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


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I finished JOOL STS-1. And I did not use a paradrop as that was deemed too unreliable. I did a direct Laythe aerocapture and landed near the old landing site from my Jool-5 mission. I then flew a recon mission with a small airplane while refueling the shuttle using the ISRU unit. I took off from Laythe using ramjets and plotted a course back to Kerbin. Since I had quite a bit of fuel remaining I performed a hefty braking burn prior to Kerbin aerocapture to prevent overheating my craft before landing on the KSC runway. I also landed my booster, but it landed on the island runway as I overshot the KSC.

This has turned out to be the most difficult shuttle mission to date, by a considerable margin. I had all kinds of problems getting my shuttle to take off from Laythe, prompting a complete rebuild as the old model had lots of "built-in headwind" due to questionable construction techniques. I also had to spend a full day designing the landing gear of my recon plane, to prevent it from tipping over during landing - I simply did not want to run the mission with a plane that was almost impossible to land. And I had to spend considerable time getting to grips with the ISRU system: it turned out to be quite hard to design a reliable system that (a) fits inside a cargo bay; (b) can be deployed from that cargo bay and (c) is able to move under its own power.

Full report here: https://imgur.com/a/QNfeyWi

Some highlights:

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In flight over Laythe prior to landing, with the remains of my Jool-5 mission in sight. I landed to the left of here, where there was a large, flat, promising landing site.

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ISRU unit deployment using sepratrons. It then landed next to the shuttle under parachutes. I named the drill operator Rockhound Kerman, after that terrible movie with Space Shuttles and drill crews, Armageddon

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Deploying Jeb's Ride, my recon plane. Jebediah Kerman specifically requested to go on this mission as he wanted to be the first to take off in a plane from Laythe. I deployed Jeb's Ride simply by having it fly vertically out of the cargo bay, as you can see here. Jeb's ride is a terrible aircraft, its only saving grace being that it fits inside a cargo bay. It is barely controllable unless you enable SAS. I dislike flying planes in KSP using SAS as with SAS on planes do not tend to fly naturally.

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Laythe takeoff, powered by 4 ramjets. Despite rebuilding my entire Shuttle from scratch, these ramjets were the only addition. Apart from the ramjets my new shuttle uses exactly the same elements as the old one, but it is constructed much more cleanly. With the ramjets, my shuttle is also quite a capable SSTO when taking off from Kerbin.

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Landing on the KSC runway. The new shuttle build flies substantially better than my old design.

 

 

 

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I finished STS-9. I was unsure if this would even be possible with my shuttle design, as with a single asteroid in one of its cargo bays the craft would be severely asymmetrical. I even made contingency plans to capture and land with two asteroids, but in the end that was not necessary. I landed the shuttle on the KSC runway. As usual I landed my booster on the KSC runway as well.

Almost nothing of this mission went according to plan. My careful encounter with the asteroid missed it by 15 thousand kilometer once the asteroid had finished a flyby with Kerbin. Apparently the Kerbal astronomers in my employ don't know how to properly predict minor solar system bodies' orbits. I also encountered this bug with the asteroid mass: https://bugs.kerbalspaceprogram.com/issues/24855 which turned my 2 ton class A asteroid into a 150 ton monster, and which I had to fix by manually editing the save file as well as one of the game's config files. I then had trouble getting an equatorial encounter with Kerbin, which I solved with a brute force low Kerbin orbit plane shift burn. Landing the Shuttle went surprisingly well despite the asymmetric loads, but I almost lost the booster because when trimming the CoM I accidentally pumped all the remaining propellants to one side. It then started flying sideways, something I had never seen a booster do before.

It most certainly was not the pleasant, stress-free flight that I had envisaged, but I managed to solve all these problems and complete all mission objectives.

Full report here: https://imgur.com/a/x3Ml35V

Just a single highlight this time:

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One space potato, coming your way!

 

@sturmhaukeWould it be ok if I combined STS-3T with one of the STS-4T flights? The idea would be to lift Kassini-Huygens in one of my shuttle's cargo bays and some new Skylab components in the other one. This would save me some time as it eliminates  one shuttle and booster landing.

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9 hours ago, QF9E said:

@sturmhauke Would it be ok if I combined STS-3T with one of the STS-4T flights? The idea would be to lift Kassini-Huygens in one of my shuttle's cargo bays and some new Skylab components in the other one. This would save me some time as it eliminates  one shuttle and booster landing.

As long as the Cassini-Huygens craft meets all the design specs, you can combine it with other missions.

