Cancel those Contracts

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Posted (edited)

I decided to do a No Contracts Career.  Here is the precise and meticulous record of everything that transpired.  All the settings are default 'cause I just hit Start New and went for it.

Kerbin (funds earned 174287):


Basic science grinding (funds earned 34504):


The first launch is a "rover" made only from parts in the first node:


Roll down the hill for some Shores science:


Science returns:


Not quite enough for the barometer, gotta go see if the Mystery Goo likes the launchpad.


Only a smidgeon collected here:


Rolling around the KSC with a barometer and thermometer.  The administrators and scientists wanted to know what the weather was like outside in exchange for some fancy new engines.


There's a good haul of science.  I have ascertained through the expert use of thermometers, barometers, and EVA reports that it is officially sunny and warm outside.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Now those R&D folks better give me some good stuff!


Time to go toss some kerbals up in the air.

Actual launches (funds earned 174287):


The first actual rocket!  Just a the regular starter, but this one has a storage bay full of fancy science thingies.


Reached about 15km:


Ha!  Earned more science by tootling around the KSC in the previous launch than I earned in an actual rocket! :sticktongue:


Time to go to orbit now!


I didn't actually take a picture in orbit.  This one is the closest I've got:


Uh oh.  Jeb, you're supposed to point the pointy end up, not down.


It eventually worked out though and Jeb didn't die.


Time to go land on the Mun!  Around here, we don't wait around like those characters in Human Space Program.


Mun (funds earned 411835):


It's hard to make a Mun lander with only 30 parts and basic technology.  I didn't even have enough parts for a Mystery Goo or a Science Jr.


Dropped the SRB's and burning the droptanks:


Dropped the droptanks and drifting up to space:


The lander burns for orbit:


Burning for the Mun on the third launch!  The only science experiments I have are a thermometer and barometer, so most of the science will probably come from "EVA report from just over the Mun's wherever."


That big, fat, gray blob must be the Mun.


Orbit!  Time to ask Jeb what he feels about getting in and out of his pod repeatedly.  It'll make future rockets more aerodynamic and structurally sound.


Coming in for a landing in one of the big craters:


Landed!  I actually landed near the edge of the crater and sent Jeb over the rim to the Midlands for a quick look-see.


Blast!  I wanted that surface sample!  Jeb, I am not paying you half a million to take a rock home.


Forgot my orbit did that with a level 1 tracking station.  Gonna have to eyeball it with 160 m/s margin of error.


Lookin' pretty good.  500 km is definitely fixable.


The lander is my heatshield.:cool: Didn't have enough parts for a real one.


That'll get me to Minmus definitely!  It's a pretty good haul for only bringing a thermometer and barometer.


Minmus (funds earned 543076):


Pretty sure this is actually more expensive than the Munotron even though it is a lot smaller.  That science gear isn't cheap!  I actually didn't spend any science on this mission because I didn't need to.


It's actually not that hard to pilot a craft with no gimballing, no throttle control, and no SAS.  Just had to press space and W.


No SAS makes the controls feel really loose.  It's unnatural.


Orbit!  I tried for so long to get the "EVA over badlands" science.  I know the ground is kind of yellow there, but it's hard to see it when it's night.  I guess I'll have to get it some other time.


I pretty much nailed the transfer burn just by eyeballing it and spamming the controls a bunch. :cool: No maneuver node or SAS.  Just a slight burn Normal was required for an encounter since there was an inclination difference.


Now it's Bob's turn to jump in and out of the pod.  Among kerbals, it's a common ritual to jump in and out of their pod while opening and shutting a can of an unknown substance in hopes that the kraken will send better engines to the R&D.  That lab thingy is going to get me a lot of science since I spammed it all over the space.


Landed on the edge of the Greater Flats:


Hopping over to the Lowlands for an EVA report (but not a surface sample ;.;):


I burned straight back to Kerbin from the ground as it seemed more efficient and barely made it.


A proper reentry here with an actual heatshield:


Hey, look at that science!


And I think that's all I'll be doing in Kerbin's SOI other than docking!


Edited by RoninFrog
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Nice that you're also doing the no contract challenge! thanks for the interesting report. I like the way you designed your Mun lander! With the engine stuck onto the pod! very clever!

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Posted (edited)

Duna and Ike (current funds 246408):



When I got back from Minmus, the first thing I did was upgrade the R&D.  That meant I didn't have enough to upgrade the VAB, so I have to get to Duna and back with 30 parts.  It took a while (and a lot of science hemorrhaging), but I came up with this thing.


Jeb is back in the cockpit and SAS is working great.


