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Grannus Expansion Pack Exploration Gameplay - Sirona: Brovo Surface Exploration


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Introductions:

Hi all. My name is GEPEG_Unconscious. The posts I put here are records of adventures I have touring the Grannus system. Hope you all enjoy them.

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An overview of the Grannus System based on the Tracking Station numerous gravitational and visual observations

 

About the system:

Grannus is a red dwarf that orbits the outer reaches of the Ciro system in Galileo's Planet Pack. GEP was created by @OhioBob to give players who completed the titanic task of exploring all of the Ciro system another place to go. GEP can also be configured to be the primary solar system of a save. The Grannus system is not easy in either form. The home planet in the GEP_Primary setup is the second third planet from Grannus, but its orbit is 2.5 million km from the star, so dV values are much higher than stock. Until recently, the next closest planet took about 3600 m/s of dV just for a flyby. Other challenges in the system include a non-equatorial space center, a planet well below 1 million km from Grannus, and inclinations for all planets. In short, the system has all the twists and challenges expected from a Team Galileo planet pack. 

Version 1.1.0 added 3 planetary bodies to the system, bring the total to 14 planetary bodies, of which 13 can be landed on. While this is only slightly less than the stock system, the Grannus system feels small, which is something I really like about it.

 

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About this save:

This save started in version 1.7.3, and I will most likely keep it there and has since been brought up to 1.8.1. I would call this save a "career lite" mode. I wanted to have kerbals level up, collect science, and getting World's First Milestones, but I also wanted to skip passed the early game, as that is something I have done multiple times before and find quite tedious. This save is about exploring planets, not testing parts on the launch pad for funds. As such, I'm allowing myself some usage of the f12 menu to boost funds when I need to. I know playing in science mode would give me a similar experience, but I think all kerbals start at max experience and you do not get the milestones. I like having those two to give myself a sense of achievement while I play.

 

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As this is a save about exploring planets, my goal is to do more than just land long enough to put a flag on the surface. A lot of these planets have unique features I want to see close up. A the very least I want to find a nice scenic vista to plant some Breaking Ground experiments. Bringing a rover everywhere is going to add even more complexity to missions, but at least Bon Voyage is usable once the rover is down on the planet. Speaking of mods...

Mod List (full):

Spoiler

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TL:DR:

  • Parts: Restock, Restock+, SSPXR, Kerbal Atomics, DMagic Sciences
  • Utilities: KAC, KER, Bon Voyage, SCANSat
  • Life Support: Snacks
  • Visuals: EVE, Scatterer, KS3P

I might be showing some symptoms of Nertea Fever, but all their parts are too beautiful not to use. Kerbal Atomics gets a special mention here. With the higher dV requirements, I find those engines very necessary to get any significant payloads to interplanetary destinations. I want to give props to user @darwinpatrick, who has done flags and footprints mission to every planet in this system using stock parts only. His missions can be found on the GEP post here. I like SCANsat for the maps it makes. I will probably upload those here for those who want to view them. Snacks gives me another parameter in mission planning, though not as big as I thought, which is good. Scatterer does not have its water effects activated as a) I want to play at a reasonable framerate and b) only Nodens has water.

To those of you following along, here is the extent of exploration so far:

Spoiler
Planetary Body Probe Visited Crewed Orbit Crewed Landing Crewed Surface Exploration Crewed Return
Taranis Yes - - - -
Toutatis Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nodens N/A Yes N/A Yes Yes
Belisama Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sucellus Yes Yes - - -
Caireen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes/No
Sirona Yes Yes N/A N/A -
Airmed Yes - - - -
Brovo Yes - - - -
Damona Yes Yes Yes Yes -
Epona Yes - - - -
Rosmerta Yes - - - -
RAB-58E - - - - -
Cernunnos - - - - -
Asteroids - N/A - - -

 

And if you like rosters, here is one of the few brave souls undertaking this journey:

