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Las Kerbas Kerpollo Program


Scarecrow71
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Starting a Mission Report thread here for my entry into the Kerpollo Challenge.  The challenge consists of 9 launches, one to each of the 9 distinct areas of the Kerbol system.  Up first...LKO.

MISSION I:  KERPOLLO

Well, here goes nothing.  Going to attempt to do the Kerpollo Challenge…even though I’ve never gotten any farther than Minmus.  And I’ve never even attempted to dock objects in space, which means I’ll probably end up doing most of this prior to getting any docking ports.  ManEatingApe showed it’s possible to get to orbit with a ship before even unlocking any of the tech tree, so this gives me hope.  Then again, he’s far better at this than I am, so I’ll probably end up rebooting multiple times during each mission.

Screen shots are needed, eh?  Ok, so here’s the settings I’m using:

MnO66qB.jpg

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All normal settings; nothing is out of the ordinary here.  I thought about doing some custom things with the settings, like turning on requiring a connection for control, but seeing as probe cores aren’t a thing I don’t need to worry about that.

MISSION I:  KERPOLLO (Kerbin Orbit)

According to the rules, we are allowed to put stuff on the launchpad and runway to farm science at the KSC.  So I did that with this:

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Goo container, crew report, eva report, and soil sample, which nets 31.8 science.  Which gives me this for the tech tree before even launching the first ship:

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Oh look, a thermometer and barometer are unlocked.  More farming at the launchpad and runway, netting another 12 scient points.  Now the tech tree, before launching my first ship, looks thusly:

RFVL2Cf.jpg

Time to quick-save so as to not lose any progress (because that whole 5 minutes will just set me so far back), and then work on my first ship to get up into orbit.  Not having to worry about funds, part count, or tonnage will help…although my frame-rate might get a bit miffed.  The ship I crafted for this mission:

O7yewN8.jpg

She’s got 4139 dV sitting on the launch pad, with 7 stages.  The first 3 stages comprise 4 Hammers, 4 decouplers, and then 4 more Hammers; this is designed to get off the ground and get partially into the atmosphere.  Once these 8 engines die out, it’s on the Swivel (yes, I said Swivel, so no laughing) to get me the rest of the way into orbit and then back to Kerbin.  I have only the science gadgets that I’ll use while in orbit to collect science.  I am aware that I could put double the number of gadgets on the thing and then take science when I land.  I plan on taking a surface sample from whichever biome I land in, and I may very well be shorting myself on science here.  Que sera, and all.  While I plan on trying to finish this challenge, I’ll be surprised and happy if I can get anywhere past Minmus in the latter stages.  Anyhow, shots from orbit:

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Certainly not the most elegant or efficient launch, but I’m up there.  500k Ap, 104k Pe.  And yes, as you can see, I am most assuredly using MechJeb to help.  I’ve got 1015 dV remaining for this trip, which is more than enough to get back on the ground.  Were I smart enough to have added multiple science gadgets, I could very easily have made it to a fly-by of the Mun and back this trip.  But I don’t have to worry about orbiters until I unlock docking ports, so I don’t want to gain too much science too fast lest I have to learn how to dock as well.  My guess is it’s possible to hit every planet without docking ports, so I may try going that route and just not unlock them.  We’ll see.

Anyhow, science gathering in space, followed by a surface sample upon landing, which nets 65 total science.  Proof that Jeb didn’t die on re-entry, followed by the tech tree after spending some of that tasty science I just earned:

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A billion-billion gallons of water, and not a drop to drink.  I always seem to land in the water when coming back from space.

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I had to choose between Basic Science and General construction here.  Do I go with batteries so I don’t run out of juice on my next trip, or do I need struts to make sure those boosters don’t wobble too much?  I decided it is easier to deal with wobbling than it is to deal with no power.  Besides – now I can farm more science from the launchpad and runway with the Science Jr. SC-9001.  Which nets me a whopping 15 more science points.  Not enough to open any more nodes, but it’s something.  And, according to John Madden, some yards is better than none yards.

That completes the Kerbin Orbit requirement.  1 Launch, 1 Mission.  1 down, 8 to go.

Edited by Scarecrow71
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MISSION II:  MINPOLLO

I should have stated when I started this that there is a specific reason I never get anywhere beyond Minmus:  I suck at rocket design.  I know that the general rule is “moar boosters”, but I don’t want to do that.  I need to get better at efficiency, otherwise I end up playing for a month or so and then put the game away for several months because I can’t do anything.  Challenges like this are a good way to either force me to get better…or to uninstall the game.

Anyhow, I know I need a lot of dV.  I’m not good at the math of all of this, so I find that I use old threads and youtube videos on what needs to be done.  I need 3 distinct stages:  liftoff/orbit, transfer, lander/return.  The parts I currently have don’t have enough juice to do all of that, so thankfully, we can farm the KSC, which I’ve done with this nifty little roller:

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I found this in the Caveman thread where people were talking about how to get any science on the harder levels when you start with no cash.  And a design similar to this came up, and so in true fashion, I stealed it.

I was able to farm 89 net science from the SPH, R&D, VAB, and the Administration Building, and I think I may have forgotten to do the EVA report at the SPH.  But hey, I can always use this one again to farm more science if I need to.  Spent 45 on Advanced Rocketry, and then spent 45 on General Construction.  I should now have enough things unlocked to do a decent Mun landing mission.  The current tech tree:

OVeRaic.jpg

And a quick-save so I don’t lose any of that science.  Anyhow, I’m semi-following the design from an early career Mun landing thread.  The thing here is that while Minmus is harder (technically) to get to, it is easier to land on and return home from.  And the same basic rocket design for going to the Mun should work to get to Minmus.  Which gives me this sitting on the launchpad:

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4665 m/s of dV sitting on the launchpad.  I believe the term everybody uses when things don’t work is “moar boosters”, which is what I’ve done here.  I’ve got 2 stages each with 6 Thumpers; I’m hoping I can use these to get to a decent orbit over Kerbin before transferring to Minmus.  So let’s see how this goes.

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Stable orbit of 164.689 km Ap and 89.4119 km Pe.  Definitely not circular, and I’m sure I could have done better on this.  But it leaves me with 3665 m/s dV to get to Minmus, land, and back.  As we launched this thing with Bob on board, we’re gonna take some science readings in several places:  in orbit high over Kerbin, in orbit high over Minmus, in orbit low over Minmus, and on the surface of Minmus.  Man, I never appreciated having a Scientist on board before.  Why am I not using Bob more?  Anyhow, the orbit of Minmus eventually comes out to this:

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Stable Ap of 1.55623Mm, and a stable Pe of 14.3835km.  Leaves me with 2524 m/s of dV, which should be more than enough to land and get home.  Take some science readings as I mentioned before landing, though; I don’t want to miss out on those tasty points.

I ended up having to circularize the orbit prior to landing, mainly because I didn’t want to come in at a really bad angle.  But guess who manually landed for the first time in…well, I think forever?  This guy.  Right here.

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Gather some science data, quicksave, and then heading back to Kerbin.  A shot after having escaped Minmus’ SOI and re-entering Kerbin’s:

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Now I just gotta burn appropriately and put this thing back on the ground.  Like so:

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And I landed in the desert, which means more science gathering.  I netted 768.4 science.  Holy.  Crap.  Wow.  That’s more science in one run than I’ve ever done before.  My goodness.  Have I said how under-utilized Bob has been in my games previously?  Being able to collect and capture that much science in one run is ridiculous.  I was able to unlock Aviation and Flight Control, which kills the 4th tier.  On the 5th tier, I was able to unlock Advanced Construction, Advanced Flight Control, Electrics, Fuel Systems, Heavy Rocketry, Landing, and Space Exploration.  My tech tree now looks like this:

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That leaves me with 65.2 science.  You’ll notice I’m avoiding docking ports right now.  I know I’ll need them at some point, but for now I’d like to just not have to leave something in orbit when I hit the ground.

