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Circum-Expedition Demonstration Mission - Dash around Kerbin


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The KSC has devoted most of its resources in space exploration, with great minds like Bill and Bob Kerman in charge, along with brave, cunning pilots like Jeb and Val Kerman taking to the skies, there's no doubt that the KSC has amassed a tremendous amount of trophies regarding aeronautics advancement and extraterrestrial research. But with environmental groups mounting more and more campaigns pushing for "know our home better" and "preserve our world", the government has ordered a "thorough circum-expedition of Kerbin before the end of this year", and KSC is in charge.
As tight as the schedule is, KSC doesn't really have a lot of experience on the ground, nor long range expeditions on planet surfaces. Planetary surface expeditions are usually done one small place of interest at a time, and when great distance needs to be covered, kerbalnauts simply take to the air. So Bill and Bob ordered a demonstration mission, to iron out the kinks before rushing out a whole team on a 30 ton expedition vehicle only to run into 3 million troubles.

The goals of this demonstration mission are:
1. Determine the problems of long distance driving
Definitely NOT problems like how much food and water, keeping kerbals comfortable, etc, etc. KSC has tons of experience on that, but rather, the problems lay within the vehicle itself. How do you haul all that weight reliably and safely over possibly ten thousand kilometers? And given the tight schedule, how to do it FAST. For this criteria, Bob will be driving a one man electric off-roader, identifying possible problems in control and safety, with Bill back home working on improving the vehicle, and delivering new models with upgrades and fixes Bob requested to him as soon as he can swap vehicles.
2.Airlift vehicles, takeoff/landing without paved runways, and aerial UAV launches
As the expedition would require crews to venture into no-mans lands in a miniature base, the ability to quickly deliver small ground rescue vehicles cannot be more important. At some point the mission could also require planes flying in to land on makeshift runways. And the expedition is expected to need lots of aerial surveillance and deliveries done. Ideally KSC wants all of those to be fulfilled by a single platform, and during this mission they'll be working on just that.
3.Testing out support drones.
The expedition is expected to take a great deal of time, cover long distances and go to weird places. Sending out kerbal pilots on refueling and restocking flights means they aren't spending precious time crashing planes and doing barrel rolls. KSC has reached out to the air force for support in this criteria.

Right, with details of the mission taken care of, we'll take a look at the two main vehicles KSC will be operating for this short mission, the Kriel Nomad and Kründer Industries ADF-11F Raven-B:

Kreil Nomad:
Bill(over the radio): Bob, I want you to ram the car full speed into a wall and see if the rollcage protects you.
Bob: Wut?
BIll: Wot?

The Kriel Nomad is an all-wheel drive electric off-road vehicle specifically designed for this mission. With powerful motors, four-wheel steering, independent suspension, and full body rollcage, auto manufacturer Kriel states that it is currently the best off road vehicle money can buy. Apart from the fuel cells running the motor, the Nomad is also fitted with solar panels to extend the range, along with a docking port jr. for airlifting. It has also been fitted with a probe core, capable of limited autonomous operation.
Although this is a testbed for tech that would later be incorporated into the expedition vehicle, the Nomad is expected to be retrofitted into an airlift rescue vehicle for the expedition itself.
Bill personally chose Kriel for this development partnership because of their experience in making niche vehicles, stating their work to be "unique and rugged". 

The Nomad is pretty stuffed with mechanical parts, but still has enough space for food and drinking water for 40 days, plus a waste container and some extra water for personal hygiene.

Kründer Industries ADF-11F Raven-B:
Jeb: What am I here for?
Bill: The Mk XI turboramjet. We fitted B-3 with those new engines, and I want you to go up there to test the top speed and service ceiling.
Jeb: but B-3 is the unmanned one.
Bill: Wot?
Jeb: Whot?

