about 3 hours, but it might've taken 4.

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Also sent up a crew transfer to bring the engineer from Prospector home and top off the snack tanks of the RATO-19. It's got about 20 people on board and they eat a lot of snacks (No snacks were transferred into NPM, only the shuttle).Will likely send up another snack shuttle before SLV-4 launches, and then I can hopefully start thinking about moving the entire SLV-3 payload over to Minmus to produce its own snacks with all 20 passengers aboard. Was hoping to do that after the Prospector did its run, but again, its low tankage means it just doesn't have the delta-V to do it. It just barely has enough delta-V to get itself back to Minmus at present.

Edited by dire
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Y2, D082. Cubesat 1 "Nehemiah" makes Duna orbit, completing "Positive Uplink" for the DOMA challenge.

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I think that also will conclude my efforts in the Insight challenge @sturmhauke. Obviously there's a lot of things I still plan to do - I need to return a few thousand science, and at the end of the DOMA challenge I'll be cleaning things up and returning everything to Kerbin, but I think this is a good place to stop and tally my score so you can close out the contest and put me on the leaderboard.

DSV "Artemis": https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/Deep-Space-Vessel-Artemis includes cubesats, lifeboats, DRO, and space crawler. Mass: 340 (31 ton payload), cost 410k. 11 mods.

Aries Mk5: https://kerbalx.com/direstorm/Aries-Mk5-Duna-Rover includes rover. Mass 338 (31 ton payload), cost 275k. 8 mods. Not sure why the mass is different on these two craft, probably just fairings (which don't count towards NPM). The Artemis also has a couple of nose cones that I knocked off in LKO, if I recall correctly.

Total mass for Insight: 678 tons over 2 launches. Total cost: 685k.

Score:

Rank 1: +10

Build an unmanned lander capable of reaching Duna's surface. The lander must include a thermometer, seismic accelerometer, and negative gravioli detector. It must also include sufficient solar panels and antennas to transmit its data back to Kerbin. The lander must be launched into LKO with a rocket, and then use a transfer stage to get to Duna.

* Definitely got this far. Craft launches with solar panels on its probes but primary power is supplied by a 1.25 meter nuclear plant.

Rank 2: +20

As above, with the following changes. The lander only needs enough antenna power to reach Duna orbit. Build two identical mini-satellites, with sufficient relay antennas and solar power to extend the comm network to the landing site. These mini-sats must be launched together with the lander, as a single payload. Once reaching LKO, the lander and mini-sats must all travel independently to Duna. The mini-sats' trajectories should be arranged such that they perform a flyby of Duna at the correct time and place for the lander to transmit its initial data to one or both satellites.

* Probably got this one? Due to food issues had to make a mid-course correction with the lander that threw the timing off a bit, but it just waited on Ike until the first cubesat was in place.

Rank 3: +30

Ahead of the main mission, launch a Duna Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite. It must be launched via rocket and reach Duna orbit ahead of the lander, and have sufficient solar power and relay antennas to extend the comm network to the landing site. It must also carry one or more experiments suitable for unmanned orbital science (your choice).

 Extend the mission of the two mini-sats. Put experiments on them and collect more science, and/or flyby additional bodies.

* Probably got this one? Again, due to issues with Snacks, the rover wound up arriving on Ike before the rest of the fleet, but the DRO was scheduled to arrive first. The mission of the mini-sats has been expanded to provide relay capabilities to the Duna colony. They have experiments on them, and have enough fuel to do additional science at a later date.

Rank 4: +40

Something crazy.

* Colony on Duna. Involves Jeb, Val and the whole crew.

Subtotal: 100 pts

+80: Lowest mass colony rover to Duna (62t from LKO, 678 tons on the launchpad)

+80: Lowest cost colony rover to Duna. (685k credits on the pad)

+268.4 5368 science collected.

Total: 528.4 points.

 

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Edited by dire
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Looks pretty good. I'll review everything when I get home tonight and update the leaderboard.

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Year 2 Day 172 - Successfully launched SLV-4 with payload Rover Hotel-52, massing exactly 31.000 tons. This massive habitation block boasts comfortable habitation space for 26 kerbals, estimated to be enough for four to five families to live and work on the Duna surface. Also sent up was tankage for the voyage of an additional 9000 snacks, but even the most optimistic projections (which include a conservative margin for error) suggest this is only enough for about 18 of the 26 kolonists, and the mission standard of 1000 snacks per kerbal mean we are going to be sending up quite a few of the family-sized Snack-4500 containers; additional tankage will be sent on future missions.

