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Kerpollo - A Complete Science Mode Run In 9 Acts


Superfluous J
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Dunaollo Complete!  @Superfluous J

Finished the run to Duna and Ike last night.  It was a pretty basic run, using only parts from tech tier 6 or lower.  The rocket is much larger and has much. ore dV than is actually needed, so I didn't need to worry about fuel or tricky orbital maneuvers.

I think that completes the Kerpollo challenge for me, which I have really enjoyed!

In my mission reports thread (linked below) the Duna/Ike run is actually spread out over several posts, and there are a lot of screenshots.

 

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@Superfluous J

Before I start, I'd like to say that it's only been 9 days since I finished Drespollo.  9 days.  It feels like I've been trying to get to other celestial bodies after that for longer than 9 days.  Sometimes this game feels like an hour, sometimes it feels like several millenia.  But, it is what it is.  Now, with that said...

Dunapollo is complete!  Woo hoo!  It took almost everything I had, including 2 days of reconfiguring stuff AFTER I last lost it about not being able to finish.  I am sincerely hoping that, by unlocking most of tier 7, I can get to the rest of the celestial bodies out there.  Except Jool; that's gonna be the last one I deal with, and I know it's gonna take everything I don't even yet know I have in me to do.

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Man, I was THIS CLOSE to doing Eeloo today...and I ran out of fuel.  I was about 500 m/s short on my first flight out now that I've got Tier 7 nearly unlocked.

giphy.gif

I know what I have to do, though.  One tank here...a couple tanks there...presto!  Should get this done by tomorrow!

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@Superfluous J

And I have finished Mohollo!  I watched a couple of rocket design videos, and one by Matt Towne really hit home.  It showed me how to get the most out of the dV I needed.  My lander ended up with < 200 m/s of dV after re-docking in Moho orbit, and so I transferred all that fuel back into the main ship and then jettisoned the lander.  When I reached Kerbin and ended the capture burn, I still had ~1000 m/s of dV remaining, which helped me to get back on the surface.

One thing that the images and my running commentary don't show is that I had to do EVA maneuvers in space...which I have NEVER done before.  Bob couldn't reach the primary command module to store all the experiment data, so he had to let go of the lander and fly over to the command module to store the experiments.  Lots of reverts on that maneuver, but I've learned now yet another thing I didn't think I would ever have to figure out.

For those of you who actually read the report, you'll notice I went a different direction this time.  Instead of my own thoughts about what was happening, I wrote it from the perspective of the 2 Kerbonauts I sent into orbit.  And while I was originally going to head to Eeloo, I thought "What is the most Kerbal thing that could happen here"...and I combined Bob's love of snack cakes with one of the planets in the Kerbol system.  And so they went to Moho.  :)

Comments and feedback are most appreciated!  I will be heading to Eeloo next!

 

 

Edited by Scarecrow71
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21 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I had to do EVA maneuvers in space..

Necessity is the mother of invention!  Nice job!  I consider Moho the most difficult place to visit in the game.  It's the place I most dread going to.

Congratulations!

 

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7 hours ago, 18Watt said:

I consider Moho the most difficult place to visit in the game.  It's the place I most dread going to.

Interestingly enough, I tried Eeloo multiple times before going to Moho.  And I hit Moho on my first attempt this time.  I'm just happy I got one step closer to finishing this challenge!

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And it looks like I am going to have to forfeit and drop out of this.  I only have Eve and Jool to go, and I could probably complete Eve and get the last tier of the tech tree unlocked.  But I cannot do a Jool-5 in one launch; that appears to be the limit of what I am capable of in this game.  Were I allowed multiple launches I am quite sure that I could finish Jool and all 5 of its moons.  Being able to dock extra tanks and extra landers and all that in space would make a Jool-5 run not so impossible-seeming.  But to do it in one launch?  Can't do it.

This isn't me whining about it.  I simply have reached what I can do in this game.  I simply cannot design a rocket that has enough fuel and thrust to get me off Kerbin, get to Jool, explore all 5 moons, and get back.  My best attempt is that I can get to Jool, and then I get to pick 1 moon to explore before coming home.  I simply run out of fuel, and I cannot seem to design anything that can hold enough fuel for me to do anything else.  I know - use ISRU.  Which I don't know how to do yet, and even if I did I would have to take those components into account on any rocket I design and fly.  And I'm having major issues without that, which means that I cannot do that either.

