Xeldrak

What did you do in KSP today?

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8 hours ago, Fearless Son said:

I have had plenty of other items refuse to work so long as they were inside a bay, so I assumed the same was true of antenna.

Yeah, some do and some don't, and it's not totally consistent. The Atmospheric Analyser doesn't (makes sense). Landing gear doesn't sometimes if it clips inside the bay even a little, at other times it does. The science can does, as do some of the other science experiments (can try by binding them to action groups or pinning). 

2 hours ago, Ace in Space said:

In other news, I attempted to build my own first space plane today. Can't really call it a SSTO, since it has some additional engines stuck on the tail that get dropped, because I don't have the RAPIER engine yet. It ultimately made it to about 60km and then ran out of fuel. I spent my KSP time today working entirely on this stupid plane, instead of the Minmus base.

:D

I can relate. This happened last night: after finishing work on Morningstar's first operational iteration, I was thinking about refueling it -- it needs a bit of juice once it's in LKO to get to LEO; sounds illogical for a craft with nearly 10k dV but it works like that because of staging. Now I have a perfectly functional way of refueling even big craft in orbit; basically a simple tanker with a tug that I haul up with my heavy lifter plane. "Now, wouldn't it be less trouble if I just made a dedicated tanker plane for it?" 

One thing led to another, and now my hangar includes the Ishtar.

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Take-off weight is over 420 tons, those four orange Rockomaxes are payload, and it will get them up there.

I'll likely keep tweaking this one too but it's pretty nice already. Flies well. Could use a bit more power maybe but then who doesn't?

(Unsolicited hint: start by making a rocket-powered SSTO spaceplane. They're easier to fly and you don't need to fiddle with fuel mixes. Once it makes orbit, start swapping out engines and tuning fuel mixes to see how much more efficient you can make it.)

Edit: by the way, I just had an epiphany about thrust torque, which is a really annoying characteristic of this otherwise excellent design template (meaning, long, big tail, big wings, engines on pods in the wings). Since the design is vertically asymmetrical, the CoM shifts vertically as the tanks drain, which means there will always be thrust torque. In the atmosphere this is not a problem at all because the tail with stabilise it. Out of the atmosphere, it becomes a major PITA as the plane will want to pitch up the moment you fire up the engines.

Now, I've been controlling this by switching off the lower engines when I switch to rocket power (I've combined both mode switch and engine toggle for those engines into one action) and by having a pair of vernors set to control pitch only at the tail. It sort of kind of does the job but not really well. 

Anyway, in one of those D'OH! moments it occurred to me that there's a better solution: just stick a rocket engine on a gimbal on the tail. As long as it's powerful enough and the gimbal is free enough, it'll automatically adjust to cancel out the thrust torque, when using SAS or any other autopilot anyway. The Ishtar is rocking a Vector because it's so huge and I have one, but for less insanely big ones just pick any 1.25 m one with sufficient power and gimbal for the job. Additionally it gives it some extra shove when getting into orbit which is always nice, especially if you also need to switch off some of the engines to keep it under control.

Only trade-off is weight, but it's really not much weight compared to the alternatives.

Edited by Brikoleur

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Kerbals rejoice!!!

Sing hymns for the Kraken!

The Kerbollo programme is complete!:cool:

After a nice, slow, sedate docking, my ecstatic Kerbals transferred over to the command module and prepared to escape Minmus and go home. When I sorted out my Minmus escape burn, I realised that I wouldn't be able to escape Minmus and get back into the atmosphere of Kerbin in one burn. But that didn't matter, as I just added in a retrograde burn closer to Kerbin that would allow me to enter Kerbin's atmosphere with a periapsis of about 3 km.

Both burns went well, and I got to experience re-entry at 3 km/s. Many explosions (of the service module.). Much flames. All of the ablation. 

After a bit of a tense fall at mach 2 through the atmosphere, the parachutes deployed with a reassuring wumph. As it appeared that we would land on land, I tweaked the 'chutes so that they would deploy higher up. I tell you, Kerbal Engineer's 'altitude above terrain' readout is a gift from the Kraken.