This should, if I’m correct, complete Minpollo.  The Mun is next!

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MISSION III:  MUNPOLLO

And so here we are attempting to land on the Mun.  I know for a  fact that the last ship I built will get us there and back, but that’s kind of overkill.  I might update it so that we aren’t  dealing with all that leftover fuel…but maybe not.  It ain’t like we gotta worry about funds, right?

As always, the opening shot of the tech tree:

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I am starting here with 65.2 science, and only 3 nodes on tier 5 to unlock.  I am not going to unlock miniaturization unless I absolutely have to; I don’t want to deal with docking just yet.  Maybe on the multiple-body missions where I gotta save fuel to get home.  Maybe.  Anyhow, the ship on the launchpad:

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I did make a few changes to this thing.  For starters, I added 4 solar panels.  Secondly, I changed out the landing legs for sturdier ones, and I upgraded from 4 to 6 of them.  Finally, I added an Advanced Inline Stablizer so I can get better control of the ship during flight.  The rest of it is just like the one I used to go to Minmus.  And now, off we go!  The maneuver to get me to the Mun, followed by the stable orbit:

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That’s a stable of orbit of 1.53998Mm for the Ap and 17.7185km for the Pe.  And now to collect some science…and then a quicksave before I put this puppy on the surface.

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Even MechJeb lands like garbage sometimes.  On a hill, so I had to spin and spin until I righted this ship.  That was a pain in the ass.  Thank goodness I put the solar panels on there!  Anyhow, collecting science, and then back to Kerbin.

Now, before I post the rest of the images on this mission and state I’ve completed and all that, I want to talk about this:

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I know that there are asteroids and stuff floating out in the vastness of space, and I’m ok with that.  I’m also aware that these objects are going to come close to Kerbin, and I’m ok with that.  But Class E (Huge)?  This is an apocalyptic event just waiting to happen to our poor Kerbals.  Thankfully it’s so far away from me that I’ve got time to prepare.  And it’s giving me ideas on how to complete the later missions (capture an asteroid and use it to refuel, perhaps).  But Huge?  I now feel so…tiny.

Anyhow, we now return you to the arts.  Or, rather, to Kerbin.

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That middle shot there was something I didn’t expect to see.  When I’m coming back in to Kerbin, I like to keep the vehicle dead center of my screen, on a nice horizontal axis; for some reason, this helps me orient where I’m at and where I’m headed.  Now, sometimes, I’ll do a quick spin around the ship to see what’s coming up, but in this case, I spun the camera the opposite direction.  Which showed me the cool effects of the Atmospheric thing-a-ma-jig with the trailing flame and all.  But I also caught the Mun in that shot; I was not expecting to see it so clearly while in flight over Kerbin during the day.

I ended up collecting another 537 total science from my travels, which allowed me to unlock Aerodynamics and Propulsion Systems on Tier 5:

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Notice that, even though I’ve got the science points to do so, I have not unlocked Miniaturization.  I do not want docking ports in this game just yet.  I want to hit at least 1 other planet and return before I deal with that.  No sense in rushing off to get stuff you don’t really need just yet, is there?

And that should complete Munpollo.  Next stop…Moho?  Duna/Ike?  Eeloo?  Dres?  I’m not quite sure at this point.  I do know that I’m saving Eve/Gilly and the Jool-5 for last.

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MISSION IV:  DRESPOLLO

The fine engineers and executives at the Las Kerbas space program believe that the planet Dres does not exist.  So, being the kind of Kerbals we are, we decided to prove them wrong.

I have never successfully been to another planet in the Kerbol system.  I have planned and attempted to get to Duna before, but I’ve never actually gotten there.  And now, as part of the Kerpollo challenge, I’m attempting to not only go to other planets, but to land on them and return.  Because, you know, why not?  I’m using the dV calculator at KSP Delta-V Planner (loicviennois.com) to plan the trip.  According to the calculator, it will take the following:

  • Takeoff from Kerbin:  3400 m/s
  • Transit to Dres low orbit:  2850 – 3860 m/s
  • Land on Dres:  430 m/s
  • Return trip to Kerbin:  3280 – 4290 m/s

The total dV required is 9960 – 11980 m/s.  I’ll point out that the return trip numbers include aerobraking in Kerbin’s atmosphere, which I always do when coming back from the Mun or Minmus; there is no reason to expect that I wouldn’t do it here as well.  I like to make sure I’ve got enough juice to do what I need to do, so I’ll be shooting for that upper number.  If I end up having extra fuel left over, that’s a bonus.  In order to accomplish this, we need the following (basic) stages in a rocket:

  • Lander
  • Transfer
  • Liftoff

This is going to be a little trickier than what I am normally used to; I am not the greatest at rocket design, but I have to design one now to do an interplanetary transfer.  So let’s get to it.

Before I get into the design information, I have to be perfectly clear and honest and state that I spent no less than 10 hours on attempting to design a craft that could do this without using docking ports.  I wanted to avoid them for as long as possible because I have never even attempted docking, or performing an orbital rendezvous, or anything like that.  However, I’ve also never gotten to another planet, so this challenge will be about a lot of firsts for me in the game.

Anyhow, I’ve come to understand that while this would be possible without docking ports under other circumstances, the limiting nature of not being able to unlock nodes in a higher tier until the current tier is unlocked just cannot happen.  I can design a lander and transfer stage, but getting off of Kerbin’s surface without access to some of the more powerful engines just won’t happen.  So I spent 410 science today, picking up Miniaturization to close out tier 5, and then Heavier Rocketry and Advanced Fuel Systems on tier 6.  My tech tree now looks like this:

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I’ll also state that I originally intended to go to Moho for this mission instead of Dres, but I’m still not sure that the parts I’ve got access to, even with docking, can handle that just yet.  So I’m going to try for Dres, with a lander and an orbiting ship.  Dres has, from what I gather, the least dV requirements for interplanetary partying, so here goes nothing.

Lander Design

We need to have a lander that is capable of the following:

  • Detaching from the main ship
  • Landing on Dres
  • Getting back into Dres orbit
  • Reattaching to the main ship

The trickiest part of this is that, per the rules of the challenge, I have to leave a Kerbal on the orbiting craft while someone else goes to the surface to do their thing.  And because of this, we can’t just simply use throw-away probe cores to go to the surface and leave them there.  Which means we have to build a lander that sits on top of the main command pod, inverted.  Yes, inverted.  Kind of goes against everything I’ve built to this point, but the point of a challenge is to be, well, challenged.

Were it that we had something larger than the Clamp-o-Tron Docking Port Jr., we could dock the lander to the main ship, transfer Kerbals from the lander to the main ship, and then jettison the lander.  This would actually help save on weight for the return trip, increasing the amount of dV we have access to.  Unfortunately, the Clamp-o-Tron Jr. only allows for transferring of resources, not Kerbals, so we need to account for this not only in overall design, but also to make sure that the lander pod doesn’t overheat on re-entry to Kerbin.  Lots of stuff going on here with the lander stage.

Step 1 here is to design the actual lander itself.  We have 2 choices here – we can either design this upright and invert it, or we can design it upright and leave it in that position.  Because we are bringing this puppy back home with us, we will design it at it will sit on the command pod.  And we end up with something looking like this:

bUjj4rR.png

She’s got 2095 m/s of dV, which is well over the minimum amount needed (in a perfect world) to land from low Dres orbit and then ascend back to low Dres orbit.  It’s really nothing more than a souped up landing can with a bunch of science gadgets.  TWR is 8.63, which should help both with a quick descent AND getting back into orbit without burning through too much fuel.  I hope.

