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Historical Space Race Challenge


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‐The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union  and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine (12 March 1947) to the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union (26 December 1991). The term cold war is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two superpowers, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict was based around the ideological and geopolitical struggle for global influence by these two superpowers, following their temporary alliance and victory against pedant Germay in 1945. Aside from the nuclear arsenal development and conventional military deployment, the struggle for dominance was expressed via indirect means such as psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns, espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

Before we get into the specifics, I'd first like to hand out some major props to several people, not the least of which includes @Superfluous J (for his continued involvement with the Kerpollo Program), @18Watt (for his continued involvement in the Elcano Challenge), @JAFO (for his continued involvement in the Caveman Challenge), and @Akagi (for setting up the Historical Replica Challenge, of which this challenge is partially borne).  There are many people here on the forums that deserve kudos, but these 4 individuals specifically have pushed me to be better at this game, and of that their ideas have sparked in me an idea for a challenge of my own to put forth and be the moderator of.  What will come of it?  I don't know.  But let's have some fun trying to find out, shall we?

This challenge is based upon the real-life Space Race, a technological competition/conflict between the USSR and the USA, starting with the Truman Doctrine in 1947 and ending effectively with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.  During these 44 years, these 2 superpowers undertook what can now only be defined as the great leap forward technologically, each pushing the other to develop better and new ways to explore the vastness of space around our little blue globe.  It starts with the launching of the first true ICBM in 1957, and it ends with the launching of the Mir space station in 1991 (shortly before the USSR dissolves officially and is no longer seen as 1 unified country in the eyes of the United Nations).

So, what are the challenge parameters?  How does one go about fulfilling the challenge requirements to get one of those sweet, sweet signature badges?  I'm so glad you asked!

  1. Choose a side, Soviet or American, and, using the list that follows, launch every single rocket or satellite or what-have-you in chronological order for that superpower.  The only exception here is that, should you decide to be the Soviets, you do not have to launch the first ICBM (although you may certainly do so if you so wish).
    1. On this note, you may absolutely decide to be one side, and then follow it up with the other, to earn both of the individual badges.  If you are so inclined, do them both at once, again in chronological order, to get the combined badge.
  2. Start a new game on a difficulty no easier than Normal.
    1. If you wish, you may absolutely do a harder difficulty.  All you may not do with the difficulty settings is make this easier than Normal.
    2. You have your option of which kind of game you want to play:
      1. Sandbox.  Access to all parts right away.
      2. Science.  Play here for a bit of a challenge, or if you want to farm science points.
      3. Normal Career.  So you have nano-crystalline in your blood, eh?  No contracts, ans toi start with no parts and lousy weight and part limits.  Finishing this would be impressive.
  3. Track your progress, either in a Mission Report or here in this thread.  For every launch, you must provide at a minimum:
    1. A screen shot of your ship/payload on the launchpad.
    2. A screen shot of your ship/payload in flight.
    3. A screen shot of your ship/payload at the target destination.
    4. For any ships/payloads that you return to Kerbin, you must provide a shot of the ship/payload back on the surface.
  4. All launches for Soviet craft are to be done from the Desert Launch Complex, while all American craft are to be launched from the Kerbal Space Center.  No other launch sites are to be used.
    1. This inherently means that you must have the Making History DLC...or provide me with a really good reason why you can't launch from the Desert Complex for Soviet craft.
  5. All craft should be as close to being historically accurate as you can make them.
    1. If you are using Stock parts (this means that you are not using any part mods), some leeway will need to be taken into account as a lot of the early parts won't get you entirely accurate with the rockets/designs.
  6. All target destinations/orbits should be as close to being historically accurate as possible.  This includes inclination, Ap, Pe, etc.

Below is a list of all of the Space Race first launches that need to be completed for this challenge.  I have given links to specific rockets so people can see the accurate rocket/orbit/destination information.  I am aware that it is generally seen as incomplete to not give this information in this post, but if I did that then I'd be typing until the Kerbals come home.  I have given lists broken out by decade, with the Soviets and Americans interspersed.  This should allow people to see who is doing what at a given time, as well as allow those of you who are wishing to do both sides at once an easier time of seeing what needs to be done.

