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Everything posted by rocketengineer1982

  1. Part 17: Race to the sea 6 days 4 hours 41 minutes - 7 days 2 hours 22 minutes KSP 1.9.1 Tedmore has to limit his speed to about 20 m/s in the highlands. While the terrain isn't too rough, there are enough hills and dips that driving any faster would risk damaging the Centipede Rider. Ted finds a valley with trees. Under a large tree he plants a flag marking Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 23 (0o 0' 4" S, 77o 5' 2" E). He can see the grasslands up ahead! Soon the driving will be much smoother. Mission Control back at KSC spends a while analysing the photos taken during Roscia and Haltrey's flight over the area and believe that if Tedmore pushes he can reach the sea before he loses daylight. There will be a short water crossing, a short land crossing, a longer water crossing, and a final short land crossing before Haltrey leaves the eastern continent behind for good. They encourage Ted to drive as fast as he thinks is safe. With luck and skill, he may be able to start the long ocean crossing between the western and eastern continents before nightfall. With the sun peeking over the horizon Tedmore extends the solar arrays. As some point during the last part of Ted's journey one of the solar panels on the left pontoon broke, but with 25 panels still functional the impact on the Rider's electricity generation is minimal. In addition, the Rider has a number of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTEGs or TEGs) that provide power during the night. The solar arrays do provide a substantial amount of power comparted to the RTEGs, though - roughly twice their generating capacity. Ted stops to mark Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 24 (0o 0' 29" N, 76o 7' 16" E). At the encouragement of Mission Control, Tedmore pushes the Centipede Rider to 40 m/s through the grasslands. At these speeds the Rider is catching air - sometimes more than 2 meters - but is handling it remarkably well. Tedmore tries cruising at 50 m/s but at that speed the Centipede Rider is getting bounced around a lot and he decides that 50 m/s is definitely too fast. While catching air over small rises is unnerving there are no punctured tires or damaged sustained. After hearing Ted's report, Mission Control increases the Centipede Rider's recommended maximum safe speed in Kerbin's grasslands to 40 m/s. Mission Control congratulates Tedmore on having traveled half of the way around Kerbin! Ted finds another sparse forest and stops to mark Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 25 (0o 0' 19" N, 97o 17' 26" E). While passing north of a mountain range Tedmore catches his first glimpse of the Great Far Ocean. Finally Tedmore reaches the sea - and with daylight to spare! He crests the final rise and descends to the shoreline before stopping and planting a flag to mark Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 26 (0o 0' 11" N, 107o 57' 51" E). Boarding the Centipede Rider once again, Ted retracts the solar panels and eases off the brakes, gently rolling the Rider down the beach and into the water. With a slowly growing roar, the Rider's central jet turbine spools up and Tedmore accelerates away from shore. Full Part 17 album: https://imgur.com/a/u2HaqI9
  2. Part 16: A full (rich?) day 5 days 4 hours 28 minutes - 6 days 4 hours 33 minutes KSP 1.9.1 Tedmore tests cruising using the retractable unpowered wheels. The Centipede Rider can reach high speeds on flat terrain when using the unpowered wheels, but requires using liquid fuel to run the jet turbines for propulsion. Ted calls mission control and relays this information. Mission control tells him that they're busy. They've received a booster for reconditioning that has no markings on it, although they believe it belongs to KSA. They've also got a crazed pilot demanding that his capsule be reconditioned first or the snacks will get it, and another pilot refusing any form of R&R and demanding to be sent back out on another mission. They've got their hands full. After a quick stop to fix a flat tire, Tedmore continues driving for a while before stopping to place Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 16 (0o 0' 16" S, 45o 15' 32" E). Mission control tells Ted to keep driving while they take some publicity photos of the Centipede Rider. Ted's not sure what to make of that because as far as he can tell there's nothing around for hundreds of kilometers, but keep driving? That he can do. After fixing another flat, Tedmore stops to mark Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 17 (0o 0' 9" N, 52o 50' 08" E). As the sun slowly rises above the horizon, Ted plants the flag marking Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 18 (0o 0' 22" N, 52o 50' 08" E). This mountain ridge may be beautiful when the sun is rising behind it but Ted finds it a lot less beautiful and a lot more stress-inducing up close. There are a lot of sudden changes in slope that have to be traversed very carefully. Fortunately, the terrain smooths out some after getting over the ridge. As the sun climbs higher into the sky Ted extends the Rider's solar panel arrays to greatly increase the electricity available to power the wheels. When the Centipede Rider was first built its radioisotope thermoelectric generators provided more than enough electricity to power the wheels, but while the Rider was being refit it was found that the RTEGs were no longer sufficient. Mission control mentioned that the wheels had been updated and improved, but Tedmore isn't convinced. The new wheels have less torque than the originals and consume a lot more power. Tedmore finds another ridge. Fun! Ted climbs to the nearby peak to plant Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 19 (0o 0' 24" N, 57o 0' 19" E). There's a slight... incident... getting back down, but he brushes the dust off his uniform and climbs back into the Centipede Rider to continue his epic journey. Ted stops to fix another flat. He notes to mission control that the rearmost set of wheels most frequently have flat tires and therefore are probably under the most stress. A little while later Tedmore plants the flag marking Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 20 (0o 0' 0" N, 58o 36' 28" E). After climbing a few more hills in one of Kerbin's equatorial highlands, Ted reaches the final ridge and plants a flag for Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 21 (0o 0' 0" S, 62o 20' 21" E). He found some grass to keep the flag company! Ted carefully descends the final ridge of these highlands. The mood in mission control is tense as he descends, making careful use of brakes and later reverse thrust as the slope gets steeper. Ted drives on as the sun sets. Tedmore stops to plant a flag at Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 22 (0o 0' 7" N, 69o 6' 9" E). After patching yet another flat tire, Tedmore continues his trek. His phone pings, notifying him that he has a voice message from Haltrey. Ted taps "play" - it will give him something to keep his mind occupied as he drives. "Dear Ted. Today we had what is known around KSC as a full, rich day..." Full Part 16 album: https://imgur.com/a/UH4bWOS
  3. Between my internet and imgur uploading my screenshots is slower than launching a 2,000 part vessel to orbit. It doesn't help that imgur appears to have removed their upload progress bar (whyyyyyy?????). I passed 70 degrees east a couple weeks ago and have been trying to get my mission log caught up. Doing the driving is fun, uploading screenshots not so much. Currently all driving is being done at 1x speed, and my ratio of driving time to mission report preparation time is around 2:1 or 1.5:1. I've crossed a few mountains, blown a few tires, and had a couple instances of rapid unplanned disassembly. Just your typical Elcano experience.
