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Las Kerbas Safety First Challenge


Scarecrow71
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The mission report will be to (somewhat) detail my participation in @18Watt's Safety First Challenge.  I hope.

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No need to respawn crews when we aren’t using them.  Also, I’m only using the KSC; I don’t need to use the other 2 launch sites for this as I’m pretty sure I can get to the requisite science needed (65) to get the first probe core.

KSC Farming

Well, look at that, a contract to gather science from Kerbin.  I’ll pick that up and start some simple, beginning-of-a-new-game farming on the runway and launchpad; this, with the contract, earns me enough science to unlock several nodes.

  • Basic Rocketry
  • Engineering 101

More simple farming now that I’ve got the Thermometer.  Not enough to actually unlock anything, so now I have to craft a simple science roller…thing…to roll around the KSC and pick up some science.

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I can put a pilot in one side and the scientist in the other, which allowed me to hit multiple areas of the KSC (I did NOT roll off the launchpad down to the shores) and pick up enough science to unlock the following:

  • General Rocketry
  • Survivability
  • Basic Science

So, yeah, I now have access to the Stayputnik.  Just a bit more farming now that I have access to the Barometer and the Science Junior, which allows me to unlock the following:

  • Stability

I only farmed the launchpad and the runway with the Barometer and Science Junior; I may want to go back and farm the rest of the KSC with these at some point when I get actual wheels.  But yeah, without even launching a rocket, I’ve unlocked tiers 2 and 3, and started on tier 4.  Time to go do some flights.

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38 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

No need to respawn crews when we aren’t using them.

I forgot to mention that if you DO plan on using Rescued Kerbals, you may want to enable the crews upgrade immediately feature, which I think is in advanced game settings.  Otherwise they will forever be stuck at Level 1.

40 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

KSC Farming

I left an option to just F12 yourself some science to unlock the first probe core.  But for pros like you, farming the science to unlock probes is a trivial matter!  (I farmed too..).  

42 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

a simple science roller…thing…

The Rollver returns!

I will say that the first probe core (Stayputnik) is a little frustrating to use.  I personally made unlocking the next probe core (with basic SAS) a priority.  Also, watch out for Station and Base contracts.  Some of them only require you to send the station into position, but sometimes the contract will require specific Kerbals to be on board.  I almost accepted a couple of those, thankfully I read the fine print before I clicked the green checkmark.

 

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First Flights

I’ve got contracts for:

  • Launch our first vessel
  • Escape the atmosphere
  • Orbit Kerbin

I’m going to do Launch Our First Vessel separately, primarily because I want to do 2 launches with launching the first vessel.  I want to get science in the air, and then a second one to launch into the water to get science in the water.  This allows me to unlock Flight Control.  Which is sorely needed so I can actually fly straight and turn and such considering the Stayputnik does not have SAS.

I’ve got enough cash, so I spent 50k to upgrade the launchpad.  I’m not so concerned about part count as I am tonnage.  So yeah, upgraded that.

I’m now picking up the contracts to Escape the Atmosphere and Orbit Kerbin.  Unfortunately, it’s really hard to launch and get into space with the Stayputnik, what with it sucking aerodynamically AND not having a SAS module on board.  So I’m going to launch in a few different directions and farm some science from a few different biomes (Shores, Grasslands).

I’m still short of what I really want (90 science to unlock the OKTO), but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen at any time in the near future.  So I unlocked the following:

  • Aviation

This gives me wheels so I can create a different type of science roller to get the Barometer and Science Junior readings at the KSC:

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That thing corners like a dead whale on roller skates.  And man did that take some time.  But, I gained enough science to unlock the following:

  • Electrics

My tech tree looks like the following:

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I’ve got 2 nodes to go on tier 4, and I’ve unlocked the first node on tier 5.  That node on tier 5 is absolutely necessary as it contains the OKTO (yay for SAS!), solar panels, and larger batteries.  Now I can attempt to get into orbit with the following monstrosity:

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Man, that took far longer than I thought it would.  I thought Caveman was hard, but this was downright difficult.  I keep forgetting that no SAS means no flight control.  Damn.  Anyhow, I have now earned enough science to unlock the following:

  • Advanced Rocketry
  • General Construction

I also have enough cash to upgrade both Mission Control and the Tracking Station.  Yes, the VAB is still at 30 parts, but I need the control nodes.  Plus, I can always pick up some easy contracts to earn the cash.

2 hours ago, 18Watt said:

I left an option to just F12 yourself some science to unlock the first probe core.  But for pros like you, farming the science to unlock probes is a trivial matter!  (I farmed too..).  