Unfortunately, when tweaking the parachutes, I accidentally made them fully deploy at slightly different altitudes, so there was a bit of excitement as the capsule tipped over to one side as the chutes deployed.

Didn't matter, as we landed safely. I got Rosgar Kerman out to plant a flag, commemorating the end of the Kerbollo moon exploration programme. Rosgar hadn't left that capsule for nearly 27 days!!!

I did a bit of work on my shuttle whose UTP (Unmanned Test Programme) will start tomorrow. I like doing drawn (on paper) designs for upcoming ships, so I am currently doing a technical drawing of my space station, which is named after a kerbal who was killed in action in my other 'testing' save. I hope to build it entirely using reusable launch vehicles.

Thanks for reading!!!!

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While waiting for an Eve transfer window (and also because either I really like anticipation or I have slightly cold feet), I did some routine missions. For certain values of "routine" anyway.

First, a paid Duna landing. It was actually not-so-routine because my lander doesn't have a whole lot of margin for error; it has enough fuel to deorbit, reorbit, and RV in LDO, but that's it. If I botch the ascent or burn too much fuel on the way down, I'm stuck. Ultimately all went well, the lander is back at Duna Station with engineers busy re-packing parachutes.

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Then I brought back the science crew on Laythabout, who had flown up to the North Pole on a science mission. On the way back they splashed down in the Sagen Sea to get a sample of the water and perform a few more experiments. That was fun.

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Here they are back at the Kosmodrome, unloading their results to Lakeside Mansions for closer examination and storage or transmission back home.

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Real soon now the Morningstar will fly, and we will find out if I should have named him Icarus instead.

 

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1 hour ago, Brikoleur said:

Here they are back at the Kosmodrome,

Curious how long your "runway" is on Laythe?  (98d to my coming Jolian window.)

Edited by Hotel26

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I'm starting a new game, so I went for some testing in sandbox. The crew didn't survive, but they got pretty nice view for their last moments

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Did my first manual dockings in quite a while. It's always good to get some practice without the UI, or without any RCS (I can do either of those things individually, though I still cannot yet do RCS-less dockings with no UI either since I need to click the target vectors).

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In other news, my early-game station parts, rockets, and crew capsule are almost complete. I've spent most of today testing them all out; now the only things left to do are add action groups and upload.

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2 hours ago, Hotel26 said:

Curious how long your "runway" is on Laythe?  (98d to my coming Jolian window.)

The section I marked is about 2.5 km, roughly the same as on the KSC. The suitable landing strip is a great deal longer than that though.

Fiery the Angels rose, & as they rose deep thunder roll'd
Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc

-- William Blake

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Morningstar is ready to set out, in Kerbin orbit and fueled up.

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Ishtar on the other hand turned out to be a bit of a Spruce Goose. It has two problems, one minor, one serious (and no fun to solve). The minor one is a thermal issue; the Klaw is not sufficient to shield that Mk 1 command pod, and unless finessed very carefully it has a tendency to burn up on deorbit. 

The major one is that the Kraken loves it. 

Decouple from Morningstar, kraken. Pump fuel around for better balance on re-entry, kraken. Breathe too heavily, kraken. Only in orbit though. In the atmosphere it flies and handles fine. Any of you folks have ideas on how to appease the kraken? So far I managed to work around it by carefully tweaking Autostrut and ... not pumping as much fuel around as I would have liked, but I would really like to know what exactly I'm doing wrong here.

Due to these and other issues I juuust missed my return to KSC. So close...

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Edited by Brikoleur

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24 minutes ago, Martian Emigrant said:

I hate tylo.

Agreed!

Tylo is a four letter word...  :mad:

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Hey there all Kerbolites.

 

Finaly.

Last I time I bragged  I Reported that my crew was on Duna.

Since then they were able to leave Duna direct to, not worth reporting, Dres.

From there they waited a few years then proceeded to Jool.

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Went to Bop first. Seemed logical at the time.