  4. @Kerminator1000 Stock water physics are... difficult. Water drag appears to be excessive, and making a stock boat capable of high speeds (i.e. greater than about 20 m/s) seems to largely be a matter of reducing the number of parts in the water and/or exploiting quirks in KSP's drag calculation. I've used FAR for years, which seems to do a more realistic (or at least reasonable) job of calculating drag in and out of the water. It does have some downsides, however. Anything you splash down in the water tends to bob for a long time, which can make recovery very irritating. This may be why water drag in stock KSP is so high: you're not really intended to spend time in the water except when splashing down. In addition, because FAR modifies the game physics, any Elcano attempt using it automatically falls into the "stock vehicle" category. Most stock high-speed boats I've seen in KSP are hydrofoils/hydroplanes. Of course, an Elcano vehicle doesn't need to be capable of high speeds as long as it is stable on the water - you can set it on a course and come back to check on it later, although you may want to do some tests and calculations to make sure that 1, its heading stays constant and 2, it's not going to run aground on the current course (yes, I've learned this one the hard way, too).
  5. Part 15 (Day 6): Tedmore takes a tumble So... I drove this part over a year ago. I upgraded to KSP version 1.6 and had installed a bunch of mods for my campaign save... and then forgot to uninstall them before continuing the Elcano challenge. At that time, I didn't have the hard drive space for multiple KSP installs. The list of mods is pretty long, but all the vehicles are still stock, and the only physics-altering mod is FAR. The list includes Better Burn Time, Chatterer, Connected Living Space, Crew R&R, Docking Port Alignment Indicator, Easy Vessel Switch, FMRS (a stage recovery system), Hangar Extender, Kerbal Attachment System, Kerbal Inventory System, KSPI, Kerbin Side GAP (giving aircraft a purpose), KRASH (VAB/SPH simulations), MechJeb2, RemoteTech, Stage Recovery, Station Keeping, Take Command, Trajectories, and a bunch of visual mods. This was a big "oops", and by the time I realized what I'd done I had already put in several hours and really did not want to have to do it all over again. This extensive mod list was also causing my computer some issues. I later found out that the mods were sucking up a lot of RAM (pretty much all of it) and it was bogging down my computer. I spent all of this session driving with 2x time acceleration - and it was still slower than real time. I remember watching the in-game clock and working out that the game was running at about 3/4 real time. Naturally, that was after I was already a couple hours in. It made for a very long and painful driving session. On with the show! Tedmore speeds away from the Centipede Lifter in his new ride while singing at the top of his lungs with his mic key firmly pressed. Behind him, Roscia and Haltrey prepare for a speedy return flight to KSC and hope to be out of radio range as soon as possible. Tedmore spies mountains ahead. This will be the first test of the refit Centipede Rider. Ted makes a quick stop to fix a flat and grab some snacks. It's starting to get hilly. Ted fires up the central turbofan to help get the Rider up the hill. "Remember, Ted, go slowly over crests. We don't need a repeat of Jeb's testing accident. The Centipede Rider is not designed to fly," reminds Gene over the radio. "Roger, slow and steady over crests," acknowledges Tedmore. Gene's next comment is drowned out as Jebediah screams "NEEDS MORE BOOSTERS!!!" from somewhere in Mission Control. Ted finds some weeds. Mission Control resolves to send out a team ASAP to investigate this anomaly. Tedmore takes a minute to admire the view before planting the flag marking Elcano Challenge Checkpoint 15 (0o 0' 45" S, 38o 17' 8" E). Behind him in the distance, the refit Centipede Rider sits 2 seconds north of the equator. Ted skillfully pilots the Centipede Rider up the first ridge. The descent is a bit trickier, and requires reverse thrust and careful use of the brakes. Ted stops the Rider at the bottom of the ridge and radios mission control that he's getting out to check ground clearance under nose before proceeding. "How much clearance do you have, Ted?" asks Gene. Ted chews his lip while looking back and forth between the nose of the Rider 10 centimeters from the ground and the end of the boarding ladder buried in the dirt. "Uh... plenty." "Okay, cleared to proceed." Ted contacts Mission Control to report a magic boulder. Climbing the next ridge again poses little challenge for the triple turbofans of the refit Centipede Rider. The descent, however, has Tedmore slightly worried. The next ridge poses a substantial challenge, however. "Proceeding to climb the ridge. Ascent angle is fluctuating between 40 and 50 degrees. Approaching the crest. Slowing." Gene and the rest of the Kerbals in Mission Control hold their breath as the Rider crests the ridge. "Ascent angle is down to 30 degrees. Cresting." The telemetry display in Mission Control reads a steady 28 degree climb before slowly tipping over into a 40 degree descent. The Rider's speed builds quickly and Tedmore is forced to deploy the parachutes as it passes 30 m/s in a 50 degree descent. Everyone in Mission Control breathes a sigh of relief as they watch the vehicle return to a safe speed. It's a few seconds before Gene notices that Ted's status updates have stopped. "Ted, do you read? You've stopped transmitting." "Ted here. I'm descending at 10 meters per second. Everything is okay... now." "Roger. We didn't receive your transmissions right after you crested the ridge. Repeat them please," says Gene. "Errrm... are you sure you want a long string of expletives on the official record?" "That's funny, the ridge doesn't look as bad from here," comments Ted. After driving another couple kilometers, Tedmore is working his way along the side of a small ridge when several tires suddenly blow out. He brakes the Centipede Rider to a halt. "Mission Control, I've had another blowout. It's causing problems, so I'm going to get out here to fix it." "Roger Ted. Be careful." "Will do." Ted climbs out of the Centipede Rider's hatch and down the ladder. He sets one foot on the ground and... "WOA-AAAAAAAHH!" screams Ted. After tumbling a goodly way down a mountainside, Tedmore finally gets his feet back under him. "Ted, are you okay?" "Doing fine, Mission Control. Looks like I'm going to be stretching my legs a little more than anticipated." After a quick hike, Tedmore fixes the flats and continues on his journey as the sun sets. The Centipede Rider crosses another ridge, this time in the dark... ...and continues on, 33 tonnes of speeding metal... all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous pace, but it's our last, best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the... Wait, hang on. -paper rustling- Sorry folks, wrong script. Full Part 15 album: https://imgur.com/gallery/auocOyw
  6. @Kerminator1000 I'll be claiming my badge (Kerbin, land) when I finish. The list of people who have completed circumnavigations in the first post hasn't been updated in years, so I wouldn't take it as an "official list" of who's completed the challenge and is entitled to a badge. Side note: @rkarmark Does that mean that you're looking for a new manager for this challenge?
