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Life On Laythe science mission


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Life On Laythe science mission

Premise:  Life has been detected in the deep oceans of Laythe.

Mission:  Launch a science mission to Laythe, and return science data from the floor of the DeGrasse Sea.
 

This challenge is based loosely on the movie Astronaut : The Last Push.

Rules:

  • The Science data must be
    • the results of a Mystery Goo experiment
    •  collected from the sea floor (not the surface) of the DeGrasse Sea
    • returned to Kerbin and recovered
  • Two kerbals need to go to Laythe and at least one kerbal must land or splash down on Laythe’s surface
  • The kerbals must launch from the KSC, and both must return alive to the surface of Kerbin for recovery
  • No command chairs are allowed.  The kerbals must reside in pressurized seats during interplanetary and atmospheric flight.
  • The use of stock probe cores is allowed where it fits within the challenge guidelines.
  • No ISRU is allowed.  The launched craft(s) must have all the fuel for the journey to and from Laythe
  • Clipping is not allowed, and all parts must be adjacent to another part.  If you want to clip, and you think it is fair, ask me.
  • Stock parts with DLC only. Mods that affect parts or game physics are not allowed.
  • Cheats - Hyperedit, F-12 , file editing etc are not allowed
  • Informational, flight control and visual mods are allowed (e.g. MechJeb, KER, Trajectories, Precise Node etc)
  • Settings must be default, normal.  Entry reheating must be set to 100%.  If you change default settings, you are breaking this rule.
  • Mission must be completed in less than 13 years from launch date


Submission:

The mission will be listed in order of submission.  Please provide an Imgur gallery with detailed explanation, or a video.  This should include an image showing science recovery from the Laythe seafloor, with the resource window open.  This challenge is all about good reliable design, mission planning and game play.  The following may provide a guide.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZIe2fWK85s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiMW4Qtoj2g

 Special mentions for low cost entries.   Any questions, feel free to ask.  Good luck.

Completed entries:

  1. @camacju16750 funds, ultra low cost entry .  Amazing orbital mechanics!  Uses EVA and jet packs and V1.11 EVA Construction to reduce costs
  2. @Brikoleur Zoë.  A big SSTO seaplane lands two Kerbals on Laythe.  Gotta love the hydroplanes and the cool Laythe probe.  
  3. @Brikoleur Bak Billbo.  A bigger SSTO seaplane with massive dV, single stage from Kerbin to a Laythe sea landing and back to Kerbin.
  4. @jinnantonixLife One.  [video]  Replicates the artificial gravity system and the space craft design used in the video Astronaut: The Last Push.
  5. @Death Engineering Apollo to Laythe - McDonnell Douglas Phase B 12-Man Space Station Launch.  In DE's own words, incorporates some of the more far-out NASA concepts from the early 1970's, mixed in with a healthy dose of just plain Kerbalistic nonsense.  Brilliant.
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  7. .
  8.  
Edited by jinnantonix
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3 minutes ago, QF9E said:

Are command chairs allowed for the underwater part of the mission? E.g., build a mini sub piloted by a Kerbal in a command chair?

No command chairs are allowed.  Blanket rule to keep things simple.  The mini sub could be controlled by a probe core.

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3 hours ago, jinnantonix said:

Clipping is not allowed, and all parts must be adjacent to another part.  If you want to clip, and you think it is fair, ask me.

  1. Is it OK to clip an engine (e.g. NERVA) into a fuel tank/body segment, if the corresponding volume of Lf/Ox is removed from the part and fuel flow on it is disabled?
  2. Is it OK to clip engine nacelles/fuel tanks/similar to a wing, so that the wing goes through the nacelle/fuel tank? 
  3. Is it OK to clip landing gear into body parts?
  4. Is it OK to clip structural parts? For example, a wing into a body to hide the ragged edge, or a 1.25 fuel tank into the sculpted edge of a Mk2 tank, as long as it doesn't intersect the part that actually contains fuel?

Image attached. Not planning on using this craft, it's just something I've made before, but it uses these construction techniques:

  • NERVA clips into long Mk2/1.25 adapter, but that part's Ox tank is disabled, i.e. only half its volume is in use
  • Engine nacelles clip into structural parts of Mk2 tank
  • Wing clips into engine nacelles
  • (not visible) Landing gear clips into body

Of these, the landing gear clipping into the body and the NERVA clipping into the (half-empty) Mk2/1.25 m adapter are structurally significant; the nacelle and wing clipping are cosmetic only and removing it wouldn't affect the way the craft performs. But I like my craft as pretty as I can make them...

PS. What a terrific challenge, really looking forward to this one.

zZWJlGQ.png

Edited by Guest
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2 hours ago, camacju said:

Is any EVA allowed? For example to transfer science between a lander and an orbiting station?

It should hope so, otherwise my mission that just arrived in orbit around Laythe will have to be done over...

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Ok here's the first leg of my mission. I launch a lander and an orbiting station onto an Eve transfer

ecCDLwe.png

Craft in VAB. 16750 funds. From top to bottom are the Laythe lander and descent stage, transfer and return vehicle, and two stage SRB launcher.

