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Grannus Expansion Pack Exploration Gameplay - Epona: Rosmerta Mining Operations


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8 minutes ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

You sir, have impeccable timing. I spent all of yesterday updating to 1.8.1 to play with some of the new restock and scansat parts. This makes it even better, thank you.

Excellent.  I wondered if you had upgraded to 1.8.1.  I recall you saying in the OP that you were using 1.7.3.  Good timing indeed.

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22 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

The top image is in 1.7.3, and the temperature is about 350 K, which is roughly 76 oC. That's really hot for a region in perpetual twilight with very little atmosphere to move heat around. The bottom image is in 1.8.1 with HeatShifter installed, and the thermometer is reading a little over 250 K, or approximately -23 oC. That seems much more appropriate for this region. I will have to try and get a connection to the Rover on the sunny side of Toutatis and compare temps there too.

That sounds about right.  The temperature will vary depending on several factors:  solar zenith angle (how far the sun is from the zenith), elevation, and season (yes, Toutatis actually has seasons).  Most significant is the solar zenith angle.  On average you should expect temperatures to be about the following:

Solar zenith angle = 0 (sun directly overhead)  --->  Temperature ≈ 440 K (167 oC)
Solar zenith angle = 45  --->  Temperature ≈ 390 K (117 oC)
Solar zenith angle = 90 (day-night terminator)  --->  Temperature ≈ 270 K (-3 oC)
Solar zenith angle = 135  --->  Temperature ≈ 150 K (-123 oC)
Solar zenith angle = 180  --->  Temperature ≈ 100 K (-173 oC)

Of course you could read more or less depending on elevation and season.

If HeatShifter isn't installed, or is not working, then all the temperatures will be shifted 45 degrees.

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On 5/5/2020 at 8:37 AM, darwinpatrick said:

Really loving the mission! I check back every day. Keep us updated!

Glad you are enjoying it all. I know this has been some of the most fun I've had playing. Getting a lot of enjoyment out of your science defs too.

On 5/5/2020 at 10:07 AM, OhioBob said:

Toutatis actually has seasons

Ok, that is really neat. Didn't even think of that. I think it would be fun and interesting (in a boring, data collecting sense) to plant a probe at a certain latitude and record how the temperature every six hours and see how it changes over the course of one orbital period.


Still fiddling with the 1.8.1 setup, but the new surfaces look really nice. I thought the older textures looked good to begin with, but it is night and day when the two are compared.

Here is the Belisama Flats GEP 1.1.4:



And here is the same probe and location in GEP 1.1.5:


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1 hour ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

Ok, that [seasons] is really neat. Didn't even think of that. I think it would be fun and interesting (in a boring, data collecting sense) to plant a probe at a certain latitude and record how the temperature every six hours and see how it changes over the course of one orbital period.

It's not large variation, but there are seasons in GEP.  It's because the ecliptic in GEP is tilted 10 degrees, so most of the planets have about a 10° tilt relative to their orbits.  On Toutaits the temperature varies about ±10 °C at the poles, less at lower latitudes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Destination Sirona: Vacuuming the Vacuum


Precedence-Sirona shortly after entering Brovo's orbit for an extended science mission

And we're back, in all the glory of 1.8.1. Looks like everything in the save transferred correctly, and there are a few new toys to play with as well. While the picture above is an older mission, today will be focused on a newer one.

Introducing: the Orca Crew Return Transfer Vehicle.



A late-night launch of an updated Orca-NTV



Late-night launches mean sunrise ascents. Always a pleasure



Sirona is technically within an Orca's operating distance, but without refueling, it is a one-way trip for the craft. The crew-return craft is the first craft being sent to the gas giant so it has enough time to create fuel from the method I want to use here.



There are other challenges operating out at Sirona. Sunlight is a lot weaker out there, so the solar panels have been replaced with two small nuclear reactors as power generators. Four high-tech radiators have taken the position of the solar panels as well. While they are overkill in terms of cooling the two reactors I wanted a large buffer to counteract the time-warp stock heating issue.



Now this launch is why this post was so delayed. I wanted to play around with a lot of the new restock parts (the 5 m tanks, the engines, the engine plates), but while the 1.9 release works in 1.8.1, it does not work flawlessly. An earlier version of this rocket used the engine plates, but those sometimes have a negative mass, which will plant your craft in place no matter how much thrust you've got. Once that was replaced, the connection between the top tank and the payload fairing kept failing during staging. That was solved using some...thermal decoupling.