Sorry, guys, but I just can't continue on this one.  Unless someone can implant rocket design material directly into my brain, I've simply reached my limit.

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I am going to try making for Eve, if for no other reason than to finish the tech tree.  And while I am not confident in my ability to get there and back (including Gilly), I am thinking that maybe this will spark something in me to be able to design a Jool-5 rocket.  But again, I don't have a lot of faith in my ability right now.

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On 11/15/2021 at 2:28 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

And I'm ready to give up.  ...  Simply put, I CANNOT DO IT.

I understand the frustration and the feeling. The "Jool 5" step for this is the single hardest thing in the challenge. You not only have to do a Jool 5 - which many people never even attempt and many who attempt give up on (I did several times before I got it) - but you MUST do it in ONE LAUNCH and you have to schlep 2 Kerbals everywhere (at least). It's totally completely unfair.

If I may make a suggestion: Don't do MY Jool 5. Do a regular one. Do it in a different save (or back up your save so you can always come back later). Do it for the lowest possible tier with the lowest possible requirements. Prove to yourself you can do it. Learn the pitfalls and how to overcome them. Then do it again, possibly at the next tier up. Try to not have to refuel, or construct in orbit. Eventually you'll get it.

THEN come back and do mine, when you have the tools in your personal toolbox (i.e. your brain :)).

Oh, and as an aside, I didn't reply to your most recent post. I replied to a really old post when you felt similarly about Duna. You, simply put, COULD NOT DO IT.

2 weeks ago.

Food for thought. I'm not saying anything I'm just saying :)

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2 hours ago, Superfluous J said:

I understand the frustration and the feeling. The "Jool 5" step for this is the single hardest thing in the challenge. You not only have to do a Jool 5 - which many people never even attempt and many who attempt give up on (I did several times before I got it) - but you MUST do it in ONE LAUNCH and you have to schlep 2 Kerbals everywhere (at least). It's totally completely unfair.

If I may make a suggestion: Don't do MY Jool 5. Do a regular one. Do it in a different save (or back up your save so you can always come back later). Do it for the lowest possible tier with the lowest possible requirements. Prove to yourself you can do it. Learn the pitfalls and how to overcome them. Then do it again, possibly at the next tier up. Try to not have to refuel, or construct in orbit. Eventually you'll get it.

THEN come back and do mine, when you have the tools in your personal toolbox (i.e. your brain :)).

Oh, and as an aside, I didn't reply to your most recent post. I replied to a really old post when you felt similarly about Duna. You, simply put, COULD NOT DO IT.

2 weeks ago.

Food for thought. I'm not saying anything I'm just saying :)

The big difference between my Dina post and the Jool 5 is that with Duna I was simply frustrated.  The Jool 5 is beyond what I know how to do.  I've honestly run out of ability, which sucks, but it is what it is.

I think you have a point, though, about doing something else and coming back to this later.  Perhaps my mind will wrk this out when I'm not so focused on it.  I don't see how...and that's the issue.  I knew this challenge would be hard.  I just didn't realize that it was beyond what I'm currently capable of.  Heck, even all the threads I see use ISRU, which I apparently need to learn.

Right now I'm just gonna focus on Eve to at least finish the tech tree.  After that I'm probably gonna set this aside for a while and focus on learning ISRU.  Then we shall see?

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1 hour ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Heck, even all the threads I see use ISRU, which I apparently need to learn.

ISRU definitely helps (as you don't have to carry fuel) but it's far from necessary. I did my Jool 5 for this without it.

My videos are WAY too brief to serve as tutorial, but they at least can serve as proof. Here's the first of what was eventually 4 for my Joolollo run, max tech but no ISRU.

(That said, I like your current idea)

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On 11/30/2021 at 5:29 AM, Scarecrow71 said:

The big difference between my Dina post and the Jool 5 is that with Duna I was simply frustrated.  The Jool 5 is beyond what I know how to do.  I've honestly run out of ability, which sucks, but it is what it is.

