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


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12 hours ago, Yakez said:

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.

 

The GitHub presentation looks good, thanks for that. You could also do a thread over in the Mission Reports forum if you prefer.

Looks like you had a successful Duna STS-2 mission despite some problems, and came up with creative solutions. Good work, Commander!

WjKcQl3.jpg?1

 

As for Duna STS-1, hmm. On the one hand you didn't aerobrake at Duna in the original mission. On the other hand, in Duna STS-2 you used a roughly similar shuttle, delivered a new module, and aerobraked at both planets. I think that is sufficient to award a Commander badge for that as well.

FxEMii9.jpg?1

 

A question for all entrants: What do you think about changing the requirements for Duna STS-2 slightly, so that the additional module is required for the Commander badge? Currently it's just kind of stuck in there as a suggestion but isn't actually required for anything.

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8 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

The GitHub presentation looks good, thanks for that. You could also do a thread over in the Mission Reports forum if you prefer.

Well I opted for github wiki to be able to sort through all the stuff at later point. Forum do provide more options for text formatting but is rather bad when you want to create proper structure for a lot of reports.

Quote

A question for all entrants: What do you think about changing the requirements for Duna STS-2 slightly, so that the additional module is required for the Commander badge? Currently it's just kind of stuck in there as a suggestion but isn't actually required for anything.

It is kind of odd. In STS-1 and STS-3 you are hauling stuff to Duna, while for STS-2 you can technically use shuttle without cargo bay. Maybe something along the lines of any "functional" payload? You can bring not only module for the station but ground research facility, manned or unmanned rover, plane, drone or maybe even helicopter?

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I'll think about it. Oh and I forgot to answer your question about the launch vehicle. I actually separate the main booster and auxillary boosters at the same time. Final circularization is done with the orbiter's engines.

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I finished the MUN STS-2 mission, full report here: https://imgur.com/a/X8lGfMv

I experimented with a different way of unloading cargo on the Mun, and I like this one better than the robot arm I used in the previous mission. While in Munar orbit I moved my cargo out of the cargo bays and attached it to the booster attachment point at the back of my shuttle. I could then simply undock the cargo to unload it after landing. I'm quite proud that this is the exact same Shuttle model that I used for the low Kerbin orbit missions. With a new launch profile I no longer needed the additional fuel tanks that I used in the previous mission. And without robot arm, my shuttle is now fully stock.

Some highlights:

AHMkaRx.png

Touchdown! I landed on my cargo before using the RCS system to gently rotate my shuttle into a horizontal position.

AKDbGO0.png

Deployment complete.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, QF9E said:

While in Munar orbit I moved my cargo out of the cargo bays and attached it to the booster attachment point at the back of my shuttle. I could then simply undock the cargo to unload it after landing.

I do remember the exact same idea about my shuttle, before I turned cargo bay upside down and "fixed" the issue... That is one of the reasons why I have 2 senior docking ports on both ends of SMM.

The biggest issue that I ran into is lack of properly shaped 2.5 - 1.25 fuel tanks/adapters to cover forward port. They all have max temperature of 2000K. Every single reentry I had some borderline overheating of that part. Most likely would be redesigning that whole module.

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32 minutes ago, Yakez said:

I do remember the exact same idea about my shuttle, before I turned cargo bay upside down and "fixed" the issue... That is one of the reasons why I have 2 senior docking ports on both ends of SMM.

Your pic earlier in this post with your shuttle vertically docking with a fuel depot on Minmus gave me the idea, so thanks for the inspiration. I thought of flipping the cargo bay upside down as well, but I chose not to do that as in real life it would be very difficult if not impossible to make combined cargo doors / heat shields. I did some experiments to land my shuttle upside down on the Mun, though, which was fun but ultimately not very practical.

Now to do a pinpoint landing to set down my EEV next to my base... My experience so far is that you don't need to miss by much to totally lose sight of your target.

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15 minutes ago, QF9E said:

Your pic earlier in this post with your shuttle vertically docking with a fuel depot on Minmus gave me the idea, so thanks for the inspiration. I thought of flipping the cargo bay upside down as well, but I chose not to do that as in real life it would be very difficult if not impossible to make combined cargo doors / heat shields. I did some experiments to land my shuttle upside down on the Mun, though, which was fun but ultimately not very practical.

Now to do a pinpoint landing to set down my EEV next to my base... My experience so far is that you don't need to miss by much to totally lose sight of your target.

I actually totally had no clue how exactly "difficult/problematic" heat shield was on real Space Shuttle when I started this challenge. I can only wonder how much problems Buran heat shield would had if it really flown.