I placed a Mk-16 XL parachute on the lander because, with having to bring this thing back to Kerbin (I can’t transfer Kerbals from this to the command pod) I need to make sure the primary chute is at the highest point.  A lot of people don’t do that, but I do.  I’ll be installing some radial parachutes on the command pod itself, but those won’t be enough with the total mass we’ll have at that point hurtling through the cosmos and ready to slam into Kerbin.

Return Stage

The return stage has to not only get us from Dres back to Kerbin, but it should also be capable of performing capture burns at both Dres and Kerbin.  The initial transfer stage will probably have enough fuel to do the capture burn there, but I want to over-engineer the ship intentionally just to make sure.  I don’t want Kerbals getting stuck and then having to do this all over again.

The minimum amount of dV needed is 3280 m/s, and I’m going to go over this.  The design I’ve got for this stage looks thusly:

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This stage has 4542 m/s of dV, which is above the upper amount of 4280 shown on the dV map.  This stage is a less-souped-up lander can than the landing stage, but packs enough punch to get us home from Dres.  It’s got a Skipper as the engine, with 4 Rockomax X200-32 liquid fuel engines, and is outfitted with an inline stabilizer and 18 solar panels.  I’ve spent enough time around Dres running out of power to know that I need a lot of power generation on this trip.

Yes, I am using lander cans for both the return and landing stage.  Because I only have access to the Docking Port Jr., I can’t transfer crew from one pod to the next.  And I’m not good enough with EVA maneuvers to fly a Kerbal from one to the other, so I’ll be bringing the lander can back home.  It’s not ideal, especially when you consider I’ll need plenty of parachutes to bring this thing down safely.  I’ve got 4 radial Mk16’s here, so when coupled with the Mk16-XL on the top can, this should slow it down enough for a decent descent where nobody dies.  Notice I said “nobody dies”, and not “nothing blows up”.  Big difference there.

Transfer Stage

This is where we have to build something to get us from low Kerbin orbit to Dres.  According to the map I’m using, that requires no less than 2850 m/s of dV.  This begs the question:  why does it take less dV to get to Dres than it does to get back to Kerbin, especially when you will be returning with less weight than you went there with?  My guess is it has to do with transfer windows and all that, but it makes no sense to me.

Anyhow, we engineer the following stage to handle this for us:

MrZ2vqb.png

That’s 3406 m/s of dV in a vacuum around Kerbin, with a TWR of 1.07, which is more than the minimum of 2850.  That’s not leaving a lot of room for error here, but it is what it is.  I could add some side tanks to this, but I still have to engineer a liftoff stage, so let’s see how that goes first.

I added a lot of struts to this stage, connecting all of the engines on the outside as well as crossing through the inside.  I’m hoping this keeps this stage stable enough to actually be usable.

Liftoff

And your standard liftoff stage, which requires ~3400 m/s of dV to get into LKO.  This is the easiest stage to understand due to the dV requirements never changing…but it can be the hardest stage (in my opinion) to build because the weight of the craft you are currently building is always going to change.  But I think I’ve got this figured out with the following:

VBib5Ix.png

Total dV for this entire stage, at sea level, is 5,186 m/s, with an initial TWR of 1.00.  The actual dV is going to change while we are in flight, and will definitely go up once I hit the upper atmosphere.  This seems rather over-engineered considering I’m aiming for a circularized orbit of ~100,000m, but I don’t want to short myself on fuel.  And any extra I carry with me now can always be used for correction burns and in the event that emergencies pop up.  Which they invariably will.

I think this should do it.  Now to test this bad boy out on the launch pad.

Launch

So I’ve done this enough times to know that the transfer window is just over 2 years away from the current in-game time.  So I decided to do a Transfer Window Planner:

gBMNxht.png

You’ll see that the departure date is 2 years and 81 days away from the current day.  So before I do anything else, I’m going to fast forward to close to this time, hopefully within a day or two.  That way, if I have to revert back to launch or the VAB, I’m closer to that date than I am now.  Save the game now, and then warp ahead.

Queue the Jeopardy! music, Alex.

And a check of the transfer window information after warping:

9xgIcgO.png

So, I’m now within 1 day of the launch window.  Which means after I launch, I won’t have to fast-forward for too long.  A quick-save here, named appropriately, in the event I miscalculated the launch window.

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Sitting on the pad, waiting to be launched.  Bob and Valentina are taking this journey; I need Bob so I can collect as much science as possible, and I need Valentina (or any other pilot) due to the rules of the challenge.  Gotta leave 1 Kerbal in orbit now that I have docking ports…which I still am not sure how to actually use.  Or, rather, I have never attempted docking, so this ought to be nice and fun.

Is it just me, or does this look like something Batman would use?  For some reason, the lander at the top looks like a Batman symbol of some kind…although that could be simply due to my just having watched The Dark Knight.  Anyhow, liftoff, with a circular orbit at ~100,000m.

vWjCnIB.png

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And another shot of the Mun.  I’m either lucky, good…or the game just likes me.  I’ll take 1 and 2 for $2000, Alex.

Plotted the ejection maneuver to head to Dres.  I have 1533 m/s of dV remaining after launch and circularization, which is more than I budgeted for the liftoff itself.  This is going to leave me a lot of extra dV once I get to Dres, which I am sure I will need.  Anyhow, here is the plotted maneuver.

oncrJjj.png

So, the maneuver is coming up in 31 minutes, which is awesome.  This means I timed everything just right with fast-forwarding 2+ years.  And the dV requirement is 1531.1, which is right on the money for what I originally budgeted.  Leaves ZERO room for error, and I’ll have to cut into the return stage a bit for a couple of correction burns.  But, what’s a little planet-hopping without some excitement?  A quick-save here, and then warp 30 minutes to the maneuver burn.

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So the burn is complete, and I’ve got the trajectory for Dres.  The transfer stage is now gone, and I am going to go to about the half-way point to Dres to collect some science and do a minor correction burn to get some kind of encounter.  Before that, though, I took another picture with the transfer stage decoupled.  Yet another shot of the Mun…but look at all those pieces floating around in space.  Empty tanks, engines, and a few decoupler rings.  One of the things I love about this game is the detail given to some of this stuff.  I know the game could have been done without this stuff, but it sure is cool.  Anyhow, the first correction burn:

Emn4Cxt.png

Not bad.  Got to a Pe of 1,694,180m on that one.  The second correction burn will get me even closer than that:

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That’s pretty darned good, if I say so myself!  A Pe of 81,138m after a secondary correction burn.  Now just gotta get into the SOI and do a capture burn on Dres, get a little science, and quick-save!

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That’s an Ap of 86,413m and a Pe of 19,631m.  Not bad, but I could have done far better than that; now I have to circularize at ~19,000m.  Oh well.  Time to collect science and then land!

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And touchdown on another planet:

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I’ve got 1,363 m/s of dV remaining to get back into orbit and rendezvous with the mother ship.  That should be enough…but I’ve gotten this far plenty of times to know that no matter how much dV you have left, you don’t have enough.  Ever.  Anyhow, collecting science, quick-saving, and then attempting to get back into orbit so I can dock.

So, I got back into orbit, and I’m using MJ to plot the rendezvous for me.  I used the instructions at this link:  MechJeb2 tutorials? - Add-on Discussions - Kerbal Space Program Forums

And I ended up with this node:

iB9JJhX.png

Yeah, that’s 2 hours away.  It actually started as 10 days and 2 hours away, so a little auto-warp followed by a quick save.  Luckily, the first burn here is only 25.6 m/s and will take less than 1 second to accomplish.  I’ve got a couple more burns after that to fine tune the approach, but this will get me started nicely.  The only thing that is really bad about this is that you can’t warp faster than 10x while under 300,000m.  I was able to go into the tracking station and warp until about 10 minutes to go, so we should be good!  Another quick save, a few burns, and here is what we have:

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The lighting isn’t the greatest, thanks to being on the wrong side of Dres here.  But now to attempt to dock…

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Woo hoo!  Holy cow, I was able to dock!  My goodness, my goodness!