Spoiler
Kerbal Role Rank Bodies Visited Notable Achievements
Jebediah Pilot 3
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Surface
  • Toutatis Surface
  • First Crew to enter Belisama SOI
  • First crew to land on Toutatis
Bill Engineer 5
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Surface
  • Sirona Orbit
  • Damona Surface
  • First Crew to enter Sirona SOI
  • First Crew to land on Damona
  • First Crew to land on Airmed
  • First Crew to land on Brovo
  • First Crewmember to land on four planetary bodies
  • First Crew to land on three planetary bodies in one mission
Bob Scientist 4
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Sucellus Orbit
  • Caireen Surface
  • Belisama Surface
  • First Crew to enter Sucellus SOI
  • First Crew to land on Caireen
  • First Crew to land on Belisama
  • First Crewmember to land on two planetary bodies
Valentina Pilot 4
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Sucellus Orbit
  • Caireen Surface
  • Belisama Surface
  • First Crew to enter Sucellus SOI
  • First Crew to land on Caireen
Herfurt Scientist 3
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Surface
  • Toutatis Surface
  • First Crew to enter Belisama SOI
  • First Crew to land on Toutatis
Spaghetti Engineer 3
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Surface
  • Sucellus Orbit
  • Caireen Surface
  • First Crew to enter Sucellus SOI
  • First Crew to land on Caireen
Wencan Pilot 5
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Surface
  • Sirona Orbit
  • Damona Surface
  • First Crew to land on Belisama
  • First Crew to enter Sirona SOI
  • First Crew to land on Damona
  • First Crew to land on Airmed
  • First Crew to land on Brovo
  • First Crewmember to land on four planetary bodies
  • First Crew to land on three planetary bodies in one mission
Dave Scientist 5
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Orbit
  • Sirona Orbit
  • Damona Surface
  • Airmed Surface
  • Brovo Surface
  • First Crew to enter Sirona SOI
  • First Crew to land on Damona
  • First Crew to land on Airmed
  • First Crew to land on Brovo
  • First Crewmember to land on three planetary bodies
  • First Crew to land on three planetary bodies in one mission
  • First Kerbal to glide on another planet
Natapont Engineer 3
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Orbit
  • Toutatis Surface
  • First Crew to enter Belisama SOI
  • First crew to land on Toutatis
Odbin Pilot 1
  • Nodens Orbit
 
Jedbin Scientist 2
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Surface
 
Hilvey Engineer 2
  • Nodens Orbit
  • Belisama Surface
  • First Crew to land on Belisama

 

Closing Notes, Post Updates:

This is long enough already, but for however few (or many) people read these posts, you'll be happy to know I have a small stockpile of images ready to share. Some mods, like KS3P, were added after I started making this stockpile, so it may be a couple posts before their effects are seen. I will probably create one new post a day while I have this stockpile. After that, it will be updated when I have time. Being a full time student and working full time really maxes out your available time, who knew? 

 

Edited by GEPEG_Unconscious
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Destination Caireen: First Flights

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The upper stage of a Typhoon class launcher burning into the morning with its payload.

I started this save right when GEP updated to include three new planetary bodies - a planet that orbits inside Noden's orbit, a dwarf planet that sits between Nodens and the gas giant Sirona, and a moon of that dwarf planet. The planet that is inside Noden's orbit is meant to be a relatively easy destination to get to. A person in the right state of mind would have gone there first if they wanted to check out the new planets first. But I was not in that mindstate when I planned this mission, as our first destination is Caireen, moon of the dwarf planet Sucellus.

The mission's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying send a station, send a rover, find a crew, find a ship, start flying.

 

Step 1: Build a station.

Spoiler

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First of two launches to send Caireen station to Caireen. Sirona is making her presence known too.

 

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Its payload: the gas core NTR propulsion stage dubbed Orca Mk 1 Nuclear Transfer Vehicle, or NTV. Using only LH2, it could achieve about 11000 m/s dV on its own, and about 8000 m/s dV with a 20 ton payload.

 

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This save is also the first time I have really had the chance to play with the robotics part of the Breaking Ground Expansion. Seen here is an attempt to keep a large solar panel compact in the fairing during launch, then fold out once in orbit to keep the cryogenic tanks powered.

 

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The second launch, about 10 days later, carried the station proper into orbit.

 

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With it went two comm relays. One of these will go into Caireen orbit, and another into Sucellus. Each use one RA15 antennae, which should be enough to reach back to Nodens. An extra LH2 tank was sent up too, just in case.

 

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Docking two very large objects is a very slow and graceful dance.

