FuzzyHead

Low-Tech to the Mun Challenge

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Hi Fellow KSPians!

KSP Mission Command is in a tight spot again. Our President Jonathan Kerbaldy has requested us to land a Kerbal on the Mun in the next weeks but we don't have the technology yet.

Can you make it happen anyway? Our Scientific Knowledge and our funds are very limited so we can't upgrade any building more than once. And if we don't have to upgrade at all, we would prefer that.
That would leave us more money to get some decent snacks for our brave pilot who's going to risk her life flying the insane slowly exploding bombs rockets you will make her enter. Also, we can't upgrade the Research and Development Building at all.

Goal:
Land a Kerbal on the Mun and try to land her safely back at Kerbin.
Unlock as few science nodes as possible and upgrade as few buildings as possible.

Rules:
Only stock parts.
You can't upgrade the Research and Development Center. That means you can't use any Tech beyond Tier 5.
You can upgrade the other bulidings only once. That means the rocket can be 140t max und 255 parts max.
Multiple launches are allowed.
Allowed mods:
Visuals,
Navigation (Mechjeb, Betterburntime, etc. as this is an engineering challenge),
Life support (I use snacks, only makes it a bit harder)
No cheating with Hyperedit etc. obviously.

Scoring:
Max Score is 100 points.
- 2 points for every Tech node Level  2 that needs to be unlocked to build your rocket
- 3 points for every Tech node Level  3 that needs to be unlocked to build your rocket
- 4 points for every Tech node Level  4 that needs to be unlocked to build your rocket
- 5 points for every Tech node Level  5 that needs to be unlocked to build your rocket
- 10 points for each VAB or Launchpad upgrade needed to start your rocket
- 10 points is your Kerbal is stranded on the mun or in orbit.
Honor based system, you calculate your score yourself.

Proof of your concept:
Post at least a screenshot of your rocket on the Launchpad and landed on the Mun.

Successful flights:

Tseitsei89. (https://imgur.com/a/44M1nmf)                                      89 points
Fuzzyhead. ( https://imgur.com/a/zffXLZr)                                        80 points
IncongrousGoat. ( https://imgur.com/a/x1QH3vX)                           70 points

 

 

Edited by FuzzyHead
clarification of rules and goals

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Interesting twist on the Caveman idea. I may try this a bit later, in my head I can do it for 96 if I can keep the rocket under 18 tons.

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44 minutes ago, Xd the great said:

Hmm, sounds fun. Can we strap a kerbal to a chair and call it a craft?

Of course (I assume). Though you'll lose a lot of challenge points buying all the tech nodes to unlock that chair.

No because the chair is too high in the tech tree.

Edited by 5thHorseman

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I've confirmed that I can't do it for 96 points. I'm trying to determine now if it's better to allow more parts by unlocking a very expensive building upgrade, or make my parts bigger and more versatile by unlocking some more tech nodes.

Oh wait.

3 hours ago, FuzzyHead said:

Land a Kerbal on the Mun.

So they don't have to come home? Okay I may be able to do it for 96 points. Hold on.

...you may release your hold. I can't do it. I can't eke out the ~5200 necessary m/s for a perfect Mun landing (3400 to orbit, 900 to Mun, 900 to land) with 30 parts when all I have for fuel is the FL-T100 and all I have for propulsion is the Swivel or some Fleas (The Hammer's too heavy from what I can tell to be useful. The Fleas can only help to overcome gravity at the very start)

I did get a ship that can just enter Mun orbit but I'm about 500m/s shy of being able to land. I'm not sure what if anything from the next tier of tech will actually help me as I'm not only at the 30-part limit but also scraping the 18-ton limit. I can lower the parts by using FL-T200s but they weigh the same as two 100s. And I don't think the Reliant's better ISP and lower weight is enough, even before considering what it'd be like to get this lumbering mess of a craft into orbit WITHOUT the gimballing from the Swivel.

I'm'a keep trying.

Edited by 5thHorseman

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5 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

I've confirmed that I can't do it for 96 points. I'm trying to determine now if it's better to allow more parts by unlocking a very expensive building upgrade, or make my parts bigger and more versatile by unlocking some more tech nodes.

