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Helicopter circumnavigation of Duna [1.9.1]


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Hi folks,

I recently decided to do a circumnavigation of Duna by plane or helicopter. After many hours of testing, I finally came up with a compact helicopter that flew pretty darn well! Here are its specs:

- Weight: 1.24 tonne
- Top speed: ~75 m/s (65 m/s on average)
- Kerbal capacity: 2 meat bags
- Power consumption: ~2.5 Electrical untis/s
- Max air time: infinite
- KSP Version: 1.9.1 with breaking ground

My goal was to circumnavigate Duna and get as much biome-science as possible. I didn't want to visit every biome, but only land on the ones that were along the path of the circumnavigation.
Since Duna's circumference is ~2.000 km and my average speed was around 65 m/s, this mission would take me at least 8,5 hours. I believe I flew over 3.000 km in the end, but I wasn't able to record it properly, so I could be wrong.

I made a time-lapse video of the mission. You can check it out in the link below (~7:00).

 

Hope you liked it.

 

Some highlights from the mission:

  • Spoiler

     

    • Landing this craft takes quite some time, since the rotor create lift when it plummets to the ground.  Max descending speed would be 4 m/s! So that's why I brought a parachute along so I could get to the ground fast, when I needed to land. I would just brake the rotors and deploy my chute. My Engineer would repack the chute after we had landed....
      The thing is... Bill, was a level 1 engineer.... so he didn't have the skillz yet to repack the damn chute! so I had to land the slow way...
    • The helicopter flies very stable. But when you're circumnavigating with SAS on, the helicopter will eventually tilt upward due to the curvature of the planet. so I had to readjust the pitch every minute or so in order to keep a steady altitude... After 5 hours of flying I started experimenting with mechjeb2 and discovered that there is a pitch control option (with surface as a reference point)!!! that made life SOOOOO much easier haha
    • I also set up a commsat network prior the circumnavigation. I wanted to use a scientist and a SKILLED engineer to do the work. But eventually ditched the Goo and materials bay to save on weight which made the scientist obsolete, so I sent Jeb and Bill instead... making my commsat network obsolete hehe...
    • The making of the video took me almost more time than the mission itself.. Every time I rendered the movie, I discovered a new typo in the subs... It seems I'm not very good with words... :( ... I bet there are still several errors in there as we speak, but now I've run out of patience to re-render the video again haha..

     

     

 

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