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After starting an outpost on Eve, I remembered (much to my relief) that I remembered to build a return vehicle. However, it's completely disposable and only works once... not good for rotating crew on and off Eve! The cost to rotate crew would be astronomical...

Goal: Build a reusable vessel that can land on Eve, take a Kerbal to orbit, and repeat.

But wait! Before you dismiss this as impossible, let's make this easier: You don't have to build an Eve SSTO if you don't want to. You may discard stages, land them, and reassemble them on the ground with docking ports/Breaking Ground parts/by landing stages atop old stages. You may use a stage recovery mod. Also, to save your time, when you land or enter a stable orbit, you may simulate refueling with a mining vessel and cheat your fuel tanks back to 100%. You may teleport your vessel to Eve orbit and start from there.

Recommended mods: Hyperedit (to simulate refueling, make testing easier), Stage recovery mod.

Winning criteria:
Build a semi-reusable vessel that can shuttle 1 Kerbal from Eve's orbit to the surface, and vice versa. Completing the challenge earns you a spot here. If the design is an SSTO, it will be placed in a second category.

Winners:

 

Rules:

  1. You may cheat in pre-existing infrastructure. Your vessel may start at LEO. You can ignore commnet (built-in antennas will reach LEO anyways in a real game). You may simulate refuels with Hyperedit, but only when: 1) In a stable orbit around Eve (simulating refueling at a station) or 2) Landed on Eve (simulating refueling at an ISRU base).
  2. Take screenshots. Upload your craft so we can use it too. I have several Kerbals stuck on Eve...
  3. Pilot aid/build aid/stage recovery/planning/cosmetic mods are OK.

Good luck!

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3 hours ago, It'snorocketscience said:

Upload your craft so we can use it too. I have several Kerbals stuck on Eve...

So you just need a rescue mission and are just too lazy to design your own craft? :D

Hmmmm... I think a major part of the challenge will be to land on Eve without a non-reusable heatshield. Any ideas? Hmmm... Maybe a space-tug that stays in orbit.

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Posted (edited)

My attempt at Eve Rocks challenge was sea-level capable and didn't use a heat shield for landing on Eve. On the other hand I staged off all kinds of stuff so it doesn't get any closer to this challenge. Couldn't get it small enough to fit the circle of the VAB.

Edited by joshudson

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5 hours ago, AHHans said:

So you just need a rescue mission and are just too lazy to design your own craft? :D

Hmmmm... I think a major part of the challenge will be to land on Eve without a non-reusable heatshield. Any ideas? Hmmm... Maybe a space-tug that stays in orbit.

You could refuel in orbit from a Gilly based mining operation and use an entry burn to obviate the need for a heat shield. Provided the orbital section has enough delta-v to knock off about 3000m/s fairly quickly it should be ok.

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19 hours ago, AHHans said:

So you just need a rescue mission and are just too lazy to design your own craft? :D

Hmmmm... I think a major part of the challenge will be to land on Eve without a non-reusable heatshield. Any ideas? Hmmm... Maybe a space-tug that stays in orbit.

Well, err... I, uhhh

In all seriousness I have a return vehicle, but it only works once, for one kerbal. The landers are currently more expensive than the kerbals. :D

14 hours ago, Reactordrone said:

You could refuel in orbit from a Gilly based mining operation and use an entry burn to obviate the need for a heat shield. Provided the orbital section has enough delta-v to knock off about 3000m/s fairly quickly it should be ok.

For the purpose of this challenge, you can pretend you already have a orbital and ground-based refueling station. You don't have to manually refuel your craft if you don't want to, since it's already pretty time-consuming designing a reusable eve lander anyway.

Edited by It'snorocketscience

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On 8/15/2019 at 2:58 AM, Reactordrone said:

You could refuel in orbit from a Gilly based mining operation and use an entry burn to obviate the need for a heat shield.

That's kind of what I meant with the "space tug".  I was planning to not refuel on Eve's surface, in that case you don't want to do that 3000 m/s burn with the part that enters the atmosphere.

On 8/15/2019 at 5:16 PM, It'snorocketscience said:

The landers are currently more expensive than the kerbals.

That's not saying much, considering that you can actually get paid to collect more Kerbals in a career game. :cool:

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Sounds interesting! I'll give it a try.

I just made a concept for my first attempt. It involves two Spaceplanes and two Bases on Eve. The First (Carrier) Spaceplane would carry the smaller one to about 40km above sea-level before the smaller Spaceplane would proceed to orbit. The Carrier would not even leave the atmosphere but land at a second refueling base. It could then be fueled and return to the main Base where the smaller spaceplane could also land after delivering the Kerbal(s). Refuel and repeat. Hopefully :)

No I just have to figure out, how the two spaceplanes will be docked together and how they'll survive the Re-entry. That seems to be the bigger problem than dV to reach Orbit to me.