 

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Station solar panels will power the cryo tanks for the transfer.

 

Step 1.5: Send a station

Spoiler

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Once the transfer window opened, it was full steam ahead...or behind...and our steam is purple...

Eh just go with it. We're moving, and everything is quite secure.

 

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The ejection burn cost about 2200 dV and took two or three minutes to complete. The radiators did not get as hot as I expected considering the engine, which was a pleasant surprise.

Toutatis, aka the easy new planet, is also seen here. Why didn't we go there first?

 

One payload down, two to go.

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Destination Caireen: Deja Vu

Today's mission is sponsored by Comm Outages: If its worth sending a probe, its worth sending a second to replace the first when you lose it.

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An Orca Mk 2 NTV waiting for its transfer window

So as hinted at above, 2 payloads and 2 NTVs were launched and docked together, but only one is on the way to Caireen. The first NTV was performing its departure burn above the one side of Nodens that does not have a Comm tower in range and my polar comm sat was on the other side of the planet. As a result, the burn was not shut down at the appropriate time. Instead of a quick transfer to Sucellus and Caireen, it became the Space Program's first interstellar object. I guess we are starting the interstellar ambassador program before we start the interplanetary exploration program.

Below we can see the launch, assembly, and departure of the successful NTV.

Spoiler

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The Orca Mk 2 NTV is launched the same way as the Mk 1

 

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The Mk 2 now has its own solar panels to keep its LH2 tanks powered, rather than rely on the payload to power it.

 

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After another 10 or so days, another Typhoon-R rocket sends up the rover payload.

 

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Nothing too important here, just really enjoyed the stage and fairing separation.

 

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Rendevous and docking. Apologies for the dark pictures. In addition to the rover, this NTV will be sending a small scanning sat to Caireen to discover biomes and flat places to land.

 

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All assembled and ready to go.

 

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Outbound Flight is a go. "Therein lies the future of the mission."

Don't worry, more comm relays were sent up before this. We've got connection the entire time for this one.

Having solar panels is nice for power, but their current placement is an issue. I forgot those giant radiators rotate as one unit, so there is some ugly clipping happening. That will have to get fixed.

 

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Part 2 of 3 of the Caireen mission architecture is now online and en route.

 

For anyone interested, here are a couple bloopers from the first Orca Mk 2 NTV

Spoiler

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Little fast there bud.

This was right after I got control back. There was no way to salvage this vessel, so I just let it burn out its fuel.

 

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There it is, Wendy. Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning. That's how you'll get to Neverland.

 

Coming Soon:

Orbital Insertions and Crew Launches

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5 hours ago, Vanamonde said:

I wish I could get motivated to run missions like this again. 

I'll be honest, I'm hoping this writing these mission reports helps keep me motivated. More often than not I stop playing for a time and when I come back I just restart.

It helps having goals that aren't "colonize EVERY planet". Tried that once or twice. Never got passed landing on Minmus.

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Destination Caireen: First Arrivals

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Station NTV performing its braking burn to enter the Sucellus System

 

We stick with the two craft we have enroute to Caireen today. By the end of this, enroute becomes onsite.

First up, Station Arrival at Caireen:

Spoiler

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Here's the first look at Sucellus. It's a big ol' rock. Transfer time was about 40 days.

 

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Insertion burn. It takes a lot of dV to get from Nodens orbit to Sucellus - 2250 to depart, around 800 for a mid-transfer inclination burn, and about 2100 for insertion. That high-efficiency NTR is earning its keep. However, the LH2 tanks were eating up all the EC. I had to transfer fuel around so that I could unpower one of them. Was playing with the radiators too to see if I could conserve more EC that way. That's why they are both extended and retracted in these pictures.

 

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The first comm relay was deployed once the NTV was in Sucellus orbit.

 

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A slight course correction set the NTV on an encounter with Caireen.

 

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And our first look at Caireen. It's a smaller rock. And slightly less spherical.

 

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A puff of a burn to enter orbit. Orbital velocity is about 150 m/s.

Welcome to the slow zone.

 

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And there goes the second comm relay. The two of them should cover a good portion of the Sucellus-Caireen system.