And here is what necessitated using such a large fairing; four bussard scoops and condensers. Rational Resources places exospheres outside the atmosphere where resources such as hydrogen and helium can be collected. The goal here is to bring the Crew return craft into orbit just outside Sirona's rings and collect hydrogen for condensation into LH2 while the rest of the Sirona mission is carried out. It takes a long time to collect that much hydrogen, so the combination of an early start and four scoops should help.



Standard docking procedure



And standard departure procedure


And that's where we will leave it today.

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  • 1 month later...

Destination Belisama: Exploration Closer to Home


A habitat awaits crew on the surface of Belisama.

Hoo boy, has it really been a month since I last played? Online classes apparently get real hectic in the last third of the quarter.

Anyways, while we wait for transfer windows to Sirona, it made sense to get all the Kerbals to a baseline level of space experience. Belisama surface operations allow for that to happen and to test some hardware for future missions.

But before even that happens, lets return to our last interplanetary craft, Coyote



Most Kerbals have at least some space experience, but three have not yet left the atmosphere. On board for their first flights are pilot Obdin and scientist Jedbin. Acting as a supervisor is scientist Dave. Running a milk run mission to Coyote to further analyze the remaining Toutatis data seems like a good way to vet them before sending them to another body, even if that body is Belisama.


They will stay on Coyote for about 100 days to process the remaining data before making their return home.


And onto the main event. First up, the Lander



Like all surface operations so far, exploration of Belisama will require a crew ferry and a surface rover. However, since repeated surface operations will be occuring, it makes sense to have a centralized surface base. Additionally, water has been discovered in Belisama, so a lander that can be fueled in-situ will also ease operations



The Phoenix Lander is the first crew lander KSC has launched that utilizes nuclear propulsion. SInce it is fueled using LH2 and LOX, it is easily refueled once in-situ operations begin on Belisama. Even without refuelling, the lander carries 3300 m/s of dV and a TWR just under 1 on Nodens. If operations around Belisama are sucessful, Phoenix landers may be used on Brovo and Epona.



It will ferry crew between Belisama Station and the surface. Belisama Station is already equipped with ISRU converters, but would require a separate water ferry. Instead, Phoenix will be refueled on the surface, where a driller/tanker and holding takes will be landed at a future date.



Awaiting crew over the south pole


Next up, a place to stay



Another new toy is a surface habitat.



This hab combines a large laboratory, spaceous views, and science instruments into one comfortable size. Three kerbals can easily live in one of these.



The target landing site is the same region of Flats on Belisama that Rationality-Bel landed on some time ago.



The flats are easy to land on, and this particular one has a direct connection to Nodens.



And down she goes, easy as can be


An old classic, made anew



Even some existing toys got a makeover.



A major flaw in the Mk 2 rover was its low top speed and difficulty maintaining speed on any upward slope. The Mk 3 rover sports better motors in its wheels and stronger RTGs. Two wheels were deemed extraneous and were removed. The wheel upgrade does mean that the Mk 3 wheels no longer fold up to fit into a smaller storage space however.



A new delivery method was also tested. Rather than landing the rover on a platform, a more skycrane-like approach was used. This removes any issues with attempting to get the rover off the platform after landing.



The Mk 3 rover, in all its glory.


And finally, the crew



With all the necessary Belisama infrastructure in place, it was time to send crew up. On board are pilot Wencan, scientist Bob, and Engineer Hilvey. This will be Wencan's second trip to Belisama station. Hilvey is the third kerbal who has not been to orbit yet. Her inexperience is offset by Bob's, a veteran of the Caireen expedition, and the first Kerbal to land on two different planetary bodies.



What a lovely day for a launch.



The crew spent a couple days on Belisama station waiting for it to cross over the flats the surface infrastructure is situated in. The region can be seen behind the Phoenix lander here.



I do believe this post is the first one that really showcases a lot of the 1.8.1 terrain. It looks really good, seeing the features slowly fade in and out as altitude changes.



Nodens, the ever-present friend of these flats. Really reminds me of Apollo 8's Earthrise picture.



And they're down! The rover met them shortly after landing. Wencan set the flag while the other two posed for a PR picture.



