Nnimrod

The stars have aligned: A JNSQ Career (Current mission: RR-5)

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Posted (edited)

The selection of mods we've got available right now looks about right for a really awesome career playthrough. One in which the mods work together coherently and without jarring differences. Huge thanks to people who make mods. I've worked on my own unreleased mods, so I know how much work it is.

Mod list: 

Spoiler

Game mechanics:

FAR

KJR

A needs/parts failure mod:

Kerbalism

Solar system modification:

JNSQ

Making career progression more betterer:

Strategia

Why do you hate windows?

Editor extensions redux

Better time warp continued

KCT

Parts (I really tried to keep this list as small as possible, but it will grow in the future, specifically when I want to try to make spaceplanes):

Bluedog design bureau (This is the most important one, it's the best parts pack in the history of the game, and the two irreplaceable mods in this list are this and JNSQ)

[Not installed yet] Near future technologies (all)

Cryoengines

Heat control

Restock

Restock plus

[Not installed yet] KSP Interstellar extended (I've played KSP since a long ass time ago, but I've never made it past about the 160/300 science level, so installing this is a bit optimistic)

Procedural fairings

Procedural fairings for everything

Wow sparkles:

RealPlume stock (most important graphics mod ever imo. I mean most of the awe factor of watching a rocket go to space is the colossal tower of fire and thunder it sits on.)

Distant object enhancement

Environmental visual enhancements

Planetshine

Scatterer

Sigma replacements

Pood's deep sky starbox

Engine lighting relit

Decalomania

 

 

 

I'm running the game in opengl, and one more mod that I've done is replacing the xinput1_3.dll with the correct one in /KSP_x64_Data/Plugins.

Difficulty settings/theory:

I get bored immediately if it's too easy. I can take tedious and difficult, but not easy. Past saying that I'm not going to go into detail about why I picked certain options or values, but feel free to ask if for some reason you want to know.

Spoiler

 

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Kerbalism - I've also disabled the science module. It seems to make all early sounding rocket missions pointless because transmission times are much longer than total mission times. Also there's serious incompatibilities with Strategia. I also changed DataRateDampingExponent from a value of 6 default to 3. In real life it's 2, but I understand why they set it to a higher value. 3 Should work nicely.

 

Kerbal Construction Time - Default everything, except I disabled tech unlock times because it feels like paying for your tech twice. All my upgrade points are going into VAB build rate 1. 

 

 

 

Saturday, 16 July 430

It still smelled like wet paint when Gabnas Kerman stepped through the lobby door of the admin building, but at least they had finally finished installing the air conditioning system. It was hot and muggy every single morning here on the peninsula, and he had started working in the brand new building Monday - five days ago. Five days of sweat soaked slacks and shirts to be dry cleaned tomorrow. He had spent the last week plodding through financial and legal paperwork in preparation for the agency's first launch, RR-1, and he needed to be finished with it by this evening around 4pm in order to get home in time to wash up for the celebration dinner. It was a special company dinner twice over, first because the newly formed Kerbal Space Agency's launch facility was now operational, but also because this was the 16th of July, Victory day, marking the 10 year anniversary of the kerbals victory in the second Big War™. RR-1 was scheduled to lift off Monday morning at 0900 and it absolutely had to go as planned. Way too much money and influence had been invested in pulling the company together for the very first launch to go south. It was the epitome of a demonstration mission - an inexpensive unballed rocket with no payload and only half the normal propellant would fly up, and then be recovered after descending under a parachute. Still, it will be the organization's first launch, and confidence is no substitute for proper planning. Excrements! The coffee was way too hot and as he jerked it away from his mouth he spilled some on the RR-1 blueprint.

