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OJT's Jool 5 Mission


OJT
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Hello there

Been playing the game for about 280 hours on Steam and enjoying every second of it. I advanced quite far in my Career save and explored big part of the Kerbol System. Then I saw the Jool 5 thread and decided to attempt it myself. I will be attempting both Level 3 (land one unique Kerbal per each moon) and Jebediah's Level (collect as much science) challenges for my Jool 5 attempt. Game difficulty is Normal

Part 0: Prep Work

We gonna start... with unmanned mission first. Thing is, Jool is pretty much the only planet that I didn't research extensively and except for couple of relays and (partially successful) Laythe drone landing I haven't done much around there. Doing unmanned mission first will give me a good training on maneuvering inside the Joolian System and it is also a good opportunity to establish a satellite network (KerbNet can be useful to determine landing spots and various biomes). Also, I will launch satellites with Resource Scanners to determine good landing spots for ISRU mining

Here's the satellite stack: 16 big dish relays, 4 per each inner moon and 2 per each outer moon. 4 resource scanners, 1 per inner moon and the 4th one will first scan Bop and then travel to Pol

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Here's the launch vehicle. I sadly don't have Making History DLC, so the fairing had to be somewhat oversized to fit everything in

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Launch to LKO was trivial (as trivial as you can get with a rocket of that size)

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After trans-joolian insertion burn and over a ingame year of travel time the carrier reaches Joolian System

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I inserted the carrier into elliptical Jool orbit that intersected Vall's orbit and deployed the first batch of satellites

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Every satellite is based on MTM Stage with 4 ion engines and 2 RTGs. The satellites have full targeting capability, lots of xenon gas and enough TWR to not make the burns too slow. However battery charge turned out to be, let's say, lower than I needed, but I didn't know it at the time and this will come back later

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First on the list was Vall. And there came up the first problem: apparently RTGs don't replenish the charge of the craft when it is not in the focus. Because of that, after making my Vall insertion burns and reaching the moon, half of my satellites were lower on charge than I needed them to be (and we all know how power-hungry ion engines are). I persevered, however, and managed to place all satellites into orbits around Vall

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Next one was Tylo. Armed with newfound knowledge about RTGs, I stayed with each satellite after Tylo insertion burn to let it replenish the charge and this time I placed all satellites without any problems

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Laythe was by far the one that took longest. First, due to poor planning the encounter speed of my satellites was too high, which required very long circularization burns. Second, even though MTM Stage packs 4000 electric charge in it, it only has enough charge to fire the ion engines continuously for 2 minutes. Third, because you can only control one ship at the time (duh) and I needed to do very long burns on 5 satellites, I only managed to successfully circularize one. Due to that, I had to improvise gravity assists on the fly (although I know the basics of it, I've never done any in game), but I somehow managed it: couple of orbits around Jool, 3 correction burns and two Tylo assists later my satellites encountered Laythe with more sensible speeds and I easily placed them into orbits. Took way longer than it should've, but at least I grabbed some nice snaps

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After the Laythe shenanigans, reaching Bop and Pol was a piece of cake. The practice with gravity assists also helped: I used Tylo again to slingshot my sats to required paths. It didn't go completely without any screwups though: when I was focusing on something else one of the Bop relays disappeared without any trace. It wasn't on orbit that would intersect other moons' SOIs, it even had an alarm set for a correction burn, but it simply vanished. I still have no idea what could've happened to it. A sacrifice to Kraken I guess lol

Bop pics

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After the Resource ScanSat scanned Bop, it went to Pol and scanned it aswell

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And this concludes the prequel to my Jool 5 attempt: a satellite network established, resources of all moons scanned, valuable lessons about orbital mechanics learned. Stay tuned for next part lads ;)

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It might interest you to know before attempting the full run that you can use a Tylo gravity assist to capture into Jool, no burn required. When you're doing your correction burn around the sun you can exchange prograde/retrograde for radial in/out velocity (or vice-versa) to change the timing of your encounter so that you directly encounter whichever of Jool's moon you want, at whatever part of its orbit you want. A Tylo assist can not only save you the Jool capture burn, but also correct your inclination and even set you up for another encounter.