I think you have a point, though, about doing something else and coming back to this later.  Perhaps my mind will wrk this out when I'm not so focused on it.  I don't see how...and that's the issue.  I knew this challenge would be hard.  I just didn't realize that it was beyond what I'm currently capable of.  Heck, even all the threads I see use ISRU, which I apparently need to learn.

Right now I'm just gonna focus on Eve to at least finish the tech tree.  After that I'm probably gonna set this aside for a while and focus on learning ISRU.  Then we shall see?

I feel your pain. I felt similiar when I tried to do my first manned Eve return (in this challenge). Since this forum was a big help I would like to help you too. Care to share your craft file? Since you are a quite good (going to Moho and back without ISRU needs serious skills) player I think, that there can't be something wrong with your  design decisions. If you like I can have a look and might give some hints what can be improved. 

Regarding  ISRU: Imho it's  doesn't make things more difficult but a lot easier.  A Jool 5 however might not be the first mission to learn it though. So I would suggest to experiment in a sandbox or another Science game (with hacked science points so you hage the same tech tree like in your Kerpollo game). Design a ISRU-Lander then go to Minmus, then to the mun. Next to Duna and Ike. If you manage to build a lander who works on every of these bodys it's quite likely that it'l work for a Jool 5 too. You can test it by cheating the lander in the orbit of each Jool moon and trying to land and return. I woudn't use ISRU for Laythe (nothing beats planes there) and for Tylo a dedicated lander might be smarter.

Some foods for thought: In a normal career game I never ever use the smaller ISRUs drills and refiner, since they have less efficency and everything takes longer. I play with Life support mode so I don't have the time. Kerpollo is different: It doesn't matter how long the mining takes, as long as you have ore. So: Use just the big drills (the lighter ones are only working on areas with big ore quantities) and the small ISRU refiner (weights a lot less->More delta-v). At Jool you can't power everything with solar power so take some fuel cell arrays. Since you can mine for fuel you can create a kind of perpetum mobile. You will need a RTG or small solar device to get the mining rig running when you are out of EC.  In regarding to heat mangment: The wiki has some infos, I tend to just use the biggest ones: https://wiki.kerbalspaceprogram.com/wiki/Thermal_Control_System_(large) 
But If you need to save weight you can also use the medium panels, you will just have to work out where to place it since it needs to be near the devices in neat of a cool breeze:
https://wiki.kerbalspaceprogram.com/wiki/Radiator_Panel_(large)

I know that this might be a litte overwhelming but for me ISRU was one of the most straight forward things I did in Kerbal ever. 

One caveat for Kerpollo though: In normal missions I plan to land several times to fill my fuel tanks up to the brim. In Kerpollo this is forbidden by the challenge rules so you need to be careful in mission planning. And: Using a probe sat for discovering the regions with ore is allowed but you need to deattach the satelite before starting the landings.
Best deal for the sat is a light probe powered by an ion engine. Since  solar power is limited at jool and RTGs don't generate much EC/s t o start with your engine won't have it's full thrust. But it's enogh and that's all, that matters. Manoeuvers will need a little bit longer but it's bearable. 

For some inspiration here is the album of my Kerpollo Jool5:
https://imgur.com/gallery/CG093Wr
There is a lot of room to improvement, since I brought science equipment (tbh not needed if your tech tree is already full),  used the larger ISRU, I brought more kerbals than needed (so the mothership can be a lot lighter) and didn't had a taximodule. 

But maybe you  get some ideas, best wishes, Jost.
 

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1 hour ago, jost said:

I feel your pain. I felt similiar when I tried to do my first manned Eve return (in this challenge). Since this forum was a big help I would like to help you too. Care to share your craft file? Since you are a quite good (going to Moho and back without ISRU needs serious skills) player I think, that there can't be something wrong with your  design decisions. If you like I can have a look and might give some hints what can be improved

See, I didn't think Moho was all that hard.  I actually tried to do Eeloo first, and when that didn't happen, I just went the other direction.  But I thank you for the kind words!

