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How can one fly an interstellar mission in this mod combo (NFT/FFT, GU, etc.)?


shimmy00
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First off, I wanna say I'm a big fan of @StarCrusher96's Galaxies Unbound universe and have played it for a while now mostly using the KSP Interstellar Extended suite of engines to send my craft across this particular kerbiverse. However, after discovering @Nertea's equally beautiful, drop-dead gorgeous ReStock mod for spacecraft parts, I couldn't help but want something a bit more artistically coherent, both with that and internally, and that led me to discover he'd also made two other mods - Near Future and Far Future Technologies, with the latter providing some engines close to the highest-performing fusion engines in Interstellar Extended (one engine has an Isp of 1 050 000 s, while Interstellar has 1 500 000 s.).  And I was instantly made a fan, too - the mechanics are much more realistic (especially the thermal mechanics) and less quirky/buggy as well as cleaner (e.g. everything is powered with, perhaps large, amounts of ElectricCharge, instead of having odd redundant types of electric power like "Megajoules" and "Kilowatt Hour" which are just ways to denominate larger amounts of energy), though unfortunately his seems to be missing a Persistent Thrust analogue for very long burns using the fusion engines.

This leads me to on the overall right now be using the following combination:

  • KSP v1.12.3
  • Galaxies Unbound and dependencies (i.e. Kopernicus)
  • ReStock and ReStock Plus (those 5 m parts are indispensable for building huge craft)
  • Near Future and Far Future Technologies
  • System Heat
  • TAC Life Support
  • DeepFreeze
  • KAS (to bolt the massive vessels together in orbit)

I included the last two because I also wanted even moar realism, and that gets me to the following interesting quandary. To keep things realistic, I wanted to throw a ship at a star system that will take 40 years or more to get there, and that means putting those Kerbals explicitly on ice (I always "imagined" them to in my head when you use "time warp" but this mod combo I like because it makes that more explicit) via the DeepFreeze for the duration. The trick, though, is that once you freeze them all, there is nothing left in control of the craft and so it is impossible to start the engines, particularly at the far end where you have to flip the craft around to brake, which at 413 000 Gm(!) is far beyond any communication antenna's range to even send a signal to thaw the crew, much less perform the braking maneuver, and "daisy chaining" satellites into the void between the two stars would be intolerably lengthy, if even possible at all (even at 100 Gm intervals, which might be possible with some of the biggest antennas, that's 4130 satellites!). In Interstellar, this was handled via the "IHAL", which I've seen some challenged as an "overpowered" piece of kit, but to me it seems its "robotic crew member" functionality is just what you need to do this - you need "someone" to wake the crew at least, much less begin the deceleration process.

So what I'm wondering about is: how can one pull this off? It seems I'd need an extra mod, but short of trying to rip the IHAL out of Interstellar, is there some other that might work, and perhaps be "cleaner"?

Secondarily, I wonder if there is a Persistent Thrust-type implementation for @Nertea's engines, because even with max physics warp I estimated it will take multiple real-life days to accelerate the large craft to the required 1 000 000 m/s cruising speed and I don't feel like having KSP running in the bkg of my computer for that long in case I wanna do something else that needs a reboot and might lead to loss of the game due to forgetting it was running.

Thanks.

(Oh yeah and if you say "warp drives" - I've thought about them; I just wanna see if a "slow boat" mission is possible. Also I'm not sure what the most aesthetic and mechanically clean warp drive mod available is since there seem to be several competing ones.)

(P.S. BTW @Nertea you are the BEST parts builder, even though I see you've "retired" apparently I just felt I needed to say that!)

Edited by shimmy00
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My solution to interstellar comms was to upscale one of the Restock-ified antennas to something ludicrous like 50+ meters in diameter, and appropriately scale up the antenna power. It's effectively like putting a ground-side radiotelescope dish... in space. It was able to reach over the target system (Event Horizon planet pack) without problem (though another has to be built there, or else sent directly). If you really want it to be hassle-free, just disable comm-requirements for control for a few seconds and thaw a Kerbal at the opportune time. You can easily explain it by just saying there was an timer on the pod or something.

