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The Elkano challenge (all versions accepted!)

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Just completed the Mission Report to a Duna Elcano with a Homeworld Deserts of Kharak-derived vehicle. The Report thread has all the details, including Mod List (Chapter One), how all the associated hardware got there and landed (Chapters Three, Four, Five, Six), and the Elcano proper (Chapters Seven-Nine Sol 3). 

Also I swore I wouldn't do an Elcano again, but, yeah, ta-da!

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Bop Circumnavigation Complete!

I finished two more circumnavigations, Bop and Vall.  Don't let the next image scare you, Bop wasn't that bad.  Although bringing along a lot of repair kits was a good idea..


Getting there:


This is becoming my standard rover delivery rocket, I've used it to deliver rovers to most worlds now.  Biggest exception was Laythe and Gilly, those worlds used unique vehicles- a boat for Laythe and a pogo-stick for Gilly.  Make that a nuclear pogo-stick!


Orbiting Kerbin, with plenty of fuel to make it to Minmus for a refuel.


Refueling on Minmus.  The rocket has it's own ISRU equipment, but I'm using the mobile refueler on Minmus to assist.  This delivery rocket is un-crewed, so I'm using the engineer aboard the rover-refueler to speed up the process.  The rocket is un-crewed because there's already a crew at Bop waiting for the rovers.


Approaching the landing site on Bop, where a crew is waiting for the rovers.  Looks hilly!


Landed on Bop, with two Kerbals aboard the rover.  Let's go!


The Drive:


Starting out.  The speed of 50m/s is unrealistic.  At that speed the jumps become unmanageable, ending with big explosions.  10-20m/s was more realistic.


Even going slow, I sometimes launched off a jump and ended up landing with too much oomph.  I brought a lot of repair kits, but there are more hills on Bop than repair kits in the rover.  So I need to slow way down.


Approaching a ridge cautiously.


Zipping along at 15m/s.


Approaching a ridge at 23m/s.  That's enough to launch you several hundred meters above the surface.  Fun, but what goes up must come down.  And I don't have any thrusters to soften my impact velocity.


Back at the start.  I took a west-bound equatorial route, dropping KerbNet markers every 30 degrees longitude.


As always, this circumnavigation was 100% stock, no mods at all.

Next, the two Kerbals are going to board the rocket, and take the remaining rover to Vall.

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Vall Circumnavigation Complete!

I just completed a Vall circumnavigation.  As always, I'm playing 100% stock, no mods.  Vall wasn't too bad, there's enough gravity that I was able to travel at 50m/s safely over most (but not all) of the terrain.


Getting There:


This is the ship from the previous circumnavigation of Bop, delivering it's second rover (and a crew) to Vall.


Landed at Vall, ready to start the drive.  I'll be doing another equatorial circumnavigation, heading west-bound.  I've done a couple of polar circumnavigations (Minmus and Duna).  The graphical and terrain glitches which occur at the poles in KSP were too frustrating for me.  I doubt I'll ever visit the poles of any CB again.


The Drive:


Whee!  Although I mainly kept the speed between 30-55m/s, there were a few places I felt safe hitting faster speeds.  Vall does have a few places you need to be careful, but it's mainly pretty tame.


Most of my flat tires were from hitting rocks at high-speed, not from landing off of jumps.


Hit another rock.




I think that's Tylo just above the horizon.


And here's Laythe, a little above the horizon.


Back at the start.  The mission timer says it took 4 days.  Much of that time was spent waiting for the sun to catch up.


Next up, I have two more bodies left.  Eve and Eeloo are the only two bodies I haven't circumnavigated.  I'm really dreading Eve, and was planning on saving that one for last.  However, Squad just hinted that Eeloo will be receiving a texture update soon!  So I'm considering holding off on Eeloo until the texture update arrives.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Eve Circumnavigation Complete! 


The Rover:


The rover is a MKI size fuselage, with two MKI size pontoons, and retractable landing gear.  It is powered by two small electric rotors, with small ducted fan blades.  Electricity comes from three RTGs, and is stored in a few batteries.  There's a ladder and a few science pieces, and a probe core (to access KerbNet).  The electric rotors have reduced torque of 50% capacity.  Not sure why I did that, it didn't really save much weight.


I put 6 fan blades on each rotor.  The vessel didn't need two rotors, it worked well with just a single rotor.  However, it did pull very slightly to the left with a single rotor, so I added a second to counteract the torque.  Note the rotors are mounted in the center of the nose-cones, attached to the center nodes.  This would be a problem later, the rotors started to slide downwards on Eve.


Overhead shot.  The parachutes are mounted on decouplers, I'll get rid of them once I'm safely on the surface.


