Ultimate Steve

Space Race Season 2 - RP-1

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Posted (edited)



The Year is 1951. The whole world looks towards the moon...


Player 1, @Ultimate Steve of the Notebook Space Program


Launch site: Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll

While the creation of bios was dubbed "too roleplay-y" by some, everyone else is doing it, so I'll go ahead. The NSP was originally founded in 1939 as a college rocketry club, and later grew into a large international organization. However, in late 1950, their first attempt at a suborbital sounding rocket exploded, sending shrapnel everywhere and collapsing a university building and a government building. Everyone was mad. So mad, in fact, that the university paid a great deal of money for them to move away, and the government gave them an island out in the middle of nowhere. Both of them said "Do whatever, just don't bother us!" While they are mainly college students, they aim to be a serious competitor in the space race, with an eventual goal of landing on the moon.


Player 2, @Johnster_Space_Program of the Johnster Space Program


Launch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

Founded in 1946 to test if it was possible to launch something into space, the Johnster Space Agency has been looking towards space since its creation. In 1948, JSA successfully launched the Kyron 1 test payload pass the Kerman Line, although it was a short suborbital flight. Now, in 1951, the JSA is hoping to eventually put someone on the moon and the first orbital satellite around Earth. Some other recent space programs have also started to try and do the same thing, and so the Space Race has started.


Player 3, @Yeet_TheDinosaur of the Kamel Aerospace Research Institute


Launch site: Naro, South Korea


Player 4, @ResonantWaves of the Oceanic Space Launch League

Flag not chosen yet.

Launch site: Woomera, Australia

Founded in 1943 to construct a plane capable of flying an Australian faster than sound, the unfortunate resulting casualty forced the Australian Government to close the project in '48. New Zealand then raised a project where various Oceanic and Pacific Rim nations contributed to a common goal of launching a citizen into orbit. The Oceanic Space Launch League (or OSLL) was founded as a joint venture by New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Rex Williams and Australian Prime Minister Desmond Hughes on December 28th, 1949. The OSLL has already attracted international attention and contributions from Japan, Chile and Taiwan among others.

(He will join in later, he is on a trip)


Player 5, @KerbalKore  of the Core Development Institute


Launch site: Baikonaur Cosmodrome, USSR


Bio: The Core Development Institute was created by the Soviet Government during WW2 to create superior weapons to fight the Germans. However, the war was over before anything of use was made, so the CDI was repurposed for scientific and Propaganda research purposes and in 1951, secured funding for a space center in Baikonaur.


Player 6, @Norcalplanner of the Kerbal Administration for Big Overpowered Orbital Machines


Launch site: Brownsville, USA

Bio: Founded by eccentric billionaire Tony Kerman, KABOOM is a private space agency dedicated to achievement, exploration, looking good, and safety.  In that order.



Player 7, could be anyone! We are still accepting players!




Summary by @Johnster_Space_Program:



Welcome to Space Race Season 2! As the name implies, this is a second round of the original Space Race:

In the original Space Race, three players raced to land a human on the moon and return him/her safely to Earth in Realism Overhaul using Realistic Progression Zero. Unfortunately, it sort of fizzled towards the end, so for season 2 a number of changes have been made to prevent that from happening... Especially because the difficulty has been ramped up significantly.

In Season 2, we will not use RP-0, we will use RP-1, an updated version with more features, and an adjusted progression speed that should more closely match reality.


In short, this is a race to land a man on the moon and return safely to Earth. That's it. None of the complicated progression systems of the original Space Race.

Each player will post periodic updates on the goings on in their various space programs, generally sticking to about the same time but with no specific posting order.


Here are the full rules (mostly a list of changes from season 1, copy-pasted from our PM chat, but it's something):

RULES UPDATESuborbital flight is now allowed with the X-1 and conic cockpits due to a rules misunderstanding. Nothing orbital.


Progression - Season 1 had a progression and milestone system that necessitated doing stuff in a certain order. In season 2, we're completely throwing that out of the window for a more end-goal oriented progression system.

In order to win Space Race Season 2, one must be the first to land a human on the Moon and return him/her safely to Earth.

That's it.

Space stations, interplanetary probes, they are all optional. Just one end goal. After one person has finished we can keep going. If I was this close to a landing and someone else wins, I would want to finish, so I think others would have the same sentiment.


Quickloading and Reverting - RP-1 has a sort of engine failure mod requiring testing, research and development (TestFlight). If this mod causes a failure, that is not grounds for a revert or quickload. It's a bit difficult to enforce, but you may only revert/quickload if:

  • The game glitched
  • You were not paying attention at the time of the anomaly (like not looking at the screen)
  • You accidentally timewarped past something important
  • Staging order mishap
  • You are landing or taking off in an airplane

In general, reverting/quickloading is discouraged, but I'm not going to be super duper harsh on this, I think I might be more lax on it than season 1 actually.