What I've found out after a LOT of FFT engine fiddling is that you are MUCH better served by using smaller crafts with mid-late tier engines (like the second NSW rocket motor). I've made a HUGE antimatter-powered ship, and while it did get a lot of dV (300,000m/s) and could carry upward of 60 Kerbals (plus an Extraplanetary Launchpad starter craft), but it would have been simpler to send a small fleet of ships instead. I've gotten over 500,000m/s with nuclear salt water, and it wasn't even optimized.

I've tried to get Persistent Thrust working, but I've gotten nowhere and gave up. The NSW-powered craft has GREAT thrust and could do its whole escape burn in about ten minutes (at 4x phys warp). The AM-LH2 craft was MUCH more finicky to get going, and didn't like phys time warp at all. Still, that big ship was able to reach the next system in roughly 70 years.

Edited by Axelord FTW
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On 1/31/2022 at 12:21 AM, Axelord FTW said:

My solution to interstellar comms was to upscale one of the Restock-ified antennas to something ludicrous like 50+ meters in diameter, and appropriately scale up the antenna power. It's effectively like putting a ground-side radiotelescope dish... in space. It was able to reach over the target system (Event Horizon planet pack) without problem (though another has to be built there, or else sent directly). If you really want it to be hassle-free, just disable comm-requirements for control for a few seconds and thaw a Kerbal at the opportune time. You can easily explain it by just saying there was an timer on the pod or something.

What I've found out after a LOT of FFT engine fiddling is that you are MUCH better served by using smaller crafts with mid-late tier engines (like the second NSW rocket motor). I've made a HUGE antimatter-powered ship, and while it did get a lot of dV (300,000m/s) and could carry upward of 60 Kerbals (plus an Extraplanetary Launchpad starter craft), but it would have been simpler to send a small fleet of ships instead. I've gotten over 500,000m/s with nuclear salt water, and it wasn't even optimized.

I've tried to get Persistent Thrust working, but I've gotten nowhere and gave up. The NSW-powered craft has GREAT thrust and could do its whole escape burn in about ten minutes (at 4x phys warp). The AM-LH2 craft was MUCH more finicky to get going, and didn't like phys time warp at all. Still, that big ship was able to reach the next system in roughly 70 years.

Thanks. I also was thinking of multiple vessels (esp. if one is trying to send more than just a crew, e.g. sending rovers and bases and the like - have a separate ship for each element). to minimize the per-vessel payload mass. I further just discovered that topping the stack with a regular probe core (RC-001S RGU) actually gives enough fully autonomous control to at least thaw and freeze a Kerbal; not sure if that's a bug or a feature but it seems logical enough so I'll take it. However, the thrust bit is a difficult one. Right now it's gonna take me what looks like about 1 Ms (~11.6 Days) real life time to thrust up to 1000 km/s and I can't physics warp much without the craft destabilizing due to lag. Really making me miss KSP IE's persistent thrust. I might fuss with the salt water engine; not sure. It looks like this set of mods requires a different play attitude; maybe less thinking about sending Kerbals back and more about one-way trips and base establishment.

Edited by shimmy00
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FFT's end-tier engines (like the frisbee AM-LH2 engine) really are badly matched to a game like KSP, where ships are a collection of independently calculated parts. It's hard on framerate, not to mention vessel integrity. The lack of persistent thrust also helps us none, as a 12 day burn to 1,000,000m/s is more than 'good' in any sort of sensible scenario you can imagine.

As an aside, AM is either ludicrously expensive to buy, or complicated and untimely to produce. Compare that to NSW which is a breeze to make, the ships being smaller and easier to produce/fly, and NSW-engines having really good thrust... Yeah, you can't go wrong with spicy space drink. 

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Good news! I just discovered that the latest version of the standalone Persistent Thrust (1.7.5) mod works with this combo and was able to use it to fly the mission. Thanks for your pointers, though.

Edited by shimmy00
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