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Then Tylo
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About Tylo They were too heavy to land and did a lot of altitude change to burn excess fuel. Barely worked. Shouda burned a little more.
Once there the crew remembered that there was a discussion on Kerbing before departure about putting a ladder. Just in case.
Turned out to be a false scare. Bill easily climbed on top and closed the bay so they could walk on it.
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Leaving was difficult. Something like 20 really bad simulations. They had to taxi 40km to find a suitable hill.Too much fuel prevented getting to orbit. Not enough meant staying in orbit.
A case of more is too much and too less isn't enough.
 
They eventually made orbit with an optimized 1700 DeltaV.
Which turned out to be enough. To my surprise.
The leaving orbit, injection to Pol and orbiting left 600 deltaV to land on Pol. Plenty.
 
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Next Laythe.
They have been on the road for 26 years.
 
ME
 
Edited by Martian Emigrant

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7woK9EI.jpg

Amazingly, I managed to complete my Kerbin orbit architecture in just today (not counting the Bellatrix CEV-1 spacecraft, which I designed some time ago). It's taken about 14 hours today to design, test, and upload all of the Alnitak station modules and trusses (they can all be found here).

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The Space Camp Bus Is off on another Kerbin sytem tour, hauling 18 tourists as well as training two new crewmen.

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Also, the launching and fueling of the Jool Exploration Expidition (JEE) was completed. The Kina,
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The Kinta,

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and the Santa Karia
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are ready to depart Kerbin, with the three ships using Rhino-powered transfer stages to perform fast, efficient ejection burns within one hour of each other, hopefully today if time permits.

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Edited by StrandedonEarth

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16 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

The Space Camp Bus Is off...

...be on the lookout for well-meaning but literally minded spherical robots... <_<

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I landed the MDRV Sethlans I on Minmus, getting very close to the Minmus Base construction site after a relatively risky, low-altitude correction burn. A few little "hops" later, and Sethlans I was right next to the modules that has been dropped off by Montu I. I detached all of the Type 3 Base Connectors and used one of the small drones to move one connector onto the base. Next, the Power and Experiments modules were quite literally dropped off. Nothing broke, but for some odd reason both modules began flipping around before settling into a stable position. The hard-to-move modules, along with the fact that I was running out of monopropellant in the only functioning drone, made me realize I will need to bring in an even BIGGER drone to help move the modules themselves around. The current drones I have on Minmus are only designed for the Base Connectors, although I may need more of them. 

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Now that every piece of cargo had been delivered, it was time for Mivie Kerman aboard Montu I to fulfill her second mission: bring high-value science experiments safely home to Kerbin. The other day I mentioned how part of the Zemyna-Minthe station ventured down to Minmus for a brief science excursion. This is why both MDRVs have those 2.5m storage units on them: it contains a science storage unit for bringing back non-reusable experiment data that has a much higher scientific value if recovered. Montu I lifted off from Minmus just after nightfall, when the Zemyna-Minthe station was passing overhead. Montu I was unable to dock with the station, so I parked it about 30-40 meters away and let Mivie collect stored science data during a brief EVA. Once all experiments had been safely stored, Montu I began a burn that would result in a close (73 km) polar Mun encounter, bringing its orbit closer to Kerbin where a de-orbit burn would be much less expensive.

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About 6 Kerbin days following Mive Kerman's departure from Minmus SOI, she and Montu I passed just over 70 km above the Mun's north pole. The encounter put Montu I into a heavily inclined but only moderately eccentric (~0.3) orbit around Kerbin near the Mun's orbit. A quick burn put Montu I's periapsis at just 59 km, which I mistakenly thought would be enough for aerobreaking. It wasn't. Thankfully, the engine survived the 3.1 km/s entry into Kerbin's atmosphere, allowing Mivie to lower the craft's periapsis to about 23 km, enough to bring it down to the planet's surface. An hour later, Montu I entered Kerbin's atmosphere for the last time at about 2.9 km/s. The main body of the craft was kept for some time, with the landing gear extended as well, to try and slow itself down. However, equipment too close to the recovery module was about to overheat and explode, so I had to detach it - just as the 2.5m decoupler exploded. The command pod began to overheat as well, reaching near-critical levels for at least half a minute before slowly cooling down. After the initial nail-biting reentry, landing was simple and quite uneventful as Montu I gently parachuted down to the surface of Kerbin's deserts at under 5 m/s.