Speaking of quickloading and reverting...


Unmanned test flights and Launch Escape Systems - are not requirements. Who knows, maybe your space program is under totalitarian rule and doesn't care about PR or safety... This is up to you. Personally, I think I will still do them.


Turn Taking - This will be way more relaxed than last time. Do not get more than a few years ahead of everyone in posts, try and group your posts into timeframes of a regular period, like 1 year, 2 years, 6 months, etc. There is no strict turn order, as long as nobody gets too far behind/ahead.

Turn format will be similar to season 1, with "player name - Date range" then a header image/flag, with the update in a spoiler tag to reduce clutter. The cycle number and pinging the next player are not needed now due to the irregular turn cycle. If you need an example, check out the season 1 thread. Try to keep images to a minimum.

For every launch you do, you need to record and post the:

  • Name of the rocket
  • Date of launch, and later dates of major milestones once we get to the point where we have long missions.
  • Names of the astronauts on board
  • Outcome (success, failure, partial, pending)

At least one picture per mission must be posted, don't go overboard with pictures.

IMPORTANT. Make sure to record your launches somehow! In season 1 I used some paper, I will probably use a notebook or spreadsheet this time.


Additional Misc. Rules

You may install or uninstall approved mods throughout the game to help with loading times and lag. You don't need to end with the same modset you started with.\

Don't be afraid to ask for help! RP-1 is very complicated.

More people can join if we are not too far in yet.

I don't know if this is in RP-1, but if any part has No RP-1 or No RP-0 in its name, don't use it. They are sometimes fairly cheaty.

KEEP ROLEPLAY OFF THE FORUMS. It is frowned upon and may get the thread shut down.

Do not use non space parts in space. For example, no using a bomber cockpit as a space capsule (@me) or a lunar lander (also @me). Using a high visibility cockpit on a space station as a viewing module would be fine as long as the station is primarily designed from parts designed for spaceflight.


ADDITIONAL REQUIRED MODS, stuff forgotten in the mod post:

RSS time date formatter, sets the ingame clock to 1951 to start I think?


Career mode difficulty settings/starting out - I haven't tried this yet, but the recommended settings are found here: https://github.com/KSP-RO/RP-0/wiki/RP-1-v1.1-New-Career-Settings

FOLLOW THESE EXACTLY. I think. I'll report back to you once I've tried them. Every step is likely important.


I would include a tips for newbies section, but I don't know how much has changed in RP-1. Explore all of the various windows, most of them do something important, like upgrading build time. Build time will initially be extremely slow, this is by design.


My third reply (unless it's a response to questions) will be about flags and launch sites.

Anyone can suggest a change to these rules, and we will talk about it.

Also, everyone should read this, a bit of a primer on some of the difficult things you will encounter in RP-1: https://github.com/KSP-RO/RP-0/wiki/RP-1-v1.1-Introduction





How to join if you are interested:

1. Tell us, we'll add you to the PM

2. Install the proper mods


Be warned, this is a very long installation experience, but it is fairly painless if done correctly. I would set aside an hour or two to do it. Note that a lot of this time is waiting for downloads, so it's not like you are going to constantly be doing things for that long.

Instructions: https://github.com/KSP-RO/RP-0/wiki/RO-&-RP-1-Installation-for-1.6.1 Read this and the section below before starting.

First off, something that helps with mods, I've found, is once you have a fresh (brand new) copy of KSP 1.6.1, launch the game. Once the game is loaded, close it and then start installing mods. Launching the game creates a few folders and initializes stuff.

Make sure to follow the instructions in the link extremely closely. As far as the optional stuff goes, here are those just so we all have similar installs:

  • Do all of the stuff under the RO heading. Important: In CKAN, make sure to install all of the dependancies AND all of the recommendations. The suggestions are optional, like part packs and informational mods. You don't need to bother. Definitely don't install all of the suggestions.
    • NOTE: Since RSS is a recommendation and not a dependency, when you get to the RSS step, RSS will already be installed, so you can skip that step because it's already installed.
  • Do all of the stuff under the RP-1 heading. Again, make sure you get all of the dependencies and recommendations. Again, suggestions are optional, don't do all of them, etc. It's possible to do with none of them I believe.
  • Under the optional steps part 2 heading, do it. I'm not sure how much it changes but just to be up to date.
  • Under the optional steps part 3 heading, I would highly recommend steps 16-21. I loaded the game, and if you have these, you *might* not even need any of the suggested part packs from RSS or RO, cutting down on the already large load time of the game. I would also recommend step 23. Step 15 is completely up to you, as it is the visual mods. It will make the game run slower but will look great. It is also a very complex step sadly. 22 is optional and up to you, personally I didn't. 23 is recommended and might actually already be installed if you did the recommended mods via CKAN.

