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Terran(ism) Space Program

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Right out of the gate, a few more KCT points and an upgrade to the Tracking Station used up most of my remaining funds:


That upgrade was possibly the quickest one yet, taking just a few days. 

A one-off mission called Green Albatross- a modified Green Condor with a biome scanner on it- went up into a fairly high polar orbit of Earth for a contract, which due to the wide FOV on the scanner and the 2500km circular orbit covered the required 80% of the Earth's surface in only a few days.


Big fairing covering the second stage because MLI will definitely catch fire and explode otherwise.  It was also the first time I've used a hydrolox engine in a real launch; it performed exactly as expected and still had a generous fuel margin left when it had reached its final orbit.

Now let's play a game: name that speck!


Is it a) Ceres, b) Vesta, c) the Moon, d) Venus or e) just part of the skybox?



It's Ceres!

As the flyby continued, I checked just how much delta-V was needed to capture into an orbit- a little over 10km/s it turns out.


Another flyby contract completed, more science data gathered, now the contracts system wants an orbiter, lander and rover on Ceres, which will go in the 'never gonna happen' bin with the same contracts for Mercury. There are better places to go which are also easier to get to, like...


Venus! I had a crewed mission on the launchpad when a notification came up about science coming back from space high over Venus and had to switch to Orange Saucer 1 and do its mission instead. The design was flawed, as the failed launch of Orange Saucer 2 revealed, with the thrust from the SRB braking stage misaligned with the probe's COM resulting in an uncontrolled spin and the loss of most of the braking delta-V; however the probe's own thrusters were enough to capture into a very elliptical orbit and some fine-tuning allowed the lander to be dropped.



This is November 1959, a decade ahead of the first real landing on Venus by Venera 7. The heat warnings are nothing to do with residual heat from re-entry and entirely due to ambient heat from the near 700K temperatures on the surface, even at night near the poles. With the orbiter, atmospheric probe and lander contracts combined this mission pulled in almost 3 million funds!

Unfortunately, the orbit I ended up with meant that the lander touched down in a position which limited the communications back to Earth- it needed the orbiter probe overhead to relay the signal, but for part of the time the orbiter was in position Venus was between the orbiter and Earth plus the elliptical orbit meant that the orbiter was racing past at considerable speed so the window to transmit was short. Most of the science got transmitted before the batteries ran out, I think...


Close to 900 science so far, with more still trickling in as the orbiter continues to gather data long after the lander died.

Now we come to one of the weirdest contract completions yet:


So apparently just leaving this thing parked on the launchpad for a week completed that one? But the two previous missions that spent over a week in space each did not?

Liftoff went as planned, but something wasn't right with the ascent trajectory almost from the start of the gravity turn- it was going far too low far too soon- then a booster failed, then this happened:


With no other option available the crew bailed out, but things kept going wrong- Arkady simply didn't have the option to deploy his parachute, even though he clearly had one in his inventory, while Alexei's parachute did open only for him to be snatched by the Kraken and smashed into the ocean at a significant percentage of light speed. I was prepared to accept the launch failure with the crew parachuting down into the ocean, but two separate game fails after bailing out is just not on. I don't like to do this, but... REVERT!


Everything worked fine the second time round. It's possible that Arkady's Making History-spec Vintage suit is to blame for the parachute weirdness, however neither of them had a functioning jetpack despite my best efforts to patch that so their EVAs were spent clinging on to the doors for fear of floating away like Ann Horton in the previous flight. Once their crew science experiments and orbital flight contract were completed, they headed back down with an exploding heatshield as the only concern; my own fault for not putting enough ablator on it and something I'll fix for future missions.



And then I did it again...


I'm sorry, but when someone dangles nearly 5 million funds in front of me for something that seems fundamentally easy (build a "station" and crew it for a month) I just can't resist...


That screenshot is after I started building an unlimited class launchpad with no mass limit at a cost of 2 million funds. Six million will buy A LOT of KCT points especially with 50 freebies for returning a thousand science:


The R&D upgrade completed at some point too so I blew all the science I had saved up on a wide selection of new nodes including station parts, two blue-sky nodes, better rockets of all varieties and some probe-related parts too.

Next up is Blue Nougat 2, another sample return mission to the Moon:



Another dicey landing running on fumes, but this time in a brand new biome- Mare Orientalis. This is good news as the lander part of the mission can stay behind and gather more data while the return part brings back the sample, but unfortunately the landing was near the beginning of the Lunar night so it'll be almost 2 weeks before it gets any power.