Ok, so I did nothing here.  I used MechJeb’s auto-dock feature, which saved my bacon because, to be honest, there is almost no way I do this properly otherwise.  This isn’t simply landing on a surface; it’s lining up to moving parts that are really small and getting them to touch at a speed so slow that I could float faster.  But it worked, and I ain’t complaining!  Now to get that trajectory home and see what I can see!

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Wow, 1 year and 21 days away.  Looks like we get to auto-warp until we get close enough to let MJ take over, huh?  On the positive side, this maneuver is only supposed to take 1,656.3 m/s of dV, which is just over half what I have left in the first of 2 remaining stages.  I’m hoping that I can actually do this properly!

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So I’ve got 1407 m/s of dV left in the transfer stage, and I currently have a Kerbin Pe of 63,186,083m.  Definitely need to do a correction burn at the half-way point, but Mama…Mama I’m Coming Home!  Correction burn 1:

tlN57Ro.png

Kerbin Pe of 2,343,735m.  I could have gotten closer, but what I want to do is get into Kerbin’s SOI at a decent altitude, and then do a capture burn before I start messing with aerobraking.  Besides, I’ve got this quick-saved at this point, so if I muck this up I can at least come back to this point and try again!

AVb3Z3T.png

Second correction burn.  Had to do this because the first one just does not get me close enough to do a capture burn and have any fuel left to land.  In fact, I run out of fuel after that first one before capturing Kerbin.  So I’m going to try using an aerobrake maneuver here at 51,044m.  Coming in hot!

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Woo hoo!  I did it!  I got from Kerbin, to Dres, and back to Kerbin in 1 launch!  With docking!  And that’s a boatload of science I earned.  1,931, which allows me to unlock the rest of Tier 6, with 171.2 science left.  I was hoping to get into Tier 7, but I’ll take what I’ve got.  Why?  Because I did it!  Woo hoo!

Lessons Learned

  • Slow down.  I know I’m trying to get this done, and I want to get it done right.  But I also have to slow down so I’m not relaunching a billion times unnecessarily.
  • Don’t trust that maneuver nodes you set will still be accurate if you quit the game before executing them.  MechJeb is wonderful at setting nodes, and is far better at it than I am.  But if you set a node and then save and then quit, it won’t be right the next time you come into the game.  So either set them and execute them before you quit, or just set them the next time you come into the game.
  • Save early.  And often.  I can’t state how many times I’ve had to revert back to an earlier quicksave and then have to go through the tedious chore of fast-forwarding to the launch window again.
  • Always check your flight crew before going to the launchpad.  If you want to bring a scientist, or engineer, or even a second pilot along, you better make sure they are in the seats or you’ll end up having to revert after you’ve tried landing on a distant world.
  • Never put a reaction wheel on a ship just before a fairing end.  The whole ship wobbles uncontrollably during retrograde burns, which eats up fuel, power, and time.  Next time I do this, I surely won’t have this piece right here:

xOLcCCH.png

  • Ant engines look great in the VAB when calculating dV.  Unfortunately, they chew up too much fuel upon both landing and ascent back into orbit, which means you will more than likely severely under-engineer what you need.  I had to revert all the way back to VAB once I realized that the amount of dV I had remaining to get back into orbit and dock (~600 m/s) was about 1,000 m/s short of what I needed for the Ant engines to pull this off.  I had 2 of them; I should have used Terriers or Sparks.
  • Kerbals do not have unlimited range to do things around them.  The Scientist, for example, has a range of ~1.85 meters in which to reach and deal with science gadgets.  Which means that he may have to move around slightly in order to collect data and reset experiments.  I did not know that prior to doing this challenge.
  • When warping in the Tracking Station, the ships/objects on the left will display any upcoming maneuver nodes and their time until you reach them.
  • Never think you have enough fuel.  Ever.  Over-engineer whenever you can.  You never know how much fuel you will have, because even the calculator is wrong.

MISSION END

 

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2 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Never think you have enough fuel.

We have a saying in my business (aviation).  The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

Nice job!

I got a kick out of seeing your solid boosters mounted so low.  Took me a few seconds to realize what you were trying to accomplish with that.  Gotta say, I never would have come up with that solution.  Doesn’t matter if it looks funny, the only question is did it work, or not?  
Congratulations on docking, too.  After doing it a few dozen times it will get easier.  It’s amazing how being able to dock makes 90% of design problems disappear.

Oh, one suggestion on mounting a reaction wheel between stages-  I activate the setting ‘Rigid Attachment’ on the reaction wheel, and both pieces that connect to it.  Then if needed I also use struts.  And sometimes auto-struts too.  To see the ‘Rigid Attachment’ option in a part’s PAW, you might need to enable Advanced Tweakables.  And I think Rigid Attachment needs to be set in the VAB, can’t do it after launch.

Or if it’s still wobbly, you can mount them to the side of a rocket.  The drag they add is insignificant on a rocket that size, and you’re only spending 30 seconds in the lower atmosphere anyway.

Edit-  Don’t worry if the Leaderboard doesn’t get updated promptly.  I run a challenge too, and I know that when I’m busy at work it sometimes takes me two weeks to get on the internet.  Also, I happen to know @Superfluous J is on a vacation.  :cool:  I’m sure he’ll update the board as soon as he can.

Edited by 18Watt
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3 hours ago, 18Watt said:

We have a saying in my business (aviation).  The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

Nice job!

I got a kick out of seeing your solid boosters mounted so low.  Took me a few seconds to realize what you were trying to accomplish with that.  Gotta say, I never would have come up with that solution.  Doesn’t matter if it looks funny, the only question is did it work, or not?  
Congratulations on docking, too.  After doing it a few dozen times it will get easier.  It’s amazing how being able to dock makes 90% of design problems disappear.

Oh, one suggestion on mounting a reaction wheel between stages-  I activate the setting ‘Rigid Attachment’ on the reaction wheel, and both pieces that connect to it.  Then if needed I also use struts.  And sometimes auto-struts too.  To see the ‘Rigid Attachment’ option in a part’s PAW, you might need to enable Advanced Tweakables.  And I think Rigid Attachment needs to be set in the VAB, can’t do it after launch.

Or if it’s still wobbly, you can mount them to the side of a rocket.  The drag they add is insignificant on a rocket that size, and you’re only spending 30 seconds in the lower atmosphere anyway.

Edit-  Don’t worry if the Leaderboard doesn’t get updated promptly.  I run a challenge too, and I know that when I’m busy at work it sometimes takes me two weeks to get on the internet.  Also, I happen to know @Superfluous J is on a vacation.  :cool:  I’m sure he’ll update the board as soon as he can.

Mentioning what I've finished is more for me than it is for the challenge moderator.  And for anybody else who just reads the latest posts and doesn't look at the first post in the thread.  I know it will get updated in due time!

Now I have to see the totality of parts I have available so I can design a ship to get to Eeloo or Moho next!

Edited by Scarecrow71
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On 11/8/2021 at 6:29 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

I have never successfully been to another planet in the Kerbol system

This all but literally warms my heart. YOU are the exact player this challenge was designed for. :happy:

On 11/8/2021 at 6:29 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

So I spent 410 science today, picking up Miniaturization to close out tier 5, and then Heavier Rocketry and Advanced Fuel Systems on tier 6.

YAY!

On 11/8/2021 at 6:29 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

Unfortunately, the Clamp-o-Tron Jr. only allows for transferring of resources, not Kerbals

Huh. This was not a restriction when I created this challenge years ago. However, you could have, after docking, just done an EVA and transferred the Kerbal "the hard way" to the main ship.