OhkxUOH.jpg

RR-1 mission with payload

It was a refitted old army rocket from the war - chosen because there were about 600 of them auctioned off a year ago by the government, and Magnus Kerman, a kerbal who owned a large portion of the heavy construction equipment industry, bought 20 of them for his fledgling project - a private space launch industry. A pretty big gamble considering that at the time no one had ever actually launched anything into orbit, and the only reason for high altitude rockets at all was either military related, or for weather research. But his gamble started to make him look like a visionary five weeks ago, when the Kermmunists launched the first satellite into orbit on board a rocket big enough to... big enough for exactly one purpose - to carry a nuclear bomb up through the stratosphere, into space, and drop it on our side of the West Kerbin Sea. That event had the government ringing the telephones of every aerospace company in the nation with cash in hand. It looks like old Magnus was on to something. But bureaucracies move slowly, and for now the mission was just to conduct this demonstration and christen the brand new concrete launch pad. The launch was entirely nominal, but still put a big smile on everyone's face in the observation hut. The rocket leaped off the pad and a half second later the sound washed over the observers, half shriek and half thunder. It shot up quickly for four seconds, riding on a thin stalk of grey smoke that connected it to the ground before the stalk of smoke ended and the rocket continued on, invisible now. But no one managed to keep their eyes on it because the observation hut had been placed 1000 feet to the west of the pad, and the morning sun was far too bright to look at. The sensors reported that it had ascended to an altitude of just over 20,000 feet and had broken the sound barrier. The fairing was supposed to blow itself apart to reveal the electronics package inside when the air speed dipped below 50 feet per second, and 10 seconds later separate the electronics package from the rocket to parachute to a safe landing. And one assumes that this happened, since the probe was retrieved as planned from the featureless grassy lowlands between the launch facilities and the sea. 

Edited by Nnimrod

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Looks cool! I had a look at je ne sais quoi, it seems quite hard.

   

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Posted (edited)

Monday, 18 July, 430

 

Gabnas put the phone down slowly as he absorbed what he had just agreed to do. It was 20 minutes to six and he wanted to get out of the office because he needed to pick up some milk on the way home, Abgee needed it to cook dinner. He had been doing his least favorite task, paperwork, since returning to the office after the launch earlier in the day, and he was not close to being done. And he had just been told that KSA had agreed to a second launch before the end of the week. Not only was this mission less than four days out, but it was actually a mission with non-trivial objectives! RR-2 was to carry a tiny probe to the upper atmosphere, and send back temperature information. That means the rocket would have to ascend to more than four times the altitude of RR-1, and the thermometer would have to be read somehow, and the information would have to be converted to a radio signal, and then transmitted by the telemetry antenna. But at least this time there was no parachute to worry about. Parachutes are tricky, and there was significant uncertainty about whether RR-1's probe would hit the ground at 10 feet per second or 150.

The good news was that very little needed to be changed for this mission. Bill Kerman assured him of as much as they walked through the hallway leading to the VAB's main assembly floor. "It worked last time didn't it? It'll make the altitude easy, it's 435 pounds lighter with this dinky gadget and no 'chute. And remember? last time we only had half the propellant loaded."

Friday, 22 July, 430

 

He had a bit of a headache. "I need water, not coffee..." he thought as he sat an empty mug on the cluttered table next to him in the observation hut. The bright morning sun did nothing for his headache. He hadn't slept very much since the call Monday evening, but he had somehow pulled it all together, and RR-2 sat on the pad 1000 feet away. The siren started to wail and kept bellowing for 10 seconds, signalling that anyone that was somehow still hanging around the launch pad had better duck behind something fast and cover their ears. Just as he noticed that his ears were still ringing after the siren stopped, RR-2 jumped into the air like it's predecessor had four days earlier. This time the smoke trail kept going for about 7 seconds, and then... turned into a white puff... BANG Before Gabnas comprehended what the white puff meant the crisp bang of an explosion hit the hut. All telemetry had stopped. Magnus was in attendance, and Gabnas turned around to look at him despite his better judgement. His lips had virtually disappeared into a tight line across his mouth. RR-2 was over after just seven seconds and nothing was left but the limp stalk of smoke that hung in the air below the now slowly drifting white cloud. 

