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Shuttle Challenge v6 - The STS thread [Stock and Mod Friendly] Now with RSS badges!


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SHUTTLE CHALLENGE v6 - THE 1.7.X+ STS THREAD

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Incredible artwork by @HazelPine from the Screenshots Re-imagined thread

 

This heritage challenge is now in its sixth version! A history:

 

The series of challenges below represent a sliding scale of difficulty ranging from relatively simple to highly complex.

 

Updates

  • reformatting, general cleanup
  • rule updates
    • General
      • Any craft described as a base, space station, orbital outpost, etc. that houses kerbals and acts as a staging point should be assumed to require two free docking ports - one for the shuttle, and one for future missions to use for things like landers, new modules, etc. Completed craft must also have a means to generate enough power to run onboard systems unless otherwise noted.
      • If a mission requires a flyby you can capture if you want (e.g. DUNA STS-3), but you are probably making things harder for yourself. The point of a flyby is that it requires less ∆v, and done properly can save you even more. Gravity assists are your friend.
      • If a mission states that you should land and then deploy a payload from the orbiter cargo hold, you may instead perform a low altitude paradrop (or suborbital drop on a vacuum world). This isn't necessarily easier, since now you have to keep two separate craft from experiencing energetic lithobraking events.
      • Combined missions must have separate reports. Even if the actual missions are performed in parallel, the reports must fully discuss one and then the other.
      • Certain mods are still considered stock for the purposes of this challenge. See Rule 1 for details.
      • After some discussion, I have decided to allow planet mods on a trial basis. See Entropian's RSS entries for some examples.
    • STS-1b:
      • added Commander level
      • added new Fuel Pod, rules for custom fuel pods
    • STS-2b:
      • renamed to "fuel pod recovery"
      • added Commander level
    • STS-5-8:
      • the completed space station must generate enough power to operate all systems
    • STS-6T: renamed to "booster recovery", actual solid rockets not required, "dumb" boosters only
    • MUN STS-2-4:
      • base modules can be delivered in any order
      • the completed base must generate enough power to operate all systems
    • DUNA STS-2, Commander level: shuttle must bring an additional module that can carry at least two kerbals
  • new badges
    • Qualified entrants are entitled to use either the old or new badges as they prefer

Reference Materials

 

RULES - PLEASE READ THESE BEFORE ATTEMPTING THE CHALLENGES

Official definition of a shuttle for this challenge

A "reusable" winged Orbiter which carries kerbals (and cargo for any mission beyond STS-1a) to orbit and back and is capable of a horizontal landing. It's advisable to have OMS engine(s) for trajectory changes as well as an RCS system for maneuvering. The Orbiter must be lifted into space by a Launch System that decouples or undocks once expended, allowing the Orbiter to land entirely under its own power.

  1. You must declare any and all mods used so I can place you into the relevant category / award the relevant badge. A mission is considered stock if you do not use any mods that alter gameplay, or alter or change stock parts used for "essential systems" (see below) on any craft in the mission. If you have a parts mod installed but don't use it for your shuttle, the shuttle will still qualify as stock. Some examples:
    • all current and future official DLCs
    • purely visual mods (EVE, Spectra, Restock [Restock+ adds and alters parts though], Textures Unlimited)
    • information/utility mods (Kerbal Engineer Redux, MechJeb's data readouts, Editor Extensions Redux, Transfer Window Planner, Docking Port Alignment Indicator)
    • "Essential systems" means anything related to the aerospace frame, propulsion, maneuvering, docking, command, power, heat management, science - basically any core gameplay functions. This does not include parts that are entirely or mostly decorative (e.g. launchpads, decals, lights), or parts that add additional functions without interfering with stock functions (e.g. life support). See this discussion from the v5 thread for more information.
  2. Modded engines used must be approximately in balance with the stock ones. For example, while large SRBs from "SpaceY" are ok, engines with both insane TWR and ISP are not. Most Near Future parts are fine, except for some of the more advanced nuclear and ion engines.
  3. All atmospheric flight should be handled manually, with the exception of self scripted autopilot programs and "attitude hold" instruments during reentry. Mechjeb etc. are fine for on orbit procedures.
  4. All atmosphere-altering mods (except FAR) are disallowed
  5. Planet mods are allowed on a trial basis. Please ask first before running your mission so we can work out the details.
  6. You may not cheat in any way, whether it be by using plugins like HyperEdit, using the Debug Menu for infinite fuel/RCS, using kraken drives or other glitch drives, etc. Part clipping is allowed and not considered cheating.
  7. You are required to use your own shuttle when completing any of the missions below.
  8. All missions require either a screenshot album or a video showing all stages of the flight. Please organize and label your submissions as needed to make them easy to understand.
  9. Once you have completed a mission, please post your proof in this thread for my review.
  10. SSTO-only craft are not eligible for entry to the challenge. However, an SSTO-capable Orbiter with an attached Launch System is allowed.
  11. Missions must be completed in the logical order unless you are certified from earlier STS v1 - v5 challenges to the relevant level, except for the "Test Pilot" missions.
  12. Note on combining missions: Some of the simpler ones may be combined and performed at the same time. Traditionally, this has been limited to STS-1a-b and STS-2a-b. There have been a couple exceptions on occasion, but combined missions are harder to judge. Please do not combine complex, multipart missions with other missions (for example, Mun-STS-2-4). Combined missions must have a clear separation in the mission reports between one and the other. If you want to jump back and forth between them when actually performing the missions, that's up to you, but the reports need to be separate so I can make sense of them better.
  13. When in doubt about any rules, please ask first.

 

Badge elements and their meanings

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Veteran shuttle builders know what all the elements mean, but it was never outright stated in the rules before. So now, an overdue explanation:

  • The colors of the planet indicate the mission series and which planet (or other body) the series centers around.
  • The number of stars indicates the mission rank (not necessarily the same as the mission designation number).
  • The color of the stars indicates the mission difficulty - silver for Pilot, gold for Commander.
  • The color of the laurels indicates what type of parts were used for mission crafts - silver for mod parts, gold for stock only (including DLC).
  • The color of the outer piping indicates the type of mission - silver for standard missions, other colors for bonus missions.
  • Missions completed with a planet mod have a royal purple border and ribbon, with the relevant mod shown.

 

MISSIONS

Kerbin Series (STS-1a through STS-8)

Spoiler

STS-1a: Getting the Basics Right

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This is the simplest mission - all you need to do is build a space shuttle, fly it, and land it.

 

Badges Available

STS Pilot - Rank 1a

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Build a shuttle complying to the above space shuttle definition and fly it to orbit, then deorbit and land wherever you like!

 

STS Commander - Rank 1a

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Build a shuttle complying to the above space shuttle definition and fly it to orbit, then deorbit. Land at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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STS-1b: Bonus Fuel Pod Mission (Do you even lift?)

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The shuttle program unfortunately had to cancel its contract with Mullet Dyne due to unforeseen manufacturing issues with its 40t Fuel Pod. Sturmhauke Aerospace Industries has issued an updated 40t Fuel Pod, and has contracted you to take it up to the highest possible Kerbin orbit. Since it requires special on-orbit activation procedures, unmanned expendable launch vehicles are out of the question; it's up to you to take this behemoth to orbit and then return to land. Not only that, but they require a very precise orbit: You must adhere to the tolerances (Maximum difference between periapsis and apoapsis below). Do not use any of the pod's resources - it must be completely full when delivered to proper orbit! Can you do it?

