ShuttleHugger

The Dream Is Alive: Recreating the Space Shuttle Program

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What is this?

 

In real life the Space Shuttle Program was originally supposed to make access to space cheap and easy, flying up to every two weeks and being the US’ sole launch vehicle. For various reasons the Space Shuttle never lived up to these early goals, but in this KSP play-through I’m recreating the program somewhere between what it was supposed to be and what it actually was. I’m probably never going to get to a launch every two weeks, but I’ll be flying frequently and including payloads planned for the Shuttle but never flown like the Shuttle-Centaur liquid-fueled upper stage. While I’m not going to be keeping detailed tracks of budgets or anything, I am going to be assuming that my budget is larger and supports more planetary/science missions than the IRL NASA budget did and plan fun payloads accordingly. (Mid-1980s Viking 3 lander to Duna? Moved-up and expanded Mariner Mark II Program? Yes, please!).

The Game

I’m playing in Sandbox because I want all of the shuttle parts available immediately, and generally want to do things as I see fit for my recreation (which is not always the way KSP wants to do things). I am, however, self-imposing other rules for verisimilitude; for instance, the Space Shuttle Main Engines cannot be re-started. I am not allowing reverting to launch or VAB, and while I am quicksaving at key points I will reload a quicksave ONLY in cases of gross pilot error during launch or landing.

I’m renaming most of my Kerbals (except for Jeb, Bill, Bob, and Val, obviously) using a random name generator, mostly so that my mission patches don’t just say “Kerman Kerman Kerman Kerman Kerman ….”

Mods: TAC Life Support, Dang It! Continued, Decal Stickers R2.0. I may add other part mods later but don’t intend to significantly change the functionality of the game beyond the mods I already have.

The Metagame

In order to do my own homebrew simulations of things not included in the base KSP game, I’ve written Python scripts to tell me how long the Shuttle needs to spend being processed after each mission, and whether the weather is clear for launch or landing on each day, including a forecast for the next week (based on real-life Kennedy Space Center and Edwards Air Force Base weather data for the dates in question).

I’m also using the calendar Year 1=1981, Year 2=1982, etc., and split the 426-day Kerbin year into 12 months, each of which has 5 more days than our real-life calendar (except for February, which has 6 more).

The Dirty Secret

 

The shuttle’s crew compartment is actually two Mk3 cockpits clipped together :o It was the only way I could get the orbiter’s balance right so that it would be stable during both hypersonic flight and landing, and has the added benefit that I can fit the same crew of 7 or 8 used by the IRL Shuttle.

Mission Reports

For each mission I’ll provide a mission written from the perspective of the kerbals, including mission patches and screenshots. Once I start flying I’ll edit this post to include a table of contents/quick-links below.

Table of Contents/Summary of Missions

Spoiler
STS-1 Columbia
Apr. 7-9, 1981
Test Flight 1
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STS-2 Columbia
Dec. 14-19, 1981
Test Flight 2
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STS-3 Columbia
Apr. 35-May 7, 1982
Test Flight 3
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STS-4 Columbia
Sept. 13-22, 1982
Test Flight 4
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STS-5 Columbia
Dec. 27-31, 1982
Commsats
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STS-6 Challenger
Mar. 30-35, 1983
TDRS-A
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STS-7 Challenger
July 29-35, 1983
Commsats
STS-8 Challenger
Oct. 36-Nov. 5, 1983
Commsats
STS-9 Challenger
Jan. 36-Feb. 9, 1984
Spacelab 1
STS-10 Columbia
Feb. 14-20, 1984

Commsats
STS-11 Discovery
May 3-11, 1984
Commsats
STS-12 Columbia
May 17-21, 1984
LDEF
STS-13 Challenger
May 26-30, 1984
TDRS-B
STS-14 Columbia
July 35-Aug. 4, 1984
Commsats
STS-15 Discovery
Aug. 11-15, 1984
Classified
STS-16 Challenger
Aug. 23-30, 1984
Kerbin Radiation
Budget Satellite
STS-17 Columbia
Oct. 13-18, 1984
Commsats
STS-18 Discovery
Oct. 32-Nov. 6, 1984
Spacelab 2
STS-19 Challenger
Nov. 11-15, 1984
GOES-E
STS-20 Columbia
Jan. 3-13, 1985
Spacelab 3
         

Flights in italics are on the future flight manifest but have not yet been flown.

Preview

 

Following extensive simulator tests for craft design and years of construction of testing, the Space Shuttle Columbia was rolled out to Pad 39A at Kerbal Space Center on February 34, 1981. After a successful Flight Readiness Test Firing during which the three Space Shuttle Main Engines were fired for 23 seconds on the pad on March 20, the shuttle now stands ready for its first flight. Astronauts Jebediah Kerman and Abe Dykstra are scheduled to launch on April 3 to take Columbia on a 2-day test flight. All eyes on Kerbin turn towards the brave astronauts and the shining winged rocket straining towards liftoff…

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Columbia completes Flight Readiness Test Firing, March 20, 1981.