Later that day Bill had his preliminary report ready. He said that the high speed cameras showed the rocket starting to turn ever so slightly immediately prior to the explosion. It started to turn, and then there was one single frame of the rocket tipped about 45 degrees off course, and the fairing seemed to be deformed. and then it exploded. But telemetry didn't show that the rocket had steered itself off course. Bill hypothesized that the rocket must have suffered an aerodynamic failure which caused it to tumble, and that the tumbling had resulted in a crack in the rocket's solid propellant grain. Solid rockets can't tolerate cracks, because the propellant burns at the surface, and a crack means more surface area. More surface area means more total burning propellant, and the throat of the rocket is only so big. So with too much gas being generated inside the rocket and not being able to escape through the throat of the rocket fast enough, it will explode. The rocket's airframe wasn't stiff enough to survive tumbling at almost mach 2, and that allowed it to flex, causing the propellant grain to crack. But what caused it to tumble in the first place? Bill pointed to the deformed fairing in the last frame of video. "These rockets had big warheads. 750 pounds of TNT. They never got going as fast as RR-2. And that's part of it, but it aint all of it. The other part is our fairing. I thought welded sheet steel would be plenty strong, but it looks like I was wrong. When the army used these rockets there was no fairing, they just bolted the 750 pound bomb to the rocket and it worked out ok for them. I have to take full responsibility for this one Gabnas. The fairing was fine for RR-1 because it only went just past mach 1, but RR-2 hit almost mach 2 and still had another second left if the damn thing didn't blow up." 

Saturday, 23 July, 430

 

The government was somehow only mildly put out over the explosion, and a couple hours after the reports had been submitted, Gabnas got the go ahead for RR-3, which was the same mission, and had a scheduled launch date of 0900 on the 29th. So he and the engineering team would be spending a lot of time together over the coming week. They had to come up with a stronger or more aerodynamic fairing that could stand up to the brutal acceleration from the artillery rocket that was accelerating a 5 pound probe instead of a 750 pound bomb.

w2hV2e2.jpg

RR-2 with payload fairing removed

 

To be continued

 

Edited by Nnimrod

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Posted (edited)

Saturday, 30 July, 430

 

Gabnas' stomach was in a knot as he walked down the poorly lit hallway in the VAB's small office section. The hall was on the outside of the building and the last bits of orange sunlight fell on the wall opposite the windows. It was after eight and everyone had gone home and the lights were off. He was anything but sure about what he was doing, but he had to do something. He opened Bill's office door. It was a small office with a metal swivel chair and a desk, and remarkably cluttered for having been occupied a grand total of 3 weeks. He leaned over the drafting table and pushed a thumbtack through a photograph and into the sheetrock. Bill couldn't miss it when he sat down in his chair Monday morning. He knew this was cruel, and that's why he did it. But that's management, right? There were half a dozen aerospace companies all trying to launch rockets over the last couple of weeks, to varying degrees of success, and Kerbal Space Agency had to be the standout, the successful rookie. It had to.

 

Upon finishing his degree he had applied to Floyd Dynamics, with hopes of working on the most important task to the nation's defense - the strategic bomber program. Long range bombers had played a pivotal role in the Western Alliance's victory in the second Big War™, and with the development of nuclear bombs in the years since, it seemed that the importance of the massive aircraft could only grow. He waited a month for a reply, and finally sent them another letter reminding them of his resume. They responded, telling him that he was not currently being considered, but that they would keep his resume on file and inform him if the situation changed. He wasted no time in applying to C7 Aerospace, Floyd's leading competitor, and unlike Floyd, they wasted no time in telling him that they had no need for more aerospace engineers at the moment. He had been in university for six years, his entire adult life preparing for his role as a bomber designer, and now that he was ready there were no more seats at the table? The recruiters had told him he was definitely going to be accepted. "For sure kid, you get that Master's and they'll pay you 5,000 kerbits just for showing up. Demand couldn't be higher." 