Was trying to figure out why my Aries Mk-V was having so much trouble getting into orbit to meet with Deep Space Vessel "Artemis" and eventually realized that with a full ore tank, my 31-ton rover weighs 52 tons and thus has a TWR of less than 1.0 on Duna (and only 900 LFO dV, problematic when my sustained ion thrust is only about 0.2 TWR). However, the "main" ore hold was a repurposed fuel tank to begin with, and by converting that tank back to a LFO tank and possibly re-purposing a few probe engines Bill swears were just "lying around not being used", it turns out the Aries can in fact get (and stay) airborne.

However, we are once again pushing back rendezvous with the Artemis to another day.

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Y2 D173 - The day has finally come. Aries, after extensive re-engineering in situ on Duna, finally takes once again to the skies for a brief tryst with his sister Artemis on the cold, grey surface of Ike. Left on the ground were two brave kerbonauts with an ample* supply of snacks in the longboat (the two have become one, but the snacks are unaffected). 

On Ike, Aries and Artemis exchange crewmembers: Valentina retains command of the Artemis,  but loses both of her crewmembers and gains a small greyish-white blob, the culmination of the team's entire efforts to-date; and Bob elects to safeguard the sample case on its trip home. In it is the results of over 40 experiments; most all of which have already had preliminary results transmitted to Kerbin. The real data, however, will also be invaluable, and includes three surface samples from Duna and one from Ike. Valentina also gains an engineer by the name of Arhat, who has been studying with Bill and must return to Kerbin to be awarded a replacement screwdriver for the one he lost on Minmus. As one of only two engineers to ever step foot on Duna, Arhat will also have valuable extraction and refinery expertise to share with future colonist operators.

Lifting the Aries to orbit was a lot easier when I remembered I was supposed to throttle my ion drives to about 20% and then engage them alongside the LFO engines. Once I got to about 30km altitude and 750 meters per second I could largely shut off my LFO engines and let the Aries get carried to orbit on the pink contrails of high-energy unicorn farts (No unicorns were harmed in the production of the Aries lithium-plasma drives).

I was also really surprised by how much the tiny buffalo-class canards contributed to the stability of the rover going at speed on and near the surface of Duna. Comparatively, I was able to go much faster, better able to control pitch and yaw and (important) did not spin out the way this craft usually has a tendency to do.

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The last thing I want to do before the two ships part for what could be the last time is power down both nuclear plants, allow them to cool while refueling is powered by the giant solar array on the Artemis, and then transfer fuel from the Artemis to the Aries. The Aries only launched with a half-load of fuel for its power plant, because its mass was low. If it doesn't do a lot of flying it shouldn't need a full tank as I expect that for most of its mission it can operate with its plant throttled to 10%, but I think the Artemis will have an easier time refueling as it is headed back to Kerbin regularly. and it can also probably handle running out of fuel more easily as it has a lot of battery tonnage, massive capacitors and a huge solar array (and can still only fire its ion thrusters at full blast for a few hundred meters per second before throttling back down).

That said, while the Artemis can probably get home without its nuclear plant, it will do so at 20% power and probably 5% maximum thrust, which will take a painfully long time and I don't plan to run any missions with it in that situation. In fact, it might be wise for me to upgrade its power plant (and bring a whole bevy of medium radiators for it) because its future payloads will potentially be much heavier than the Aries. I could also stand to upgrade its fuel tanks, actually; it's got plenty of delta-V for a solo return trip but if it's going to be pulling a 100+ ton cargo payload its delta-V is going to be cut to a small fraction of its rated value and it might actually not have enough to pull a full mission from Kerbin to Duna. Something for me to think about probably going into Wave 3, which is not for a while.

First I have to get the Artemis home and send the Aries back to Duna. Every day they spend on Ike is a day where I'm only getting 4 kerbal-days of points instead of 16 kerbal-days of points.

Speaking of which, I'm satisfied that the Aries has proven its chops as a Duna Transport Ship going from the surface of Duna to the surface of Ike in one go. But I scavenged some rockets off my Backup Plan to do it, and that means my backup plan of using the lifeboats for ascent is in question. It doesn't strike me as real "backup plan"-y if I have to rely on my primary craft's engines for my lifeboats' ascent, even if I'm not relying on the rest of the craft. The problem will become redundant when Wave 2 arrives, as Wave 2 has a number of different qualified ascent vehicles, but I'm not sure they'll arrive before my Wave 1 kerbals start being homesick. If the Aries Expedition becomes homesick that will invalidate dozens of kerbal-years of points! 

Am thinking the Aries should pay Ezekiel a visit on the way back to the lifeboats. Ezekiel has about four engines more than it really needs to just sit in orbit and relay communications. The four orbital satellites also, at this point, each have one engine more than they're really ever going to use again. I bet if I strap four engines onto the lifeboat to replace the one I borrowed, it's not going to have any problems at all getting to orbit and docking with the Ezekiel (where, of course, any refugees would wait for the next bus home).