Edited by ShuttleHugger
Added STS-6 and updated future flights on Table of Contents

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Welcome to the forums @ShuttleHugger!  Always good to see a fellow shuttle builder :)  A lot of us hang out at the Shuttle Challenge and by the looks of your initial mission report you would be in line for some of the badges if that was your thing also!

Look forward to seeing the shuttle fly!

SM

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Welcome aboard, @ShuttleHugger!  I admire your determination to do shuttles (I've never had much luck with them) and look forward to seeing what you can do with this.  BTW, the wings on the main tank look great, I don't care what anybody says :) 

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10 hours ago, ShuttleHugger said:

<snip>

Great work mate! I'm "liking" just for that epic handmade drawing! :cool:

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Thanks, all!

I'll definitely pursue some of the Shuttle Challenge missions, @Speeding Mullet many of them line up with my plans already.

@Geschosskopf the external tank wings were necessary to keep the stack from face-planting as soon as it was going fast enough to generate lift, but they have been growing on me. ;)

@The Dunatian there'll be more, I'm making a patch for every mission.

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STS-1 Columbia Mission Report

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Quick Summary:

Crew:  Jebediah Kerman (CDR), Abe Dykstra (PLT)

Backup Crew: Gavin Molloy (CDR), Zachary Albrecht (PLT)

Payload:

Shuttle Test Instrument Pallet

Other Objectives: General test of all Space Shuttle systems

Mission duration: 2d 0h 16m 37s

Launch Time: April 7, 1981 05:30:00

Landing Time: April 9, 1981 05:46:37

Launch mass 372,938 kg; payload mass 620 kg


Narrative Summary:

The first launch attempt, on April 3, 1981, was scrubbed due to incorrect configuration of the external tank umbilicals*.

Columbia successfully launched on the second attempt on April 7, 1981, from Pad 39A at the Kerbal Space Center. Ascent proceeded smoothly overall. After MECO at MET~7m30s the orbiter was in a -0.8x87xkm orbit, and the following OMS burn raised this to 81x94 km, inclination 3.2 degrees, period 31m46s. Kerman and Dykstra successfully opened the payload bay doors at MET 20m, and thereafter deployed the boom antennas of the Shuttle Test Instrument Pallet. The crew pointed the payload bay towards the sun, and then spent the remainder of Flight Day 1 on various configuration and test tasks within the Shuttle cockpit. The first on-orbit sleep period began at MET 2h00m.

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Kerman and Dykstra were awakened at MET 4h00m for Flight Day 2. After a meal/personal period, they began checking out the shuttle RCS system for orientation and maneuverability in orbit. At MET 4h23m, OMS fuel tank #7 in the orbiter aft compartment sprang a leak during the RCS testing program. Quick action on the part of the crew closed the tank valves and transferred the remaining fuel out of the tank before a significant amount of propellant was lost. After analysis controllers determined that the fault did not pose a threat to the crew or vehicle and recommended that the mission continue as planned. At MET 4h49m, the RCS thrusters were used to raise the periapsis by 1.1 km. At MET 1d1h05m the internal batteries within the #3 fuel cell short-circuited, but the fuel cell itself kept functioning and the mission was cleared to proceed. Various internal tests and tasks occupied the remainder of the day before the sleep period began at MET 1d2h00m.

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The crew were awakened for the planned final day of the flight at MET 1d4h00m. At MET 1d5h00m the crew deactivated and stowed the Shuttle Test Instrument Pallet in preparation for landing. The payload bay doors were closed at MET 1d5h34m. The deorbit burn for landing at Edwards Air Force Base** was accomplished at MET 1d5h55m, after a clear weather report was returned from the ground. After a nominal reentry Kerman steered Columbia to a smooth landing on the Edwards Air Force Base Range. Wheel stop occurred at MET 2d00h16m37s.

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The mission was declared a complete success, with the two minor part failures being merely an inconvenience. After safing, processing, and a cross-country trip on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Columbia rolled back into OPF Bay 1 on April 19 to begin preparations for its second test flight, STS-2. Liftoff is scheduled for no earlier than October 15, 1981, with the STS-1 backup crew of Gavin Molloy and Zachary Albrecht aboard the orbiter.

 

*Read: I'd inadvertently used a previous version of the shuttle file with a Launch Stability Enhancer that the Shuttle collided with on liftoff :o As a penalty for having to reload a quick-save I delayed the launch by 4 days.

**An empty stretch of desert north of the Dessert Launch Site.

(Note that this series will be on hiatus for the next 2 to 2.5 weeks while I'm traveling.)