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Launch

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Thumper boosters jettisoned, Kickback booster continues. The pitch is carefully controlled so the launcher runs out of fuel right when apoapsis breaks 70 km.

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Circularization with return stage. To cut costs I use the same engine for circularization and the legs both to and from Laythe.

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Kerbin orbit

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Having an engineer kerbal is a necessity for this mission. Bill detaches the empty fuel tanks

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From here I follow my usual high efficiency route to the Jool system. Two Mun assists give me a high orbit above Kerbin. One Mun assist could do this as well but two assists allow for a smaller initial transfer burn.

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Detaching more fuel tanks

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A third Mun assist ejects me from the Kerbin system

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The height of that Mun assist was carefully adjusted so I come back to Kerbin after a few orbits, since the initial ejection won't get me anywhere. At Kerbin, I get another gravity assist from Mun which drops my orbit almost down to Eve.

Pu422Ic.png

Mun flyby

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Then, I use Mun for further energy gain as well as a plane change, to get an Eve encounter. Now I can get to Jool easily

 

 

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3 minutes ago, jinnantonix said:

how is the engineer detaching the fuel tanks?

Using the EVA construction mode. That's not the main reason I brought the engineer but it's useful for giving me more margin.

3 minutes ago, jinnantonix said:

Also the parachutes appear to be floating in mid air, is there a reason they can't be adjacent to the capsule?

Not really, they could be touching the service bay or capsule with no change to the mission. I just did this so I don't have to fool around with time warp when detaching them.

Edit: Before you ask, there's no clipping in the service bay. There are three Donut tanks in the service bay and two Oscar tanks in the donut holes. The Twitch engines are offset but there are already gaps in between the parts so I'm basically imagining a more conformal fuel tank in the service bay which would leave more room for the engines. The total volume in the service bay should check out.

Second leg of mission:

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Setting up Kerbin assists

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Eve flyby

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Kerbin flyby

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Jool encounter

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Tylo assist, Laythe encounter

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Tylo flyby

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Aerobraking

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Proof of 100% reentry heat

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Setting up landing site in DeGrasse Sea

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Lander separates, return vehicle circularizes

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Aerobraking

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Chutes deployed

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Splashed down

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Service bay doors close to dive, open to ascend.

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Deep sea science

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Ascending

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Grabbing science. The extra jetpack here is a surprise tool that will help us later.

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Ascent from Laythe using a steep gravity turn

Edited by camacju
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z009iXU.png

Further ascent

5IAVGSN.png

Now this is where the engineer comes into play. Bill has an EVA pack and an extra fuel cylinder equipped, and grabs a second EVA pack using the EVA construction mode. Imagine him holding it with one hand and controlling his main pack with the other hand or something.

FqhTjZX.png

The pack and cylinder run out, so Bill ditches them and swaps in the second EVA pack he had been carrying

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Laythe orbit

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Intercept with station

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Rendezvous

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A joyful reunion

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Very clever use of the v1.11 EVA Construction mode.  

What speed did your capsule hit the Laythe atmosphere?  No heat shield?

How did you sink the capsule to the sea floor?

Also I will need to understand the Laythe launch vehicle, it is very trim.  Which engines, and how much fuel, both seem to be clipped out of sight which is potentially against the rules.

Edited by jinnantonix
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8 minutes ago, jinnantonix said:

How did you sink the capsule to the sea floor?

I opened and closed the service bay doors. Buoyancy of parts inside a service bay is not calculated when the doors are closed, so the craft sinks. Buoyancy is calculated when the doors are open so the craft rises

8 minutes ago, jinnantonix said:

Also I will need to understand the Laythe launch vehicle, it is very trim.  Which engines, and how much fuel, both seem to be clipped out of sight wich against the rules

28 minutes ago, camacju said:

Edit: Before you ask, there's no clipping in the service bay. There are three Donut tanks in the service bay and two Oscar tanks in the donut holes. The Twitch engines are offset but there are already gaps in between the parts so I'm basically imagining a more conformal fuel tank in the service bay which would leave more room for the engines. The total volume in the service bay should check out.

Second edit: Also yes the Laythe launch vehicle is very small. I used jetpack for a lot of the ascent to save mass and cost - EVA propellant is very light and cheap.

Edited by camacju
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All right, here's mine. I have to admit I didn't actually try to optimise for price, I just wanted to do the mission in a fun way, like I would have in a sandbox or career game of my own, so I don't expect it to score all that well.

(Although if the rules had compensated for craft recovery, this would be fairly competitive; I could also easily have made the FM-3 lifter fully recoverable. With a few other changes, I would have been able to recover just about all the expensive bits, with just some fuel tanks and other debris left in Laythe. A 100% recoverable mission would have been a quite a bit harder ofc.)