Tolerances

Pe and Ap Maximum Difference
70 - 1999 km 100m
2000 - 4999 km 500 m
4000 - 5999 km 1 km
6000 - 8000 km 10 km
8000+ km 50 km

SAI Fuel Pod available here

 

If you have successfully taken the Fuel Pod to orbit (70+ km), you get the special Flight Director badge, the ultimate display of piloting and engineering prowess and skill.

Note: if you are using a narrow-bodied shuttle and the standard Fuel Pod will not fit in the cargo bay, you may construct your own custom Fuel Pod instead. It must:

  • weigh a minimum of 40t fully loaded
  • have a similar ratio of LF, Ox, Ore, and Monopropellant
  • have at least one docking port (resource transfer should be disabled), probe core, battery, and reaction wheel
  • have sufficient electrical generation to run them

 

Badges Available

STS Pilot - Rank 1b

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Take the fuel pod to orbit, then deorbit and land anywhere you want.

 

STS Commander - Rank 1b

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Take the fuel pod to orbit, then deorbit. Land at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

 old badges:

Spoiler

(Pilot only - Commander badges were never made before v6)

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STS-2a: Can You Hear Me?

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This mission is slightly harder - your goal is to design and deploy two or more comsats to geostationary orbits from your Shuttle and to return to Kerbin. Additional goals are required for higher-ranking badges. Geostationary orbits are circular equatorial orbits with an altitude of 2,863,334.06 m and a period of 5h 59m 9.425s - it's typically easier (and more important) to adjust the period length than to get both the Ap and Pe to the exact same value.  More information here

 

Badges Available

STS Pilot - Rank 2

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Reach an orbit of 200+ km with your shuttle, and then deploy two comsats to geostationary orbits. Deorbit and land anywhere you want.

 

STS Commander - Rank 2

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Reach an orbit of 350+ km with your shuttle, and then deploy three or more comsats to equidistant geostationary orbits (that is, 3 satellites should be placed 120 degrees apart, 4 should be 90 degrees apart, etc). Deorbit and land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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STS-2b: Bonus Fuel Pod Recovery Mission (Do You Even Land?)

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Mullet Dyne has contracted you to recover their 40t fuel pod from where you left it, after contaminates were discovered in the fuel. Can you land the thing!? Do not use any of the pod's resources - it must be completely full when landed! If you have successfully landed the 40t fuel pod (from where you left it), you get the special Flight Director - Rank 2 badge, the ultimate display of piloting and engineering prowess and skill.

 

Badges Available

STS Pilot - Rank 2b

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Retrieve the fuel pod from STS-1b, then deorbit and land anywhere you want.

 

STS Commander - Rank 2b

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Retrieve the fuel pod from STS-1b, then deorbit. Land at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

(Pilot only - Commander badges were never made before v6)

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STS-3: Can You See Me?

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Your mission here involves some design and orbital construction - you are to launch a Space Telescope into orbit and deploy it. This will require assembly with the 2 MMUs (Manned Maneuvering Units, like this one) you will design, as the solar panels need to be attached on-orbit with Kerbals.

 

Badges Available

STS Pilot - Rank 3

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Launch the space telescope to an orbit of your choice and deploy and assemble it; afterwards, deorbit and land anywhere you want.

 

STS Commander - Rank 3

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Launch the space telescope to a 550+ km circular orbit inclined at 25-30 degrees and assemble it. After deployment, deorbit and land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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STS-4/4R: Can You Rescue Me?

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This'll be the most daring mission so far - first, you must launch a single shuttle to orbit, then send another shuttle to rescue it. See this article for technical details of the IRL proposed STS-107 rescue. Resource transfer between the two shuttles is not allowed.

 

Badges Available

STS Pilot - Rank 4

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Launch your first space shuttle into a 200+ km orbit with a minimum of 4 crew, then send up your second shuttle to rendezvous with it and rescue its crew before coming in to land anywhere you wish.

 

STS Commander - Rank 4

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Launch your first space shuttle into an 350+ km orbit with 6 crew at an inclination of 25-30 degrees, then send your second shuttle to rendezvous with it and rescue its crew. Land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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STS-5-8: Can You Build Me?

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Your mission here is to build a 4 module space station with your space shuttle, carrying one module per launch in an order of your choice.

Your space station must have:

  • A service module with power generation, RCS, engines, and reaction wheels
  • A habitation module
  • 2 scientific modules

 

Badges Avaliable

STS Pilot - Rank 5

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Assemble your space station above 150km. After each mission, you may land anywhere you want.

 

STS Commander - Rank 5

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Assemble your space station above 300km. After each mission, land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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Kerbin Bonus Series (STS-9)

Spoiler

STS-9: Can You Land Me???

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This mission is significantly more difficult than those before it. You must develop your own unique sub-assembly and fly a daring mission in order to capture a space potato and return it to Kerbin for study. This will test the balance and re-entry capability of your shuttle to the limits and is not for the feint of heart! Also It's not mandatory for a kerbal to ride the asteroid in on top of the shuttle, but serious respect if you manage it. Example mission here if you need inspiration.

 

Badges Avaliable

STS Pilot - Rank 6

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Launch your shuttle and capture an asteroid, then deorbit and land wherever you like!

 

STS Commander - Rank 6

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Launch your shuttle and capture an asteroid, then deorbit. Land at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED THE ORIGINAL KERBIN SERIES IN ORDER TO PROGRESS TO THE MUN SERIES

Mun Series (MUN STS-1 through MUN STS-7)

Spoiler

MUN STS-1: Do I have Mun-quakes?

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Landing on an airless body was never going to be easy in a shuttle, but your task is to not only successfully land on the Mun, but to deploy a small research facility of your choice to study the Mun. Oh yes you need to get back too!

 

Badges Available

Mun STS Pilot - Rank 1

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Land your shuttle anywhere on the Mun and deploy a small un-manned research facility (which you will design) on the surface and then return home, capturing however you like and landing where you want.

 

Mun STS Commander - Rank 1

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Land your shuttle on the Mun and deploy a manned research facility (which you will design) on the surface and then return home, perform an aerocapture and land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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MUN STS-2-4: Can You Explore me?

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@qzgy and his rather large munar base

 

This mission will really test your piloting skills, as well as the capability to design various payloads that you can transport in your shuttle.

Landing on an airless body was never going to be easy in a shuttle. But since you managed to do that, how about precision landings? You have to perform three shuttle missions to construct a scientific outpost with the following modules. Modules may be launched in any order.

  • A habitation module for at least 5 kerbals with power generation, an antenna, and a docking port
  • A pressurized rover for at least 5 kerbals, that is capable to dock to the habitation module
  • An Emergency Escape Vehicle (EEV) for the whole crew

The shuttles don't have to stay on the Mun, you can fly them home after deploying their payload.

 

Badges Avaliable

Mun STS Pilot - Rank 2

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Construct your base anywhere on the Mun. Dock the rover to the base, take your crew for a short ride and dock the rover back. After exploring the area, use the EEV to transport the crew to a stable Munar orbit, and rescue them however you like. Land all three shuttles anywhere on Kerbin.