 

 

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Congrats on the successful test flight!  And have a good trip.

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STS-2 Columbia Mission Report

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Quick Summary:

Crew: Gavin Molloy (CDR), Zachary Albrecht (PLT)

Backup Crew: Orson Sauvageon (CDR), Carver Paulis (PLT)

Payload: Canadian Remote Manipulator Arm, Shuttle Test Instrument Pallet

Other Objectives: Tests of OMS engines for orbit adjustment, stability of single-engine OMS burn

Mission duration: 4d1h43m19s

Launch date: December 14, 1981 05:30:00

Landing date: December 19, 1981 01:13:19

Launch mass 374,784 kg; payload mass 2,166 kg

Narrative Summary:

After a longer-than-expected processing cycle after STS-1, Columbia was moved to Pad 39A for a launch opportunity on November 34, 1981, but the launch was scrubbed due to engineering review concerns around suspect parts in the brackets connecting the orbiter to the external tank.* The stack was rolled back to the VAB, the orbiter removed from the stack, and the suspect parts replaced and strengthened.**

Columbia lifted off on its second voyage on the second launch opportunity on December 14, 1981, with Gavin Molloy and Zachary Albrecht aboard. Ascent was largely nominal, but less fuel-efficient than planned. Inserted into initial -151x93.6 km orbit at ET fuel exhaustion, significantly lower than planned; OMS burn raised to 71.7x102.5 km, inclination 3.1 degrees, period 31m44s. Due to longer than planned orbit insertion burn, only 70 m/s of Delta-v was left in liquid fuel. The decision was thus taken to cancel the single-engine OMS test planned for Flight Dat 4, and instead perform all orbital maneuvers except for the deorbit burn using the RCS jets alone. After orbital insertion Molloy and Albrecht activated all orbiter systems, and the Shuttle Test Instrumentation Pallet. After completing their tasks the crew began their first sleep period at MET 2h00m.

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Molloy and Albrecht awoke at MET 4h00m for Flight Day 2. After a meal period they oriented the orbiter for the revised orbit-raising maneuver. Starting at MET 4h48m, a burn of 1m50s duration of the RCS thrusters raised the orbit to 100.1x103.0km, period 32m44s. After performing additional housekeeping and internal tasks, the crew began the second sleep period at MET 1d2h01m.

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The crew awoke at MET 1d4h00m for FD3. After a meal period they prepared to unberth the Canadian Remote Manipulator Arm (aka Canadarm). Unberthing commenced at MET 1d4h41m, just after orbital sunrise. Over the course of the next hour they performed numerous tests to check the movement and performance of the arm. The principle results were that the default movement was much too fast, that the arm needed some small redesigns in order to meet design specifications (most notably the addition of a rotational servo to the end of the arm), that the stability of the arm to changes in attitude of the shuttle were as expected, and that the payload bay lights provided an adequate degree of illumination for work during orbital night. The crew began their sleep period at MET 2d02h00m.

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The crew awoke at MET 2d4h00m for FD4. After further tests of Canadarm, the arm was stowed finishing at MET 3d0h58m. The crew then performed other tasks, including a hand-held photographic survey of Kerbin. Their final planned on-orbit sleep period began at MET 3d02h00m.

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During the on-orbit night the flight controllers decided to delay landing by ~1 hour (2 orbits) in order to wait for near-freezing temperatures at Dessert Air Force Range to abate. The crew awoke at MET 3d4h00m. At MET 4d1h13m, about 8 minutes before the start of the reentry burn, one of the batteries on the Shuttle Test Instrument Package short-circuited. The RCS-assisted deorbit burn began at approximately MET 4d1h20m and lasted for approximately two minutes, depleting the remainder of the liquid fuel and oxidizer and most of the monopropellant. Periapsis lowered to 4.7 km. Entry interface occurred at MET 4d1h27m54s. After a nominal re-entry landed on the Dessert Air Force Base Range, wheel stop at MET 4d1h43m19s.  Vehicle experienced a hard landing, resulting in some damage, but the crew were uninjured.

Next up: STS-3, the third test flight of the Space Shuttle Program, is currently scheduled for launch on March 35, 1982.

*Even though I hadn't changed anything in the save file since the last launch other than adding the robotic arm, two of the three decouplers didn't actually hold the orbiter and external tank together, even though they did on the first launch...