Oh wait.

So they don't have to come home? Okay I may be able to do it for 96 points. Hold on.

...you may release your hold. I can't do it. I can't eke out the ~5200 necessary m/s for a perfect Mun landing (3400 to orbit, 900 to Mun, 900 to land) with 30 parts when all I have for fuel is the FL-T100 and all I have for propulsion is the Swivel or some Fleas (The Hammer's too heavy from what I can tell to be useful. The Fleas can only help to overcome gravity at the very start)

I did get a ship that can just enter Mun orbit but I'm about 500m/s shy of being able to land. I'm not sure what if anything from the next tier of tech will actually help me as I'm not only at the 30-part limit but also scraping the 18-ton limit. I can lower the parts by using FL-T200s but they weigh the same as two 100s. And I don't think the Reliant's better ISP and lower weight is enough, even before considering what it'd be like to get this lumbering mess of a craft into orbit WITHOUT the gimballing from the Swivel.

I'm'a keep trying.

I'm happy I managed to create an interesting puzzle :) I always liked the spirit of the caveman challenges but found them to be quite tedious, they took a lot of time...

I also tried to stay within 18t at first but alas, to no avail. The simple parts are just too inefficient to do that. I had to upgrade the Launchpad for my mission.

About having to come back: Ohh, I kind of forgot to specify that! I will change that in the description. I think Jonathan Kerbaldy wouldn't like it if we leave our Kerbal on the Mun. It's getting a bit harder but definitively still possible with just a few tech nodes.

6 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

Of course (I assume). Though you'll lose a lot of challenge points buying all the tech nodes to unlock that chair.

No because the chair is too high in the tech tree.

That's right, the chair is tech level 7! You can use the the "advanced mode" filters (the arrow above the part filters) in the VAB to quickly check the available parts of each tech level

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8 minutes ago, FuzzyHead said:

About having to come back: Ohh, I kind of forgot to specify that! I will change that in the description. I think Jonathan Kerbaldy wouldn't like it if we leave our Kerbal on the Mun. It's getting a bit harder but definitively still possible with just a few tech nodes.

Oh yeah if you have to come back no way in 18 tons and only T1 tech. Or even T2 tech.

I'm still holding out hope that I can do it without upgrading any buildings. Maybe the Terrier is all I need.

One trick if you don't know it, you can put a decoupler on the bottom of your engine, set it to allow crossfeed, and radially attach tanks to the decoupler. The engine will fire through the ring and the fuel will transfer from those tanks to the engine, then you can drop them.

Edited by 5thHorseman

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Just now, 5thHorseman said:

Oh yeah if you have to come back no way in 18 tons and only T1 tech. Or even T2 tech.

I'm still holding out hope that I can do it without upgrading anything. Maybe the Terrier is all I need.

One trick if you don't know it, you can put a decoupler on the bottom of your engine, set it to allow crossfeed, and radially attach tanks to the decoupler. The engine will fire through the ring and the fuel will transfer from those tanks to the engine, then you can drop them.

You could still leave the Kerbal on the Mun and accept the 10 point penalty, but then again you could also upgrade your pad!

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36 minutes ago, FuzzyHead said:

You could still leave the Kerbal on the Mun and accept the 10 point penalty, but then again you could also upgrade your pad!

I'm hoping I'll have to do neither. The Terrier (and a crazy ship) allowed me to land on Mun with about 350m/s in the tank, which means I'm about 550m/s shy of mission success. I hope I can squeeze that out of staging sequences. The ship's only 17 parts so I have plenty of wiggle room there. It's 17.945t though so I have to do all the optimizing with parts.

If I can do it, that'll be 89 points from what I can tell.

2 T2 nodes = -4 points.
1 T3 node (General Rocketry) = -3 points
1 T4 node (Advanced Rocketry) = -4 points
Total = -11 points.

Of course I have to actually DO it.... :D

Edited by 5thHorseman

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I did it for 66 points in a caveman run (with the, but I'm 100% positive that this result can be much improved.

