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Can't Not Talk About it!


Irihi
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At first I thought: "I'll just get to the Mun and back. That's it. Then I'll be done."

Then it was: "Just plant a flag on Minmus, that's enough."

"Just see how mining and refueling works..."

"Just rescue my Kerbalnaut stranded in Munar orbit..."

"Just plant a flag on Duna..."

And for a while, that was enough. I did the rendezvous and docking tutorial. One go at that tedium was more than enough. I was even getting a bit bored babysitting every single burn. Going elsewhere with robots was unexciting, and flags and footprints meant docking. Nope. Crew transfers or rescue missions for me meant either planting both parties on an airless celestial body, or MAYBE a orbital rendezvous. Either way, it involved a LOT of EVA propellant and a long space/moonwalk.

Then I heard about MechJeb, and KSP took over my life again.

I got misty-eyed as my three, helmets-off, intrepid explores watched Jool phasing overhead like a giant lava lamp / clock (waxing quarter at nightfall, full at midnight, and back to a waning quarter near sunrise) in the Laythian night. 

 

So, Hi. Nobody in my life plays KSP and I just can't keep all this wonder to myself any longer! I'm also too impatient to wait for moderator approval. So now I'm going to write a book (feel free to not read):

 

LAYTHE 1

- 2-part launch

- Grabbing (not docking) in Kerbin orbit

- Flight to Minmus

- Grabbing and refueling from a Minmus miner/refinery ship.

- Then off to Jool's SOI!

Jool Aerocapture

My first mission to Laythe blew up 6 times (and ended up sub-orbital once) trying to Aerocapture into Joolian orbit because:

- I designed and built it wrong: Fully fueled lander W/asparagus staging being pushed by a single-engine nuclear intrasolar transfer vehicle (that was also pushing a lab module) with insufficient fuel. 

- I'm too impatient to figure out all the parameters for the online Aerocapture tools, so I just kept trying different periapsis until I found one that was sorta manageable. 

- I docked the lander to the NERV-powered transfer vehicle using the AGU rather than a proper docking port. My engineer kept having to spacewalk to reconnect broken struts that I installed post-connection. At one point, she had five minutes to get outside, climb down a ladder, repair the broken strut, climb back up and get TF back inside before they hit the atmosphere.

- I didn't put enough AIRBRAKES (and RCS thrusters and reaction wheels) on to compensate for the 10M heat shield waaaaaaay up front. The whole stack (more like a train) was pretty unstable and I just barely managed to keep it straight even after pumping as much of the fuel to the forward-positioned lander tanks as they would hold. The tail got pretty cooked and I ended up rolling the entire ship (during my successful-enough Aerobrake altitude) at periapsis to keep everything from going completely sideways. Something exploded, but I guess it wasn't important. (I don't know how to access mission logs to see what broke).

But I made it! With a small retro burn right after exiting Jool's atmosphere, and jettisoning a full RCS tank (whoops, ended up needing that later).

Laythe Aerocapture

I think I only blew the ship up twice during the Laythe Aerocapture. All this time, I was just guesstimating the amount of fuel I needed to get the crew home. 

- I also don't know how to calculate delta-V for vehicles before I've dumped some of the stages, so I didn't know how much DV I'd need to push my much-diminished stack home. 

Laythe Landing

Turns out that a 10M heat shield is unlikely to make a stable reentry when you undock the 100-meter lab, fuel tank, and NERV engine that kept it sort of stable during aerocaptures. I was doing okay until I ran out of monopropellant. Then my lander went Mary Poppins on me much higher and faster than I had planned. Funny, but terrifying. Good thing engines have a pretty high thermal tolerance.

I think it took me 3 tries to actually land in one piece, on land. I wanted coasts, but I ended up on a mountain after mashing the "LAND SOMEWHERE" button in desperation.

Laythe

Jool is SO PRETTY! I love the noon eclipses and the giant green nightlight! I landed on the rim of the big crater so it was almost directly overhead. All my Kerbalnauts developed neck problems from looking up. Also 90 degrees is not easy to pan to. I wanted them to have a swim, but I didn't have the patience to watch them hike for however many physics-warped hours it would take to get down to the water. 

I disembarked all 3 crew at the same time. What could go wrong?

Ladders. Ladders that don't work the same way after a save on an uncrewed vehicle (or something). I tried everything to get my crew back onboard, including welding a solar panel as a "catch plate" for them to jump to from the top of the ------ ladder. Didn't work. 

And that's when and why I "discovered" the gravity hack. 

Laythe Launch

The lander had launched just fine during a practice run on Kerbin. Not so on Laythe. Probably because I used up all my monoprop trying to survive reentry, and none of the ascent engines, I chose, gimballed. 