So now you have the game running, hopefully. You are now free to install informational mods as you please, AKA Mechjeb and Kerbal Engineer.

As long as the mods are on the suggested lists in CKAN, go ahead and install them if you want, but I cannot stress this enough, DON'T DO ALL OF THEM. ONLY WHAT YOU NEED. All of them will bring most computers to a grinding halt.

If you want a mod that isn't suggested, ask me.

I will post the full rule set, as well as career settings, shortly. If you have any questions, bring them to me.

Oh, also, in the instructions you need to downgrade SmokeScreen. You will see this on the list. If you don't know how to do this, in CKAN, once you have installed SmokeScreen, select it and go to versions, then click on the version you want (2.8.1 I think) and install it.

The compatible versions list in CKAN (important) is under the settings menu.

3. Tell us your agency name, launch site (you can't have one that is already taken - French Guiana is a good one that's not taken, nice and equatorial! Not many tracking stations though) and flag

4. Create your save. Difficulty settings found here: https://github.com/KSP-RO/RP-0/wiki/RP-1-v1.1-New-Career-Settings

5. Profit! Or going horrendously bankrupt.





Edited by Ultimate Steve

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Notebook Space Program - 1951


Here we go again!


Trying to keep roleplay from minimum to non-existant, but as a writer I may add an occasional student remark or perhaps dialogue between astronauts.


Shortly after relocating to the barren Omelek island, the multitude of university students that made up the NSP launched their first official rocket, the Pencil 2 (The Pencil 1 was the non-existant rocket in the backstory) with the goal to reach an altitude high in the atmosphere.

The launch occurred on March 5. I was able to get it this soon due to an investment in tooling.

However, just as soon as the Aerobee engine on the second stage started, it shut down due to lack of pressure.


The rocket only reached about 3900 meters in altitude and proceed to come crashing right back down near the launch pad.


The reason for the failure was determined to be:

  1. The first stage booster accelerated the second stage really quickly.
  2. The second stage was pretty light so it reached a high speed.
  3. The engine on the second stage was weaker than the atmospheric deceleration on the stage
  4. In fact, the deceleration on the stage was greater than 1g.
  5. So the engine did not have the ullage to run, eg the fuel shot to the front of the tanks, starving the engine of fuel.

The successor, Pencil 3, would carry less fuel in the booster stage to prevent this from happening. The other solution would be lengthening the tanks, but the tank is currently sized for the engine's rated burn time.

One of the space program's hopefully future astronauts, Grigory Statnik, was chosen to pilot the Bansai aircraft on its maiden flight, a fairly standard propeller aircraft designed to be able to complete all of the low X-plane contracts, which usually specify flying at a certain altitude for 3 minutes.


Having learned a bit about flying in FAR from my test playthrough, the landing gear was placed very far forward so that a crash would not immediately kill the pilot. This and other changes meant that the plane was the best FAR plane I've ever designed, although the bar is admittedly not that high. One of them was the test save plane, and one of them was the supersonic plane that Eddie Sutton flew in Season 1 which exploded after just 3km of flight.


After flying around a bit, Grigory made a successful touchdown on the runway.

This really puts into perspective how small Omelek is...

The flight occurred on April 15.



On May 8, the Pencil 3 went up. The only modification was the fuel levels and the addition of two science experiments.

However, TestFlight (the engine failure and research mod) was not kind and struck the rocket down shortly after ignition. It didn't even reach 3 kilometers, falling short of even Pencil 2.


Pencil 4 followed 2 months later, on July 10. An errant student had ordered the wrong color of nosecone for this flight, but nobody really thought it was worth it to order a new one.


However, the flight of Pencil 4 turned out to be a success, reaching a full 60 kilometers in altitude. Still short of space, but over halfway, and far up enough to get science experiments.

The success was attributed to the blue nose cone. The Pencil team decided to paint all of their nose cones blue from now on.


The rocket narrowly missed the space center on the way down.


On August 27, the space program's second pilot, Alisa Yolkina (AKA "Egg") piloted the Bansai to an altitude of 12 kilometers, a new record and near the maximum for this plane, and completed another X-plane contract.

Who is funding the development and testing of a dead-end plane? We may never know.

It was at this point that the students realized that they had spelled bonsai and banzai wrong, but it was too late.

Obviously these college students aren't English majors.


For those that don't know, when you land a plane, you can go to the KCT menu and recover it from there, so you don't have to rebuild the plane every time, you can just fly it again whenever.


On September 18, the Pencil 5 was launched, featuring a slightly stretched fuel tank along with a blue nose cone for good luck.


