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Completely automated Jool-5


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Description

There has been plenty of healthy debate on this forum about the merits of flying missions manually versus various forms of autopilot assistance (for example MechJeb). This mission thread will not attempt to address that debate, but instead try something a little different by taking autopilot assistance to the ridiculous extreme: Completing the Jool-5 challenge with no player input whatsoever!

Required Mods

  • kOS (Kerbal Operating System) is the core mod enabling this attempt. kOS adds a virtual computer to craft that allows execution of scripts of arbitrary complexity.
  • kOS-EVA will support control of Kerbals on EVA (presumably by implanting a chip in their head Black Mirror style :o).
  • RSVP library will handle the complexity of orbital rendezvous and transfer planning.

Details

A common approach to solving complex software problems is divide and conquer. Break the problem down into smaller chunks (recursively if necessary), solve each of them individually, then integrate the parts into a cohesive whole. The Jool-5 challenge is no different and can be broken down into the following sub-problems:

  • Ascent: Launching into orbit from a planet's surface (both atmosphere and vacuum).
  • Descent: Landing intact on the surface of a planet from orbit (both atmosphere and vacuum).
  • Docking: Joining with another craft in orbit.
  • Rendezvous: Transfers from planet to planet, and from ship to ship.
  • Orchestration: Execute each of these steps in the correct order for the correct craft (there will be multiple craft).

Plan

My approach will be to solve each of these sub-problems one at a time, then attempt to stitch them together into a complete mission attempt. The initial solutions will probably be far from optimal, as the primary goal is to prove the overall feasibility. However a nice benefit of breaking the problem into chunks is that individual parts can be improved and tweaked over time (for example the descent script could be improved without requiring changes in other scripts).

Edited by ManEatingApe
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Do it in stock using a bunch of KAL units, you won't

 

Fascinating idea though. A direct ascent mission might actually be the easiest way to go here because it removes the docking aspect. Barring that, another relatively easy solution would be to have a mothership in Tylo or Laythe orbit.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, camacju said:

Fascinating idea though. A direct ascent mission might actually be the easiest way to go here because it removes the docking aspect. Barring that, another relatively easy solution would be to have a mothership in Tylo or Laythe orbit.

It's an fun problem, optimizing for mission simplicity (or working around script limitations).

Not totally sure on the overall mission profile yet but one idea I'm thinking of is parking a mothership in circular Jool orbit just outside Tylo, then 5 separate landers (one per moon). Not the most efficient delta-v wise but would keep mission profile relatively simple.

Edited by ManEatingApe
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