  7. Yup, driving (or sailing) around a planet can be really, really boring at times. Put on some music, pull up a YouTube video to listen to on a second monitor, or start an audiobook. Of course, if you take a route similar to mine, periods of boredom are interspersed with periods of extreme stress while you pray your vehicle doesn't break. I started my circumnavigation when Claw was moderating the Elcano Challenge. It's never been a scored or ranked challenge. It's a test of your own ability, and when you're done you can say with pride "I did it." You pin the appropriate badge onto your signature and set your sights on the next big challenge. It's not for nothing. This challenge - like many of the other classic challenges - has grown quiet over the past couple years as KSP has aged. It's also a difficult challenge in terms of engineering ability, piloting skill, and endurance. Personally, I would love to see a resurgence of interest in completing ground circumnavigations in KSP: while everyone has focused their attention up, we focus ours down. A lot of what Claw did while he was in charge of the Elcano Challenge was answering questions and providing technical and moral support to those attempting it. He also kept an up to date list of everyone who had submitted a completion report, and once in a great while would have to let someone know that the route they had planned wasn't circumnavigationish enough to qualify, or that proposed modifications were too extensive to be considered the same vehicle. It looks like your route is a classic water circumnavigation, although you've made the interesting choice of heading west from KSC instead of east. The minimum land crossing route you chose should be perfect for your design. It surprised me when you said your rover couldn't climb more than an 8 degree incline, but then I noticed that in the pictures you are only using the rover wheels for propulsion when on land. Your rover has relatively few wheels for its mass, so I would suggest firing up one of the Panthers when you need to climb a hill. Be careful when driving - the long wheelbase of your rover can cause problems when crossing terrain joints that aren't nearly flat. I learned that one the hard way. You're doing great! The first leg is probably the hardest as you figure out what works and what doesn't - both in terms of driving your rover and preventing boredom. Your design looks easily capable of completing a circumnavigation, so you're still interested in completing the challenge, stick with it!
  8. I finally finished writing Part 14. I drove and took screenshots for Part 15 a little over a year ago, but need to get them uploaded and write it up. It's taking a while to upload everything. Imgur keeps getting stuck partway through the upload process. I'm averaging 3-4 tries per screenshot.
  9. It's been three years to the day since I started this attempt to complete the Elcano Challenge. I'm getting there. Slowly.
  10. Part 14 (Day 6): Great balls of fire The latest update to KSP has made my game rather unhappy with my usual assortment of mods (~10 GB of ram usage), so I've had to strip most of my mods. This section was completed using only FAR, Kerbal Engineer Redux, and a few visual effects mods. Even with this light load, my computer was still not happy with the amount of memory required, and so refused to run faster than 1/2 speed. As always, all vehicles are comprised exclusively of stock parts. You can blame my inexperience with Texture Replacer for the altered appearance of my Kerbals. Don't worry, Haltrey's mustache will be getting removed soon. I also had some serious technical difficulties connecting the Rider to the Lifter. The last update has caused my aircraft to start sliding across the surface of the runway, which was making aligning and attaching to the Rider nearly impossible. I finally gave up trying to use the Klaw after spending the better part of an hour perfectly lining up the Lifter before locking the brakes and watching it slowly drift north. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. KSC Day 6, 00:30:00 UT "Oh-dark-thirty" It was a warm, sunny afternoon, and Roscia was lounging on the beach at Wave-Off Point, thoroughly enjoying hour 7 of her 12-hour leave. As she reached over to snag another snack from the "Box 'O Snacks" she brought along, Roscia's fingers found a distinct lack of Box... and snacks, too. Reluctantly opening her eyes, she looked over to find Haltrey with the Box in one hand and a snack in the other, munching contentedly and looking decidedly less green than the shade he'd usually been the past couple days. Roscia sighed, the sound of the waves and approaching commuter flight from KSC having masked the sound of the Box theft and subsequent munching. "Hey, Halt," Roscia prompted. Haltrey looked over, snack still halfway to his mouth. "Oops, sorry," he apologized, placing the Box back down withing easy reach of both of them - where it had been sitting for most of the day. Roscia snagged a snack from the Box. After a minute of contended munching, broken only by the inbound flight on final passing overhead, Halt mused, "You know? It wasn't really all that bad." "What wasn't?" "The flying." "Tell that to our radio." "No, I mean it. It really wasn't that bad. Sure, I was miserable, but we helped out Ted, and it was an awesome and wacky adventure. Take connecting to the Rider for instance. We taxied over top of it, and then sat down on the Rider to connect it to the Klaws! How do the scientists even come up with these procedures?" Roscia laughed. "You're right. They should have just used a docking port or something." After a few seconds of thought, she smiled slowly. "Even with the long hours, it wasn't that bad... as long as there were plenty of air sickness bags," she said jokingly. It was Halt's turn to laugh. "Yeah. I hope they guys in Mission Control don't get any ideas about making a Munar circumnavigation anytime soon. I think Ted's still a little out of it - he definitely was cooped up in the Rider with his tunes for too long. Not to mention the potential for 6-hour air sickness. There wouldn't be enough bags," he replied, grinning. Roscia and Halt looked down the beach to where Ted was sitting by the