As with the previous mission, returning wasn't too difficult with a decent fuel reserve (even though I forgot to decouple the drop tanks for quite a while after they were empty :blush:) but the invisible ocean and burning avionics happened again; maybe focussing on the same mission when it goes that far from Earth is tripping something up somewhere?



Sample returned, contract completed and the science gained was immediately spent on two more nodes- improved scrubbers and improved nuclear engines including the first NERVA rockets: 60 ignitions, almost 900s ISP and 250kN of thrust, but it weighs about 12 tons and liquid hydrogen has terrible fuel density and boils off ridiculously fast. I don't know if nuclear engines are actually any good in RP-1 or if high efficiency hydrolox is the way to go- will be interesting to find out.


Ending like I started- not a lot of funds or science but lots going on in the background including several hundred more KCT points spent. The upgrade to the Astronaut Complex kicked in just in time to have one of my veteran pilots trained and ready for the next Gemini flight along with a newbie engineer, who would otherwise have to repeat the Gemini mission training as it expires in only a few days. It's December 1959 and I feel fairly confident that a crewed Moon landing will happen, if not in 1960, then in 1961- all the necessary elements have been designed, tested and are in the build queue, now all I have to do is sort out the crew training and decide who gets to make those famous first small steps. I also have until then to fix those pesky jetpacks!

Full album: https://imgur.com/a/adaEAsW

Coming up next time: I don't actually know. Between spending a slightly scary amount of time playing Factorio at the weekend (wow, that game sucks you in and time passes at a terrifying rate) and spending most of this evening testing out various visual mods for RSS (EVO is like RSSVE but much more detailed and prettier, but has a couple of issues around city lights that I don't like and will probably disable those; Katniss' Cape Canaveral looks good especially with the extension mod that adds more buildings and such, but I didn't like how the stock space centre was just stuck down in the middle of the Kennedy Space Centre's car park so I dropped that one) I haven't actually done all that much KSPing since these screenshots were uploaded on Saturday afternoon. More Gemini flights, another sample return and another rover on the Moon will most likely feature, plus I'll be culling a load of old probes whose missions are completed in an attempt to resolve load time and performance issues by cutting down on the size of the save file a bit.

EDIT: I just realised that I accidentally deleted all the screenshots from the first ~38 or so of these posts along with the old 1.8.1 instance of KSP that I was using before updating to 1.11.1, and of course I realised this after emptying the recycle bin too  ;.;. At least they're still on Imgur, but not all of the screenshots I take end up on those albums...

Edited by jimmymcgoochie
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The fourth Yellow Biscuit is the last crewed flight not just of this year, but the entire decade! It's December 1959 and in a few short weeks it'll tick over to 1960. Strange that veteran Diana looks terrified but newbie Viktorija is thrilled, it's usually the rookie that's screaming.


Good news- I fixed the EVA packs to not use nitrogen! Bad news- they use hydrazine now!?



The heat shield exploded on impact with the ground, but other than that the mission went according to plan. Well, at least until...


I tried to plant a flag, but the flag immediately exploded (due to excessive G-forces, apparently); the game was waiting for the flag plaque dialog box to be closed, but the flag was gone so there was no dialog box- all I got was a dead-eyed, mouthless stare from Diana here and no controls would work so I had to recover her and the pod separately.


A good haul of science and Viktorija is staying for another three years, pushing her retirement date back to the first day of 1969. The orbital flight contract for this mission also paid out its 400k or so funds. As usual, I spent most of that on KCT points; not as usual, I put them into the VAB this time to get the rockets building a bit quicker:


That science was then spent on nodes for even more science experiments and upgraded communications, including X-band communications which are much more powerful than S-band (higher gain = longer range), but have very narrow beamwidth so are completely useless at short range, possibly even as far out as the Moon. A problem to worry about in a couple of years' time at the rate nodes are getting unlocked...


Now a bit of simulating- there's a nice planetary alignment coming up that will let me lob a probe at Saturn, with a tiny gravity assist from Jupiter that conveniently sends its trajectory right between Saturn's atmosphere and its rings:


This does come at a cost of almost 8km/s of delta-V, however thanks to the power of hydrolox it's feasible with a 350 ton launch and will reach Saturn in around 4 years. That Saturn flyby contract is starting to look rather interesting, what with its 15 year deadline and all.

A second probe that was originally meant for Saturn, but launching with a 150 ton rocket, was woefully short on delta-V; instead I sent it to Mercury, which was a bit of a  waste as its comms are overpowered and it uses RTGs instead of solar panels, but that was the only transfer window that I had available and this probe has all the latest science on it so I might as well throw it at something.


