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What did you do in KSP today?


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Today was a momentous occasion as the final two ships left for the Duna expedition. First the Duna Express, piloted by a single kerbal, will be responsible for returning the crew safely after they finish their mission.

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Then the Duna Explorer with the main crew left about a day later. In total, there are 5 ships currently en route to Duna. I'm going to start wrapping things up in the Kerbin SOI and focusing on interplanetary missions more now just so that I'll actually get to them in some reasonable amount of time.

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Back on Kerbin, the Kerbin Flyer explored a couple of anomalies. First, the dessert temple.

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Spoiler

Yeah, nothing creepy here.

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Then a monolith in the mountains west of KSC:

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Spoiler

Thanks to chutes I was able to 'land' nearby (minus a few parts), but the slope was so steep the plane wouldn't quit sliding.

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Billy-Bobmund finally had to bail out and walk up on foot while the rest of the plane slid off the mountain.

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I launched a giant monstrosity of a liquid fuel tanker. This is something I might need for future interplanetary missions than need LF-based engines for longer range.

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Spoiler

Launchpad

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SRB Separation. I really like the symmetrical pattern I get when I put sepatrons on the boosters.

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Out of the atmosphere with solar panels deployed.

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Burning for Minmus

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Getting fueled up on Minmus

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On another ship, I had a bad Kraken attack while refueling.

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The refueling rover and ship were fine when I left, but when I shifted focus back, this happened. All I can think is that there must have been an angle between the rover and the ship, and when I switched over it put the lander wheels below ground. Luckily no kerbals were killed, so I just deleted the old rover and used ALT-F12 to replace it.

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KERBARAGUA SPACE AGENCY MEMORANDUM

In Re:  Mission File 01

Vessel:  Falcon I

Time:  Year 1, Day 1, 2 hours 6 Minutes

To:  President Manuel Kerman

Mr. President, I hope that today finds you happy and well.  We have some exciting news to share with you, and we trust that our efforts here at the KSA are bearing the fruit you had in mind when you requested this agency be born.

Thanks to your administration, we are fast becoming the next greatest tourist destination for wealthy Kerbals from all over.  Just today, we had to ferry 5 people into suborbital flights just so they could go home and tell their kids how cool space is.  We already know space is cool, and the word of mouth will be invaluable.  And, of course, we need the funding.  But we're turning into Kerbaland over here!  What's next, a teacup ride?

Sincerely,

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Herman Kerman

Director, Kerbaragua Space Agency

Edited by Popestar
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Today(well yesterday) Sean's Cannery's Munswooper Spacecraft got their rides to The Mun. Due to the low mass, each launched on the somewhat deprecated K-8.  Each launch went off flawlessly, and the TLI burns went off without a hitch. the K-8 would place each probe on a free return trajectory, and the probe would correct into an inclined mun encounter. Munswooper one captured in it's orbit, but during the handover from the KSP team to the Sean's Cannery team, the engineers realized that they hadn't installed scientific equipment on. The anomaly team discussed and in the end it was decided it could be handed back to the KSP team and function as a relay, due to it's inclined elliptical orbit. Munswooper 2 experienced it's own issues, with the trajectory the K-8 placed it would mean that after it's correction, it would not have enough deltav to capture into an orbit. The anomaly team consulted multiple times to try and rework the trajectory, to no avail. In the end, it was decided to place the disabled satellite on an impact course, and try and use it like a munar impactor probe. Before it impacted, the probe transmitted it's final data, before crashing into The Mun's surface at a kilometer for second. Surprisingly, the Cannery team were satisfied with the solution, and the mission was deemed a partial success.

