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KerBLAMO (Kerpollo)


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My lander looks a lot like yours, complete with the Mk1-3 command module.  So I don't think I'm too far off on that.

Where we differ, however is the rocket design.  I continually find myself having to use solid boosters to get off Kerbin, even with the "asparagus staging" methodology (using fuel lines to increase dV on the rocket).  Can you break down for me the configuration you have there?  I'll be posting pictures later today, either because I failed again and need help OR, god willing, I make it home successfully.  But rocket design is where I'm seriously lacking in skill, and I think a bit of help here might go a long way towards getting me to complete this before pitching the whole thing in the trash.

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Ascent From Duna:


On the surface.  The nose cones are not critical for the ascent, but they can't hurt anything.  The lander can is flat and wide, so even in Duna's very thin atmosphere it is draggy.


The 4 Spark engines are plenty to get to orbit.  I really think 3 Sparks would have been more than enough also.


The lower atmosphere is draggy enough that I like to do the initial climb with a large vertical component, a little like a rocket launch from Kerbin.


Circularize at Duna, preparing to rendezvous with the orbiter.


Approaching the orbiter.


Docked.  I'll again transfer the science, fuel, and the Kerbal (Val) over to the Transfer Stage.  Then I'll drop the Duna Lander and leave it in orbit, as I won't need it again.  Although it isn't obvious yet, when I get rid of the Lander the Transfer stage has 3527 m/s dV in it. 


Return to Kerbin:


Although I don't need to, this time I am going to burn directly from Low Duna orbit to a Solar orbit which intersects Kerbin's orbit.  One potential problem is hitting Ike while departing Duna.  I'm going to wait until Ike gets out of the way to leave.


Dropping the Duna Lander.  I transferred the little fuel remaining in the Lander over to the Transfer Stage.  Now I have 3500 dV to get home to Kerbin.  1000 dV would be plenty, so I have over 3 times the amount of fuel I actually need.


Duna departure burn.  A burn at Duna of ~650 m/s will take me all the way to intersecting Kerbin's orbit.  From there another 200 dv to make small corrections to my Solar orbit is all I'll need to hit Kerbin.


The 650 m/s burn at Duna took me all the way to Kerbin's orbit.


After a few laps around the sun I get a really close encounter with Kerbin.  A very short burn at this point will get me the encounter.


Which looks like this.


At the mid-course correction, my orbit is the orange line, but another 20 m/s will make my orbit look like the purple line.


The 20 m/s at the mid-course correction makes my arrival at Kerbin look like this.  It only took me about 700 m/s dV to get from Low Duna orbit to this point.  If I was out of gas I could aero-brake at Kerbin and be perfectly fine.


But instead I use the rest of my fuel to circularize, I'll try to land close to KSC.


After the final de-orbit burn, I drop the transfer stage.


Well, I got sort of close to KSC.  My inclination was a tad off.  I'm going to miss KSC by a few km, I'll be a little south of KSC, and a little short (west) of it.  Oh well, I tried..


Under the 3 parachutes.  Looks like just a few km to KSC, we could walk home from here if needed.




Wrapping Up:


The science I brought back from Duna and Ike is not very much.  That's because I've already collected fly-by science of Duna and Ike from a previous mission.  Almost all of the new science I brought home is from surface experiments on Ike and Duna.


One of the Kerbals advanced to level 5.


Here's the tech tree after the Duna mission, still all filled out.  This was my last Kerpollo run, so that's all the science I'm going to get.



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3 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Can you break down for me the configuration you have there?

Sure.  The transfer stage is:

  • Mk3 capsule (with a small docking port on top)
  • Heat shield
  • Decoupler
  • X200-32 fuel tank (half of an Orange Tank...)
  • Two Terrier engines mounted on an engine plate.

The core central booster is:

  • Large reaction wheel
  • 2 Jumbo 64 tanks (full-size Orange Tanks..)
  • A Skipper LFO engine

The 4 LF side boosters are:

  • A X200 (half Orange Tank)
  • Two Jumbo 64 tanks (Orange Tanks)
  • A Mainsail LFO engine
  • Fuel line running from the side booster(s) to the central booster.

Plus, I added 4 Kickback SRBs.  Here's some screenshots of the booster stages.


Here's the central core booster.  It's the reaction wheel, and then two Orange Tanks.  I made the tanks Orange so it's easier to see where the central booster stage starts.