From one probe to another- at last Orange Bowl 4 arrives at Mars nearly a year after its sibling, snapping some nice pictures of the new and improved Mars textures thanks to EVO, a new visual mod for RSS that I only just discovered but already really like:


All four inner planets are in that picture, though Mars is quite hard to see at this range.


Science gathered and transmitting (slowly, due to degraded solar panels), this probe's long mission has at last paid off.

The launchpads are getting a bit busy at this point with three separate rockets either on a pad or rolling out, though the latest crewed mission is waiting for its crew to be trained up and will have to launch next year.


A routine satellite launch is made much more interesting by the new and improved appearance of Earth:


However at some point between installing and uninstalling various mods I've accidentally moved the KSC to an island a few miles off the Florida coast, but I don't know how I did it or how to put it back at Cape Canaveral, or indeed if it's still at Cape Canveral and the surrounding terrain has been changed instead.


Blue Nougat 3 heads up to land on the Moon and bring some samples back. Due to various timings overlapping I'll be bringing this one back in the next post, half way through a crewed orbital flight.

With some extra cash lying around I bought even more KCT points, which this time went into R&D to get that huge backlog shifting a bit faster. And then it was 1960!


What a decade it's been! Just ten years ago I was bumbling around Florida in a little plane while shooting military surplus anti-ship rockets into the sky, but since then those teeny little rockets have grown bigger, fatter, heavier and more powerful-er than ever; back then just getting above the Karman line was a challenge, let alone reaching orbit, but now there's a satellite in orbit of another planet, ten separate soft landings on the Moon's surface (including Blue Nougat 3 I think, spoilers :wink:) and crewed flights have gone from poking above the sound barrier to poking above the atmosphere to spending a week in space at a time, with more soon to come on that front as that Moon landing gets closer and closer.

I do have a bit of a quandary though: I could push ahead with the Moon landing at full speed, but at the cost of ignoring every available transfer window for the next year or so, or I could put more effort into interplanetary exploration which will yield huge quantities of science and fulfil many contracts but take up some of the build time that could otherwise be used making crewed vessels for the Moon landing and quite possibly delaying that until 1961. Do the opportunities offered by exploring other planets and the long-term benefits, mostly the huge quantities of science and free KCT points, outweigh the chance for a 1960 Moon landing and the gigantic contract payouts that would ensue? Vote now!

Full album: https://imgur.com/a/k1nEieh

Coming up next time: The sixties kick off with a major breakthrough- I fixed the EVA packs so they use stock EVA propellant and actually work! Sure, it's "not realistic" but I'll take fake but working over real but useless.


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Another design gets put through its paces, this time a double double mission: an orbiter and lander for both Phobos and Deimos all launched on a single rocket and transfer stage. New level 2 solar panels, the best science and communications technology unlocked so far and the huge efficiency of hydrolox make for a potent combination:



The node delta-V bar lies- there's more than enough fuel in the transfer stage to make this burn and enough in both probes to capture into orbit of Mars, make their way to their target moons and capture there too. Orbital velocities around those tiny Martian moons are stupidly low- as in single digit metres per second low- so the landers are powered solely by RCS thrusters to avoid accidentally hitting escape velocity with a single fat-fingered press of the Z key.

Now back to the Blue Nougat 3, which successfully landed on the Moon but once again used up all its propellant trying to not fall over; I really need to fix the landing leg suspension configurations to stop that happening, and put the antenna back on the lander stage since that went missing from this one so the data it gathers can't be sent back...


After launching the return stage back to Earth there was enough time to launch Yellow Biscuit 5 and complete the first part of its orbital flight contract before Blue Nougat 3 came down and re-entered:





And then back to Yellow Biscuit 5 to complete the second half of its contract:




Another combo mission now- two probes heading to the Moon: a scanner and science probe to sit in a polar orbit and map its biomes and get space high science, and a docking target probe which will go into a low retrograde orbit to get some space low science as well as allowing some rendezvous and docking practice before I do it for real with the Moon lander.


I'm running out of names at this point- a ramekin is a ceramic bowl used for cooking. I may need to resort to crockery if I make too many more 350t missions.

A couple of unremarkable contract sats went up, made some money, no need to bother with them. Much more important than that: I fixed the EVA packs!


OK, the screenshot is very dark, but they use EVA propellant again and Diana here was jetting all over the place making sure it all worked. I could have done this for Yellow Biscuit 5 but I forgot.


