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SirJoab

An Affordable Space Program: making the reusable spacecraft pay off.

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I've seen a lot on the forums about SSTO's (Single Stage To Orbit spacecraft). But what's the purpose? To reduce the cost of spaceflight.

Here's the challenge: KSP needs a new space station in Kerbin Orbit on a tight budget, and it needs to be put there one module at a time with a single cargo craft. This craft must launch from the launchpad or runway only once. It will place a module of the space station in orbit, then return to KSC where it will be refueled, and another payload attached, all without the craft returning to the SPH or VAB. This means you will have to create a way to refuel and load the spacecraft on the ground at KSC.

Spacecraft does NOT have to be SSTO, but all parts that are staged must be recovered and attached to the spacecraft without returning to the SPH/VAB.

Guidlines:

General:

* Screenshots must be taken at all critical points in the challenge.

- Initial launch

- Placing a module in orbit/attaching it to the spacestation

- Refueling spacecraft

- loading payload at KSC

- Takeoff

- Complete spacestation

- Final landing at KSC

- Any other impressive part you want to brag about

* All mods are welcome as long as they don't bend/defy the laws of physics. (As deemed by me.)

* No part clipping, Hyperedit, etc. Again, stick to the laws of physics.

* No Kethane. Sorry, it just defeats the challenge of refueling.

* MechJeb is welcome too.

* Please post what mods you are using with your entry.

* Give the name of your spacecraft, space station, and company that built them. :)

Spacestation:

* Must be comprised of at least four modules.

* Must have at least a capacity of five Kerbals.

* Must be fully crewed at completion of the challenge.

* Kerbals may not ride in Spacestation modules while they are being carried into orbit.

* Spacestation must have at least 16K in electrical storage.

* Spacestation must use solar panels for power: RTGs are claimed to cause hair loss among Kerbonauts.

* Spacestation must have at least one Mobile Processing Lab MPL-LG-2

Payload delivery system ('spacecraft'):

* Must fly the space station into orbit one module at a time.

* Must be re-fueled, re-configured and receive it's new payload without re-entering the VAB or SPH.

* No solid fuel boosters, as they cannot be refueled.

Scoring:

* 1 point for each module in the space station.

* 1 point-per-ton for each module in the space station.

* 1 point for each Kerbal on the space station

* -1 points each time the spacecraft is refueled.

* 1-3 points can be given at my discretion for extra cool ships and/or methods of carrying out the challenge.

* 10 points for completing the challenge all stock.

Good Luck!

----------------Leader Board----------------

1. the_bT; 286 points.

2. gchristopher; 237 points.

3. Hodo; 196 points.

4. Kasuha; 193 points.

5. Rune; 145 points.

6. 1greywind; 106 points.

7. Rune; 98 points.

8. sdj64; 95 points.

9. Jasonden; 45 points.

10. Fengist; 34 points.

11. LordFjord; 31 points.

----------------Outstanding Achievements----------------

Rune : First to accomplish the mission, moving the completed spacestation to another sphere of influence. http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/69358-An-Affordable-Space-Program-making-the-reusable-spacecraft-pay-off/page2

LordFjord : Most aesthetically pleasing. http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/69358-An-Affordable-Space-Program-making-the-reusable-spacecraft-pay-off/page5

sdj64 : Most unusual, but simple and practical way of attaching/righting payload. http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/69358-An-Affordable-Space-Program-making-the-reusable-spacecraft-pay-off/page14

gchristopher : Breaking the Style Points barrier. Most complex launch operation, most exotic spacestation. http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/69358-An-Affordable-Space-Program-making-the-reusable-spacecraft-pay-off/page14

Swifty : Most professional looking fleet. http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/69358-An-Affordable-Space-Program-making-the-reusable-spacecraft-pay-off/page15

DerMeister777 : Most impressive refueling equipment. http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/69358-An-Affordable-Space-Program-making-the-reusable-spacecraft-pay-off/page15

Fengist: For the beautiful Starfish SSTO. http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/69358-An-Affordable-Space-Program-making-the-reusable-spacecraft-pay-off?p=1133713#post1133713

Edited by SirJoab

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ok, so basically what you're asking for is a skycrane?

...Getting it to dock on a module on the surface is going to be interesting... landing on a clamptron?

I've done it with a helicopter, but not with a rocket capable of orbit...

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Sounds interesting. Its always easy to talk about this in theory, but to actually pull it off is a different thing. Might be useful to practice this before .24 with contracts and actual cash use comes.