Yeah, I could have cheated my way to the 65 science...but why?  I feel that cheating, even if explicitly allowed in the rules, just doesn't feel right.  Not in the spirit of the challenge and all.  I mean, it's supposed to be hard!

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39 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

That thing corners like a dead whale on roller skates.

I don't think those little engines have reverse thrust either.  So getting out of corners can be interesting with early rovers..

 

40 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

That node on tier 5 is absolutely necessary as it contains the OKTO (yay for SAS!)

Yeah, that is handy indeed.

 

41 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Yeah, I could have cheated my way to the 65 science...but why?

I'm with you!  But I know you have done several challenges now which require you to grind out the science at KSC.  And it can be a little grindy.  I personally don't mind it, especially just 65 points after all.  But for players who don't want to do the grind, well there's an option to bypass that if you really want to.  Really doesn't take very long to gather 65 science at KSC though.

Good luck!  Once you get SAS things smooth out considerably.  At least they did for me.  Just a little side challenge, something to do while we wait for KSP2 to appear.

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1 hour ago, 18Watt said:

Once you get SAS things smooth out considerably.

Yeah they do.  I should be able to finish upgrading all the buildings in the KSC in short order.  Filling the tech tree will be a bit more difficult without EVA, ground sample, mun rocks, etc.  That's a ton of science you can't get with just probe cores.

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A Few Contracts

Well, look at that.  Explore the Mun.  Gotta pick that one up and go for it.  I’m still at 30 parts, but the launchpad is upgraded so I’m not worried about tonnage.  Normally I’d be looking at upgrading the Astronaut Complex right now, but as I’m not using any Kerbals on these flights, I have no need.  Like, if I can’t go EVA anyhow, what’s the point, right?  So, I built this puppy and went to do a fly-by of the Mun:

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That little run netted me enough science to unlock Advanced Flight Control, and enough cash to upgrade the VAB.

A basic contract popped up that I decided to take full advantage of (Test 48-7S “Spark” Liquid Fuel Engine at the Launch Site), and then I got a two-fer:

  • Position Satellite in a Keosynchronous Orbit of Kerbin
  • Science Data From Space Around Kerbin

I’ll pick up both of those and send a satellite into orbit, even though I have no fairings.  I’ve been sticking the probe core inside a service bay, and the satellite contract I have states it only needs a Thermometer (in addition to the standard “has an antenna and can generate power”).  Which means I don’t need all the fancy gadgets on it.  So, I put this thing into the requested orbit:

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Once that was done, I got a contract to get science data from space around the Mun.  I’ve also got a contract to do temperature surveys over several sites at the Mun, all in spaceflight ABOVE 9000m.  Now, during my initial Munar fly-by, I took and sent home temperature readings, which means I can’t get science for taking them again.  But I can satisfy both contracts, get the science from the completion of both, and I’ll leave the satellite in orbit because, well, I’ll need one up there for relays and such anyhow.  Here’s the rocket, with a few shots of flying.

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I normally don’t do the survey contracts, but as I had to put a satellite in orbit around the Mun at some point, this worked.  That gave me enough science to unlock the following:

  • Heavy Rocketry

It also gave me enough funds to upgrade the following:

  • Launchpad (Level 3)
  • Runway (Level 2)
  • Astronaut Complex (Level 2)

A shot of the KSC:

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I accidentally warped a couple weeks too many; I hit the wrong button!  Anyhow, things are coming along nicely here.  I've got half of tier 5 completed in the tech tree, and I'm about halfway done with upgrading the KSC.

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Mun Landing

It’s time to start really focusing on science, primarily because I’ll need a ton of it to get through this challenge.  Without being able to get crew reports, eva reports, soil samples, mun rocks, etc., I have to get as much science as possible in the other ways I have available to me.  Checking Mission Control shows that I have a contract to Explore the Mun (Land and Return), which is perfect right now.  So I built this little thing and sent it on its way:

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I earned enough science on that trip to unlock the following:

  • Advanced Construction
  • Fuel Systems
  • Landing

Yay for fairings!  No more having to hide the probe core inside other stuff!  And I had enough cash to upgrade the following:

  • Space Plane Hangar (Level 2)
  • Administration Building (Level 2)

Satellite Positioning

After the Mun landing, I check Mission Control and I’ve got contracts for the following:

  • Position Satellite in a specific orbit of Kerbin
  • Position Satellite in a polar orbit of The Mun
  • Position Satellite in a specific orbit of Minmus
  • Position Satellite in a specific orbit of The Mun

Now, I don’t really have the greatest satellite technology yet; my antenna are a bit lacking.  But I will absolutely need a satellite network in order to go interstellar, and any amount of relays will help.  So I sent the following 4 satellites into their specific orbits:

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After those 4 satellites went up, I had enough cash to upgrade the following:

  • Mission Control (Level 3)
  • R&D (Level 2)

I've been focusing on cash, but I'm going to switch up and start really focusing on science.  I can pretty much land on and clear out the biomes on The Mun at this point, and then I can focus on Minmus.  But, of course, the best laid plans of mice and Kerbals!

