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Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (2021): my attempt at interstellar ship design and flight, NOW A MISSION REPORT!


Kekkie
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Hello all!

I have just completed building the ship Hail Mary from Mr. Weir's latest novel. Now, obviously there are some inaccuracies, one of the most glaring of which I will detail below. (!SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!) 

The ship in the novel was powered by an alien micro-organism called Astrophage, emitting infrared light at the 25.984 micron frequency. To simulate this I have simply included a transmission module from KSP's interstellar extended mod (henceforth referred to as KSP I-E) in my engine module which was incorporated in the config file of one of their lasers. Then, I added in a new resource labeled "Astrophage", with the approximate density of a cell (even more spoilers; in Weir's book a huge panspermia event occurred at Tau Ceti which means that all living organisms have the same rough properties and hence, same structures.) I then incorporated this new resource into the fuel tanks provided by KSP I-E, and voila! I now added the fuel tanks to fit the correct volume as specified by Weir. 

Except... not really. For some reason the fuel tanks only hold about 900 tons of fuel as opposed to the 2,000 they should. Despite following Weir's details as closely as I could ("largest diameter they could launch was about 4 meters... three fuel tanks side by side... estimate they take up about 75 percent of the ship's volume), I find that Astrophage has to be either too dense to be a reasonable cell or, more likely, I have messed the proportions up. 

With all that ranting out of the way, I will below post Mr. Weir's Hail Mary specifications as opposed to my vessel. 

 

Weir's ship specifications:

Dry mass 100 tons, wet mass 2100 tons, delta-v 0.92c (acceleration to and deceleration from), 3 crew, induced comas, "a few months" of food supplies, 125m^3 internal habitable volume, ~500m^3 total volume

My adaptation's specifications:

Dry mass 104 tons, wet mass 1012 tons, delta-v not yet measured accurately due to time, DeepFreeze chambers (which Weir unfortunately explicitly said DO NOT EXIST on his ship.. grr.. are there any other mods that can simulate reduced consumption of resources while not eliminating it completely?), 70m^3 internal volume, 7 months of air and ~4 months of food/water for 3 crew.

 

More details to follow on the layout shortly. Thank you all for your time reading this, and I welcome any feedback or input from any fellow readers to try to improve the design replication!

 

Edited by Kekkie
Clarified habitable vs fuel volume, call for potential improvements made more explicit, title updated to reflect new status
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As promised, more details.

The Hail Mary (Weir's version) is 47 meters long, and the modules are, from fore to aft: nosecone, command/control (with attached airlock), laboratory, dormitory (for induced coma sleep during transit), storage, cable mounting, fuel tanks. Aside from the nosecone, the base of the control room is 4 meters in diameter, and all modules down to fuel tanks are the same. It then fans out in a similar way to a bicoupler in KSP with tanks attached below, but with an additional central mounted tank. All of the three fuel tanks are side by side, divided into nine total subcylinders (fuel bays). Each individual bay is, as always, 4 meters in diameter. Finally, below the tanks are attached 3 Astrophage-powered engines ("spin drives") composed of 1,009 individual revolving thrusters for redundancy.

 

An image is attached below... or will be, when I figure out how to upload attachments to this forum, if that is even possible.

Thank you again for your reading time!

Update: Images added of my Hail Mary version, unfortunately not Weir's (there are diagrams at the beginning of the book, however, for reference).

https://ibb.co/0trK0y5

Lower shot - fuel tanks and spin drives

https://ibb.co/nRX1934

Upper shot - control, lab, dormitory modules (habitable ship section)

Edited by Kekkie
Images added
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Hello everyone,

Thank you for all the views and support. I have some more updates on my progress. I was able to actually get in touch with Mr. Weir (!!!), who informed me that I had been miscalculating the density of Astrophage when I input it as a resource. It is actually 6 g/cc as opposed to the 1.125 g/cc I had presumed (probably has to do with the fact that Astrophage is a bacterium that has evolved completely separately from Earth life). I also had to make some adjustments to the adapter connecting the habitable section to the fuel tank section, which took an annoyingly long time because the volume of the tanks that I had estimated was also incorrect (far too large, over 500 m^3 as opposed to 340 m^3). (Note: I decided to just put the crew in "DeepFreeze" cryogenic chambers because I had already fiddled a bunch with the design and it's the closest mod I could find to what I want. I just pretend that the necessary Glykerol is equivalent to the coma slurry the crew receive during their voyage to Tau Ceti.)