For example I know that I can put a kerbal in Munar orbit for 93 points (using reliant only).

Spoiler

MyF0S6o.png

I think that @5thHorseman 89 points is probably the lower bound.

I will give it a shot when times permit. I love those kind of challenges.

Terrier is 100% necessary, and I think putting drop tanks on top of the craft might help to grab a few extra m/s. Such as :

Spoiler

0Hz9doY.png

The only problem I see is that without the sparks, the lower stage poor thrust will cause a lot of wasted deltaV.

Side boosters require an other T3 node and are horrendeous as far as ISP is concerned.

Multiple launches can't work without extra node till T5... but there is always the silly caveman idea of pushing one craft with an other without docking nodes XD

 

Edited by Muetdhiver

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Just had a quick bash at this: 1 each of T2, T3, T4 and T5 allowed a simply horrific franken-rocket (consisting Mk1 Command pod, T400 and terrier, then using 2 empty Oscar tanks as "separators" from 2 Thumpers in series and some minor fuel reduction in the second "stage" thumper) permitted Jeb to be stranded on the Mun with a completely un-upgraded facility. Sadly there was no chance of a recovery.

Total score: 100 - 10 (non recovery) - 2-3-4-5 (tech) = 76 points. Not amazing, but a marker nonetheless.

 

Of course, via magic kraken tech, I can get to the Mun and back trivially for an expenditure of T2, 3 and 4 only (i.e. 91 points)...

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Okay I just did this with both T2 nodes, 1 T3 node (general rocketry) and 1 T4 node (advanced rocketry).

So 100 -2 -2 -3 -4 = 89 points.

Craft is 15 parts and 17.87 tons.

1st stage is 1 reliant and 2 thud engines. 2nd stage is just 2 thuds as the reliant is dropped when first 2 FL-T400 tanks are empty. Final stage is terrier with 2 more FL-T400 tanks.

Fuel marginals were tight, but doable. More details and pics here.

 

 

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So here is my entry!

I had to research the two T2 nodes and two T3 nodes (for Engines, Tanks and Nosecones). Also, I upgraded the Launchpad. That makes it 80 points.

Here is the full Mission: https://imgur.com/a/zffXLZr

Somehow posting a link from imgur doesn't seem to display the picture here and if I use the "Insert image from URL" box it doesn't accept imgur links.
Can someone explain me how posting pictures works?

Edited by FuzzyHead
Picture embedding problems

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15 hours ago, tseitsei89 said:

Okay I just did this with both T2 nodes, 1 T3 node (general rocketry) and 1 T4 node (advanced rocketry).

So 100 -2 -2 -3 -4 = 89 points.

Craft is 15 parts and 17.87 tons.

1st stage is 1 reliant and 2 thud engines. 2nd stage is just 2 thuds as the reliant is dropped when first 2 FL-T400 tanks are empty. Final stage is terrier with 2 more FL-T400 tanks.

Fuel marginals were tight, but doable. More details and pics here.

 

 

Nice work! That seems to be a very reasonable craft. I guess the most difficult part was not to fall over on the Mun? :)

Thanks for participating! I'll make a summary of all entries in the opening post later.

On 10/4/2019 at 9:22 AM, 5thHorseman said:

Of course I have to actually DO it....

I'm looking forward to it. 89 seems to be the highest possible score indeed.

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3 hours ago, FuzzyHead said:

Nice work! That seems to be a very reasonable craft. I guess the most difficult part was not to fall over on the Mun? :)

Thanks for participating! I'll make a summary of all entries in the opening post later.

I'm looking forward to it. 89 seems to be the highest possible score indeed.

Yeah, not tipping over and finding a good escape trajectory from the mun without manouver nodes. I didn't have much dv to play with...

And yes 89 is definitely the max score. I spent a while trying without the advanced rocketry but you just absolutely need the smaller engine. And the other T2 node is just mandatory because of decoupler. I will be truly amazed if someone pulls this off with a better score.

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Actually I can see a way to do it with lower tech, but it would be quite a nightmare to pulloff.

Here is what one can do : assuming we don't use the T4 node, one would have to go with reliant only.

