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The Lunex Challenge for KSP 1.10 (Now with badges!)


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THE LUNEX CHALLENGE

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Before Apollo, there was another U.S. program to land on the moon: the Lunex project. It would involve an expendable launch vehicle and recoverable, lifting body crew module with direct-to-orbit return from the moon.

The challenge? Develop a reusable, crewed, and winged orbiter that lands on another celestial body using an expendable launcher, landing stage, and return stage.

Heavily inspired by the wonderful Shuttle Challenge, from which most missions were inspired.

@sturmhauke has provided some amazing badges. Thanks a ton to him. 

THE RULES

  1. Unbalanced mods are not allowed. Entries with modded parts will be separated from unmodded. Unbalanced mods primarily concern engines with Isp or TWR significantly higher than stock engines.
  2. Vehicle launches vertically on top of the stack, lands on another body vertically, and returns to Kerbin horizontally.
  3. The crewed portion of the vehicle should glide back to Kerbin.
  4. Hyperedit is not allowed, except for testing.
  5. All submissions must have either an image album or video with significant events of the flight.
  6. You must use your own craft for all missions.
  7. Missions should be completed in order from the start of each series, with the exception of Mun Lunex 1 and Mun Lunex 2, which can be completed together. 

UPDATES

10-2-20: Removed entries list as it was going to become impractical to maintain.

MISSIONS

Mun Series (Lunex 1-4)

Spoiler

Mun Lunex 1: Getting Started

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Mun Lunex 1 Pilot:

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This mission is the simplest. Just develop and fly a Mun mission with a Lunex-style craft, landing anywhere on Kerbin.

Mun Lunex Pilot, First Class:

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Complete the above mission and land at a runway.

Mun Lunex 2: Driving School

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Mun Lunex 2 Pilot:

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Fly a Lunex mission with a Mun buggy.

Mun Lunex Pilot 2, First Class:

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First class: Fly the mission with a pressurized rover.

Mun Lunex 3: Couch Surfing

Mun Lunex 3 Pilot:

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Deliver a small, single launch base to the Mun with a Lunex-style craft.

Mun Lunex 3 Pilot, First Class:

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First class: Return the base to Kerbin.

Mun Lunex 4: Long-term Habitation

Mun Lunex 4 Pilot:

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Construct a base on the Mun using a Lunex craft to deliver the parts. Your base must have:

  • A habitation module for four or more kerbals with a docking port, source of power, and antenna.
  • A pressurized rover for four or more kerbals.
  • A fuel depot with mining rig.

These modules can be delivered in any order.

Mun Lunex 4 Pilot, First Class:

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Build the base at an inclination greater than 60 degrees.

 

Duna Series (Duna Lunex 1-3)

Spoiler

Duna Lunex 1: First Encounters

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Minerbat's Lunex on Ike

Duna Lunex 1 Pilot:

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Launch to Duna from Kerbin, land on Ike, and land anywhere on Kerbin.

Duna Lunex 1 Pilot, First Class:

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Launch to Duna from Kerbin, deploy a small satellite at 100km or below in Duna orbit, land on Ike, and land at a runway.

Duna Lunex 2: The Red Planet

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Minerbat's Lunex on Duna

Duna Lunex 2 Pilot:

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Launch to Duna from Kerbin, land on Duna, and return anywhere on Kerbin. 

Duna Lunex 2 Pilot, First Class:

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Launch to Duna from Kerbin, land on Duna, and deploy a rover of any sort. Return to any runway.

Duna Lunex 3: Martian Style

Duna Lunex 3 Pilot:

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Land a base on Duna using a Lunex-style craft, then return to Kerbin. The base must be capable of housing at least two kerbals, have a means of generating power, and a communications dish. You may send one refueling mission in Kerbin orbit, using whatever kind of craft you wish.

Duna Lunex 3 Pilot, First Class:

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Land a base on Duna using a Lunex-style craft, then return to Kerbin. The base must be capable of housing at least six kerbals, have a solar array, have at least three redundant communications relays, and at least two pressurized rovers. You may assemble the base over three launches, with cargo distributed however you wish. Each launch may also be refueled in Kerbin orbit by whatever kind of craft you wish.