**...so I added some struts.

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STS-3 Columbia Mission Report

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Quick Summary:

Crew: Orson Sauvageon (CDR), Carver Paulis (PLT)

Backup Crew: Bryan Argyris (CDR), Jasper Smith (PLT)

Payload: Canadian Remote Manipulator Arm, Shuttle Robotic Arm Manipulation Test Pallet (SRAM-TP)

Other Objectives: Launch to and landing from inclined orbit (~22.5 degrees)

Launch: April 34, 1982 05:30:00 from Pad 39A at Kerbal Space Center

Mission Duration: 6d1h2m13s

Landing: May 7, 1982 00:32:13 at Dessert Air Force Range

 

Narrative Summary:

Columbia launched on the third test flight of the Kerbal Space Shuttle Program at 05:30 on April 34, 1982, one day after the first launch attempt was scrubbed due to rain at the Dessert Air Force Range emergency landing site. The launch was successful, and the ascent much more fuel efficient ascent than STS-2. Columbia was placed into an initial 3x115km orbit, which was then raised to 111x121 km, inclination 19.7 degrees, period 33m44s. After activating all orbiter systems the crew retired for the first sleep period at MET 2h02m.

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Sauvageon and Paulis awoke at MET 4h00m for FD2. At MET 5h02m the oxygen canister in the #3 life support tank in the shuttle aft compartment sprang a leak. Although the other oxygen tanks were topped up, nonetheless most of its capacity was lost to space. The malfunction occurred during final preparations for the orbit-raising burn, which out of an abundance of caution was put off until an hour after the tank leaked dry in order to avoid any possibility of ignition in the aft compartment. Given the two-kerbal crew, however, the loss of oxygen did not otherwise affect the mission. After this delay the orbit-raising burn was accomplished at MET 1d1h22m, raising orbit to 120x121km, period 34m05s. The crew began their sleep period at MET 1d2h00m.

The crew awoke for FD3 at MET 1d4h00m. After a meal period the crew powered up and activated Canadarm, and then began unstowing the arm. The crew was able to successfully grapple the test pallet twice, but due to a design flaw in the attachment system between the pallet and the cargo bay floor the pallet was unable to be detached from the shuttle as planned. At MET 1d5h03s one of the wastewater tanks in the orbiter crew section began leaking. After review the flight control team determined that the leak did not provide any risks to astronaut or vehicle safety, and so cleared the mission to proceed. The crew began their sleep period as normal.

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The crew awoke as usual and after a meal period proceeded to unlatch Canadarm from the test pallet, stow, and power down the arm. Canadarm was successfully stowed at MET 2d4h23m. The crew then proceeded with powering down the arm and other housekeeping tasks for the remainder of the day.

After awaking for FD5 and eating, the crew prepared for the single-engine OMS test. At MET 3d5h07m, while flying over the Dessert Air Force Range at orbital dawn, the crew fired only the starboard OMS engine for several seconds to evaluate orbiter stability in the event of an engine failure; results indicated that the RCS system would be able to hold the orbiter in alignment only for low thrust levels. The test raised the orbit to 121x126 km, period 34m18s.

The crew awoke at MET 4d4h32m for their final full day in orbit, devoted to a handheld photographic survey of Kerbin as well as crew rest time.

At the time the crew awoke there were no weather issues or other problems anticipated to affect landing. At MET 6d0h38m, shortly before the planned deorbit burn, the water tank in the #4 life support canister began leaking. Mission control determined that the crew should go ahead with landing. The deorbit burn was completed at 6d0h42m, with fuel good for 63 m/s of Delta-v left in the orbiter tanks. Entry interface occurred at MET 6d0h49m48s. Coming from a higher orbit the mid-level approach was significantly hotter than on previous missions. After another hard landing wheel stop occurred at MET 6d1h2m13s.

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Next up: STS-4, the fourth and final test flight of the Space Shuttle, is scheduled to launch on September 14, 1982.

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STS-4 Columbia Mission Report

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Quick Summary:

Crew: Bryan Argyris (CDR), Jasper Smith (PLT)

Payload: Canadian Remote Manipulator Arm, Shuttle Robotic Arm Manipulation Test Pallet (SRAM-TP), Shuttle Science Pallet, 4 Getaway Special Canisters

Launch: September 13, 1982 05:30:00 from Pad 39A at Kerbal Space Center

Mission Duration: 8d0h56m38s

Landing: September 22, 1982 00:26:38 at Dessert Air Force Range

Narrative Summary:

Columbia launched on its fourth voyage, and the fourth and final test flight of the Space Shuttle Program, on September 13, 1982. Launch was mostly nominal and the orbiter was inserted into an initial 19x142 km orbit; the apogee was significantly higher than planned. The OMS burn at MET 14m placed the spacecraft into a 123x144km orbit, period 35m, inclination 2.3 degrees. After activating orbiter systems the crew went to sleep at MET 2h01m.

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After awakening for Flight Day 2 and eating, the crew prepared to circularize the orbit. The crew performed this burn at MET 4h35m, lowering orbit to 120x124km, period 34m11s. The crew spent the remainder of the day activating and working with the science experiments in the payload bay.

