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Grannus Expansion Pack Exploration Gameplay - Sirona: Brovo Surface Exploration


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51 minutes ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

Map please, super hard for me to understand XD

Ask and you shall receive. I was already playing around with this, so hope this works.

 

4 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

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.

I've got tweakchute installed so main chutes are very much out. Drogues should still work though, and assist with powered landings. The atmosphere is very much like Mars's irl: to thin to be useful but thick enough to complicate everything. Coming in at interplanetary speeds will still overheat things, but unless you go real deep (~10-15 km above the surface) you can't really aerobrake effectively. 

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17 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

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

Before going to Toutatis, you might want to consider installing HeatShifter.  It's just a small plugin that fixes an issue in the way that stock atmospheres work, preventing proper temperature distribution on tidally locked planets.  It's needed to experience Toutatis the way it was designed.  I plan to bundle HeatShifter with the next release of GEP, but for now you have to install it separately.

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5 minutes ago, OhioBob said:

you might want to consider installing HeatShifter.

Wow. That's literally still hot from the press. So the way I am reading this, if I watch the thermometer experiment readouts as I drive from the sunlit side of Toutatis, through the dusk band, and into the night side, I should see the temperature values drop? Does the temperature change in a smooth gradient?

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2 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

Wow. That's literally still hot from the press. So the way I am reading this, if I watch the thermometer experiment readouts as I drive from the sunlit side of Toutatis, through the dusk band, and into the night side, I should see the temperature values drop? Does the temperature change in a smooth gradient?

I just noticed in the OP that you're using KSP 1.7.3.  HeatShifter will likely not work in that case.  I believe it only works in 1.8+.

Without HeatShifter, the hottest and coldest spots on the planet are shifted 45 degrees, so the hottest time of day is mid-afternoon.  That works for a rapidly rotating body but not a tidally locked one.  HeatShifter takes out the offset so the hottest spot is the subsolar point, and the coldest spot is the antisolar point.  Between those two points is a smooth gradient, which isn't entirely realistic, but it's the best I can do within the confines KSP.  At "sea level" (the datum), the temperature at the antisolar point should be about 100 K, and at the subsolar point about 460 K.  All around the day-night terminator will be about 280 K.  Though because of altitude and other factors, you'll likely read different temperatures.

(edit)

On second thought, no it isn't a smooth (straight line) gradient.  I think the formula is,

temperature = minTemp + deltaTemp * (0.5 * cos(zenithAngle) + 0.5)

Where minTemp is that at the antisolar point, deltaTemp is the difference between the subsolar and antisolar points, and zenithAngle is the angle between the zenith and the sun.

 

Edited by OhioBob
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On 2/29/2020 at 10:53 AM, OhioBob said:

I just noticed in the OP that you're using KSP 1.7.3.  HeatShifter will likely not work in that case.  I believe it only works in 1.8+.

I have the plugin installed, but haven't played with it yet. I'll take a few readings on Nodens and Toutatis and record what I get. I take it the changes introduced to KSP 1.8.x are what enabled this plugin to function, so any sort of back-port would not work correctly?

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10 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

I have the plugin installed, but haven't played with it yet. I'll take a few readings on Nodens and Toutatis and record what I get. I take it the changes introduced to KSP 1.8.x are what enabled this plugin to function, so any sort of back-port would not work correctly?

It's easy to check if it's working or not.  Just use the cheat menu to land a probe on Toutatis at latitude 0, longitude 0.  If it's working you should read a temperature of about 443-445 K, and if not about 390-400 K.

Sigma88 made HeatShifter at my request when I created Toutatis.  At one time he had it working in 1.7.3 but that required a separate version of the plugin.  The released version probably only works in 1.8+, but haven't verified that.  I assume the reason it doesn't work across versions is due to the Unity change in KSP 1.8, but I'm not certain of that.

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12 hours ago, OhioBob said:

It's easy to check if it's working or not.  Just use the cheat menu to land a probe on Toutatis at latitude 0, longitude 0.  If it's working you should read a temperature of about 443-445 K, and if not about 390-400 K.