I'll review your other missions when I get a chance, it's been a little busy around here the last couple of days.

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Rule updates, also posted in the OP:

Quote

rule clarifications

  • General
    • 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. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I completed STS-4T, Skylab rescue. I used the Skylab version that is included in the challenge description and flew the required two missions: the first one added a docking port and propulsion module, while deorbiting the solar panel array and the hab module. And the second one added a new solar panel array, a new antenna mast and a new hab module, as well as a 4-Kerbal crew. Both missions then landed the shuttles and boosters. This did not go without a hitch: one of the shuttles missed its touchdown point and ran off the runway, while one of the boosters crashed. The immediate cause of the accident was a severe imbalance due to lack of fuel to pump around. But ultimately I blame overconfidence and lack of sleep on my part. Fortunately, the test missions don't have a requirement that the shuttles land on the runway, so I think I'm good. But if required I can do the landing again. Although the craft was out of balance I think it should be possible to land it properly with a bit of practice.

Full mission reports here: https://imgur.com/a/SrhC2Nd (first flight), and https://imgur.com/a/jwJRA5J (second flight).

As part of the first Skylab flight I also deployed my version of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft for the STS-3T mission. It has successfully performed its ejection burn and is on its way to Jool. I'll write a separate mission report once that mission is complete.

Some highlights:

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End of Skylab mission 1. Solar panel array stowed in the starboard cargo bay; hab module in the aft position of the port cargo bay. Forward in the port cargo bay some extra living quarters and a docking port for connecting with the space station. At the back of the station a propulsion module has been added.

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Skylab in its final form at the end of the second flight. New solar panel array, new antenna's and a new, larger hab module.

Edited by QF9E
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Posted (edited)

And I have finished STS-3T. After the initial ejection burn, which was spot-on given that it was a single stage solid rocket motor, and a minor course correction I had an encounter with Laythe on the initial pass through the Jool system. Not only did that encounter put me into an elliptical Joolian orbit, it was also just right for deploying the Huygens lander. It aerobraked in Laythe's atmosphere, which was very violent, but the probe survived intact and sent experimental data from numerous science instruments both from the atmosphere and the surface, with Cassini functioning as relay. I then had an encounter with Pol followed one orbit around Jool later by an encounter with Vall, which sent me straight towards an encounter with Tylo. While fine-tuning this encounter (I managed to get to about 40 km from Tylo's surface) I noticed that the trajectory would intersect Jool directly after that. The probe then burnt up in Jool's atmosphere as planned.

I feared that the specified amounts of fuel would not be enough, but in the end I need not have worried: I used about 1/3 of the fuel in both tanks.

Full report tomorrow, I'm off to bed now.

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My encounter with Tylo. I managed to get within 40 km of the largest moon in the game before plunging into the green depths of Jool

Edited by QF9E
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On 5/7/2020 at 9:07 AM, QF9E said:

I finished JOOL STS-1.

All hail the new shuttle, same as the old shuttle! Well, not exactly, as you pointed out. But if you hadn't said anything I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Anyway, looks like you had a successful mission despite a few difficulties. Congratulations, Commander!

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On 5/8/2020 at 7:01 AM, QF9E said:

I finished STS-9. I was unsure if this would even be possible with my shuttle design, as with a single asteroid in one of its cargo bays the craft would be severely asymmetrical...

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Everyone: This mission will be hard to balance, how can I compensate for the asymmetry...? You: BALANCE IS FOR THE WEAK! Nice job, Jeb!

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5 hours ago, QF9E said:

I completed STS-4T, Skylab rescue...

Full mission reports here: https://imgur.com/a/SrhC2Nd (first flight), and https://imgur.com/a/jwJRA5J (second flight).

Your poor booster gave its last to save Skylab. It will be remembered in our hearts and minds - ooh, what's that shiny thing? Oh, it's your new badge!

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Posted (edited)

Ooh, more shiny badges! I wants them, I needs them! Seriously, thanks for looking over my missions. I realize I have been giving you a lot of work the last few days by pumping them out like crazy, but that is because I have to go back to work next week. My completionist self wanted to finish the entire Shuttle challenge before that.

And as promised, my STS-3T mission report: https://imgur.com/a/3LyQN4J It includes some pictures of the spacecraft at the end, to prove that it fulfils all the detailed requirements of the mission.

Some highlights:

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Huygens probe on Laythe

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Pol flyby

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Vall flyby

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The end

And with that, I have completed this entire set of challenges. I have enjoyed them very much - it was great fun to design and build my own Space Shuttle, and to keep tinkering with it to make it do ever more complex missions. Frankly, I am amazed at what my Shuttle design has shown itself capable of.