1957 - 1959

Spoiler

Date

Country Achievement Mission/Vehicle
1957 August 21 Soviet First ICBM R-7 Semyorka
1957 October 4 Soviet First artificial satellite; first signals from space Sputnik I
1957 November 3 Soviet First mammal in orbit Sputnik II
1958 March 17 American First solar-powered satellite Vanguard I
1959 January 2 Soviet First lunar spacecraft; first spacecraft on an escape trajectory Luna I
1959 January 4 Soviet First spacecraft in a heliocentric orbit Luna I
1959 February 28 American First satellite in a polar orbit Discoverer I
1959 August 7 American First photograph of Earth from Orbit Explorer VI
1959 September 14 Soviet First hard landing on another celestial body (Moon) Luna II
1959 October 7 Soviet

First three-axis stabilized spacecraft; First photos of the far side of the Moon; First gravity assist returning the spacecraft to Earth

Luna III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the purposes of this challenge, the following are true:

  • For the first mammal in space, you do not have to worry about sending anyone up as the game does not have cats or dogs or weasels, and the first human (or, in this case, Kerbal) flight is in the next decade.  The important thing is the probe itself.
  • For the first photograph, it will be assumed that you have already given shots of Kerbin from orbit to this point, so the primary focus is the actual orbit of the craft
  • For the first photograph of the dark side of the Moon, it will be assumed you have given shots of the Moon from orbit, so the primary focus is the actual orbit of the craft
  • All missions to the Moon are to be sent to Mun.  Sending a mission to Minmus does not count.
  • A hard landing is defined as any landing on a body where speed is greater than 2 m/s.

1960 - 1969

Spoiler
Date Country Achievement Mission/Vehicle
1960 August 11 American First satellite recovered intact from orbit Discoverer XIII
1960 August 18 American First spy photography from space; first aerial recovery of an object returning from orbit Discoverer XIV
1960 August 19 Soviet First animals and plants returned alive from space; first capsule recovered from orbit Korabl-Sputnik II
1961 January 31 American First primate in space Mercury-Redstone II
1961 February 12 Soviet First launch from orbit of upper stage into a heliocentric orbit; first mid-course corrections; first spin-stabilization Venera I
1961 April 12 Soviet First human spaceflight; first orbital flight of a manned vehicle Vostok I
1961 May 5 American First pilot-controlled spaceflight Freedom VII
1961 May 19 Soviet First planetary fly-by (Venus) Venera I
1961 August 6 Soviet First crewed mission lasting a full day Vostok II
1962 August 12 Soviet First dual-crewed spaceflight; first spacecraft-to-spacecraft radio contact; first simultaneous flight of crewed spacecraft Vostok III / Vostok IV
1963 June 16 Soviet First woman in space; first civilian in space Vostok VI
1963 June 19 Soviet First Mars fly-by Mars I
1963 July 19 American First reusable piloted spacecraft and first spaceplane X-15 Flight 90
1963 July 26 American First geosynchronous satellite Syncom II
1964 August 19 American First geostationary satellite Syncom III
1965 March 18 Soviet First EVA Voskhod II
1965 March 23 American First piloted spacecraft orbital exchange Gemini III
1965 December 15 American First orbital rendezvous (station-keeping, no docking) Gemini VI-A / Gemini VII
1966 February 3 Soviet First soft landing on another celestial body (Moon); first photos from the surface of another celestial body Luna IX
1966 March 1 Soviet First hard landing on another planet (Venus) Venera III
1966 March 16 American First spacecraft docking Gemini VIII / ATV
1966 April 3 Soviet First artificial satellite to orbit another celestial body (Moon) Luna X
1966 September 12 American First direct-ascent rendezvous Gemini XI / ATV
1967 October 18 Soviet First in-situ analysis of the atmosphere of another planet (Venus) Venera IV
1967 October 30 Soviet First docking of two remote-controlled spacecraft Cosmos 186 / Cosmos 188
1968 September 14-21 Soviet First return after circling the Moon; first lifeforms to orbit the Moon returned safely Zond V
1968 December 21 American First return after orbiting the Moon Apollo VIII
1969 January Soviet First parachute to be deployed on another planet (Venus) Venera V
1969 January 16 Soviet First crew exchange in space; first docking of 2 manned spacecraft Soyuz IV / Soyuz V
1969 July 20 American First humans on the Moon; first space launch from another celestial body; first sample return from the Moon Apollo XI
1969 November 19 American First precisely targeted piloted landing on the Moon (Surveyor 3 site) Apollo XII

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the purposes of this challenge, the following are true:

  • For the first spy photograph taken in space, the objective is to get a shot (approximately) of an area around/near the Desert Launch Complex.
    • You do not need to recover a film capsule in mid-air.  It is difficult enough flying 1 craft; having to fly a second one to get to an approximate destination to pick something up in mid-air?  Probably entirely not do-able.  You may, however, eject a film capsule (or an approximation of one, if you are playing with stock parts) and recover that after it lands.
  • For the first plants/animals flight, as well as the first primate, you need worry only about the rocket and the probe/cargo compartment itself.  You will be sending a living, breathing Kerbal up soon enough.
    • On this note, you are only required to do one of these missions, either Korabl-Sputnik II OR Mercury-Redstone II.  KSII is an orbital flight, while MRII is sub-orbital, but both are essentially the same in that they send living beings up and recover them.  KSP has no mechanic to send any living thing other than Kerbals up, so to make someone do both of these is redundant and time-wasting.  Your choice!
  • All missions to the Moon are to be sent to Mun.  Sending a mission to Minmus does not count.
  • All missions to Venus are to be sent to Eve.
  • All missions to Mars are to be sent to Duna.
  • A soft landing is defined as any landing with a speed less than 2 m/s.
  • A hard landing is defined as any landing with a speed greater than 2 m/s.
  • Note that the first vehicle to return to Kerbin after landing somewhere is the manned mission on 1969 July 20.  You are not required to return any landed vehicle prior to this.

1970 - 1979

Spoiler
Date Country Achievement Mission/Vehicle
1970 September 24 Soviet First robotic automatic sample return from another celestial body (Moon) Luna XVI
1970 November 23 Soviet First lunar rover (remote-controlled) and first rover on another celestial body (Moon) Lunokhod I
1970 December 15 Soviet First soft landing on another planet (Venus); first signals from another planet (Venus) Venera VII
1971 April 19 Soviet First human-crewed space station launched Salyut I
1971 June 29 Soviet First human-crewed orbital observatory (Orion I) Salyut I / Soyuz XI
1971 July 31 American First human-driven lunar rover Apollo XV
1971 November 14 American First spacecraft to orbit another planet (Mars) Mariner IX
1971 November 27 Soviet First hard landing on Mars Mars II
1971 December 2 Soviet First soft landing on Mars; first signals from the surface of Mars Mars III
1972 March 3 American First spacecraft sent on an escape trajectory from the Sun Pioneer X
1972 July 15 American First mission to enter the asteroid belt and leave the inner solar system Pioneer X
1973 December 3 American First fly-by of Jupiter Pioneer X
1974 March 29 American First fly-by of Mercury Mariner X
1975 July 15 Soviet/American First multi-national human-crewed mission Soyuz XIX / Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
1975 October 20 Soviet First spacecraft to orbit another planet (Venus); first photograph from the surface of another planet (Venus) Venera IX
1979 September 1 American First fly-by of Saturn Pioneer XI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the purposes of this challenge, the following are true:

  • Both the Americans and Soviets have firsts for First Spacecraft to Orbit another Planet.
  • All missions to the Moon are to be sent to Mun.  Sending a mission to Minmus does not count.
  • All missions to Venus are to be sent to Eve.
  • All missions to Mars are to be sent to Duna.
  • KSP doesn't have a true interstellar space, so the escape trajectory from Kerbol may not be possible.  As long as the rest of the mission (vehicle, orbit, etc.) are accurate, you are fine.
  • All missions to Jupiter are to be sent to Jool (fly-by is all that is necessary).
  • All missions to Mercury are to be sent to Moho.
  • Regardless of which "side" you are playing, you must launch both halves of the multi-national human-crewed mission.  And they must be launched from their respective launch sites.  Completing this does not grant you the combination badge unless you are doing both sides at once.
  • All missions to Saturn are to be sent to Laythe (KSP has no true alternative to Saturn).

1980 - 1990

Spoiler
Date Country Achievement Mission/Vehicle
1981 April 12 American First spaceplane in orbit STS I
1984 February 7 American First untethered spacewalk STS XLI-B
1985 June 11 Soviet First balloon-assisted descent into the atmosphere of Venus Vega I
1986 January 4 American First Uranus fly-by Voyager II
1986 February 19 Soviet First module of the first modular space station launched, marking the start of orbital assembly Mir Core Module (DOS-7)
1987 May 15 Soviet First 100 tonne super heavy-lift launch vehicle; first Soviet vehicle to use liquid hydrogen fuel Energia / Polyus
1989 August 25 American First Neptune-fly-by Voyager II
1990 February 11 Soviet First consistently inhabited long-term research space station Mir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the purposes of this challenge, the following are true:

  • The untethered spacewalk must include at least 1 Kerbal using the jet pack to do EVA maneuvers.  Use your best judgement as to how far away from the craft you think is appropriate.
  • KSP does not have a balloon in the stock game, but you are free to substitute the appropriate number of parachutes to finish this mission.
  • All missions to Venus are to be sent to Eve.
  • There are no KSP equivalents for either Neptune or Uranus.  You are therefore free to choose any of Jool's moons - or Eeloo - to do these fly-bys.
  • KSP does not distinguish between types of liquid fuel in the stock game, so the vehicle/mission accuracy are the keys.

