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Spaceten

Science parts without probe body

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Hey!

I was wondering if it true that it is not possible to recover science from "debris" safely landed at Kerbin?

I tried dumping a Science Jr with a parachute from my ship but it disappeared by itself when on the ground. The same thing happens with the Experiment storage unit. I am therefore wondering if you need to attach a probe body to these part to be able to actually collect science from them?

Also, are you refunded for debris that safely lands on the ground - is there any point in sticking parachutes on boosters for instance? Since the debris just disappears without me having to recover it from the Tracking station or Space center it is hard to tell if you get any funds back. 

Thanks in advance!
God speed

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Are you sure your science jr landed safely? Otherwise you should be able to recover them from the tracking station... 

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Have you tried "riding" (stay focused on) the part all the way to the ground. That should let you recover it without it disappearing.

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4 hours ago, Spaceten said:

Also, are you refunded for debris that safely lands on the ground - is there any point in sticking parachutes on boosters for instance? Since the debris just disappears without me having to recover it from the Tracking station or Space center it is hard to tell if you get any funds back. 

You only get refunds for stuff you manually recover.  And as noted, parts generally disappear when left unsupervised in atmosphere.  So in stock / typical gameplay,* there's  no reason other than roleplaying for putting parachutes on boosters. 

However, you might be interested in the "Stage Recovery" mod.  I haven't used it myself, but I believe it does exactly what you're referring to -- provides funds for decoupled but "survivable" stages.

*In some cases, you can do some fairly convoluted switching between craft to get stuff to survive,  but it doesn't happen during a typical launch with focus on the main craft.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Spaceten said:


I was wondering if it true that it is not possible to recover science from "debris" safely landed at Kerbin?

Welcome to the forums. The specific answer is "yes, if you recover the debris, then you will definitely get the science (and funds)." However, as the others have mostly pointed out -- debris falling through the atmosphere gets autodeleted if you are not watching it fall. The rule for reentry is that you must remain focused on the craft as it falls through the 25km altitude, and then watch it fall all the way until it stops on the ground. Otherwise it will be deleted and you will lose it. Even if it has kerbals inside.

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Also, are you refunded for debris that safely lands on the ground

Yep. With the above caveat about autodeletion and focusing on the craft during reentry.

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- is there any point in sticking parachutes on boosters for instance? Since the debris just disappears without me having to recover it from the Tracking station or Space center it is hard to tell if you get any funds back.

It only disappears if it's on the runway or the launchpad. Those get cleaned up so that you can launch again -- if you have that option turned on in the settings. Debris that gets cleaned up off the runway or launchpad gives you a full refund on the value of the part. However, if any debris lands anywhere else, you must recover it manually. If it doesn't show up on the map, then it didn't land successfully.

But yes, you can recover spent stages for funds in the stock game if you are willing to watch the stage as it falls safely all the way to the ground.

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The game works this way because it is computationally "expensive" to model terrain, physics, and especially atmospheric physics. So those things are only modeled for the craft that has focus. Which means that any other craft that's outside the "physics bubble" is only modeled for gravity. Since there is no terrain or air modeled around any unfocused craft, the game simply assumes that anything that gets to too low of an altitude will crash into the ground and be destroyed.

Edited by bewing

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Welcome to the happy little group!

Others have given good answers to your other questions, but I wanted to focus on this one:

12 hours ago, Spaceten said:

Also, are you refunded for debris that safely lands on the ground - is there any point in sticking parachutes on boosters for instance?

... Because there's a bit of nuance to it.  On the one hand, yes, if you can land the booster safely, then you can recover part of the cost, and parachutes do help boosters to land safely.  Also, you recover part of the cost of the parachutes, too, so there is a point to doing so.

However, there are a few ways for that to go wrong.  For example, the parachutes may have the booster falling too slowly, so while you're following it down, the vessel that you want to get to space can reach a critical part of its orbital insertion completely uncontrolled.