It reached an altitude of 128 kilometers, past the Karman line, making it the NSP's first object in space!

Another note, 140km is when the RO atmosphere ends, so some of the contracts specify that as space...

Technicalities aside, there was a huge party that night, but due to the fact that the program was run by college nerds, nobody really knew what to do at said party.



On October 8, the Pencil 6 was launched, reaching 165 kilometers in altitude thanks to another slight tank stretch, getting proper science from space.


On December 26 (merry Christmas college students) the Pencil 7 was launched with the aim of going higher than ever before. However, the tank length was really pressing up against how long the engine could be expected to fire.


And sure enough, the engine failed a full 23 seconds before the end of the burn and the rocket only reached 75km. :(

To sum up the year:

A bunch of sounding rockets incrementally improving, some working better than others, with two flights of a simple plane stuck in there.

Launches (counting plane flights): 8. 5 successes, 0 partial failures, 3 failures.

Notes: I should have been more aggressive in the beginning, stretching the tanks more each time, and possibly making my first rocket space capable. The year went better than expected, though. Do NOT expect launch cadence to be this high in the future. Unless I fly tiny sounding rockets a lot and never move on to bigger things, there is no way I'll do a launch every 2 months for another year.







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Posted (edited)

Johnster Space Agency - 1951


Lets see what Johnster Space Agency did this year!



It was 1951, and the JSA was ready to start launching rockets.

On May 12, 1951 their first rocket (which was a sounding rocket), called the Kyro 1, was launched. It was a small sounding rocket, but it would hopefully be able to go far.


During the launch and ascent, no problems occurred. The engine shutoff as planned about 47 seconds after ignition.


Kyro 1 reached an altitude of 92 kilometers. The launch was considered a success.


On August 20, 1951 their second rocket was ready. Kyro 2 was a sounding rocket similar to Kyro 1 except it was longer and the second stage had 3 engines instead of the one used on Kyro 1. It would try and pass the Karman line, which starts at 100 km.


The launch went off smoothly. However, a few seconds later one of the 3 engines lost performance. Around T+45, another engine lost performance as well.


Despite these engine problems though, the rocket successfully passed the Karman Line, becoming JSA's first rocket to reach space. It reached an altitude of 120 kilometers, surpassing Kyro 1's altitude and was called a success.


On December 12, 1951 the last launch of 1951 for JSA occurred. The rocket was Kyro 3, which would try to go even higher than Kyro 1 and 2 did. The second stage had 4 engines.


Around T+30 seconds, an engine lost performance. The engines did shut off at the planned time though. 


Kyro 3 reached 214 kilometers, going even higher and faster than the previous two launches, and became JSA's best launch of the year and a success.


Kyro 3 was destroyed when it crashed into the ocean.


To sum up 1951 for JSA:

All 3 launches of the year were sounding rockets which improved with each launch, and despite some problems, they were all successes.

Launches: 3 (3 successes, 0 partial failures, 0 failures)

Note: I strayed away from doing any plane launches this year because i'm not that good with making planes. I do however want to try and launch at least 1 crewed mission in 1952, probably on a rocket.



Edited by Johnster_Space_Program

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Posted (edited)

I will be uploading in slightly larger chunks, due to my RL limitations





Overture 1 was a small sounding rocket, designed to to up to the upper atmosphere, at a maximum 80 km. it was launched on June 13th of 1951.vAZh7km.png

It surpassed all expectations and achieved an apoapsis of 250 km! (I may have overbuilt it a little.) With 5 Aerobees and a diameter of 600 it carried a thermometer and barometer to space. due to the bandwidth limitations of the internal antennas it only returned data from low and high in atmo before it burnt up on reentry. 


Overture 2 was similar, but had 65 liters of student experiments (AKA SoundingPayload for a contract) the extra weight brought it's apoapsis down to *only* 189 km. it was launched on September 26th of 1951

(File photo of Overture Block A) 


Overture 3 was a new variant, the Block B, carrying a recoverable capsule, larger tanks, and more engines (to be specific, 17 engines) Launched on July 17th of 1952.

Sadly, I forgot to pressurize the tanks and it just fell. Then KCT wouldn't let me roll it back in, so I just normal recovered it. Block B was cancelled, and Block C was developed instead.

On January 4th and April 24th of 1953, Contract Block A's were launch to maintain income. no pics, since they were almost the same as Overture 2.

While they were built and flown, work on Block C continued.

on October 27th, Block C was completed. It had 10 XASR-1's, a second stage with another XASR-1, and a return capsule with a biological payload.