Saline 5 took off on a Molniya rocket carrying a Zalkier v1.1 Spacecraft. Jeb was in the front seat, with Bob riding shotgun. They had an important mission. To prove extra vehicular activity was possible, and to test multiple technologies relating to EVA in microgravity. After establishing a parking orbit of 86x80km, Jeb suited up, the spacecraft was depressurized, and Jeb stepped out onto the side of the spacecraft. He paused briefly before pushing off. Bob unlocked the monopropellant tanks and(against his better judgement) reoriented the spacecraft. Jeb also tested the "B(asic) R(edundant) U(tility) H(ammock)", a small pack of thrusters one wears on the back, to maneuver around in deep space. Over a period of several days, Jeb and Bob performed multiple EVAs, thoroughly testing their Space suits. After 8 days, Jeb and Bob had a soft landing in the water(which ironically the Zalkier reentry module wasn't designed to land in). They broke several records, not only becoming the first kerbals to exit a spacecraft, but broke several spaceflight duration records. 8 days was by far the longest spaceflight to date, and while it doesn't seem like much, we must take baby steps if we wish to explore other heavenly bodies.

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Munswooper 1 burning for orbit

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Funky Trajectories

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Moonswooper 1 spacecraft seperation

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Munswooper 2 lifts off, and Modular Launch Pads Claw-not-opening issue continues.(yes, I have animated decouplers.)

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Munswooper 2's final moments

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Bob snapped this exellent photo of kerbin, which looks beautiful from up here.

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After the reentry pod seperated from the propulsion and service module, there was a hairing moment when the pod impacted one of the solar panels, breaking it into pieces. Bob doesn't seem to be particularly worried in this picture. However, the Zalkier's durable ablative heat shield and coating meant the crew had no problems during atmospheric entry.

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Plasma licks the sides of the spacecraft, while jeb looks very focused.

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I'm goin' ouuuuut in a blaze of glory... Due to coming in from orbit, the crew only experienced a max of 2.5g's during entry, however, Bob reported that when the parachute fully opened and on landing, he got the wind knocked out of him.

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That's why I set my chutes to start opening at 0.1 pressure and fully open at 1000 meters. Causes only moderate g-forces on full opening while still having a several hundred meter ground altitude safety margin even in highlands.

 

 

Continued harvesting the Mun in my current save. Only have five biomes left, which will complete tier 5 science and allow me to start building what will eventually be a geostationary spacedock about 120° ahead of the KSC. I also still need to finalize my advanced munar lander designs; the stock one is more or less complete and tested, the Making History one still needs some engineering to compensate for the KV-3's weight. I'm also thinking of possibly retooling the stock advanced lander into a manned rover, but putting it together is going to require some serious engineering and possibly orbital assembly.

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15 hours ago, Vezbot said:

Hopefully the suit had good insulation for the kerbal to swim, otherwise it was probably similar to being slow cooked in a crockpot.

If they can survive sun side of moho i think the swim was simple :D

234810112020

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Well, today kinda marks the continuation of a project I began Friday. I would go to the challenge threads for this, but, depending on which thread you look at, it has been 3 to 5 years since they last saw activity. I am participating in the Elcano Challenge. This is the original Elcano Challenge forum page. This is the "continued" version started by Claw. Given the ages of both of those threads, I was unsure if I would be necro posting into them, so, I figured, I decided to put my progress here.

So far, Ive gone 1/10th or so the way around. At 35km traveled.

I know it may be an old challenge, but, its proving to be fun, even if I am on cruise control with mechjeb :)

 

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edit: an unfortunate accident cost me my extendable solar panels. My engineer removed them after assessing the crafts safety and ability to continue on.

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025610122020

Edited by AlamoVampire
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Siezon Kerman, an engineer that crashed her ship on Eve, finally finished the walk to a rover to fix the wheels and join the expedition. 

Walk started at 1 degree s, 65 east(?)

Walk ended at 21 degrees s, 97 east. 

The original intent of the rover mission was to pick up the first crashed mission with 3 kerbals at 1 degree south, 125 east. The rover has 4 seats maximum so 1 kerbal will have to stay at the crew cabin where the rover will make it's next stop. I'm not at my game right now so the coordinates could be off. I'll make a map of it later! Exploring Eve is fun, but seeing all that purple hurts my eyes a little.

