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It was just a normal day on Kerbin. Then a lonely SENTINEL scope, floating in the big empty between Duna and Dres, picked up the distinctive 511 kilo-electron-volt flash of antimatter annihilation... a flash that kept on going.

KSC's R&D team quickly located the source of the signal: an alien interstellar spacecraft, decelerating into the Joolian system on an intercept with an equally alien station. At first, there was excitement. First contact with alien life! The Kerbals were not alone in the universe! Incomprehensible wonders, galactic federations, and glorious antimatter explosions awaited!

They eagerly began beaming messages out to Jool... and got no response. Soon, the spacecraft fired up its drive and departed into the interstellar void from which it had come, leaving only a mysterious station, and a fearful KSC.

They had right to be afraid. Whatever tech was on that station was centuries ahead of their *theoretical* designs, and their practical stuff was even further behind. And there was no way that KSC had been the only one to see it.

KSC, the KNSA, KASA, Space-K, and everyone in-between all came to the same realization, all at once. Whoever got to that station and its technology first would achieve total domination over the others. Patience and caution were no longer options. The race was on. And its name?

JOOL RUN.

Congratulations! You have been placed in charge of KSC's ASAP Jool mission! Your objective? Get a ship to Jool and dock with the alien station in a 1000km orbit above the gas giant, and do it faster than everyone else.

RULES:

  1.  Your ship must carry at least one Kerbal in a pod or command seat, and have at least one useable docking port, but outside of that it can be as barebones or as complex as you want.
  2. Your ship should be built and flown in the provided Sandbox save, which includes the target station. (You can add the save to your game by unzipping the file and dropping the "Jool Run" folder into the "saves" folder in your KSP installation directory. If you're not sure how to do this, just ask!)
    1. There are no limits on part count, part clipping, etc - go wild! Push your engineering skills to the max! DLC parts are allowed; the only forbidden designs are Kraken/phantom force drives, as those equate to Epstein drives.
    2. You can build your ship in orbit using multiple launches, or launch all at once. All of these launches must be flown!
    3. The target station has all three sizes of docking port, so don't worry about designing for a specific size.
  3. Your ship is allowed to land on and mine any celestial body. Your ship can also freely interact with any other craft you send up before or after it, such as propellant depots or resupply ships.
  4. Your time is measured in game time from Y1D1 to the instant you dock - NOT real time or mission elapsed time. THIS MEANS THAT YOU ARE WASTING TIME WHEN WAITING FOR A TRANSFER WINDOW!

  5. Once you dock, you should still have enough delta-v remaining to safely return to Kerbin. (You must fly this, but it does not count towards your run time.) The run is considered complete once you safely reach LKO or land your ship and/or your Kerbal safely on Kerbin. In the former case, sending up a retrieval ship is not required. Note that rule 3 still applies, so you can also get creative with that.

  6. You may use any mod that does not affect the performance of your ship, such as MechJeb, Better Time Warp/PersistentThrust, and KAC/KER. Your ship and the Kerbolar system must be squeaky-clean stock - no functional modded parts (stuff like the radial MechJeb core is okay) or surreptiously shrinking the system to achieve a faster time. Blatant cheating, such as HyperEdit or the stock debug menu, is also forbidden.

SUBMISSION RULES (Based off of the ones from the Jool-5 challenge):

  1. Submit your run as an Imgur album, with good captions and descriptions, as a video or series of videos, or as a thread in Mission Reports.

  2. Pictures or it didn't happen! Please keep the resources tab open, as well as show the informative windows from MechJeb or KER if you use them. Take a picture/video of every important moment, including transfers, stagings, and most importantly, your final docking with UT time visible. (The clock can be toggled between MET and UT by clicking on the button next to it.)

  3. Submissions using ion drives as their main form of propulsion will be split into a separate leaderboard category, purely because the trajectories you can achieve with Dawns + Xenon drop tanks are insane. I've designed ion ships with 50kms of delta-v, and I know for a fact you can go even further. This is not meant to disparage the use of ion drives - they are just as impressive in terms of engineering, and potentially even more impressive in terms of required piloting skill.  Rather, it's meant to make chemical/nuke designs an attractive option, instead of having ions dominate a unified leaderboard.

Good luck! Make KSC proud!

DEMO RUN

Just to show that you can achieve higher-speed transits in the stock game without cheats, I did a quick-and-dirty run and put it into an Imgur album here. I used a chemical booster to escape Kerbin and a light ion ship for the rest of the journey, and I completed the run on Y1D265 at 3:42:43. Note that the earliest transfer window to Jool is around Y1D180, and I left on Y1D1. An "average" Jool transfer, according to AlexMoon's planner, would leave on Y2D256 and spend three years and 331 days in transit.

This is in no way the best possible time; I'm confident that times under 200 days and maybe even 150 days are possible.