However, after those improvements and tweaks, the Hail Mary is 2124 tons with a 211 ton dry mass (but discounting the ridiculous tank and engine mass, the practical payload is 93 tons). Close enough to Weir's 2100 tons wet/100 tons dry for me. 3 crew and Glykerol for the one way trip there? Check! Lab and dormitory, all with the equipment specified in the book? Check! Functional spin drives? Check!

(Images here: Fuel section: https://ibb.co/zn1ppCg Habitable section: https://ibb.co/XJpMzBP)

Now all I need to do... is fly it.

Yes, I said fly it. I didn't realize this was going to be a mission report, but I do kind of want to see how it handles, perform an interstellar flight (which I have never done before in KSP), and do it all... with Kerbalism.

I'm probably in over my head, but I want to see my creation outside of the VAB, and I want to replicate the Hail Mary's mission in the book. 

Let's do this.

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Thanks for informing me about the new book! I had a blast reading it over the last 2 days (I really wanted to take my time reading it, but I just couldn't put it down!).

Great job on the ship, and I am "amaze, amaze, amaze" (reference to the book) that you got in touch with Mr. Weir himself!!

I have some ideas:

  •  You could use breaking grounds DLC parts to make the centrifuge work. (telescopic hydraulic cylinders for the cables, and two servos to swing the crew compartment around to face the inside).
  •  Using fairings we can improve the aesthetics (at the cost of a few additional tons). For example: individual 4m fairings for each column of fuel tanks, and then you blend the three fairings into one. And for the crew compartment you can make one as well. This way the ship will look slick! The important thing is to not close the fairings, so you can click on the compartments underneath (alt + click to stop the fairing where you want).

What do you think?

I wish I had a computer which could run all the required mods, but maybe I'll try building a (weak-ass) stock ship myself to see what happens.

 

I'm looking forward to your mission report!

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Okay, I have been trying out some things centrifuge-related:

RusPHHT.gif

42Ny27R.gif

I built a simple stock model, so things will be off. Also the picture in his book doesn't match the reported sizes. So I went for the very kerbal 3.75m tubing and worked my way up from there. Goal Length was around 31m. (47m in the book looks very weird).

In order to recreate this:

  • I added five docking ports. One 2.5m port, and four 0.625m ports (2 on each side for the cable). The two small ones are not actually connected (I just aligned them to be really close), but they will automatically connect when the craft is loaded. One is connected to the crew compartment, the other to the fuel tanks. This connection is important to always keep the craft connected and be able to get in and out of rotation in a stable way.

Zgxmmqy.jpg

  • To the crew compartment I added two servos, and also the telescopic hydraulic cylinders (in the videos I make them overlap to fit more cylinders in a stowed position, and therefore extend further. The screenshots are a previous version)

DEviQ2a.jpg

To retract I simply press a button and it folds back together and docks the big 2.5m docking port!

I have no idea how much artificial gravity I created though... :)

This is fun!

 

 

EDIT:

I added some more metal. Unfortunately the hatch doesn't work (blocked by fairing..ugh).

UCRSzdA.jpg

QxVWioc.jpg

qTvhwVM.jpg

Afterwards I calculated this must have been around 0.7g:

qE4eAUm.gif

Small problem, the telescopic joints are stretched way further than they should, and there's actually little gaps in between:

JGJ02d4.gif

Edited by Janus92
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Hello again, all 'Kerbonauts'!

A very special thanks to @Janus92, who created a stock design of the Hail Mary's centrifuge configuration and an accurately sized (relatively) hull. To clarify, I believe 47m is only the length of the ship in the thrust configuration. The centrifuge separation between the crew module's nose and fuel tanks is quoted as 104 meters.

I unfortunately have run into a small issue; the centrifuge configuration is not entirely stable (i.e. while there is any fuel at all onboard, it Krakens itself apart - the telescopic pistons were at one point during tested extended to 500 meters - in the opposite direction! :o) I wonder if there is any way to resolve this.