Cheated a craft into orbit then landed it on the daylight side before reading your post. Got around 275 K at my random landing spot, which is far below what you mentioned. I'll hyperedit something to the 0 lat, 0 lon spot, but I think the first case you mentioned (hot and cold spots shifted 45 degrees, aka stock heat settings) is working here. That's a shame.

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Destination Toutatis: Why Didn't I Go Here First?

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A probe enters Toutatis's sphere of influence for the first time

Mod stuff first:

Spoiler

There are a couple new mods in the save, but the one I want to talk about here is one that has been in the mod screenshot in the OP: Rational Resources. For those not in the know, rational resources is @JadeOfMaar's creation that applies a planetary resource template to planets so that only certain resources appear on planets. Planet resources can spawn on the surface, in oceans (dunno about lava oceans, but step one would be surviving in one of them), the atmosphere, and in exospheres around gas giants, airless bodies, and suns. It has a couple different resource refining paths, but not as many as say USI or KSPIE. In this save, I hope to use RR and its associated parts to set up LH2 refueling points as I head to the outer planets. I don't think we will see it at Toutatis, but I may do some testing closer to home.

RR out of the box is only configured for the stock system, OPM, and JNSQ, so I did have to create my own template and science defs. There was a lot of copy and paste on the science def side from the other three configs. If anyone is interested in what I set everything as, lemme know. @OhioBob or @JadeOfMaar, I am more than willing to hand the config over so it can be maintained with either the main copy of GEP or the main copy of RR.

 

TL;DR - Rational Resources is a cool mod

 

So the plan today - Figure out what Toutatis looks like and how hard it is to get there (In case you didn't read the title, its quite easy)

Launch #1:  Exploratory Probe

Spoiler

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Launching aboard a Hurricane-P rocket is a probe designated Precedence-Tou

 

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This launch took place at the Toutatis window that occured while we were sending the crew to Caireen, so KS3P eye-candy was not installed. Just imagine cameras were worse back then.

 

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Still doesn't look half bad though

 

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The Precedence satellite bus folds into a very compact profile during launch. There are two solar arrays on hinges and two science platforms on hinges. I'm quite proud of this design. While hinges did us dirty on the Caireen mission, I have yet to encounter an issue with the tiny hinges, so they will continue to be used on small craft.

 

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Antennae and solar arrays extended for operations. Ignore the oceans. The flickering is something I've noticed as planets with water transition to their scaled space map with scatterer installed but water turned off. On Nodens, this happens between 60 km and 160 km, so I tend to not take pictures when at that altitude. This one just slipped through

 

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Departure Burn. Bye Belisama

 

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And bye Nodens

 

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Hellooo Toutatis

 

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Precedence-Tou was placed into a somewhat polar eliptical orbit to get low and high orbit science. Departure burn was about 1350 m/s and polar braking burn was about 1450 m/s. 2800 m/s to transfer is almost nothing in this system!

 

And Launch #2 - Scanning Probe

Spoiler

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A Hurricane-P2S launches a second probe known as CScan-Tou

 

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CScan- a probe designed to create surface maps of distance planets. Not to be confused with CSpan, although the latter can include probes. Just not all the time.

 

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The Precedence satellite bus was used here too, because I really like it. Minor changes were made to it's science payload, and it was given a relay antennae instead of a folding one.

 

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Another probe away

 

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Transfer times are about 15 days between SOIs. Not only are they cheap transfers, they are short too. I wonder how stable this system is with Principa.

 

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Insertion burn

 

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A closeup of the deployed SCANSat parts

 

And once more with feeling! Launch #3

Spoiler

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Another Hurricane-P2S launches a much different and much heavier probe.

 

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This one is a resource scanner with two landing probes. While mining operations were not planned for this mission to Toutatis, scientists were curious how rational the resource distribution was (Aye!) on the planet. The landers have a custom part to determine resource composition in the biome they are landed at.

 

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This probe is a lot bigger than the others, and weighs almost 6 mT...

 

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Which turns into a problem. The probe used too much fuel to transfer so now it is about 200 m/s shy of inserting into orbit. Mission control decided to dump the probe in to the lower atmosphere and preprime the lander chutes so that maybe one of them would make it down in the twilight gap.