 

 

Rover Arrival at Caireen:

Spoiler

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Its nearly impossible to see, but we are within Sucellus's sphere of influence. Thanfully, no further hijinks happened with the rover transfer vehicle. The brighter whitish-blue dot to the right of the NTV is Nodens, while the whitish-green dot to the left is Sirona. Look at how far we have come, and how far we get to go still here.

This transfer was a little slower, at around 50 days.

 

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I don't normally take pictures from the map view, but some encounter plans are too fun not to show. The rover NTV had a poor encounter with Sucellus; we are nowhere near the dwarf planet to perform an efficient braking burn AND we would be orbiting the wrong direction from Caireen's orbit. However, we do have a quick initial encounter with Caireen going in the opposite direction. After this speed date, we will kill all our horizontal velocity in our current direction, and add a little bit to go back the way we came. 5 days and a small puff later, we will be cozily around Caireen.

 

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Poorly lit scenes, short timing, and not a lot to say? Sounds like a typical speed dating session to me.

 

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Grannus System > Missed Connections

You: Scientifically massive ball of ice and rock. Smaller than most, but large enough to put a man in his place.

Me: Awkward and subdued during our chance encounter, but now burning with energy to get back to you.

 

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Caireen is quite small. It has a 30 km radius. As more stuff was put into orbit it was quite easy to see the markers ships get when they are within 100 km of each other.

 

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Quite a tiny burn to stay in orbit. I missed getting a shot of it.

 

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Releasing the SCANsat satellite relay. This will help with comm coverage and get us some surface scans of this lumpy little moon.

 

All the necessary preparations for crew landings are ready. Now we just need to send the crew. We may need to hire them first though, and possibly train them. That would be the sensible thing, but who has time to be sensible in life.

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Destination Caireen: Noodly Recruits

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The crew standing in front of a mock-up of their lander

And we are back. This time with some actual kerbal shenanigans. The crew gets picked and trained, and then it will be time to stuff them in a can for the voyage into the dark.

Lets meet the team, shall we:

Spoiler

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MIssion pilot is Valentina, the cool-headed, adrenaline junkie she is.

 

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Next up is mission scientist Bob, looking a lot less excited than Val is.

 

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And finally, our mission engineer is ... Spaghetti Kerman. I did not know the game had this as a generated option. He leaves me with so many questions. What compelled the game to game to name you such? Will your physical being resist giving in to your namesake when the kraken inevitable makes its enigmatic presence known? What lies behind such a meticulous mustache?

 

We do give our crews some minimal training round these parts. Its hard to convince kerbals to drive around on new worlds when they were forced into a can for the first time just days prior.

Spoiler

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This will just be a quick launch to test the maneuverability of the lander in space, and let the crew stretch their space legs a little.

 

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Ooh pretty

 

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Group meetings always seem to happen at the most inopportune times

 

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Yup, them engines burn good. RCS too.

 

And shortly after they land, we are going to send them back up for a long time. It might be quick, and it might be just their second time in orbit, but they can all say that it ain't their first rodeo, and that's all we care about.

Spoiler

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We start this like we have started our previous payloads: with a launch of an Orca NTV

 

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These are almost becoming routine now.

 

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The Mk 3 design has repositioned solar panels to prevent unrealistic physics interactions. We might have added some comm antennae we thought were already on there too.

 

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The last launch needed for Caireen infrastructure is the crew hab and lander.

 

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Rendezvous and docking happened on the dark side of Nodens, as seems to happen far too frequently when I play.

 

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Come daytime, we extended the solar arms of the hab and began flipping around the lander for transfer, Apollo style.

 

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I think we have enough solar power.

Also note that the hab is inflatable. How different can stuffing a few Kerbals into a balloon be from stuffing them into a can?

 

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Burns to Sucellus and Caireen happen on the dark side of Nodens when transfer windows open. Pretty easy to remember, but makes getting nice screenshots a challenge.

 

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Off they go.

 

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An inclination burn just outside Nodens' SOI ensures an encounter in about 40 days time.

 

And that's all for preparations. Very soon we will be touching down on Caireen and seeing what it is all about.

