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Interplanetary Nuclear-Solar Powered Ion Thrust Expedition

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Introducing the Kerbal Space Agency's newest line of heavy lift rockets, the Kerbin Launch and Acceleration System for Spacecraft. Despite a rocky development and many, many failures, the KLASS-I is now fully ready for flight. With its twin-Mammoth-II core stage, two Clydesdale solid rocket motors, sleek design, and traditional black and white color scheme, this is a launch vehicle with some class.



The Kerbal Space Agency's latest project will require three launches. Launch 1: Transfer vehicle.




Launch 2: Lander.





Launch 3: Crew. The KLASS-Y is the crew-rated configuration of the KLASS rocket, SRBs removed and topped with a Launch Escape System to guarantee the safety of all kerbals on board. Hopefully.






Crew module Korion uncouples from the KLASS Upper Stage to prepare for docking.




With crew on board, the transfer vehicle docks with the lander and extends solar panels to prepare for departure.


This is INSPITE, the Interplanetary Nuclear-Solar Powered Ion Thrust Expedition. Recent developments in nuclear fission reactors and upscaled solar arrays have finally made ion engines viable for long range crewed vessels. This experimental craft will carry a crew of five to Duna for a surface landing before returning to Kerbin. Unfortunately it seems nobody at the KSC understands the concept of launching during transfer windows, and the crew will be required to wait in a parking orbit for a full year and a half before departing.


Prepare for burn. Bringing reactors online, balancing reactor conversion rate for stable engine output. Burn duration: sixteen minutes. Delta-v: 539 m/s




Burn complete. Next burn in approximately 10 days. Burn duration: [data lost]. Delta-v: 641 m/s 


The crew is visited by the Menu Spirit. It is said that this kerbal wanders the skies searching for their long lost ship. A visitation from this mysterious spirit is meant to bring voyagers good luck.



Goodbye, friend!



Sadly it seems that mission control's estimate of the transfer window was somewhat imprecise. A rather large correction burn will be necessary for an intercept. Next burn will begin shortly. Burn duration: thirty minutes. Delta-v: 1,113 m/s




Burn complete. We are on course for Duna! The Menu Spirit has graced the crew with their presence once more to wish them luck on their journey.



The INSPITE crew:


From left to right:

Patwise Kerman, flight engineer

German Kerman, surface specialist

Valentina Kerman, mission commander

Tim C Kerman, pilot

Orman Kerman, ion drive technician


0 days until next adventure.



Kerbals like to stick their mag boots to each other. A lot. Setting up this group photo was a pain, but worth it.




INSPITE blueprints:


Drew these before the Early Access launch once we had the full parts list. Initial idea was to rush something out quickly to test some of the new features on day one, but this did not happen for many reasons.

Mission objective is to land on and return from Duna.

In spite of awful performance on my below-spec laptop.

In spite of the many bugs, glitches, and broken features.

In spite of my rockets initially flipping over, wobbling, and exploding.

In spite of the camera bug causing my upper stage to become unusable during my initial attempts.

In spite of struts disappearing half the time I try to launch and having to replace them all manually.

In spite of certain radial parts drifting away from my craft during time warp, which irritates me to no end (you may notice floating RCS thrusters in some shots).

In spite of my game suddenly deciding not to create save files when saving at one point.

In spite of the undocking bug I keep hearing about and am dreading for when I need to undock my lander.

In spite of everything, I am having a ton of fun with the game, and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

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6 hours ago, i dont know how to forum said:

0 days until next adventure.

EXCELLENT craft design and excellent photography! Please keep it up, can’t wait to see the rest of the mission.

Also kudos for getting this all in place despite all the bugs - no small feat. 

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After some additional minor correction burns, the INSPITE crew prepares for Duna capture.


Duna periapsis has been lowered to 85km, with the intent of utilizing the Oberth effect for orbital insertion.



As the vessel enters Duna's SOI, a strange transmission is detected. The signal is barely readable, and somehow, it seems to be coming from the planet's surface. Patwise attempts to clean up the message...