 

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Neither lander survived, but most of the probe made it down intact on the night side. Weird third person cameras Highly enhanced imagery showed the probe still functioned and had power, but a lack of science experiments on the probe itself meant the landing was not scientifically useful. Engineers did conclude that the atmosphere would have been too light for the lander chutes to open in the wispy atmosphere, so only drogue chutes will be deployed on future landers.

(Full disclosure, while this mission was not meant to be a failure, it is being showcased to prove I will still play through mission failure of my own making without cheating. Still salty about Caireen)

 

And phase 1 of Toutatis exploration is underway. That was a lengthy post.

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10 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

Is 0, 0 the subsolar point?

In the case of Toutatis, yes.  At least it would be if Toutatis were in a perfectly circular and non-inclined orbit.  Because of libration the coordinates of the subsolar point changes a little bit, but the mean is 0, 0.

However, 0,0 does not automatically become the coordinates of the subsolar point for a tidally locked body.  It's the case for Toutatis because I made it so.  All the tidally locked bodies in GEP have their prime meridians facing the primary.  That's because I carefully selected the initialRotation of each body to place it in the correct orientation.  I derived a formula for it,

initialRotation = longitudeOfAscendingNode + argumentOfPeriapsis + meanAnomalyAtEpochD - 180

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@GEPEG_Unconscious, I have to admit that I really don't know that much about RationalResources.  I've never actually played a game using it.  But as far as resources go, GEP has it's own custom resource configs.  I've distributed resources around in a quasi-realistic way.  That is, you'll find more rocky and metallic resources on the inner planets, while these are far more scarce on the outer planets.  On the other hand, the cold outer planets will have more stuff like water, methane, and ammonia frozen into their icy crusts.

I'm not sure how this works with RationalResoruces.  It's my understanding that RR has no GEP specific configs.  So I believe GEP's resource configs will govern resource distribution even with RR install, but I'm not sure about that.  If so, then I think you'll be in good shape without having to do any special configuration of RR.  Perhaps @JadeOfMaar can enlighten us on how it works.
 

Quote

I wonder how stable this system is with Principa.

GEP has been tested with and works in Principia.  The only instability in the normal settings is the orbit of Belisama (it's too close to Nodens' SOI and gets pulled from it's orbit).  There's a config that moves Belisama to a smaller orbit when Principia is installed.  Nodens rotation period is also reduced.
 

Edited by OhioBob
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Rational Resources was designed specifically to take (most of) the tedium out of customizing resource distributions per a planet's expected composition. It's built upon the experience from manually configuring them for GEP (and in the same way, GPP before it). It's as easy as setting just up to 4 of the +PLANETARY_RESOURCE{} MM operations per body (one for each harvester type applicable to the body) and it is documented here on its GitHub wiki. Biome-level stuff remains pretty manual since biomes vary as part of the body's unique "personality."

@OhioBob himself contributed a lot to its development and it is by nature a cousin to his mod, Realistic Atmospheres. Though RR exists now, GPP and GEP are setup to preserve their manual configurations in spite of RR's presence, and RR is not setup to forcibly remove them, to not waste the (still valid) efforts that were invested into the manual configs (especially the biome configs). I do want to overhaul GPP at some point, largely to prune it of its excessive Karbonite presence (which at the time was a cool and novel hype device/gimmick).

@GEPEG_Unconscious I don't mind taking on the RR configs. This is a very small mod and is easier to push frequent updates for unlike planet mods with their great weights in texture files. As for lava oceans I have a hard time considering them because lava oceans aren't a regular occurrence in planet packs; when they occur they're likely unplayable (configured to obliterate you when you get close); and I haven't seen any gameplay opportunities that will make interaction with them worthwhile.... Now that you brought it up I'm getting ideas but to manifest these ideas I will need an additional drill part or two, something(s) specific to exploiting lava. Several certain crustal resources could be found much more abundant, and geothermal energy now looks very, very attractive, especially when it can be paired with a wireless logistics mod, and maybe, a corrosion effect mod.

Edited by JadeOfMaar
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@OhioBob, I'll be 100% honest, I completely forgot about the custom resource distribution you guys did for GEP and GPP. My goal with the RR configs for GEP was to insert resources necessary to create an LH2 extraction architecture for all the craft I build, as well as the means to extract resources. The resource setup you did in GEP already covers the first part, while the parts included in RR covers the second. If I am reading @JadeOfMaar's mod interaction of GEP and RR correctly, the GEP configs trump my configs, so everything I have been seeing in testing has been GEP resources.