On 11/8/2021 at 6:29 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

I’m not good enough with EVA maneuvers to fly a Kerbal from one to the other

Okay you get a pass. This time :D

On 11/8/2021 at 6:29 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

why does it take less dV to get to Dres than it does to get back to Kerbin, especially when you will be returning with less weight than you went there with?

Because dV needs are completely independent of weight/mass. Most tiny probes have more dV than huge launchers' first stages, for example. I'm not sure why the numbers are different but it has nothing to do with the ship's mass :)

22 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I can design a ship to get to Eeloo or Moho next!

See? All you needed was a taste of success to discover that it suits you :)

Great writeup! It was fun to go along with you on your first ever successful interplanetary mission. Can't wait to see the rest.

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MISSION IV.V:  KSC SCIENCE FARMING

After completing Drespollo, I was left with 171.2 science points.  This isn’t enough to purchase/unlock any nodes on the Tier 7, which I was kind of bummed about.  Although I would really like to get access to Tier 8 and the engines that exist there, I really do need to get the fuel tanks on Tier 7.  Yes, they are heavier than what I have access to now, but I would need fewer of them, which might open some odd design choices.

Anyhow, I was thinking about where I might have left out some science, and I remembered that I wrote I may have missed the EVA report at one of the KSC buildings.  So I went through the R&D archives and put together a small table of what I have already gotten from the KSC:

QbrwoOu.png

When looking at this, I can see that I missed the EVA report at the SPH…but then I’ve also entirely missed the Astronaut Complex, Mission Control, and the Tracking Station.  I’ve also missed using the Materials Bay everywhere but the Launchpad and Runway.  This is a lot of science that is just sitting there for the taking.  While I could technically drive and get to Kerbin’s Shores, I don’t believe that is in the spirit of the challenge or the rules.  The rules do state you can drive anywhere you want to go, but that means I could technically get to multiple biomes on Kerbin without flying.  In fact, you could complete the Elcano Challenge during this challenge just farming science.  So until I hear otherwise, I’m going to just farm science from the KSC itself.  Using this little rover-esque machine:

sB7hsNU.png

It’s got all of the science gadgets I have access to, and runs on battery power with a solar panel.  No flight capabilities, so I’ll drive all over the KSC to pick up the science I missed.  This ends up giving me a total of 294.1…which is still just shy of the 300 I need to pick up the big fuel tanks.  Puts me closer, but still a just a little bit off.  So, for now, I'm off to design a ship to get to one of the remaining planets!

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There are a lot more biomes in the KSC complex. 
I’ll start with the Crawlerway- that’s a biome too. 
Next, some of the buildings have sub-biomes within them.   For example:

Each of the antennas (3) is a biome.  Plus the central building in the antenna farm. 
R&D has 7 or 8 buildings which are biomes. 
The SPH and VAB have separate buildings. 
To collect the science from buildings, your vehicle has to be touching them.  If your ‘rover’ uses a jet engine, I recommend thrusting lightly into the building to maintain contact while you collect science.  
Then, you need to figure out how to back up…

 

edit:  I think there are at least 34 biomes in the KSC complex…

edit 2:  I think you can get the ‘shores’ biome just by driving a few meters off the runway. 

Edited by 18Watt
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3 hours ago, 18Watt said:

There are a lot more biomes in the KSC complex. 
I’ll start with the Crawlerway- that’s a biome too. 
Next, some of the buildings have sub-biomes within them.   For example:

Each of the antennas (3) is a biome.  Plus the central building in the antenna farm. 
R&D has 7 or 8 buildings which are biomes. 
The SPH and VAB have separate buildings. 
To collect the science from buildings, your vehicle has to be touching them.  If your ‘rover’ uses a jet engine, I recommend thrusting lightly into the building to maintain contact while you collect science.  
Then, you need to figure out how to back up…

 

edit:  I think there are at least 34 biomes in the KSC complex…

edit 2:  I think you can get the ‘shores’ biome just by driving a few meters off the runway. 

Yeah, I just need 6 more science to unlock the first node on tier 7.  Thats really the inky reason I want to farm a bit more.  Other than that...to infinity, and beyond!

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MISSION V:  DUNAPOLLO

I’ve wasted far too much time at this point trying to get to Eeloo and Moho, with neither one bearing much fruit other than helping me identify weaknesses in my rocket designs.  Simply put, both are currently too far away from Kerbin to get there and back effectively.  So we need to change gears and go somewhere else.  And right now, that somewhere else is Duna.

Duna is actually Kerbin’s closest neighbor, and you can pretty much get there and back with a Mun rocket.  Now, the tricky part here is to get to Duna, undock, land, get back into orbit, redock…and then make your way to Ike and do all of that and then head home.  I’m not going to worry about the dV map or weight requirements or anything like that any longer; I’m simply going to put together a rocket, fire it at the sky, and see what happens.  I know I’ll need north of 10000 m/s of total dV, so let’s just focus on that, ok?

As always, we start with a shot of the tech tree as it sits prior to doing this:

ddaOYdl.png

I’ve currently got 294.1 science, and I could technically rummage around the KSC and get 5.9 science points to open up something on tier 7.  But why?  At this stage of the game, it’s too much work for too little reward.  So let’s just get into design.

Lander

We need to design a lander that can land on multiple celestial bodies, get back into orbit, and dock with the mother ship.  I’ve gone through this exercise multiple times already, and the lander designs I keep coming up with just don’t work; I end up either flipping over upon entry into Duna, or I don’t have enough fuel to get back into orbit, or the parachutes end up getting wrecked on entry, or some other random problem that prevents me from doing what I need to do.  It’s getting highly frustrating, but I know that I can do this.  Eventually.

The Kerpollo Challenge is interesting in that we cannot just simply launch to Duna, land, and come back.  Nope, we have to launch to Duna, land, get back into orbit, transfer to Ike, land, get back into orbit, then come home.  And we have to leave someone in orbit around each body while we are on the surface of each body, which means we have to account for having the lander attached to the ship at some points during flight.  Not a big deal, but it is something to account for.

We don’t necessarily need to have only 1 lander; we do have the option of having multiple landers, one for each body.  Unfortunately, this then increases mass while decreasing overall dV prior to using the first lander.  It will save on return weight, but it will increase fuel need up front.  I want to design this as a single lander, but all my attempts to this point have failed miserably, so I’m going to try designing a ship with a multiple lander system.  So let’s get to it, shall we?  The lander I’ve designed to get us onto the surface of Duna and back into orbit is this:

zObXWqk.png

It's showing 2749 m/s of dV here, but that’s at sea level on Kerbin; I didn’t change the dV calculator to show what it is at sea level on Duna.  Why?  Because I’m not going to be overly concerned about dV at this point.  I know what I need to get to Duna and back, and I’m hoping that this lander is capable of getting to the surface and back.  I also know that, if I can this thing back into orbit around Duna, I can transfer some fuel from the lower stages back into the lander tanks to make sure I’ve got enough to get from orbit to Ike and back.  I can also, assuming I run out of fuel after getting back into orbit, use the mothership as the primary point for docking.  Lot of thought being put into this, eh?

I put the docking port on the bottom, which means this thing will sit on top of the mother ship.  Testing shows that, even with sitting directly on the command module, the 4 spark engines won’t overheat the command module when they fire up.  So I don’t need to use any tubing or anything else for separation at this point.  I may come back and revisit this, however.

Now we’re going to create the command module of the mother ship.  We aren’t planning on bringing the lander back, but we need to have space for 3 Kerbals on the ship.  I have thought about all of the pods available to me, and if we aren’t bringing the lander home, we have to make sure the command module has seating for 3.  So we use the Mk1-3 Command Pod.  Enough seats and cup holders for 3 Kerbals (snacks not included).  So we will end up with this:

ZGCgAOR.png

The command module is pretty simple, really.  It’s just a Mk1-3 with 3 radial Mk-2 parachutes, a heat shield, and a stack separator.  For added stability, I’ve got some struts from the lander tanks to the command module; this will help this thing not wobble all over the place, either on the launchpad or while in flight.