All 10 ignited successfully, but early on, one developed a loss of Isp. The rocket also had a worrisome turn to the left, but only a little. The second stage engine performed flawlessly, but the spin stabilization pushed it ever so slightly off prograde, reducing efficiency. It still set a altitude record of 636 km. Capsule sep from the second stage went well, but reentry nearly failed. It began interface slightly off retrograde, resulting in a tumble. Luckily it survived (The creatures inside probable didn't survive 38 gee's). The payload was recovered, returning 15.5 Science. Many nodes were already underway, most importantly Satellite Era Materials Research.

The date is early may, 1954.

6 launches, 1 failure, 5 successes


Edited by KerbalKore

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Notebook Space Program - 1952


Utilizing the relaxed posting order restrictions! Also bigger rockets and stuff.


It was only very late in Quarter 1 that the first rocket of the year was launched. March 30, in fact. The rocket took so long to build, well, because it was a large step up from Pencil.


Months ago, one of the students had won the blueprints to the Russian RD-100 engine in a drunken bet while on vacation. When he woke up the next day, he didn't remember much, but he decided to put the blueprints to good use.

The Legend-1 rocket was 1.6 meters in diameter, and was the first NSP rocket that could be controlled while in flight. Due to the VAB being taken up by other projects, and the lack of planes needing to be built, the rocket was built in the space plane hangar to take advantage of the two separate facilities.


The rocket was a smashing success, reaching 274 kilometers in altitude. It disintegrated a fair bit during re-entry.


However, the nose survived, leading the students to consider a possible sample return capsule.


Legend had the excess payload capacity to carry sounding rocket payload, and that is exactly what it did for a downrange payload contract on July 3.


Before the batteries ran out, the trim was set to maximum on one direction as an experiment.


Legend 2 survived atmospheric entry and actually began what appeared to be somewhat of a glide, although uncontrolled as the rocket rolled whatever way it pleased.

The impact site was also dangerously close to another atoll. The locals were a bit ticked off. The NSP had been moved to Omelek to prevent it from blowing stuff up, and here they were, nearly dropping rockets on islands.

Special care was taken to avoid the islands in the future, and a recovery team was stationed there.


Less than 24 hours later, still on July 3, scientist Eugene Ruiz piloted the Bansai on another plane contract. It proved easier than expected to fly it without the SAS of a pilot.

Three days after that, on July 6, engineer Iosif Polushin (the students frequently poked fun at the fact that his last name sounded like pollution) once again flew the Bansai.


And in what would prove to be the third and final rocket launch of the year, Pencil 8 was launched with the hope of doing two things: Going up to the Karman line and returning, and bringing back a biological sample canister. It launched on October 7.


However, the launch was a failure in two ways. One, the engine failed shortly before the burn was over, and two, the rocket did not have enough fuel to reach space anyways. It only reached 93km.

To sum up the year:

The maiden flight of the Legend series, and basically nothing else due to the pretty bad build rate we currently have.

Launches: 5. 4 success, 0 partial, 1 failure.

Notes: The main reason I didn't strap more equipment to the Legends is that it would have taken a lot longer to build. I also don't have the mod that gives you aerobee engines as small as the JSA has... And because I played pretty far ahead, I didn't even think about clustering these until I saw what Johnster did. As a result I went straight from Aerobee (Pencil) to RD-100 (Legend) and my build times tapered off sharply.





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15 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I didn't even think about clustering these until I saw what Johnster did. As a result I went straight from Aerobee (Pencil) to RD-100

So your going American with fewer big engines instead of Russian with many small engines. удачи товарищ!

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36 minutes ago, KerbalKore said:

So your going American with fewer big engines instead of Russian with many small engines. удачи товарищ!

For now at least. It's not like I had an abundance of choices, though... RD-100 is basically an upgraded A-4, and there's nothing between the A-4 and the Aerobee at the start, so going American with Russian engines seems like a good idea.

This will probably change in the future depending on what engines I unlock. Especially now that we have TestFlight, the engine out capability of many-engine rockets is appealing...

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If anyone's wondering, the way I am keeping track of my launches and recording them is via a notebook, like Ultimate Steve said we should keep track of them.

Here's an image of what I recorded in the notebook for JSA 1951 (in the spoiler)




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It looks like the race is off to a great start. I read through the last thread, and this one is clearly progressing at faster clip (loosened rules probably help). Good luck to all contestants!

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1 minute ago, KerbalKore said:

Should we post screenshots of our tech trees at the end of each post?

Good idea. Note, I won't be able to do this until the end of '55.

Frankly, though, I'd be more interested in build rate upgrades than tech trees.

'53 post shortly inbound, and I am keeping track in a notebook. I'll show that soon.

Notebook Space Program - 1953


I'm gonna make a supersonic man out of you!



On January 18, Pencil 9 was launched. The goal was to determine if the Pencil platform could support those "bring sounding rocket payload to X" contracts. Unfortunately, while fairly light, when put on a Pencil, the sounding rocket payload starts to become very heavy.