The crew’s main task for Flight Day 3 was working with Canadarm and its associated test pallet. After activating, unberthing, and maneuvering the arm, the crew successfully grappled the SRAM-TP on the first try at MET 1d4h25m. At MET 1d4h53m the test pallet was successfully decoupled from the payload bay floor, and thereafter moved out of the payload bay by the arm. The crew spent the remainder of the day on further tests of the arm and pallet and housekeeping tasks.

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After awaking for Flight Day 4 and snacking Argyris and Smith proceeded with stowing the test pallet. The crew experienced a great deal of difficulty with reattaching the pallet to the cargo bay floor attachment, but after many attempts they managed to restow the pallet at MET 2d5h47m. At MET 3d0h19m the arm was successfully decoupled from the pallet, and the crew then proceeded to stow and power down the arm.

Flight Days 5 through 7 were occupied with photographic surveys of Kerbin and working with the science experiments in the payload bay. FD8 was partially occupied with operating a classified experiment in one of the GAS canisters. Later that day the crew completed two OMS burns, at MET 7d0h50m and 7d1h08m, to lower the orbit to 98x101km, period 32m36s.

When the crew awoke for their final day in orbit at MET 7d4h01m all systems and the weather were go for landing at the Dessert Air Force Range later that day. The deorbit burn was completed successfully at MET 8d0h36m. Entry interface occurred at MET 8d0h42m59s. At MET 8d0h47m21s, at an altitude of 36km, the payload bay door motors failed. Landing was nominal, with wheel stop occuring at MET 8d0h56m38s, at longitude 141 W.

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The mission overall was a tremendous success, with all objectives accomplished and the flight almost flawless. After landing Kerbal States President Ellis Trueman welcomed the crew home and declared the Space Shuttle operational.

In other news, the Space Shuttle Challenger was delivered to Kerbal Space Center on July 4, 1982, and is currently being processed in OPF-2 in preparation for its first flight, STS-6.

Next up: Columbia will launch two geostationary commsats on STS-5, the first operational space shuttle mission. Launch is currently scheduled for December 31, 1982.

 

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This looks pretty good!  I'll be keeping a watch out for further progress!  very nice...

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STS-5 Columbia Mission Report

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Quick Summary:

Crew: Valentina Kerman (CDR), William Kohler (PLT), Arlie Holgersen (MS1), Harriett Hartmann (MS2)

Payload: Galaxy V-A commsat, Kerbstar 7 commsat, 2 Medium Satellite Deployment Cannisters

Launch: December 28, 1982 1:00:00 from Pad 39A at Kerbal Space Center

Mission Duration: 3d1h00m15s

Landing: December 31, 1982 2:00:15 at Dessert Air Force Range

Launch mass 380,062 kg; payload mass 6,821 kg

Narrative Summary:

The first launch opportunity, on December 26, 1982, was scrubbed due to afternoon rain showers in the area of KSC. Mission managers opted to try again the next day, despite a predicted 83% chance of rain, to try to get the mission off the ground before being forced to stand down over New Year’s. Their gamble, however, did not pay off, as rain the next day kept the shuttle grounded. The 20% chance of rain the next day did not materialize, leaving the path clear for launch.

Columbia lifted off on the third opportunity on December 28, 1982. Ascent was nominal, and at MECO at ET fuel exhaustion the shuttle was injected into a -62x85 km orbit. At MET 9m Columbia completed the OMS burn for orbit insertion into a 72x91km orbit, inclination 1.6 degrees, period 31m21s. After activating orbiter systems the crew began their first sleep period at MET 2h00m. At MET 2h29m one of the batteries on Kerbstar 7 short-circuited; however, mission managers and the payload owners, Kerbstar Communications, decided that as the failure was impossible to repair on-orbit deployment should proceed as planned. The crew was not awoken and was notified of the failure in the morning of FD2.

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After waking and eating, the crew performed OMS burns at MET 4h29m to raise the orbit to 72x100 km, period 31m40s, and a second burn at MET 4h45m to circularize the orbit to 98x105km, period 32m43s. At MET 4h30m the battery in the Kerbstar 7 probe core short-circuited, and at MET 4h45m the reaction wheels in the Kerbstar 7 probe core failed. At MET 4h46m the #6 fuel/oxidizer tank in Columbia’s aft compartment began leaking, but swift action by the crew transferred most of the fuel into other tanks. Throughout the day Kerbstar executives debated whether to deploy Kerbstar 7 from the shuttle, or have it returned to Kerbin for refurbishment and a later launch.