 

Mun STS Commander - Rank 2

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Construct your base at greater latitude than 60° north or south. Dock the rover to the base, take your crew for a short ride and dock the rover back. After exploring the area, use the EEV to transport the crew back to Kerbin - the EEV must be capable of reentry and safe landing. Land all three shuttles either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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MUN STS-5-7: Can you LOP-G?

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Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway

 

This mission uses the shuttle program to expand the infrastructure around the Mun - you will build a space station in munar orbit to support Mun exploration and serve as an outpost for long duration stay in space.

The station consists of 3 modules:

  • The PPE (Power & Propulsion Element) that generates electrical power and has ion engines for orbital maneuvering
  • A science module/docking adapter
  • A habitation module

 

Badges Avaliable

Mun STS Pilot - Rank 3

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Assemble your LOP-G for at least 6 kerbals in any munar orbit with periapsis above 600 km. Land all three shuttles anywhere on Kerbin.

 

Mun STS Commander - Rank 3

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Assemble your LOP-G for at least 12 kerbals in a polar munar orbit (inclination of at least 85°) with periapsis and apoapsis between 600 and 700 km. After the departure of the last shuttle, demonstrate the orbital maneuvering capacity of the station by raising the orbit periapsis and apoapsis above 2000 km. Land all three shuttles either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED THE ORIGINAL KERBIN SERIES IN ORDER TO PROGRESS TO THE DUNA SERIES

Duna Series (DUNA STS-1 through DUNA STS-3)

Spoiler

DUNA STS-1: Can You Visit Me?

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This mission is significantly more challenging than those before it and may require extensive shuttle modifications, or even a new shuttle design for some. You must develop your own unique sub-assembly and fly an epic interplanetary mission to Duna in order to deploy a small orbital outpost. This will test the range, aero-capture, and re-entry capability of your shuttle to the limits and is not for the feint of heart! The orbital outpost must have: 

  • Room for 4 or more kerbals,
  • Power generation and storage
  • Antenna for communication
  • Probe core with SAS

NOTE: You may launch 1 support package for your shuttle using a traditional rocket or shuttle launch for this mission.

 

Badges Avaliable

Duna STS Pilot - Rank 1

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Launch your shuttle to Duna, capture how ever you like, deploy an orbital outpost at your chosen altitude, and return home, capturing however you like and landing where you want.

 

Duna STS Commander - Rank 1

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Launch your shuttle to Duna, aero-brake/capture at Duna, deploy an orbital outpost below 70km, and return home, aero-brake/capture at Kerbin, land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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DUNA STS-2: Can You Land on me?

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This mission requires not only a Shuttle capable of getting to Duna, but also one capable of landing on the red planet and successfully returning to Kerbin. You may require extensive shuttle modifications, or even a new shuttle design for this mission.

NOTE: You may launch 1 support package for your shuttle using a traditional rocket or shuttle launch for this mission.

 

Badges Avaliable

Duna STS Pilot - Rank 2

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Launch your shuttle to Duna, capture how ever you like and visit your orbital outpost from Duna STS-1 before or after your Duna landing. Return home, capturing however you like and landing where you want.

 

Duna STS Commander - Rank 2

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Launch your shuttle to Duna, bringing a new module along. The module must be able to carry at least 2 kerbals and have a defined purpose, but that is up to you. Some examples:

  • ground research station
  • refueling depot
  • exploration rover
  • aerial survey craft
  • additional orbital outpost modules (habitation, science lab, etc.)

Aero-brake/capture at Duna and visit your orbital outpost from Duna STS-1 in Low Duna Orbit before or after your Duna landing. Return home, aero-brake/capture at Kerbin, land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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DUNA STS-3: Can You Von Braun me?

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This mission continues to build your own infrastructure around Duna, but has a small twist requiring skilled interplanetary navigation. Your task is to bring a fully reusable lander to your Duna outpost from Duna STS-1 and return to Kerbin performing a flyby of Eve. This was an idea of Wernher Von Braun for his "Marsproject" missions, which would shorten the duration of the mission.

 

Badges Avaliable

Duna STS Pilot - Rank 3

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Launch your shuttle to Duna, capture how ever you like, rendezvous with your orbital outpost from Duna STS-1 and deploy the lander for at least two kerbals. Then run a mission where you land on the surface of Duna, plant a flag and return to the outpost without decoupling anything from your lander. Leave the lander docked to the outpost. Transfer from Duna to Eve, perform a flyby and set yourself on a course to Kerbin. Return home, capturing however you like and landing where you want.

 

Duna STS Commander - Rank 3

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Launch your shuttle to Duna. Aero-brake/capture at Duna, rendezvous with your orbital outpost from Duna STS-1 and deploy the lander for at least four kerbals. Then run a mission where you land on the surface of Duna, plant a flag and return to the outpost without decoupling anything from your lander. Leave the lander docked to the outpost. Transfer from Duna to Eve. When in Eve's SOI, deploy two communication satelites - one in a circular polar orbit with a periapsis of at least 2 000 km, one in a circular equatorial orbit with an apoapsis of less than 150 km. Perform a flyby and set yourself on a course to Kerbin. Return home, aero-brake/capture at Kerbin, land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED THE ORIGINAL KERBIN SERIES IN ORDER TO PROGRESS TO THE JOOL SERIES

Jool Series (JOOL STS-1)

Spoiler

JOOL STS-1: Can You Breathe here?

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This mission is hideously challenging and will no doubt require extensive shuttle modifications, or even a totally new shuttle design. You must develop your own unique sub-assemblies and fly an epic interplanetary mission to Laythe in order to deploy a small ground outpost capable of refining Ore (for Pilot level) with the addition of an atmospheric exploration aircraft (for Commander level). This mission is designed to test your shuttle in the extreme, and also your payload construction and deployment methods.

The ground outpost must have:

  • Ore refinery and fuel storage with docking port
  • Room for 4 or more kerbals

The Atmospheric Exploration Aircraft must have:

  • Room for 1 or more kerbals
  • Docking port

NOTE: You may launch 1 support package for your shuttle using a traditional rocket or shuttle launch for this mission.

 

Badges Avaliable

Jool STS Pilot - Rank 1

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Launch your shuttle to Laythe, and land on Laythe before deploying an outpost capable of refining Ore. Return home, capturing however you like and landing where you want.

 

Jool STS Commander - Rank 1

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Launch your shuttle to Laythe, and land on Laythe before deploying an outpost capable of refining Ore and before or after deploying an atmospheric exploration aircraft. Return home, capture however you like and land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED THE ORIGINAL KERBIN SERIES IN ORDER TO PROGRESS TO THE EVE SERIES

Eve Series (EVE STS-1)

Spoiler

EVE STS-1: Can You Survive Me?

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Shuttles were designed for both space and atmospheric flight. This mission will test that to extreme lenghts. Will your shuttle survive Eve's infernal atmosphere, or will a new design be neccessary?

Your mission is to deliver a probe to dip into Eve's atmosphere, collect the experiment unit from the probe and return it back to Kerbin.

The recovered experiment unit from the probe has to contain:

  • at least 3 different science experiments
  • a probe core
  • a battery

NOTE: You may launch 1 support package for your shuttle using a traditional rocket or shuttle launch for this mission.