After a short ride south, the crew settle in for an extended stay on Belisama.


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8 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

Are there plans for expansion of the base in the future?

In terms of additional attached modules, no. I neglected to include docking ports on the base, so expansion that way can't happen (snacks resupply will have to be done via claw, didn't think of that...). I could see a science hopper being landed for one of the later expeditions so transportation to the temperate latitudes is not a multi-day drive. A fuel depot will be landed nearby, but out of physics distance from the base. Haven't solidified all the components, but I'm thinking there will be a few holding tanks, a mobile miner/refiner, and a mobile tanker for refueling. 

8 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

Have you unlocked mining tech yet?

Technically yes. I cheated through the tech tree because i find that part of the game rather dull. Same with the money management. When I play a true career, I tend to get bogged down in contracts and not really explore the system. In this save, I'm ignoring funds and the tech tree using alt-f12 and just collecting science as I go to see how high I can go with the number. My justification is that if I get to a point where I decide to introduce some rather theoretical technologies to the game, I will "use up" all the accumulated science as sort of a way to represent multiple scientific breakthroughs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Destination Taranis: A Daring Journey


An Oracle Probe completes its departure burn to Sirona. 

Welcome to a GEPEG supersize post. Don't worry, the title text is not a tease. There is an entire Taranis mission in here. There's just a lot of missions heading to Sirona as well. In between all of this is some more crew work at Belisama. So strap in and lets go.

First Stop, Belisama



After settling into the Habitat, Bob went out and took a number of samples from the surrounding Flats.



A couple of days later, Bob and Hilvey took the Rover east to one of the few craters in the region.



The goal was to set up a remote science station. However, someone back home forgot to load up said deploy-able science stations. Instead, Bob went for a walk and ended up finding an unusual rock. This rock, halfway down the crater wall, was unlike any of the surrounding boulders. (OOC, it is one of the breaking ground scatters recently added to GEP 1.2.0. Thank you @OhioBob for adding these!) Without a way to really analyze the rock, the expedition crew will have to return empty handed for now.



Hilvey, taking a calculated risk, drove the rover into the crater to pick up Bob. The new drive system handled superbly, taking 17 degree slopes with only mild difficulty. The Mk 2 rover would have had issues on a slope half that steep. The return to base was otherwise uneventful.


Next stop, Assembly in Low Nodens Orbit



This is the first of two craft heading to Sirona at the next transfer window. This one is an Oracle scanning probe bound for Brovo.



Its primary function is to provide visual, altimetry, and biome data for future landings, as well as some rough resource distributions. It will also act as a longer range relay for the Sirona system.



The second craft going is an Orca NTV carrying all of the necessary gear for exploration around Damona. The launch here is the payload.



The payload consists of a surface-to-orbit vehicle (STOV), a small inflatable station to give the crew a change of scenery, and two scanning probes. A tank of ballast was included to recenter the mass against the STOV. It will be ejected at Damona to open a docking port for the crew.



The Orca, being more maneuverable, was launched after the payload, and will act as the active vehicle during docking.



Fast rendezvous



The craft, call-sign Tethys, ready for departure.


Sirona Departures and Arrivals



The Hurricane-P stage of the Oracle provided most of its departure burn. The nuclear kick stage only needed to provide the last couple hundred m/s.



Away it goes. It will reach Sirona in 90 days.



The Orca has plenty of dV, and the payload was balanced enough to allow for full throttle during the burn. It will reach Sirona in a little under 100 days.



As the next part of the Sirona exploration leaves home, a previous part reached its destination. The crew return craft with its Hydrogen scoops entered Sirona's SOI a day after the other two left Nodens' SOI.



After the braking burn, it was time to see if Hydrogen could even be collected. I will admit, I was worried. Reasoning for worries can be read below.


I tested a bunch of times, and there were times when the menu seemed to be acting wonky. Sometimes it would act fine. Other times, hitting the open Hydrogen collector button would switch back to a closed state immediately. Other times there would be no options, and hitting the deploy button would bring up no UI menu. I think there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff happening. If the craft is not under acceleration and there is a non-zero percentage of exo-spheric Hydrogen, the scoop operates fine. If the craft is not under acceleration and there is no exo-spheric Hydrogen, the scoop will deploy, but not open. If the craft is under acceleration, the scoop will not deploy at all.