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Screenshot advice from a noob ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Spoiler

For the shots I took of my first vessel that rated a name, I took screenshots on the light and dark sides. Having Poodles mounted either side of the foremost section lit up the center sections a bit during my burn. I also find that silhouetting my ship against that Milky Way looking feature of my skybox looks durn pretty, even if it's garbage for showing details. All my sunlit shots were taken after I burned away from my parking orbit around Kerbin.

I am by no means an expert and I apologise if you already thought of all this, I'm just sharing what I've noticed.

 

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Destination Caireen: Brighter Days

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The crew, out of contact with home, prepare to brake into Caireen orbit

 

We are at the point in my small stockpile of pictures where I decided to throw in KS3P to make everything look that much better. Some thoughts on KS3P are here:

Spoiler

I've tried using KS3P before, but just using it right out of the box is very overwhelming. I really wish there was something that broke down what each setting does. I recently found forum user Zorg's post here , and his setup does an excellent job of pairing down KS3P to be understandable and still give quality views. I highly recommend anyone looking to use KS3P read his post first. My only issue with his setup is that it is for systems like JSNQ or RSS. The color palette he chose is setup to give very strong white light. I wanted to have more orange tones to reflect light emitted from Grannus, so the next couple of posts involve me playing with the color grading settings.

 

Onward to the mission. Today the crew arrives at Caireen, and some of our exisitng craft get shuffled around in preparation for surface ops.

Spoiler

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The crew have entered Sucellus SOI. Something happened to our solar arms, and I'm really not sure what.

 

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Braking burn is a little far out, but we are aiming to go into an immediate transfer orbit with an apoapsis crossing Caireen's orbit.

 

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And here is where things get interesting. At the time of entering Sucellus orbit, Nodens and Sucellus were nearly the furthest they could be from each other. That means that the shortest distance between the two bodies runs right through Grannus. There was an 8 hour period where anything in Sucellus's SOI had no contact back to home. Not an issue for the crew, as Val is a plenty good pilot, but I was going to adjust the orbits of many of the crafts around Caireen while waiting for the crew to arrive. That cannot happen now.

Oh, and it seems Sucellus is about to eclipse Caireen too. Our orbit isn't intersecting with the surface currently, but it is nervous knowing you cannot see the thing you are going to very nearly hit.

 

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We are in Caireen's SOI. It's somewhere back there...we think. We are at least close enough to see points of light reflected off other craft. Thanks Distant Object Enhancement! (I don't think DOE takes into account eclipses when rendering other craft, so lets just RP it as that NTV's orbit is just far enough away to peek out of Sucellus's shadow while Caireen is still fully eclipsed.

 

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Looks like we didn't hit Caireen. AND we are now in orbit. AND we have comms again. Everything is going just well.

 

The other two NTVs still have their payloads attached. I wanted to set their orbits while the crew were transfering between Sucellus and Caireen, but that comm outage delayed everything until after I got the crew situated.

Spoiler

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The station NTV lowered its orbit to 10km above Caireen and adjsted its orbit to match the Crew's NTV. The crew will take the lander to the station shortly.

 

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The rover's NTV was left in an eccentric and inclined orbit after it arrive at Caireen. A couple of small burns circularized it into a circular orbit 20 km above Caireen. It could go lower, but the goal to return the crew to Nodens is to use the fuel in the other two NTVs to refill all the tanks on the crew NTV. While the crew stay on the station, all three NTVs will meet up, dock, and move their LH2 to the crew NTV.

 

And that is all I got. Next up, getting our feet dusty on Caireen's surface.

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Oof. Total radio eclipse must have blown. I've always been concerned about that when considering interplanetary missions, which is why my first interplanetary mission will have a Mk1-3 pod, for the probe control point you get from having two pilots manning it.

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19 hours ago, Vagrant203 said:

Oof. Total radio eclipse must have blown. I've always been concerned about that when considering interplanetary missions, which is why my first interplanetary mission will have a Mk1-3 pod, for the probe control point you get from having two pilots manning it.

See that's the problem: I have a Mk1-3 and the large RC Probe Core, but both require 2 pilots. I only have one on this mission.

8 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

@GEPEG_Unconscious Hey this is fantastic! I can't wait for more. Let me know how Taranis goes...