Another contract sat, a second Moon rover and that Saturn probe are all waiting for their turn to launch; a very large quantity of KCT points have been spent on R&D to get that research shifting, and the first month of 1960 has been a resounding success. Bring on the other 119 months of the sixties!

Full album: https://imgur.com/a/JKIvCbd

Coming up next time: Maybe I'll get on with sending a Gemini pod into orbit of the Moon? Or maybe I'll get distracted by something else instead, as usual :rolleyes:.

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Getting low on funds, so first up is another contract sat:


Then I accepted the Saturn flyby contract; with the window rapidly approaching, the probe ready to launch and the transit time of just 4 years when the contract allows 15, it makes perfect sense.


Next to launch is Orange Mug 2, another rover on the Moon:



A pretty precise landing less than 2km from the first waypoint. Spot the mistake...


The forward-facing probe core is upside down! I tried bodging the save file to rotate it the right way round but couldn't figure out what the four(?) different rotation numbers were for; in the end I fixed it like this:


These rover contracts all seem to put the waypoints right on the borders between biomes, in this case between Highlands and Midlands. This means more science!


More contracts accepted:



After spending most of the advance money on KCT points, then spending all of those on R&D, I noticed that the latest orbital rocketry node had finished researching and bought this:


High efficiency (for hypergolics at least), decent thrust, unlimited ignitions- this could easily replace a cluster of generic thrusters in the future. Probably not on the Moon lander though, as the engine bell is too big.

Orange Ramekin's combo mission was next to launch, sending a scanning and science probe into a high polar orbit of the Moon and a docking target and science probe into a low retrograde orbit of the Moon:



Retrograde because free return trajectories are retrograde and I plan to send all the crewed missions to the Moon on free return trajectories in case an engine fails or something similar. The difference in delta-V required for a prograde vs retrograde landing is negligible since the Moon rotates so slowly.

Oh look, another contract sat...


The RD-107 and -108 engines just got config upgrades too, though the -107's seems completely pointless since the stats are virtually identical but reliability is worse (a shocking 0.07% failure rate! The current config has a few thousand data units and has 0.01%); the -108 gets more thrust and slightly better ISP though which will be useful for these contract sats and indeed most of my current launch rockets which are now all using these engines.

After discovering that the design for Orange Saucer 1 had disappeared from the craft list I had to rebuild it from scratch for Orange Saucer 2, heading to Mars this time. Testing showed that it could make it to a low orbit of Mars with fuel to spare:


4km/s for the transfer burn, ~2.3km/s to capture means there's plenty of fuel to spare for the inevitable course corrections, shifting orbits to drop the lander and so on.

One last contract sat:


I then went and accepted two different commercial communications satellites- tundra and molniya orbits- without realising that only one can be accepted at once, so the molniya orbit contract immediately failed and wasted most of the advance money. Oops...

One last launch for today, in the form of Orange Tureen 1 which is heading to Saturn:



Dodging the rings nicely (it doesn't actually matter as they're not solid, but still), the transfer will take just over 4 years. I might drop the extra moons from this game for a while, they're not actually useful right now.

Final scores for today after more KCT points go into R&D:


That one contract failing tanked my reputation by about 25%, but I have no idea if reputation even counts for anything in RP-1 so it probably doesn't matter.

Full album: https://imgur.com/a/B1T9LQu

Coming up next time: It's getting close to the first crewed Moon mission, all I need to do is get the crew training sorted. I've chosen two pilots to do the necessary training for the lander can in order to land on the Moon- Diana Zonova and Alexei Ogorodnikov- so they'll be busy doing that for the first half of this year. Two Mars missions are on the build list too with the transfer window about 6 months away, more contract sats are waiting to be outfitted with their payloads and I've thrown every available node onto the research queue, even the pointless plane-related nodes which at this point can be researched in as little as 2.5 days.

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In a bid to scrape up every last bit of science available, Green Capercaillie (just a Green Condor with a pair of tiny science probes on top) was launched. The probes have no attitude control, but are powered by RTGs so it doesn't matter. One probe was dropped in a low orbit while the other was hurled as high as possible to stay in space high above Earth for as much of each orbit as possible; not easy when space high is nearly geostationary altitude!



Next to launch is Orange Mug 3, the third Moon rover so far:


Between the TLI burn and arriving at the Moon there was time for a quick contract sat launch, which revealed something rather interesting despite what I thought earlier, the KSC hasn't actually moved (or if it has it's by a couple of miles at most), but instead most of Cape Canaveral's terrain has vanished as you can see here:



That launch completed 2 contracts again, with two more accepted in their place.