@JadeOfMaar, if this how the exo scoop works, it might be useful to have this information somewhere. There were multiple times where I thought I had an issue with the mod or had broken the parts. If this is not how the part works, then I have no idea what I was seeing.

However, it appears that everything is working. The craft will be left to suck gas and process it into fuel.



And Finally, the Taranis Flyby



This mission started either during or before Coyote went to Toutatis. I don't really recall why I decided to go to Taranis then, but I remember having a probe that might be able to make it in the VAB, and then I was launching it. Looking at the rocket now, it seems rather small for something with 25000 m/s of dV.



The probe itself is quite small and ion powered. That fairing is also protecting an expanded version of the nuclear kick stage used with some probes heading to Sirona.



The Typhoon-C upper stage made the Nodens departure burn, but barely pushed the probe down the well.



The nuclear kick stage is asparagus staged. These first couple of burns were only long enough to burn though a layer of that asparagus staging.



Since the orbital period was not changing to much a this point, sometimes previous stages could be seen during a burn.



Sometimes those previous stages came quite close. That piece of debris was only 4 km away, and moving at quite a clip.



External engines away



And there goes the last nuclear stage. I think the crafts periapsis was down to Taranis's level now, but I can't quite remember. This is one of the longer missions performed so far.



The first of many many many ion periapsis burns. Each burn was done in increments of 1000 m/s of dV. Ion dV went from 20000 m/s of dV to around 8000 this way.



One of the burns finally got a close approach with Taranis, so a secondary burn put the probe on an intercept. This is the probe 1 hour out from the Taranis's SOI edge. It can barely be made out as a dot on a line made between the center of the antenna and Sirona.


Trying the grab science and take pictures during a 1 minute flyby is a very complicated task. Instead, I recorded a good chunk of time before and after the flyby to make sure everything was ready. Look below for a video of the flyby itself.



Skip to the 1:30 mark for just before the encounter.



Quite the departure scene here.



And to show this wasn't a one off, the orbit the probe ended up in allowed for a couple more flybys as well. Here's another look at the magma sea from a different inclination.



Closest approach on flyby #2, 8 km up.



Another cool view just before flyby #3



Flyby #3 over the south pole. 10 km above the surface.


I couldn't get another good rendezvous after this. The probe still has 4500 m/s of dV, but that is not enough to do much besides a long burn to get one more flyby. I think that is all we will get from this probe. This is all we will likely see from Taranis for a while too.


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2 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

If the craft is not under acceleration and there is a non-zero percentage of exo-spheric Hydrogen, the scoop operates fine. If the craft is not under acceleration and there is no exo-spheric Hydrogen, the scoop will deploy, but not open. If the craft is under acceleration, the scoop will not deploy at all.

I think I would practically never have a reason to have engines running while the scoop is open (that's just because I don't play, but I can easily see when this situation would happen) but while I would, I'd most likely have the scoop running before i start the engines. (Just an assumption.) I'm pretty sure that apart from needing to not be accelerating, everything else is working fine...I expect the harvester module to not start or to disappear when started but abundance is 0%. That problem feels familiar and should be dealt with easily enough with a quickload.

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39 minutes ago, JadeOfMaar said:

I think I would practically never have a reason to have engines running while the scoop is open (that's just because I don't play, but I can easily see when this situation would happen) but while I would, I'd most likely have the scoop running before i start the engines.

No complaints here! I just wanted to make sure what I was seeing was normal, and based on what I am reading in your response,  everything is working as intended. I should have been more thorough in my testing before starting a critical mission around the part.

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  • 3 months later...

Destination Belisama: Please Excuse the Interruption to your Regularly Scheduled Programming


A refinery en-route to Belisama

Apologies to all that follow this, I did not intent to take a multi-month hiatus from this save. However, a combination of other hobbies and a bit of burnout really pulled my interest away. However, the burnout is gone and my interest has returned, so lets look at the things that went on sporadically during those few months.

Belisama - Crew Rotations



Belisama Expedition 2 (consisting of Valentina, Bill, and Herfurt) launch to relieve Belisama Expedition 1 after spending 100 days on the surface.



BE-2's secondary cargo is a fuel pod for the Phoenix lander. Surface refining has not been established yet, so this is the only method to reuse the lander.




Transit Burns



A dance in the dark. The fuel pod has its own RCS systems for independent docking. BE-2 let it dock wit Belisama Station first while they line up for a port at a more leisurely pace.