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At MET 2d0h15m Galaxy V-A was deployed from Columbia’s payload bay. However, several of the Sepratron motors that were part of the satellite’s Payload Assist Module (PAM) were shaken free by the force of the separation. Visual inspection from the crew of the departing satellite determined that the first stage of the PAM had in fact disintegrated entirely upon separation from the orbiter, leaving Galaxy V-A with only the lower-power second stage and its monopropellant engines, which had Delta-v insufficient to reach geostationary orbit. Consequently, mission managers and the Kerbstar and Galaxy corporations decided that Kerbstar 7 should not be deployed, but instead returned to Kerbin for repairs and for redesign of the PAM; and that a future mission should rescue Galaxy V-A and return it to Kerbin for repair, attachment of a redesigned PAM, and relaunch. As there was no reason to perform the day-long process to deploy Kerbstar 7, the last day of the mission was cancelled and the return to Kerbin moved up to FD4 from FD5. The failure of the PAM first stage also created a train of at least 11 debris objects in low Kerbin orbit.

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The crew awoke for their anticipated final day in orbit at MET 2d4h00m. Landing was waved off for several orbits to allow sub-freezing temperatures at the Dessert Air Force Range to clear. At MET 3d0h32m, shortly after closing the payload bay doors, the bay door motors failed. The deorbit burn was accomplished at MET 3d0h40m37s. Entry interface occurred at MET 3d0h47m05s. Re-entry was nominal; during approach to the Dessert Air Force Range Commander Valentina Kerman performed a bank maneuver to avoid landing in the mountains. Roll-out was very long but wheel-stop occurred at MET 3d01h00m15s. Columbia’s successful landing closed out a malfunction-filled mission that accomplished none of the planned objectives and lasted a day shorter than expected. After the mission landed Pilot William Kohler announced that he was retiring from KSP after 13 years of service as an astronaut and a single spaceflight, while Columbia was shuttled to Palmdale, California for Orbiter Major Maintenence Period #1 to remove hardware from the test flight program and upgrade it with features such as an airlock and payload bay hardware to match it to the newer orbiter Challenger.

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Next up: Challenger is scheduled to lift off on its maiden voyage, STS-6, on March 16, 1983, carrying the first satellite of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation.

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2 hours ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

Wow, you must be playing with DangIt!, because that's really unfortunate!

Yes, I am indeed using DangIt!. I like the challenge of having to build in redundancy and deal with failures, but it is a little frustrating to get a run of bad luck like on this mission. (The PAM disintegration was due to a design flaw, not a DangIt! failure, though--I have no one but myself to blame for that one!).

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3 hours ago, ShuttleHugger said:

Yes, I am indeed using DangIt!. I like the challenge of having to build in redundancy and deal with failures, but it is a little frustrating to get a run of bad luck like on this mission. (The PAM disintegration was due to a design flaw, not a DangIt! failure, though--I have no one but myself to blame for that one!).

Well, congrats on getting down safely despite all the malfunctions.  Especially the bay door motors, which could have been a real problem.  Also, it sounds like it's a good thing lithium batteries haven't been invented yet or their failures might have been more of a problem :) 

I've never used Dang It! but I have used BARIS.  How do they compare?  Is Dang It! as configurable as BARIS?  Do parts get better over time?

Malfunction mods can definitely cause frustration due to missions failing even if you design a perfect ship and mission profile.  It took me a few failed missions to get used to it because, being an engineer, I take pride in designing capable ships.  But eventually I discovered a coping mechanism.  I decided not to take the save as seriously as I normally do, crank BARIS up to 11, be disappointed when it did NOT give me gratuitous explosions, and have a sense of triumph for finally bringing part reliability up enough that ships only exploded 10% of the time instead of 75% :)  All the while slogging on with the usual KSP shtick of exploring planets and grabbing Science!  In the end, I found it quite enjoyable and would be using BARIS in my current save if it had been functional when I started.

But that was easy for me to do because I run the Circus, not a NASA-emulator.  Thus, I salute you for running a serious game with a malfunction mod :) 

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19 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

I've never used Dang It! but I have used BARIS.  How do they compare?  Is Dang It! as configurable as BARIS?  Do parts get better over time?

I've never actually used BARIS, but based on the forum thread it looks like it has a lot more functionality than DangIt!, and probably easier customization. In DangIt! it's possible to turn certain types of failures on and off, and temporarily increase the failure rate, from the GUI in-game. Failure rates for a given class of part are fixed, but can be edited manually in the mod configuration files (which I've considered doing for this game, not sure yet if I will). It looks like BARIS actually does a lot of the things that I'm doing myself out-of-game and imposing on myself for this play-through (like making there be some delay between flights), and I might have used it instead of my own system if I'd known about the mod before I started this game, but I don't like to switch things up too much once I've started. Maybe once I get around to doing that expanded Apollo program play through I've been planning for a while... ;)

19 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Malfunction mods can definitely cause frustration due to missions failing even if you design a perfect ship and mission profile.  It took me a few failed missions to get used to it because, being an engineer, I take pride in designing capable ships.  But eventually I discovered a coping mechanism.  I decided not to take the save as seriously as I normally do, crank BARIS up to 11, be disappointed when it did NOT give me gratuitous explosions, and have a sense of triumph for finally bringing part reliability up enough that ships only exploded 10% of the time instead of 75% :)  All the while slogging on with the usual KSP shtick of exploring planets and grabbing Science!  In the end, I found it quite enjoyable and would be using BARIS in my current save if it had been functional when I started.