Back to Orange Mug 3, where I learnt 2 things- first, the Orange Mug rovers can act as signal relays:


And second:


An apparently minor tweak to the design made it catastrophically unstable when the SRBs fired and there was no way to recover it. RIP Orange Mug 3...

And now for the main event! Yellow Crumpet 1 heads to the Moon to orbit, dock to the Orange Ramekin target and do some contracts. There were two ignition failures on the RL-10s for this flight, but neither were critical in any way- there are three engines, two can keep it pointing the right way if the third isn't working and they have 10 ignitions each.



A carefully tweaked orbit meant that rendezvous could occur in a single orbit after capturing, so Tim decided to head out for an EVA in space high over the Moon:


A delicate bit of docking later...


And it was time for Terri to do an EVA of her own:


Shortly after this image was taken I realised that the vessel was drifting away and spinning slowly, because the Yellow Crumpet had run out of RCS propellant. With that in mind, I called time on the mission and brought it back as soon as possible instead of waiting the 20 hours for the Lunar orbit contract to complete.

Re-entry was a bit dicey as the Gemini's avionics can only handle 3.5 tons but in this configuration it weighs almost 5 tons at re-entry; fortunately I had the pod roughly aligned before jettisoning the equipment section (which has its own avionics) and descent mode kept it pointing the right way. There was a big payout waiting for them when they got back:


Tim and Terri both levelled up to level 2 after this flight and both decided to stay for several more years:


Then I held the wrong key when buying KCT points and instead of buying just 5, I ended up buying about 90 in one click and spending virtually all the available funds in one go. A couple of contract sats made up for it though, so in the end it wasn't too disastrous:


Full album: https://imgur.com/a/CrOWFDZ

Coming up next time: Two words-


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We interrupt the Moon-related shenanigans for a brief flyby of Vesta by one of those probes I threw at it a few weeks ago and keep forgetting the names of...



Free KCT points from transmitted science plus bought KCT points from that contract money were split between VAB and lab:


Now, where was I?


...oh yes, I remember- MOON LANDING!



Had a failure on one of the RD-107 boosters and one of the RD-108 core engines on the first stage. They have failure rates of 0.06%... TestLite hates me, but due to the number of engines and the fact that both failures were fairly late in their respective burns it didn't make any difference.

After throwing the Yellow Scone 1 lander at the Moon, it was time for the Yellow Crumpet 2 to take the crew of 2- Diana Zonova and Alexei Ogorodnikov, two of my original four pilots- into space after it:



13MN of Soviet engines and two dozen SRBs are apparently a bit scary for even these two veteran pilots!


With the launches and TLI burns completed, I ran out of time to finish the mission so had to come back to it the next day, so there are two Imgur albums for this report.

A bit of orbital tweakery and no fewer than three incidents where the fuel cells glitched and stopped working so the two craft ran out of power, Gemini and lander came together over the Moon's surface and Diana EVA-ed over to the lander, saving RCS propellant for the post-landing rendezvous instead.



The braking burn was long and tedious, trying to reduce horizontal velocity without gaining too much vertical velocity or wasting too much fuel. The lander was overbuilt and had close to 2500m/s of delta-V in both the descent and ascent stages so there was some margin for error, unlike the sample return missions which have all been right on the fuel limits.


No throttle made for a pretty jolty landing as the engines had to reduce the velocity without stopping and going up again, but this also meant there was time to cancel out all remaining horizontal velocity before touching down to prevent the lander falling over.


TOUCHDOWN! Half way through 1960!


Earth looks so small from here...

After a couple of false starts caused by catastrophic CO2 buildup (because the scrubber in the lander was turned off, probably after the battery died, and I forgot to turn it on, so Diana's EVA suit ended up with close to 50% CO2 so she had to get back into the lander pretty quickly), Diana Zonova descended the ladder and took her- and my- first steps on the surface of the Moon!


Shoutout to Alexei who had to sit in the Gemini pod and watch. You'll get your chance, don't worry. Thanks to KAC translating 1960-185 into a usable date, I now know that this is 03-07-1960, the third of July. By the time Diana's EVA experiments were done, which took over two hours for the recently unlocked deep surface sample, the calendar had ticked over. Cue some half-hearted American propaganda, rather undermined by the fact that most of the rocket engines that sent both the lander and the Gemini out to the Moon are Soviet designs...