 

Badges Avaliable

Eve STS Pilot - Rank 1

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Launch your shuttle to Eve, capture however you like, deploy the atmospheric probe. The probe must dip into the atmosphere below 70 km, perform the scientific experiments and get back to orbit. Rendezvous the shuttle and the probe, and get the experiment unit of the probe to your cargo bay. Return home, capturing however you like and landing where you want.

 

Eve STS Commander - Rank 1

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Launch your shuttle to Eve, aero-brake/capture at Eve, deploy the atmospheric probe. The probe must dip into the atmosphere below 60 km, perform the scientific experiments and get back to orbit. Rendezvous the shuttle and the probe, and get the experiment unit of the probe to your cargo bay. Return home, aero-brake/capture at Kerbin, land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED THE ORIGINAL KERBIN SERIES IN ORDER TO PROGRESS TO THE MINMUS SERIES

Minmus Series (MINMUS STS-1)

Spoiler

One very close celestial body has been neglected by this challenge so far. Mun's little brother, Minmus. That is over, a series of missions will be dedicated to the little rock floating around Kerbin. Since it's quite close, some parts are beautifully flat, and the gravity is negligible, these missions will probably not be very difficult for shuttle veterans. These conditions are however optimal for a new goal of the shuttle program - building and supplying a huge fuel depot in LKO. So, in this series of missions, you will explore this small celestial body and design and build the infrastructure needed to mine on Minmus, refine the minerals into fuels of different kind and transport it to the fuel depot in low orbit of Kerbin. This will serve as an important step toward the big missions the program was progressing towards. The details have not been announced to the public yet, but we'll learn the details soon.

MINMUS STS-1: Ice cream mining operations: Prelude

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The first Minmus mission will do a bit of a reconnaisance. Are there any resources? If so, where are they located? You will take a look at this both from orbit and from the surface.

NOTE: In this mission you will pick a site which will be used in the rest of the Minmus missions. I recommend picking one in one of the "Flats" biomes, since base construction is much easier on level ground.

 

Badges Avaliable

Minmus STS Pilot - Rank 1

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Reach low minmus orbit and deploy a resource scanning sat. After performing the scan, pick a spot with reasonable ore concentration and land your shuttle nearby. You will then deploy a rover for at least 2 kerbals and perform additional measurements with the surface scanning module. After performing the scan, return home, capturing however you like and landing where you want.

 

Minmus STS Commander - Rank 1

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Reach low minmus orbit and deploy a resource scanning sat and one additional CommSat, which you will place in a polar orbit with a Pe and Ap of your choice. After performing the scan, pick a spot with reasonable ore concentration and land your shuttle nearby. You will then deploy a pressurized (no command chairs) rover for at least 4 kerbals and perform additional measurements with the surface scanning module. After performing the scan, return home, perform an aero-capture and land at either at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

old badges:

Spoiler

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"TEST PILOT" MISSIONS - NO PREVIOUS MISSIONS REQUIRED

Test Pilot Series (STS-1T through STS-6T)

Spoiler

An STS- or Buran-style orbiter and launch vehicle are highly recommended. You might not be able to complete certain missions with a significantly different design!

STS-1T: Approach and landing test

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Approach and landing tests were a series of test flights of a space shuttle prototype "Enterprise" conducted in 1977. The aim was to verify the systems behaviour and test the parametres of atmospheric flight of the orbiter. The orbiter was released at an altitude over 7,000 metres and glided to land at the Edwards air force base. A bit of reading on shuttle flight testing available here.

Your mission is to design an aircraft that will take your shuttle to an altitude over 5,000 metres, separate from the aircraft, and glide for a landing at the KSC. The orbiter can not use engines of any kind during the whole mission.

 

Badges Avaliable

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STS-2T: RTLS abort

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Let's not practice Russian roulette, because you may have a loaded gun there. [John Young, STS-1 commander]

 

RTLS (Return to launch site) was one of the procedures considered for aborting an STS mission after losing one of the SSMEs during the early stages of flight. It was considered the most dangerous abort mode, and was never used in a real mission. To read more about RTLS abort, I recommend this article, or a wiki page on all the different abort modes here.

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RTLS abort chart from NASA manual

 

Your mission here is to simulate an RTLS abort situation. You will launch as usual, heading to orbit of your choice. At approximately T+30, simulate a loss of one of the main engines (for example by an action group). Continue your ascent, ditch the SRBs. When you are over 50 000 metres, commence the PPA (powered pitcharound) while still burning the SSMEs, and possibly the OMS engines. Your ascent trajectory should put you out of the atmosphere for a while. After depleting most of the ET fuel, separate from the tank and glide back to the KSC runway for landing.

Badges Avaliable

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old badge:

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STS-3T: Cassini-Huygens

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This mission is a bit different than the two previous missions - the main focus is not shuttle flying, but payload design, mission planning and advanced interplanetary navigation. Your goal is to run a mission to the Jool system, mimicking the famous Cassini-Hyugens mission, which brought us a lot of valuable information on Saturn and its moons. If you're not really familiar with Cassini-Huygens mission, a brief article can be found here.

Your task is to launch a space shuttle carrying the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft (and its trasfer stage) to LKO. After deploying the probe, the shuttle will land on Kerbin. Then, you will carry on with the mission to Jool.

There are very specific requirements for the spacecraft and mission profile, so, please, read carefully!

  • The transfer stage must consist of solid rocket boosters only, and must separate after a single burn in LKO
  • The Cassini probe must be at least 1,5 tons, the Huygens lander must be at least 1 ton
  • The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft + the transfer stage must fit into the long MK3 cargo bay
  • The Cassini spacecraft and Huygens lander must enter Jool's SOI before separating from each other
  • The Cassini probe has to flyby at least four of Jool's moons and finish its mission by entering Jool's atmosphere, where it will meet its fiery end
  • The Huygens lander will land on Laythe
  • The only fuel tanks allowed on the spacecraft and the lander are: a single R-12 "Doughnut" (left) for the Cassini probe and a single "Oskar-B" (right) fuel tank for the Huygens lander

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Badges Avaliable

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old badge:

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STS-4T: Skylab boost mission

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Your mission here is to rescue the Skylab station - something NASA failed to achieve because of significant delays in the shuttle program. And while you are at it, you will improve the station a bit. There will be two shuttle launches in this mission.

A bit of reading about a possible skylab boost mission can be found here.

First, you will have to set up the station into a correct orbit. You can either download michal.don's version from KerbalX here, or build your own. If you choose to build your own, please build it in a way so all the objectives are achievable. The easiest way to set up the orbit is to go to "cheat menu" (alt+F12), choose cheats/set orbit, and put the station in an orbit with Ap/Pe between 80 and 90 km, and an inclination between 50 and 52 degrees. However, if you want, you might launch it on a rocket.