The side LFO boosters, a half orange tank, plus two full orange tanks.  You only see one in the screenshot for clarity, but I'll attach the whole think with 4X symmetry, so there will be 4 of them.


Plus I add 4 Kickback SRBs between the 4 LFO boosters.  So it'll be a little cramped.


Here's the whole assembly, with the 4 side LFO boosters and the 4 Kickback SRBs in between.  It may look like there is a possibility for collisions during decoupling, but I assure you there were no issues.  I make sure I'm locked on pro-grade hold during decoupling, and I also reduce thrust during decoupling.  No problems whatsoever.  There are screenshots of the actual decoupling taking place in one of my earlier posts.


Edit:  Here's a shot of decoupling the Kickback SRBs in the atmosphere.  Note that I am holding pro-grade (not turning) AND throttled way down.  The boosters gently slide out the back, no problem.






Edited by 18Watt
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7 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Where we differ, however is the rocket design.

I thought your rocket looked great!  Even more important, it worked!

One thing I find helpful is to use lower TWR values for vessels which will only operate in space.  First, they generally are more dV efficient- even if the ISP value is lower the lower weight often helps.  Second, when fine-tuning orbits it is handy to be able to make very small changes to your velocity.  Big engines make it hard to just change your velocity by 0.1 m/s.

I still put SRBs on most of my big ships.  It's an easy way to get a little more dV.

All in all your ship looked over-built, with a lot more dV than you need.  That's a good thing!  It reduces the stress doing orbital maneuvers. My opinion is you get the hang of orbital maneuvers much quicker if you are not always fretting about your dV budget.  In this challenge, there are no bonus points for building the lightest or least expensive rocket.

I'm guessing the next time you go to Duna you'll have a smaller rocket, now that you have a better idea what the dV requirements are, and also realize that you are confidently making nice, efficient burns.  

Again, I thought your Duna rocket looked excellent!


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Another Jool-5 Run Complete!

While completing the Kerpollo Challenge, the Joolollo mission is essentially a Jool-5 run, with a few additional restrictions- must be a single launch, can only land on the 5 moons once, no probe cores, and need at least two Kerbals.  I did submit my Joolollo mission as a Jool-5 entry.  However, since the Kerpollo missions are now complete, I decided to do another Jool-5 run, this time as a 3RD Level entry.

For this Jool-5 run I'm bringing 7 Kerbals:  One specialist for each of Jool's moons, plus two pilots.  Each specialist will plant a flag on their respective moon.

The Mission Plan:


The five 'specialists' are all new-hires, who have been trained to study one moon each.  Although all of them will visit the surface of Bop and Pol.  Their assignments are:

  • Kathster will visit Tylo
  • Isarick will visit Bop
  • Richson will visit Laythe
  • Pafry will visit Vall
  • Rayton will visit Pol
  • Val and Billy Bobfurt will be the pilots, and will take the specialists to the surface of Tylo, Laythe, and Vall in the dedicated landers.

As the Kerpollo missions are complete, I'm no longer strictly following the Kerpollo criteria.  The ship is very similar to the on I used on the Joolollo mission.  However the landers are bigger, because I'm bringing two Kerbals to each moon.  And the initial booster stage is much smaller, because I will be refueling at Minmus early in the mission, which was not allowed in the Kerpollo missions.

Here's the booster stage(s), considerably smaller than what I used for the Kerpollo mission.  It just needs to get the main ship to Kerbin orbit, then I'll refuel at Minmus.  


The Mothership section.  I'll use the ISRU at Minmus, Bop, and Pol.  The Laythe lander is hanging off the side.  The return capsule holds 7 Kerbals.


The Tylo lander sits precariously on top of the whole rocket.  It holds two Kerbals, and is pretty heavy.  Tylo will be the first moon visited, the sooner I can lose the weight of the Tylo lander the easier the ship will handle.


The entire vessel launching from Kerbin.  In the screenshot the big Clydesdale SRBs have just been separated.  They'll slide harmlessly back.


Transfer to Jool and Tylo Surface:


I launch directly into Minmus's inclination, or close enough.


Refueling at Minmus.


Arriving at Jool, with a Tylo encounter.  For this arrival, I'll capture at Tylo right away.  Learning to to get a Tylo encounter every time you go to Jool is a very handy tool.  It's not that hard, I highly recommend learning to hit Tylo reliably.