Also, thanks to @Janus92's fairing technique to improve aesthetics and make the ship look like the sleek vessel Weir describes it to be, the final version of the Hail Mary is complete. It has centrifuge and coma capability, as well as functional spin drives (I only had 3 in order to reduce part count, but the model I used for the engine includes many smaller patterns of diamonds/squares that represent the individual revolvers.) 3 crew are onboard. Unfortunately, similar to @Janus92, I had to settle for an approximate length of 31 meters - I built my ship roughly based on his dimensions. It actually ended up a little lighter than Mr. Weir's ship - 70 tons dry mass, 2081 tons wet mass - but I believe that after the numerous changes I made, this is still an acceptable discrepancy (within 1% of the described wet mass). 

The nine fuel bays are each independently covered by silver (aluminum) fairings, but the bottom 3, those directly connected to the spin drives, have a slightly larger radius of 4 meters versus the 3.9 meters I settled on for the rest of the ship to prevent poking through the sleek hull.  Clarification: fuel bays now have a diameter of 4 meters, but the tanks themselves are 3.9 meters wide. Also, it is diameter, not radius.

Picture here:

https://ibb.co/dQsSgLv

Thank you all for your support!

EDIT: two new pictures, showing the new and improved (tm) command, hab and lab hull, because I am a sucker for consistency and I just HAD to go back. Also, for some reason I made an error; the length of the Kerbal Hail Mary is actually closer to 37 meters long. Or KSP's Engineer Report is lying to me.

EDIT 2: Thanks to @Janus92 's advice, I now have an accurate length measurement of the Hail Mary. I had to deconstruct and reconstruct the ship to fix whatever mysterious fairing bug was occurring to give inaccurate measurements, but: it is, indeed, around 34 meters long, very similarly to the Reddit image in the post below.

https://ibb.co/cQtps5n
https://ibb.co/y0pWhvG

Edited by Kekkie
Because I am a perfectionist, also to give a more accurate picture of the ship
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Awesome, Kekkie! Now it's time to fly it!

About the size, I have found that while using fairings sometimes the hangar lies to me about the real length and width of the ship.

Additionally, these images I found on Reddit show the problem. From the picture in the book, the width of the cabin seems to be 8m (which is obviously false):

o3ENK98.jpg

This picture someone made, which I think is the best of both worlds, by sacrificing the ship-length in order to keep many other measurements correct:

KkIXc6D.jpg

 

Do send that Mission report! I have no experience with Kerbal Interstellar flights, so I'd love some screenshots (including how it looks on the map)!

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I decided to put my stock version on KerbalX, so someone can easily use and modify it further. I modified some cfg files to add ridiculous amounts of Astrophage fuel, so you can accelerate and decelerate to those near-lightspeed speeds.

Here's the link: https://kerbalx.com/Janus92/Hail-Mary

 

In order to replicate this, do the following after installing the craft:

Spoiler

 1. Find and open Kerbal Space Program/GameData/Squad/Resources/ResourcesGeneric.cfg

-add this at the end of the document:

RESOURCE_DEFINITION
{
  name = Astrophage
  displayName = Astrophage
  abbreviation = APH
  density = 0.001
  unitCost = 0.01
  hsp = 1000000000
  flowMode = STACK_PRIORITY_SEARCH
  transfer = PUMP
  isTweakable = true
  volume = 5
  RESOURCE_DRAIN_DEFINITION
  {
	isDrainable = true
	showDrainFX = true
	drainFXPriority = 7
	drainForceISP = 5
	drainFXDefinition = gasDraining
  }
}

 

2. find Kerbal Space Program/GameData/Squad/Parts/FuelTank/Size3Tanks/ and make a new file called Astrophagemedium.cfg

-open and add this to the file:

PART
{
	name = Size3MediumTankAstrophage
	module = Part
	author = Squad
	MODEL
	{
		model = Squad/Parts/FuelTank/Size3Tanks/Size3MediumTank
	}	
	rescaleFactor = 0.95
	node_stack_top = 0.0, 1.931, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 3
	node_stack_bottom = 0.0, -1.937, 0.0, 0.0, -1.0, 0.0, 3
	node_attach = 0.0, 0.0, -1.89, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0
	TechRequired = largeVolumeContainment
	entryCost = 32600
	cost = 6500
	category = Propulsion
	subcategory = 0
	title = Kerbodyne S3-7200 Tank Astrophage Approved
	manufacturer = #autoLOC_501638 //#autoLOC_501638 = Kerbodyne
	description = Project Hail Mary's repurposed bovine waste Fuel Tank
	attachRules = 1,1,1,1,0
	mass = 4.5
	dragModelType = default
	maximum_drag = 0.2
	minimum_drag = 0.3
	angularDrag = 2
	crashTolerance = 6
	breakingForce = 300
	breakingTorque = 300
	maxTemp = 2000 // = 2900
	bulkheadProfiles = size3, srf
	tags = #autoLOC_500621 //#autoLOC_500621 = fuel fueltank ?lfo propellant rocket