BE-2 awaiting a reunion with BE-1...



...who are more than ready to provide. Despite the lackluster mission end (no deployable science, no scanning of anomalous rocks), BE-1 provide long term habitation on another body is possible without need for a sprawling support system. This bodes well for future missions to bodies such as Brovo and Epona.



A full house...




...but not for long.

One of the more complex aspects of a polar orbiting station is the return burn, especially on a moon at the edge of it parent's SOI. Burn at the wrong angle, and the crew go shooting off into deep space. BE-1 had to wait until the orbital plane of Belisama station was in line with the orbital direction of Belisama itself. 



The burn was a success, and BE-1 splashed down in the pre-dawn light.


Belisama - Anomaly Solutions



To address the science issues of BE-1, a second rover was shot out to Belisama. The Mk4 rover drops the double RTG powerplants in favor of a single, stronger RTG. In place of the second RTG is a scanning arm for those anomalous rocks. The Mk4 rover also comes with two scientific loadouts, depending on the type of planetary body it will function on. Seen here is the Mk4-N varient, kitted out for non-atmospheric bodies. Its other kit, the Mk4-A, is rated for atmospheric bodies.



The Mk4-N lands using the same skycrane setup as the Mk3 rover.



The addition of a second rover on Belisama means no crew-member needs to ride in the fireman position on trips between the base and the lander.


Belisama - BE-2 Landing



BE-2 took the Phoenix lander to the surface after confirming the Mk4-N arrive safely. Despite the discovery of a leak in the fuel pod (something drained a good chunk of the pod's oxidizer during transit), the crew touched down safely.



Valentina, Bill, and Herfurt Kerman, Second group of Kerbals on Belisama

(Not all that catchy there...)



Two rovers are nice, especially when you don't need to control them (thanks Bon Voyage)



BE-2 getting settled in


And lastly, Belisama - Refinery



I've been talking about landing a fuel depot/refinery on Belisama for a while now, so lets actually do it.



This is actually the second attempt at putting a refinery down there. The first attempt is actually what burned me out. I tried building it  horizontally and modular, with multi-port docking for rigidity and alignment, but that lost control the first time the descent stage started up. This one is monolithic and vertically oriented, so it wasn't as tedious to launch. Having built a 5m rocket also helps (though I find the 5m fairing base is VERY prone to breaking unexpectedly.).



Landing was tight. An extra maneuver used up almost too much reserve fuel. The refinery hit hard but survived. Those landing booster lacked the fuel to fly off however. Something (like a fuel transport) will move them in the near future. Also note the lack of radiators. That's a problem that needs addressing before operations get underway. Good thing there are two docking ports.


My goal is to not let this thread sit idle for so long again. I am enjoying this play-through despite some of the repetition in it. While I make no promises (life comes first), I want to aim for an update once of twice a week. Lets see if that holds out.

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Destination Sirona: Some Spectacular Views


Oracle-Brovo in orbit around its namesake

Second wave arrival #1: Oracle Brovo



After a 91 day transit, Oracle-Brovo reached Sirona and made orbit around the gas giant.



These close-up, out-of-plane shots of Sirona and its rings are truly some of my favorite images. I could take similar shots with all sorts of different ships and love all of them. Bonus points here for capturing a lightning strike on the daylight side. It is easier to see them on the night side but happen so fast it is hard to capture them. I do appreciate the added effect of them.



Oracle-Brovo spent a few eccentric orbits around Sirona before coming upon its encounter with Brovo. While the nuclear kick stage had plenty of fuel to put the probe in orbit on its own, KSC elected to give the stage in an uncontrolled burn, placing it in a heavily inclined Sirona-centric orbit for safe disposal. The probe entered into a polar orbit around the moon using its own reserves.



Oracle-Brovo will map the surface of the moon and provide high-resolution altimetry in addition to biome, resource, and low-resolution visual data for future exploration teams.


Second wave arrival #2: Tethys



Tethys, the Orca NTV transporting the equipment necessary for the exploration of Damona, arrived in the Sirona system a few days after Oracle-Brovo. Its deceleration burn put the craft on an immediate intercept with the small moon.



While the intercept was not ideal, the low gravity of Damona means orbital maneuvers are trivial.