@JadeOfMaar, based on the previous conversations, I don't think my RR configs need to be maintained unless GEP_Resources gets removed from the mod. They would be redundant, and while I did my best to set templates as accurate to the data @OhioBob provided in GEP with his Celestial_Bodies pdf (this was especially critical in determining the atmosphere templates. The ones I chose matched almost 100% with the atmo compositions provided in the pdf, which I see as proof of RR's lineage back to GEP's and GPP's development), I think my copy would be only a shadow of the original.

As an aside, I would like to mention my comment about resources in lava oceans was more of a comical statement. But, if something interesting comes out of it and makes its way into RR, I wish you luck and look forward to what it may be.

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Destination Belisama: Boot Camp Washouts

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The first crew to Belisama Station perform an inclination burn on their way to Belisama

While payloads are being transfered to Toutatis, the mission planners at KSC thought it would be a good idea to keep their kerbonauts occupied and ready for future missions. As a result, the Belisama Station project was started. It's end goal is to provide an intermediate point between Nodens and the surface of Belisama so kerbonauts can practice orbital, landing, and ground maneuvers closer to home.

First up, some comms and imagery data:

Spoiler

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A Cyclone-P2L launches CScan-Bel. This satellite is an exact replica of the one sent to Toutatis. It has all the comms and scanning equipment needed to identify and support future landings, and KSC were happy its low weight meant it could be sent to Belisama on a smaller launcher.

 

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Transfer burn. The second stage will be directed to impact Belisama near the northern latitudes.

 

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CScan-Bel captures into a 250 km polar orbit under its own power.

 

Next, the station itself:

Spoiler

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A Typhoon-R2L launches the Belisama Station. The station was designed to be launched in one go, to keep this mission simple.

 

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The Typhoon-R2L, while powerful, cannot put the station into Belisama orbit directly from launch, so a Mule transfer tug was added instead to do the Nodens-Belisama transfer. The Typhoon only has to get these components to Nodens orbit.

Now is also a good time to take a look at the station itself. The living module is inflatable, to maximize living space while conforming to a small diameter. A resource refinery has also been brought along to test different methods of refueling transfer craft. Belisama Station can handle four craft at once, though three slots are expected to be taken by a resource miner, crew vehicle, and lander.

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The station was also put into a polar orbit, though much lower than CScan-Bel. Final orbital altitude was around 66 km above Belisama. A polar orbit was chosen to give the crew easier access to the varied terrain of Belisama, in addition to challenging them to perform orbital maneuvers in non-standard conditions. 

The Mule tug was retained for the time being.

 

And lastly, the first crew of the station...:

Spoiler

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BelSta Expedition 1 launched aboard a Hurricane-P shortly after confirmation that Belisama Station was safely in orbit around Belisama.

 

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This launch is also the first non-Nodens SOI test for the CV-2N Hermes craft. Weighing in at around 11 mT, the craft has around 1500 m/s of deltaV. Future interplanetary missions are expected to use this craft as a crew ferry between the Transfer Vehicle and various landers.

 

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Unfortunately, the deltaV required for a polar orbital rendevous would have exceeded the total deltaV of the Hurricane upper stage and the CV-2N, so the crew had to make a burn to put themselves on a free-return trajectory instead. The main cause behind this partial mission failure was inexperience in matching inclinations while in a polar orbit. Too much deltaV was expended trying to match inclinations during the transfer burn. Another approach will be tried on the next launch. On a more positive note, the crew passed over a darker region that CScan-Bel identified as having little elevation change. This area is one of about a half dozen on Belisama known as the Flats. This one in particular would be ideal for a surface base or mining operation due to Nodens is above the horizon in this area, allowing for direct communications to the remote craft.

So more successes and another small flop.

I have a couple more noteworthy missions around Belisama before returning to Toutatis infrastructure. Both are going on at the same time though, so launch times are quite important.

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Destination Belisama: Belisama Station, take two

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A CV-2N Hermes approaches Belisama Station. The station, 30 km distant, can barely be made out as a dot against the backdrop of Belisama

 

Well, it's been a little since one of these was posted. That's what happens when exam season rolls around. We continue around Nodens and Belisama today; we have to make up for missing the station last time. Forewarning, there is a lot in this post.