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Most of my launches recently have been with my kOS driven, 5 vector powered SSTO which can lift a 36 tonne Rockomax Jumbo tank in to LKO, and then be recovered back to the KSC.

Today I took a contract to put a Sentinal in to Solar orbit, and given the 5.5 tonne weight of the craft my SSTO seemed a bit of an overkill, so I built a smaller one powered a single Vector, but using the same kOS code.

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I thought this was probably still a bit of an overkill as launching something this small is pretty cheap with disposable rockets, but the total launch cost turned out to be only just over 5000 credits after putting the payload in to a 120km orbit and then landing back on the runway

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Very happy that my kOS script handled the much smaller, lighter, less draggy ship perfectly.

 

Now I need to install KAC so I remember to to the circularisation burn on the  Sentinal in nearly a years time.

 

 

ETA:  

For size comparison, here's it's big brother about to launch with the 27 tonne Mun/Minmus tourist bus.

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Edited by RizzoTheRat
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Playing in a sandbox save, decided to join the Upsilon Initiative, and built a ship for one of their projects. my idea was that it was going to be big, but then i realized....

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yea lol, it would be extreme overkill.
idk what its name should be, so its currently "Eeloo colony ship" atm, tho.. with mods and other solar systems, this ship will be an interstellar ship.

a lot of its stats are in the pic, but here are some more
Length: 306.4m
Width: 99.6m
Height: 40.1m
Crew capacity: exactly 4000 somehow, tho since its wip, it will likely go up

and to solve the issue of extreme lag due to part count, I will use UbioZur Welding to massively decrease the partcount. also, It makes a lot of other ships that seem big, look tiny

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This is the size comparison of the megaship and a bunch of other ones There are Jett Quazar's victory star destroyer, and MC-80 star cruiser. directly above center is my biggest ever career launched ship; the massive colonial ship. and that tiny ship near the front is the Kerbal-X

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I sent a crew to hunt down the last couple of anomalies in the southern polar region of the Mun. I've tried (and failed) to find these before, but thanks to a new higher resolution scan I had more accurate waypoints to go by. It turned out I needed almost all of the 4000 m/s dV on the lander to visit both and return to the station in equatorial orbit.

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Spoiler

First landing site wasn't too bad.

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Barely a 10 degree tilt. Pretty good in this part of the Mun.

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Scientist Catpont got the assignment to EVA over to the anomaly and mark it.

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Hmm. Just this weird rock. :D

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Back on the ship, the pair made a suborbital jaunt over to the other anomaly.

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The terrain here was rough.

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A good 20 degree slope, and this one of the the flattest areas in sight.

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I couldn't spot the anomaly, but the waypoint was in the bottom of this crater. Instead of flying down, Catpont bounced ...

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... and bounced ...

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... and finally found a monolith on the crater floor. Other than a bit of brain damage from all the impacts, she was fine.

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And I rescued a kerbal from Kerbin orbit.

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After a safe re-entry, Wilneny became the 47th kerbonaut in my program. This was the last rescue pod. The mother ship can grab one more kerbal and that will probably be the last addition.

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As much as I like talking in the voice of Herman Kerman, what I did today really doesn't warrant it.  Maybe it does, but I'll save his next mission file for when I tackle the next major milestone.  For now, however...

 

Contracts:  I took on several contracts to ferry passengers into suborbital flights, and I earned some shiny funds for that.  Which I absolutely needed; I was beginning to run low, and I was wondering if I'd ever be able to start upgrading buildings.  I also took on several contracts to drag stuff into suborbital space, like a couple of engines.  One of the contracts was to stage a coupler while at the launch pad; I love those because it's so darned easy.  Pod and coupler, and bam!  You get Science and Funds.