LEADERBOARDS:

Non-ionic:

Spoiler

EMPTY

Ionic:

Spoiler

EMPTY

BADGES:

If you successfully complete a run, regardless of your final time,  I've designed a competitor badge! The code block to add it to your sig is in the spoiler, as well as a link to the fullsize version if you want to put it into a composite image or such.

Additionally, the holders of the top 3 positions in each leaderboard at the end of the initial challenge period (let's say two weeks, although I can adjust it) get a gold, silver or bronze winner badge!

KynyPbX.pngdq5LTGu.pngCNE8B4D.pnghtDSvJn.png

Spoiler




[URL="https://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/197828-jool-run-challenge"][img=https://i.imgur.com/KynyPbX.png][/URL]

Fullsize Badges

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • This challenge and the little story blurb were inspired by John Sandford's Saturn Run. Highly recommended.
  • I am fully open to the possibility of a modded leaderboard. Just ask!
  • If you're going for an ionic design, do yourself a favor an install a mod like PersistentThrust or BetterTimeWarp now.
Edited by OutInSpace
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So are we allowed to start with our craft edited into orbit? I'm asking for two reasons:

1. Your example submission starts with your craft edited into orbit

2. My computer isn't the best so it'll chug a bit if I have to slap a heavy launcher onto my spacecraft

Also from what I understand this is more of an orbital maneuver and spacecraft efficiency design challenge, not a piloting challenge?

@OutInSpace

Edited by camacju
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4 hours ago, camacju said:

So are we allowed to start with our craft edited into orbit? I'm asking for two reasons:

1. Your example submission starts with your craft edited into orbit

2. My computer isn't the best so it'll chug a bit if I have to slap a heavy launcher onto my spacecraft

Also from what I understand this is more of an orbital maneuver and spacecraft efficiency design challenge, not a piloting challenge?

@OutInSpace

If your computer really can't handle sending up your ship, then yeah, I'll make an exception so long as you keep the mass within reason - 100 tons? I only edited my ship into orbit for the demo because I was trying to get it done when I had some limited free time (the joys of being a high school Junior with a job) and I couldn't afford to spend half an hour testing a lifter for it when I knew it could be done :/. My ship was around 90 tons, Rhino and all; I've boosted stuff over 100 tons into LKO on a regular basis. (Hopefully I'll be able to add some pics of me  lifting it to orbit later.)

However, I'd prefer that you send up your ship manually if at all possible.  If I set a precedent of allowing exceptions for editing, then things could get mired in arguments over what constitutes a reasonable mass, what orbits you can edit into, etc etc

Edited by OutInSpace
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https://imgur.com/a/UPfPgno

Year 1, Day 234, 2:37:31, no ions

This is a decent mission profile - I timed the aerobrake so I would get an encounter with the station within one orbit. Around Jool maybe two hours could be shaved off but I doubt it. This is probably pretty close to the earliest possible entry under 100 tons with nuclear engines.

Edited by camacju
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2 hours ago, camacju said:

https://imgur.com/a/UPfPgno

Year 1, Day 234, 2:37:31, no ions

This is a decent mission profile - I timed the aerobrake so I would get an encounter with the station within one orbit. Around Jool maybe two hours could be shaved off but I doubt it. This is probably pretty close to the earliest possible entry under 100 tons with nuclear engines.

Impressive, especially with nukes! But unfortunately, this doesn't quite cut it; unless I'm missing something, you don't have enough delta-v to return to Kerbin the slow way, which was one of the requirements for a successful run. ;.; You could probably manage it by skimping a little on the Joolwards burn.

Edit: If you kept the inflatable heatshield(s), you could get a return aerocapture for as little as ~2kms; you could even skip getting into orbit altogether and simply dive into the atmosphere to kill all your speed before ejecting your Kerbal and landing him with his backpack chute. The ship doesn't have to make it - just the Kerbal.

Also, thanks for reminding me to add my screenshots of the Kerbin return trip to that album. It occurred to me that I could roll back to my named quicksave and get the video :confused:

Edit 2: Got the Kerbin return added. I'll add some shots of a lifter for the ship tomorrow if I can find the time.

Edited by OutInSpace
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@OutInSpace All you need is 1600m/s for a Laythe transfer, which can get you on an escape from Jool. Then get a Jool assist to bring you down to Kerbin. I had 400 m/s more than that - I docked with 2026 m/s remaining

Edited by camacju
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23 minutes ago, camacju said:

@OutInSpace All you need is 1600m/s for a Laythe transfer, which can get you on an escape from Jool. Then get a Jool assist to bring you down to Kerbin. I had 400 m/s more than that - I docked with 2026 m/s remaining

That sounds good. Just send a few pics of the trajectories and I'll add you to the leaderboard! Sorry I didn't think of that; I'm not the gravity assist type lol.

Edited by OutInSpace
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