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Time to start collecting some science.  Got a contract to collect science data from the surface of the Mun, so I picked that up and went to the East Crater with this little beauty:

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I earned enough science to unlock:

  • Miniaturization
  • Propulsion Systems
  • Space Exploration

Only 1 more component on tier V to go!

A check of Mission Control shows not 1 but 2 contracts to position a satellite in a synchronous orbit of Minmus.  It’s not the cash I’m after with these, but the 15 science each upon completion.  Not to mention that this will give me 3 satellites in orbit of Minmus, which will make landing there much easier.  So I picked up the contracts and put these 2 satellites in orbit:

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With that out of the way, I realized that I upgraded R&D recently, so I can collect soil samples at the KSC.  Which I did at the launchpad and VAB.  I also pulled the trick to jump at the launchpad and collect the EVA report for flying over Kerbin’s Shores.

There aren’t any contracts right now that are worth it, so I’m going to get some science from Minmus.  I did High in Space, which netted me enough science to unlock the following:

  • Precision Engineering

Better probe, better antenna.  And after this launch, I checked Mission Control and got this lovely contract:

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I was going to land there next anyhow, but to have to rendezvous as well?  I’ve got 3 satellites in orbit of the body, so I can absolutely do that.  Which I did, then landed, then came home:

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That netted me enough science to unlock the following:

  • Advanced Electrics
  • Aerodynamics
  • Specialized Control

I also had enough cash to upgrade the following:

  • Administration Building (Level 3)
  • Tracking Station (Level 3)

And I learned something during this last flight.  When you use Kerbals, you can collect the science from gadgets and store it in the command module, allowing you to collect the same science type (temp, pressure, etc.) multiple times on a flight.  You can't do that with probes, right?  Wrong.  I finally found a use for the Experiment Storage Unit!  It didn't help with wanting to get multiple rounds of data from Mystery Goo (you still need a scientist to reset that), but it gets me thinking about how to do some interplanetary stuff (take readings, store the data, jettison the expended gadget to save on weight and fuel).

Shots of the Tech Tree and the KSC at this point:

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I am finished with Tier V, starting on Tier VI.  And it gets expensive from here on out, so I'll have to really start stretching my space legs.  As I mentioned before, cash is not an issue, and you can see that I've almost got the entire KSC upgraded at this point.

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3 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

went to the East Crater with this little beauty:

I always like seeing all the efficient stuff other players come up with.  That Mun lander looks great!

4 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I finally found a use for the Experiment Storage Unit!

Oh yeah!  I forgot to mention in the rules that the Storage Unit is my new friend.  Like you, finally found a real good use for it.

 

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Pretty slim pickings in the contracts department.  The only decent contract was to place yet another satellite in a specific orbit around Minmus, so I did that.  Once that was over, I see these 2 contracts:

  • Conduct Temperature Surveys of Minmus
  • Science data from the surface of Minmus

I need to land on Minmus again anyhow, so that’s awesome.  But the temperature surveys might not be worth it.  Nearly polar orbit for 2 of them, and then I’d have to shift orbits to get the third.  But, what the heck; I gotta go anyhow to land, right?  I need the science, and this run netted me enough science to unlock the following:

  • Advanced Fuel Systems
  • Heavier Rocketry

I also was able to upgrade the Runway to Level 3.  Again, this is no longer about cash, but about science.  At this point, contracts are easy to come by and complete for cash.

Interplanetary

I’ve reached the point where I need to stretch my legs and head away from Kerbin.  That’s right, I’m about to head towards one of our planetary neighbors.  Specifically, Eve.  I’m not going to land or anything, but I am going to head there and back and try to get as much science as possible.  The problem with this is that I need to bring multiple science jr.’s and mystery goo containers with me because the probes can’t reset them.  So I end up with a probe that looks like so in the VAB:

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That’s just to collect science and insure I have enough dV for the trip home.  And now for the rest of the rocket!

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Man is that ever sleek and slender!  Let’s put her into orbit and see what happens.

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1 year, 45 days away from transfer window.  Looks like I better save and fast forward!