One good thing about 1.11 that is still relevant in RP-1 is the shiny gold helmet visor, which makes dramatic screenshots even better:


Experiments over, flag planted, photos taken, Diana had some time to "experiment with Lunar surface locomotion" or something like that. At least, that's the excuse she used to start jumping around the place grinning like a small child who ate too much sugar:


Alas, she couldn't stay long- the landing site was moving out of alignment with the orbiting Gemini above so once all the objectives had been ticked off it was time to go, much to Diana's dismay:



"Noooooooooo ;.;"- Diana

I launched quite a bit too early, must be my stock KSP instincts kicking in, but that meant there was plenty of time to sort out the intercept and make it as accurate as possible:



The lander did all the docking as it had plenty of propellant left. Once docked, Diana and the samples could be transferred over to the Gemini pod, the 20 hour Lunar orbit contract could be completed and Alexei finally got his Lunar EVA:


(He wasn't supposed to be wearing the future suit though, I should probably go through the entire list and make sure everyone uses the stock suit instead as all the EVA science works for that one)

Contract completed, the lander was undocked and deorbited before the Yellow Crumpet 2 headed for home:


It turns out that this particular setup with the Gemini can barely outrun the upper stage's RCS thrusters, I had a surreal moment when the return burn had completed for the Gemini and then the stage came flying past, still accelerating because its avionics still worked and it still had propellant for the RCS system. I'm sure it'll just disintegrate when it hits the atmosphere, right?

The return was pretty routine, but upon decoupling the service module I discovered a problem- due to the extra weight of the surface samples, the pod was slightly over the avionics limit even with an extra avionics unit added to augment its total avionics limit to 5 tons. Fortunately enough the UHF antenna burnt off pretty early, dropping the mass below the limit and allowing the pod to be stabilised to prevent any more damage. The ocean went weird again, totally invisible yet bouncing the pod with enough force to break the RCS pack off the nose- and nearly break the pod itself, now that would have been awkward!- before I fixed it (with a little bit of gravity hacking :wink:) and recovered the vessel.






Time to spend some of that money! R&D upgrade for 3 million, admin building for 57k (pointless, but it's so cheap it doesn't really matter) and a lot of part unlocks including the mighty F-1 engine, all the engines from the Proton rocket and all the space station parts, which were by some margin the most expensive overall at close to a million funds for the set; even the F-1's 460k seems reasonable in comparison.


And then I fat-fingered the buttons when buying KCT points and spent all my remaining funds by accident, leaving barely a thousand in the account; cue some hurried contract accepting!


And to finish the report, the first of ten Grey Hotdog visible imaging satellites was launched; the low-thrust second stage had some real difficulty making it to even a low Earth orbit and after decoupling I realised that a) the second stage had no avionics to deorbit and b) the satellite itself had no RCS propellant to control its attitude. These issues will be fixed on subsequent models.



Time to wrap this report up:


Full album 1: https://imgur.com/a/5awL3pN

Full album 2: https://imgur.com/a/n8N8ZRM

Coming up next time: Boots on Mars by the end of the decade? :0.0: Or maybe I'll just stick to something more sensible like sending that flotilla of probes and landers to Mars, some LEO contract and imaging sats and so on. Or maybe even another Moon landing!


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A short update this time, I've been working on Audacity instead (see my forum signature for the link :wink:).

A few contract sats:



A successful rover mission to the Moon to replace the failed Orange Mug 3:


The fuel ran out about 10m above the surface; fortunately those wheels could take the force without breaking and it was only 4km to the first waypoint from the landing site.

And following its construction, I decided to do a simulator run for Blue Nougat 1, the completely misnamed mission to send lander/orbiter pairs to Phobos and Deimos, to find the optimal transfer window; instead, this happened:



It happened a bit like this video, only a lot lower and a whole lot slower!

Turns out the avionics were upside down; flipping them the right way up fixed that issue and the ideal transfer time is in about 50 days. Now all I have to do is fix the name, since Blue-class rockets are 700 tons but this thing is under 350; after running out of plate-related names I've decided to rename the 4 booster, RD-107/108 powered 350t rockets differently to the older models with American engines and 6 boosters, so future Moon rovers won't be Orange Mugs any more.

Final scores:


Full album: https://imgur.com/a/PueKdhE

Coming up next time: A minor overhaul of vessel names is due, plus planning a second Moon landing and launching more Grey Hotdog imaging satellites. R&D will finish upgrading soon too so I can spend some of that science on shiny new nodes to sit on the end of the research queue for a couple of years.

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