My initial design goals were rather modest: to build a shuttle that (a) was capable of placing two Mulletdyne probes into LKO (to fulfil STS-1b in style); (b) had an appreciable amount of in orbit delta-v; and (c) was a little bit different from other people's designs. On top of that I wanted to do a live booster landing development program, akin to what SpaceX has been doing with its Falcon 9 rocket. From the start the goal has been to design a booster that was fully reusable and capable of returning to the tarmac in front of the SPH. I am very proud to be able to say that my Gemini design delivered all of this and then some.

I also very much enjoyed designing, building and operating the various payloads for these missions, among them my favourite object that I have ever built in KSP - I'm of course talking about my space telescope. But also the other payloads, big and small, that taken together give a fairly complete overview of what you can do in KSP. I also liked that this challenge invited me to research some of the more obscure bits of KSP, such as the possibility to control a probe remotely.

 

THANK YOU, @sturmhauke, for running this awesome set of missions. And THANK YOU, @michal.don, for running the previous installment of this challenge. These missions have been excellently designed, and in my opinion, would not be out of place as the main campaign of a commercial Space Shuttle simulator game built on top of the KSP engine. There was a time, some 10 years ago, when the Orbiter spaceflight sim was my all-time favourite game. It has now been superceded by this campaign. I cannot recommend it enough.

 

Edited by QF9E
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5 hours ago, QF9E said:

Ooh, more shiny badges! I wants them, I needs them! Seriously, thanks for looking over my missions. I realize I have been giving you a lot of work the last few days by pumping them out like crazy, but that is because I have to go back to work next week. My completionist self wanted to finish the entire Shuttle challenge before that...

And as promised, my STS-3T mission report: https://imgur.com/a/3LyQN4J It includes some pictures of the spacecraft at the end, to prove that it fulfils all the detailed requirements of the mission...

THANK YOU, @sturmhauke, for running this awesome set of missions. And THANK YOU, @michal.don, for running the previous installment of this challenge. These missions have been excellently designed, and in my opinion, would not be out of place as the main campaign of a commercial Space Shuttle simulator game built on top of the KSP engine. There was a time, some 10 years ago, when the Orbiter spaceflight sim was my all-time favourite game. It has now been superceded by this campaign. I cannot recommend it enough.

This challenge series wouldn't be what it is without all you shuttle enthusiasts and your cool missions, so thanks to you too! I proudly present your final mission badge... for now. Until next time!

SHSX07C.png?1

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Posted (edited)

Made an updated version of my SMM. Now it is finally 6! cargo segments, fully versatile and capable to take off from Duna and Laythe in standard configuration. The major thing is me tweakscaling wings, aligning center of thrust and getting more cargo capacity.

And here is my continuation of Minmus saga. I present Minmus STS-1K as an additional proposal to my Minmus STS-2-4. This time around it is more ridiculous and rather challenging. Somewhat similar to STS-2b, but technically harder (51t to land). I consider this to be a bonus mission after completion of potential Minmus STS-2.

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Challenge proposal: "Minmus STS-K1: Kordonated: Is it still raw?"

Following bonus Minmus mission would be truly ridiculous, as Kerbal in spirit, as challenging, as posh and as luxurious as Kerbin restaurant business! You would need decent interplanetary shuttle platform to achieve success in your endeavor.

Kordon Jamsay is the famous chef and food critic from Unified Kerbin Kingdom and he needs your help! In search for ultimate dining experience he wants to purchase Minmus dust for his culinary experiments. Take 2 empty large ore tanks to Minmus surface and fill them up with ore (You can use your mining outpost from Minmus STS-2). Than take fully loaded holding tanks back to Kerbin surface with your shuttle.

For a commander level:

You need to go an extra mile and provide Kordon Jamsay with 3 full large tanks of ore. With 3 tanks Kordon can create complete dining experience not only with first and second course, but with a desert as well!

My example Minmus STS-1K IMGUR report

Edited by Yakez
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@Yakez, your ideas for Minmus are roughly in line with some ideas I've had, as well as some outlines from a couple of shuttle alumni. I'm working up a new set of badges - @michal.don said he didn't have the original vector files, so I'm making my own from scratch. The new set will look mostly like the current ones, with a few modifications to hopefully make it easier to tell between Pilot and Commander, stock and mod versions. There are also some minor style differences in a few badges that I want to clean up and unify so that when I do make brand new ones they fit in better.