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An Eve encounter with a decent Pe.  I’ll have to do a correction burn once I’m orbiting the sun.

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A nice, stable orbit around Eve.  I did take science readings when I was at the Pe of 110km, before I circularized at a 5mm Ap.  And now to get this thing home.

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That run to Eve netted me enough science to unlock the following:

  • Actuators
  • Advanced Landing
  • Precision Propulsion
  • Specialized Construction
  • Supersonic Flight

I also had enough cash to upgrade the Astronaut Complex to Level 3, which now leaves me only R&D, Spaceplane Hangar, and the VAB left to upgrade.

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Couple of contracts to pick up before we get really started.

  • Science data from space around Kerbin
  • Science data from space around Minmus

After completing those, I’ve got contracts for:

  • Position satellite in a specific orbit of Gilly
  • Position satellite in a polar orbit of Eve

This is interesting because I need to put satellites in orbit of pretty much anything anyhow, but to get a contract for a planet and another for its moon at the same time?  Awesome.  And if I’m leaving them out there, I don’t need to worry about all that fuel to get home.  Sure, I still need dV to get there, orbit, transfer, orbit.  But I don’t have to bring anything back to Kerbin.  So I create this as the probe, which is actually 2 probes designed to separate:

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The best part about these contracts is that they have the same requirements for on-board gadgets.  Or, rather, they both require a Mystery Goo container, while only one requires a Thermometer.  I put a Thermometer on both just to even them out.  But really simple satellites.  Nice.  Now to finish the rocket and get on our way.

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Departure in 400 days.  Save and fast forward!

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2 satellites in 1 launch.  That is a first for me!  Also gave me enough cash to upgrade the VAB to level 3.  I keep saying I need to focus on science, but then I always end up going for the cash.  But, que sera, and all.  This leaves me with R&D and the Spaceplane Hangar as the only buildings remaining to be upgraded.

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6 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

This leaves me with R&D and the Spaceplane Hangar as the only buildings remaining to be upgraded.

Once you upgrade R&D cash becomes a non-issue.

The first time I did this, I ended up sending probes to pretty much everywhere.  I think Dres is the only CB I didn't go to.  I also used strategies in the Admin building.  

I'm actually doing a second run at it.  I'm curious this time how much of the tech tree I can unlock without leaving Kerbin/Mun/Minmus.  I'm also not using Admin strategies this time.  I think with Kerbals you could unlock the entire tree without going to other planets.  Without Kerbals you miss out on EVA reports and Surface Samples, probably some other stuff too.  But I suspect I'll be able to unlock the entire tech tree shortly after going to Eve or Duna.  It's extremely tedious and a bit grindy though, trying to hit every biome on Minmus or Mun.  

That's a neat dual probe you sent to Eve and Gilly!

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5 hours ago, 18Watt said:

Once you upgrade R&D cash becomes a non-issue.

The first time I did this, I ended up sending probes to pretty much everywhere.  I think Dres is the only CB I didn't go to.  I also used strategies in the Admin building.  

I'm actually doing a second run at it.  I'm curious this time how much of the tech tree I can unlock without leaving Kerbin/Mun/Minmus.  I'm also not using Admin strategies this time.  I think with Kerbals you could unlock the entire tree without going to other planets.  Without Kerbals you miss out on EVA reports and Surface Samples, probably some other stuff too.  But I suspect I'll be able to unlock the entire tech tree shortly after going to Eve or Duna.  It's extremely tedious and a bit grindy though, trying to hit every biome on Minmus or Mun.  

That's a neat dual probe you sent to Eve and Gilly!

Cash is already a non-issue.  It will be even more do once I upgrade R&D.

I am not using any strategies at this point.  I'm not a fan of them to begin with, so I never use them.  Besides, I've got all those bodies out there to fly by and land on.

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I keep saying I want the science, and then I get a contract for the Mun 3 run.  How can I pass up the chance to once again do something I’ve never done before?  Flyby the Mun, Minmus, and Eve with a single vessel?  Challenge accepted!

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After doing the fly-bys of Mun and Minmus, I decided to circularize way out in the middle of nowhere.  I needed to get both an Ap and Pe where, when I end up fast-forwarding to my transfer to Eve, I don’t get altered too badly by Minmus or Mun encounters.

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And I get a Pe of 103km after the initial burn?  Damn!

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So, I originally engineered this satellite to bring it home after the fly-by of Eve.  And once I got here I thought “Wait – why?  I need satellites all over the place anyhow, so why not just leave it here?”  Yeah, I’m still thinking in terms of not stranding Kerbals.  But, safety first!