The engine also lost thrust during the flight, so that didn't help. The rocket did not reach its target altitude of 80km and the mission was declared a failure.

The next launch was Legend 3, the goal of which being to take a biological sample container to the upper atmosphere and space and return them safely to Earth, completing the reach space and return contract, which had been failed earlier by a Pencil rocket. It took off on April 5.


To aid in control, an extra battery was tacked onto the side. It is a non RP-1 part, unfortunately, but really how come we have the tech to launch stuff into space but don't have the tech to build batteries?!?!?


Unfortunately, the Bio sample couldn't be run in the upper atmosphere, and the rocket engine failed. Legend 3 fell short of its target altitude by less than 7 kilometers.


On May 21 we saw another blue nosed launch, this time Pencil 10. This was, I believe, the NSP's first multistage rocket. It aimed to complete that 80km sounding payload contract that was failed earlier.


The mission was a success, and reached 110 kilometers.

Next up on August 3, Alisa Yolkina (again, "Egg") piloted the Bansai on its fifth mission, mostly because we were really short on funding and needed the money for the rollout cost of our next rocket.


The NSP plane division's next major project was a supersonic plane, dubbed the I-1 Zorro (the I being for Innovation or Innovative). Development had been going on since earlier in the year. However, due to an improperly set KRASH config, the simulations were extremely expensive and ate up the budget fast. The first iteration couldn't quite go supersonic, and the others couldn't reliably take off. It didn't help that the supersonic wings were too expensive to unlock.

Then a drunk engineer walked into the design room and said "Hey, why don't we take the Zorro cockpit and strap it to a Legend?"

They called him mad, but then ran the numbers. It would be possible, but dangerous. After some thinking, the mission profile would be as follows:

  1. Vertical launch
  2. Pitch to low angle above the horizon
  3. Reach a high speed for 30 seconds, burning most of the fuel in the craft to lighten it
  4. Cut the engine
  5. Glide, slowly decelerating, to near that island we almost dropped a booster on
  6. Deploy booster parachutes
  7. Detach from booster, which is pulled away by said parachutes
  8. Deploy cockpit parachutes
  9. Land safely, being recovered by island recovery team

It was dubbed extremely risky, most of the engineers wanted to do an unmanned test flight first. The failure of Legend 3 also lessened confidence in the plan.

However, the contract for supersonic flight had already been accepted, and money was tight. There would be no time for an unmanned test. If one was launched, the contract would expire and the space program would be too deep in debt to continue.

After some careful simulations, and the addition of two Tiny Tim rocket boosters to the capsule as an abort system, it was decided to put a pilot on board Legend 4.


On October 3, Grigory Statnik climbed into the cockpit.

"Hey, be careful!"

"Don't worry, I will be."

"If you pitch up too far you'll easily go into space, you know?"

"Ooh, that sounds fun!"

"Sorry, the rules state we can't use atmospheric cockpits above 50km."


"Oh, erm, I mean the capsule will disintegrate during entry, and is only rated for mach 3. You won't be going that fast, though, right?"


While in the cockpit, Grigory secretly painted his nose blue for good luck.


The liftoff went well.


The vehicle quickly passed mach 1 and continued accelerating. Ideally, as much of the fuel as possible would be burned.

Grigory felt a surge of adrenaline as he passed Mach 2. 2.5. He looked at the fuel gauge, he still had plenty left. He looked at his apogee, it was around 30 ish kilometers. He looked down and saw the world below him. He shouted "WOOOHOOOOO!!!"

Then he looked at his speedometer again.


Just over Mach 4.

"Oh - "

Grigory shut off the engine. However, the reduced control authority, combined with the super high speed/dynamic pressure, and the fact that the front was now a draggy empty fuel tank, meant that almost immediately the rocket began to flip.



Grigory coasted for a bit, slowing down to a reasonable velocity. He decided to fire the launch escape system to decrease his landing mass and try to keep his apogee above 30km to get an award.


Unable to glide, or even control his flight path, Grigory missed the recovery zone by a lot. Fortunately, the craft slowed down to a speed slow enough to deploy the parachutes.



And that's how Grigory Statnik became the first NSP employee to exceed the speed of sound, and potentially the first person ever to exceed mach 4 (not recommended).

Grigory could now one-up everyone he'd likely meet.

The mission was declared a partial failure, as the vehicle disintegrated, the booster was not recovered (there was some talk of reusability, even!), but all of the sound barrier contracts were completed, along with a bunch of other speed and altitude records. Plus, Grigory survived.

It is unlikely that there will be a second mission of this type, which is a shame as I really wanted to try landing near that island.


On December 24, Pencil 11 was launched, the first rocket to use the upgraded XASR configuration, boasting far higher thrust. However, due to wonky separation and engine start timing, the rocket was knocked off balance and went off in a random direction.