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2 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

@Yakez, your ideas for Minmus are roughly in line with some ideas I've had, as well as some outlines from a couple of shuttle alumni. I'm working up a new set of badges - @michal.don said he didn't have the original vector files, so I'm making my own from scratch. The new set will look mostly like the current ones, with a few modifications to hopefully make it easier to tell between Pilot and Commander, stock and mod versions. There are also some minor style differences in a few badges that I want to clean up and unify so that when I do make brand new ones they fit in better.

Nice to hear that. Looking forward to some new stuff. Hope to see some new Laythe and Eve stuff one day, maybe submarine mission? :confused:

Regarding to Minmus proposals, I would most likely have another bonus multi-mission installment with Kordon Jamsey. Chef definitely needs posh restaurant. 

Also this Nasa article from April just blew me away, and I want to try to make shuttle mission with construction of telescope on far side of the Mun.

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Hi shuttle crew! Here's a sneak peek of the badge updates I've been working on. @michal.don didn't have the original vector files available, so I decided to make new ones. While I was at it, I made a few tweaks - most significantly, I made the laurels and stars larger so they are more visible, and also tweaked the colors a bit. I think the new ones will be a bit easier to tell apart. This will also allow me to make brand new badges for upcoming new missions and have them fit the style easily. Here's a side-by-side of the old and new badges for STS-1, Pilot level, modded. Let me know what you think!

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The new badge looks very nice! Could you please post a CDR unmodded badge as well? I'd like to see how different the new gold badges are from the silver ones, as I found the old ones very hard to distinguish (it honestly took me a few missions before I even spotted the difference between modded and unmodded badges). If possible I would like to see a more pronounced colour difference between silver and gold - I like the stars in the existing test mission badges more than the CDR level badges, as the colour of the stars in those is easier to distinguish from the silver ones of the PLT badges.

You could also make the badges a bit smaller: the current ones are 130 pixels, but that is a bit too tall for the maximum allowed picture size in a signature (which is 125 pixels according to the HTML code of the signature bar).

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32 minutes ago, sturmhauke said:

Let me know what you think!

I like it, it has the charm and style of the previous ones, but will be more distinguishable (is that a real word? :D ) from one another. Nice :) 

Michal.don

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5 hours ago, QF9E said:

The new badge looks very nice! Could you please post a CDR unmodded badge as well? I'd like to see how different the new gold badges are from the silver ones, as I found the old ones very hard to distinguish (it honestly took me a few missions before I even spotted the difference between modded and unmodded badges). If possible I would like to see a more pronounced colour difference between silver and gold - I like the stars in the existing test mission badges more than the CDR level badges, as the colour of the stars in those is easier to distinguish from the silver ones of the PLT badges.

You could also make the badges a bit smaller: the current ones are 130 pixels, but that is a bit too tall for the maximum allowed picture size in a signature (which is 125 pixels according to the HTML code of the signature bar).

 

5 hours ago, michal.don said:

I like it, it has the charm and style of the previous ones, but will be more distinguishable (is that a real word? :D ) from one another. Nice :) 

Michal.don

Thanks for the feedback! Here's the new set, next to the old ones for comparison. I could even do a small set for those of us who like to stuff our signatures full of badges. I mean yeah you can adjust the size in the signature tool, but it would save on bandwidth and time.

Oh and yes, "distinguishable" is a word. ;)

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I've completed the new badges for STS-1 through STS-9. The rest will be coming soon; I still have to do the planet colors and then export and upload everything. You can use the old or new badges as you prefer. After that, new missions!

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1 hour ago, sturmhauke said:

I've completed the new badges for STS-1 through STS-9. The rest will be coming soon; I still have to do the planet colors and then export and upload everything. You can use the old or new badges as you prefer. After that, new missions!

Sweet! One question: why only silver star variants for the STS-1b and STS-2b missions? I've done combined STS-1a/1b and STS-2a/2b missions at the commander level, and I would like to be able to show off the gold stars of those missions as well as the piping in a single badge, if possible.

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5 hours ago, QF9E said:

Sweet! One question: why only silver star variants for the STS-1b and STS-2b missions? I've done combined STS-1a/1b and STS-2a/2b missions at the commander level, and I would like to be able to show off the gold stars of those missions as well as the piping in a single badge, if possible.

That's a good point. The current missions as written just have the one set of badges and no mention of landing on the runway. I'll update them and make the Commander badges.

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I'll eventually do badges at a 60px size too I think. Letting the browser resize the images tends to make them blurry. But that will probably come later - there are a lot of badges!

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