Buildings:  The Tracking Station, Mission Control, and Astronaut Complex are all at level 2, but I only upgraded Mission Control today so I could do maneuvers in space.  Or, rather, so I could set maneuver nodes and have the game calculate ship position/heading/orientation, burn time, and fuel requirements.  I can say that I'm getting familiar now with how to build a ship to get up over Kerbin and get into orbit.  Now I just have to get familiar with how to do it efficiently.  I've seen several tutorials on getting to the Mun, one in particular that I like.  But I have to upgrade the VAB first, and while I've got 230k in funds, I'd like to get more so I don't have to worry about cost when building a rocket.

Tech Tree:  When I started over, I thought to myself that I would go slow and work towards unmanned probes and such.  And as I started going through the tech tree, I realized that it made perfect sense to focus on the level I was at.  So, to that end, I was able to finish out Levels 3 and 4 today.  I could have gone with Advanced Flight Control instead of finishing off Level 4 (I had like 94 and change and 2 nodes at Level 4 to do), specifically for the Maneuver Planning thing with MechJeb 2.  The thought there was that I could use that to help plan maneuvers to get to the Mun and other planets...but I'm not quite ready to do that.  So that would have been a waste of Science at this point.  By fleshing out the rest of Level 4 I can play with the components I got and do some flights and such to get used to interplanetary travel before I actually do that.  That will be of more help to me in the long run.

Kerbals: Jeb hit level 2 today, so he's finally got the Prograde and Retrograde buttons available to him.  Valentina is 1 orbital flight away from that, and the other 2 (Bob and...I forget who the other guy is you get at the start) each have half the experience needed to level up.  Although I'm not using those other 2 for anything yet, so I'm not sure that's even a concern at this point?  Anyhow, my next flight will get Valentina leveled up...and I've got a contract to get some Science while in flight.  I may have gotten everything I could possibly get, but I'm gonna try to get something.

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I launched my Eve Airplane into orbit.

Here it is on the launchpad. The actual airplane is in the fairing.

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And liftoff.

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I realized after the fact that I could probably launch it with fewer engines and tanks, and older parts. But I like the giant tanks and mammoth engines.

Heading for low Kerbin orbit.

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Preparing for a minor plane change before rendezvousing with my Kerbin Orbit Fuel Station

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The view from the main cockpit is very exciting.

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It does in fact need all those heat shields.

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Nearing the fuel station. Mechjeb screwed up the rendezvous maneuver so I had to do it by hand.

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And here it is docked with the fuel station.

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The transfer window is in 129 days, at which time it should be fully refueled by the station's on board ISRU converter. I've programmed an alarm to remind me to check its progress in 50 and 100 days, and can send up tankers if it doesn't refuel completely. The four outboard boosters should have just enough Delta-V for the Eve transfer burn once refueled, certainly within 10%; though I will probably ditch them on an Eve collision trajectory. The rocket will rendezvous with another fuel station in low Eve orbit. The core stage will deorbit the payload, and play actual plane will unfold and deploy at about 2500 m above Eve's surface.

This is what the plane will look like in its high temperature and pressure habitat.

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Crew capacity: 15: though only 13 are on the mission, in case I get a rescue contract. It carries two science labs, four antennas, six material studies and goo containers...

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And 16 sets of deployable science equipment.

Edited by Zosma Procyon
Updated pictures.
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Interplanetary 2 completed its final test before departing Kerbin orbit. It made it to Minmus, left the science module and probe array in orbit, and landed on the surface. Refueling went smoothly, and while it was waiting a rescue party went out to bring back a a kerboknaut, Tim, stranded 46 km away. The larger rover with two seats was detached and sent out first, but a new problem was quickly discovered that the engines, attached to the aerodynamic nose cones, didn't seem to work and thus the craft could only be powered by the monopropellant tanks. Additionally it was discovered that detaching and landing the craft, which is affixed upside-down when IP2 is landed, is quite difficult especially without breaking the critically important cooling arrays extended below. So the larger landed was left on the surface, hopefully to be replaced one day. One of the two mini rovers was sent out instead, unmanned, to rescue Tim.