To make matters worse, the atmosphere was thick enough that the air pressure on the second stage was providing decelerations of greater than 1g, meaning that the second stage engine barely fired before shutting down. Then, due to lack of fins, the Pencil 11 spun out and only reached 25 kilometers.


To sum up the year:

SUPERSONIC PERSON! Also three smaller sounding rockets as well as another legend flight. Did not manage to return anything from space, sadly. Also a plane flight.

Launches: 6. 2 success, 1 partial, 3 failure.

Notes: Not really anything.





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Your program seems very chaotic. I approve.

Also I highly recommend project manager by @Beale to auto number launches.

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Posted (edited)

Johnster Space Agency - 1952


This was a year of success, and failure.



After the success of the 3 Kyro flights in 1951, JSA decided to try some new technology. They decided to purchase an A-4 rocket from another agency, and over the next 6 or so months it was prepared and readied for launch.

Finally, on July 10, 1952 the launch of the Veron A-4 happened. It was JSA's first controllable rocket!


The liftoff was successful. Unfortunately, after only 20 seconds, the engine failed and the Veron plummeted into the ground. It only reached about 6.5 kilometers in altitude. JSA decided they would not try to launch another A-4 rocket, due to this failure.


After the Veron A-4 failure, it was decided that another Kyro rocket should launch, seeing how well they did last year.

On November 23, 1952 Kyro 4 launched. Like previous Kyro's, it was an improved version of the last one, and now had 5 engines in the second stage.


At T+10 seconds, however, an engine failed and the rocket started going sideways. However, due to Kyro 4 having 5 engines, it was still able to go up with 4.


The rocket did successfully reach space, and its maximum altitude was about 166 kilometers. Its downrange was over 200 km due to going sideways, and was considered a success.


To sum up 1952 for JSA:

An A-4 and another sounding rocket launch. While the A-4 failed, Kyro 4 succeeded, and was the furthest downrange JSA rocket.

Launches: 2 (1 success, 0 partial failures, 1 failure)

Notes: I am working on Derin, which will hopefully be the first crewed flight of JSA to happen, in 1953.


What my tech tree looked like near the end of 1952:




Edited by Johnster_Space_Program

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qdvNReq.png CORE DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE, 1954-1955cMkiTr4.png


On June 30th, an Overture Block C2 was launched as Overture 7 to attempt a downrange distance record. It didn't achieve that goal, but did achieve an altitude record of 900 km. (file photo)


Then, I accidentally accepted the contract for the first man above the Karman line. All production and testing of Block C2 and Block D was shifted to the Revolution program. On February 3rd, 1955, Carl Campbell boarded the Revolution 1 and prepared for liftoff. 


(Carl's view from the pad)

Liftoff went smoothly.


(His view during the boost phase)

At Max-Q, the craft acquired a shimmy, but it stopped soon after MECO. I held on to the booster to maintain stability during coast, but separated it at 90 km. 


(His view after booster sep)

He achieved an apoapsis of 143 km, and returned safely to earth, maxing out at 10.5 gees during reentry.


2 Flights, 2 Successes, and First Man in Space. 

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, KerbalKore said:

 @Ultimate Steve or @Johnster_Space_Program you might be playing ahead of what you’ve posted. Did either of you get a man in space by ‘55?

I mean, um, the rules we set were that we can't use non space rated cockpits above 50km, and the conic and x-1 cockpits fall under that. Sorry if you didn't see that.

If you have a save from before that you can reload if it's not too much of a hassle, but if it is too much hassle then we can allow suborbital only flight of those cockpits.

(shame I won't be able to take advantage of it so early on, I've played to '58)

Edit for the curious: Current focus is not on manned programs, I'm finishing building up the tech to do cool things, so maybe manned will be my next big project. Not going to get any more specific than that.

Also we added the rule in the PM chat before you joined, so it would have been easy to miss, so my fault there.


Edited by Ultimate Steve

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21 minutes ago, KerbalKore said:

 @Ultimate Steve or @Johnster_Space_Program you might be playing ahead of what you’ve posted. Did either of you get a man in space by ‘55?

I'm actually still in 1953 at the moment, and I have not put someone in space yet (though i'm planning for my first crewed flight in 1953). I plan to post what I did in 1953 soon though.

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Just now, Johnster_Space_Program said:

I'm actually still in 1953 at the moment, and I have not put someone in space yet (though i'm planning for my first crewed flight in 1953). I plan to post what I did in 1953 soon though.

Which cockpit are you using?

If nobody saw the rule, then it might as well not be a rule... We can talk about this in the PM.

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6 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Which cockpit are you using?