water's edge, where Tedmore was meticulously making a sand sculpture of the Rider climbing the side of a mountain, alternately singing and muttering to himself about needing more thrust. "I cut my nails and I twiddle my thumbs," Ted sang. Roscia frowned slightly. "Yeah. Having him drive, alone, for days and days straight probably wasn't the best idea." "I'm really nervous, but it sure is fun." "At least they gave him the week off, though, rather than our two days," Halt mused. "Come on baby, you drive me crazy." "Yeah," Roscia replied. "Though all engineers are a little batty. I'd swear that when he was working on the intakes on his sand sculpture of the Rider I saw the suspension compress," commented Roscia as she and Haltry watched Ted work. "Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!" Suddenly the sounds of the waves Ted singing was shattered by a horrible, loud noise. Roscia looked up, thinking that perhaps it was the commuter flight departing the Island Airfield on its return trip to KSC, but there was no offending aircraft, and the noise didn't sound like a turbofan, anyway. Frantically, Roscia searched for the source of the awful, grating noise, but there was no source in sight, and it seemed to be coming from all around. Halt and Ted seemed oblivious to the sound, and as Roscia listened, she realized that the sound was becoming clearer, and that it sounded just like a telephone ringing. ---------- After a couple seconds of blind groping, Roscia managed to snag the phone off her bedside table. Cracking her eyes open, she made out the time, and the location of the "pick up" button. She closed her eyes again, and aggressively stabbed at the button before holding the phone to here ear. "Mmmmmph.... Rosssh Krrmn hrrr." The voice of Gene Kerman answered her from the other end of the line. "Roscia, the Centipede Rider's refit is nearly complete. Report for preflight briefing in 15 minutes. Good morning." Roscia's reply was to aggressively stab the "hang-up" button before rolling out of bed and falling onto the floor. "Ow." ---------- Fourteen minutes later, Roscia dragged herself into the briefing room, a cup of Kerbonaut-Optimal Fluid For Energy and Excellence (KOFFEE) in one hand. Inside, Haltrey was awake and waiting for the briefing, as attested to by the slowly forming pool of drool on the table. Roscia sat down beside him, as he rested his head against the table, his half-open eyes staring at the projector screen currently filled by the KSP logo. "Good morning," mumbled Rose. "Uunngh," replied Halt. The briefing room door opened again, admitting Gene, who walked briskly to the front of the room, a cup of Koffee in one hand, an overflowing clipboard in the other, and a folder full of reports jammed under his arm. "Good morning, both of you. Sorry for waking you so early, but the finishing touches are being made to the Rider, and we need to get it out to Ted ASAP," Gene said, before turning around to look at Roscia and Haltrey. Looking vaguely disturbed, he paused a moment to dig through the papers on his clipboard. Finding the sheet he was looking for, Gene quadruple-checked the numbers printed there before returning his attention to the two members of the Lifter's crew. "Right, since you both have full crew rest, what do you say we get on with this briefing so you two can get flying?" he asked enthusiastically, hoping to get Rose and Halt to perk up. Halt replied with a quiet gurgle. "Ooookay. Moving on then," said Gene, switching to the next slide of the presentation. "As before you will be flying an equatorial course, departing KKSC at 01:45 UT this morning and passing north of KKIA..." KSC, Spaceplane Hangar Day 6, 01:17:32 UT Roscia and Haltrey stepped through the door double doors leading into the main construction area of the spaceplane hangar and were immediately assaulted by a wall of sound. It was like someone had taken the usual riot of activity and turned it up to, oh twenty-five or so. Several aircraft under repair had been relocated to the edges of the hangar to make room for the Centipede Lifter, and a couple of half-disassembled light aircraft resided underneath the Lifter's wings. Technicians were crawling all over the and the Rider, some riveting, some welding, others grinding, even more with airbrushes and the occasional can of spray paint. Roscia noted that one painter was working on painting a panel seam, followed by a welder who was welding the seam shut, followed by a grinder smoothing the weld, followed by another painter. She sighed. "Less than 3 minutes to roll-out," shouted a Kerbal into a loudspeaker micrphone, "c'mon, let's move Kerbals!" Hectic though it appeared, Rosica was impressed at how much work had been done to the Rider and the Lifter in such a short period of time - and how close the technicians were to being finished. With the exception of the painter/welder/grinder/painter team, everything seemed to be going... well not smoothly, but not terribly, either. As she and Haltrey watched, Kerbals were finishing their work and climbing down from the joined craft, taking their ladders and work platforms with them. She flipped through the sheaf of papers she'd been given detailing the Lifter's refit. ""Well, at least we don't need to connect to the Rider this time, Halt," she commented. "I can see that." "It says here that there were issues getting proper alignment - something about a gravitational frictional anomaly? Can't say I understand what that means... Anyway, they've given up on the whole "Klaw" approach and have attached the Rider to the Lifter with a decoupler, so perfect alignment is guaranteed for this flight. If another recovery becomes necessary..." "I hope not," interjects Halt. "...they'll replace the decoupler with a Klaw and then it's business as usual," finishes Rose. As they were speaking, the last workers finished up, and the hangar doors began to open. A tug slipped inside, while through the opening doors Roscia could see waiting fuel trucks. A lot of fuel trucks. She started musing about how it would be more efficient to have one GIANT fuel truck instead of a half-dozen small trucks, and then about the potential risks of a single truck carrying that much fuel. Halt poked Roscia's