***

Tim had begun to wonder if anyone would come for him. His Lander had hit the surface near Minmus's north pole and completely disintegrated, leaving only the Mk-2 lander can intact. When he regained consciousness after the crash he climbed out and stepped gingerly into the twilight, he appreciated the feeling of walking in low gravity, especially after sustaining more than a couple of bruises. He looked up at the stars, and the dusty hills around him. In the distance, maybe to the south, there was a mountain. The slope was imposing even from so far away. He never dreamed this tiny, far moon's surface would be so large and rugged, looking at it from Kerbin it always looked so small and flat. Most of the photographs sent back from earlier missions were to the flats, expansive areas of no terrain, simple to land on. Come to think of it, he wondered if he had forgotten to switch his altitude indicator to terrain mode when he was coming in for the landing ...

He sat there for a week, or a day, it was hard to tell. Time moved so slowly, but he could see Kerbin Spinning on the horizon like a little blue and green marble. Somewhere, days were passing with their usual regularity. He picked up a pebble and tossed it, then watched it sail triumphantly away. Suddenly the silence was broken by a distant 'puff' coming from somewhere above the mountain. A moment later, another one, then another. Slowly the noises came closer, until he could make out the source of it: a tiny craft was hurtling towards the surface and attempting to slow down. Every puff would shake it wildly. A second before it smashed into a nearby slope a loud force of air slowed it down, blowing up a large cloud of green dust, then it plopped into the dirt and flipped over. He looked around. There was nothing around him, and as far as he knew nobody else on the planet. Out of other ideas, he walked over to the craft about 100 meters away. 

There was a single seat, a small donut fuel tank, a haphazard collection of RCS thrusters and 'Ant' engines, a couple of lights, a cheap antenna, and some sort of guidance system. "Hey" a voice crackled over a headset attached to the seat. "Anyone there? Can you hear me? Tim?" 

Tim picked up the mic, "Mhm," he reported.

"Alright, get in. We're getting you out of here." This seemed fairly reasonable, so Tim gently flipped the craft over and climbed into the seat. The voice was back, "just sit there, you don't have to do anything. We're going to pilot this thing remotely. I'm Val, by the way. Valentina, but call me Val."

"Mmk" replied Tim. 

The craft lurched violently upwards and into the the air. As there was no air it really felt like Tim was immediately thrown off the surface and accelerating into space. Which, technically, he was. The craft accelerated for fifteen seconds or so up and towards the mountain before the engines cut out. He drifted there, in the quiet, and for a moment could really take in all the beauty around him.

After a while Val came back on the radio. "So this is kind of awkward," there was a pause. "You have some monopropellant in your suit, right? You might need to use that." Tim experienced a sudden rush of adrenaline and his eyeballs nearly bulged out of his head. "It looks like the rover is out of fuel. Your trajectory will take you pretty close to our ship, you are a couple of degrees west right now, but all you'll need to do is slow yourself down. See you soon!" 

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Tim looked out at the mountain passing below him. In the distance, there was a long ridge, and just beyond that he could start to make out one of the flats. He slowly climbed out of the seat and pushed the empty rover away. If he closed his eyes, he felt like he was just on a routine space walk. He turned on his RCS pack and activated the SAS option in his wrist console. He opened his eyes again, and in the distance maybe 10 km away saw what must be the rescue vehicle. It was coming closer, but so was the ground. He glanced at his groundspeed indicator. 136 m/s. He took a deep breath. No big deal, he thought, he was merely rushing towards the barren rocky surface of a moon 46 million meters away from home at nearly 500 kilometers per hour. 

After twenty seconds of leaning heavily on the RCS, his harness was digging badly into his legs and armpits, but the ground was moving at a much more reasonable 25 meters per second. After several more long puffs he landed, his tanks a little less than a third full, a few hundred meters away from the ship.