1 hour ago, jost said:

Regarding  ISRU: Imho it's  doesn't make things more difficult but a lot easier.  A Jool 5 however might not be the first mission to learn it though. So I would suggest to experiment in a sandbox or another Science game (with hacked science points so you hage the same tech tree like in your Kerpollo game). Design a ISRU-Lander then go to Minmus, then to the mun. Next to Duna and Ike. If you manage to build a lander who works on every of these bodys it's quite likely that it'l work for a Jool 5 too. You can test it by cheating the lander in the orbit of each Jool moon and trying to land and return. I woudn't use ISRU for Laythe (nothing beats planes there) and for Tylo a dedicated lander might be smarter.

See, I've never done anything with ISRU before, and while I knew it should be part of the plan, I was trying to not do it.  And I've seen others do it (although the number is very small).  I had multiple ideas on what to do, and one of thebideas I scrapped was a dedicated lander for each moon due to my not being able to get off the ground.  I know that there is a way to do it, I just haven't figured it out.

Right now I'm flipping between this and the No Contract challenge; I am giving my mind a Kerpollo rest.  I am hoping that doing this will:

A.  Give me the chance to learn ISRU at a slow pace, AND

B.  Give my mind a chance to rest and hopefully come up with a solution while I'm not focused on this.

In this challenge I am right now trying to land on Eve before doing Jool again.  I have an issue with my lander, but I know how to correct it.  Once I do that I'll go back to the No Contract challenge until my mind clicks a solution here.

Edited by Scarecrow71
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19 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

See, I didn't think Moho was all that hard.  I actually tried to do Eeloo first, and when that didn't happen, I just went the other direction.  But I thank you for the kind words!

For my Kerpollo it was the other way round, I did Eeloo before Moho although the though of sending my Kerbals to this remote ice ball without direct communication cringed me out.
Actually I wanted to go for Moho but in the end I didn't manage a transfer without loosing too much delta-v. 


Regarding ISRU: Steam has a tutorial (with images) from 2015: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=437378871 
Although some things changed (today solar panels doesn't help with heat dissipation you need ratiators) and some parts are not really needed (aka the rover) it's a great help to get a first idea. 
The tutorial was also posted to this forum (images are broken) the discussion was big help for me too: 

 
Good luck with Eve and the no contracts challenge. Happy rocketing :) 
 

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On 12/1/2021 at 8:11 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

I didn't think Moho was all that hard.  I actually tried to do Eeloo first, and when that didn't happen, I just went the other direction.

Historical fact that is likely only interesting to me. The first planet in the game I ever landed on other than Kerbin was Moho. I didn't know much about all that fancy dV stuff and I tended to WAY overengineer my rockets (also, there was no Science or Career modes so if your computer could handle it it was fine to build). I would frequently drop my LAUNCH STAGE on the Mun, and then immediately also drop my TRANSFER STAGE so my lander could land. So, one day, I just took one of my crazy, overengineered rockets and sent it to Moho. I couldn't get back to Kerbin (it was a mun rocket after all) but I did get back to orbit.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, I need some help with my Eve lander.  I followed Matt's tutorial on creating one, and this one mirrors his exactly, except for the metal bars on the outside.

fhc3nis.png

If I don't have the inflatable heat shields on the top, the craft spins uncontrollably in Eve's atmosphere until it blows up.  If I have the inflatable heat shields on top, the burn up almost immediately, causing the rest of the ship to overheat and blow up.  I can't even get 10km into the atmosphere before poor Bob bites it.

What am I doing wrong here?  Are there any other examples of Eve landers I should be looking at?  Is this simply a PEBCAK error?

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7 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

If I don't have the inflatable heat shields on the top, the craft spins uncontrollably in Eve's atmosphere until it blows up.  If I have the inflatable heat shields on top, the burn up almost immediately, causing the rest of the ship to overheat and blow up.

I had trouble as well.  That thing is a lot bigger than the ship I used, so not sure how much these tips will help.

  • Try mounting the top shields the other direction, facing down, the same direction as the lower shields.
  • If the ship doesn’t want to point bottom into the wind, try mounting the upper shields higher up (on a girder), to get the drag higher up.  The upper shields are not actually doing any shielding, they are just there for drag to keep the ship oriented correctly.
  • Do NOT use time-warp of any kind in Eve’s atmosphere.  The spinning seems to be inevitable, which can cause ships to come unglued.  The spinning while under physics warp (even 2X..) will almost certainly cause a yard sale.
  • I’m curious why there are landing gear on the upper part of the ship?