On other side Kerbin atmosphere is really thin compared to real one, so I guess stuff like that is totally easier when you have only minute or so of reentry heat instead of 10+ minutes.

Other Idea was to actually dock two sky-crane modules on the both sides to save space in the cargo bay and still have VTOL. And it is easier on balancing, witch is a bit problematic if you want land on something big.

Edited by Yakez
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2 hours ago, QF9E said:

I experimented with a different way of unloading cargo on the Mun, and I like this one better than the robot arm I used in the previous mission. While in Munar orbit I moved my cargo out of the cargo bays and attached it to the booster attachment point at the back of my shuttle. I could then simply undock the cargo to unload it after landing.

Here is an idea I had to deploy stuff on bodies with high G :  double set of landing wheels, one medium and one high to lift the rear of the shuttle

1aru11.jpg

1 hour ago, Yakez said:

The biggest issue that I ran into is lack of properly shaped 2.5 - 1.25 fuel tanks/adapters to cover forward port. They all have max temperature of 2000K. Every single reentry I had some borderline overheating of that part. Most likely would be redesigning that whole module.

A possible solution for you : green circle represents a fairing (better heat resistance) with interstage nodes, it has a much lower drag than standard fuel tanks, and I can also put stuff inside (tank, batterie, relaydish).

OuhtXUR.jpg

 

Edited by Kerbolitto
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1 hour ago, Kerbolitto said:

 

A possible solution for you : green circle represents a fairing (more heat resistance) with interstage nodes, I put stuff inside (tank, batterie, relaydish)

Relay dish sounds very tempting, definitely lack one for Jool mission. Actually I was thinking about fairings, but since I started using KIS, there is an actual functional cargo part in the exact shape and heat resistance that I need!

https://imgur.com/Qo4uuds

 

I do have a question about DUNA STS-3

Quote

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 an equatorial circular 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 just off of KSC, the Dessert Airfield from MH, or at any Kerbal Konstructs airport.

Can I capture at Eve or it should be strictly flyby? Do not enjoy idea of throwing satellites while moving around.

Edited by Yakez
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1 hour ago, Yakez said:

I do have a question about DUNA STS-3

Can I capture at Eve or it should be strictly flyby? Do not enjoy idea of throwing satellites while moving around.

Eve's SOI is huge due to the high gravity. Performing a flyby will give you lots of time to deploy satellites. Trying to capture at Eve will require a lot more dV. You can do it if you want, but I don't think it's going to make the mission easier overall.

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3 hours ago, Kerbolitto said:

Here is an idea I had to deploy stuff on bodies with high G :  double set of landing wheels, one medium and one high to lift the rear of the shuttle

1aru11.jpg

I might experiment with making a cargo elevator on my next shuttle design. I already use the Mark IV mod, which was inspired by Thunderbird 2, so I might as well go all the way. Using a rear-facing ramp is nice in some ways, but it also means I can't effectively dock anything substantial back there. I did manage to make an engine plate out of an inverted ramp piece and some creative decoupling, but that can't be reattached afterwards. At least, not without substantial EVA work and the KAS mod to weld some stuff back together.

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34 minutes ago, sturmhauke said:

Using a rear-facing ramp is nice in some ways, but it also means I can't effectively dock anything substantial back there.

You could also try to dock something longitudinally above or below the shuttle ? :p like a fairing with cargo placed as an External Tank

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MUN STS-3: I managed to land my EEV next to my Mun base :). Not without issues, though: when I got near the base, the game started to lag significantly, with lag spikes of 0.5 - 1 seconds or so. Also, the base repeatedly disappeared... Fortunately I found a orkaround: land as best I could with all the lags, save, go to tracking station and enter the base from the tracking station. Result: base re-appears and no more lag. All this meant that I could not land the EEV near the base, but had to be content with landing a few 100 meters off and driving to the base with my Shuttle, dragging the EEV along.

More detailed mission to come, for now just a single picture to celebrate this evening's hard work:

R7I0kJr.png

Edit: at 12 tons the EEV is the heaviest payload my shuttle design has yet managed to land on the Mun.

Edited by QF9E
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1 hour ago, Kerbolitto said:

You could also try to dock something longitudinally above or below the shuttle ? :p like a fairing with cargo placed as an External Tank

I'd probably have to lose the tailplanes first. My earlier designs had a tailless delta, which gives more room to attach stuff without banging against a control surface but doesn't have as much pitch authority. Or maybe I could dock stuff on the side lobe tanks. I dunno, I'll have to see what I can come up with. Although honestly I'm already reaching the volume limit of the stock VAB as it is.