	RESOURCE
	{
		name = Astrophage
		amount = 222223
		maxAmount = 222223
	}
	MODULE
	{
		name = ModulePartVariants
		baseVariant = BlackAndWhite
		useMultipleDragCubes = false
		VARIANT
		{
			name = BlackAndWhite
			displayName = #autoLOC_8007122
			themeName = White
			primaryColor = #ffffff
			secondaryColor = #000000
			TEXTURE
			{
				mainTextureURL = Squad/Parts/FuelTank/Size3Tanks/Size3Tanks
				_BumpMap = Squad/Parts/FuelTank/Size3Tanks/Size3Tanks_Norm
			}		}
		VARIANT
		{
			name = Orange
			displayName = #autoLOC_8007123
			themeName = Orange
			primaryColor = #f49841
			secondaryColor = #4c4f47
			TEXTURE
			{
				mainTextureURL = Squad/Parts/FuelTank/Size3Tanks/Size3Tanks_Orange
				_BumpMap = Squad/Parts/FuelTank/Size3Tanks/Size3Tanks_Orange_Norm
			}
		}
	}		
	
}

 

3. Copy all the files in Kerbal Space Program/GameData/Squad/Parts/Engine/ionEngine/

-Make a new folder in Kerbal Space Program/GameData/Squad/Parts/Engine/ and call it AstrophageEngine

-Paste all the files, rename IonEngine.cfg to AstrophageEngine.cfg, and overwrite all the contents with this:

PART
{
	name = AstrophageEngine
	module = Part
	author = Janus92
	mesh = model.mu
	scale = 1
	rescaleFactor = 4
	node_stack_top = 0.0, 0.2135562, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0
	node_stack_bottom = 0.0, -0.1872844, 0.0, 0.0, -1.0, 0.0, 0
	TechRequired = ionPropulsion
	entryCost = 16800
	cost = 8000
	category = Engine
	subcategory = 0
	title = Astrophage Propulsion System
	manufacturer = Weir Technologies
	description = Project Hail Mary's repurposed bovine waste engine.
	attachRules = 1,0,1,1,0
	mass = 2
	dragModelType = default
	maximum_drag = 0.2
	minimum_drag = 0.2
	angularDrag = 2
	crashTolerance = 7
	maxTemp = 3000
	bulkheadProfiles = size0
	tags = #autoLOC_500405 //#autoLOC_500405 = (dawn deep drive efficient engine (ion probe thruster vacuum xenon
	MODULE
	{
		name = ModuleEnginesFX
		engineID = Ion
		thrustVectorTransformName = thrustTransform
		exhaustDamage = False
		ignitionThreshold = 0.1
		minThrust = 0
		maxThrust = 10000
		heatProduction = 0
		powerEffectName = IonPlume
		EngineType = Electric
		PROPELLANT
		{
			name = Astrophage
			ratio = 1
			DrawGauge = True
		}
		atmosphereCurve
		{
			key = 0 40000000
			key = 1 1000000
			key = 1.2 100000
		}
	}
	MODULE
	{
		name = FXModuleAnimateThrottle
		animationName = colorAnimation
		dependOnEngineState = True
		responseSpeed = 1.0
		engineName = Ion
		dependOnThrottle = True
	}
	EFFECTS
	{		
		IonPlume
		{
			AUDIO
			{
				channel = Ship
				clip = sound_IonEngine
				volume = 0.0 0.0
				volume = 0.05 0.20
				volume = 1.0 0.25
				pitch = 0.0 0.2
				pitch = 1.0 0.8
				loop = true
			}
			MODEL_MULTI_PARTICLE
			{
				modelName = Squad/FX/IonPlume
				transformName = thrustTransform
				emission = 0.0 0.0
				emission = 0.25 0.5			
				emission = 1.0 1.0
				//speed = 0.0 0.0
				//speed = 1.0 1.0
				localPosition = 0, 0, 0.12
			}
		}
	}
	MODULE
	{
		name = ModuleTestSubject
		useStaging = True
		useEvent = True
		situationMask = 112
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = REPEATABILITY
			value = ALWAYS
			prestige = Trivial
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = REPEATABILITY
			value = BODYANDSITUATION
			prestige = Significant
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = REPEATABILITY
			value = ONCEPERPART
			prestige = Exceptional
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDEENV
			test = GT
			value = 4000
			prestige = Trivial
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDEENV
			test = LT
			value = 8000
			prestige = Trivial
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDEENV
			test = GT
			value = 2000
			prestige = Significant
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDEENV
			test = LT
			value = 4000
			prestige = Significant
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDEENV
			test = GT
			value = 1000
			prestige = Exceptional
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDEENV
			test = LT
			value = 2000
			prestige = Exceptional
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDE
			test = LT
			value = 300000
			situationMask = 16
			body = _NotSun
		}
		CONSTRAINT
		{
			type = ALTITUDE
			test = LT
			value = 600000
			situationMask = 32
			body = _NotSun
		}
	}
	MODULE
	{
		name = ModuleCargoPart
		packedVolume = 600
	}
}