"This is Jebediah Kerman. I have completed the mission objective in honor of our great agency. I will be waiting for your response. Transmission over."


A kerbal? On the surface of Duna? How did they get there? This was not part of the mission briefing. The crew is shocked, all except Valentina. She knows Jeb, and this sounds like exactly the kind of thing he would do. He must not have even told anybody he was going.

In any case, it seems the mission parameters have changed; this is now a rescue mission. Tim C will have to be ready for a precision landing.

First, however, there's still the matter of orbital insertion. Unfortunately, it seems this will prove more difficult than anticipated. Low thrust maneuvers are weird, and nobody at the Kerbal Space Agency quite understands how to manage them yet. Perhaps entering with such a low periapsis was not the best idea.


Still, mission control manages to put together a maneuver plan for orbital capture. This obit will take the vessel out to the very edge of Duna's SOI, where it can easily change its periapsis and inclination.



Starting insertion burn, ion drive online. Expected burn time 42 minutes, delta-v 1,537 m/s


And... oh dear.


It seems the solar arrays simply don't provide enough power this far out from Kerbol. Patwise is pushing the reactors to their limit, but they just aren't giving enough juice to keep the drive running forever.

Nine minutes into the burn, the batteries run dry.


The engines continue to burn.


Patwise and Orman double check the math. Six SP-XXL solar arrays at about 15 EC/s each, two SP-XL arrays at about 5 EC/s each, and two KR4-P3 reactors at 50 EC/s each. Twenty-four IX-6315 ion engines, each running nominal at 2kN/s, each consuming 10 EC/s. That's ~200 EC/s generated, 240 EC/s consumed, and a dead battery.

Where's the extra 40 EC/s coming from? Did the engineers miscalculate the power usage? Are the engines powered by dark magic? Is it a blessing from the Menu Spirit?

Orman can't explain it. They seem almost disappointed. The engines are supposed to reduce their thrust automatically if they're not receiving sufficient power. Instead, they seem to be chugging along at full thrust as though nothing had happened.

Meanwhile, as Duna approaches, Tim C struggles with holding the maneuver while not letting their periapsis get too low. He doesn't fully trust mission control's maneuver plan, and this vessel is not rated for aerocapture.


He activates RCS for better control. Long dormant thrusters suddenly spring to life.



Yeah, I got nothing here. Those floating struts and RCS thusters are ugly. Really hate this part drift bug, especially since it's not game breaking and is therefore probably a low priority.

Lights within the crew cabin turn off. Back on, then off again, flickering as power fluctuates in the ship. As the dark side of the planet grows closer, things are tense among the crew. Will they make orbit in time? Nobody expects whatever miracle is keeping the engines running to continue once the solar arrays have shut down. 



Darkness. For a brief moment, the drive continues to burn...

It doesn't last. The engines stutter and turn off. INSPITE has failed to make orbit.


Valentina steps up. The mission isn't over yet. As soon as they're back in sunlight, they'll resume the burn. They will make orbit. They will land on Duna. They will rescue Jeb, and they will make it home.

Patwise keeps the reactors hot to recharge the batteries. They'll need everything they can get.


As soon as the solar arrays have been properly reoriented, the drive is reactivated. No longer caring where their periapsis ends up, Tim C points retrograde and sets the throttle to max.


Success! We have Duna capture!


The crew celebrates, but the hard part isn't over yet. Next step: preparations for landing and rescue.



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11 hours ago, Intercept Games said:
  • Re-tuned electrical systems, including adjustments to xenon engine electrical draw, xenon engine thrust, reactor fuel burn rate, and RTG lifetime 


...oh dear.

Orman, what did you do?

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Ah yes, the classic year and a half on orbit before departure to Duna! Very nice craft design, the Klass-1 is a well-proportioned launch vehicle.  I'm looking forward to more complex mission reports coming out of the woodwork post patch 1, so I'll be following this one.  Keep it up!


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