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A check of Mission Control shows a contract to gather scientific data from Gilly.  Not space around, but from Gilly.  So it looks like I’m about to go land on Eve’s moon.  I still need to collect all the data from space high and low around Gilly, so I get to engineer a probe with multiple science juniors and goo cannisters on it.

For this particular run, I decided to craft 2 robes, one to get us there and back, and a second one to land.  The one that gets us there and back has 2 of juniors and goo containers, as well as the experiment storage unit, while the lander only has 1 junior/goo cannister, and no storage unit.  And I don’t have to bring the lander home, so after it’s done doing its thing and transfers data back to the return ship, I’m going to leave it in orbit of Gilly as another satellite.  And so we end up with this:

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That’s 2 probes, one on top of the other, with docking ports and all the science gadgets I’ll need.  And any fuel that’s left from landing on Gilly will get transferred back to the return rocket.  I hope.  Now, about that return rocket…

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Take a close look at that shot.  A return trip to Kerbin with a Pe of 80km…for 179 m/s.  Are you kidding me?  Probably because I was traveling 4.5 km/s when I started the burn.

And I forgot to take a shot on the ground, but here’s the recovery report:

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1063 science gained from this run.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to actually get science in space near Gilly.  Even at 12km it was still high.  Maybe I have to be under 10km?  Still got enough to unlock:

  • Advanced Aerodynamics
  • Advanced Exploration
  • Command Modules
  • Electronics

I took Electronics at this point because it leaves me 16.5 science short of picking up the next node, but also gives me the Seismic Accelerometer which I can then use to pick up science at the Launch Pad and Runway.  That got me close…but not quite there.  Luckily, I have the following contracts I can pick up to close the gap:

  • Science data from space around Kerbin
  • Science data from space around Minmus
  • Science data from space around Gilly

This allowed me to unlock Field Science.  Rovers!  And I’ve got enough cash to upgrade the Spaceplane Hangar to level 3.  This leaves only R&D to upgrade.

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41 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

I wasn’t able to actually get science in space near Gilly.  Even at 12km it was still high.  Maybe I have to be under 10km? 

I don't remember if I overcame that or not.  Everything happens so slowly at Gilly I probably gave up and moved on.

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So, more Safety First shenanigans!  Got a contract to take temperature readings at several sites on the Mun, which all happen to be in a biome I need to actually hit up for some science.  And considering I just picked up the RoveMate, I’m in the mood to craft a rover and be on my way.  So here goes nothing!

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There’s a probe core controlling the whole thing that I’m going to bring back after collecting science, and a rover core that I’ll drive around the surface a bit to deal with the contract.  Win-win!

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So I collected the science and completed the contract…and the solar panel broke!

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Why it’s underwater and not sinking I do not know.  What I do know is that I collected enough science to unlock Scanning Tech.  Now I get to take the Atmospheric thing and gather science at the Launch Pad and Runway.

Checking Mission Control, I’ve got contracts for:

  • Gather science from the surface of Minmus
  • Test Structural Pylon landed at Minmus

So I craft this probe and send it on its way.

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I am going to use the Structural Pylons as landing legs, and then stage them right before I ascend back into orbit.  Yes, this makes the ship look weird.  But hey!  Science!

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The Structural Pylons worked like a charm as landing legs.  Of course, I wouldn’t try this on terrain that isn’t flat!  But, I earned enough science to unlock Unmanned Tech.  I technically have enough cash to upgrade R&D to level 3, but that would leave me strapped a bit at this point.  A couple more contracts, though, and I’ll be done with the KSC!

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Got a couple of those “Test this part landed at Kerbin” contracts, so I’m picking those up.  From this point on, I won’t mention contracts like this as they provide very little other than some quick cash which is nearly pointless at this point in the game.  And now another contract to pull science data from the surface of the Mun.  Which is fine; I like being able to design new craft based on the nodes I’ve unlocked.  I landed at the Highland Craters, which netted enough science to unlock High-Power Electrics.  I’ve now got 7 nodes to go on tier VII.

Mission Control has no contracts that I would do, so I’m going to do a fly-by of Duna and collect some science.  High and Low over the planet with this probe:

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Damn, that window isn’t for nearly 3 years.  Well, time to save and fast-forward.  Thankfully, probes don’t need snacks!

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I really want to go to Ike…but I don’t have the science gadgets to collect all the science.  Next trip!  But for now, I got enough science to unlock:

  • Advanced Metalworks
  • Composites

So I got a contract now to map 8 asteroids threatening Kerbin.  I know some of these contracts are broken depending upon the orbit, but I think this one is ok.  I believe that the SENTINEL has to be closer to the sun than the planet it is scanning, and this contract has an Ap of ~11.8 billion meters (if I read the commas and placing right).  So I’m going to pick this up and use this handy dandy device to deal with the contract:

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And here she is, out in the middle of nowhere, doing my nefarious bidding.