Yikes. My engineer pulled off every piece of "unnecessary" equipment she could reach, tried to compensate for a nasty yaw defect by rebalancing the amount of propellant in the various tanks and changing the staging order. It worked well enough that the lander limped to an orbit above Laythe's atmosphere with just one somersault along the way. Needless to say, Mechjeb was useless for the ascent on my catawampus ship, so it was all seat-of-the-pants.

The intrasolar transfer vehicle was able to dip down and rescue the MK-3 reentry pod. Yay! Homeward bound!

Jool Escape

My Kerbalnauts didn't have enough remaining DV to escape Laythe, then Jool, then lower Periapsis to Kerbin's orbit. Not even close. Whoops. MechJeb said I needed 6000 m/s if I waited 300 years. I had maybe 4K.  

Luckily Tylo happened to be wandering by when I was playing with impossibly-expensive return trajectories. 

- The first time I got too excited, did a mountaintop-clipping swingby, and later realized I had dropped the ship's periapsis into Kerbol's corona. Whoops.

- Second time I got it right-ish and made it back to Kerbins SOI for around 1000m/s. WOOT!

And that was that.

- I had enough fuel to straight-up decelerate into Kerbin orbit with a 60km periapsis. 

- Jettisoned the MK3 pod

- Had the intrasolar transfer vehicle climb back to a 400km orbit.

 

As a bookend to the crazy mission, the pod bounced off the atmosphere for 3 orbits and ended up running out of battery (I had left the solar panels on Laythe), and coming in totally dead stick with the ablator on its heat shield completely burned up.

 

Still, any landing you walk away from.... especially one with 6K worth of science!

... which I promptly sold out to finance LAYTHE 2: This Time We're Staying!

 

Laythe 2

Design:

- Minimize aerocapture. There are sooo many Joolian moons, and sticking a 10M heat shield on every lander just sucks.

- Permanent Laythe Base

- Miner/Refueling Ship (probably aiming for Bop) built similar to my overpowered Minumus miner and refinery

- SSTO dropship with no ablators. It's supposed to go down and land fully fueled, exchange crews, then fly back up and meet with the Miner/Refueler. It will make the transfer to Jool empty and need to be fueled prior to the first drop on Laythe.

- Each component gets its own Intrasolar Transfer Vehicle (ITV) with 3 NERV engines and 14K deltaV (when not docked to something)

- Docking to be done with REAL docking ports (the large one), except when refueling. The miner/refinery has a couple of AGU's and LOTS of RCS

Launch:

- No problems with anything but the ITV's. Those launched fully-fueled from KSP space center and were heavy as sin. Mechjeb couldn't handle it, so I manually pushed them into orbit. The first one took a couple of tries until I got the hang of it.

Currently I have all 3 ITV's fully fueled and docked to their respective mission components. I started building this mission with $9,000,000. Now I have $745,000 left. I have full science and am selling 95% of any new research for cash. A lot of the cost came from hiring Kerbalnauts. 

   3X ITV's each with Pilot and Engineer

+ Laythe Base: 4 Scientists, 1 Engineer, 1 Pilot  

+ SSTO: 1 Engineer, 1 Pilot

+ Mining Ship: 1 Engineer (4 stars) , 1 Pilot.

So that's 16 crew in total, and I think I hired 12 of them just for this mission. Lots of greenhorns. 

Current Issues:

- MechJeb keeps blowing up mid-burn for long-duration burns. I have good alignment with the Mun to launch the Jool fleet with a nice flyby gravity assist, but I noticed the target drifting on my first attempt and I had to scrap and restart to a pre-departure save point. This isn't the first time this has happened.

- I don't think it's possible to do simultaneous burns and keep the fleet together. Even if I could get a mod that let me fly all the ships at the same time, they have different masses and probably won't stay within physics distance during the long nuke accelerations. That means I'll have to space the ships' departures out by 30-40 minutes or so. Not a big deal, but kind of a bummer and a hassle to re-rendezvous outside Kerbins SOI, if I want to for some reason (like . 

- I am out of money!

- Not super confident that I can land the base and the SSTO within a reasonable distance of each other. The SSTO has wheels but I'm not great at building rovers and it's pretty tippy.

- KSP has taken over my life!

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2 hours ago, Irihi said:

plays KSP

Welcome to the forum! I totally feel you there!

This is some impressive stuff! I hope next time you take some screenshots and show us!

(if you need any help let me know, I had trouble with screenshots for a while! :confused:)

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Haha. I've got some save points for posterity. Do I screenshot just like normal? Ctrl prntscrn?

You are going to laugh when you see my janky nuke ships, like "she put THAT on top of a booster!?"

I typed all that because I couldn't play KSP instead.

Thanks for the welcome!

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The in-game screenshot key is F1. They are saved to a folder in the game folder. From there you can upload them to a sharing site and use the link they provide in your posts. 

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Thanks! I'll try that out. Any suggestions for a good site to host my screenshots?