 

4. Find /home/janiek/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/common/Kerbal Space Program/GameData/Squad/Parts/Utility/linearVernorRCS/

-Make a new file called vernorAstrophageEngine.cfg and add this to the file:

PART
{
	name = vernierAstrophageEngine
	module = Part
	author = Janus92
	MODEL
	{
	model = Squad/Parts/Utility/linearVernorRCS/Assets/vernorEngine
	}
	
	scale = 1
	rescaleFactor = 2
	node_attach = 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1, 0, 0.0, 1
	TechRequired = specializedControl
	entryCost = 1800
	cost = 150
	category = Control
	subcategory = 0
	title = #autoLOC_500493 //#autoLOC_500493 = Vernor Engine
	manufacturer = #autoLOC_501639 //#autoLOC_501639 = Reaction Systems Ltd
	description = Project Hail Mary's repurposed bovine waste RCS
	attachRules = 0,1,0,1,1
	mass = 0.08
	heatConductivity = 0.06 // half default
	skinInternalConductionMult = 4.0
	emissiveConstant = 0.8 // engine nozzles are good at radiating.
	dragModelType = default
	maximum_drag = 0.01
	minimum_drag = 0.01
	angularDrag = 0.1
	crashTolerance = 15
	breakingForce = 50
	breakingTorque = 50
	maxTemp = 2000 // = 3400
	fuelCrossFeed = True
	PhysicsSignificance = 1
	bulkheadProfiles = srf
	tags = #autoLOC_500495 //#autoLOC_500495 = dock liquid manoeuvre maneuver propuls rocket control react rendezvous rotate stab steer thruster translate rcs vernier
	EFFECTS
	{
		running
		{
			AUDIO
			{
				channel = Ship
				clip = sound_rocket_mini
				volume = 0.0 0.0
				volume = 0.1 0.0
				volume = 0.5 0.05
				volume = 1.0 0.5
				pitch = 0.0 0.5
				pitch = 1.0 1.0
				loop = true
			}
			MODEL_MULTI_PARTICLE
			{
				modelName = Squad/FX/Monoprop_medium
				transformName = RCSthruster
				emission = 0.0 0.0
				emission = 0.1 0.0
				emission = 1.0 1.0
				speed = 0.0 0.8
				speed = 1.0 1.0
				localRotation = -90, 0, 0
			}
		}		
	}
	MODULE
	{
		name = ModuleRCSFX
		stagingEnabled = False
		thrusterTransformName = RCSthruster
		thrusterPower = 25
		resourceName = LiquidFuel
		resourceFlowMode = STAGE_PRIORITY_FLOW
		runningEffectName = running
		PROPELLANT
		{
			name = Astrophage
			ratio = 1
			DrawGauge = True
			resourceFlowMode = STAGE_PRIORITY_FLOW
		}
		atmosphereCurve
		{
			key = 0 26000000
			key = 1 14000000
			key = 5 1000000
		}
	}
	MODULE
	{
		name = FXModuleAnimateRCS
		animationName = linearRCSGlow
		responseSpeed = 0.01	
		thrustForceMult = 2	
	}
	MODULE
	{
		name = ModuleCargoPart
		packedVolume = 30
	}
}