Here's a screenshot from a mission I recently flew to Vall that hopefully illustrates what I'm talking about. You'll want to encounter Tylo about where I did for best results. The only caveat is that you can encounter Jool too fast for any of this to work, so you want to make sure when you plot your transfer burn from Kerbin that your Jool encounter is petty close to your apoapsis

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey lads

It's been quite a while since my first post. Real life has been quite busy and I didn't have much free time to play KSP. But I was playing a bit every now and then and making slow progress on my Jool 5 challenge and now I have something that could be posted here. Mind you, it won't be as long as the thread opener, but still :D

Part 1: Landers

After establishing satellite network in Joolian System and determining spots rich with ore and suitable for landings, it is now time for actual manned mission preparations

Mission structure will be nothing original and it has been done countless amounts of times by fellow players: mothership with landers. The whole shabang goes to Jool. Mothership enters orbit of moon. Lander undocks. Goes down. Lands. Comes back up. Docks with mothership. Mothership escapes moon's SOI. Then repeat this four more times. Then return to Kerbin. Simple (well, not really, but anyway). In Part 1 we are gonna focus on landers

Level 3 states that one unique Kerbonaut must land on every moon, which means we need to take at least 5 kerbals with us. However, it doesn't require landing said Kerbonauts in separate landers, which means I can build a mothership that has enough space for at least 5 kerbals, make the landers single-seaters and just switch up pilots while in orbit before every landing. This will save me the weight of the whole ship and save me the hassle of figuring out how to mount 5 separate landers to mothership without screwing up the balance

Jool has 5 moons (hence the name of the challenge, duh). Out of those 5 moons, Laythe is the only one that has atmosphere. Not only that, Laythe has a rather thick atmosphere, reaching 0.6 atm at sea level, which makes making the lander a plane feasible. Not only that, Laythe has oxygenated atmosphere, which allows us to use jet engines, which are much more efficient and will significantly increase the range of the plane when flying in low atmosphere. Therefore, Laythe lander will be a plane

The other 4 moons are airless bodies. Tylo in particular has a rather high surface gravity, so the lander will need to have good TWR to be able to land comfortably and it will need around 4700 m/s dV to land from low orbit and return back to it. However, if I can design a lander that will be able to land on Tylo and return to mothership, then this lander will easily manage to land on the other moons and return to mothership. Therefore in total I will need only two landers: a plane for Laythe and a conventional lander for the rest

The Laythe lander will be based on same principles as my Kerbin SSTO that won me the K-Prize badge

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It is a deltawing with front canards, 2 RAPIER engines for atmospheric flight, 1 NERVA for orbital maneuvering and a cargo bay to carry goodies. It flies really stable and has decent TWR and dV. It is a design that worked really well for me and proved to be very reliable, so my Laythe lander will be heavily inspired by it

This is my first version

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It has a few differences compared to Kerbin SSTO. First, it is noticeably downsized. Second, it has side-mounted air intakes instead of shock intake, because the nose had to accommodate a docking port. Third, cargo bay is substituted with service bays. And fourth, it is a single seater. But the rest is quite similar. Due to smaller size it also has more TWR while retaining similar dV. It easily survived reentry into Laythe atmosphere and flies quite nicely under its own power during my tests in Sandbox.

Tests also revealed big downsides of the plane however. It doesn't glide well at speeds that I would consider safe for landings and landings themselves were very tricky due to the combination of narrow wheelbase and the tricycle landing gear. And since Laythe doesn't have any dedicated flat runways like KSC, I went back to the drawing board and did some readjustments

Here is the second version

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This has bigger wings and 4 landing gears that are spread out wider, and this version handled the landing tests without any serious issues. There is some minor stuff that I will need to work on, but apart from that this pretty much is the plane that will go to the mission

Now comes the Airless Moon Lander concept (name might not be final)

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This bad boy has 3 Aerospike engines and ISRU mining equipment, which means I won't need to carry around fuel for both landing and takeoffs. It also has enough dV (with 400 m/s spare) to land on Tylo from 25km orbit. The mining equipment isn't as efficient as full sized equivalents, so I will need to pick my landing spots carefully (another reason I sent the resource scansats in the prequel), and there is some stuff that I must add to the lander (namely more radiators and some RCS for docking) but, as is the case with Laythe lander, this is pretty much a finished product

 

That is the landers covered. In Part 2 we will make the mothership, so stay tuned for that :)

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  • 1 month later...

Hello there

Long time no see, right? My exam phase was long and took a lot of time, to the point that I barely had free time to do chores, let alone play KSP (I probably launched the game once or twice in the last month). But now I am done with exams and have plenty of time, which means... a new part of Jool 5 prep comes up!

Part 2: Main Ship

Requirements for the main ship are quite straightforward: must have space for 5 kerbonauts, must have lots of deltaV, must have docking ports for landers. All of this can be covered relatively easy: Hitchhiker Container and a Command Pod will have more than enough seats (HH Container also has storage space for goodies). DeltaV requirements will be achieved with NERVA stack and Mk3 Liquid Fuel tanks. Docking ports will be to the sides of the mothership.