Return Stage (Duna to Kerbin)

Sometimes it just weirds me out that I’m designing rockets backwards.  Logically speaking, as a species we design things from the ground up, right?  Not rockets!  So we have to think backwards (as a relative term) when designing this stuff.  We started at the top with the lander, then worked our way down to the command module, and now we are at the part where we gotta get home from Duna.  We need enough dV and TWR to make sure that we can intercept Kerbin, do a capture burn, and have enough dV remaining to get an orbit that takes us below 70000m on Pe.  If we can’t get below 70000m, we stay in space.

I’ve done this several times, and the design I always come back to looks really similar to this:

RTxddw0.png

So, I watched several of Scott’s videos on rocket design, and I picked up a few tricks.  Like the fuel lines, and how they end up providing more dV than if you don’t have them.  The outer tanks will drain into the middle one, and when they are empty I can simply jettison them, gaining more dV in the process as the middle tank will stay full.  This also ends up increasing overall TWR for the middle tank, going from 1.15 with the outer tanks to 2.31 once they are kicked off.  That’s a Poodle under the coupling, in case anyone wants to know.  And, of course, struts from the outer tanks to the coupling so that this isn’t wobbly during flight…at least until the coupling comes off.  But at that point, this should be stable enough that wobbling shouldn’t be an issue.

Kerbal Disclaimer:  Here at the Las Kerbas Space Center, we make no guarantees that any of our craft are not “wobbly” while sitting on the launchpad or while in flight.  While we take every possible precaution to insure that the craft we deliver to you is of the best quality we can muster on that day, we cannot be held liable if our engineers get distracted by the hamster cage being left open, or by snacks being left unguarded on the break-room table.

 Transfer Stage (Kerbin to Duna)

Now comes the part where we have to design a stage to get us from LKO (~100000m) to Duna.  Duna is our closest neighbor in the Kerbol system, so it doesn’t take much to actually plot an intercept.  We do, however, need to account for a capture burn on Duna, as well as transferring from Duna to Ike and having enough fuel for a capture burn there too.  And we also have to take all of the above weight on the ship into account for this.  So our transfer stage is going to look a lot like the return stage above, just with a bigger engine for a bit of extra “oomph”.

Kerbal Disclaimer:  “Oomph” is a technical term that we here at the Las Kerbas Space Center put on all of our documentation.  It really describes what we are trying to do with our engines, as well as sounding really nifty.  Just rolls off the tongue!

QMthuGu.png

Told you it would look similar.  The big changes here are that I’ve got 3 engines instead of 1, and the tanks are bigger.  But I’m able to get ~2450 m/s of dV out of this stage, which should be enough to get me to Duna.  Should be; I could very well be wrong and have to redesign this stage.

One thing to note here is the Vernor engines.  This thing is going to be a beast to turn once she’s in space, so we have to use something to force her to move/spin on an axis.  Something I saw in a previous video was this idea to use the Vernor engines; they use RCS controls, but use liquid fuel instead of monopropellant.  From what I gather, they are far more efficient than trying to use reaction wheels, so I’m going with this.

Because we are using Vernor engines for spin in space, I had to turn off RCS on the Mk1-3 and on the RCS Thrusters on the lander can for now.  If I didn’t, all of that monopropellant would get used up when trying to turn.  I just have to remember to turn them back on when I’m docking later.

Liftoff/LKO

The meat-and-potatoes of the rocket is right here; nothing else happens until/unless we get into orbit.  We have to have enough punch to get off the ground, and enough fuel to stay off the ground.  Delta-V and TWR both increase as we burn fuel, which is good.  But we have to account for the weight of the entire ship above us.  Using the “Asparagus Staging” method I saw in one of Scott’s videos, we get the following:

GToC8Km.png

The Mission

A shot of the rocket on the launchpad:

F2UCi9W.png

NOTE:  Astute observers will see that the time stamp in the upper-left corner is AFTER the time stamp shown in the end shots after landing.  I reverted to launch and VAB so many times that I simply forgot to get a shot on the launchpad prior to liftoff.  In the interest of being honest, I therefore put the ship on the launchpad after I landed so I could show what it looked like.  The staging may be off, but this is the ship I sent to Duna/Ike.  I certainly hope this doesn’t invalidate the entry; I am trying to be honest with what I launched/used.

And in LKO:

KuhNVNq.png

sOYsfXT.png

Got 242 m/s of dV remaining, which will get burned up rather quickly once I plot the course to Duna.  Speaking of that, I have no idea what the transfer window is for this.  I used the Transfer Window Planner and KAC when I went to Dres, and that worked fine.  But when I did it for Duna in several trial runs, after I launched the window was still always 2 years away.  So I figured if I gotta wait anyhow, I’m just gonna launch and see what happens.  So now we get this for the maneuver:

AhDgKuJ.png

4 years, 333 days, 1 hour away.  Are you freaking kidding me?  4 years of fast-forwarding in space?  Eeesh.  Those three are gonna get hungry waiting.  Well, time to quick-save and fast-forward several years.

Queue Jeopardy! music right here.

 And the initial orbit after burn:

fD5ng5W.png

This is pretty good, if I do say so myself.  Why?  Because I had to do this on my own, you see.  MechJeb’s course (shown above) had the maneuver marker POINTING AT KERBIN THE WHOLE TIME!  So when I fired that, I ended up sending myself into the surface like a ballistic missile.  So thankfully I was able to go back to a quick-save an hour or so before the burn and re-plot the maneuver.  And then do the burn on my own.  And you’ll notice that I have ~1500 m/s of dV to do correction burns, which I’m going to do just after I leave Kerbin’s SOI.

AdC2fCg.png

nG6XnIj.png

Before and after shots of the plotted correction burn.  I aimed for 135000m when I plotted the burn, and I ended up at 102496m.  That’s about as perfect as I can get without the aid of a computer.  Thank goodness the fingers worked on that one!  Now to quick-save and then just warp ahead to the encounter!

More Jeopardy! music right about…here.

j9K2uSi.png

That’s about an hour out from the capture burn.  You can kind of see Ike on the left of Duna there; was hoping for more sunlight for that, but it is what it is.  Anyhow, you can also see that I’ll be dropping the 2 outer tanks on the transfer stage during the capture burn, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  That will leave ~700 m/s of dV after Duna to get to and capture Ike before transitioning back home.  Assuming, of course, I can actually get the lander to Duna and back.  Which I’ve been trying to do for weeks with no success.  Anyhow, here’s what she looks like after the capture burn:

vLffQzW.png

bBAUf1k.png

It’s not perfectly circular, with the Pe being ~15000m less than the Ap.  I could correct this, but I’m not sure I need to.  That first shot you can see I’ve got Duna on the left and Ike on the right.  Once again, was hoping for more light than this; maybe I can get a good shot after landing and coming back into orbit.  And on that note, here goes nothing!

C9FZJ9D.png

On the surface!  That went a lot smoother than I thought it would.  I let the parachutes do most of the slowing the lander down; the 4 of them got this thing down to 9.9 m/s of speed.  Then I just used the engines to get under 5.0 when I got close to the surface, right around 15 meters or so.  She bounced a bit on landing, but the legs were wide enough to keep her from tipping over.  Already did the science gathering, so now I just gotta repack the chutes and get her back into orbit.  And quick-save, of course!