But that was easy for me to do because I run the Circus, not a NASA-emulator.  Thus, I salute you for running a serious game with a malfunction mod :) 

That does sounds like a fun play style. One of the things I appreciate about this game, especially the mods, is that it allows such customization & different play styles.

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3 hours ago, ShuttleHugger said:

I've never actually used BARIS, but based on the forum thread it looks like it has a lot more functionality than DangIt!, and probably easier customization. In DangIt! it's possible to turn certain types of failures on and off, and temporarily increase the failure rate, from the GUI in-game. Failure rates for a given class of part are fixed, but can be edited manually in the mod configuration files (which I've considered doing for this game, not sure yet if I will). It looks like BARIS actually does a lot of the things that I'm doing myself out-of-game and imposing on myself for this play-through (like making there be some delay between flights), and I might have used it instead of my own system if I'd known about the mod before I started this game, but I don't like to switch things up too much once I've started. Maybe once I get around to doing that expanded Apollo program play through I've been planning for a while... ;)

In BARIS, you COULD (I use the past tense because  @Angel-125 tells me BARIS is out of date and he's not currently working on it) select which general classes of parts malfunctions could occur in.  Then you could set how severe any malfunction were, from minor annoyances to exploding, and which few or many of a wide selection of events caused a check for malfunctions.  And then there was the reliability of each individual part which began at near-zero when first unlocked and only improved through EXTENSIVE testing and use in flight.  There was also a "test bench" feature to short-cut this process but it cost such an exorbitant amount of Science! points that I never, ever used it.   And all of this could be toned down A LOT by how much you let the presence of an artificersmate Engineer fix things on the fly before they malfunctioned. 

The way I had it set up was brutal to start with, even with extensive launchpad testing, but the few artificersmates Engineers who survived the early missions eventually became able to circumvent most malfunctions of relatively proven parts before they happened, although all new parts still required extensive testing.  This killed LOTS of Kerbals and ruined countless missions but such are the necessary sacrifices on the road to greatness ;) 

 

3 hours ago, ShuttleHugger said:

That does sounds like a fun play style. One of the things I appreciate about this game, especially the mods, is that it allows such customization & different play styles.

Well, it depends on how you define "fun".  I have never wanted to emulate real life stuff because the harsh laws of physics will keep us stuck on this rock no matter what various dreamers and madmen say (at least until we get UFO technology, which the same harsh laws of physics say can't exist).  Thus, I use KSP as a vehicle to play out the ill-founded dreams of my misspent youth during the height of the space race, when I was easily led astray by false prophets before I learned the harsh laws of physics.

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18 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Well, it depends on how you define "fun".  I have never wanted to emulate real life stuff because the harsh laws of physics will keep us stuck on this rock no matter what various dreamers and madmen say (at least until we get UFO technology, which the same harsh laws of physics say can't exist).  Thus, I use KSP as a vehicle to play out the ill-founded dreams of my misspent youth during the height of the space race, when I was easily led astray by false prophets before I learned the harsh laws of physics.

That's fair. When I play KSP I basically have two modes: either as much historical accuracy as I can muster, or sit back and watch the explosions :cool:

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4 hours ago, ShuttleHugger said:

That's fair. When I play KSP I basically have two modes: either as much historical accuracy as I can muster, or sit back and watch the explosions :cool:

I frequently spend time in sandbox doing crazy things that explode a lot.  But when I play a serious career game, I aim for something in the middle between reality and totally Kerbal.  Total reality is definitely a challenge but it just shows what anybody who pays attention already knows before they start---we're totally stuck on this rock.  Sure, we can maybe send a minivan's worth of folks somewhere else and MAYBE bring them back, and even MORE MAYBE they can live a normal life, with normal lifespan, afterwards.  But that's all we'll ever do in total realism.  I had enough of that playing Orbiter and its predecessors since the 1980s, which is what destroyed all my childhood dreams from the 1960s.  So I kicked all that to the curb when I discovered KSP.  In KSP, it's still possible, despite Squad's acquiescence to some of the strident demands of the short-sighted realism-mongers, to play KSP with enough realism to satisfy an old Orbiter hand, but with enough fantasy to satisfy the childhood dreams of somebody who grew up in the space race.  This is why I ardently oppose all attempts to add more so-called "realism" features to KSP.  This fight preserves the middle way.