The first shuttle mission will:

  • Rendezvous with Skylab
  • Bring a docking adapter for all the future missions - the docking ports do not have enough clearance for a shuttle
  • Remove and deorbit the solar/comms array (detachable via docking port jr.)
  • Disconnect, load into a cargo bay and land the hab module (on the right of the screenshot, detachable via docking port sr.)
  • Dock a rocket stage to Skylab, which will boost the station into an at least 200 km/200 km orbit

The second shuttle mission will:

  • Rendezvous and dock with skylab (which is now in a 200 km/200 km orbit)
  • Bring a new habitation module
  • Bring a new solar/comms module
  • Bring crew of at least 3 to Skylab

Both shuttles have to land on Kerbin after their mission. You can do the "repairs" however you like - by MMUs, or some sort of probes doing the docking work. As always, creativity is encouraged.

 

Badges Avaliable

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old badge:

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STS-5T: Shuttle-Apollo crossover

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This mission is a bit ridiculous, but will test yet another aspect of spaceflight planning - free return trajectories, and your capacity to guide your shuttle to a precise landing from sub-optimal entry conditions. Wiki article about free return trajectories can be found here.

Your mission here will be to design an Apollo-like spacecraft for three kerbals and a lander for two kerbals. You will launch the spacecraft in a shuttle cargo bay, and the shuttle will perform a maneuver to reach a munar free return trajectory, which will place you into Kerbin's atmosphere on the inbound leg of the journey.

You may perform one small correction burn on your way to Mun. In Mun's SOI, you will deploy the spacecraft, which will then burn for munar orbit, land two kerbals on Mun, rendezvous in LMO and return the crew to Kerbin in the command module.

The shuttle will meanwhile continue its flyby of Mun and begin its way back to Kerbin. You may perform another small correction burn. Then you will perform a direct entry and land at the KSC runway, the Island Airfield off the KSC coast, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

 

Badges Avaliable

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old badge:

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STS-6T: Booster recovery

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This mission doesn't focus on the orbiter, but on another part of the launch vehicle and the infrastructure associated with it. The SRBs of a space shuttle were supposed to be recoverable after splashdown to be refurbished and reflown in a short time. There were issues about that caused by damage from the sea water and the refurbishment was much more costly than estimated.

Your mission here has two parts: you will launch a shuttle, separate the boosters as usual, and let them splash down in the water safely. It's not necessary to fly the shuttle all the way to orbit; from the point of SRB separation you do not have to focus on the shuttle at all. Also, you don't actually have to use solid rockets, liquid rockets are fine. However it should be a "dumb" booster - that is, it should just deploy chutes and land. No flyback boosters or anything fancy. Then a vehicle/several vehicles of your design will transport one of the boosters all the way to the SPH.

 

Badges Avaliable

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old badge:

Spoiler

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HONORARY BADGES

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STS Engineer Award

Given by an STS Architect for developing a sub-assembly that ends up being a core part of this challenge, or for assisting heavily in the development of a Shuttle. If you have a sub-assembly you'd like to be reviewed, please post a detailed analysis and example mission report in the challenge thread.

 

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Skunkworks Badge

This badge is given to people who have submitted especially unique and outstanding designs which abide by the given definition of a space shuttle. Skunkworks badge holders are still eligible for the above mission badges. The full list of Skunkworks badge holders is as follows:

  • @Alchemist - A full Jool-5 run in two shuttles completed on the Jool STS-1. A mission report here
  • @Ozelui - Two shuttles going on an adventure to Duna, building crazy stuff all over the place. STS Duna 2 report here
  • @Kerbolitto - An extensive trip through the inner solar system, including a Moho landing. A mission report here
  • @QF9E - A Grand Tour with a shuttle landing on every single body except for Eve, which instead used a specialized lander and a diving bell to reach the Explodium Sea floor. A mission report (Part I) here

 

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Architect Badge

To receive the Architect Badge is a rare honor. To be awarded at my discretion, or through nomination of michal.don, Speeding Mullet, mythic_fci, or inigma for my consideration, and given for acts of invaluable contribution to the challenge above and beyond the call of duty. The full list of Architect badge holders is as follows:

  • @inigma - Original Challenge Creator/Manager, Builder of highly-capable STS Space Shuttle and numerous STS-related subassemblies
  • @mythic_fci - Version 2 Challenge Creator/Manager, builder of a highly capable shuttle, and excellent giver of advice
  • @Speeding Mullet - Version 3 and 4 Challenge Creator, temporary admin of Version 2 Challenge
  • @michal.don - Version 5 Challenge Creator, expanded the STS program to Eve and Minmus and many new missions
  • @xoknight - Creator and maintainer of the venerable Hubble Space Telescope across 3 versions, requiring consistent updates
 
Edited by sturmhauke
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v5 is dead, long live the v6!

Good luck, and may the shuttles here bring you as much joy as the ones in the previous version brought me! :) And who knows, after I manage to cure my burnout, maybe I'll come for the badges |I did not have the chance to claim myslef as the challenge admin.... :)

Michal.don

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Im Working On A New Shuttle, Note, The shuttle is an SSTO however, A booster has been fitted to it and it has an ion drive for deep space

I also Have a Cargo Variant of it for the kerbin series.

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An SSTO-capable shuttle with boosters attached has been ruled acceptable in the past, so that's fine. Ion engines are ok if you want, but you may find the burn times hard to deal with. And while a few missions don't require a payload, keep in mind that the primary purpose of a shuttle is to haul heavy and/or complex equipment to orbit and beyond. Then again, you can build an entirely new shuttle each time if you like (I'm working on #5 personally). 

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I didn't get a chance to address this in the last thread before it was closed. Sorry, but I must insist that you complete STS-2a before posting new missions. I have to maintain some order around here, after all. :confused:

As for your ideas for new challenges, you and anyone else are free to submit a proposal. I cannot promise that I will use your ideas, but I will take them into consideration. I've also had a conversation with michal.don about his ideas that he didn't have a chance to implement.

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And rabbit hole of redesign went to... conclusion. Did not meet my expectations to make 6 segment cargo bay, but! I met my expectations for 5 segment cargo bay as I wanted in SMM type 1...

Just back from sub-orbital testing. Last flight is done fully in cockpit of my new SMM05 Vita Vibius.

Spoiler

 

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Everything as planned, just like my hope and dreams for the April 2020...

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While original SMM design have proven to be reliable tool in the space exploration it nevertheless felt short of its initial goals. SMM01, SMM02, SMM03 of type 1 are not planned to be retired any time soon. Type 1 most likely would be the first crewed ships to reach as far as Jool. But SMM04 Lapis Livi felt short of its initial design. It has proved to be expensive toy for station resupply missions and after dozen or so automated missions was mothballed and later cannibalised for parts to create next SMM in the line.

SMM05 Vita Vibius is actually 6th ever built Starplane. The first one was lost sub-orbital prototype SMM-P (report states: "Prototype was lost to an outstanding showcase of piloting skills by the test pilot").

Vita Vibius is officially designated as type 3 and it has extended cargo bay that meets original specifications for SMM program. Type 3 has bigger volume of cargo payload as it proven essential during Mun lunches by the type 1. Also after Aurora Arbore IX investigation Kerbal Security Committee is strongly opposed to usage of forward cargo payload on SMM as insecure and reckless cost-cutting feature.

Vita Vibius re-imagines power section that initially was "strap on with of the shelf sub-orbital jet engines" solution for SMM type 1. Type 3 have custom engine design that do have oxidizer afterburner for more versatility. In this design 4 CR-7 are combined with 4 J-404 and allow for good performance in subsonic and supersonic speeds.