 

First up, some small stuff:

Spoiler

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A Tornado-T launches a small comm satellite. Small launcher's aren't getting a lot of attention this save because of the scale of the payloads, but launching a couple of them every now and again is a refreshing change of pace.

 

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This satellite will match the inclination of Belisama and provide a reference point for future launches to it. KSC hopes to minimize fuel spent on future launches by only launching to Belisama when the KSC rotates under this satellite's orbit.

 

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The view of Home.

 

 

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A rare launch from the Woomerang Launch Site. This Cyclone-P launcher is sending a C-Scan satellite into a polar mapping orbit around Nodens. While the vast majority of exploration is being conducted off-planet, there are some points of interest on the homefront. 

(Side note - Nodens is the only location found so far in this system that has anamolies, so we may try to go to the location of as many of them as we can.)

 

While the Belisama crewed mission architecture is being redesigned, KSC sent a small probe to the surface of Belisama to assess a location as a viable landing site.

Spoiler

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The probe, named Rationality-Bel, launched on yet another Cyclone-P rocket.

(Side-note - While typing this up, I realized that Hotaru's HSP program had rationality probes. This is not an attempt to copy them (the probe designs are vastly different anyways). The name came about as this probe is playing around with one of the parts added by Rational Resources.)

 

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Injection Burn

 

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Transfer and descent were uneventful. Rationality-Bel is targeting one of the areas on Belisama known as the Flats.

 

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This particular flats is unique because it is the only one near the equator and has a constant line of sight to Nodens. Communications are easier, and the view is just plain better. Once on the surface, Rationality-Bel began taking samples of the surrrounding ground and exosphere to analyze them for resource concentrations.

 

And finally, the resumption of crewed missions to Belisama

Spoiler

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Pilot Jebediah and Engineers Bill and Natapont (slightly miffed that KSC forgot to mention their names on their last attempt to the station) lift off on top of a Typhoon-R rocket. The development of the Typhoon series of Rockets as primary launch vehicle for the KSC is somewhat surprising, but could have been anticipated from the scale of the missions planned.

 

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This Typhoon-R features three stages as opposed to its normally two. The first two get the crew's CV-2N Hermes into Nodens orbit and begin the transfer to Belisama, while the third stage is responsible for finishing the transfer and getting the Hermes into a polar orbit.

(Side Note - Hey look, a Saturn V! Wasn't the final intention of the design, but if it works, use it.)

 

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This stage intentionally ignored the orbit of the Belisama orbital reference satellite launched earlier. KSC felt confident that the entire stack had enough dV to get to Belisama Station from any launch inclination and wanted to test that theory. If the rocket turns out to lack that capability, Jeb and crew get another flyby of Belisama.

 

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As it turns out, the third stage, dubbed the "Mule" kick stage, was up to the task. It got the crew transferred to Belisama's SOI and started the braking/polar inclination burn.

 

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The earlier inclination burn around Nodens did exhaust much of its fuel supply, so the CV-2N had to finish the burn around Belisama.

 

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@darwinpatrick, please stop reminding me of all the girl-scout cookies I have already eaten.

 

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Coming up on Belisama Station

 

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And successfully docked this time.

 

 

 

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With the success of the Belisama Expedition 1 crew and confirmation that the three stage Typhoon-R rocket works, Belisama Expedition 2, with pilot Wencan and Scientists Herfurt and Dave aboard, lifts off to join the Expedition 1 crew.

 

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This launch waited until the KSC was under the reference satellite's orbit before launching, per now standard procedure.

 

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Injection burns are easier because of it.

 

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Two burns were conducted to match orbits with the station this time; one to brake into a 500 km equatorial orbit, and one to get into a polar inclination.

 

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On approach. The Expedition 1 crew has been busy prepping the habitable space. Inflation required two engineers, which is why the crew roster was shifted from the normal Pilot, Scientist, and Engineer grouping.

 

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There are now two pilots, scientists, and engineers. In the coming days, one of each class will be selected from these six for the crewed Toutatis mission.