Both ends of the rocket are on fire!


In orbit in one stage:


Deorbiting the booster!


Four airbrakes were just enough to slow down without exploding:


Nearly flattened a radar dish upon landing!


I got a calculated 25469 funds for recovering the booster, which is more than half the cost of the whole rocket!

Forgot to take a picture of the Duna transfer, but here is the aerobrake:


Uh oh.  Lookin' like I aerobraked into an Ike troll.


And my thoughts were, "If Ike's gonna troll me, I'm gonna troll Ike!"  I still had fuel left in the transfer stage, so Bam!  I landed.  Sort of.  The transfer stage didn't have landing legs, so it was tricky.  Got a surface sample though!  240 science, yay!


I managed to get above horizontal through an intricate use of the airbrakes and nearly blew my flag away upon takeoff.


Ike orbit, doing the "get in, get out, get back in, get back out, get back in again" ritual science dance.  I never found the Highlands.


Back on track for the Duna landing, only 60 m/s less than scheduled!


I like landing on atmospheric planets.  It's essentially just deploying the airbrakes and then watching the show, except for a little squirt of fuel at the end.


I didn't have the part budget for any solar panels or batteries, so I'm gonna have to get back on 48 electric charge.  Gonna be sketchy.

Flames on ascent from Duna???  Whoever heard of such a thing!


Duna orbit with more than enough to get home!


While I'm waiting for a transfer window, I want to get some funds.  I think Eeloo should give some good returns.

Eeloo (current funds 246408):


I decided to stop and have a think about my life choices, and then I realized that I think I'm supposed to return to Kerbin from the surface of Eeloo.  This means that I have to bring my lander back.  My previous lander was not going to work, so I loaded a quicksave and redid everything.  Here is the new and improved rocket:


It's quite large for this stage in the game.  I had to max out the launchpad and upgrade the VAB to level 2 to launch it.


In orbit with a lot of extra dV.  Probably could've dropped that little tank on the bottom.


Gonna have to land the booster during the night.  I hate that.


It's gettin' a little spicy out here!


I had no idea where I landed as I couldn't see a thing.  But according to the report I nailed a landing right on the runway!


Here's the next rocket, the transfer stage.


There's a beautiful shot there of the rocket on the way up!  Early morning, full Mun, faint mountains in the background.


Rendezvoused with the Ahab.


Docked!  There are two transfer stages since I can't do it Apollo style.  The Pequod transfer stage will burn first, and then the Captain Ahab will have enough dV to take Valentina the rest of the way and back.  Hopefully.


Had a lot of trouble deorbiting the booster because it had less than 200 m/s of dV.  I was coming in short so I couldn't deploy the brakes until the last moment, nearly ripping them off.


Landed further away than I would've liked, but it worked out okay.


Here is the last Eeloo launch going up.  It is just a simple docking probe to get that "Dock in orbit of" money.


In orbit:


Deorbiting another booster.  Boosters are such a pain to recover!


Absolutely nailed the landing right next to the pad!


Not 100% for right next to the pad?  Come on!


Oooh!  The actual burn itself!  Here is the Pequod giving the Captain a little boost:


And then the Captain Ahab completes the transfer itself.  It was difficult to undock, turn around, and switch engines in the middle of a burn.


A 180 m/s burn was required to get a good intercept.  That means the Captain Ahab lander will be about 80 m/s less than scheduled in orbit, but I can grab some more fuel on the way back when I dock with the Coffin.  The Coffin is the docking probe.


Speaking of the Coffin, there it goes, off to Eeloo!  It is almost identical to the Pequod except it has a probe core and reaction wheel.


The adjustment burn is smaller than the Captain's, primarily because the Coffin has a much higher TWR and can execute more precise burns.  I won't have connection out in the interstellar, so I have to aim at the maneuver while near Kerbin.


I actually kept having trouble with Jool messing up my trajectory, since the transfer window for Jool is open also.  It's tempting to send a few probes out there, but I have other plans for Jool.


Edited by RoninFrog

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Posted (edited)

Finishing off Kerbin's SOI:


The last thing on the checklist in Kerbin's SOI is to dock things in orbit of Mun and Minmus.  I will need three of these.  Inside the fairing is a simple HECS probe with some solar panels, and Oscar-B, a Spark, and a small docking port.


I will only post pictures of the second launch since the others were almost exactly the same.  Screaming out of the atmosphere:


Didn't take a picture in orbit.  Oh well.

Recovering the booster.  Lots of fire in these pictures.