After correcting into a low equitorial orbit, Tethys deployed two small scanning/relay satellites around the moon. This first probe will map the moon's biomes and altimetry. It was also discovered that the small craft onboard Tethys suffered a similar fuel leak to the LH2 pod sent to refuel the Phoenix lander on Belisama (OOC: seriously, I've never had issues with fuel being pulled from where I didn't want it to before, and now its happened twice. I wonder if I selected "fuel flows from all sources equally" or something.) Reserve fuel origianlly meant to refuel a future CV-2N Hermes was instead routed into the runabout and the deployed probes. 



The second probe will provide additional altimetry data and produce a visual map of the moon.

Just as an aside, the three small probes seen above are some of the most interesting probes I have created. They are small, oddly shaped, and mostly balanced through their thrust axis. I really like the new shapes and small tankages provided by restock and scansat.


Third wave departure: Janus



Only one Orca NTV is heading to Sirona this transfer window. It will contain the main components needed to explore Airmed. Seen here is the payload, launched atop a Monsoon rocket. While none of the components carry a lot of mass, their volume justified the large launcher.



Orca docking to the payload (launch not pictured). The payload here includes a rover, lander, and small surface hab for the crew to stay in.



Burning to Sirona from Nodens always occurs on the night side of the planet, so here is Tethys post-ejection burn. Its radiators are still faintly radiating off the heat generated by the gas core nuclear engine.


Next up: following the trail of a couple Edmund Hillary wannabes.

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Very exciting playthough and documentation! Are you playing with engines that are more efficient than stock? I honestly don't know; they seem really neat but I've never tried part mods. If they're not too OP I can't help thinking about what Taranis holds for you... I didn't write those surface sample science definitions for nobody to read them! ;) 

I'm happy you picked this up again. Let's go Sirona!

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1 hour ago, darwinpatrick said:

Are you playing with engines that are more efficient than stock? I honestly don't know; they seem really neat but I've never tried part mods.

The engines I got are either stock, Restock+ (fills in some gaps in the engines so each size has a booster, sustainer, and vacuum engine) and Kerbal Atomics. Kerbal Atomics would be the most "OP" as it adds a slew of efficient nuclear engines, but those are balanced by being fueled by liquid hydrogen (LH2). Lighter fuel = larger tank-age for the same dV. I feel those engines are a good balance of efficiency and thrust in this system; I lose some of the tediously long burns compared to a stock NERV, but the engines aren't so efficient as to make it easy to ship hundreds of tons of material everywhere in one go. As it stands, the Orca I keep using can transport I think 20 tons to Sirona. It can handle trips to Toutatis, Sucellus, and Sirona, but I think would struggle to carry significant payload to Epona. I am curious how you handled the outer planets, especially on the power generation side of things. I can't image the large solar panels were generating anything out at Cernunnos.


1 hour ago, darwinpatrick said:

I can't help thinking about what Taranis holds for you... I didn't write those surface sample science definitions for nobody to read them!

Oh Taranis, the impossible siren's call. I consider my Taranis flyby video a few posts above one of my crowning achievements in this game. Plus, with the amount of dV needed to get to an orbit (~30,000 m/s one way, ~50,000 m/s round trip), I can't think of a single engine that would make that trip trivial. My setup with just a flyby included an asparagus nuclear stage and an ion stage. If I want to orbit even just a small probe, I think I'm going to need a larger nuclear stage and possibly two ion stages.

I actually still have an older version of the dV map that was included in the GEP download (the table version). Running off those numbers, I think it is cheaper to launch to Sirona, refuel, then fall into the sun from the higher sun than it is to go directly from Nodens.

Edited by GEPEG_Unconscious
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10 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

I am curious how you handled the outer planets, especially on the power generation side of things. I can't image the large solar panels were generating anything out at Cernunnos.

On page 8 of this thread I gave a rough overview of how I tackled those, with a couple pictures. Power generation wasn't a huge part of things, but when I did surface or asteroid mining I always just used a couple nuclear power generators. For the landers I went around the issue by using alternator engines.

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Destination Belisama: Mountain (Ker)men


Bill and Herfurt admiring the view of Nodens as they climb out of Belisama's flats.

This expedition is one I have been wanting to do for a while now. The landmark in question has loomed in the background of the Belisama Outpost since its landing, and its location is near enough for a short trip while being interesting (and possibly hazardous) enough to warrant a trip. Today, two kerbals will set a flag somewhere on the mountain known as Mt. Sharp.