Some advancements in the crew security were made. While majority of the crew still have one-way ticket if anything goes south, SMM now have double cockpit and both commander and pilot now can eject from doomed Starplane.

While definitely heavier on the full load SMM05 is not scheduled to land heavy payloads any time soon. However it is clear that LKO construction is the playground for this SMM.


After sub-orbital tests first real named mission is deployment and replacement of old glitchy Stationary Relay Network around Kerbin.

STS-2a Commander entry:

Spoiler

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https://imgur.com/a/jgrgEr7

Mission: Vita Vibius I. (STS-1a Commander)
Crew: 5.
Commander: Bill Kerman.
Goals:
- Deploy new Stationary Relay Network;
- Test orbital engine and sub-orbital blocks of SMM05.
- Try to achieve supersonic transfer during landing.

And with some spare old Heavy Launch System boosters Vita Vibius launched itself to eccentric LKO. From there by using only its own orbital engine block she have made to 1/3 synchronous KSO via several burns. After that every orbit relay satellite was launched and boosted by own propulsion to circular KSO.

All three satellites were launched and made their adjustment burns to form perfect triangular network around Kerbin. Vita Vibius was put into aero-break trajectory around 40 km deep into atmosphere.

And during aero breaking it started to be clear that Vita Vibious is falling short of Desert airfield, so KSA suggested Summer Kerman to pilot to Tundra Space Center. Bill have confirmed course of action and ordered sharp maneuver to TSC.

During mach 4 transfer Vita Vibious showed rather unstable behavior due to poor fuel type planning and required manual control of fuel payload to keep center of mass in place. And at TSC... well the crew was amazed by length of airstrip... and its narrow profile. 

Summer Kerman with glorious words "Hold my avocados!" descended onto airstrip and put landing gears both on the airstrip and on one of the sides of drainage channel. After several unsettling bumps, throttling thrust the wrong way and pushing breaks to hard Summer Performed unbelievable and put SMM to stop right in center of airstrip! What a landing! This one need to go onto KerTube top 10 daring landings in history of space flight!

And yep... it is my first landing at TSC. And Summer Kerman is the reason that everything would be Kerbal every single mission she is on board.

Edited by Yakez
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And now here is more reckless piloting in low Gee this time.

This one become really interesting one, made rather strange docking from the first attempt, and suffered first real software malfunction during landing!  Honestly I could not really push heavy launch system further because my FPS during launch already made manual piloting an issue... Even cutting main FPS offenders - Mainsail Engines did not really fixed an issue. Ok, so the Minmus saga begins!

 

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Minmus STS-1 entry:

Spoiler

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https://imgur.com/a/B1RxFbs

Mission: Aurora Arbore VIII (Minmus STS-1).
Crew: 7.
Commander: Valentina Kerman.
Goals:
- Perform the heaviest launch effectively doubling first SSM launch mass of 600t;
- Perform extensive tests of LAME (Logistics & Assistance Modular Essentials) as replacement of FMCS (Fuel Management and Conservation System);
- Reach Minmus and deploy survey and comm satellites;
- Land without LAME at most promising refinery location, deploy rover and perform further analysis;
- Land LAME remotely and test refinery capabilities;
- Attempt to perform docking of SMM to LAME while it is on the ground;
- Test refuelling capabilities of LAME;
- Test ascent capabilities of LAME;
- Return to LKO with LAME for further instructions;

New LAME (Logistics & Assistance Modular Essentials) is promising prototype system that can potentially help SMM reach any place in Kerbol system!

Launching effectively double the mass of SMM is quite the task. This time around HLS was equipped with total of 24 Vector Engines and had total mass over 1200t! After launch and LKO setup it was clear that burn times of rather under-powered NEC type 1b require higher orbit. So the Minmus burn was made from 420 km orbit.

After Minmus transfer Aurora Arbore launched two satellites to establish stronger comm coverage and survey the surface for the ore deposits. And when the suitable place was chosen Aurora Arbore undocked from LAME and landed in VTOL configuration.

After rather mundane rover release 4 crew members went on expedition to determine most suitable places for ore mining. Driving around Minmus is not an easy task and at some point rover even lost one of solar panel segments... but how? Expedition report do not uncover that mystery.

Expedition made short detour to took some photos of Minmus flats for various photostocks and then returned to Aurora Arbore.

LAME was summoned remotely and landed nearby to SMM. Crew went to check all the systems from the ground, especially stability of landing gears and drill rig. Refinery was launched and the next task was quite Kerbal in spirit...

Valentina Kerman ascended SMM in VTOL mode to 4km+ altitude and then flipped Aurora Arbore on tail engaging orbital maneuvering engines. Now the goal was to land back docking port on LAME top docking port! First attempt was made manually, but it was clear that Valentina definitely lacks in the department of left and right... or maybe docking port was installed in backwards orientation? 

SMM rather easily aborted back several kilometres and then used MechJeb automated landing. Second attempt was a near miss failure, but this time it was in vicinity of the ground, full throttle saved the situation.

After small ascent third attempt was made with assistance of MechJeb docking computer combined with manual throttling of orbital maneuvering engines. And it worked like a charm! SMM made first successful vertical docking on the surface of celestial body beyond Kerbin!

After several days of ore refinement SMM, LAME and even ore tanks were fully loaded (to simulate SMM cargo payload). Aurora Arbore under power of 9 Cub engines was able to make into LMO with oxidizer that was provided only by LAME. 

AAVII was put into aero-capture Kerbin trajectory and KSA ordered disposal of LAME prototype. While prototype have achieved its goals for the mission it does not have proper suspension, sufficient cooling and power sections for the future use.

Three breaking orbits later mission has opted for landing procedures. And at an altitude around of 25 km has suffered severe multi-function! At first it was not clear what put SMM into spin and Valentina started to pumping some fuel into forward tanks. But then she realised that one of breaking flaps is not deployed correctly. After failed attempt to make manual override Valentina opted for secondary backup systems (hooray for the over engineering!!!). Nose stabilization RCS and clever usage of aero breaks were enough to stabilize SMM.

Landing without flaps at KSC was a bit rough but nevertheless flawless! Thorough investigation on flaps software malfunction would be conducted. 

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Edited by Yakez
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1 hour ago, Yakez said:

Everything as planned, just like my hope and dreams for the April 2020...

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Yes, this is more like it! It appears you landed on an access road rather than a runway though, lol. But it's still pavement, and probably harder not to break a wheel off in the ditch, so I'll allow it. Congratulations on your new Commander badge!

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1 hour ago, Yakez said:

And now here is more reckless piloting in low Gee this time.

This one become really interesting one, made rather strange docking from the first attempt, and suffered first real software malfunction during landing!  Honestly I could not really push heavy launch system further because my FPS during launch already made manual piloting an issue... Even cutting main FPS offenders - Mainsail Engines did not really fixed an issue. Ok, so the Minmus saga begins!

More good work, and you definitely have a flair for screenshots. Too bad your mining module didn't work out though. But even so...

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And here is your latest Commander badge!

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It is now my pleasure to announce a special award.You know him as the administrator of the previous edition of this challenge, but more than that he created many new missions, including two new celestial bodies and a new series of test pilot missions. He also had the longest-running edition of the challenge, at 3 years and 90 pages, and attracted many new recruits. It is my honor to present the Architect Badge to @michal.don!