Now I’ve got a contract to rescue a Kerbal from orbit of Kerbin.  Now, the rules state that you can use unmanned craft to go and rescue Kerbals, but you cannot launch them again after rescue.  I’m looking at the rescue contract in several ways, not the least of which is to get EVA and crew reports from space, as well as surface samples when I land.  So yeah, I’m sending this bad boy up to go get Janing:

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I’ve got way more parachutes than you’d think I’d need, primarily because I’m going to try also salvaging the craft.  I need just a bit more cash and I can unlock the R&D level 3.

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And rescued!  I took multiple EVA and Crew Reports, as well as a surface sample.  Didn’t get me enough science to unlock any new nodes, but I do have enough cash to upgrade R&D to level 3.  This completes the KSC.

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On 9/21/2022 at 11:09 AM, Scarecrow71 said:

The Structural Pylons worked like a charm as landing legs.  Of course, I wouldn’t try this on terrain that isn’t flat!

I'd land that on the side of a hill.  What could go wrong?

8 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Thankfully, probes don’t need snacks!

Well, at least they don't complain as much...

8 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

but I do have enough cash to upgrade R&D to level 3.

That's a big hurdle in any Career save!

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Today's nonsense!

Picked up contracts for the following:

  • Position satellite in a specific orbit of the Sun
  • Position satellite in an equatorial orbit of the Mun
  • Position satellite in a synchronous orbit of Minmus

I’m picking these up for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the science.  I launched the Sun probe first, but before I set it in its orbit, I launched the Mun probe and got that into its orbit.  Why?  Because after I satisfied the contract, I moved it to a polar orbit and did a survey scan.

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Then, with the Sun probe still making its way to its Ap, I launched the Minmus probe.

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Now, let’s go see where our Sun probe is.  Oh, there it is, on an escape trajectory out of the sun.  Well, let’s go put that puppy into its orbit.  2 years to get to Ap, and then another 3 and change to get to Pe, and voila!  We are set!

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And while we were fast-forwarding to our encounters to set up the Sun probe orbit, our Sentinel telescope finished doing its job!  All told, I had enough science points to unlock Large Volume Containment.  Only 4 more nodes on this tier!

Got another contract to collect science data from the surface of the Mun.  I’m going to end up probably mining every biome there to complete this challenge as I’m hoping to not have to implement an Admin strategy.  Anyhow, I landed this at the East Farside Crater:

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That netted me enough science to unlock Heavy Landing.  Man this is really starting to slow down.

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Things have really ground to a halt with science.  I'm going to have to go mine Minmus, and then go off to other planets.

Got a contract to put a satellite into a specific orbit around Ike.  The satellite needs to include a resource survey scanner, so I get to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  With this:

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And I’m gonna get a free Ike encounter without having to actually orbit Duna?  Sold!

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Once this is done, I got a contract to put a space station in orbit around Kerbin.  I know that we aren't using Kerbals in this challenge, but it's 25 science for completion.

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All of that is easy.  At first it seems like the 4,000 units of liquid fuel might be an issue, but it’s not when you consider that I’ll have to fly up there to attach all the stuff, and I’ll have leftover fuel on pretty much every damn drone I send up.  And we don’t have to have any actual Kerbals on it, so we should be fine.  12 of them is nothing.  We start with the actual base of the station itself:

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That central column is actually a fuel tank, but I’ve left it empty for now to decrease weight upon launch.  I can then fill that with whatever leftover fuel I have in the drones I send up.  And I added 9 docking ports to it so I can send up a full array of solar panels, communications hub, and multiple habitat and science modules.  This should then also leave me with enough room to bring up a battery of fuel tanks to get to the 4000 units I’ll need.

I buried the drone on the underside of the cupola because I still don’t have the nice big round flat one yet.  And now the base in space, after transferring remaining fuel and decoupling the launch tanks:

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The next thing I want to do is to send up a couple of habitation modules.  The Hitchhiker Storage Container holds 4 Kerbals, so I’ll need a pair of these, one on either side of the station:

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So it’s now got 2 habitat modules, for a total of 9 supported Kerbals.  Need 3 more, and the science module only has enough space for 2 each.  So I’ll have to send 2 each of those up there.