Mt. Sharp is a montainous feature NNW of the Belisama Outpost. The outpost is over 30 km from the base. There has been worry from KSC that this mountain is tall enough to pose a navagational hazard to any spacecraft landing at the outpost from the station in polar orbit.



To that end, KSC has tasked Bill and Herfurt to plant a flag on the peak to act as a navigation beacon. Bill and Herfurt accepted, because mountain climbing sounded cool.



After an uneventful drive (thanks Bon Voyage), they arrive at the base of the mountain. 



This expedition also tested the anomaly scanning technology incorporated into the Mk 4 Rover. Here it is looking at an odd brown boulder.



And here it is scanning a more ... unique shape.



A checkerboard? Not the name expected, but an interesting formation to say the least.

(OOC: This is the first time I've ever used the Breaking Ground anomaly stuff. This is really pretty cool actually.)



Bill stops the rover an places a checkpoint flag at a relatively flat location



And a second checkpoint at the top of the ridge they climbed. The slope had a 10-17o grade, with a couple spots as steep as 22o. Mt. Sharp continues to their right. These checkpoints will help future Northbound expeditions find a path out of the flats.



The two plant a flag at a summit...



...But not the right summit. Mt, Sharp is not actually approachable from this angle. In fact, it is hardly approachable from any angle. The slopes around the summit all look much steeper than what the rover handled on the way up. In addition, that peak looks to be another 2 km up. For reference, this summit, designated Mt. Sharp East, is 3182 m above datum. Finally, it appears that Mt. Sharp is part of a crater wall.

To commemorate their new findings, the summit flag reads "Look Towards Home for the Challenges that Await."



A zoomed out view A low pass from a visual mapping satellite confirms the expeditions estimates; Mt. Sharp is the western half of a crater at the edge of the flats, slopes appear to be in excess of 26o around the summit, and the peak is over 5 km up.





While it wasn't their first location for the instruments, the two deploy some science modules a short distance below the East summit. The east summit is part of the tropical midlands, while the West peak is likely part of the highlands.



Our weary explorers make the 42 km return trip uneventfully.


Some other stuff happening on Belisama:



A radiator module was launched to the refinery to take care of its heating issues.



So tiny.



Landing was more of a crash, but the desired outcome was to put the module on its side, so task failed successfully?



The module rolled down the hill a ways, but its connector arm righted it, battlebots style.



And connected to the refinery.




Here's the launch of something opposite of tiny; the LH2 tanker truck and its lander.



Its a big lander. This setup is one I've been playing with almost as long as I have been playing this save. Until this one, I could never get the balance or the structural center correct.





The lander had plenty of fuel to make the transfer to Belisama and land.



Bill, after recovering from his mountain expedition, took the tanker to the base to begin refinery operations.


That's about all the major stuff on Belisama done now. There will be a couple more crew transfers to the base as training and there may be another drive or two, but those will be more out and back trips compared to this expedition.


Next up: A launch montage 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Destination Sirona: Final Cargo Away


The first of two payloads bound for Brovo assembled and awaiting departure.


Quick little update here. These are the last two cargo flights bound for the Sirona system. Once both are confirmed to have arrived in-system the crew will follow.



Launch #1: Payload number 1



Brovo Payload 1 (BP-1), callsign Titan, is the heavier of the two payloads. It contains the crew's Phoneix Lander and rover.



Launch #2: Orca-N GCNTR for BP-1



Aligned and docking



Launch #3: BP-2



BP-2, callsign Hyperion, contains the crew's surface base and an experimental pressurized trailer. The trailer will provide the means for more than two crew to be transported by rover at once. The trailer also contains some science not contained on the rover itself.



Launch #4: Orca-N GCNTR for BP-2






BP-1 Departure



BP-2 Departure


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  • 2 months later...

Destination Nodens: Kerbal SEALs


A jet passes just under the cloud layer on its jouney to Noden's north pole

So between exams, presentations, and projects (so many school projects) I've managed to build up and fiddle with a new computer. KSP ran well enough on the old computer, but chugged hard during launches or in physics spheres with part counts above 200. Not anymore! Everything feels super smooth and consistent between flying through clouds and high orbit.  I've also been able to turn on Scatterer water effects. While not having the effects was not a huge loss (I think only Nodens and maybe Taranis's lava have some sort of water effects), turning them on just enhances the eye-candy. These pictures were taken as I was fiddling with settings as I was getting the game transferred over.