8CYtCzi.png

Ready to head back to orbit, and I finally get a shot of Ike from Duna’s surface.  Bill is sitting there contemplating just how small he really is…and he likes it!

eVUPz6n.png

Hot diggity dog, I got back into orbit!  With 1134 m/s of dV remaining!  I gotta dock now, which shouldn’t take all that much to do.  It’s the resource transfer to put more fuel in these tanks that is going to be odd for me at this point.  But, docking, and then off to Ike!

tYtnUh4.png

Docked.  And I transferred some fuel to the lander for when I get to Ike.  Which I plotted a transfer for!

0aLbxUZ.png

I think I might have actually left some science on Duna’s surface.  With only having 1 seat in the lander, I may end up missing out on some stuff.  For now, however, if I did, that’s on me, and I have to be better at remembering.  Anyhow, I’m going to burn for Ike, then halfway there do some science gathering before capturing and landing!

And I ended up doing a correction burn on my way to Ike; the original burn as shown above was a polar orbit, which we simply cannot have on our way to Ike if we want to get home appropriately.

t3B3qNs.png

SyQ19vM.png

6cyaaRN.png

UBldT6o.png

frnxWqj.png

And here we have Bob, on EVA planting a flag on Ike, with Duna in background.  I had to fast-forward a bit; I landed at night on Ike, and I wanted to make sure I got a shot in the light.  The fact that Duna is rising behind the lander is just a pure bonus.  Now to collect all that science and quick-save before heading back into orbit to re-dock with the mother ship.

ioqRACl.png

PKql96e.png

6gMzajd.png

CVnV1A4.png

AZBLmLR.png

i1E5pcI.png

1ifvkCs.png

For some reason, MechJeb isn’t working like it should for docking.  It will move to the starting point…but then doesn’t finish docking.  I’m having to manually fire thrusters to get a bit of forward momentum after getting to the starting point, but then she just coasts in at that point.  Not sure why that is, but that’s the scoop.

Anyhow, gotta collect all that science from the lander and store it in the command module.  Then I’m going to transfer all the fuel out of the lander back into the tanks for the mother ship, and plot a course home.

mvcTNHC.png

hQP4XCP.png

0SYUhhi.png

So I had to transfer from Ike back to Duna.  MJ didn’t like the attempt to try transferring to Kerbin from Ike, so I had to go back to Duna.  That’s a lesson that I’ll put below so I don’t forget in the future…even though I keep forgetting what I wrote in #1.  Yeah, that burns me all the time.  Anyhow, it’s like a year until the next transfer window, so I’ll quick-save and warp ahead.

The plotted burn back to Kerbin is in just under a year, and will only take 515.5 m/s of dV.  I have 1698 m/s of dV in the current stage, which means I should have enough to get home.  And I may not have to ditch the lander to do it.  So I’ll quick-save, then warp ahead to the transfer maneuver!

oGOi9Tf.png

That correction burn puts me at a Pe of 64112m, which is perfect for the first pass.  I don’t want to come in too hot and burn up on the first pass, especially after how long it’s taken me to get this far.

UXt2Ku1.png

That’s about 1 day out from Pe.  Again, a shot of the Mun in the background.  Why does the Mun insist upon photo-bombing my shots?

mRaXhlz.png

x5ZjZA0.png

And I made it!  I’m home!

Spoiler

4Wn5AU7.png

t7PlaFQ.png

AXp1lB4.png

6amwM2S.png

mw7ypMY.png

cnDsSkn.png

u8BNAe6.png

nuPI9qV.png

Oh.  My.  Freaking.  God.  I cannot believe I made it to Duna, and Ike, and back.  Holy.  Cow.

3372.9 total science, with 3078.8 earned on this one flight.  Now to head to R&D and spend a bunch.  And then I’ll have to start planning for the next flight.  I had so many issues with this one that I hope I can get corrected before the next one.

Lessons Learned

  1. When returning to the mother ship, always make sure to return the control point back to the command module.  Otherwise your maneuvers end up not working and you revert multiple times.
  2. I actually ended up jettisoning ~1000 m/s of dV upon re-entry into Kerbin’s atmosphere.  I used as much as I could to slow myself down, but once I hit 20000m and the chutes weren’t showing safe to deploy, I knew I was carrying too much weight.  I hate kicking fuel, but I had to do it.  Proves that I over-engineered the ship…which means I’m still not thinking hard enough about what I’m doing.
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13 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I could technically rummage around the KSC and get 5.9 science points to open up something on tier 7.  But why? 

Well, there's another science experiment in tier 7, the Seismometer.  

19 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

4 years, 333 days, 1 hour away.  Are you freaking kidding me? 

If it saves gas, it's worth the wait.

21 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Queue Jeopardy! music right here.

I always have circus music playing in my head.  

22 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

MechJeb’s course (shown above) had the maneuver marker POINTING AT KERBIN THE WHOLE TIME!

Yup.  One tip to avoid that is to do your burn from a much higher altitude.  But what about the loss of 'Oberth Effect'?  Well, from a lower orbit you spend more of your burn not pointed pro-grade, so you lose all the Oberth gains, and then some.

26 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

She bounced a bit on landing, but the legs were wide enough to keep her from tipping over.

My trick to reducing the bounciness of the landing legs:  I never use them.

29 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

And I made it!  I’m home!

Nice job!!!

 

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10 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I certainly hope this doesn’t invalidate the entry; I am trying to be honest with what I launched/used.

That is 100% fine. I can pick nits with the best of them, but I wouldn't even have noticed that had you not mentioned it, and that sort of oversight is expected when redoing a mission over and over and over...

10 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I had to do this on my own, you see.  MechJeb’s course (shown above) had the maneuver marker POINTING AT KERBIN THE WHOLE TIME!

If all this challenge does is prove to you you don't need MechJeb, I'll consider it a personal victory :)

10 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Oh.  My.  Freaking.  God.  I cannot believe I made it to Duna, and Ike, and back.  Holy.  Cow.

Did I mention (yet this week) that things like this are EXACTLY what this challenge is for?

Seriously, thanks for doing this and thanks for sharing your stories and thanks for sticking it out. And just remember, in the missions ahead (of which you only have 4 left!) when all seems impossible, remember what you learned here: YOU CAN DO IT. :D

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On 11/17/2021 at 2:41 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

I certainly hope this doesn’t invalidate the entry

That made me smile.  When I write my mission reports, it probably looks like I just slapped a ship together and everything worked perfectly the first time I went to the launchpad.  The reality is a lot of testing goes into each ship, and even when I think I have it all figured out there are usually several 'for-real' launches that don't work out, and I have to revert.  Also, I think on my Duna run I forgot to take a screenshot while on the surface of Ike!  

I'm not going to redo the mission because I forgot a screenshot, and there's other proof I actually landed (final science logs for the mission..).

Also, I see you are planning on visiting Eeloo next.  Not sure how you feel about doing a Jool and Tylo fly-by, but if you're able to pull that off you can save a lot of dV when you reach Eeloo.  Otherwise, as you mentioned, just packing more fuel works too.  Doing multiple laps around the sun at that distance take a long time too, but sometimes that's what it takes to save a little dV.  

Good luck with Eeloo!

 

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MISSION VI:  MOHO 

RON:  Hello, Las Kerbas.  I’m Ron Kerburgundy, for Kerb 5 News.  In breaking news today, the scientists at the Las Kerbas Space Program are starting to work on a new rocket, designed to fly to…where?  Eeloo?  But it’s freaking cold there this time of year!  Whatever, I guess.  We take you live now to Rosemary Kerman, who is in the Vehicular Assembly Building for an interview with Werner Von Kerman.  Rosemary?

 ROSEMARY:  Thanks, Ron.  I’m standing here with Werner Von Kerman, the head engineer at the Las Kerbas Space Program.  Werner, fresh off the semi-success of the mission to Duna, we understand that you are ready to start building a new rocket.  One designed to take a few of our lovely astronauts to Eeloo.  Is this correct?