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STS-6 Challenger Mission Report

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Quick Summary:

Crew: Timothy Vela (CDR), Jane Steffensen (PLT), Wesley Vann (MS1), Bob Kerman (MS2)

Payload: TDRS-A

Other Objectives: Perform test spacewalk

Launch: March 30, 1983 0:19:00 from Pad 39A at Kerbal Space Center

Mission Duration: 6d1h06m39s

Landing: March 35, 1983 1:25:39 at Dessert Air Force Range

Launch mass: 381,912 kg; payload mass: 7,559 kg

Narrative Summary:

STS-6 was not only the first launch of the second orbit-capable Space Shuttle Orbiter, Challenger, but was also the first use of the Lightweight External Tank, with modification to drop the ET’s wings (mass 1 ton) once the stack was sufficiently high that they were no longer needed. After multiple delays due to weather and engineering issues Challenger lifted off on its first flight on March 30, 1983. The orbiter was inserted into an initial -139x81km orbit. The OMS burn successfully inserted Challenger into a 71x88km orbit, inclination 1 degree, period 31m11s, using nearly all of the available OMS fuel. During ascent the zenith outboard RCS port on the starboard wing failed, and so the corresponding RCS port on the port wing was commanded closed. After attaining orbit the crew spend the remainder of the day configuring orbiter systems before beginning the first sleep period at MET 2h00m.

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The first RCS-assisted OMS burn was accomplished at MET 4h10m to raise the orbit to 88x101km, period 32m14s. A second burn was accomplished at MET 4h26m to raise the orbit to 101x101km, period 32m42s. The crew spent the remainder of the day checking out Challenger’s systems for the first time on orbit.

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After waking and breakfasting for Flight Day 3, the crew released the launch clamps holding TDRS-A to the cargo bay at MET 1d5h11m, approximately one orbit before payload deployment. They subsequently raised the payload to the deployment attitude within the payload bay. At MET 1d5h29m, while performing check-outs of the payload prior to deployment, it was discovered that one of the secondary relay antennas aboard the payload had shorted and was non-responsive. Mission managers decided to shuffle the order of the flight, conducting the EVA on FD4 with TDRS still in the payload bay in order to affect a repair, and deploy the satellite on FD5. The payload was therefore returned to a 10 degree up attitude in the payload bay rather than the 30 degree deployment attitude, and Vann and Kerman immediately began preparations for the spacewalk.

At MET 2d4h1m the crew inflated the airlock in preparation for the day’s EVA. Vann and Kerman finished preparations and donned their spacesuits before entering the airlock. Vann exited the airlock at MET 5d2h39m, and Kerman shortly thereafter. Vann successfully accomplished the repair of the TDRS antenna. The spacewalkers subsequently tested the EVA suits and their mobility about the cargo bay. Kerman reentered the airlock after 13m02s of EVA time, and Vann after 21m21s.

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At MET 3d5h11m, one orbit before TDRS deployment, the payload was once again raised to the 30 degree deployment attitude. TDRS-A was deployed from Challenger’s payload bat at MET 3d5h46m35s (March 34, 1983). TDRS-A subsequently successfully deployed its low-gain command antennas.

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One orbit later the IUS was commanded to fire, but the onboard command sequencer instead separated the first and second stages of the IUS, leaving the satellite stranded in low Kerbin orbit. However, mission managers determined that it was still capable of reaching a semi-synchronous orbit by using the IUS upper stage and all of its monopropellant. One orbit after the botched separation sequence, the upper stage was fired to raise the apoapsis to close to semi-synchronous, and the monopropellant thrusters subsequently overshot the burn, leaving the spacecraft in a 101x1732km transfer orbit. Additionally, one of the spacecraft’s four monopropellant tanks began leaking immediately before the IUS burn. A burn of the RCS thrusters at apoapsis was able to raise the orbit to 1,581x1,733km, period 3h8m54s. A final burn using the remainder of the monopropellant left the spacecraft in a mostly usable 1,581x1,645km orbit, period 3h3m27s.
After TDRS was deployed the deployment device was re-stowed in Challenger’s payload bay.

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The crew spent Flight Day 6 stowing EVA equipment and testing all of Challenger’s systems on-orbit.

On Flight Day 7, landing was waved off for several orbits to wait for sub-freezing temperatures at the Dessert Air Force Range to clear. At MET 6d0h41m the crew completed an RCS-assisted deorbit burn which was only able to lower the periapsis to 37 km. Entry interface occurred at MET 6d0h47m13s. Challenger touched down with a hard landing, with a wheel stop at 6d1h06m39s. The mission was overall successful, with the first impromptu on-orbit repair, blemished only by the missequencing of the Inertial Upper Stage and the inability of TDRS-A to reach its intended orbit.

(On a side note, I've been thinking about doing this Space Shuttle Program play-through for years, but I'm glad that I didn't actually start it until now, after Breaking Ground was released; I love having the ability to build payloads that fold up to fit in the payload bay.)

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