Exploration by Sea,



This  is Kerbal Space Program, not Kerbal Soaring Program or Kerbal Submarine Program. As such, I can tell you I cannot design planes or submarines well, and combining them will result in an even worse monstrosity. However, getting a submarine to the water by flying it there is incredibly Kerbal, so I guess points can be awarded there.



Unsurprisingly, this flew horribly, but it did the job.

This pic and the title pic were my attempts to see how my framerate handled clouds now. Before, the game would drop to 25-30 frames when near clouds, but now there was almost no drop at all. Super fun to fly in and out of them.



Handled about as well as a brick. I let parachutes handle the descent.



Always love the look of this water.



Looks good from underneath too



This is about 70 meters down. I've never actually go diving in KSP before so this is pretty neat (even if I found nothing down here). I didn't get a picture of it, but when underwater near shore, water reflects off the seafloor like so. I did not actually know Scatterer did that.


Some CYA stuff: that link is just the first option I saw that visualized what I was talking about. Not taking credit or selling anything. Never been to that website before now.



Yo ho yo ho, a pirate's life for me

by Air,



This plane is much better designed because I copied the design of one of the stock single-seat SSTOs and swapped out the RAPIER for a Whiplash. It flies and handles much better than anything I would have come up with.



Quick flyby of a Fresh Water biome for more of that watery goodness as we head north



Nodens has all these canyons I love flying in. There are a bunch east of the KSC as you head toward the water. This one is further north.



Also managed to find a monolith and do a close pass for a visual. It is right above the plane here.



Unfortunately, the plane ran out of fuel before getting to the arctic regions. The pilot coasted as far as he could before bailing. He did get within visual range of the aurora though.



Managed to land on a large ice chunk that dot these regions as well.

and by Land.



I thought I noticed something odd among the trees during the flight to the north pole, so a rover crew was sent out to see if they could find a similar anomaly in the lowlands.



Sure enough, among the fluffy Purpuff trees, the Douglas Purrs, and the Spikey Palmple trees (Ok, enough with purple tree puns) there stood an odd but slightly comforting sight: a single bright green baobob tree.

(Sidenote: I know that it is difficult (if not impossible) to change anything on Squad's surface features. In addition, I recall reading that a lot of this pack was designed to simulate what stuff may look like under light with a higher infared component than ours, hence the purple flora. However, I do miss seeing greenery when I play this pack, so I enjoy seeing this, even if it breaks the realism a bit.)



Its not true science unless you use a laser at some point.


And some other stuff going on while waiting for transfer windows to Sirona to open



The second Belisama exploration team made a successful return home after refueling using the new surface refinery



And the third exploration team is already at Belisama station, waiting to head down to the surface.


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Thank goodness this is back! Making me itching to boot KSP up again... The new minecraft snapshots are kinda occupying my gaming time right now though lol

I forgot I had written the ocean definitions too... the real pirate treasure was the friends we made along the way :)

What are you planning for the Sirona windows?

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2 minutes ago, darwinpatrick said:

The new minecraft snapshots are kinda occupying my gaming time right now

I feel this so hard right now. What free time I had in the last month kept getting grabbed up by that instead of this game.


4 minutes ago, darwinpatrick said:

What are you planning for the Sirona windows?

Damona and Airmed are getting  small exploration endeavors, but Brovo is getting a full fledged exploration mission (similar to Toutatis). I just started landing infrastructure there (this thread is a little behind from where I am at) and I am super excited to get crew there and really explore it.


8 minutes ago, darwinpatrick said:

Thank goodness this is back!


9 minutes ago, darwinpatrick said:

the real pirate treasure was the friends we made along the way


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On 1/20/2021 at 3:30 PM, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

Damona and Airmed are getting  small exploration endeavors, but Brovo is getting a full fledged exploration mission (similar to Toutatis). I just started landing infrastructure there (this thread is a little behind from where I am at) and I am super excited to get crew there and really explore it.

Funny thing is, I haven't really explored Brovo all that much myself, and I created it.  I'm interesting see what you'll find.  I'll probably see stuff I've never seen before. lol

Edited by OhioBob
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