Are the science defenitions working okay? :wink:

Oh Taranis, how tough it will be. I'm honestly quite impressed that you managed to do it with all stock parts. That is quite the noteworthy achievement. I was actually in the middle of this mission when you give Ohiobob the science defs so I don't have it installed for Caireen, but future missions will showcase them.

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Destination Caireen: A Light Touchdown

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Valentina Kerman deftly lands the crew between their rover and its landing platform

 

So today's the day. No more sitting around in orbit, time to put things onto Caireen and see what there is to be seen. Onward!

We haven't tried landing anything before, so the rover will be set down first. It will help gauge the difficulty of landing, and if we lose it, the biggest loss to the mission is our science capabilites.

Spoiler

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The rover is remotely detached from its Orca NTV to begin it's descent

 

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It targets an area on Caireen's midlands whose incline is not too great. That being said, nowhere on this moon seems to have a slope less than 4o.

 

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Landing burn initiated.

 

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And the platform is down. The rover was released shortly after, although its release went it a few meters into the air. Note to self, driving requires a decent amount of gravity. Caireen only generates 0.02g. The reaction wheels on the command module are enough to cause sommersaults without actually moving the wheels. Even with the reaction wheels off, it takes a long time to build up speed. The rover is about 100 m from its landing platform here, and it maybe got up to 2 m/s of velocity.

 

With the rover safely on the surface, it's time for the crew to head down

Spoiler

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Before heading out, the crew grabbed biome and altimetry maps from the Scan satellite. Why we didn't do this before sending the rover down, no one at mission control knows. We aren't aiming anywhere more specific than near the rover, in daylight, and in a scanned area, but it helps knowing what biome we are going to hit.

 

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The crew, having previous transfered to Caireen station for long term habitation, begin their descent.

 

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Deceleration burns are easy when you only have to kill approximately 100 m/s of horizontal velocity

 

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The KER landing target is right on top of the rover landing platform. If you look just a little northeast, you can make out the cone that is the illumination from the rover lights.

 

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Gently does it. Low gravity does mean easy pinpoint landings.

 

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And a flag to immortalize our success! I admit, if you read the plaque, I was really ambitious when I started this mission. Caireen is on average 30 km in radius, which makes it about 200 km in circumference, which sounds like a manageable Elcano. What I didn't take into account was how hard it would be to drive in such low gravity. The difficulty in just moving the rover away from its platform killed that ambition just a little. Oh well, there are always another time.

Everything is down safely, so next time we can explore what Caireen has to show.

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3 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

See that's the problem: I have a Mk1-3 and the large RC Probe Core, but both require 2 pilots. I only have one on this mission.

My LSV (Long Service Vessel) crew consists of two Kerbals of each specialization. Two pilots for probe control, two scientists for the lab (and occasionally one goes down with a remote-pilot lander) and two engineers, mostly unused at the moment but will be manning probe miners and an onboard ISRU when the technology is developed.

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8 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

@GEPEG_Unconscious Have you tracked asteroids yet? I never got to play around with their distribution after Toutatis and Caireen were added. If so, what are their orbits like?

I haven't tracked one specifically yet, but there are two bands of unknown and untracked objects in my save. One is distributed around Sucellus and the other around Cernunnos.

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Destination Caireen: Caireen Surface Exploration

Daylight's wasting, let's go look around!

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Bob and Spaghetti setting up science experiments at the lip of a crater. The rest of the inner solar system is arrayed behind them.

Quick little detour into mod talking:

Spoiler

Screenshot lighting is wonky here, apologies. They were taken over multiple sessions and I am still learning the ropes of KS3P. I am currently modifiying Zorg's settings in-game based on screenshots of setting values I like. I have yet to find a way to save modified configs from in-game. I will likely make my own to simplify this process. Before that though, I need to finalize how I like the coloring. So bear with me and the screenshots this time. They should be fixed by the next post.

 

Onto the main feature: Caireen surface ops.

Spoiler

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So, yeah. Roving is hard when gravity takes a light day. Caireen surface gravity is about 0.02g. In comparison, Minmus has around 0.05g. Caireen has a lot more little hills too. Speeding up and slowing down are tedious. As mentioned previously, the command module reaction wheels needed to be turned off to even move. When the rover got airborne (or spaceborne?) they had to be temporarily turned on to keep the rover wheels down, or else you get the above picture.