So, to go to Mun a way to do it would be to push one craft with an other one without docking ports for ejection burn to Mun, then use the pushed craft to land an return.

As I said, quite a nightmare to pull off IMO.

But yeah, 89 point is the best possible in a single launch for sure.

Edited by Muetdhiver

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23 hours ago, FuzzyHead said:

I'm looking forward to it. 89 seems to be the highest possible score indeed.

I gave up trying for 89. The best I could do was land on Mun without even enough fuel to get back to orbit.

As the only upgrade that will help costs the same as just leaving Jeb there, that puts my own personal high score at 79, not considering the possibility of not unlocking one tech node and getting 80. As 80's already been achieved, I've sadly lost the gumption to go through with the work to be late to a tie. :D

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Here's a 77 point multi-launch entry (because I haven't seen any multi-launch entries yet): https://imgur.com/a/x1QH3vX

This is a somewhat rejiggered version of a craft I designed for a nano-diamond caveman run, redesigned to widen the margins, remove unnecessary science, and make it not horrible to fly. 100-2*T2-2*T3-2*T4-T5=77 points. As I read the rules, I don't lose any points for stranding Jeb since he wasn't the Kerbal who went to the Mun. And in any case, he's in LKO and with the parts I have unlocked it's trivial to launch a Stayputnik rocket to go nudge his capsule onto a re-entry trajectory.

Unfortunately, the dock-a-drop-tank-to-it approach isn't going to result in any improvement in max score, since the docking ports are in a T5 node. But, it was fun to fly, and that's good enough for me. :)

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Does comm network need to be enabled?

Also just to clarify, I can upgrade everything else by one level for free right? Other than VAB, SPH, Runway, Launchpad, and R&D?

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Trying to see if I can make a secure low partcount docking system for orbital construction using the T3 Mk1 service bay. Then I think 90 or even 93 might be doable, albeit not at all cheaply.

Edited by Pds314

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On 10/15/2019 at 4:04 AM, Pds314 said:

Does comm network need to be enabled?

Also just to clarify, I can upgrade everything else by one level for free right? Other than VAB, SPH, Runway, Launchpad, and R&D?

Yes, updating the other buildings doesn't lower your score!

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13 hours ago, FuzzyHead said:

Yes, updating the other buildings doesn't lower your score!

Aaahh. Then better scores might be possible since "docking" becomes reasonable option with manouver nodes. I might have to give this another look...

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On 10/3/2019 at 10:40 PM, FuzzyHead said:

- 10 points for each VAB or Launchpad upgrade needed to start your rocket

Did you just... yeah, you did!

You forgot to explicitly say the SPH and Runway couldn't be upgraded without a point penalty!

With that in mind, I give you the 94 point Mun mission! (I probably could have done it in 96 but then my computer might have exploded from rendering all the tiny fuel tanks...)

Full Imgur album link: https://imgur.com/gallery/4Km6g85

lt6Tfbs.png

The Mun rocket on the pad

ax6AemQ.png

We made it!

q54qKWI.png

Rescue-1 on the pad standing by to retrieve Val from low Munar orbit

0AWzvQJ.png

Val and Jeb back on Kerbin!

Edited by BillKerman123

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I already pulled this challenge off last year. Rocket was over 100 parts and lagged like crazy, but I landed on the Mun and got back without using a single Terrier.

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On 10/31/2019 at 6:13 PM, BillKerman123 said:

Did you just... yeah, you did!

You forgot to explicitly say the SPH and Runway couldn't be upgraded without a point penalty!

With that in mind, I give you the 94 point Mun mission! (I probably could have done it in 96 but then my computer might have exploded from rendering all the tiny fuel tanks...)

Full Imgur album link: https://imgur.com/gallery/4Km6g85

lt6Tfbs.png

The Mun rocket on the pad

ax6AemQ.png

We made it!

q54qKWI.png

Rescue-1 on the pad standing by to retrieve Val from low Munar orbit

0AWzvQJ.png

Val and Jeb back on Kerbin!

I'm pretty sure it's implied that SPH and Runway upgrades count too.

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