 

Also, I know this isn't the place for questions, but any idea why mechjeb sometimes screws up a long burn? Is there a way to avoid this other than using SAS and babysitting the end time myself? I guess I could just do a search for the answer.

 

Anybody else think pilots are useless? I always stick a flight control pod on my vehicles for experiment storage if nothing else. Seems to totally negate the need for a pilot.

 

Then again, I can't build a working aircraft to save my life. Maybe that's where pilots shine?

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This is a fine place for questions, but I don't use MechJeb. Sorry. 

Imgur.com is an image hosting site that is easy and free to use. 

I run most of my career saves with automated craft and only send crews after I've cleared the tech tree and can put kerbals on the ships in relative safety and comfort. 

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20 hours ago, Irihi said:

You are going to laugh when you see my janky nuke ships, like "she put THAT on top of a booster!?"

 

Trust me, we put all sorts of stuff on boosters around here! 

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Welcome to the forums, @Irihi! I hope you find them helpful and entertaining!

15 hours ago, Irihi said:

I love struts!

Yes, just be careful with autostruts and robotic parts. I need to make sure when I am building a crane that no parts are autostrutted between robotic parts, such as an autostrut between a part on the slewing platform and a part on the crane carrier (For a mobile crane) 

Edited by Ben J. Kerman
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Laythe Aerocapture. Kinda got sideways. Nothing essential exploded.

FirstLaytheAerobrake.png

This is the entire stack after jool Aerocapture, minus a rcs tank I unwisely dumped.

FirstJoolAerocapture.png

Yay! We made it! Only the second crew to step foot on another planet outside of Kerbins SOI. (I did an Apollo style Duna landing prior to this)

LandedonLaythe.png

 

For my next Laythe mission, I'm sending a flotilla of 3 of these monstrosities.

LaytheBaseandITV.png

That's Laythe Base Alpha docked to one of 3 Intrasolar Transport Vehicles. The other two ships are a mining and refinery dropship (for Bop) and an SSTO dropship for Laythe ups and downs.

 

 

 

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I don't want to look at the steam hour log to see how much of my life has been dumped into ksp. 

I've been playing "seriously" since maybe last summer. 

 

Here's my Bop mining refinery hopper (solar and thermal retracted) docked to it's ITV.

LaytheMinerandITV.png

I put another large docking port on top, but it's off-center compared to the CG, so it's a bit useless. I cheat and pump across tanks that are AGU connected (thus all the grabby bits). I figure the kerbalnauts could be rigging up hoses or something.

 

Also, I thought I was clever and put relays, batteries, and solar panels on those big nuke fuel tanks. When they're empty, I can drop them as relay stations, but I'm not sure if they'll work without some sort of pod... Also, I'm not certain I won't forget they're not just debris and accidentally terminate them one day.

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On 4/22/2021 at 4:15 PM, Irihi said:

KSP took over my life

Relatable

On 4/23/2021 at 12:05 PM, Irihi said:

Anybody else think pilots are useless? I always stick a flight control pod on my vehicles for experiment storage if nothing else. Seems to totally negate the need for a pilot.

Jeb is very upset with you:D

But pilots shine in career games when you don't have higher level probes yet. Also they don't need a connection or EC to pilot the ship .But Science mode and sandbox do make them kind of useless.

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On 4/23/2021 at 6:05 PM, Irihi said:

Anybody else think pilots are useless? I always stick a flight control pod on my vehicles for experiment storage if nothing else. Seems to totally negate the need for a pilot.

i'm running challenges, mostly big missions with multiple objectives and self-imposed limitations. A lot of those don't give you the chance to build a relay network, so pilots are useful there to keep full control while shadowed by a planet.

On 4/22/2021 at 10:15 PM, Irihi said:

At first I thought: "I'll just get to the Mun and back. That's it. Then I'll be done."

Then it was: "Just plant a flag on Minmus, that's enough."

"Just see how mining and refueling works..."

"Just rescue my Kerbalnaut stranded in Munar orbit..."

"Just plant a flag on Duna..."

I'm on the opposite side here. I'm like "I've done this difficult thing, what can I pick as next challenge that's even more difficult?"

I worry what will happen when i'll run out of interesting challenges

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I plunked down science labs on the Min, Minmus, and kludged together a space station early on. With EVA experiments and gravirol etc. I got to full science and completed the tech tree just after my first Duna probe landed.

From then on, I always put the expensive disc shaped flight assist controller aboard. So my engineer or scientist can give me full control with all the fixins. I basically bring pilots along as eye candy these days. The flight controller also seems to have the ability to store unlimited science data, so I don't have to overwrite my atmospheric readings from jool with those from Laythe or wherever.

 

What's an autostrut?

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Autostruting is an optional ability you can activate by selecting "advanced tweakables" from the options menus. When applied, the craft behaves as if you have stretched struts between some of the parts for support but without you having to actually place strut parts. 

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