The mission was a success, bringing in over 2,000 science points from half a dozen Minmus-based experiments. It also provided useful insight to how the MDRV line of craft could be further improved on.

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Meanwhile, Mivie Kerman's new ride is under development...

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Good thing it was an un-kerbaled trial run. Morningstar didn't even make it to the surface. Critical points of failure were the radial decouplers and the long "neck" fuel tank of the payload module; also a few less essential bits were cooked. I tried a few different approaches but all of them ended up the same way. My best attempt was close, but no cigar -- I didn't lose anything critical to heat, but when I hit around 45k altitude, the air resistance pulled off my wings. I think I could've managed it with a few hundred m/s more to burn retrograde, but even so it would have been touch and go.

I.e., it's back to the drawing board, Eve continues to defeat me. And I just don't want to make a sensible heat-shielded asparagus-staged lander like everybody else.

You burned brightly, Morningstar, and I learned a lot from you. :salute:

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Today Laythe Explorer finally arrived at its destination.

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After a final burn of 187 m/s to correct a bit the trajectory, the second stage was ejected, and quickly followed by the Laythe Polar Scanner.

 

 

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After a standard burn of almost 2 km/s, the scanner was perfectly placed on its parking polar orbit of about 2500 km. The time being extremely short, I decided to switch back to Explorer before staring the geo studies.

 

 

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Enjoying its awesome TWR of 0.05 (sigh), the multiple retro burns had to be started approximately 2 hours before the encounter.

 

 

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Hopefully, Explorer was more than able to perform its job correctly, and reached an orbit of 552 x 549 after many Kerbal hours of waiting.

 

 

 

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Then it was the turn of Polar Scanner, the studies were performed normally, for a pretty disappointing result of 16 science points... if I had knew, I would not have given you a free ride to Jool!

 

 

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Back to Explorer, the lander was separated at the same altitude of around 500 km. The retrograde burn took 30 seconds and around 600 m/s only of impulsion, leaving the lander with about 1 km/s remaining on board!

 

 

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It then was the time to say a final farewell to the propulsion block while the lander was passing 220 km.

 

 

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The atmospheric entry was hard, the lander taking around 7 g of deceleration for some seconds, but it hopefully survived the shock.

 

 

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I don't know why, but I just love this screenshot of the lander falling to the surface while the Sun is passing through the Jool's rings.

 

 

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Contact! Having 289 units of electricity remaining the lander should not last more than a week before leaving us forever...

 

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Hopefully, its sacrifice is not useless, and bring us a good amount of scientific data.

 

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The Explorer still having around 2.2 km/s of fuel available, it will probably be assigned to some orbital surveys of the other moons.

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More Elcana rovering. :)

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We finally made it out of Ike's central mountains biome! Here we are driving through the midlands.

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Total progress up till now. We really have come quite a way.

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Today, I finished up my last open rescue contract -- Adeny went to retrograde Munar orbit and collected Monie from her stranded Mk. 1 Command Pod (previously, he'd rescued Lufrid from LKO, and collected Samcal from a prograde Munar orbit).  Females now outnumber males on the pilot list by four to two.

After returning her home, I launched the second module for the new Munar Station Alpha.  Jeb insisted on being allowed to fly this one -- he hasn't been back to the Mun in quite a while.  This new crew module has a little bit of a quirk -- once the transfer stage is jettisoned, it has only RCS, with two roundified tanks plus the 10 units in the Mk. 1 Command Pod.  It had seemed this ought to be plenty for matching orbits 200+ km above the Mun, but I'd forgotten the thirteen degree inclination of Mun Station Alpha -- after dumping the transfer stage on an impact trajectory and circularizing, there was enough RCS to make the plane change, and almost rendezvous.  Fortunately, the station core has a 1.25 m RCS tank (and a set of four Puff engines, though they weren't necessary for this situation).  Samcal managed to maneuver the station to dock with Jeb using only a tiny fraction of the monopropellant aboard -- and in the process, achieved a "World's First" docking at the Mun, as well as closing a contract to do the same.