arm, breaking her concentration. "We should probably go get on board," said Halt, pointing to the stair truck that had been left pushed up against the Centipede Lifter's wing. "Right." August 30, 2020. Well, I remember having the rest of this chapter planned out - including puns - but it's been so long since I last worked on this (January 10th, 2019) that I can't remember more than the vaguest outline of what I had planned for this part of the story. It's a shame, because I remember having a really good pun that has since slipped into the abyss. I also had a really, really good joke about "smoking and nonsmoking sections" that I can't remember. *sigh* Again, please ignore Haltrey's sudden mustache, goatee, and graying hair. KSC Day 6, 01:24:15 UT "Preflight check. Emergency equipment?" "Checked." "Fire protection?" "Checked." Roscia holds up a squirt gun before tucking it back under her seat. "Nav equipment?" "Windows are clean. Checked." "Flightdeck lights?" "You can read the checklist, so I'm gonna go with, 'checked'." "Crew briefing?" "They're probably still trying to get your drool off the table. Crew briefing completed. Next item." "Hydraulics?" "Set." "Yaw dampers?" "On." "Voice recorder?" "On, although mission control may regret that." "Pressurization?" "Set." "Speed brakes?" "Retracted." "Thrust levers?" "Down." "Parking brakes?" "Set." "Communications?" "Set." "Transponder?" "Set." "Preflight check complete. On to the prestart checklist." Rose sighs and thumps her head against the display in front of her. A few minutes later the engines of the Centipede Lifter begin to spool up. "Ground, Centipede Lifter. Request taxi for takeoff, departing west." "Right-o Centipede Lifter. Taxi to and hold short of runway zero-niner using taxiway Alpha. Contact tower on 119.9 when ready." "Taxi to and hold short runway zero-niner using taxiway Alpha. Contact tower on 119.9. Centipede Lifter." Roscia advances the throttles, releases the parking brake, and the Centipede Lifter begins to roll. "Here we come, Ted," Roscia murmurs. "KSC Tower, Centipede Lifter is holding short runway 09, for departure to the east. Request backtrack." "Centipede Lifter, KSC Tower. Backtrack approved. Cleared for takeoff runway 09." "Backtrack approved, cleared for takeoff runway 09, Centipede Lifter." Rose taxies the Lifter to the end of the runway and slowly performs a U-turn. "I'm glad this thing isn't any bigger," she comments to Halt. "We've only barely got enough room to turn around." "Shh, don't let the engineers hear you," jokes Haltrey, "Next thing you know they'll want to build a plane that can carry two Centipede Riders at once!" Roscia laughs as she lines up the Centipede Lifter on the centerline. "Fine, but it's their job to get it turned around!" Rose advances the throttles, waits for the Lifter to reach rotation speed, and slowly pulls back on the stick. The Lifter smoothly rises from the ground, racing its way towards Tedmore Kerman with its precious cargo slung underneath. "HUUUUURRRRRRK!" Rose sighs. This is going to be a long flight. Kerbin, 21 degrees 6 minutes east, 7 minutes 21 seconds south Day 6, 02:50 UT Haltrey checks the Lifter's position. "Okay, the last checkpoint is just ahead below the clouds. Tedmode's cabin isn't too far ahead so we should start our descent soon." "How are you holding up, Halt?" asks Rose. "So-so. I'm doing okay for now, just don't mention sna-." Halt turns visibly greener and starts fumbling for an airsickness bag. Rose sighs. "Okay, starting a very gentle descent." Kerbin, Near Tedmore's Cabin Day 6, 03:00 UT Roscia dives the Centipede Lifter through the clouds and begins to line up an approach. "Ted, this is Roscia and Haltrey. We're here with your new ride!" "About time!" Rose and Halt guide the Centipede Lifter towards a gentle landing near Tedmore's Cabin. As they begin to flare for touchdown, Roscia asks, "Hey Halt, do you hear something?" Halt listens and hears a faint sound over the roar of the airbrakes. "It sounds like... Jerry Lee Kerman???" "Uh-oh." After touchdown, Roscia taxis the Centipede Lifter over to Ted's cabin and sets the parking brakes. "Okay Ted, we're here! Come out and see your new ride!" "ALRIGHT! Gonna be... on the road again!" Tedmore sings. Haltrey activates the decoupler holding the Centipede Rider to its transport and Ted climbs down from on top his cabin and runs over to the refit Centipede Rider. "Sweeeet! This thing looks amazing!" Ted says as he climbs up the Rider's boarding ladder. He slowly backs the Rider out from underneath the Centipede lifter while Haltrey and Roscia wait for him and the refit Centipede Rider to get clear. "Hey Rose," Halt asks, "did you notice that Ted's pockets seemed awfully full when he ran over to the Rider?" "Yeah," Rose replies, "probably just stuffed full of snacks. You know how Ted is - like most Kerbals can't get enough of 'em and hates for any to go to waste." Ted's voice comes over the radio. "I'm clear of the attachment point. Proceeding with detachment checklist." "Roger, Ted. Let us know when you're clear," radios Halt. The sound of a spacesuit pocket being unzipped comes over the radio. "Must be snack time," Rose comments with a laugh. Some plastic clacking sounds. Click. Ca-chunk. Click. Click. "Doesn't sound like snacks," says Halt. "You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain" Ted closes the Rider's access doors and slowly backs out from under the Lifter. "Oh, no." He backs through a gentle left turn, slowly swinging the Centipede Rider around to point east. "Too much love drives a man insane" "Please, no." Tedmore sets the parking brake and spools up the Rider's triple jet engines. "You broke my will, what a thrill" "Nooooooo!" "Goodness, gracious, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!" "I guess that means he's clear," deadpans Rose. Full Part 14 album: https://imgur.com/a/OLAKrQh
  11. This challenge has been quiet for a while. After a bit of a hiatus, I'm resuming my circumnavigation of Kerbin. There was a... minor accident... involving my first vehicle, but it's been recovered, refit, and is ready to be flown back out to the last checkpoint. I'm hoping to have time to make the flight and resume my circumnavigation this weekend.