I made a long-distance amphibious spaceplane "Zoë," a bathysphere for the probe, and a fuel/support module to carry the juice for the return trip. The mission itself was straightforward and didn't use any fancy gravity assists other than the usual Jolian pinball (brake off Tylo for an encounter and aerocapture with Laythe). Zoë and FM-3 took off separately and docked in Kerbin orbit. Then they flew to Laythe, where they aerocaptured. All excess fuel from Zoë was transferred to FM-3, which remained in orbit. It is remote-controlled  from a high-end probe core on Zoë for close-range manoeuvres in the Laythe system.

Zoë then flew down to the DeGrasse sea, waited for morning to charge the batteries, and released the bathysphere. It sank to the seafloor, did the required science experiment, dumped ballast, and floated back to the surface. Engineer Bill then recovered the science (and the experiment module, for good measure), and also removed the batteries from the bathysphere and bolted them onto Zoë, which is otherwise a bit short on EC.

Zoë then took off from the Laythean ocean with its hydrofoils deployed, which lifted her out of the water and allowed her to get airborne. She RVed with FM-3, transferred fuel, and when a transfer window showed up, burned for Kerbin.

Since there had been no mishaps and I had some excess fuel, I decided to go for style points and burned it to land back at KSC, all hands intact and science recovered.

Gallery: https://imgur.com/gallery/rtdaKhh -- you'll find the pics with the data visible there, for verification

Cost: $55,633 for Zoë  + Bathysphere probe, and $27,172 for the support module (including lifter), for a total cost of $82,805.

Craft file for Zoë is here: https://kerbalx.com/Brikoleur/Zoe (I didn't post FM-3 because there's nothing particularly exciting about it, it's just a bunch of tanks with RCS, a probe core, and solar panels.)

Highlights:

Arrival at Jool, gravity braking off Tylo

rkXARwt.png

Prepping the bathysphere (aka mugging for the camera)

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Releasing the bathysphere

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Touching the seafloor

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Recovering the data, the experiment modules, and the batteries

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A farewell photo

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Hydrofoils in take-off position

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Skimming the surface

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Farewell to Laythe

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An encounter in the night

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Returning home

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Edited by Guest
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1 hour ago, jinnantonix said:

What speed did your capsule hit the Laythe atmosphere?  No heat shield?

I don't remember the exact speed. However it was pretty slow and the service bays / engines have a good deal of heat tolerance. I was also spinning the craft if it got too hot

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Question @camacju -- where does the other kerbonaut travel on the way back? I can only see one command pod/crew module. Is it possible for a kerbal to stay inside an inflatable airlock somehow?

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Yes - that's the point of the inflatable airlock. Airlock is lighter and cheaper than a command pod but doesn't provide a control point, that's the reason for the use of a command pod on the return vehicle.

Side note - it's actually possible to deflate an airlock with a kerbal in it. Makes for a funny mental image

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48 minutes ago, camacju said:

Yes - that's the point of the inflatable airlock. Airlock is lighter and cheaper than a command pod but doesn't provide a control point, that's the reason for the use of a command pod on the return vehicle.

Side note - it's actually possible to deflate an airlock with a kerbal in it. Makes for a funny mental image

Well they are extremely flexible. :D

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16 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

All right, here's mine. I have to admit I didn't actually try to optimise for price, I just wanted to do the mission in a fun way, like I would have in a sandbox or career game of my own, so I don't expect it to score all that well.

...

@Brikoleur Nice entry, and very much in the spirit of this challenge.  I love the Bathysphere it's very Jules Verne.  It would certainly have been competitive if recovery was included.  In fact I like it so much, I am going to create a leaderboard for fun and cool entries.  Congratulations.
 

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@camacju I am absolutely amazed at your entry.  Especially the orbital  manoeuvres.  I have a couple of questions though, since your entry is so amazing and will be so hard to beat, I need to ensure it is 100% OK.

1.  The use of the airlock is brilliant.  And very Kerbal, I am imagining Jeb floating in the airlock for 20 years.  However it is not actually a pressurized seat as stated in the rules.  It is so clever though, I will avoid being pedantic, and allow it.

2.  I have tested your craft re-entry at both Laythe and Kerbin with modest velocities (<3 km/s)  and spinning etc, yet the craft explode every time.  What am I missing?  Can you please check you have the default setting for re-entry heating of 100%, you may have changed it in a previous game and forgotten to reset it.  Or advise your re-entry speeds and altitudes, and I will check again.

3.  The EVA and use of jet packs is clever , although I think not really in the spirit or the challenge, it is within the stated rules, so I have to allow it.  Can you provide an image showing your kerbal EVA at Laythe is when the craft is outside the atmosphere.  EVA in atmosphere is against the stated rules.   My testing shows that the craft cannot get to an Ap >50km.  Perhaps I have missed something?

Edit: The use of the EVA Construction pack is clever.  But this is only available in v1.11, and is a big differentiator.  I was unaware of this feature when I started this challenge, otherwise I would have excluded it.  In order to open up the challenge, I am introducing a new category that is competitive for users with pre v1.11 versions.
 

 

Edited by jinnantonix
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