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I think an Eve SSTO isn't completely beyond reason with hybrid electric props, some conventional engines, and nukes. I will have a go at this. Even if it's not an SSTO, air launch to orbit or a recoverable drop pod should be fairly doable.

Edited by Pds314

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44 minutes ago, Pds314 said:

I think an Eve SSTO isn't completely beyond reason with hybrid electric props, some conventional engines, and nukes. I will have a go at this. Even if it's not an SSTO, air launch to orbit or a recoverable drop pod should be fairly doable.

Just some food for thought:

This isn't my design, but this design (before stock props) is VERY light for a stock Eve SSTO. Pardon the music, not my video.

Maybe a reusable Eve shuttle isn't so far-fetched after all?

I tried it myself and it does work, although it's very picky with takeoff/ascent profiles.

Edited by It'snorocketscience

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2 hours ago, It'snorocketscience said:

Just some food for thought:

This isn't my design, but this design (before stock props) is VERY light for a stock Eve SSTO. Pardon the music, not my video.

Maybe a reusable Eve shuttle isn't so far-fetched after all?

I tried it myself and it does work, although it's very picky with takeoff/ascent profiles.

Wow. That's very simple. I was expecting to slowly haul a big vacuum rocket engine and a nuke to 30 km or something with a giant prop that folds into a cargo bay.

Edited by Pds314

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Ok. I currently have a plane that is capable of putting its pilot in orbit in one stage as long as the Kerbal jetpack doesn't count. Or, I would, if not for heat-related issues.

 

To be honest, with the profile I would need to fly to avoid burning the cockpit off, I might just use a rocket.

Edited by Pds314

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I think I am gonna go the air-launch route with some kind of prop plane... above 25 km the wolfhound becomes a viable engine choice I think. Especially if it's got some horizontal velocity and modest wings. Not too much higher and pure nuke planes might be viable.

Edited by Pds314

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I designed a two stage reusable craft that can put 6 Kerbals into orbit. The lower stage has two Mammoth engines, a full mining equipment with a small Convert-O-Tron and a large mining drill and two seats, one for an engineer and one for an additional kerbal. The upper stage has two aerospike engines. The air intakes are closed and are just for the looks and for a reduced air resistance as Eve has no oxygenated atmosphere.

The craft is capable of flying non-stop and unrefueled from the Kerbal space center to the surface of Eve. The capture burn at Eve needs a combination of retro burning and aero braking. Then you lower your apoapsis using multiple aero brake passes. On the final descent you use up your final fuel in the upper atmosphere to reduce your speed. With an intermediate refueling stop at Mun, Minmus or Gilly you would have more delta-V so you could do a greater retro-burn which would make the eve descent easier. 

The craft can be separated into two pieces and docked again. The lower stage has two different from landing gears. The huge one is for take off and landing. The medium one is for docking with the upper stage and for rolling on the ground. With the medium front landing gear it is much easier to steer the craft when rolling. The craft contains autostruts because otherwise the docking connection with the small docking port would be much to wobbly. For docking the front landing gear of the upper stage must be retracted. This way the docking adapters line up correctly. 

I usually take off with this craft from 3°36' S, 172°27' west from an altitude of 6830m. This location is closer to the equator and flatter than the highest point on Eve. At this height the craft has a TWR of 1.01 when full on fuel. Before starting to orbit, the fuel cross feed  of the docking adapter must be turned off. To get to orbit, the craft takes off horizontally then gradually climbs to an angle of about 50°. I usually aim for an apoapsis of around 90 km, but at minimum of 80 km and try to reach the maximum horizontal velocity with the fuel of the first stage. Then I decouple and circularize with the second stage. The circularization burn of the second stage should start about 30 seconds before apoapsis. Its important that the time to apoapsis is around 0 seconds when finishing the circularization burn. When the time to apoapsis rises to fast, I throttle down or add a radial component to the burn, because I do not have the time to wait for too long when coasting to apoapsis. When the circularization burn is done, I immediately switch back to the first stage. The next thing to do, is to reduce the vertical velocity which is probably hundreds of m/s by using the lift of the wings. When down to a safe speed you can turn around to the starting location. Usually around two additional hops with refueling on the ground are needed to get back there.

Pictures of the craft:

Undocked: https://imgur.com/z6CIoMb

Docked: https://imgur.com/dxBlMCf

Second Stage in Orbit: https://imgur.com/Ks5pPXg

Edit:

I uploaded the craft here: https://kerbalx.com/EveMaster/Eve-Infinity

Edited by EveMaster
minor corrections

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