  12. Wow, it's really been over a year and a half since Tedmore, Roscia, and Haltrey, along with the regular gang of nutca-(AHEM) highly esteemed Kerbonauts (much better) last provided a progress update on their epic mission to perform what will hopefully be the first equatorial ground circumnavigation of Kerbin. Poor Ted, stuck all alone in his small cabin for so long. He must be going stir-crazy by now, or he would be if he hadn't already been completely off his rock-(AHEM!), um... completely and perfectly sane and stable! Of course, because only the brightest and bravest Kerbals are allowed to train at Kerbal Space Center and become Kerbonauts. No, there was nothing at all about triple snack rations for the first 7 volunteers... And certainly, none of them are the slightest bit mercurial... When last we left our heroes, Tedmore was sitting in his cabin, singing along to his mix tapes, eating snacks, and gradually starting to wonder why no one was complaining about his singing over the radio, all the while as happy as Jeb is when things are blowing up. Meanwhile, a third of the way around Kerbin, Roscia and Haltrey were conducting flight tests of the Lifter and dealing with some minor stage separation problems - always a concern when it's a single stage vehicle - while Jeb and Val conducted tests of the refit, minorly explosive Centipede Rider. Or perhaps it was the tests that were minorly explosive, and not the Rider? Moving on swiftly, Tedmore is distracted, Roscia is dealing with unintentional engine separations, Haltrey is trying hard not to barf, Val is climbing hills, and most concerningly, Jeb is having fun. Poor, poor Gene. So, on the condition that I actually have some free time, yes, I do plan to complete this circumnavigation of Kerbin! How long it will take, I'm not sure. I may end up with the record for taking the longest to actually complete a circumnavigation of Kerbin, but it shall be completed! Oh, and kudos and extra snacks to the first person who can find the Easter egg hidden in this post.
  13. I've solved the Lifter's structural integrity problems. I'm not sure what changed since the pick-up, but something apparently did. The engines did not used to have a disturbing tendency to fall off... While waiting for the proper time to set out (so that I'll be making the drop-off landing during the daytime), I had Val do a little more hill-climb testing. I also charted a reasonable path for crossing the mountain range west of KSC. East............................................................................................................................................................................................................West Imgur Album: http://imgur.com/a/YD3QX
  14. I worked out how to get the Rider connected to the Lifter. A single Klaw is mounted on the centerline and grabs onto the batteries in the Centipede Rider's cargo bay. The connection is strong enough to withstand 5G turns. I had a couple problems with the starboard engines falling off the Lifter during flight and maneuvers, so I ended up re-strutting them. Still need to run another test flight before approving the design. Album: http://imgur.com/a/GPrSJ
  15. It appears that the Klaws cannot grab onto radial air intakes and so my previous method of attaching the Rider to the Lifter is not going to work, at least using the method of having the Rider sat on. Back to the drawing board. Album: http://imgur.com/a/e7r9C
  16. That's one of the changes I'm looking at to increase the static thrust and hill-climbing capability. I've got a design where the two jet engines on the pontoons are switched out for pairs of FLT-100s and Aerospikes. I then was able to switch out the intakes on the tops of the pontoons for more solar panels because of reduced intake air requirements. I still need to test out the changes, and getting oxidizer will be tricky and would probably require refueling pods dropped by aircraft. I could refuel using an Advanced Grabbing Unit on each pod (just drive the Rider into it), but I would still have to fly around Kerbin - again - to drop off the refueling pods. Frankly, I'm getting a bit tired of making aerial circumnavigations. Maybe I'll use suborbital lob shots to deploy the pods. EDIT: Aerospikes aren't worth it. The time at TWR=1 is too low to really be useful. I think I'll go back to the jets and just make some detours.
  17. Reaction control wheels! Pretty sure that it means the aircraft has to be amphibious. Take off from the runway Fly through the course Land on the water at the end of the runway Take off from the water and land back on the runway. I'd suggest requiring a screenshot when passing through the final gate. Screenshots passing through each gate would be nice, but it might be impractical unless you can remap the screenshot button to a joystick button. Pounding "Print Screen" while trying to fly a course at high speed can be quite difficult. Alternatively, a screencast uploaded on YouTube would work as well - provided the mission time is legible.
  18. First, you're going to need a scoring system. I'd suggest using the lap time. You also might want to consider adding a condition that the aircraft has to also be able to take off from water. Second, as a college senior majoring in aerospace engineering, I'd like to point out that the designs (see examples below) were developed by car designers who "let their imagination run wild". http://speedbirds.free.fr/Com/store/achat.html http://www.yankodesign.com/2009/05/23/schneider-cup-dreams/ They look amazing, but just are not practical, or in some cases, even flyable. Not to bash on your idea - I love the thought of more Schneider Cup races - I just have a personal pet peeve about concept art designed by non-aerospace engineers, and presented in a way that implies that it is a viable concept.
  19. Thanks! Doing the circumnavigation flight gave me a much better idea of what I would have to climb to complete an equatorial circumnavigation. The inlets look excessive, but actually just barely give enough intake air. I'm quite glad that they do, because there isn't room to add more unless I start partially clipping them through each other. I also came up with an absolute tolerance for my circumnavigation. KSC's runway is 2 minutes 26 seconds south of the equator and the tracking station is 7 minutes 37 seconds south, so I'm going to give myself at least 8 minutes on either side of the equator to work with. I'd like to keep it within 3 minutes, but that may not be possible because there are some pretty sharp ridges in those mountain ranges. My next installment will have more testing west of KSC, and the sharp corners in the terrain were a bit of a problem. I'm pretty sure that I can stick to within 8 minutes, though. That should let me avoid a particularly nasty spike directly west of KSC EDIT: That range directly west of KSC is nasty beyond belief. 70+ degree slopes and terrain joint edges at 45 degrees. I've tried going over it several times, and it just isn't working. The engines lose power with altitude, and I top out at about 4000m on a 70 degree slope. I think I'm going to have to go around. I might have to allow detours of up to 1 degree from the equator to go around particularly nasty mountains because only deviating 8 minutes leaves me with an impassible ridge west of KSC. We'll see how close I can cut it now that I have a good feel for the limitations of the improved design.