 

The next weekend after he got the letter back from C7, he went to a local job fair and met Magnus Kerman, a stern kerbal who was starting his own aerospace company right here on the peninsula. The pay he offered was generous, probably more than Floyd would have offered. "You'll earn it." Magnus said. At the time he wasn't sure why Magnus was building a company around launching rockets, he just needed a job. But the importance of it had fully sunk in now, especially when the Kermunnists had put that satellite in orbit. He was pretty sure that he had chosen the right career, but he still lacked any actual accomplishments. And the choice to work with space rockets instead of the strategic bomber program had hardly been his choice at any rate. And then there was vengeance. He had plenty of reason to crave success - it's pretty normal for a young professional. But success would also represent an outmaneuvering of the HR department at Floyd Dynamics on his part. They had barred the gate when he was marching towards success as a fresh graduate, and he couldn't think of many ways to even the score. C7 Aerospace was the lesser of the two companies - but they had denied him as well. That meant that his professional success had to be waiting for him somewhere other than the strategic bomber program. There was one way. If he were to be on the forefront of the field that made strategic bombers obsolete... that would allow him to transcend Floyd's rejection and emerge more successful without riding on the back of an already extremely successful aerospace giant. If space rockets really were the future, then he stood a good chance at writing his name in history as one of the driving forces behind the early development of orbital space rockets. That would be an acceptable future.

 

The newspaper this morning had something to say about the likelihood of that future tho. The article didn't go into specifics because the reporters didn't know anything yet, but it did have a big picture in the middle of the front page of the crooked, corkscrewed smoke trail left by RR-3 yesterday morning. The mission had been only a slight alteration of RR-2, albeit a little less of a failure. For starters there was no explosion this time. Bill's revised fairing was stronger, but still not aerodynamic enough. About six seconds into the rocket's powered flight, which was to last eight seconds, it tipped over westwards about 30 degrees and started spinning. It completed two corkscrews before the motor mercifully burned out, ending the smoke trail. Telemetry continued however - the electronics were still working. But the rocket was not going nearly fast enough to make it to it's target of 85,000 feet. They sent the signal for the thermometer to record and transmit data early, since the rocket would fall out of the sky much sooner than anticipated, but it still didn't have time. It only made it to 50,800 feet before tipping over and coming back down. The electronics didn't have time to complete the transmission, so that objective was also failed. The engineering team had failed with RR-2, their fairing was not aerodynamic or strong enough, and it proved a fatal flaw. The engineering team had failed again with RR-3, again the problem was thought to be the fairing. Bill kerman led the engineering team. Bill was the one standing, whether he knew it or not, between Gabnas and that acceptable future.

 

How much blame was appropriate tho? Supersonic flight and aerodynamics was a field as new as the paint on the office walls, and the smell had not yet faded. Bill had worked on helicopter development at Steadler Engineering before coming to the KSA, another new field, but not related to supersonic aerodynamics in the least. Not that it mattered, there wasn't anyone else who actually had experience with space rockets. Magnus had chosen Bill because of his team's resilience and perseverance when faced with the constant problems they encountered trying to build an aircraft that hangs from a single propeller. He knew making rockets that go to space wouldn't be any easier. There was no book to go by. But responsibility is a terrible thing. It doesn't care about how hard your job is. It wouldn't hesitate for a moment to consign Gabnas to the cubicle of a failed engineer, designing cost optimized washing machines for the rest of his career if he failed here at KSA. And so despite the knot in his stomach he pushed the thumbtack through the picture cut from the newspaper of RR-3's crooked, failed smoke trail.

Edited by Nnimrod

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Posted (edited)

Thursday, 4 August, 430

 