Come to think of it, the lifeboat is solar, not nuclear-powered, and it does -not- have a massive solar array, just a couple of panels duct-taped to the roof. So it couldn't use the plasma engines on Ezekiel even if I brought them down. Ezekiel does have a pair of auxiliary LFO thrusters, though, and I can just borrow those.

Edited by dire
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Y2, D194. The Aries completed refueling, leaving the Artemis on Ike to top off her LFO reserves while the Aries went off adventuring. First to high Ike orbit to rescue Peggy Kerman and her station core, mysteriously abandoned and without any propulsion, life support or doors; she and her station core will wait at Ezekiel for the Artemis and catch a ride home to Kerbin with them. Although I also have a contract to save Tomly Kerman from orbit of Duna, the expedition team could only watch helplessly as his orbit ejected him into an eccentric solar orbit. Maybe someday one of the interplanetary ships will be able to save him, but the odds of them being able to recover more than his frozen corpse are low. Fortunately he has an estimated 24 years of life support available; unfortunately it's likely to be at least a decade before any effort is mounted, because the Duna effort is simply more critical.

The Prospector received some upgrades including more tankage, an additional 8 comfy chairs, a pair of shiny new lithium-plasma engines and a couple capacitors to power them, and it's borrowing a pair of drills from SLV 4. It was able to make another run to Minmus and fill its tanks, and now it's on a return trajectory again taking an assist from the Mun. It may not bring home enough delta-V to push all of SLV-3 and SLV-4 into a Minmus orbit (we'll see) but it should at least be able to fill some fuel tanks in LKO. The Aries, meanwhile, traded Peggy's station hub for the Ezekiel's LFO Sparks, and handed its onboard science lab off to the Artemis with the science data and the scientist. It still has 16 seats, so habitability is not affected.

My habitation score currently stands as follows:

Made Duna fall on Y2 D07 with 8 Kerbals.

Lifted off with 6 Kerbals on Y2 D173, leaving 2

Returned with 8 Kerbals on Y2 Day 194.

So I spent 166 days with 8 kerbals, who score double because it's before Y5 D1, plus 21 days with 2 kerbals, who again score double (Refueling takes way too long).

So that's 166*8*2 + 21*2*2 = 2656 + 84 = 2740 kerbal-days of Duna habitation up to Y2 D194, with 8 kerbals on the ground and 4 in the sky.

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Edited by dire
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I had the exact same thing with an rescuecontarct form orbit of duna and the rescueie was sling to a sunorbit, my first and only solarrescue so far

Edited by PrvDancer85
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Y2, D358 Standard Launch Vehicle 5 launched Space Truck 2, which has docked with all the other stuff in LKO and wandered off to Minmus for fuel and snacks. Two weeks later the Prospector is now drilling its second refueling load and I'm still trying to figure out the best way to reassemble all this stuff in orbit so I can get all this stuff, plus another Rover Hotel, over to Duna without everything acting like a wet noodle when I start pushing.

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Also discovered a new way to make a transfer, where I push my apoapsis above my current apo and can then make a transfer potentially a little bit faster than with a hohman orbit, but the planets are still not quite aligned for the Artemis to get home without either spending massive amounts of fuel that I'm not confident she has, or spending massive amounts of time in transit which I am sure she doesn't have. I could leave right now if I left the rescue mission and a crew member behind on Ezekiel, but my transit time would be about a year and I have no idea if I'd even be able to deorbit and circularize when the Artemis arrived at Kerbin. So I plan to wait about three months and refuel the Artemis's snack supply before she leaves Duna.

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Decided running the prospector up and down was too inefficient and taking just way too much effort, so I put the whole vessel down on Minmus. Now I just have to figure out how to get it back off-planet again. Am thinking I should probably cannibalize the Prospector. Maybe just pull the engine columns off and stick them on Rover Hotel, dock the rest somewhere and reassemble it once I get back in orbit for one final fuel run if needed.

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Y2 D404 - Refueling on Minmus completed and I've arranged the prospector's engines around the base of Rover Hotel in what I hope is pretty close to symmetrical around the center of mass, but I'm going to be very glad the Hemi-Cuda engines have lots of gimbal. KER says I have 4000 dV in this configuration (I should have more like 6000 once I bring my main engines online, but we'll see). KER also says I have a 5.6 TWR and a top acceleration of 2.6 m/s, but I think the plasma engines are confusing it again. I -probably- have enough thrust to get off the ground, as a pair of sparks was enough to get me landed and I only weigh about twice as much now.

Original  launch mass of this vessel: three 31-ton NPM's (NPM 3, 4 and 5), so just a hair under 93 tons NPM. Current tonnage: 196.2 tons. So I more than doubled my mass by launching almost-dry tanks instead of full wet tanks. And it's looking like the ship will at have plenty of delta-V to get to Duna even after NPM 6 joins it, which will be excellent. Next step: liftoff!

Edited by dire
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