 

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Bob and Spaghetti drove about 1.5 km to reach the edge of a large crater in the lowlands. There they unpacked and deployed goo and seismic experiments. Somewhere along the line, the two swapped suits as well. Bob the scientist is in yellow while Spaghetti the engineer is our boy in blue. Pranksters...

 

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Dmagic's animated science experiments are wonderful and well thought out. The surface ablation laser is one of my favorites. Expect to see it in most of the missions.

 

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Low gravity was making travel by rover too tedious, and both kerbals have a perfectly good jetpack, so it was decided to send them back to the rover that way. Here's Spaghetti coming home now.

 

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Everything landed in the midlands, and science was deployed in the lowlands. The lander has enough dV to do multiple hops before heading back to orbit. For now, we will make just one hop to the highlands south of them.

 

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The trio passed over many substantial craters on their way.

 

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Bob posing for a quick pic at the highlands during the crew's second landing.

 

And there is Caireen. There is one last biome we did not hit, the poles. We aren't going to make a stop there on this mission, but a future mission to Sucellus may make a detour there.

Now begins the journey home.

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Destination Caireen: The Game plays Dirty

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Valentina, Bob, and Spaghetti return home, but exactly how is not a pleasant story to tell

Long post ahead. Lots to talk about. Very emotional.

 

So good stuff: I figured out KS3P configs and make a .cfg file that KS3P pulls every time it starts. Most of the screenshots moving forward will have the effects applied (there is one exception, which should be in the next mission report update). If people like the look and want it for their own game around red suns, I may put up a download.

 

Now the bad stuff, the return home:

Spoiler

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This is what happens every time I undocked the hab from the Orca Mk3 NTV that made up the crew transfer ship. If you feel like reading, here's an analysis of our catastophic failure:

Spoiler

So when we left Nodens, our hab section had two solar arms that extended like this:

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8 Solar panels offset from the main body by I-beams and Breaking Ground G11 hinges (the bigger ones)

 

But when we arrived in the Sucellus system, they looked like this:

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What appears to be two solar arrays inline with the main body.

So what happened?

For unknown reasons, the hinges and I-beams got twisted and rotated in multiple directions. The game still considered them connected, but they were completely orthogonal to their initial positions. The solar panels are still generating enough power to keep EC levels topped off so I didn't really notice they were in a different position. The key issue here is are the I-beams. They are long enough that they now pass through both docking ports connecting the hab to the propulsion section. This was not an issue until it came time to un-dock the two parts. Then you have two vessels clipped into one another, and well... they really don't do well and explosions ensue.

 

TL;DR - Solar panels arms got displaced weirdly. I-beams clip over both docking ports, causing clipping collisions when undocked.

 

So we are in a predicament. I need to un-dock the hab temporarily. All three NTVs around Caireen have about 1/3 their fuel, and my plan for this mission was to transfer all fuel to one NTV and use that one to propel the hab home. The crew have plenty of life support between their hab and the station to stay awhile and wait for a replacement NTV, but I really want to move on with exploring the system. In the end, I gave into weakness.

I enabled infinite fuel from the cheat menu.

I can already hear the chants about burning me at the stake. But the way I see it is that I have the resources available to make this part of the mission work, but the game did me dirty and prevented me from doing so. Infinite fuel will only be on during the NTV burns, and the other two NTVs will be de-orbited to consider them consumed. Still, I really don't like that this is what it came down to. It makes me real angry that this happened in-game (dang Kraken jumbling up all the parts).

The alternative would have been to send another Orca Mk 3 with no payload. Once in Caireen orbit, it would rendezvous with the two other NTVs, take on their fuel, then dock with the station and use that an an improvised hab to get the crew home. However, as I said, I was ready to move on to another planet, and I only want one large interplanetary mission going on at one time.

Alright, I've said my piece. Let's see the crew's flight home. (Still angry about this).

Spoiler

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The return window to Nodens is opening, so the crew depart the station. This station will likely be moved to low Sucellus orbit to aid in operations there when we return to land on Sucellus.

 

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Docking to the possibly cursed and definitely broken crew NTV.

 

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Something interesting that came out of this - the nuclear engine generates enough heat while the cheat menu is on that both large radiators begin to overheat. They never even got close to overheating when the engine was not running with infinite fuel.