 

 

I think this is the biggest post I have made here. I hope I don't make more this size, this was a lot. I could've split it all up, but everything kinda worked off each other, so it felt right to keep it all together. Next time though, we are back to the main Toutatis mission.

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3 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

(Side note - Nodens is the only location found so far in this system that has anamolies, so we may try to go to the location of as many of them as we can.)

That's something I may try to remedy in a future release.  I didn't know much about anomalies when I first made GEP, so I left them out.  I'm not extremely motivated to make changes at the moment, but I'll probably get around to it eventually.

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2 minutes ago, OhioBob said:

That's something I may try to remedy in a future release.  I didn't know much about anomalies when I first made GEP, so I left them out.  I'm not extremely motivated to make changes at the moment, but I'll probably get around to it eventually.

I never bothered to check for monoliths during my playthrough- do they exist in GEP?

I recall they did in GPP a while ago but they didn't give the discovery science bonus.

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3 minutes ago, darwinpatrick said:

I never bothered to check for monoliths during my playthrough- do they exist in GEP?

There is an anomaly right next to the KSC, but I can never seem to find it. Might be the monolith you see next to the KSC on Kerbin. I suspect it is under the terrain, or the the question mark is actually supposed to represent the KSC itself.

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2 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

I never bothered to check for monoliths during my playthrough- do they exist in GEP?

Nodens in GEP_Primary should have most of the same anomalies found on Kerbin.  Nothing moved, so they should be located at the same coordinates that they are in the stock game.  There were a couple monoliths that I deleted because they ended up underwater, but everything else should be there.

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9 hours ago, darwinpatrick said:

What about the green ones on other worlds that give the science bonus?

I honestly have no idea what's there and what's not.  Aside from Nodens, anomalies is something I just didn't pay any attention to when making GEP.  All bodies use removeAllPQSMods = True, which I think removes anomalies, but I'm not sure.  If any anomalies exist, they would have been inherited from the template, which in most cases is Moho.

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Destination Toutatis: Rovers Everywhere

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A completed MK 1 Nautilus NTV-LA with its payload around Nodens

So it's been a little while since we've been around Toutatis, but now it is time to prep for crewed exploration again. The Toutatis mission will function similarly to the Caireen mission. The goal is to see what Toutatis looks like from the surface, so rovers will be critical in allowing us to see many locations. There will be no space station this time; the crew will spend the majority of their time on the surface. As a result, a larger crewed lander will be sent ahead of time. Once both of those are in place, then the crew will show up.

First up, a new Transfer Vehicle

Spoiler

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While the Orca NTV is a great transfer vehicle, it is a little over-powered for the trip between Nodens and Toutatis. If the need for decent payload fractions weren't so important, many of these payloads could be sent by chemical propulsion. Instead, smaller tankage was used, and a mixture of oxidizer and LH2 were used in the engines. The extra weight of the oxidizer did mean a larger rocket was needed. Pictured here is the first launch of a Typhoon-R4L.

 

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All four liquid boosters fed the main tank via fuel lines, and were dropped early on in a quite satisfactory shape. It's not much of a cross, but a Korolev X maybe?

 

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And here is the first view of the Mk 1 Nautilus NTV-LA

 

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Next up, a whole lot of wheels. This Typhoon-C2S launch contains the pressurized rover the crew will use as well as two unmanned rovers that will be sent down beforehand to scout areas on Toutatis's day-lit side and twilight band. Additionally, a replacement to the resource scanner lost a while back is being sent on this transfer as well.

 

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A quick rendezvous...

 

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...and the stack is ready for transfer.

 

A couple days later, when the Toutatis window opens

Spoiler

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A burn of only 1250 m/s puts the NTV-LA on a flyby through Toutatis's SOI. The team in the KSC were pleasantly surprised by that number, as they were expecting to take around 100 m/s more to get a low flyby. Any dV saved now though is a wider safety margin to get home.

 

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Transfer time is the typical 15 day time period

 

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It was chosen to brake into a low orbit in two passes. The first pass put the NTV-LA into an elliptical orbit around Toutatis, while the second burn would put the craft into a final orbit around 110 km above the surface. The replacement resource scanner was released after the first burn. It will travel with the Nautilus stack until apoapsis, where it will perform a series of burns to put it into a low polar orbit for optimal resource scanning.