There's one issue though: main ship will be massiveSo, to launch it will require enormous launch vehicle. The whole stack is so huge that I can't zoom out enough in VAB to take a picture of it. So the pictures will be on the launch pad

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Launch vehicle has 3 stages. First two stages are Mammoth engines. Third stage is powered with Rhinos. Final circularization is done by mothership itself. Coming up with this setup took a lot of trial and error: unscheduled disassemblies during staging, Kraken attacks etc. I tried various boosters, from liquid fuel powered to SRBs. What I ended up with is quite reliable and reaches orbit without issues as long as the launch profile is steep.

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Let's take a closer look at the main ship itself. It is very long, easily the longest rocket I've built in this game. It has 8 largest reaction wheels, 4 at each end, and even with those it turns quite slowly (but not nearly as slow as without them... don't even ask). Two RTGs supply electricity to two largest batteries. No RCS because I deemed it unnecessary. Docking ports on the sides for each lander. 8 NERVA engines and over 10 thousand m/s of deltaV. Only downside is low TWR (around 0.2) so the burns will be quite long, but I am a patient man lol

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Aside from the mothership build, I also slightly adjusted my landers: both of them got RCS thrusters for simpler docking, and the Laythe Plane got extra fuel tanks on the wings, making the plane a bit longer. It still flies alright and is so good that it actually doubles as Kerbin SSTO: plane's picture is made in Kerbin orbit after the ascent

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This concludes the preparation phase for Jool 5 mission: all ships are ready and tried and tested in Sandbox. In next part we will be doing the actual mission in my actual Career save. I only need to wait for transfer window and scoop up my best pilots from Duna (will be done off-screen).

See you's all in Part 3! (and it will come sooner than usual, trust me ;))

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1 minute ago, OJT said:

Hello there

Long time no see, right? My exam phase was long and took a lot of time, to the point that I barely had free time to do chores, let alone play KSP (I probably launched the game once or twice in the last month). But now I am done with exams and have plenty of time, which means... a new part of Jool 5 prep comes up!

Part 2: Main Ship

Requirements for the main ship are quite straightforward: must have space for 5 kerbonauts, must have lots of deltaV, must have docking ports for landers. All of this can be covered relatively easy: Hitchhiker Container and a Command Pod will have more than enough seats (HH Container also has storage space for goodies). DeltaV requirements will be achieved with NERVA stack and Mk3 Liquid Fuel tanks. Docking ports will be to the sides of the mothership.

There's one issue though: main ship will be massiveSo, to launch it will require enormous launch vehicle. The whole stack is so huge that I can't zoom out enough in VAB to take a picture of it. So the pictures will be on the launch pad

  Hide contents

jAmN98J.jpg

cmXVtiK.jpg

Launch vehicle has 3 stages. First two stages are Mammoth engines. Third stage is powered with Rhinos. Final circularization is done by mothership itself. Coming up with this setup took a lot of trial and error: unscheduled disassemblies during staging, Kraken attacks etc. I tried various boosters, from liquid fuel powered to SRBs. What I ended up with is quite reliable and reaches orbit without issues as long as the launch profile is steep.

  Hide contents

LWd98hv.jpg

PnayjA0.jpg

DNXnUug.jpg

nEGIzHu.jpg

WMtNqAd.jpg

48MmAUX.jpg

Let's take a closer look at the main ship itself. It is very long, easily the longest rocket I've built in this game. It has 8 largest reaction wheels, 4 at each end, and even with those it turns quite slowly (but not nearly as slow as without them... don't even ask). Two RTGs supply electricity to two largest batteries. No RCS because I deemed it unnecessary. Docking ports on the sides for each lander. 8 NERVA engines and over 10 thousand m/s of deltaV. Only downside is low TWR (around 0.2) so the burns will be quite long, but I am a patient man lol

  Hide contents

7iHU1BR.jpg

wPPaLCs.jpg

zsPATnQ.jpg

Aside from the mothership build, I also slightly adjusted my landers: both of them got RCS thrusters for simpler docking, and the Laythe Plane got extra fuel tanks on the wings, making the plane a bit longer. It still flies alright and is so good that it actually doubles as Kerbin SSTO: plane's picture is made in Kerbin orbit after the ascent

  Hide contents

SW2OS40.jpg

6HXgX8w.jpg

 

This concludes the preparation phase for Jool 5 mission: all ships are ready and tried and tested in Sandbox. In next part we will be doing the actual mission in my actual Career save. I only need to wait for transfer window and scoop up my best pilots from Duna (will be done off-screen).

See you's all in Part 3! (and it will come sooner than usual, trust me ;))

Can't wait!

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