The Kründer Industries ADF-11F Raven-B is an unmanned air superiority fighter of Kerbalia Air Defense Force currently in development. KSC contacted the air force for leasing two planes, and they agreed right away. For the air force, they are interested in conceptual high altitude aerial launched hypersonic cruise missiles and ramjet UCAVs, which somewhat overlaps with KSC's goal of airlift/air launch. For KSC, the Raven was developed using their wind tunnels and supercomputers, and Jeb even piloted the manned testbeds, so they already knew the plane like the back of their hands. What's even better is that the air force already has a set of control software in IOC state, it would save KSC programmers a lot of work for now.
The B model features reduced drag, extended range with less weight, and better yaw stability over the original Raven prototype.
Of the two borrowed planes, one is untouched and will be used for delivering equipment and stock, while the other has been modified with a grappling mechanism, and will serve as the airlift platform.

Now, mission planning......
We'll be playing with TAC life support and KerbinSide-Skyways. SInce a single kerbal doesn't really consume a lot of food, it'll just add a little bit of weight to our Nomad. If we need to be airlifted or swap vehicles, we'll fly the airlift Raven from the KerbinSide bases. The Ravens will start out of Black Krags airbase, other than that, we'll have to fly them to the next base. However Bob will drive to nearby bases for repairs or refuels instead of calling in an airlift if possible.
We'll steal the KerbinSide base map for explaining our route:
We haven't really decided on a route, but we're pretty sure about which bases we'll be operating out of. Starting out of KSC, Bob will make the first stop at Black Krags, drive to the shore, and a Raven will fly out of Black Krags and carry Bob to the desert shoreline. Bob will then continue on to Green Coast, possibly make a stop at KKVLA en route, and drive to south point. We're not sure about the terrain there, so Bob will drive to the shoreline first, see if it's flat enough for a landing. If not, Bob will go back to South Point for the airlift. The rest would be Round Range, Green peaks, Kerbin's Heart, then to the peninsula northwest of Sandy Island. A Raven from Lushlands(maybe) will pick Bob up and fly him directly to Sanctuary Mouth, performing the longest airlift in this mission. From there it would be straight back to KSC.

Right, I'll go grab lunch and when I'm back, Bob should embark on his long drive.

Edited by Schwarz
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Bob says he's ready to go.

Looks like Bob's got some pilot in him.

And we landed with a slide.
Good thing we didn't flip, otherwise it would probably mark the quickest disaster in any ground mission.

We might have not flipped, but the kraken won't let us get away so easily.
Following the last drifting session, Bob has been more cautious in jumps.

For some reason we went floating for a few seconds, could be the kraken trying to snatch us again...

And the kraken succeeded...


Looks like the kraken didn't leave, and is ready to snatch us on the same spot a second time...
Bob's booted his kraken defy drive and continued driving.

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This slope feels awfully dangerous.....

Slight correction and we've thrown ourselves into a slide.

The kraken made another attempt...

...but Bob's anti-kraken drive's still keeping up.

Flipped at >60m/s, but it looks like the rollcage is holding up and doing its job.

We've lost quite some solar panels, but we have enough fuel cells to keep going.

Bob doesn't look too happy after he found out we lost both lights. Now he'll have to reach Black Krags before nightfall.

Welp, good news. We aren't that far away as we think, should be a casual drive.

Shoreline looks nice.

Fabulous mountains, we'll climb them in the upcoming expedition.

Black Krags in sight.

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Bob pulled up alongside another Nomad waiting for him on the runway. He'll continue driving in the new one while leaving this one here for Bill to repair.

Bob's ready to drive again.

Time to turn on the lights.

And we flipped again.
Less than ten minutes off the runway of Black Krags Bob trashed another Nomad. Luckily the rollcage again proved its worth, and Bob decided to drive to the shoreline, wait for the Raven to deliver a new buggy, and lift him to the desert side.
The Raven will pick up the damaged Nomad and bring it back to base, then fly off to South Point and wait for the next airlift schedule.



Edited by Schwarz
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Progress so far:

Everytime we change into a new Nomad we'll change the color, and later on we'll use straight lines to represent flights done.

Engineers got the Raven's docking port ready in time, and the Raven rolled out, ready to grab a new Nomad to Bob. Mission control found it hard to explain which Raven they want in the air, so they decided to name the airlifting variant Hugin and the factory version Munin.

Docking in action:
Hugin would retract the gears halfway, allow the docking ports to dock then stand back up.
Now the Nomad is docked, the arm would swivel upwards and tuck the vehicle in between the engine nacelles.