  20. Part 13: Jeb takes a drive Gene wasn't exaggerating: the design for refitting the Centipede Rider is something to see. The engineering team at KSC started by removing the useless refinery and drills, and packed into the central bay as many batteries as could possibly fit. To improve the climbing ability, they replaced the rear sections of the two pontoons with a pair of Wheelsey turbofans, which give the Rider a total thrust to weight ratio slightly greater than 1. However, static thrust flow simulations found that the engines would flame out unless provided with an insane number of intakes. The front ends of each pontoon were replaced with adjustable ramp intakes, and 16 radial air intakes were added (12 to the pontoons, 4 underneath the main body). Solar panels were tacked on wherever possible. Most importantly, the engineers decided to add landing gear to the Rider, so that if it suffered a blowout again, it could just be jacked up for repairs. The water rudders had to be realigned to be slightly more vertical because they were causing "wheel blocked" errors. Six Mk.0 fuel tanks were installed along the edges of the central bay, They bring up the total weight to roughly 1 ton more than the original Centipede Rider, so they might be removed before testing is completed. Additional reaction wheels and a probe core were also added to the central bay. As soon as repairs were completed and the modifications made, Jeb took the Rider out for an early morning test drive. He soon found that the landing gear could be used for a high speed - although extremely fuel inefficient - cruise over land. First on the procedure was to head west from KSC and test the Rider's mountain climbing ability. "Let's see, head to 79o 20' 36" west, 7' 54" north and proceed with climb testing. Where the heck is that? Oh well, this mountain looks as good as any." Mission Control gave up on trying to rein in Jeb a long time ago. Jeb gets impatient and pushes the Rider to 55 m/s. Cruising using the landing gear is surprisingly smooth. "I feel the need - the need for speed!" "Hey, Gene, this is Jeb. I'm looking up at this mountain and it looks pretty steep. You're sure that bunch with the slide rules know what they're doing?" "Yup, should be just fine. The Rider is practically a VTOL now. Climbing shouldn't be a problem as long as you don't slide sideways. Even then, you've got some parachutes, just in case." "Wilco, Gene. Engaging crawler mode!" "I'm at about a 40 degree climb angle now. No problems at all. There's plenty of power available and I'm accelerating up the slope nicely. The wheels provide a great boost to the climbing ability, and the alternators and solar panels are providing more than enough power. Total thrust state: 183 kN." "Bit steeper now. It started to fishtail a little, so I turned on the RCS. I'm at just under 20m/s and accelerating in a 50+ degree climb with 226 kN thrust." "Roger, Jeb. Watch your speed. The intakes won't function well under 10 m/s, but if you hit a change in slope while going too fast..." "Ah, you worry too much. This is fun!" "Almost 60 degrees now with no problems. I can see KSC from here!" *CRUNCH* "Whoops!" "Whoops? What's 'whoops'?" "Only a little bit of damage. Caught some air off a slope change and landed pretty hard. I think I might need a recovery team - there's lots of blown tires and I lost some parts." "The gearheads aren't going to be happy. They just finished repairing the Rider." "Aw, it won't take them long. They should be on a K1 pit team." "Where do you think we got them from?" About 30 minutes later, after a quick bit of repairs... "Parachutes test out OK - very effective!" "You're lucky Gene is on a koffee break - he'd have a fit if he saw you taking the Rider up to 120 m/s. You should be glade you didn't go airborne." "Don't think I didn't try..." "What was that??!" "Well it floats OK. Quite a bit lower than the last one, though. Speed seems to be reduced a little bit, but not much. I think with the intake and the engines we lost a bit of pontoon volume. Could also be that extra tonne, too. The steering is also a little more sluggish, but still easily controllable." "Roger, Jeb. You are cleared for the speed run testing - just take it slow and think your way through it." "When haven't I?" "..." "Dang! Guess the speed testing is over." Jebediah waits for the Rider to finish doing cartwheels and settle out. "You're going to need to send out a boat to pick up some of the pieces." "C'mon, Jeb. Full report, please." "Right, right. I got up to about 36 m/s on one engine without any bad characteristics. Then I went to 3 engines and full throttle. I got up to about 100 m/s before it flipped on me." "What happened to 'go slow and think it through'?" "You can't really go slow if you're doing a speed test, can you?" "Not what I meant.... Anyway, once we get all the pieces back, I guess we can have the engineers put the Rider back together - again. And you wonder why they never invite you to come along when they get off work." "But I do such a good job testing their designs." "Yeah, destructive testing..." Full Part 13 album: http://imgur.com/a/6Ms8Q
  21. Part 12: Take the long way home, cont.- AKA Random parachute deployment "Wow, Halt, from this altitude I can see why everyone says it's an impact crater. I was here last year on vacation, you know, and it just doesn't have the same impact when you see it from the beach," comment Roscia. "Kind of unnerving, thinking that something big enough to leave a crater like this hit Kerbin. Kind of makes me a little scared," replies Haltrey. "Yeah but big impact events are really rare. The scientists say that this one happened tens of millions of years ago and wiped out the Kinosaurs. We aren't likely to have one happen anytime in our lifetimes, or in the next million years for that matter," says Roscia reassuringly. "Centipede Lifter to Mission Control. The terrain we're flying over now looks pretty rough. The ground isn't particularly steep, but it goes on for quite a while. Ted is going to be slowed down a lot here," says Roscia. "Roger, Centipede Lifter. We'll be sure to advise Ted that he's going to need to be careful, but he really shouldn't have much of a problem. You should see what the engineers are whipping up for the refit." "Hey Halt, wake up! We're over the Great Western Desert. Doesn't it look so peaceful? No one around for hundreds of kilometers, just gently rolling hills of sand." "Unngh. Uh, looks like a bad place to get stuck to me." "I suppose so, but it looks so peaceful at night. Anyway, the ground here is nice and smooth - Ted should have no problems." "Got any wood?" "Fine, you'll feel better now. The Great Western Desert is behind us and we're over the ocean again." "Great, life rafts." "Stop being so gloomy." "Ha ha! I KNEW something was going to go wrong! Hee hee hee hee hee. We're going down!" Haltrey starts