Possible difficulties:

- actually build a solid SSTO that can deliver some cargo and land again

- Refuel without KAS mod (which would make it really really easy)

- pick up new module without infernal robotics/KAS

- 4 pinpoint landings in a row at KSC (for me probably the hardest part)

Might give it a go, if my free time permits.

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What about a Falcon 9 style rocket? KSP does not support multi-stage recovery since the lower stage would unload on me, even if the craft itself was in fact capable of 100% recovery, provided that issue could be worked around.

Also, Falcon 9's have to be returned to the VAB so the large cranes can attach the next payload.

How will that mission architecture be handled by this challenge.

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What about a Falcon 9 style rocket? KSP does not support multi-stage recovery since the lower stage would unload on me, even if the craft itself was in fact capable of 100% recovery, provided that issue could be worked around.

Also, Falcon 9's have to be returned to the VAB so the large cranes can attach the next payload.

How will that mission architecture be handled by this challenge.

Pack a lot of fuel on the first stage. Yes, the initial launch will be slow, but you'll be nearly in space before having to stage. When staging, land the lower stage at KSC, then quckly shift to the upper stage and put it into oribt. Separate payload, and land the upper stage.

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Suffice to say I have taken on this challenge, using a Broadsword just like I offer it on R-SUV. It took me 10 minutes on the SPH to crack the problem of how to reload it, without using mods. Now lets see how many flights I do before getting bored ^^' (About 10mT will be added to the station on each one).

Rune. More soon I hope!

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Ok, now that I'm halfway into the challenge, and I'm reading the rules more carefully... I'm not going to max it out, or even comply. First, I'm not crewing it to the max. It would mess up my save strategy, and I don't consider the crew would have enough breathing room (this station will actually have a purpose). Would it be enough If I showed the theoretical possibility of doing so? I mean, I'm carrying up and down the same three guys lots of times, more than enough to fill all seats even if I couldn't start with them filled (but riding as payload? My kerbals have more style than that) and only left two at a time. Second, There's no freaking way I'm giving the station 16K of electricity. Why in the nine hells would I ever need that much power reserve? So I suggest you change a little those points of the rules, because it would be a little iffy if my project didn't qualify. Not that I am saying that I should win or something, but I at least should qualify. See, here it is, half-built:

b7EK82b.png

Already room for eight kerbals (there's just one right now keeping the lights on, because that's what I think a single core could support comfortably), two big solar panels, five different modules delivered on three separate flights. Plus a couple of MMUs to do the construction job as NASA style as it is possible on stock, which is why I get three kerbals up each time, one is the pilot and the others the spacewalkers. I really think that should qualify, when it's up to the design specs of 10 modules in 6 flights. Not that I couldn't continue when I get there... but that nuclear engine module (which will be a considerable distance from the crew module when it's activated) is meant to deploy this thing around the Mun to replace a less awesome station with a bugged docking port.

Rune. I'm having a blast doing this!

Edited by Rune

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Rune: I'll make an exception to the "Full Crew" rule in your case because you have a bigger mission planned for the space station after the challenge is through. This is quite commendable. If your spacecraft has a crew of three on every trip that will be good enough for me. :)

The rule about 16k in Electrical Charge still stands. That would be four of the 2.5m batteries. My reasoning for that large amount of electricity would be to run Ion engines or power large antennas, or life support systems while in Kerbin's shadow. Though these are factors you don't have to deal with, others might. As far as the challenge is concerned you could simply jettison the battery pack once the challenge is over.

BTW, transferring your space station to Mun orbit once completed = Style Points. :D

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Do RCS tugs count as modules? The way I usually build a space station is I send a little RCS tug up first and have it do all the docking, that way the carrier vehicle doesn't need to carry RCS. If the RCS tug doesn't count as a space station module, it's not that big a deal, it just means doing an extra trip.

also, do you have to refuel on the surface? no refueling in space?

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Yes, as RCS tug counts as a module.

And you can refuel at any stage you like. However, in keeping with the Jeb's budget, the fuel must be carried up into orbit by your spacecraft. (If you do this, you may make the fuel tanks into spacestation modules and they will count toward your score.)

Edited by SirJoab
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I bet if Cupcake saw this then this challenge would turn into a battle for second.

Great challenge, very well set out, I love it! It's a shame I suck at all things space. I'm a rover kind of guy.