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9 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

More good work, and you definitely have a flair for screenshots. Too bad your mining module didn't work out though. But even so...

And here is your latest Commander badge!

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As they say "A speediest way to the Naboo it is going through the plaanet corrre!". Fixed LAME would be absolutely part of Duna STS-2 and JOOL STS-1.

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So here are my proposals on Minmus challenge badge 2. Minmus saga continuous...

Minmus is my favourite destination aside my mind constantly saying, that it is to unreal to have two moons so close to the Kerbol. Maybe someone have put it there? Advanced ancient lost civilisations? Aliens? Killing Death Machines? Spacecows? Oh common, Kerbin is flat and KSA is full of paid actors, check their bios, they all have attended junior school theater!

Surprisingly it can be challenging! At least if you consider my commander requirements. Otherwise it is pretty simple - create Minmus refinery, put a lab, put a recreation module, refuel Shuttle and land on Mun or asteroid before Kerbin return.

 

"Minmus STS-2-4. Ice cream mining operations: Mint contamination."

To create big fuel refinement operation at LKO we do need a proof that Minmus can be viable fuel source for our Shuttle program.

First stage: Deploy separate refinery module with dedicated power that can refuel Shuttle on the surface of Minmus. Then refuel Shuttle to full tanks for the trip back.

Example of Minmus STS-2 challenge proposal entry:

Spoiler

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https://imgur.com/a/sl0ToZq

Mission: Aurora Arbore IX.
Crew: 5.
Commander: Valentina Kerman.
Goals:
- Reach Minmus and deploy mobile refinery as first component of Auxilium Base;
- Test docking and refuel capabilities of mobile refinery;
- Return to Kerbin;

Now KSA was under the pressure since its promise to lower costs of interplanetary SMM launches. No joke, double launch of SMM to Duna outraged the taxpayers. "they just show off launching 2 missions instead of 1!". While LAME development is promising stepping stone for cheaper SMM program and actual planned Duna landing would satisfy public opinion, public definitely needs showcase of re-usability here and now, yesterday!111

AAIX launched as part of an upgraded original Launch System and was first "light" launch in years. On the board was mobile refinery for Minmus base. After achieving Minmus orbit Aurora Arbore landed at previous landing site of AAVIII mission.

Mobile Refinery was successfully deployed and after inspection by EVA crew was docked to the SMM for refuel operations. After SMM tanks were full it was time for Kerbin return.

Transfer back to Kerbin went as planned. Mass media outlets were finally happy with their "first space gas station" (nobody even checked that it had all the delta V to do mission even without Minmus pit stop...)

Second stage: For quality control of refined fuels deploy fuel analysis laboratory. This module should have custom lab, antenna, airlock, ore container, pressurized compartment for at least 1 Kerbal and should be able to dock to the refinery. Refuel your Shuttle to full tanks for the trip back.

Example of Minmus STS-3 challenge proposal entry:

Spoiler

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https://imgur.com/a/73yZGI7

Mission: Aurora Arbore X.
Crew: 5.
Commander: Valentina Kerman.
Goals:
- Reach Minmus and deploy mobile fuel analysis laboratory as second component of Auxilium Base;
- Test docking and refuel capabilities of mobile refinery with mobile fuel analysis laboratory;
- Return to Kerbin;

Pretty much mundane mission to Minmus. KSA slipped that one during holidays, so nobody really noticed this boring laboratory for fuel analysis on Minmus.

All launch, LKO, LMO, surface operations and return procedures went almost by the textbook and were successful.

Third stage: Deploy pressurized recreation facility for at least 7 kerbalnauts to make a stay at Minmus gas station more enjoyable. After Minmus pit stop you need to contaminate other celestial body with minty Minmus dust. Shuttle should land on a celestial body other than Minmus or Kerbin before returning home.

Example of Minmus STS-4 challenge proposal entry:

Spoiler

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https://imgur.com/a/usF60En

Mission: Aurora Arbore XI.
Crew: 5.
Commander: Valentina Kerman.
Goals:
- Reach Minmus and deploy stationary satellite for direct lab communications with KSC;
- Land and deploy 12 seat entertainment module as third component of Auxilium Base;
- Test docking of entertainment module to forward docking port of SMM, while being refueled;
- When fully fueled launch from Minmus to intercept Eve;
- Achieve high orbit of Eve and land on Gilly;
- Return to Kerbin;

Final mission to demonstrate the full power of Minmus infrastructure. Eleventh Aurora Arbore mission was tasked not only to deploy stationary communication satellite, but also recreation facility for Auxilium Base and after refuel operations to go as far as Eve and land on its natural satellite Gilly!

Mission successfully reached Minmus and deployed both satellite and recreation facility for the Auxilium base. Whole crew was able to relief itself in spacious environment of Auxilium Base recreation facility with gorgeous views of Great Minty Minmus flats.

And then SMM departed for rather long journey to Eve!. On mission list was landing on natural satellite of Eve - Gilly!. AAXI was able to put itself into irregular orbit around Eve and in proper window of opportunity made straight burn to Gilly impact.

And there was no room for error. One precise burn and Aurora Arbore splashed down into layer of dust on Gilly. Minty Minmus dust  now officially has contaminated Gilly.

After brief stay at Gilly and study of low gravity satellite SMM mission left it for Kerbin. Aero capture was made and after first orbit around Kerbin SMM landed at desert airfield with short mach 4 transfer to it.

Commander requirements aside precise Kerbin landings could be as follows: 
- Deploy communication satellite above the base in Minmus Stationary Orbit;
- Deploy communication satellite in Minmus Polar Orbit if you didn't done so in Minmus STS-1;
- After last pit stop at Minmus Shuttle should land on a celestial body other than Mun, Minmus, Kerbin or asteroid before returning home.

Edited by Yakez
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After a three months hiatus I finally completed my MUN STS-1 mission. I landed my Shuttle near the Munar north pole and deployed a kerballed munar research facility. I then lifted off from the Mun, went back to Kerbin and landed on the KSC runway. As in previous missions I landed the booster on the KSC runway as well. Full mission report here: https://imgur.com/a/zOaVMe6

I used the same Gemini Shuttle design that I used to build my telescope and space station, with the addition of a robotic arm and some extra fuel tanks inside the cargo bays. I used infernal robotics for the robotic arm; otherwise my craft is fully stock.

Some highlights:

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Landing tail-first in near-darkness

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Building the research station. The station consists of two parts that are stacked on top of each other. Here I use the robotic arm to place the upper part

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The plan for the trans-Kerbin injection burn. This was the first time ever that I targeted a specific spot on Kerbin from Munar orbit, and it took a few tries to get right.

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On final approach after a successful mission

Edited by QF9E
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@Yakez, thank you for your idea submission. It will be a while before I add any new missions, but I'll take your ideas into consideration. I have to point out that it's not possible to do a synchronous or stationary orbit around Minmus, most other moons, or even Moho, due to the size of their SOIs. Duna is a special case; it's theoretically possible to do a stationary orbit there, but if it's not utterly perfect Ike will come along eventually and throw it off.