That was it. Now load the craft and it should be all there.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Janus92 I've made a version of that hail mary mod with the parts you made and some extra parts I added myself, namely a small astrophage tank, based on the small xenon tank, and a smaller astrophage engine, the same size as the stock ion engine, I also gave the parts more detailed descriptions. I am not finished yet, I want to add a 1,25m tank and integrate into the community tech tree (I'm considering the antimatter node).  I am writing to you to ask for permission to, when the mod is finished, post it to spacedock for people to download. (I have already made it as one small folder you can just put in your gamedata), by the way, the small parts are intended for the beetles. :) I also changed your large astrophage tank to a rescale of 1 instead of 0.95 I know it's not as accurate, but I think it isn't too big a change.

Edited by Hyperspace Industries
forgot to mention something critical
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@Janus92 I've made a mod of your parts, and some of my own, namely a smaller astrophage tank and engine, the size of the stock ion engine, to replicate the beetles, I am writing to you to ask for permission to, when finished, post it to spacedock, I will of course give you full credit for making the original parts, I've also changed the descriptions a bit. And I changed the big astrophage tank to a rescale of 1 <- this is from a former post which I accidentally deleted, or at least I think I did.

I've now added a 1.25m tank, but I have given up on community tech tree integration, good news: they won't need any other mods, bad news: it is going to have to be a sandbox mod, because I can't find the parts in the tech tree node I gave them (experimental science). But I'm happy with this mod, it is my first modding project, and also it was a weekend project, I've learned a lot. Thank you for making the original code, I could not have done it otherwise. :)  

by the way, my beetle parts don't have as much deltaV as they should, but I think it's okay. 

Edited by Hyperspace Industries
accidentally deleted a previous post
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@Janus92 I finally got it to work with the community tech tree, turns out I typed a couple of characters wrong in the name of the tech tree node, a classic coding mistake if my experience is correct. ;) I've been having fun with making some other, unrelated, parts. I think this mod is ready, I think I can probably put it on spacedock, because you already gave others access to it, but I want your permission just to be sure. :) 

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@Janus92 I've uploaded it to spacedock :)  here's the link, https://spacedock.info/mod/2801/Project Hail Kary%2C based on Andy Weir's book?ga=<Game+3102+'Kerbal+Space+Program'> I've had a lot of fun, but I haven't yet got any screenshots to show, due to timezones you can expect them tomorrow :) 

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Hello again Kerbonauts!

@Hyperspace Industries and @Janus92, congratulations on an amazing continuation of my efforts. Also, to @Single stage to ocean & @Flying dutchman, glad you liked the work. All of your thanks and effort mean a lot to me, and I truly appreciate all the replies and activity that have gone on in my absence. I am still planning on flying the Hail Mary (preferably with the beetles) in a mission report, but haven't yet begun the project due to its size. If it isn't too much trouble, I would be interested in any of your inputs on how to construct the beetles; they need to be small but also have a relatively complex shape. Special thanks again to @Hyperspace Industries, who kindly uploaded their files for a smaller, probe-sized tank as well as the larger fuel bays. Then, to take it a step further, they even made the whole thing compatible with CTT; now I could potentially even simulate the book and research leading up to launch in a career game. Impressive! :o

I would like to discuss some next steps for this endeavour: first, I already have the Astrophage resource incorporated into my game as far as Interstellar Fuel Switch is concerned, and created some spin drives based on a model I acquired from KSP Interstellar, also in my game. However, I will give your mod a try to see if I can create a better aesthetically looking model of the engine. Also, your work solves several problems I have had incorporating the tanks into IFS; for some reason that mod stubbornly refuses to allow me to add an entirely new tank texture with Astrophage exclusively,  always maintaining the original resource that it was coded to store. This is clearly just a programming difficulty on my part; thank you for simplifying the process so that now all I have to do is swap textures and part name references (I only need to do this so I don't have to recreate the entire model of the ship from scratch.)