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Its hull was impressive, a Mk-3 body flanked by two Mk-2 cockpits. An engine cluster wrapped around two large drills that were spitting chunks of dirt and rock around the base of the ship. Looming above an ISRU unit whined, pumping ore up and fuel throughout the craft like a beating heart. In the radio in his helmet, he heard Val again. "Hey, you landed! Great. One more thing I need you to do before you come inside."

"Mm." Mumbled Tim in a low tone. 

"It's pretty easy." Val continued. "You just need to plant a flag. The plaque can say anything."

"Anything?" Asked Tim.

"Yep, this contract doesn't specify anything in particular, so just have it say anything."

Interplanetary 2 finished refueling in a few hours. It blasted off with Valentina, Bob, Bill, Jebediah, Tim, and some twenty other kerboknauts on board to rejoin its modules in orbit. Once back together, Valentina isolated herself in the viewing cuppola with her maps and mission paperwork. It was the only place on the crowded craft she felt like could get some privacy. She studied the contracts she was supposed to fulfill, the positions of the various planets relative to Kerbin, the fuel each would require to reach, the probability of successfully reaching a spot she could refuel before running out of fuel; the parameters were beginning to feel overwhelming. 

Tim settled into the spacious passenger cabin. Roughly half the seats were empty, so he picked a window seat near the back with an empty row. He put his EVA suit in the overhead compartment and settled into the cozy seat. He was so happy to be going home.

*ding* "Hello, this is your pilot speaking" *ding*

The chatter in the cabin dropped immediately. 

*ding* "For our first destination we will be travelling to Duna. Enjoy the journey!" *ding* 

As the craft powered up its nuclear engines, Tim's sense of warmth was replaced with the cold hard realization that his rescue vessel was not in fact a rescue mission for him, but that his rescue was a side quest in a much longer journey that was departing then and there, with him on board. Now it made sense, the grim resolve in the eyes of his fellow passengers. Out of ideas, he reached for the in-flight catalog and began to browse. 

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Interplanetary 2 drifted just outside of Minmus' SOI. On the rocky surface below, waving slowly in the solar wind, a flag was planted next to a plaque that read, ominously, "Going home, thanks Val :)". In the distance above, a twinkle from eight nuclear engines firing up appeared, then slowly faded away. 

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Today I launched a flying science base meant for Eve, and then tried to load into one of my surface bases from before I stopped playing KSP for a year. My save file is old, from around 1.4, and I updated before I started playing. So far all of the surface bases I've tried to load into have been subject to violent kraken attacks, violent bouncing off the ground. One actually blew up despite the invincibility cheats being active. Of the five i've loaded into so far, one exploded killing all 6 Kerbals on board, three are affecting so badly that I had to set them in orbit, and one in affected only bad enough to spin in slow circles. I have eleven other surface bases. And I think the problem is that all my bases stand on wheels, and vehicles with many wheels are now more vulnerable to the kraken than they were I took a break. I'm leaning toward declaring my save file FUBAR and starting a new career game. 

EDIT: The Butcher's Bill actually wasn't too bad. One base exploded and killed its crew, another was smashed to pieces but the crew survived, and six had to be beamed back to Kerbin for early retrieval. I'm going to keep this save for the time being.

Edited by Zosma Procyon
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Tenacious I, commanded by Jebediah, finally arrived in the Duna system, and completed its orbital burn. This was the first manned orbit of another planet, and so it was quite the momentous occasion. As part of the program to land Kerbals on another planet, Tenacious I will remain in high Duna orbit until the next optimum transfer window to Kerbin. It will continue to orbit just outside of the SOI of Ike, to conduct science experiments, monitor the red planet, and observe the relationship between Ike and its host.

Along with the Pioneer Program that completed in April, Tenacious I will pave the way for a crewed mission to the surface of Duna, demonstrating that we are able to transfer to, orbit, and return from the Duna system safely.