Hugin was about rev its engines when mission control called it off, stating a night time delivery on rough terrain could be dangerous for Bob. Bill disagreed, but the KSC board isn't gonna give journalists any chance to smear the mission.

Hugin went into hibernation for the night, then reactivated when mission control deemed there's enough light.

The brick runway of Black Krags base is really short, but acting as a pilot training facility of KSC no one saw the need of making it any longer. Luckily, even weighing over 48 and a half tons, Hugin was able to take off without a problem.

Hmmmm, that marker looks weird.

Now I'm pretty sure we have a problem.

Now we see what's the problem, the kraken got Bob and dragged him and the Nomad through the ground. 
There's no way to get Bob back normally, so we'll have to recover him from the tracking station. Let's just say Bob forgot his extra underwear during his short break at Black Krags and went back to fetch it during the night. I guess Hugin would have to make it back to Black Krags to pick up Bob then.

It isn't exactly easy to take off from uneven ground.

Making the approach:
We already expended the parachute when landing near the debris, but as it turned out the landing was fine.

After Bob and his spare underwear are loaded, Hugin is ready to takeoff again, this time going directly to the desert shore.

Liftoff. Hopefully this would be the last time we see Black Krags during this mission.


Edited by Schwarz
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That's a steep hill.

Highest jump so far.

The terrain up front looks boring as hell.

Kraken heard me and decided to spice up the trip.



Marking the start of day 2 with a small flip.

Some interesting mountain climbs coming up.

We'll go through the valley in between.

The valley itself isn't really fun, except for this fun slope...

...and we're out of the valley.
Super bored terrain, except for one small flip. We've been lucky enough to land on wheels everytime so far.

Bob discovered we lost the two food cans when he stopped to grab a hot dog, now we'll have to race to the Area 110011 base. Never thought life support would ever be a problem for us in this whole mission.

We're making good progress, so Bob decided it would be fine to stop and take a wee.

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Big problem.

We still have around a good 40 or 50 kilometers to go, way too far to walk.
The Nomad comes with a probe core coming off the Kriel assembly line, so we could launch one out of the base, and drive it over to Bob. Bill, however, managed to persuade the KSC board let Hugin deliver the Nomad to Bob for entertainme...experimental purposes.

The original plan was to wait for Bob to leave South Point base, go to the shoreline, and then Hugin would fly from here to Bob and airlift him across the channel, then continue on to Round Range base. 
We still have 17000 liters of kerosene left, if we keep our flight profile fast and high we should be able to make it to Round Range with a little fuel left.
But now the plan is screwed, and we don't have a lot of time before the sun sets, so Hugin would be racing to Area 110011, fetch the new Nomad and fly it to Bob. 
The new MK XI turboramjets are very powerful even at low speeds and low altitudes, but critics have been sh*tting on it, stating the engine is worthless because the RPM climb is sluggish at the lower range of RPM meter, owning to the MK XI being a very big engine and has large, heavy blades. They say it prevents the pilot or AI from playing with the throttle in a dogfight, making it worthless, and any performance gain in other criteria are not enough to offset that.
Now this public debut of the Raven, as Bill says, "would silence those people as they saw the speed and height we're able to reach, and in the upcoming Kernborough airshow, they'll witness the Raven's top notch post-stall controllability".

Hugin took off after a self-diagnosis, and is ready to rescue stranded Bob.

In the subsonic region the turboramjets put out around 250~300kN of thrust, making it the most powerful engine ever fitted to a fighter. But at those speeds and altitude is where the engine really kicks in, producing well over 500kN of thrust.

We're not even touching the limits yet. The fact that the Raven experiences plasma blackout made one critic faint in his seat.

We"ll cut off the throttle and glide from there to the base.

We can see the pyramid just off the port side wingtip. KerbinSide easter egg I think?

Base is in sight.

We overshot our approach point and will have to turn around.

Too high, too fast. But we have a lot of runway, no need to turn around again.

The Raven doesn't have flaps, but with a very low stall speed and wide controllable AoA range, 75m/s is way more than we need.
A new Nomad Mk.I is waiting, after we load it up Hugin would head out to Bob.


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