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How much testing do you do on interplanetary/munar craft?


hubbazoot
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My testing goes something like this:

Idea phase -

The idea was to send one craft to orbit Duna, and another craft to rendezvous with them, having the crew EVA to the return vessel and then coming back to Kerbin.

Building/testing -

I start with what piece I actually want to return to Kerbin, which is generally just the capsule, and then build-to-fit from there. For example, I built a Duna lander on Kerbin, and did several test flights around Kerbin to make sure I could take off and orbit. Then, I added landing onto the queue and did flight where I used a booster to get the rocket into orbit, and then simulated coming back in to land, then taking off to orbit again.

Dress rehearsal -

For my Mun flights, this consisted of doing an early Apollo-style mission: I'd take off, go into a low orbit around the Mun, and then return home. For my interplanetary flights, I went into a very high Kerbin orbit, rounded the orbit off, tested components of the craft, and then came back in for re-entry.

Then, I do my flight.

I should add, it went splendidly. I actually had my best orbital rendezvous (as far as stability and how quick it took me to do) around Duna, hehe.

FZgsE.png

So, the question I have for you guys is...how much prep do you do for your flights before what you consider your mission?

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I usually spend hours to design and test each stage to make sure they work, but failure is still business as usual.

Test flights is a must for me, usually the target is the mun, but the test objects variant as per target mission change.

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I testbuild by making a rocket that can take off from Kerbin. Once it's done, I go to Mun and try landing. Once it's done... Well unless I was short to Mun I cnsider It's good enough for Minmus as well. I didn't tried to get on another planet yet. I have a rocket going to Eve, but I did it wrong and it's going to take me hours to get on it. Unless I ran out of fuel before.

In fact, you could say that if my rocket design works, It turns the testing into a mission.

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I refer to my mission testing methodology as "PTFI" or in other words Press to '**** it'.

It's a bit like the space shuttle's "Press to MECO" except that if nothing breaks, the trajectories are acceptable and I'm not hungry - then I call "Press to '**** it'" and just carry right on out to wherever the party's at.

On many occasions this has seen an unwitting and unprepared Kerbalnaut eating his sandwiches during a routine engine test or suborbital staging checkout, only to hear "Press to **** it" - and then the poor guy doesn't see his family again for 9 months after an impromptu flyby of Eve.

The PTFI methodology is also the primary inducer of sleepless nights and 10-snooze mornings on the part of the KSP director.

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Personally, I've spent most of my time so far on the launchers rather than the actual spacecraft, trying to make them as small and efficient as possible for as large a payload as it can manage to move. It helps that all it takes to get 3-8 Kerbals with a large pod + crewtank expansion/living quarters and storage to Laythe and most of the planets is one half-size large fuel tank and a single LV-N. (Precise landing is another matter, but I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out without too much trouble.) Once I manage a launcher that can efficiently lift at least 30 tons, I'll start working more on the IP vehicles.

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Designing an interplanetary lander/return craft and ironing out staging errors WHILE making sure you are able to leave Kerbin (or even the launch pad)... Then getting caught by the Space Cthulu for seemingly no reason. Yeah, I spend hours and hours just trying, which is infuriating if I recall my perfect missions. Although I managed to avoid crying in a corner - so far.

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I've got a few basic stages that I know work, and depending on the mission, I will combine those stages as necessary. Very little testing is done because I've flown variants of each stage before, and I have a solid idea of how much dV I have, so I have a decent idea even before I launch whether or not my mission will be successful or not.

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Lemme see...

0.17 RELEASED

ME: YESYEYSYESESE

*downloads 4 hrs after release*

Straps together NERVA and launch vehicle

ALMOST makes it to duna.

I NEVER do any testing, I only do testing on like, EXPI, to simulate stuff

In other words,

I dont test, THATS NOT KERBAL!

I just strap together some boosters and hope it flys!

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My base test craft is always the lander first. For Mun and Minmus, I would only test the lander to make sure it worked. I would have a stage that I knew would be able to return so was never worried about that. For the planetary, have a test craft. It is a non landing craft with extra fuel that I use to see what it takes to return from a planetary orbit. Next, I build a lander that can get a similar stage off of kerbin and build onto it a launch stage that can get that entire assembly for getting that previous lander to target planets.

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Every flight is a test flight. I takes notes. and have a naming convention [planetary ship name][transfer stage name][lanch stage name]

My latest design was called the Hurricane II Vort-Drive Aspergers XXL.

Normally I take notes and redesign the stage that failed, and rename it to something weird.

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I have three boosters that can take a 10 ton, 25 ton, and 50 payload into LKO respectively. Much testing was done with these, including a fair bit of math (during my lunch break on a legal pad)

From there all I have to design is the payload and give it a funny name. Transfer stages are easy to design. All I do is determine how much delta v I'll need and go from there. Lander stages are usually the toughest stages because I have to design each one specifically for where it is going to land. Furthermore, I have to decide if it will return to Kerbin or if I will randevous with a second craft.

These lander stages go through intense testing; I try to determine structural integrity, emergency abort options, etc. I take the safety of my kerbals very seriously. I never leave any behind. If I don't think I have a reasonable chance of making it back to kerbin safely, I don't launch.

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Well, right now in 0.17, I've managed to get a lander to Mun and back, as well as Minmus and back. In 0.16, I made several trips to each, but with the fuel bug having been rectified with the latest release, I've had to decommission a much loved design in favour of an older, 1-Kerbal design (which I still love):

<a href="/image_zoom.php?id=/user_images/9763/1348765788m"><img src="http://images.mocpages.com/user_images/9763/1348765788m_SPLASH.jpg" border="0" width="500" height="281" alt=""></a>

The ship itself is Lunar 3, although it's now in it's 3-C iteration, designed to help with inter-planetary treks.

<a href="/image_zoom.php?id=/user_images/9763/1348765789m"><img src="http://images.mocpages.com/user_images/9763/1348765789m_SPLASH.jpg" border="0" width="500" height="281" alt=""></a>

Seen lifting off from Minmus in my last mission. The vessel actually has more than enough fuel to make the trip, which is why it is currently the candidate for inter-planetary exploration.

I think I'll strap some 'chutes onto it for Duna and Eve, provided I ever actually get there :P

This is how I test :D

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I've had an excellent heavy launcher since v0.10 and though I updated it a bit every new revision when I have a new idea, if it gets into orbit its good enough for me. That's probably why I have 5 useless landers scattered in pieces across Eve, none of which ever made it back to orbit. Testing is for ghouls.

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I do zero testing for my craft unless I'm lazy. All I need to know is the delta-v of each stage and how much acceleration each stage starts off with.

How do you find these? Only way I know is to launch with mechjeb and do some test runs... which you say you don't do?

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