Still one more module to dock to complete the "build a station in Munar orbit" contract -- Jeb's staying over while Val flies the second crew module up (and you may rest assured she won't repeat Jeb's mistake); after docking the second stick of two Mk. 1 Crew Cabins to the single Hitchhiker, the station's permanent capacity will be 13, plus two command pods makes 15 -- and with all three pilots aboard, that contract will close.  Once that's done, Jeb and Val will return to Kerbin  (Mk. 1 Command Pod with two Round 8 tanks and a Spark behind the heat shield, and only the internal batteries after decoupling -- should be plenty of EC for the trip, as long as they remember to turn off SAS after each maneuver).  Samcal will remain in command, for now.

Rescuing is a lot cheaper way to recruit than hiring from the Astronaut Complex, but I'd probably have hired, if I could -- but when I went to the complex, there were engineers and scientists standing around, but not a single pilot in sight.  They must have been snatched up by those other agencies (and some of them wound up needing a ride home).

I did get one ugly little surprise as Samcal was preparing to go meet Jeb "Dry Tanks" Kerman; when the station core decoupled from its transfer/insertion stage (which I had left attached, hoping to refuel it and keep it with the station), what should have been its fourth Clamp-o-Tron Jr. remained attached to the fairing truss instead of the station core.  Apparently, when you put a docking clamp on a bottom surface with an upward view, it stays in its "docking side up" position, despite appearing to surface mount just as it would in a radial position.  Now I know; I'll invert the vessel to attach bottom clamps in the future.  Fortunately, that clamp wasn't critical.  I had intended to use it mainly for fuel transfer, secondarily for boosting with a tug (yet to be constructed)  -- but I can still do both with the clamp mounted in the center of the cupola's "forward" window (hurrah for structural glass!).

Edited by Zeiss Ikon

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I was going to continue development on new vehicles and modules for my Minmus base when I realized that Moho was just about in the right position for a Hohmann Transfer. This was very exciting, because in this science mode save I've been playing in, I've had rather poor luck with Moho missions, but I have an enormous probe ready to go out. It's called Hermes II (the first Hermes is currently wandering the emptiness of interplanetary space). This spacecraft is huge - over 100 tones with eight nuclear engines, an extra robotic lander, basically every single science experiment/instrument possible, and a lifter stage made of about 12 boosters. I tried sending it to Moho last time a transfer window opened up, but unfortunately I had miscalculated where Moho should be, and it turns out I was too late. This time, I may be a bit too early, so I sent up Hermes II into LKO for now. Once in orbit, I realized that I could refuel what remained of the lifter stage (two max-size 3.75m liquid fuel tanks and a Mammoth LF engine) by docking onto the craft via a movable Science Jr experiment. 

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With this opportunity to refuel the lifter stage and save tons of LF in the main craft, R&D went to work on a prototype refueling craft meant for outgoing interplanetary craft. The first design was powered by 24 monopropellant engines and four 2.5m tanks of said monoprop, with two orange 2.5m tanks on the side with LF/Ox for Hermes II. While it was thought to be an great solution to the problem of having to use the fuel you're trying to deliver, the designed turned out to be terrible. First off, it was HEAVY - about 106 tons, close to the mass of Hermes II. This made it hard to get it into orbit using the Titan V lifter, the largest lifter in the Subassembly tab (Hermes II used a completely unique lifter). Secondly, even 24 MP engines are not enough to finish an orbital insertion after the Titan V lifter runs out and still leave enough MP for further use. It just could not work. So...back to the drawing board!

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The next design held more promise. It was about 20% less massive (about 86 tons) and was more fuel efficient. Two mid-sized 2.5m LF tanks, each with their own Skipper engine, were attached to the side of a mid-sized 3.75m tank that would house the to-be delivered fuel. As it turned out, this was an excellent craft design. While part of the Titan V lifter became relatively unstable (I'm not too sure why), part of the lifter was left after orbit insertion, which meant that any remaining fuel from it could be delivered to Hermes II. The first refueling craft, after two unsuccessful flights where its orbit could not get an encounter with Hermes II, eventually was able to reach its destination and dump all the fuel from both mid-sized 3.75m tanks into Hermes II. That one mission replenished about 40% of the fuel for Hermes II's lifter stage. I detached the two crafts and used the full mid-sized 2.5m tanks to power the refueling craft back to Kerbin, where it crashed into the surface at over 200 m/s.