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Edited by Chequers
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I suffered a critical mission failure. My attempt at the Elcano has failed. 14m/s plus low gravity lead to a catastrophic rover failure. All crew were rescued and returned to the KSC alive but disappointed. 
 

051010132020

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On 10/12/2020 at 3:54 AM, AlamoVampire said:

Well, today kinda marks the continuation of a project I began Friday. I would go to the challenge threads for this, but, depending on which thread you look at, it has been 3 to 5 years since they last saw activity. I am participating in the Elcano Challenge. This is the original Elcano Challenge forum page. This is the "continued" version started by Claw. Given the ages of both of those threads, I was unsure if I would be necro posting into them, so, I figured, I decided to put my progress here.

There is actually a new thread but the person who posted it seems to be taking a break. I think it is still active, the last post were from a month ago.

 

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Nearly fifteen years after their first visit to the Duna system, our heroes have returned in a far more capable albeit quite laggy vessel. This is their story. 

***

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Once Interplanetary 2 arrived at Duna, Valentina maneuvered it into a low Ike orbit. She still had roughly 1500 delta-V remaining, plenty to manage a slow and easy landing. First things first, she instructed Jeb to release one of the survey probes and adjust its trajectory 90 degrees into a polar orbit. 

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Jeb didn't know how he felt about being put in charge of the probe array. It was something to do, at least, but he thought it was strange he was never really consulted about the decision. As he undocked the survey probe and fired up the engines, he realized the fuel tank was already nearly empty. Nobody had disabled the fuel crossfeed through the coupling, so the probe fuel tanks had been drained in the escape from Kerbin. When the main vessel went to refuel on Minmus, it left the probes in space, so their tanks were never filled up. The ship was drifting away now, and the probe didn't come with any RCS capabilities. Jeb managed to direct it back into the docking port with just the engines, being very ginger with the throttle. After refueling, the probe was launched again and easily achieved its orbit. He had to admit he felt a little proud deploying the scanner and uploading the resource overlay to the flight console. 

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Val undocked the science module and probe array and carefully coupled them together. Zelgun and Fredbles looked out the cupola as as the mothership performed a retrograde burn into the mountains below. There was a wide bright pink area on the resource overlay on top of what looked like a range of hills. Surely, Val thought, that big area around the top would be flat enough to land on. Once they were below 1000 m it was clear this was not the case, but fuel was running low and they would need to stick the landing. After a couple of bounces they came to a rest and were able to stay upright. Bob mumbled something about how they had plenty of fuel for a slow landing, yet they still nearly all died from coming down on terrain. Val was quiet after that.   

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The crew set about collecting science and refueling the tanks. After two full Ike days they were ready to head back to orbit. 

When they reconnected to the modules in orbit Val ordered the tanks in the main vessel be emptied into the probe array and science module, then led her crew back to the surface to refuel a second time. It was safer to be topped up, she thought, than not. Also the crew was practicing. Each ascent and descent felt sharper, more on-point. Like performing drills at the academy, she thought. It was all about repetition, attention to detail, and never being satisfied that that you are close enough. And they were going to need the practice sooner than any of them realized. 

After two ascents and descents on Ike, Val made a heading for Duna. She popped out of Ike's orbit on the wrong side so there was a steep descent from high in Duna's orbit into the mid-atmosphere. Nothing in her flight manifest mentioned that Duna had an atmosphere. She scribbled in the margins that it starts at 50k meters, so it is important to stay above that if you want to stay in orbit. Outside, a backup solar array was shorn off by whistling aerodynamic forces as the orbital velocity indicator topped 1000 m/s. Bob seemed displeased. 

The ship made it out of the atmosphere intact, ten minutes later Val switched on the nukes until the problem was corrected. Science module and probes secured in orbit, the crew descended into Duna's atmosphere again. 