2 hours ago, QF9E said:

After a three months hiatus I finally completed my MUN STS-1 mission. I landed my Shuttle near the Munar north pole and deployed a kerballed munar research facility. I then lifted off from the Mun, went back to Kerbin and landed on the KSC runway. As in previous missions I landed the booster on the KSC runway as well. Full mission report here: https://imgur.com/a/zOaVMe6

That is a well-done mission! Good thing it's not a steak, lol. Anyway, I think a stock Commander badge is warranted - although you used a mod construction arm, it could just as well have been done with Breaking Ground robotics, and everything else is stock. Congrats!

4v8SMSj.jpg?1

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9 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

@Yakez, thank you for your idea submission. It will be a while before I add any new missions, but I'll take your ideas into consideration. I have to point out that it's not possible to do a synchronous or stationary orbit around Minmus, most other moons, or even Moho, due to the size of their SOIs. Duna is a special case; it's theoretically possible to do a stationary orbit there, but if it's not utterly perfect Ike will come along eventually and throw it off.

Yea I know sad Ike story. 

Actually Minmus Stationary and Synchronous orbits are a thing now! I stumbled on it during my STS-2a "struggles". I do remember that it was not possible somewhere before KSP 1.0. Maybe because Minmus was tidally locked. Just double checked in game and my relay stay put like a charm over the base. (3y and 100d in)

I think it is possible in theory to create sky-hook from synchronous Minmus orbit to one of the flats (Imagine Delorian hooking to the station from flats and creating interdenominational rift...)

I do use this handy tool to check orbit numbers: https://meyerweb.com/eric/ksp/resonant-orbits/

And here is wiki on Kerbol stationary orbits: https://wiki.kerbalspaceprogram.com/wiki/Synchronous_orbit

 

So my plans for Duna STS-2 is pushing complexity of the mission. Now it looks like that von Braun Mars plan with shuttle as spacecraft. Nuclear Engines - check. Triple engines - check. Orbital assembly - check.

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I need to send 197 ton SMM + cargo payload to Duna. So here is the checklist that I was making for the mission:

1. Launch SMM type 3 with half fuelled LAME and 1 NEC type 2.
2. Configure SMM at LKO.
3. Launch support package with 2 additional NEC type 2 and engine adaptor.
4. Rendezvous support package with SMM.
5. Dock to the side and hold support package engine adaptor.
6. Release upper ascend stage of support package.
7. Start assembly of support package by docking NECs to the 3 sockets.
8. Dock assembled engine section to SMM and LAME.
9. Reach Low Minmus Orbit.
10. Undock SMM and grab engine section.
11. Undock and land LAME on Minmus.
12. Refuel LAME and launch it back.
13. Rendezvous with SMM and reconfigure craft back.
14. Burn to Duna.
15. Aero-capture and rendezvous with Maris Station.
16. Dock to Maris Station and separate Maris Station Logistics module.
17. Deploy and dock new Maris Station Module to Core Module.
18. Dock Maris Station Logistics module back.
19. Undock LAME + engine section from SMM and dock it to Maris Station.
20. Put one NEC to forward port of LAME.
21. Undock LAME from Station and engine adaptor and launch it to Ike.
22. Land LAME at Ike and start fuel refinement.
23. Leave one crew member at Maris Station for Duna expedition coordination.
24. Land SMM at Duna.
25. VTOL release Roaming Base.
26. Dock Roaming Base to the SMM and transfer 3 crew members for the Duna expedition (so comfy, no EVA...).
27. Perform Duna Expedition and return Roaming Base back.
28. Perform Duna ascend under power of 6 CR-7 and VTOL cluster if needed, dispose VTOL cluster otherwise.
29. Reach Maris Station and summon LAME from Ike.
30. Perform 180 degree flip to NEC during LAME ascend from Ike.
31. Configure craft back to the interplanetary configuration.
32. Burn to Kerbin.
33. Aero capture at Kerbin.
34. Leave LAME and engine cluster in LKO.
35. Land SMM.

 

Edited by Yakez
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Failure like onions...

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After researching original NASA plans for shuttle I have made HOTOL stage for my SMM. It definitely is lighter than my HLS. But. It could not push FCMS or LAME with shuttle. And the amount of engines, coped with length of low FPS during whole launch just have killed any viability. And it is only like 20% cheaper.

Second failure is my interplanetary engine adapter for Duna STS-2. It just is bending to much and I do think that what kills my burn efficiency... like 400% down the drain. Either restock engines bugs out or I just need to make different support package engine adapter. Without any unnecessary docking ports.

5 screenshots of failed prototypes.

Spoiler

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Edited by Yakez
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Yeah those lateral docking ports are pretty small compared to the engines, that's probably why its flexing so much. Kerbal Joint Reinforcement might help, or you can build the engine assembly as a single structure with symmetry so that the autostruts can cross-brace it better.

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1 hour ago, Yakez said:

Either restock engines bugs out or I just need to make different support package engine adapter. Without any unnecessary docking ports.

Autostrut doesn't help at all?

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3 minutes ago, sturmhauke said:

Yeah those lateral docking ports are pretty small compared to the engines, that's probably why its flexing so much. Kerbal Joint Reinforcement might help, or you can build the engine assembly as a single structure with symmetry so that the autostruts can cross-brace it better.

Btw, does Kerbal Joint Reinforcement really help with FPS? I am still hesitate to use it. And I do not had real issues before that point. And actually I think I just made NEC type 3, witch a bit brute force solution and do not have versatility of other enjine cluster as separate maneuverable craft, but looks awesome in my design. I hope it would lift the damn thing =)

Also I miscalculated Minmus burn delta V (I forgot about circulation delta V), so I either need to make 2 trips to the surface to fill all the tanks, or inject some liquid fuel with my support package aside fixing engines.

And if everything is a failure I just can go to Duna with 1 engine and 30 minute burn... ouch. And even using SMM fuel for Minmus maneuvers would still leave me with enough delta V to land and launch from Duna (I have around 900 m/s of headroom there).

WIP fix to all my shortcomings:

https://imgur.com/cO0KG3I

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I haven't used Kerbal Joint Reinforcement a whole lot, but it seems to work well so far. You don't really need it on smaller craft, but when you start building huge interplanetary craft it's more useful.

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So i finally done with Duna STS-2. EVERYTHING went wrong... aside Duna landing, that was smooth as smoothie.

Would be doing report tomorrow. Want to try some new stuff. And in the meanwhile some beauty shots:

Spoiler

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I finished MUN STS-2. Landing near the Munar poles is harder than I remember... Here's a couple screenshots while I edit the videos into something watchable. I named the launch vehicle Odin.

Spoiler

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sturmhauke Does Odin flip around after you detach side booster? I totally went away from configuration like that for more stability during launch.

twx9TxI.png?1

And here is my entry to Duna STS-2 and totally functional delivery of 5 man space station/module to Duna to fulfill Duna STS-1 Commander.

I totally could overdone the presentation and some stuff maybe do not work as I intended, please comment. I am using Github for the first time. And Imgur is a pain to sort and rearrange screens. So totally grab a snack while examining all the stuff.

Fully labeled Duna STS-2 report at Github (81 images).

Imigur unlabeled full album (images travel around and a bit out of order) 178 images.

Updated mod list.

 

Edited by Yakez
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