So, I'll give your modification a try, maybe rework the ship a little bit with some minor tweaks if needed, and then... we can see about getting this project on the road! (The road to Tau Ceti with RealExoplanets, that is.) If you have 

P. S. 

A Jool atmosphere-based lifeform? Probably closer to Eve, as compared to the book where it breeds on Venus. Also as it is closer to Kerbol, more energy would be available. Then again, maybe it feeds off of Jool's energy and gets its nutrients from Laythe's atmosphere. You could get both tidal energy from the interaction or exploit Jool's magnetic field in a similar way. (Yes, I am going way deeper into the lore than I should and nit-picking to try and find equivalents of Kerbol system to Weir's book).

Sincerely,

Kekkie

 

Edited by Kekkie
Doh! Forgot to add the name of a forum member who thanked me! I respect all of you.
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@Kekkie Thanks for mentioning me :) , I agree eve is a better planet for astrophage, I am going to put that in, because I want to make some other changes to the mod, namely, the beetles have pretty much no deltaV, so I'm going to change their tanks' astrophage amount, and their thrust, after that I am going to perform a small test to see how good they work :) I also think, after the mod is finished, we could try to merge your models with my mod, to create a fully working mod, but that will come later ;) 

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@Kekkie  I've posted a update, now it works! :) I have tested it and the  small astrophage drive and 1 tank were able to propel a small probe to 320000 m/s while only using 0.1% of the fuel which means the 1 tank prototype could get to 160000000m/s or 80000000m/s and back to 0 and that is without counting the fact it gets lighter as you continue ;), the beetles can use 6/8 rtg's to keep constant power without solar needed, you can test it, but you have to download the new update, by the way, you will probably have to get better time warp if you haven't already. By the way, my pc's f1 key does not work, so I can't take screenshots. :) 

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I've been working on a beetle prototype, it has transmission, science storage and according to my estimate (in need of double checking)  300000000 m/s of deltaV, or enough for getting to 150000000m/s and back :) I think that is a reasonable top speed, since ksp is scaled down significantly, I also fixed my f1 and f12 keys, which means I can take screenshots! :) We do have a slight problem though, each beetle weighs about 64 TONS which means about 256 extra tons of mass for the hail kary (yes that is my nickname for the kerbal ship), but, since we could go half speed, I think it might just work. ;) 

here are my screenshots: ksp project hail kary beetle prototype 1 test  - Imgur

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@Kekkie @Janus92 I've performed another test, this time with real exoplanets, but better time warp either was installed wrong, or I wasn't using it right, so I could not go as fast as I wanted, but from what I could see from the amount of astrophage used, this should definitely  work :) ,

Here are the images: project hail kary beetle test 2 - Imgur

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@Kekkie @Janus92 I got good news and bad news: 

Good news: I got better time warp to work!

Bad news: The millisecond I went to 10 times physics warp while the beetle prototype was accelerating, the kraken ripped it into a gazillion pieces :( 

I think the 100+g acceleration is to blame, so, the hail kary will probably work, but the beetles are the problem. Any suggestions on how to fix this?

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@Hyperspace Industries

Have you tried using Persistent Thrust? I have personally found it to be consistent at high accelerations - just turn on non physical time-warp with the period key and it should work, though I do not know how well your prototype holds together rigidly. However, all your bases should be covered if you combine it with the auto strut feature and/or Kerbal Joint Reinforcement. 

Hope this helps!

Kekkie

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@Kekkie Thanks a lot, with autostrut I got up to 20x physical time warp, and I got the beetle up to 8000000m/s before getting bored ;) This was just a test, but I think the beetle design is ready, although I do want to remove 1 fuel tank, because this thing has more than enough delta V :) I go from kerbin to tau ceti, because I can target tau ceti on the map. :) I think beetle development on my part is mostly done and you can perform your own tests, but I am not yet finished with this project :) 

MRjJa5u.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,

I have a question about the novel, which may have been answered eloquently in the novel and I may have missed it, so I will ask it here instead:

If the  'Taumoeba' feeds on Astrophages and destroys it, where is all the energy stored in the Astrophages gone? Surely energy can't just disappear just because Taumoeba consumed the Astrophages. I ask because this is a critical part of the narrative, and changed the entire course of the story. What Dr. Grace saw when he opened the fuel lines, was smelly black gunk which is the byproduct caused by the Taumoeba consuming astrophages. He even considered using the methane formed as a fuel, however, that proved to generate very little energy compared to what he needs to travel back home to earth. Can someone shed light on this? in a nutshell: what happens to the energy stored in Astrophages once they are consumed by taumoeba?

Thanks in advance,

Aghiad 

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