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The tanks were heavy on liquid fuel and light on oxidizer, so the nukes stayed on pretty much the whole way down. Val switched on the poodles periodically and then the vectors as they reached 1000 m altitude. The crater she chose to land on, the Midland Sea, was deep and flat enough for an easy touchdown. In the distance, she saw the mouth of a canyon. 

Bob climbed out of the cockpit to begin collecting samples. 

As soon as he closed the hatch, they heard a clear *Thud* *Crash* *Thump*. *Ouch!* "Plenty of gravity here," called Bob on the radio. He planted a flag and collected some rocks from the ground near the ship. Returning to the hatch required leaning constantly on his RCS. "We really could use a ladder next time" he remarked to anyone who was listening. 

Refueling the ship took a full day, but soon the crew was ready again to depart. On the ascent IP2 did a backflip in the atmosphere at around 6000 meters. Val flipped on the Vector engines to regain control when the nose was pointing roughly prograde again, and before long they were reunited with their companions in orbit. Most of their oxidizer they had just refilled was spent escaping Duna, though, so they were due for another pit stop at Ike before they could do anything else. Before that, Val decided to send an ion-drive probe back to Kerbin with the results of the thirty or so experiments they had collected. She radioed Bill to tell him to prepare the data and told Jeb to get the probe ready. 

Data stored securely in the probe, Jeb fired the decoupler, which it was attached with instead of docking port to save weight. When decoupled, however, there was a collision with a probe below that triggered a large explosion, destroying one of the communications relays and tearing off half of the solar panels on the ion probe. Jeb ran some diagnostics on it when the dust settled, and reported that with the missing panels the probe was lighter than before and still had enough electrical power to run the engine full-throttle. Sometimes, Jeb joked, an explosion is an upgrade. 

His joviality didn't last long, though, when he realized the probe was missing an antenna. Was that lost in the explosion? Bill inspected the three remaining probes in the cluster. Nope, just bad design. Disappointed, they recovered the data in the probe and sent it out empty, just to see how far it might get with only the built-in 5k antenna. Surprisingly, it still had a very faint connection by the time it left Duna's orbit. 

The crew had a new instruction from Kerbin. Mission command decided Ike was an ideal spot to leave the science module for further research. Fredbles and Zelgun were excited, they liked Ike. Who doesn't like Ike? Pilots in the cabin of IP2 were asked if anyone wanted to stay behind with the scientists and command the station and make sure the scientists didn't get too distracted. Tamara volunteered, and since nobody else seemed to want to do it, that settled it. 

The research station included two landers each with a pair of external command seats. Fully fueled, they had about 1300 m/s of delta-V, plenty to descend from a 350 m/s orbit and return. With the fuel in the station available also, the kerboknauts left at Ike should have supplies for at least three or four trips to the surface to gather data before they will need to be resupplied. 

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The sun rose over Ike's rocky horizon as Interplanetary 2 descended to the surface for a third and final time. Once they were full again, Val thought, all she needed to do was figure out where they are going next, and how to get there, and eventually, how they were going to get home. No need to worry about that now, though, she thought. Just take it one planet at a time. 

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So, I didn't do a whole lot today.  I upgraded the VAB and the launchpad, so they are both at level 2 now.  And I undertook another contract to ferry a few tourists into orbit; I needed the funds after the upgrades, so while boring it was ok.  I was also able to get Valentina to level up, so she now has the Prograde and Retrograde buttons.  Man, does that make it easy to fly.

My next thing is to now go over the tutorials both in-game and the ones here on the forum about getting to the Mun and back.  I've got a contract I can pick up for that, but unlike the last one I saw, this one actually requires you to land on the Mun.  So I have to go through the tutorials a few times and see how to do this.  I might even go sandbox once or twice to get the hang of it before I do this in career.  I can easily enough limit myself to what I have in career; my big things are going to be flying backwards to land on the moon, as well as calculating trajectory and intercept positions and all.  If I can get that done, I can then do this in career.

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