I recovered about 33k total funds from all 3 boosters.  The first two probes will go to the Mun.  In this picture, the first one is already in orbit, and the second one is burning for a capture and intercept.


Docked!  The next procedure is to transfer all the fuel to one of the probes, and then send it on to Minmus.


This picture shows the second probe on a trajectory from the Mun to Minmus and third probe on a trajectory from LKO to Minmus.


First probe in orbit:


Second probe docked in Minmus orbit:


Ugh!  Got that out of the way.  I just hate those docking milestones for some reason.  They're just really tedious.

Return from Duna:


While the Captain Ahab drifted off into the interplanetary, Duna swung around into a transfer window.  So Jeb was finally able to burn for Kerbin.


I first put myself into a good aerobraking trajectory:


But then I realized the speed would be far too high and decided not to risk it.  I captured by burning instead.


I wanted to land somewhere near the KSC, so I warped around a couple times until the trajectory looked pretty good, and then burned my Pe down to 30km.


Now that just somehow doesn't look right.  I was pretty stable until around 30km, when one of the landing legs exploded and threw the center of drag, sending the lander into a tumble.


Nobody died though.  Airbrakes are wonderful things that way.  The lander couldn't stand up on the two remaining legs and faceplanted, but fortunately nothing broke.  Those mountains in the background are the ones west of the KSC, so I didn't land very close to the KSC, but at least I landed on the same continent.


Science!  Science!  Science!  Also a good chunk of cash.  Jeb was indignant when he learned the Eeloo mission had already left while he was gone.


Meanwhile, the Captain Ahab and Coffin were performing their adjustment burns...

Back on track for Eeloo:


The Captain Ahab's maneuver node was first.  It went well. Got a nice equitorial Pe around 30km.


The Coffin, well, it left a lot to be desired.  I had limited probe control without connection to Kerbin, so no control over throttle, steering, or thrust limiting.  That meant great difficulties for a precise, 0.7 second burn.  The resulting Pe was gigantic,  but at least it was fairly equatorial.  I can work with that since HECS can hold retrograde.


I don't really like this method of meticulously going through all of the planets one by one.  It's really quite boring.  I'm gonna wait for the Ahab to come home with a fat wad of funds, and then it might be time to do something out of the box.

The White Whale has been sighted!  Ready the harpoons!  Arr!


Coming in for a suicide burn:


The Captain Ahab has landed, and the harpoon, I mean flag, has been planted!  Take that, ye big white wale!


Sacred bovine!  That is a LOT of science!


I want more of that good stuff!


Back in orbit again, waiting for the Coffin to bring me some fuel:


The Coffin missed Eeloo for some reason.  When it got to the encounter, the encounter disappeared.  So I loaded a quicksave, went back, and 'fine tuned' the intercept using only stability/prograde/retrograde hold, X, and Z.  It turned out okay.


Captured into an elliptical orbit with a decent amount of fuel left:


The Coffin has docked to the Captain Ahab.  Time to bring Valentina home.9z7Vexu.jpg

I could've timewarped to a transfer window, but Eeloo's large, inclined orbit means doing so takes forever.  So I just went for it, and completely botched the timing.  Let's hope I don't end up on Duna.


One orbit and 40 m/s later, I got a trajectory like this.  A free Mun flyby, too!


I actually chickened out and raised my Pe to about 40km, just to be safe.  The effects were surprisingly calm for the carnage that ensued.  I mean, good grief!  This is even faster than an Eve reentry!  The rest of the lander had disintegrated well before 50km.  It's a good thing I packed a heat shield.


The pod briefly went back up to space before reentering again:


The second reentry was much less chaotic.


You will not land near the KSC today.


That is a lot of funds for having spent about 45k.


Bad news.  I didn't even know there was a thing about transfering crew between ships.  Oh great.  Gonna have to do something drastic to save this career, if it's even possible.



Edited by RoninFrog

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There's been a long stretch of failed Eve lander testing recently, as is usual in career mode.  Eventually, I just scrapped the whole Eve plan when I realized I would get less funds than Gilly.  So to Gilly Jeb will go!




First launch!  Very cheap orbital rocket with a docking port.  Valentina is flying.  Jeb wanted to fly it, but then he saw the second rocket...


Orbit!  Forgot to empty the Monoprop and nearly didn't make it!


And here is Jeb's rocket, the Big Fat Mama!  89 kilofunds and 3.75m diameter, by far the biggest launch yet in this career!  Why launch the pieces separately when there's MOAR BOOSTERS!!!


I just love the Mammoth.  Hey...  I just had a brilliant idea...  Maybe later.