Hole spacing was good. No burrs in sight. Good. Tails were perfect. "DDDDDDDDD" The riveter wasn't that loud of a tool but the noise reverberated terribly in here, Cambo Kerman's riveting looked excellent tho. Bill was watching over his shoulder as he was finishing up with riveting the new fins to the fin flanges on the rocket body. Big sucker. The new rockets had arrived here earlier in the week, and this one was almost completely assembled and ready for tomorrow's launch. It lacked only the last fin, and Cambo would be finished with the riveting in time to get home for dinner. Bill would be staying later tho, he wanted to inspect all of Cambo's riveting, but didn't want to make it look like he didn't trust his work, so he would just hang around and inspect it after he left for the day. He also had to measure again, for the fifth or sixth time to make sure the fins were completely identical. Asymmetrical fins would make an asymmetrical flight, and there was to be no more of that. And these fins were hand made by Bill himself, so consistency absolutely could not be assumed. The old fins used on RR-1, 2, and 3 were the fins that came on the rocket, mass produced stamped sheet steel, welded to the rocket body. Conveniently, the new longer rocket that would be used for RR-4 didn't have any fins yet - if it had, they would have had to cut them off and replace them. Bill didn't have time or a wind tunnel for the kind of analysis that should have been done to reveal whether the fins were really part of the problem that caused RR-3 to veer off course, but he had a strong hunch that they were. They were sufficient to keep the rocket pointed straight for the RR-1 mission, and all the times they were fired during the war, with heavy explosive warheads, but For RR-2 and 3 they had been a problem. The fairing was half the problem, but he thought his redesign had fixed it. At least, fixed it as good as he could given the 1 launch per week cadence that someone paid way more than him thought was a good idea. The other half of the supersonic aerodynamic instability problem was the fins. With only days to go from design to having them attached to the rocket, Bill was unable to purchase ready made fins, so he made these out of 3/8ths inch aluminum plate, with extra layers of 1/8th inch aluminum at the root for added rigidity. Even being aluminum, they were quite a bit heavier than the original steel fins because they were thick and had about twice the chord. But the new rocket should easily make up for the weight. 

 

Gabnas had contacted the defense contractor that they bought the lot of 20 artillery rockets from years ago, and asked if they had anything larger. No, that was the biggest rocket they made, and since then they had shifted to making mostly artillery shells. Well, sort of. There was that bunch of prototypes, but they were locked up at the R&D facility and no one seemed to know anything about them. Gabnas had called him and within 20 minutes they were on the road in his pickup truck driving to this R&D facility to hopefully look at some bigger rockets. "Yeah, supposedly, I haven't seen them myself. Richbee might know." The facility manager walked with them to the grounds keeper's "office" and found Richbee Kerman munching little canned sausages and not doing much else. He took them to a small warehouse with vines growing up the side and cut a rusted lock off the double doors. Inside were some dusty, tall artillery rockets that looked exactly like the ones they had back at the KSA launch facility - but twice as long. These were about 14 and a half feet long. There were eight of them. Gabnas leaned over to Bill - "Why don't you have a look while I talk to him". So he set about inspecting the rockets while Gabnas was presumably asking for some sort of information about them. You can't just look at a rocket and decide to use it in a mission that's going to launch in 4 days without some sort of specifications or performance data. The rockets were fine, just stretched versions of the same thing they had already launched 3 of. And the rocket motors had not been an issue for RR-1, 2, or 3. 

 

After the inspection Richbee came up driving a big forklift and they took one of the rockets a quarter mile out to a small field with a big earth dam on one end and some concrete fixtures in the middle. They did a static test then and there - the manager had assured them they had permission for this sort of thing. Before they left Gabnas had worked out a purchase agreement and to have the remaining seven rockets loaded on trucks and shipped to the launch facility this same evening.

 

Friday, 5 August, 430

 

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RR-4 lifted off the ground a lot slower than the previous, shorter rockets. It's fuel grain was configured to deliver 24,000lbs of thrust at launch, and to burn for 16 seconds. The shorter version delivered 22,000lbs of thrust, and burned for 8 seconds. Since it also weighed twice as much, this had the welcome effect of not forcing the rocket to go supersonic a mere mile above ground like RR-2 and 3 had. Aerodynamic drag that low in the atmosphere is immense. At T+16 seconds the motor burned out and RR-4 was at 26,250 feet and sailing upwards at mach 3.5. It went up to 120,554 feet before tipping over, and Gabnas gave the word for the thermometer readings to be transmitted. Nothing. Telemetry continued as normal, but the scientific data transmitter was totally unresponsive. Harcan Kerman, the operator, tried again and again, but all he could do was press a button to send a signal to RR-4, and for whatever reason nothing was happening. The tension only lasted for another minute tho, as RR-4 reached the end of it's mission as it nose dived into the West Kerbin Sea.

