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So, I started a "hard" career...


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... or at least as hard as (mostly) stock KSP allows.

By that, I mean:

  • No quicksaves or reverts
  • Starting budget of 0
  • The whole commnet thing, but with extra stations enabled (+reentry blackout)
  • 120% reentry heat, which for some reason is the maximum?
  • 60% multiplier on everything (I might lower the funds further later)
  • 200% penalty on everything, which will hopefully never take effect
  • a few more things

Considering that I have never landed on the Mun without at least quicksaving beforehand, this will be quite interesting.
In addition, this isn't completely stock. I'm using VSR, which adds a few of its own parts, so I better mention it. Everything else is just graphics mods like Scatterer or EVE.

(I want to note at this point that I am by no means a good storyteller. I tend to focus on mundane things or tell in a boring manner. Please just bear with me, especially in early-game stuff)


The game started just like any other, really. Get some pad science, launch the first rocket, etc. So far, so normal.

I know it's possible to reasonably reach orbit as soon as the Swivel is unlocked. I've done that myself in the past. But I decided to stick to SRBs for a bit and achieve some altitude records - get as much science and money as early as possible without too many risks. Plus, I'll need those heat shields!

And not having playing KSP for a bit, this was also when I was reminded of how great this game can be. Sort of felt like the first career all over again.

yuXBGMk.png

Unfortunately, I ended up just a few kilometers shy of reaching space. I limited the engine so I wouldn't have to worry about heat (and passing out), but that might have made up the missing bit. So I ended up using liquid fuel to reach space... and then come back to the ground a few hundred kilometers downrange. Surprisingly, that used a bit of ablator.

do39SlK.png

On the bright side, this allowed me to test whether the pod would flip and ruin my day when I come back from orbit later (it didn't).

About reaching orbit... without how high up my apoapsis is, going into orbit turned into a bit of guesswork.

3X7TJyw.png

Typically, I aim for around 85 km, but this time my orbit ended up over 130km above the surface!

i2Dq00b.png

What's important is that I reached orbit and came back safely. And it's not like the first real orbits were perfect, either.

Next (and so far last) item on the itinerary was the Mun. And that took more tries than I hoped. At this point, I want to remind you that I don't have reverts, I paid for every attempt!

Given that I know very little about my orbits and 18 tons don't give a lot of dV, the idea was to just briefly enter the Mun's SOI, get the contract done, and immediately return.
Equipped with a calculator and the vis-viva equation (I mean, how else was I supposed to do this?), I discovered that attempts no.1 and 2 would fall short of the Mun, by less than 100m/s to boot. In terms of distance, that's, like, two thirds of the way to go. At least I could gather some high orbit science. 
Attempt 3 was just a total failure. Fuel management was a disaster on that flight, let's not talk about it.

I rearranged the tanks a bit to have more dV in the upper stage. I had to stage earlier, but  some 900m/s worth of fuel were left.
Finally! At last I could... miss the Mun by what I can only imagine to be a few thousand kilometers, maybe even less. Turns out I was just a little too far ahead.

This being KSP, I decided to wait a few orbits instead of giving up. And sure enough, around 12 days later...

aQAcIsV.png

I don't think I've ever been this relieved about a Mun encounter before. Not even my very first missions felt that tense.

The Mun contract gave me enough money to upgrade my tracking station, but I'm torn between it and the launch pad. Mass is a huge limiting factor right now, and I think I can achieve orbit with only the lines and nothing else. Or I could go into aviation and eventually upgrade both. I cannot wait to fly an aircraft without reverts! (/s)
But the end of that mission marked the end of my session, so I have plenty of time to come up with an answer.

I honestly look forward to continuing this, that was a lot of fun! I noticed that I'm a lot more careful than usual. Knowing that you don't have a second shot somehow changes everything.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's already been two and a half weeks?

Firstly, I decided to upgrade the tracking station. Being able to tell where you're going is kinda important!

I also added the materials bay to the experiments I can run. Naturally, the first use was in LKO.

I wanted to land close to KSC so that recovery could be extra cheap, but I ended up on a rather worrying trajectory...
n9gROpc.png

Landing in the mountains is never a lot of fun. It's easy to land on a slope and lose the valuable science on board! Oh, and Jeb.

I had a lot of luck with this one. That could've gone very wrong.
zJoY5BC.png

Right, with that little shock dealt with, it's time to finally reach orbit around the Mun!

To test whether I can safely make that trip, I decided to fly without any science first. If I can't make it now, I certainly won't then. I went for the Reliant instead of the Swivel for this one, the idea being that it's lighter and provides more thrust, so I could pack more fuel into the stages.

And while that did work, I probably won't do that a second time. It took over three times as long just to pitch to 45°! That kinda put the mission in jeopardy, I didn't think the Reliant would be this bad to control!

I made it into orbit, but I burnt a lot more fuel than expected. I had about 1500 m/s left (I started with around 2600!). That might just be enough to reach orbit and go back? I went for it.

660 m/s at the end of the injection. 380 after capture.
... 98 m/s after escape. That was a bit too close for comfort to say the least!

I got... "some" (a lot of) money from it, enough to upgrade the launch pad as well. I'm not the kind of person that could pull of a 3 t to X challenge, I need a bit of fuel and mass for these things!

The launch vehicle I had was fine, it just wasn't very controllable. The solution I came up with was a Swivel for control and 2 SRBs for thrust. That would've been difficult with 18 tons. This time I could bring some science home as well!
zhl1MAV.png

And indeed, this launch went a lot better. I had way more dV to spare through all phases of flight.
4sgg5Q5.png

I haven't built a lot of stuff with size 1 parts recently, so this actually was a small success for me! It's funny, I used to have those problems with size 2 parts!

Next up is obviously a landing attempt. I should be able to do that next time, but size 1 landers never really worked too well for me...

 

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