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8 hours ago, QF9E said:

I finished the MUN STS-2 mission, full report here: https://imgur.com/a/X8lGfMv

I experimented with a different way of unloading cargo on the Mun, and I like this one better than the robot arm I used in the previous mission. While in Munar orbit I moved my cargo out of the cargo bays and attached it to the booster attachment point at the back of my shuttle. I could then simply undock the cargo to unload it after landing. I'm quite proud that this is the exact same Shuttle model that I used for the low Kerbin orbit missions. With a new launch profile I no longer needed the additional fuel tanks that I used in the previous mission. And without robot arm, my shuttle is now fully stock.

Nice mission! I do think it's funny how you avoided the unrealism of an downward-facing cargo bay, in favor of the complete realism of landing a multiton shuttle by balancing it on its comparatively skinny, externally attached cargo. :D On the other hand your landing was in general a lot cleaner than mine. You'll see what I mean when I finish the writeup. Anyway, congratulations on your new Commander badge!

nc5yhi3.jpg?1

Edited by sturmhauke
fixed badge
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8 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

Nice mission! I do think it's funny how you avoided the unrealism of an downward-facing cargo bay, in favor of the complete realism of landing a multiton shuttle by balancing it on its comparatively skinny, externally attached cargo. :D On the other hand your landing was in general a lot cleaner than mine. You'll see what I mean when I finish the writeup. Anyway, congratulations on your new Commander badge!

nc5yhi3.jpg?1

Thanks, but I haven't finished the mission yet! I decided to land the EEV first, saving MUN STS-4 for the rovers, the crew and the EEV test. Sorry for any confusion I may have caused by posting individual flights of this mission.

 

As far as realism is concerned: true, a robot arm or a ramp would probably be the only realistically viable options. And landing on the tail and flipping over would also be right out. But come to think of it: not landing a shuttle on the Mun in the first place would be more realistic still.

I might still design a new shuttle with a cargo ramp and some sort of landing engines that burn vertically so that the shuttle can land directly on its landing gear. Hmm, maybe add a set of landing legs to the back end of the shuttle and landing vertically on the moon, while retaining the wheels for landing on a runway might be viable, in combination with a robot arm.

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An improvement on my previous vertical landing attempt: this one does not land on the cargo. With some extra landing struts at the rear there's also no more need to flip from vertical to horizontal upon landing. After landing the cargo can be undocked and falls gently to the ground in the Mun's low gravity.

Note: this footage from a test, not mission footage.

8fHUjnR.png

Edited by QF9E
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As promised, my full mission report for MUN STS-3. And I have to retrace a bit, as I miscalculated the amount of fuel in my shuttle. I was forced to drain the EEV of fuel, for else my shuttle could not make it back home. So now I have an additional challenge for MUN STS-4: I not only need to bring a rover, but about 4 tons of LFO as well. The mission itself was very similar to MUN STS-2, with the addition of a precision landing and some bugs in KSP to make it interesting. Full report here: https://imgur.com/a/gP8iN6E.

Some highlights:

3AN7gGk.png

Shuttle at the point of touchdown. Just to give you an idea of my margin of error during the landing. Afterwards I taxied my shuttle to the base with the EEV in tow.

a4r9UXl.png

My base after the shuttle had left. I purposely left the EEV lying on its side so that I can refuel it more easily. Its reaction wheels are more than capable of righting the EEV in Munar gravity.

 

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I updated some rules in the OP, here's another copy for reference. I changed the rule for MUN STS-2-4 a while back but I forgot to add it on the update list, sorry about that.

Quote
  • rule clarifications
    • 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.
      • 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.
    • STS-6T: renamed to "booster recovery", actual solid rockets not required, "dumb" boosters only
  • rule changes
    • MUN STS-2-4: base modules can be delivered in any order
    • DUNA STS-2, Commander level: shuttle must bring an additional module that can carry at least two kerbals
Quote

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.)

 

Edited by sturmhauke
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1 hour ago, QF9E said:

Cargo transposition. I launched the EEV in two pieces, one in each cargo bay, to maintain balance. Here I have transposed the 1st part, and I am busy docking with the second part.

That is neat... My totally not influenced double gondola top secret project "Bongo-Bongo" is now more viable.

 

Meanwhile I am totally Von-Braunaning Duna STS-3 in all viable ways...

8ODcJw1.png

Edited by Yakez
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17 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

Looking good! I like your flyback booster by the way, we don't see too many of those.

Thanks! I intended the booster to be reusable from the start. My initial boosters landed vertically under parachute, but once it became clear I could not get the desired accuracy (land on the landing pad in front of the SPH) that way I changed into the currect design. Considering its size it flies pretty well.