If you think that's a lot of missions to undertake in one challenge, then you are correct.  In this 40+ year period, our world went from barely being in the sky to setting foot on the Moon and attempting to have at least a few people live in space.  And when you think that, until the early 1900s people were still using horse-and-buggy as a primary means of land transportation, the scope of what was undertaken is pretty massive.  And so, therefore, is this challenge.

Keep in mind that this is not meant to be an actual "race" between anyone...unless you and a friend wish to make it so.

There are going to be 3 categories for entry into this challenge.  They are:

  • Stock, Unmodded.  DLC (Making History, Breaking Ground) do not count as modded entries.
  • Stock Parts, Modded.  This includes all submissions that do not have part mods, but do in fact have other mods that alter gameplay.  The use of KER and MJ are allowed, but they will be scrutinized for all the missions in the 1950s as tech/science in that timeframe was pretty limited.
  • Fully Modded.  This includes any submissions that include part mods.  Any submission that includes RSS falls into this category.

Any mods that alter physics or the tech tree must be approved prior to use.  Let me state that again with some flair so it is not lost in this sea of text:  Any mods that alter physics or the tech tree must be approved prior to use.  I'm not against using them, I just simply am not familiar with every single mod out there that could exist, and I'd like to review them to make sure they don't make this challenge so easy that you push one button and you are done.  I believe in being fair, so I ask you to help me out with some of this.

Once people start submitting and completing this challenge I will put up the leaderboard for the different categories.  And I will also be submitting my own entry here so you can see that I'm not above trying to do this myself.

And, of course, what people really want:  Badges.

Spoiler

Historical Space Race, American

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Historical Space Race, Soviet

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Historical Space Race, American/Soviet

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With all of that said, I welcome questions and/or comments on this challenge.  I tried not to duplicate anything else already being done or having been set up in the past, but I'm not perfect.  If I missed something or didn't clarify enough, ask!

 

Participants, Stock Unmodded

  • @18Watt, attempting to do the American/Soviet combo.  Finished the 1950s.  Complete through Syncom III.

Participants, Fully Modded

  • @Scarecrow71, attempting to do the American/Soviet combo.  Finished the 1950s.  Complete through Apollo VIII.
  • @jinnantonix, attempting to do the American/Soviet combo.  Finished the 1950s.  Complete through X-15.
  • @Thundrevv, attempting to the Americans only.  Complete through Vanguard I.
Edited by Scarecrow71
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Interesting!  
 

I see you would like the Russian launches to happen at the Desert facility.  I’m wondering if it might also be appropriate to launch from Woomerang?  My thinking is the Woomerang site has a similar latitude to the complex used to launch Russia’s vessels, roughly 45 degrees north.

 

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1 hour ago, 18Watt said:

Interesting!  
 

I see you would like the Russian launches to happen at the Desert facility.  I’m wondering if it might also be appropriate to launch from Woomerang?  My thinking is the Woomerang site has a similar latitude to the complex used to launch Russia’s vessels, roughly 45 degrees north.

 

Hmmm, that's an interesting question.  The Desert Complex reminds me of Baikonour...but Woomerang has the same (roughly) latitude.

I'll allow it!

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There's no way I'm not doing this. I don't have mods or DLC, but I already have an R-7 from the Historic Replica Challenge. хороший полет!

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I'm going to make a seperate thread. Just so you know, I play on an unmodded install with no DLC.

There are no probe cores in an early Science game, thus making this challenge impossible. Or, am I not understanding this?

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1 hour ago, Akagi said:

There are no probe cores in an early Science game, thus making this challenge impossible.

Yes, this is a problem- the first probe core appears in the 'Basic Science' node, which costs 45 science points.  I was able to unlock that node by collecting science from Woomerang, Desert Launchpad, Desert Runway, and the nearby Desert biome.  I am not sure if it is possible to unlock that node by only using the Desert launchpad.  