 WERNER:  Of course it’s correct, my dear!  One of the most important things we learned during the journey to and from Duna was that we cannot just simply sit back and wait.  We must take every opportunity to advance ourselves, even if it means putting some of our own at risk.  Science waits for no Kerbal!

 RM:  You said it’s one of the most important.  What other important things did you learn?

 WVK:  To pack more snacks.  Valentina, Bob, and Bill were all very zombie-like upon their return, ready to eat just about anything, whether it was designed to be eaten or not.  In fact, most of the interior of the capsule looked like it had been chewed off.

 RM:  Seize the opportunity, and bring plenty of snacks.  It’s going to be an exciting time for the Las Kerbas Space Program for the next few years.

 WVK:  That’s not all, you know.  We gained significant knowledge of many scientific principles.  Why, just take a look at the drawing we made to show what we know!

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RM:  That’s very interesting, Werner.  It looks like things are going splendidly here.  Just don’t forget to pack the snacks.  Ron, back to you.

 Several minutes later…

 RK:  This is Ron Kerburgundy, Kerb 5 News, with yet another breaking story from the Las Kerbas Space Program.  It’s a lucky thing that you didn’t even get to your car, isn’t it Rosemary?

 RM:  That’s right, Ron, it’s very lucky indeed.  As you can see behind me on the launchpad, the building of the rocket is complete, and the brave Kerbals here are ready to launch on their journey to Eeloo.

 RK:  Did you say they are done building the rocket so soon?

 RM:  Correct.  These guys must have a magic wand they are waving around, because I hadn’t even told the cameraman here to start packing up and they were already moving the rocket onto the pad.

 WVK:  You’ll want to back up a bit, dear; you don’t want to get flambéed, do you?

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Las Kerbas Control Tower:  Eelollo I Mother Ship, this is control.  Do you copy?

 Jebediah Kerman:  Yes, control, we copy.  We are starting the pre-launch checklist now.

 Bob Kerman:  Tell them they didn’t pack enough snacks.

 LKCT:  Eelollo I, at this time you are a NO for launch.  Repeat:  You are a NO for launch.

 JK:  Go?  Already?  Ok!

 LKCT:  Wait!  We said…well, so much for that!  Good luck, Eelollo I!

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JK:  Control, this is Eelollo I.  We have a problem.

 LKCT:  What seems to be the issue, ye who launched when we told you not to?

 JK:  Well, it seems that the next transfer window to Eeloo is nearly 6 years away.  And we barely have enough snacks up here for the next several days.  And that’s assuming Bob doesn’t eat them all.

 BK:  Hey!  I get hungry!

 LKCT:  Well, we did tell you that launch was a NO, Eelollo I.  We’ll work on getting supplies up to you, but for now, you’ll just have to deal with being stuck up there until the launch window opens.  Better hope nobody closes it on you!

 BK:  Hey, who packed the Ho-Ho’s?

 JK:  Ho-Ho’s?  No!

 LKCT:  Did you say no to the Ho-Ho?

 BK:  Fo’ Sho!

 JK:  No!

 LKCT:  No mo with the Ho-Ho!

 JK:  Moho?  Ok!

 …58 days later…

 JK:  Ground control, the window is open, and we are ready to fire the engines.

 LKCT:  Wonderbar!

 BK:  Bar?  There’s a bar up here?  You mean we could have been getting drunk this whole time?

 LKCT:  No, there’s no bar up there!  We said…we meant…oh, forget it.  Just fire the engines and get on your way!

 JK:  Are you sure?

 LKCT:  Yes, we’re sure.

 JK:  Ok.  Engines fired.

 LKCT:  Wait.  Why did you ask?

 BK:  Remember the Ho-Ho’s?  Well, we’re on our way to Moho.

 LKCT:  Moho?  What happened to Eeloo?

 JK:  Eeloo was a no-go due to the long window.  So, we decided to go to Moho.

 LKCT:  Oh no.

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JK:  Control tower, this is Eelollo I.  Do you copy?

 …static…snap…crackle…pop…

 BK:  You know, we should change the name of the ship.  *munch munch*

 JK:  This is Major Jeb to Ground Control…

 BK:  Oh, don’t start singing that again.  *munch munch*

 JK:  Well, if nobody is out there to hear it…

 BK:  And what am I?   Some leftover bag of chip pieces?

 …nearly a year later… 

JK:  Ooh!  Get the camera!

 BK:  For what?  That giant cocoa puff in the rear window?

 JK:  That’s no cocoa puff, you idiot.  That’s Moho.  Those snacks are warping your fragile, little mind.

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BK:  Oooh….nifty!

 JK:  I’m so glad you approve.  Now do your job.

 BK:  Sigh.  All I ever do is take orders.  Bob do this.  Bob do that.

 JK:  And for the last year all you’ve done is snack and sleep.  Now get out there!

 …An hour later…

 BK:  Are you SURE this isn’t a cocoa puff?  I mean, it’s making me cuckoo!

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JK:  Sigh.  It’s NOT a cocoa puff.  Trust me.  When you get down to the surface…

 BK:  Woah!  Hold on!  Who said I was going to the surface this time?

 JK:  Oh, I wasn’t aware that you had a choice.  But, let’s be fair.  Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, ok?

 BK:  Yeah!  Let’s do it:

 JK and BK, In Unison:  Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock!

 BK:  I threw Spock!

 JK:  Well, Lizard poisons Spock, so you lose.

 BK:  Dammit!

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BK:  Man, is it ever good to be home!

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JK:  Home?  We are at least a year away from Kerbin!

 BK:  Hey, we’ve been separated from each other this whole time, you in the command module and me in the lander.  I just thought that it would be nice to finally see each other face to face for a change.

 JK:  But that doesn’t mean we’re home.

 BK:  Home is where you make it.

 JK:  Sigh.  Just get back into the command module so we can get going back to Kerbin.

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JK:  Control, this is Eeloo I, do you copy?

 LKCT:  Who is this?

 JK:  Eeloo I.  Jeb and Bob.  Remember?

 LKCT:  No, there’s nobody here by that name.

 JK:  We just got back from Moho.  Remember the Ho-Ho’s?

 BK:  I remember them!  They were tasty!

 LKCT:  Ho-Ho’s?  No.  How’d you get this number?

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MISSION VII:  EELOLLO

This one was probably one of the easiest missions I've done in a while.  After having unlocked several components of Tier 8, I was able to get all kinds of dV and TWR with just a simple redesign of the ship I used to go to Moho.  First, the tech tree:

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And the ship sitting on the launchpad:

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If you compare this to the launchpad shot of the ship going to Moho, you'll see that the entire first stage is redesigned.  Gone are the solid rocket boosters, replaced instead by a few more tanks and bigger engines.  Started with a TWR near 1.5, and was able to get into orbit of Kerbin with part of the liftoff stage intact:

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Getting to Eeloo was a breeze.  I might have to think about the number of Nerv engines I have (four), primarily because the thrust makes burns take forever and a day.

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Now, is it just me, or does Eeloo look like a big pool ball hanging out in space?

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Whatever it is, it sure was easy to land on.

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And easy to get off of and back home.

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I'm not saying that this is getting easier with each launch, but I can see how the big tech pieces really make it seem easier.  I actually tried to take the ship I used in the Moho launch, and I couldn't even get it off the ground this time.  Not sure why, but it wouldn't work.  But this one did, so I'm happy!

7 down, 2 to go!

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10 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I might have to think about the number of Nerv engines I have (four), primarily because the thrust makes burns take forever and a day.

Yep, that’s a dilemma with the nukes.  Adding more can cut into your dV a little, those things are heavy!  The Wolfhound engines have a really good vacuum Isp, but they’re part of the MH expansion I think.

I wish the stock game had more options for LF tanks (there are mods for that of course..)   To go bigger than the 1.25 m tanks the next size is the MK3 fuselages.

Congratulations on your Eeloo run!

 

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