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Hey! Well, the up-to-spec version of the station is ready, with the useless 4x heavy batteries. I'll have you know the added weight means I will have to take 50l of both fuel and oxi from the station to deorbit the Broadsword, otherwise I would have left if with full tanks. I will do a proper mission album when I have more time (in a hurry right now!), but for now people have a yardstick to measure things by:

56nEzyy.png

69.3mT, fully fueled with half an orange tank and 1780l of monopropellant, consisting of 10 individual modules including the cupola manned tug and the small rover/lander but excluding the two MMUs, room for up to 15 kerbals, and it was assembled by a single Broadsword in six flights at a 120x70km equatorial orbit.

Rune. Now I could double on modules... but am I going to have competition? ;)

Edited by Rune

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Pack a lot of fuel on the first stage. Yes, the initial launch will be slow, but you'll be nearly in space before having to stage. When staging, land the lower stage at KSC, then quckly shift to the upper stage and put it into oribt. Separate payload, and land the upper stage.

Youre missing the point. You can't recouple a decoupler, not without a VAB crane and a bunch of workers on scaffolding with impact drivers.

Basically, the only way to do a Falcon 9 is to recover the pieces and launch again from the VAB with a new payload, even though the rocket is fully reusable.

Basically what I'm getting is that regardless of what the OP reads, this is for the most part and SSTO payload challenge.

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Then use a docking port. :)

how do you suppose I do that without KAS (and don't say go download it)? I'd like to see you put a rocket upper stage, with a single skipper for an engine, back on top of a lower stage that's two and a half jumbos tall without KAS.

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how do you suppose I do that without KAS (and don't say go download it)? I'd like to see you put a rocket upper stage, with a single skipper for an engine, back on top of a lower stage that's two and a half jumbos tall without KAS.

Mechjeb could do it...

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Mechjeb could do it...

Um, no it couldn't. You missed the point about the single skipper engine. We're dealing with a Falcon 9 replica, so single 2.5m stack with a single skipper upper stage. Recouple that.

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...put a rocket upper stage, with a single skipper for an engine, back on top of a lower stage...

You're right, it wouldn't work with a single Skipper engine.

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how do you suppose I do that without KAS (and don't say go download it)?

To do pretty much just what you said not to: yeah, why not use KAS? It's not forbidden in the rules.

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i have to ask about mods like KSP Interstellar it braked physics with the FTL but the rest of it is mostly right

I've just taken a good look at the mod. I have to say no. Very cool mod though. :)

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Ok, so my score would be, correct me if I'm wrong:

+10 for ten modules (even if you wanted to count MMUs, I wouldn't let you)

+15 For having a crew capacity of 15. Never mind I didn't use it, I could have.

+69 for the final 69.3mT mass in low orbit, without the Broadsword docked.

-5 for refuelling each of the five times I loaded new payloads on the Broadsword. (six flights including launch)

+10 for completing the challenge all stock. (Yeah, there's kerbal engineer, I have it on all pods, but I don't think that counts since I use it to show you guys orbital parameters)

For a grand total of 99 points (+ whatever you award for style, if you do!). Yeah, that's a nice place to stop. And now the mission album (there may be still some pictures from other flights, because this is the album for the thread on the ship, but I think I replaced all of them)!

Javascript is disabled. View full album

I have to say, the scoring system is prone to minmaxing. Easy to launch in a single big ass SSTO a very big payload comprised of lots of different small modules with lots of crew capacity (like stacks of independent lander cans). And I still think the electric requirement is superfluous. But I tried to be as realistic as possible, and I had a great time doing it!!

Rune. I might comment the album, but ask for any clarifications you want.

Edited by Rune

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Rune! That is as beautifully done as I could have imagined. :)

It's a very clean operation. Nothing looks wild or exotic, but it's a clean operation, and by the looks of it not 'fiddly' at all. I give you 2 points for style. :) (3 points is for something that causes me injury from my jaw hitting the floor. :D )

Unfortunately, as per the exception to the crew rule, you only made 6 trips. With three Kerbals on board each trip I can only count 12 Kerbals worth of points. (Two drop-offs per trip).

Your score breaks down as:

+10 for 10 Modules

+69 for 69.3mT in Orbit

+12 for Kerbals on board

-5 for refueling 5 times

+10 for completing all-stock

+2 for style

Total : 98 points.

Well done!

Edited by SirJoab
Math Error...

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...I have to say, the scoring system is prone to minmaxing...

Take it easy, it's my first challenge! :)

Point taken. The rules are set in this one, so they won't be changed, but in future I'll try and avoid that. :)

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