 

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The craft on its way around.

 

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And after a second burn, the craft is in a comfortable equatorial orbit 111 km above Toutatis.

 

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Destination...Multiple: Mission Menagerie

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The Tou-DVH on approach to its Nautilus NTV-LA in the far distance

So we are a little all over the place right now. There's another Toutatis window opening soon, crew have been selected for the mission, and anomolies are surprisingly still being discussed. The Toutatis mission has been updated too. It is still a go, but more toys are being sent out. For reasons, that means two Nautilus's are going to Toutatis this mission.

Mod Stuff, Snacks:

Spoiler

I like having a life support system in my game both the realism and that it just feels right to have to carry extra stuff for kerbals to survive. I don't want to be completely burdened by it, which is why I really like Snacks. However, the default options of the mod really feel like it has no impact on my game currently. Almost all crewed missions I send up have enough snacks that the Snacks mission planner is always maxed out on duration. I'm not sure if its because the default settings are set low or because most of the SSPXR parts have some sort of recycler that is messing with the mission planner. To counter this, I've decided to double the amount of snacks a Kerbal consumes to see if that brings life support into a slightly more important mission aspect. If its too much, I'll tone it back. Snacks has other resources that can be added to increase its difficulty.  I might try that, but I'm not sure yet, and if I did, all crew would come home first. Additionally, trying to create Snacks in-situ takes a massive amount of EC, which may be another balancing factor, though I'm not at a stage where I'm looking to grow in-situ. For now, it's trial and error to finding the right level of consumption to give a bit of difficulty to mission planning.

 

Stop #1: A Quick Return From Belisama

Spoiler

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KSC has selected its Toutatis crew from the six kerbonauts bouncing around Belisma: Mission Pilot Jeb, Mission Scientist Herfurt, and Mission Engineer Natapont. They are to return home in preparation for their journey.

 

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Always love these images

 

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Re-entry effects + Scatterer - Scatterer Water = weird lighting effects. I've had it happen at night and at day. Not sure why it happens. Useful for finding out if you are going to splash down at night I guess.

 

Stop #2: More Toutatis Preparations

Spoiler

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Another Typhoon-R4L launch of a Nautilus NTV-La

 

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Despite being the heaviest launcher available currently, the rocket still has issues getting the NTV to orbit. There is excessive swaying that is likely wasting extra fuel.

 

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As a result, the NTV-LA has to use ~100 m/s of its own dV to make orbit. KSC has felt this will not impact safety margins going to Toutatis.

 

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As mentioned earlier, the mission profile for Toutatis has been updated. After much testing, it has been decided to split descent and ascent to and from the surface into two components. The Landing Vehicle will ferry the crew down to the surface and function as their hab for the duration of the mission, while a separate craft will function as the Ascent Vehicle. Earlier mission planning had one craft function as DV, Hab, and AV, but the design could not perform all three goals successfully, so was retooled to just be the DV and Hab.

 

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An interesting quirk of orbital mechanics allows for a launch from the Dessert Launch Pad to achieve orbit in the same inclination as an object launched from the main pad 10 days earlier. KSC is leveraging this to prep two full Nautilus's (two NTVs and two payloads; four launches total) for the next window in ~40 days.

 

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After the previous discussion about Nodens anomolies, it was most interesting to see a small white speck among the dark ground during this launch. I had put nothing there, so this was worth checking out. KSC has a crew prepped to check after this launch.

 

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The Tou-DVH is an asymmetric design with seats for 7. For life support reasons, only 3 crew are on this mission. This design is heavily inspired by the MEM.

 

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And ready to go

 

Stop #3: Now About that Potential Anomaly

Spoiler

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Junior Kerbonauts Jedbin and Hilvey took a rover ~15 km east of the Dessert Launch Site

 

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Looks like the Pyramids made it to Nodens. They look fully intact too, which is cool.

 

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Boop

Lets hope ancient kerbals don't take offense to a little bit of lasering.

 

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Full disclosure, this is my first time ever being to the Pyramids in KSP. Didn't realize how big they were.

 

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Also, really loving that tree in front there. Its so fluffy looking.

 

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Gotta leave a calling card, dont' ya.

 

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