Meanwhile I have completed MUN STS-4. I flew a rover to the Mun and landed next to the base (my best landing yet, I landed spot on target). The rover did double duty as fuel truck to replenish the EEV. I then drove to a nearby hill to plant a flag and went back to the base. The shuttle's flight crew of 3 flew the shuttle back to Kerbin, where it landed on the KSC. I then used the EEV to fly the 5-Kerbal Munar exploration team back to Kerbin as well. And of course I once again landed the booster, also on the KSC. Full mission report here: https://imgur.com/a/hOMWNdb

I did encounter a nasty glitch that rendered my base invisible. And when I switched to the base, the base was launched into space and destroyed. Upon inspection it turned out that the base altitude had somehow been corrupted into an invalid negative value, and to fix this I had to go into the savegame file and correct the altitude of the base by hand. While I would normally consider savegame hacking cheating, I decided that in this case it was necessary to save the mission from a bug in my KSP installation. If you want I can supply the original savegame file and the corrected one, so that you can verify that I only corrected the altitude for the base and the EEV.

This completes the MUN STS-2-4 mission: "Can you explore me?" Now would be the time to award the real mission patch, if you deem my mission worthy of such ;).

Some highlights:

hBuspkd.png

Landing, using the new vertical landing technique. Note the glitched engine shrouds. No idea how this came to be, when I started the mission the engines were fully covered. The rover can be seen between the two fuselages, hanging from the booster attachment point. Base is invisible due to a bug, but as the next picture shows I got very close:

ajNXYAA.png

Not a very artistic picture, but proof that I pretty much landed spot-on. Base to the left, shuttle on the right.

Y1ECQC0.png

Refueling the EEV with my 5-crew rover annex fuel truck

sgHf7R3.png

My 5 Kerbal exploration team (one is still in the rover, which I did not want to leave unattended) on a nearby hill, The base and shuttle can be seen in the distance, above the leftmost Kerbal.

 

Edited by QF9E
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3 hours ago, QF9E said:

Meanwhile I have completed MUN STS-4. I flew a rover to the Mun and landed next to the base (my best landing yet, I landed spot on target). The rover did double duty as fuel truck to replenish the EEV. I then drove to a nearby hill to plant a flag and went back to the base. The shuttle's flight crew of 3 flew the shuttle back to Kerbin, where it landed on the KSC. I then used the EEV to fly the 5-Kerbal Munar exploration team back to Kerbin as well. And of course I once again landed the booster, also on the KSC. Full mission report here: https://imgur.com/a/hOMWNdb

I did encounter a nasty glitch that rendered my base invisible. And when I switched to the base, the base was launched into space and destroyed. Upon inspection it turned out that the base altitude had somehow been corrupted into an invalid negative value, and to fix this I had to go into the savegame file and correct the altitude of the base by hand. While I would normally consider savegame hacking cheating, I decided that in this case it was necessary to save the mission from a bug in my KSP installation. If you want I can supply the original savegame file and the corrected one, so that you can verify that I only corrected the altitude for the base and the EEV.

This completes the MUN STS-2-4 mission: "Can you explore me?" Now would be the time to award the real mission patch, if you deem my mission worthy of such ;).

Looks good! Despite some bugs and other problems, you came up with solutions and completed the mission. The savegame file won't be necessary - kraken's gonna kraken, and I have had to do similar file editing myself. Congrats, for real this time!

nc5yhi3.jpg?1

Oh and for your installation problems, you could try reverifying your game through the Steam menu. If you don't have Steam you might have to reinstall.

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11 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

Looks good! Despite some bugs and other problems, you came up with solutions and completed the mission. The savegame file won't be necessary - kraken's gonna kraken, and I have had to do similar file editing myself. Congrats, for real this time!

nc5yhi3.jpg?1

Oh and for your installation problems, you could try reverifying your game through the Steam menu. If you don't have Steam you might have to reinstall.

Thanks! Yeah, the Kraken was awake during this mission :(. Good to know I am not the only one who's editing savegames by hand.

And as to my install: I first uninstalled all my mods, but the problem with landed vessels persisted - I had a Mun lander explode on me when trying to land a second lander next to it. Now I have uninstalled completely (made a backup of my savegames first obviously), and am re-installing one component at a time and doing a targeted mun landing each time. I am getting quite the rocket garden on the Mun, the good news being that a vanilla 1.9.1 install with Making History works flawlessly. I'll reinstall mods one at a time tomorrow and see what that brings me. Thanks for the tip on reverification: while it is too late for me because I already uninstalled everything, it is good to know for the future.

Edit: I re-installed all mods except one (which had not been updated since 1.5), and now the game seems to work fine. I reflew the MUN STS-4 landing mission, and it landed fine, next to the base. Hopefully this solves the problems I've had with recent missions.

Edited by QF9E
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