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I left the tanks on the research modules for the time being because I have fuel left over but nowhere else to put it.  Now, I need to get to 4000 units of fuel – I currently have 1994, so almost half – and I need to have decent storage tanks on the craft to hold it.  To go along with this, I don’t NEED more solar panels, but I’m going to put some on because more equals clean.  So I send this up to attach to the bottom of the space station:

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That was the single-most complex thing I've built in this game.  6 individual launches with 5 different rendezvous and docking maneuvers.  Not bad!  Still doesn't get me a whole lot of science, but I'll take the experience!

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57 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

Once this is done, I got a contract to put a space station in orbit around Kerbin.  I know that we aren't using Kerbals in this challenge, but it's 25 science for completion.

Yeah, why not?  The contract didn't say there had to be actual Kerbals on board!  (Some of them do, watch out...)

58 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

At first it seems like the 4,000 units of liquid fuel might be an issue, but it’s not

That's a lot of fuel to lift into orbit.  Not easy at all..

I'm plugging away at a second attempt at your All Contract challenge at the moment..

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To start today, I got a contract to put a sentinel telescope in orbit to map asteroids.  I’ve already got one up there from a previous contract, and I don’t even have to adjust its orbit.  So I’m taking that contract and setting the orbit.  It isn’t worth a whole lot of science, but it’s passive, and I don’t have to worry about it.

So I check Mission Control, and I’ve got a contract to get science from the surface of Minmus…and I’ve got one to rescue someone from LKO.  The rules state that you can in fact rescue Kerbals in LKO and use them to go get science and stuff, so long as you don’t ever launch them once you satisfy the contract.  So I’m gonna go pick up Linbal, head to Minmus, grab some science, and bring her home.

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The bonus part of this is that the Kerbal is a Scientist.  Here comes all that science in space I couldn’t get before!

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So, I tried to get back to Kerbin…and there’s no parachutes on this thing.  Like, what the frak?  And Linbal also doesn’t have a freaking parachute.  So now I get to rescue the rescue mission.  And I know why this doesn’t have parachutes.  Because I started designing a craft, scrapped it, and kept going like nothing was wrong.  Sigh.

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Damn.  Well, stuff happens, right?  Right!  I ended up with enough science out of this run to unlock:

  • Heavy Aerodynamics
  • High Altitude Flight
  • Nuclear Propulsion

That completes Tier VII.

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I started this weekend with a pair of Minmus contracts in Mission Control:

  • Rescue Roing from orbit of Minmus
  • Plant a Flag on Minmus

If I’m going to be rescuing someone from orbit of Minmus, I may as well drop down to the surface and pick up some science, right?  So I’ll run up there with a modified version of my original Linbal rescuer, but I’ll add some parachutes to it so I can return in that ship.

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After that run, I was able to unlock Automation, which gives me a drone core and a couple new antenna to play with!  And now that I have these new toys to play with, I’m going to start replacing some satellites I’ve got in orbit.  You know, upgrade to the latest tech and all.  I’ll start by placing a new one in a tundra orbit around Kerbin (contract!) and removing the oldest satellite I’ve got in Kerbin’s orbit.  I’m putting this puppy up there:

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It wasn't a very productive weekend all told, but I did get a bit of science AND I started to update the out-dated satellites I've got up in orbit.  The real work starts this week as I look to do an unmanned Jool-5.  I've only ever attempted to go to Jool once before, and that was during the Kerpollo challenge that I am still trying to figure out (Eve is a pain in the behind, and Jool just takes too much to do it one launch).  I figure I can do multiple launches here to get the requisite parts into LKO, then assemble them like some big Voltron/Constuctocon mash-up and send them off.  That's going to take some planning, but stay tuned as I will give updates!

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Jool-5, Part I

And it’s time to get started on the unmanned Jool-5.  The biggest challenge here will be to collect all the science, which includes high in space, near, and on the surface of every moon.  I could very well attempt to send up all the gadgets, but the number of Science Junior’s and Mystery Goo cannisters alone (34 in total) make doing so restrictive, even with an LKO assembly.  And it’s not necessary to actually get all of the science in one run; people generally do it simply so they don’t have to go back for stuff they missed.  I'm going to use spoilers here because this post is going to be long.

Landers

Spoiler

To start with, I’ll need 5 separate landers, one for each moon.  Doing this will spread the parts out enough such that I won’t have to try launching something too heavy and fuel-restrictive into LKO.  In addition to this, I’ll need a module designed specifically for the landers to be attached to for the journey to Jool.  So we end up with the following 6 objects in LKO, and then a shot of them all docked and joined up:

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You’ll notice the lander hub is pretty basic, designed merely as something for the 5 landers to dock to once we get them up in LKO.  This is designed to be jettisoned once we are done landing on all the moons, saving on weight for the return trip home.  It may seem like wasted resources, but it should actually save money in the long run.