 

In truth, it was a somewhat trivial failure. They didn't really care that much about what the temperature was at 120,000 feet, weather rockets and balloons reported that kind of info regularly anyways. The goal was just to demonstrate that they were capable of recording data with a scientific instrument and transmitting it back. Incidentally, they were apparently not capable of doing that. "Bill" Gabnas said, as the jeep bounced along the short drive back from the observation hut, "The rocket ran hot straight and normal, it looks like an electrical component failure." "Well we've got the backup probe, I'll start with that." Bill was referring to a second probe they had assembled identically to the one that had just malfunctioned aboard RR-4. The probes were actually quite inexpensive - the whole rocket was pretty inexpensive, relatively speaking. The duplicate probe was intended partly to serve as RR-5's probe in the event that RR-4 failed catastrophically and had to be flown again. As it happened, RR-4 did fail, but not catastrophically. The duplicate probe allowed them to find any design problems that may have led to the failure to transmit the thermometer data. And they did find something, and quickly. The first thing they did was to turn it on and send the "Transmit science data" signal, and they got nothing. So, whatever was wrong with RR-4 was almost certainly also wrong with the duplicate, which meant they would probably find the culprit. That might be encouraging, Bill wasn't sure. He spliced in a relay and activated the data transmission circuit manually, and got a signal back telling him the assembly room's temperature. Excellent! That narrowed it down further. Within an hour he had the problem isolated to the receiving antenna assembly, which they had purchased from Zaltonic Electronics. Of course finding a failure on the backup probe didn't mean that it was the same failure experienced by RR-4, so he unwrapped a few more of the antenna assemblies from their packaging, and tested them as well. Dead on arrival. Didn't matter too much what specifically about it was bad, just that the problem was in the antenna and not wiring that he had done. This meant that Gabnas and those above him had Zaltonic Electronics to direct their anger at.

 

Gabnas didn't seem that angry tho. "Yes, it would be even better if it had all worked perfectly, like RR-1, but the bottom line is that we built a rocket that flew like it was supposed to. Not our fault that Zaltonic sent us a batch of bad antennas. Although... we should have tested them." "We tested the thermometer, and the battery circuit, and everything about the telemetry package, just not the receiving antenna itself" continued Bill. "Well now we know Bill, test everything. And I won't source so much as a coffee machine from Zaltonic."

 

After Bill had finished with the diagnostics, he tested everything again and found no faults. So he installed a new antenna, and a new redundant backup antenna, and on the 12th of August, RR-5 flew to 120,000 feet, recorded temperature information, and transmitted it back. The Kerbal Space Agency's second wholly successful mission.

Edited by Nnimrod

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Following. I'm always interested in folks playing at quarter scale. I'm interested to see what designs you come up with!

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Posted (edited)

@NnimrodThis is an excellent tale told in a very well-written manner!  I salute you!  It proves you don't need that many pics to get clicks :) 

I'd recommend some whiskey for Mr. Grabass Gabnas (sorry, Freudian slip) but he strikes me as more of a martini-drinker, so I leave the choice of poison to him.

Edited by Geschosskopf

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23 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

@NnimrodThis is an excellent tale told in a very well-written manner!  I salute you!  It proves you don't need that many pics to get clicks :) 

I'd recommend some whiskey for Mr. Grabass Gabnas (sorry, Freudian slip) but he strikes me as more of a martini-drinker, so I leave the choice of poison to him.

Thank you :) I'm in the process of making a better mod pack atm, and this career is on hiatus. I will resume it tho, with the same story.

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16 minutes ago, Nnimrod said:

Thank you :) I'm in the process of making a better mod pack atm, and this career is on hiatus. I will resume it tho, with the same story.

I look forward to both.

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