I’d start with the first tip, mounting the upper heat shields the other direction..

Edit:  Here’s a screenshot of the contraption I took to Eve.  Note how both heat shields are facing the same direction, and how the upper one is mounted on an extension boom, made from girders.  That helps keep it weathervaned into the wind.  The upper shield does not protect the ship whatsoever- it’s just a device which produces a lot of drag, and also happens to be resistant to heat.

Cvdw0cl.png

Edited by 18Watt
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9 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

I’m curious why there are landing gear on the upper part of the ship?

Because once I get off Eve, the ship goes to Gilly.  I built this one to do double duty.  Which I think is my problem; I think part of the issue is that the decoupler right at that spot might be overheating too.

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1 minute ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Because once I get off Eve, the ship goes to Gilly. 

Consider ditching the landing gear.  Those things are heavy!  And you don’t need landing gear to land on Gilly.  Every single gram counts when launching from Eve.  By the time I get to orbit I’m usually down to a command pod, small fuel tank, and small engine.

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15 hours ago, 18Watt said:

Consider ditching the landing gear.  Those things are heavy!  And you don’t need landing gear to land on Gilly.  Every single gram counts when launching from Eve.  By the time I get to orbit I’m usually down to a command pod, small fuel tank, and small engine.

I would...if I could manually land worth more than half a damn.  I know that I'll need all the spare dV I can to get off Eve; with all the effort I've put into it thus far, I already know and am planning for more tweaks to the craft before I get a successful touchdown and exit from Eve.

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@18Watt

So, I flipped the top inflatable heat shields, and they didn't burn up.  Can't believe I missed that.  Unfortunately, something on/near the decoupler in the middle of the ship is overheating way too fast, causing the ship to crack in half and blow up.  The decoupler I'm talking about is right at the midpoint of the vessel, just under the landing legs.  I tried putting small radiators there to wick away the heat, but they aren't working.  This is a design by Matt that, according to his video, works.  I wonder if I'm coming in too hot perhaps?  Maybe need to bring the Ap down before I start my descent?

I'm not sure what is happening here, but at least I'm not flipping over any longer.  Might have to take this back to the drawing board for an entry vehicle.

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On 12/13/2021 at 3:27 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

What am I doing wrong here?  Are there any other examples of Eve landers I should be looking at?  Is this simply a PEBCAK error?

You are trying to land on Eve :)

More seriously, that lander is huge and I've tried to land a similar craft with similar issues. I personally eventually gave up on it.

You don't want to go too deep into Eve's atmosphere. 10km down is soup and you're going faster than re-entry at Kerbin. You want to bleed off speed.

I second ditching the Gilly landing gear. You don't land on Gilly. You just bump into it as you both happen to be going the same way.

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1 hour ago, Superfluous J said:

You are trying to land on Eve :)

More seriously, that lander is huge and I've tried to land a similar craft with similar issues. I personally eventually gave up on it.

You don't want to go too deep into Eve's atmosphere. 10km down is soup and you're going faster than re-entry at Kerbin. You want to bleed off speed.

I second ditching the Gilly landing gear. You don't land on Gilly. You just bump into it as you both happen to be going the same way.

What Pe should I be aiming for upon entry then?  I know I don't need to get to the ground with my initial descent because the chutes and gravity should take care of issues.  But if 10km is too deep, where should I be aiming?

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2 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

What Pe should I be aiming for upon entry then?  I know I don't need to get to the ground with my initial descent because the chutes and gravity should take care of issues.  But if 10km is too deep, where should I be aiming?

I really can't say because a) it depends on the ship and b) I've literally not landed on Eve in years so don't remember. But you cannot have a Pe too high on Eve. 1m below the top of the atmosphere will EVENTUALLY work. :) But really, try 5km. If that blows you up, try 2, then 1. Then 500 meters.

I seem to recall being okay at 1-5km. It may take a few passes but hey you don't die.

Oh, and it will STILL be ridiculously scary and you may STILL blow up.

Welcome to Eve.

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