For the flight I'm using one of the cockpits where if you go above 30km your Kerbal dies. (I think its the Bonsai capsule that im using on the mission)

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Just now, Johnster_Space_Program said:

For the flight I'm using one of the cockpits where if you go above 30km your Kerbal dies. (I think its the Bonsai capsule that im using on the mission)

Oh okay, first manned flight but not first manned spaceflight. I was confused for a second.

Update for all, manned spaceflight using the X-1 and conic cockpits is now allowed, but only suborbital.

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Posted (edited)

Notebook Space Program - 1954


Hit a stride this year!



The first launch this year was Legend 5, designed to finally recover something from space. Despite the alarming rocket angle, the mission is actually going quite well. The launch was on April 26.


The science capsule detached from the rest of the rocket and landed safely, the mission being a complete success!


Next up, Pencil 12 launched from the runway, in an attempt to break altitude records. It was similar to Pencil 11, but with longer tanks to prevent the fuel feed problems, and fins on the second stage. It launched on May 14.


The rocket flipped out and ended up perfectly spinning around the horizon, oddly, but only after the burn was completed. The rocket reached 449km and the mission was considered a success!


Next up was a newer idea, called Legend-Pencil, which, as the name implies, was a Pencil on top of a Legend. Legend-Pencil 1 was designed to break altitude records once more. It was launched on August 17.

Side note: Really pays to put a lot of money into build rate, but it is very risky if you go without budget margin. Spoiler alert, I've played ahead a bit and I didn't feel comfortable with my budget until something like 57.


Unfortunately, the final stage's engine failed with 750m/s left in the tanks, but achieved an altitude of 1427km. It wouldn't really be practical to go much higher without going to orbit. However, orbit was still years away, the technology didn't really exist yet.

Namely, Tank II and a decent second stage engine. The engine was in the works, but the Tank II node and the other nodes would take a while. It would take a few more years, most likely, to be able to put anything actually useful into orbit.

Plus, the current launch pad can only support 20 tons. I'll need to upgrade that too in order to send stuff to orbit.


On November 26, Legend-Pencil 2 was launched, being identical or nearly so to the first one. The upper stage fins burnt out on ascent, unfortunately. Its mission was to complete the Launch Vehicle Development contract, which specified launching something 3,000 kilometers downrange. In a pinch, the rocket was spun up while the fins still had effect and the second stage was fired (the spin stabilization fins were gone, after all).


The mission was very successful, exceeding even 4,000 kilometers, or 1/10 the circumference of the Earth.


Remember that second stage engine that was in the works? It was tested on the Kari 1 mission on December 23. The rocket was as simple as possible and made use of existing tooled parts to minimize build time. You can see here that the tank is the same diameter as a Legend, the adapter is straight from Legend-Pencil, and the avionics and trademark blue nose cone are from Pencil. This made it the largest unguided rocket launched by the NSP to date.

Due to the unguided nature of Kari 1, named for one of the engineers' girlfriend, it tipped over, and about 70 seconds into the flight it lost fuel pressure to the engine, which shut down. While the test did not reach full duration, the engine did not explode and it was declared a partial failure.

The NSP is now focusing a bit more on orbital launcher development. Their first launcher will likely not have much useful payload at all, and is planned to be made of 2 pencil stages, the Kari, and a Legend, but all with potentially stretched tanks.

Again, tank II and the launch pad won't be available for some time, so because there isn't much else the NSP can launch in the meantime, it will do development launches of stripped down rockets using tank I to validate other systems in the meantime


To sum up the year:

Going higher using existing hardware, finally returning from space, and starting to take a serious but long term look at reaching orbit.

Launches: 5. 3 successes, 2 partial failures, 0 failures.

Notes: One of my most successful years yet. Looking at maybe beating Sputnik to orbit, but if I do it will be with a rocket that can't do much else. It probably won't even be able launch the Sputnik satellite... Payload will be measured likely in the single digit kilograms. Also in 1954 I was not seriously considering human spaceflight, although we will probably see a reaction next year from the program...


Probably not going to post for a while, I kinda want to see how I'll do compared to the others.


TBH, I am surprised how well that year went.














Edited by Ultimate Steve

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6 hours ago, KerbalKore said:

On February 3rd, 1955, Carl Campbell boarded the Revolution 1 and prepared for liftoff. 


Now Carl Campbell is a good astronaut name if I've ever heard one!

Can I have a picture of his spacecraft/launch vehicle or is that a trade secret?

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23 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Can I have a picture of his spacecraft/launch vehicle or is that a trade secret?

Ask and ye shall receive:





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6 minutes ago, KerbalKore said:
51 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:


Ask and ye shall receive:

Wow, that's a fairly advanced rocket! Attitude control and everything! Plus two RD-100s! That's probably gonna be a power record for a while.

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