 

Jool Series (TBA)

Eeloo Series (TBA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by KingDominoIII
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Great idea for a challenge post, especially incorporating other bodies, too!   :cool: 

I like to play with Munex from time to time and built this one, which with a Saturn V gets to the Mun..

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..but with a Saturn 1B can also dock to the space station. 

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I'm looking forward to putting together a submission!   :)   Is 1.10 a requirement?

Edited by Death Engineering
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On 7/14/2020 at 4:12 AM, sturmhauke said:

As the current STS program manager, I approve! You need some badges?

I do as a matter of fact! I was planning on designing them, but if you'd like to I'd love to use them!

Edited by KingDominoIII
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I might try this, just a few questions though: you specify an expendable launcher, landing stage, and return stage. This would mean an SSTO to TMI, is that really feasible? Also, how are we supposed to fit base modules into a MK2 cargo bay?

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28 minutes ago, sturmhauke said:

I'll draw up some ideas and message you. 

Thanks, sounds good!

9 minutes ago, Pikapolar said:

I might try this, just a few questions though: you specify an expendable launcher, landing stage, and return stage. This would mean an SSTO to TMI, is that really feasible? Also, how are we supposed to fit base modules into a MK2 cargo bay?

If by TMI you mean injection into Munar orbit, it doesn't need to be an SSTO. If you mean return to Kerbin, yes, it is feasible- it's only about 2-3k dV max. 

The glider doesn't have to be a replica of the actual Lunex- it just needs to have a similar mission profile, like the Shuttle Challenge. You can use Mk3 cargo bay, sling the module under the landing stage- it doesn't matter, as long as it gets there and the craft meets the rules.

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10 minutes ago, KingDominoIII said:

If by TMI you mean injection into Munar orbit, it doesn't need to be an SSTO. If you mean return to Kerbin, yes, it is feasible- it's only about 2-3k dV max. 

The glider doesn't have to be a replica of the actual Lunex- it just needs to have a similar mission profile, like the Shuttle Challenge. You can use Mk3 cargo bay, sling the module under the landing stage- it doesn't matter, as long as it gets there and the craft meets the rules.

Sorry, I misread it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm really exited for this. Launching spaceplanes on rockets to the Mun like this is one of my favorite things to do in KSP, even if they're often overshadowed by shuttles and SSTOs. Love it! :cool:

Does the rule about a vertical landing rule allow putting engines on the belly of the spaceplane and landing like a VTOL or does it mean the entire spacecraft must be oriented vertically?

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3 hours ago, xub313 said:

Does the rule about a vertical landing rule allow putting engines on the belly of the spaceplane and landing like a VTOL or does it mean the entire spacecraft must be oriented vertically?

While I suppose you could land it belly-first like a VTOL, I'm not sure if it would be very effective, since it would probably throw off your CoM. I imagine such a configuration would be useful for the later missions requiring you to land larger modules, though.

Going over the rules, I've decided to nix the one regarding the final, glide stage being unpowered- KSP is too small scale to require the kind of complexity Lunex would have had, especially considering that I'd like this challenge to be somewhat open-ended.

Edited by KingDominoIII
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Yes! Lets go! One question: the rules for mission one say that I need to land on the runway to get the first class, but the other ones don't. I don't need to land on the runway to get the first class on the other missions? I think that it would be a good thing as it would get tedious to land on the runway every time while you did prove you are capable of doing it.

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8 hours ago, minerbat said:

I am on the Mun!

Me too!

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Everything went surprisingly well on the first test flight. I'm trying to follow the mission plan for the actual Lunex program pretty closely with a 3-stage booster and a 2-stage lander.

I forgot how much control you have during reentry with a plane. It's really satisfying to end the mission at the KSC. This craft has one fatal flaw though, it sinks like a rock at low airspeeds. It made landing very difficult. I can do it, but It's something like a 25% success rate, and that's being generous. As much as I liked the minimalistic winglet design, I think I'll have to add some wings to the thing to get it to land properly.

Behold the MK 2!

Spoiler

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But now I need a break. 

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