Jeb was sorely tempted to just abandon Valentina in Kerbin orbit and head off to Gilly without her.  But he thought better of it and picked her up.  The Mama launch stage had a lot of left over fuel, so I refilled the Sidekick.


Heyyyy...  That one engine is technically "on the runway."


Money money money!


One of the most satisfying things in KSP is going to the tracking station and already having a perfect launch window. :wub: It makes me so happy.  The other most satisfying thing is docking for the first time.


Burning for Eve!  That is waaaaaaay too much dV.  Maybe I'll visit the Mun on the way back or something.


Relax.  It's just rocket science.


Destination reached!  Lots of docking, undocking, and transferring crew was involved along the way to scrape all possible funds out of exploration.


2 km/s dV over budget?  Too many boosters! :D

The Big Fat Mama descends.  Slowly.  Veeeery slowly.


It took forever to get down there!


After planting the flag, Valentina headed out for the Midlands to grab some rocks...


...while Jeb hopped over to the Lowlands.


After getting to orbit, Jeb decided to pull some unorthodox rendezvous procedures.


Docked!  Time to go home, now.


The Mama pushed the Sidekick to Gilly escape velocity, and then jettisoned it.  This picture is kind of like a seek-and-find.


And then they docked back together in Eve orbit to get those Eve rendezvous funds.


The process was repeated after the burn for Kerbin.  This whole rendezvous dance ate through the dV a lot faster than anticipated.


Docked in orbit of Kerbol:


Valentina then climbed into the lander can and the Sidekick was sacrificed to the Kraken.  The final Kerbin approach looked like this.  Note the dV remaining.  2 km/s over the dV budget wasn't quite 2 km/s over the dV budget!


Jeb:  "Why are the walls glowing red?"
Mission Control:  "No clue.  Don't touch them."

That heat shield doesn't quite cover the lander.  For a second there I thought it wasn't gonna make it.


But everything turned out fine and everyone lived happily ever after.


I have big plans for the next launch. :wink:


Edited by RoninFrog

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All this meticulous designing and booster recovery was getting a bit tedious.  Something had to be done.  So I let Jeb design a rocket or two.  Oh, @HansonKerman, this might interest you.

Sarumans' Leg 1:  Munar refill


Here is what Jeb came up with.  He named it the HMS Saruman.  It is basically a mini Sauron.  I'm gonna launch two of these things.


This rocket is way, way too expensive for a No Contracts Career, but it is 100% recoverable.  Even the fuel.


Jeb's only complaint so far is that the view from the Sauron's cupola gave a much better view of the flames than being locked in a lander can in a storage bay.


Once Jeb got his Saruman to orbit, it was time for Valentina to launch.  She bet Jeb 5000 funds that she could pull off a better ascent profile.  It was time to pull off some unconventional maneuvers.


Hmm.  Valentina, aren't you supposed to stay below 200 m/s under 10km?  At this point in the ascent, things weren't looking good.


Say, Val, aren't you going a little fast for being under 30km?  At this point in the ascent, things really weren't looking good.


Miraculously, nothing exploded.  Here's Jeb's dV:


And here's Val's.  Oof!  Jeb just lost 5000 funds!


The Sarumans both set out for the Mun soon after getting to orbit.


Jeb burned into a low orbit, and Valentina burned into a highly elliptical orbit to do a plane change.


Pretty decent ore.  It's uncomfortable not having a Narrow Band to be able to nail down a landing site.  Those Narrow Bands take a lot of science!  Gonna shoot for a landing a little to the left of that little orange thingy.


Jeb was in an equatorial orbit, so he didn't have to wait to land.  Sacred bovine!  Look at that ore!  That was definitely the right spot to pick.


Gonna try to land Val as close to Jeb's Saruman as I can.


Nearly flattened Jeb on the way down!


Flag time!  This is Val's first time on the Mun.


Refueling took forever.  Without an engineer, it took 25 times as long.  Jeb took off first.


Valentina took off using only two engines, and somehow managed to get a higher Ap and higher ascent speed than Jeb, while using less dV.  Jeb now owes Val another 5000 funds.


The only Mun funds remaining are for transferring crew.  Gotta rendezvous the two Sarumans!


Docking two massive ships with no RCS and a dwindling electricity supply is "fun"!  Kind of like how repeatedly whacking your head on the sidewalk while singing the Baby Shark song is "fun"!


After about half an hour, those docking ports finally stuck together, and I got the "Transfer Crew" funds.


..and then I realized I could've just used EVA.  Oh well.  It was good practice.  Where to next?  I'm thinking Moho.  Or maybe do a Jool 5.


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