 

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Angry inclination burns are angry.

 

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Back at Nodens.

 

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Probably my favorite screenshot to come out of this ordeal. One last braking burn.

 

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The crew have boarded their lander/re-entry craft, and infinite fuels is off. Let's go home boys.

 

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After a rather sedate re-entry, the capsule splashed down and the crew went for a swim. Gotta wash off the grime from long-term spaceflight.

 

And so ends the first interplanetary mission in the Grannus System. The last part definitely did not go as planned, but the rest of it went quite smoothly. The next targets should be a lot easier. And when we return to Sucellus, we will do so without any cheats during the entire mission to prove our mission architecture would have worked this time too.

 

Bonus: Fate of the cursed ship:

Spoiler

This ship does not deserve to stay in this system, so infinite fuels got turned on one last time. Remember the rover NTV that went interstellar? We targeted that and opened the throttles all the way up. The goal was either to run the craft until it was on a similar trajectory or until the engine overheated.

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As it turned out, the engine overheated first, and took the back half of the propulsion section with it when it blew. The craft didn't even get interstellar. Let's hope to never visit this craft again.

 

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Those are some nice screenshots you got there. I might try my hand at doing a storyline like this. To date I've restarted one career when I was a noob and had no idea what I was doing, put another one on hold when I started getting into forum challenges, tried to go back to it but discovered that some parts were removed from the game with a version change and I had gotten too attached to my mods to play an old version, and then suffered computer problems that prevented me from playing at all.

But now I've got a new PC and have been messing around with the Spectra visual mod and some other supporting ones. Looks awesome, except the sun looks weird in certain views - I'll have to post in the support thread about it.

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17 hours ago, Vagrant203 said:

Ominous. Or maybe I'm paranoid. I'd have tossed into the Mohole or the Sun.

I think the engines would have blown up before even getting close canceling out the craft's horizontal velocity relative to the sun. Nodens is quite close to Granuus (2.5 million km vs Kerbin's 12.5 million or so) so orbital velocities are a lot higher there. I do wonder if any of the planetary bodies have a mohole like Moho. Does the mohole show up on an altimetry SCANSAT map of Moho? If so, that could be an easy way to find out.

 

1 hour ago, darwinpatrick said:

Are you headed to Sucellus next or tackling Toutatis?

Toutatis. Definitely Toutatis. Sucellus can wait a long while.

 

1 hour ago, sturmhauke said:

Those are some nice screenshots you got there. I might try my hand at doing a storyline like this. To date I've restarted one career when I was a noob and had no idea what I was doing, put another one on hold when I started getting into forum challenges, tried to go back to it but discovered that some parts were removed from the game with a version change and I had gotten too attached to my mods to play an old version, and then suffered computer problems that prevented me from playing at all.

But now I've got a new PC and have been messing around with the Spectra visual mod and some other supporting ones. Looks awesome, except the sun looks weird in certain views - I'll have to post in the support thread about it.

I'm glad you're liking the screenshots. Some tips on storylines or mission reports that I am finding out: keep each mission goal on the simple side. Everyone wants to do long colonization missions to every planet, but it is too easy to get bored or bogged down in those save. For this save, I wanted to do more than just land quickly and plant a flag, so I'm bringing some sort of surface transport to see what @OhioBob has created. There won't be any building of large bases. In fact, the only places likely to get a surface base of any sort would be Brovo, Belisama, and Epona. To me, these goals seem achievable will still being something to push for.

 

I feel like I should add a map or something of the solar system since I throw planet names around a lot...

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Have fun with Toutatis. Feel free to look at my mission report over on the main thread, unless you'd rather be surprised...

Otherwise, here's my advice: (spoilers maybe)

Spoiler

Toutatis is bigger than Duna by a considerable amount. More like 60% the size of Nodens. The atmosphere is also so thin as to be nearly unusable- do not rely on parachutes. But if you do get down to the surface in one piece, getting to orbit is pretty easy with such a thin atmosphere. If you plan to stay long, I would LOVE to see a science or mining base on the sunlit side that always gets solar power! No more loss of power in times of darkness.

Have fun!

Edited by darwinpatrick
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