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I am certain this thing is over-engineered.  I don’t care; I like having all that extra fuel to bring back to the ship when I’m done.  So I put this thing in orbit and attached it to the Joolian Lander Hub…and I’ve decided that this thing is probably just right for 4 of Jool’s moons – Vall, Pol, Bop, and Laythe.  So I put 4 of these in orbit and attached them to the lander hub, which looks like this:

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I planned rather poorly, and ended up using more than half of my monopropellant on the last lander to get connected.  I also had to turn the last one 45 degrees clockwise to get it to dock because I didn’t leave myself enough room to get in there.  Well, I learned something for next time!  And now the Tylo lander:

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Well, doesn’t that look familiar?  It should, considering it’s pretty close to what the others look like.  The major difference here is that we have decouplers on the side fuel tanks, which allow for a greater TWR upon ascent from Tylo.  I want to test this, but Hyperedit doesn’t play with MechJeb very nicely.  So let’s just attach this to the lander hub and hope for the best!

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So we have our 5 landers assembled on a hub in LKO.  Now I need to get the mothership up there with enough fuel to get to Jool, orbit all 5 moons, and then get home.  I also need to bring up some monopropellant; I used a bit too much on the last 2 landers getting them onto the hub, and I want to make sure I don’t run out while I’m doing the Jool thing.

Interlude

Spoiler

We have to take a small break here and discuss how terrible I am at planning.  All of the docking modules are using the Clamp-o-Tron Docking port, which is fine for most things.  With a ship this size, however, it’s not really conducive to long flights.  To be truthful, I should have waited to start this until after I picked up the big docking port, but I jumped the gun.  I mean, the normal sized docking port is fine for the lander module, but with the mothership itself we should have all of those small docking ports.  So I’m going to veer off into a few contracts to pick up enough science to get the larger docking port so the mothership is a bit more stable.

I’ve got a contract to rescue Tedfurt from the orbit of Minmus, which is perfect as I can rescue him and then land on Minmus to get a bunch more surface science.  And so we use one of the old rescue ships to do that.

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That run was enough to unlock Meta-Materials, which includes the senior docking port.  Now I can get back to my Jool-5 mission planning, starting with the return module.

Return Module

Spoiler

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I still have the normal docking port at the top because all the stuff I’ve put in orbit to this point has that docking port.  But I’ve got the senior on the bottom because all mothership parts that connect to the return module will have the larger one.  More stability in the mothership…and lots of autostruts in the lander module.

Science Module

Spoiler

My next stop in this journey is to get a science module on the mothership.  Considering I’m assembling the ship in LKO, I have decided that I can afford to have enough Science Junior’s and Mystery Goo cannisters on board to collect these science points in high and low over all 6 bodies (all 5 moons and, of course, Jool).  It will mean I have to send up more fuel in the long run, but science!

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The nose cone is attached via the senior docking port, so I can jettison that once I’m in space.  I’ve got batteries and monopropellant tanks inside the center column, which is nothing more than T-25 structural tube capped on the bottom by another senior docking port.  That will allow me then to jettison the fuel tanks and engine once I’m docked to the return module.

Power & Communications

Spoiler

The next thing I need to attach to the ship is a module for power and communications.  Every lander and probe and such that I’ve put up there so far has their own power supplies and communications, but it isn’t enough.  The ship itself needs its own solar power source, and we need plenty of antenna to make sure we can control the ship.  And because I am going for the gusto, I want to do this.

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I ended up having to do multiple launches/reverts to get this thing into orbit.  The ring is heavy, and it was messing with my center of gravity, so the rocket I ended up using was split (best way to describe it), with half the fuel above the ring, and half the fuel and the engines below it.  That stabilized it nicely.

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Progress So Far

Spoiler

I had to stop at this point and take a shot of what the ship looks like in orbit at this point because I simply cannot believe it.  I actually got that round thing up and docked.

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I am simply stunned that I was able to put together a round spoke-like section, launch it to rendezvous, and then dock it.  Damn.  I’m just…wow.  I've never done anything this complicated before, nor have I done any of some of these designs before.

I am, at this point, about 80% complete with assembly.  I have to get a bunch of fuel and some engines up there to propel this thing to the Jool system, which is going to take some serious planning just in and of itself.  And I have no way of knowing, yet, if this will even succeed.  Thankfully I have 3020286:funds:, which means I can scrap and start over if this mission goes completely sideways.

I'll have more updates on this mission next week!

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