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With the success of this new design, a second identical refueling craft was sent up. This time, I was able to get an encounter during the orbital insertion burn, with a bit of extra tweaking. The following rendezvous, refueling, and craft disposal was textbook. Another 40% of the Hermes II lifter's fuel was replenished, giving it what seems to be enough fuel for a trans-Moho burn. I don't want to waste much fuel in the main Hermes II craft, despite all those nuclear engines. The reason? That craft is supposed to travel back to Kerbin and get into a stable orbit where another craft can recover the scientific data it gathered.

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Hermes II should be ready to depart within a few Kerbin days.I might send up a third refueling mission, but at this point it seems unnecessary.

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Getting the hang of this shuttle thing.

Launches are still a little shaky, but getting better.  At least I'm getting into orbit with a payload, and back down safety.... most of the time.

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Busyish last few days. First, I launched the first of four stockpiled GEO communication satellites on an R8-Atlas-Able-202.

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This... didn't quite have enough delta-V, the contract timeline was ticking, and the R8-Atlas-Able was my heaviest booster... that was in current use.

A second Soyuz mass demonstrator mission had been planned, but it was cancelled, and five production-ready Soyuz boosters were ordered: four for the contract and one spare.

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The lessons learned from the first Soyuz mass demonstrator must have been enough. Time after time, Soyuz reached orbit with a beautiful Korolev cross.

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The first production geostationary satellite over Asia:

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I'm really quite happy with how the Soyuz booster turned out. I initially wasn't sure it would work: there was some real risk, because the mass demonstrator hadn't even gotten far enough to check that the booster stages would separate properly... but they do, and the resulting Korolev cross looks so good I had to revert-to-launch once because I accidentally clicked staging again, too distracted taking a screenshot.

 

In other news, the Mercury program, already criticized for being tardy to carry our astronauts to orbit, has been delayed once again as abort systems proved insufficient, and a test article crashed, necessitating redesign of the abort and landing equipment.

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Additionally, a contract to place a communication satellite into a tundra orbit has been cancelled, as two attempts failed: once because the R8-Atlas-Able was once again insufficient to the task, and a second time because the Soyuz S1.5400 second stage failed.

Between this, and the recent failure of a lunar orbiter mission to even reach Earth orbit due to AJ-37 shutdown, the Able-based R7 and R8 upper stages are slated to be cancelled as soon as practical, potentially replaced with the Agena upper stage engine. This necessitated a more ambitious mission plan for LRP-1, which was originally to collect farside photos of the Moon from a free return trajectory, but instead was tasked to enter an elliptical orbit and remain at the Moon for half a month until the return vector was favorable.

Seriously, those AJ-10s have failed me for the last time... and the upgraded Agena looks like a wonderful engine, with 15 restarts, no ullage, and a specific impulse of nearly 300 s-1. It's already slated for use on some of my newer Soyuz flights as an optional 3rd stage. I'll want to redesign at least the R8-Atlas to use a different upper stage, since that's slated to carry the first Mercury missions.

 

Though, speaking of replacing old hardware, I keep some sounding rockets at Palmachim; I will often accept sounding rocket contracts before orbital launches, and if those fail, I need a quick backup before the 90-day contract expires. I've designed a new sounding rocket based on the new NK-33 closed-cycle engine, and tested to see how it would stack up to my old Lightning series.

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It hit 18 Mm of altitude for just 750 funds. I was skeptical because the NK-33 engine was more expensive than what I used to use (A4 and RD-100 engines, which cost a mere 150 each), but the sheer performance of the NK-33 won out, letting me use a single liquid-fuel engine to reach altitudes higher than any other sounding rocket... and I can probably make it cheaper now by eliminating at least one of the Baby Sergeant upper stages which are clearly unnecessary to hit the 6 Mm top end of sounding rocket contracts..

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