This method of collecting science is (I believe) allowed, gathering science from the launchpad and it's immediate vicinity.  At KSC, it is possible to unlock most of the Tier 1 nodes before you launch your first vessel, there is a LOT of science available at KSC.  However, there is not much at the Desert or Woomerang sites.  For examples of collecting science before your first launch, see the Kerpollo challenge.  I was able to unlock docking ports prior to my first launch..

Another problem is that without mods, early launches will not visually resemble the ships they are trying to imitate.  Stock KSP does not have the tech tree progress in the manner which happened in real-life.  So you'll have to work around that limitation also.

For example, the FL-C1000 tapered fuel tank is in 'Fuel Systems', which costs 90 science points to unlock.

Edited by 18Watt
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11 minutes ago, Akagi said:

@Scarecrow71 what should we do?

also, i don't have dlc and don't have the desert site

Yeah, there are some issues with having only stock and no DLC.  If that is the case, you will have no choice but to use the KSC.

The big issue comes in the form of parts that you don't have access to in order to do the challenge until you open up some later nodes, which can be done exactly as @18Watt stated above.  And because it is possible to get the probe core without launching a single vehicle, that's the route you will have to take.  Unless, of course, you want to go hit up my own Mission Report to see the Soviet parts packs I'm using (which then puts you in the Fully Modded category).

Challenges aren't supposed to be easy all the time, and this is one of them where, although it may be possible to use stock, you might be better off to have a secondary copy of the game on your machine and mod that one to do it.

And to be fair about it, I'm having my own problems right now with the Soviet parts packs in that I cannot get Sputnik I into orbit.  I'm asking for help in the Tantares thread.

Edited by Scarecrow71
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22 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

The big issue comes in the form of parts that you don't have access to in order to do the challenge until you open up some later nodes, which can be done exactly as @18Watt stated above.  And because it is possible to get the probe core without launching a single vehicle, that's the route you will have to take. 

I've started this challenge.  I think the spirit of the challenge is to perform the basic mission profile of each launch.  If you can make your ship visually similar to the original vehicle, great!  If not, you will have to work with what is available.  Here's how I approached the first launch, the ICBM:

  • I don't have radial decouplers or fairings, so the rocket is a single-stage vehicle with the basic probe core.
  • The original vehicle had a target range of 6,000 km, but that's almost the entire circumference of Kerbin!  Although I accidentally reached orbit on some launches, I'm aiming for a flight about 1/3 to 1/2 way around Kerbin.
  • The basic idea for this launch is 'suborbital flight'.  The vessel does not even need to survive re-entry, although I put a shield on mine so it does.
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39 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

 I think the spirit of the challenge is to perform the basic mission profile of each launch.

Correct.  It would be perfect if people would match historical accuracy (like I'm trying to do), but because there is a stock category, getting as close as you can to the actual spirit of the challenge will suffice.

And keep in mind the first launch, the R-7 Semyorka ICBM, is optional.

Edited by Scarecrow71
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1 hour ago, Scarecrow71 said:

And because it is possible to get the probe core without launching a single vehicle, that's the route you will have to take.

Already what I'm doing! I'm going to bring science on the Semyorka, though.

I'm doing Career...

(i think)

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And Sputnik I is in orbit.

I will state that I am digging trying to do this.  I normally don't use part packs, primarily because they feel like cheating with all the extra science gadgets that exist in them.  But I have made a vow that I am not going to use any of these extra gadgets except where entirely necessary to complete a mission, such as the Sputnik I probe sending signals back to Earth.

Anyhow, on to Sputnik II!

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I've started a mission report here, and am through Sputnik-II, ready to tackle Vanguard-I next.  I'll need to gather science from KSC first, because the solar panels needed for Vanguard-I are another 90 science points.

Not sure how fast I'll get this challenge done, I will actually be pretty busy at work for the next 3-4 weeks.

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10 hours ago, 18Watt said:

I've started a mission report here, and am through Sputnik-II, ready to tackle Vanguard-I next.  I'll need to gather science from KSC first, because the solar panels needed for Vanguard-I are another 90 science points.

Not sure how fast I'll get this challenge done, I will actually be pretty busy at work for the next 3-4 weeks.

I have added you to the participants list, under the category of Stock/Unmodded.  If that's incorrect, let me know and I'll update!

@Akagi, if you can confirm for me what category you are doing this as I can add you as well!

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