There are other options:

8 hours ago, Aegolius13 said:

However, you might be interested in the "Stage Recovery" mod.  I haven't used it myself, but I believe it does exactly what you're referring to -- provides funds for decoupled but "survivable" stages.

I have used it, and I will say that the primary purpose of it is not to save money; it's to save time:  Stage Recovery is meant to be used with Kerbal Construction Time (a mod that causes rocket construction to take in-game time) and provides a pool of already-built rocket parts so that rockets can be constructed more quickly.

That said, Stage Recovery will recover your parts, science, and Kerbals, provided that the stage that they are in is capable of landing safely (safely in this case is defined as reducing its speed to a specific value so it doesn't crash).  There are a few ways to do that, but they all have a trade-off cost, and it is important to know that it doesn't always work:  sometimes, a booster is moving too quickly and the mod assumes that it burned up in the atmosphere rather than safely recovered.  Think about the risk before you send a crewed pod full of experiments on a fire-and-forget recovery insertion.

I will say that unless you are specifically looking for what Stage Recovery (and by extension, Kerbal Construction Time) offers, you are probably better off not using it.  Of course, that's true of any mod, so I haven't really told you anything you didn't already know.

 

Instead, to answer for your original use case of dropping a Science Jr. while underway, I will suggest that you take your science experiments and storage modules to space with you:  get the vessel in a stable orbit, do the experiments (or transfer your high-flying science into a container for it), decouple a science pod that contains the experiments and recovery equipment, and then you can follow it down to the surface without needing to worry about the vessel in space.  I've used these sorts of 'drop pods' to good effect; they let me make a multipurpose mission very cheaply, but I also get to keep the full science value of the experiments because they are recovered rather than transmitted, and I can do so while the main vessel stays in space, ready to go wherever I mean to send it.

If you are flying a plane and not a spacecraft, on the other hand, then why not just land it--on the runway, even, where you get full recovery value?  Science experiments are expensive; if you're going to recover them, then recover as much as you can.

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Wow thank you so much guys! I guess I'll have to start following my "science pods" on their way down then.

One thing I have noticed though is that boosters that I see land successfully with chutes shortly after takeoff still disappear when I switch to the Space center. Usually I can see them for a short while on the map but if I for instance switch to the VAB and then back to the Space center they are gone. 

I remember once I detached a Science Jr (with a separate parachute) while on reentry and waited for it to land (the pod landed before the Science Jr did). Even though i saw it land safely it was gone when I wanted to recover it. Any idea why this might be? Do I have to follow it down even though it is within the "physics bubble"?

Thanks again!

 

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No, if you see it land and not explode, then it landed. And it will stay landed. There should be a permanent marker for it on the KSC screen until you recover it, and there should also be a marker in the Tracking Station if you have "debris" tracking turned on.

There is a setting in the settings about deleting debris once the amount of debris gets to be "too many", though. Maybe you have a lot of debris, or maybe you have that setting turned way down?

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Posted (edited)

As bewing just mentioned, the often overlooked item (especially for vessels or other debris without a probe core) is the map filters. When you go to the tracking station, debris markers initially default to off.

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Edited by Claw

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17 hours ago, Spaceten said:

I guess I'll have to start following my "science pods" on their way down then.

Note that you don't have to be actually focused on the science pod itself, as long as the vessel that you are focused on stays within the atmospheric physics bubble (I forget how big, but I think it's something like 10 km).

For example, if you drop a pod-with-parachute from a plane, and then the pod lands before the plane gets too far away (over 10km-or-whatever-it-is), then you're fine.  But if you've got a plane going at hypersonic speed and high altitude and it drops a pod, the plane races away so fast that it gets outside the bubble before the pod lands and then it's auto-deleted.

Also, please note bewing's and Claw's comments immediately above, about turning on debris display on the map.  It's possible you could have something that actually did land safely but you're not seeing it on your map because it's "debris" and you don't have that display turned on.

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Okay, thanks again.

I checked my settings and I think the option to "tidy up KSC of debris" might have been what made me confused while experimenting with this.

Your responses helped a lot, great first impression of the forums! :)


 

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