laughing hysterically. Rose things that he might have cracked after almost a full day of near-constant airsickness. "What the heck? Low speed and stall warnings all over! Angle of attack is -40 degrees and we're rolling! Oh. Parachutes deployed. Halt, did you have an accident with the parachute arming toggles like you had with the radio stack?" says Roscia. "Maybe..." replies Halt. "Well at least we have a checklist for accidental parachute deployment due to lunch-induced toggle short-circuit. Maybe someone tipped off the engineers that you get airsick. Let's see, cut parachutes... throttles up... accelerate to 80 m/s, pull up... and level off. No problem - only dropped 3800 m." "Centipede Lifter to KSC Approach. We are 135 km west at 7000. Request vectors for landing." "Centipede Lifter, KSC Approach. You are entering our airspace. Maintain heading 090 and climb to 8500. Expect vectors to the active." "Approach, Centipede Lifter. Roger. Maintaining heading and climbing to 8500." "Wow, Halt. Ted's worst challenge might be right near home. I never really looked at how rough these mountains are," comments Roscia "Are you sure we're going to clear them? Those peaks look really high," says Halt. "Don't you even know how high K1 is? We could fly over K1 with almost 1 1/2 kilometers to spare. The mountains here barely top 6000 m, and the approach path to KSC has us crossing at 8500 m. We'll clear them just fine. Oh, and that's K2 right over there. Look, we can see the campfires of one of the mountaineering expeditions." "Why anyone would want to climb a mountain where they need to use a jackhamer to chisel out a spot large enough for a fire pit from the side of a 70 degree slope is beyond me," replies Haltrey. "What about Jeb?" asks Roscia. "Oh. Right." "Centipede Lifter, Approach. Descend and maintain 3000. Slow to 150 m/s. You are number 1 for landing. Maintain heading 090 and report when runway is in sight." "Approach, Centipede Lifter. Descend and maintain 3000, slow to 150, roger. We are number 1 for landing." "Approach, Centipede Lifter has the runway in sight." "Centipede Lifter, Approach. Roger. Contact Tower on 119.9." Roscia tunes the radio to the Tower frequency. "Tower, this is Centipede Lifter. We are 19 km west, inbound for landing. We have the runway in sight." "Centipede Lifter, Tower. Roger. Wind is calm. You are cleared to land, runway 09." "Tower, Centipede Lifter. Cleared to land, runway 09." "OK, Halt. We're nearly down. Too far to the right... c'mon left... left... left..." "Yeah! Nice, solid, ground!" "Aw dangit! We don't have any drogue 'chutes because they deployed during flight. Oh well, reverse thrust will have to do." The radio crackles to life: "Centipede Lifter, exit runway when able. Contact Ground on 121.9." "Contact Ground on 121.9, roger." As Rose slows the Centipede Lifter to a stop, she wonders what the engineering division has come up with for the Centipede Rider. Before she left, she saw them assembling a new rear section for the left pontoon, but it wasn't even close to finished. And Gene had implied that the engineers were working on something that would get Tedmore over the mountains with ease... She hopes she will get time off to watch them test-drive whatever modifications they've come up with. Full Part 12 album: http://imgur.com/a/gSRTr
  22. @Claw Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. No sepratrons will be harmed in the completion of this circumnavigation, and any detachments of the intakes will be completely unintentional and probably catastrophic. I've got 7 more small mountain ranges like the last one I crossed, and 2 really nasty ranges like the one to the west of KSC. Before the wheel mechanics were reworked, I could climb a 45 degree slope, but even with maxed friction control, 45 degrees is out of the question without a lot of jet assistance. After struggling with wheel blocked and landing gear unable to extend for a bit, I managed to fit the jacks back on. Should keep me from getting stuck the next time a bunch of tires next to each other blow. Those obstruction boxes are weird.
  23. I have a design that works. Apparently the critical number for static thrust is 8 intake air per engine - 24 intake air total. It looks a bit better than the intake air monster, but I had to remove almost all the small solar panels from the pontoons, and the landing gear mounted in the pontoon ends that would allow me to jack up the craft to repair blown tires. I can reach 338.4 kN static thrust, which givens my refit circumnavigator a thrust to weight ratio of 1.09 - I've made a VTOL! K2 here I come! @Claw Does this still count as a "slight modification"? I had to go a bit crazy with the air intakes...
  24. @Claw My Elcano attempt still lives! I have a couple questions. I've scouted the route and there are several 60+ degree slopes that my rover (currently recovered and undergoing refit) will need to cross. I checked http://www.kerbalmaps.com/ and it didn't show a slope above 40 degrees, so that's what I designed for. By rule 5a, some modifications are allowed. I've already checked about modifying the wheel traction and torque settings, and adding more batteries and solar panels (original vehicle was designed in 1.0.5 and the wheel physics changes messed up its traction and power consumption). However, climbing 60-70 degree hills is going to require a LOT more thrust than the original had. I'm going to need T/W > 0.94, which means adding more jet engines. Would adding more engines to the design, in addition to the other changes, still have the refit vehicle count as "very similar to the original"? I'm now running into flameout issues. I replaced the slanted nose cones on the aft ends of the pontoons with Wheesley turbines, and I added 1 more radial air intake on the top of each pontoon. Then I tried up to 7 radial intakes without luck. Every time I do a static thrust test, at least one of the engines doesn't get enough intake air. A single Goliath would provide enough thrust and doesn't have static thrust flameout issues, but is gigantic and much too heavy. Does anyone have any idea how much intake area I'm going to need to keep 3 Wheesley engines from flaming out during static thrust or hill-climbing? I've also been considering shifting the Wheesleys on the pontoons to nacelles mounted on top of the pontoons so I can use an adjustable ramp intake, which has more than twice the intake area of the radial intakes. EDIT: Tried 13 radial intakes and 2 adjustable ramp intakes. Only managed to get to 80% throttle (270 kN thrust) before the Propulsive Requirements Met started dropping and I started losing thrust. Apparently 19.49 intake air just isn't enough for 3 engines. Original design: Current refit (back to 3 intakes again): Intake air monster (3 intakes not visible underneath the central fuselage):
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