There was a potential problem during separation of the Tylo lander.  The decouple force was incredibly high for some reason, and it nearly knocked the fuel tanks off the Tylo lander.  All good now though.


Kathster on Tylo.  Her head is blocking the view of the ladder on the lander.  Jet packs won't work on Tylo.  If you can't reach the crew capsule from the surface, you need a ladder!  On Vall it is possible to use the jetpack to reach above the surface a little, but not on Tylo (or Laythe).


The remains of the Tylo lander docking with the Mothership.  I'll also use the Tylo ascent stage to land on Vall.


Bop and Laythe:


Arriving at Bop, looking for a flat place to land.  I never find one.  I've given up looking for flat places to land on Bop.


The only thing that seems to kinda work for me on Bop is to just land, then slide down the slope, sometimes for several km.  Eventually you'll either slide to a flat(ish) spot, or you'll slide to the bottom of a canyon.


Isarick on the surface of Bop.


Back in orbit of Bop, fueled up again.


Arriving at Laythe.  The Laythe lander (plane) does not have rocket engines until I drop the jet engine, so maneuvering into Laythe's atmosphere is a little tricky.


To get the plane into Laythe's atmosphere I put the entire Mothership on a trajectory which gets into Laythe's atmosphere.  Then I separate the Laythe lander (plane).  Then I switch back to the Mothership and do another burn to get it's trajectory back out of Laythe's atmosphere.  Then I switch back to the plane and fly the entry.


Landed on an island on Laythe.  I have plenty of jet fuel, so if I miss an island I can use the jet to get to land if needed.  In this case I didn't need to do that.


Richson performing his research duties on Laythe.


Leaving Laythe's surface.  The Whiplash jet engine is enough to put my AP in space at Laythe.  When the Whiplash runs out of air I'll stage away the entire back section of the plane, and two little Spark engines will take the crew capsule to orbit.


The airplane section has been staged away, and the crew capsule is continuing to orbit with the Spark engines.


Although the Laythe capsule does have a docking port, it is not equipped with RCS.  I can (and have) dock without RCS, but during this mission that is not required.  So I just get the capsule as close to the Mothership as I can, and do EVAs to transfer the two Kerbals back to the Mothership.


Once the Kerbals have transferred to the Mothership, I let the Laythe capsule drift away.  See ya!.


Vall and Pol:


At Vall I will use the remains of the Tylo lander to go to the surface.  I could theoretically land on Vall with the Mothership, but it is so big and clumsy that landing it on Vall is very difficult, for me anyway.  The smaller lander can is much easier to land.


Pafry judo-chopping a frozen snack on Vall.


Here's a shot showing the ladder.  It is possible to use the jetpack on Vall to get off the ground a little.  However, since this is the Tylo lander too it has a ladder, so I'm using it.


Departing Vall.  None of the red lights in the cockpit are lit up.  So either everything is working fine or the red light bulbs are burned out.


Docking the Tylo/Vall lander to the Mothership at Vall.  I'll transfer the crew and science over to the Mothership, then I'll discard the Tylo/Vall lander and leave it in orbit of Vall.  


Last moon, Pol.  I'll have the same problem at Pol as I did on Bop- finding a flat enough landing spot.  I end up doing the same thing, letting the ship slide a km or so before coming to a stop on a flat enough surface.


Rayton on the surface of Pol.


Return to Kerbin:


After refueling at Pol the return to Kerbin was very basic.  I popped out of Jool's SOI, and then just burned directly for Kerbin.  I had plenty of fuel at that point to just do a plain capture burn at Kerbin, no aerobraking required.


Before entering Kerbin's atmosphere I separate the return capsule from the Mothership.


Tried to land at KSC, but as usual I was off by several km.


Technically this landing is fine, but it was hard enough that the heat shield was knocked off!  I used 4 radial parachutes, and it wasn't quite enough.  I could have dropped the heat shield, but I like to keep it so that if something blows up the crew capsule isn't the part that explodes.


Brought back some more science from the Jool system.  There's a lot of science to obtain out there!  This was only my 10th launch, I did 9 launches for the Kerpollo missions.  My tech tree has been completely filled out for quite a while, and I've never used a MPL in this save.


I think 6 of the Kerbals I brought on this trip were new-hires, Val was the only veteran who came along.  All 6 of the new hires made it to Level 5!



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