Mounted to the delivery vehicle, protected in a fairing.


Delivery vehicle on the KSC launchpad.  It flies about as well as it looks- not great.  But I got it to orbit, and it has plenty of fuel to get to Eve.


Getting There:


Fairly high Kerbin orbit.  Still 4,800dv left, way more than I'll need to get to Eve.  The high orbit is because the second stage has a low TWR, so the departure burn is going to be fairly long.


Slowing down at Eve.  I think the second stage engine is a Wolfhound.


Safe in Eve's atmosphere.  The fairing protected the rover, but the engine and fuel tank exploded due to overheating.  No problem, I won't need them anymore.


Fairing deployed.


Chutes deployed, and fairing plate decoupled.  Landing gear is down, looks like I managed to hit land.


Landed on Eve, everything looks OK.


The Drive:


I've decoupled the parachutes.  I set the decouple force to 1%, so they don't fly up and then land on the rover causing damage.  They will fall off the rover once I start moving around.


This was a typical speed while in the sea, ~92-94m/s, with 2X time warp.  The fan blades can only take 2X warp, anything higher and the ships quickly self-destructs.  By the way, terminal velocity for this rover was ~43m/s while falling.  So 90m/s is pretty good.


Anyone else taken a Kerbal on EVA, only to discover they can't get back in the ship/rover?  Me too.  So I tend to put some thought into how a Kerbal can ingress/egress while on the surface.  On land, the ladder only reaches the surface while the landing gear is retracted.


About a quarter of the way around.  I drop KerbNet markers every 30 degrees longitude.


On land it was usually safe to travel between 30-35m/s.  Anything faster risked damage.  Above 45m/s, the rover sometimes got airborne going over hills.  It is not controllable in flight, so that always ended badly.  Eve is hard on rovers, so it's best to keep the rover on the ground at all times.  


After a while on the surface, the rotors have started to migrate downwards.  The rover still functions, but I'm worried about them drooping too low.  I carefully designed the rover so the rotor blades never contact the water (that's bad..).  I'm worried if the rotors droop too low, the blades will hit the water.


Making progress, I'm over halfway around.


Entering the big impact crater (Crater Lake).  Most of the perimeter is pretty steep.  If you plan on entering Crater Lake, keep in mind you'll need plenty of clearance due to the steep slopes at the shore.


I stopped at the island inside Crater Lake.  The shore is very steep around the island too.


Re-entering Crater Lake from the center island.


Dropped a marker near crater lake.  The marker is about 4N, on the prime meridian (00E/W).


Here's another steep slope.  Along the equator most of the terrain is actually pretty tame.  This steep slope is a bit unusual.  


Home stretch!  I forgot to plant a flag at the start, so I'm navigating towards the KerbNet marker I left at the start.


Back at the start!  I made it! 


Here's my KerbNet marker, showing where I started and ended.


All the markers, one dropped every 30 degrees.  There's one extra, because I started at about 47W, otherwise the markers are all on 30 degree intervals.


Eve was hard, and took a very long time.  How long?  On land, I was able to travel at about 30-35m/s, at 2X warp.  At that speed it took me 3 minutes to travel 1 degree of longitude (in real time).  At that speed it would take me 1,080 minutes, or 18 hours.

Thankfully, on water I was able to travel much faster, crossing a degree of longitude in 72 seconds (real time).  If the whole planet Eve was covered in water, I could circumnavigate it in a little over 7 hours real time.

The reality is I probably spent over 20 hours real-time just doing the circumnavigation.  Now, I have a Kerbal stranded on Eve, no idea how to get her back home.

As always, this was done on a 100% stock install, with BG and MH expansion packs.  I have only one body left to circumnavigate- Eeloo.  I'm waiting for the next update, which is supposed to have a texture update for Eeloo.

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Ok Squad, I'm ready for the Eeloo update.  Got two rovers parked in orbit around Eeloo.  Planning on landing them as soon as the next update is available, which is supposed to have a texture update for Eeloo.

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I've exchanged PMs with @rkarmark, who has agreed to have me continue the Elcano Challenge.  Please post any new Elcano entries or comments at this new Link to The Elcano Challenge.

One of the things I'll be tackling is updating the leaderboard.  Please be patient, but if you think your name has been omitted from the leaderboard, drop me a PM or leave a message in the new forum post.  Depending on my work and life schedule it may take me several weeks (or more) to update leaderboards.

Edit:  I think I have the leaderboards 90% up to date.  If you are in the 10% that I missed, or made a mistake on, PM me or drop a line in the new challenge post (linked above).


Edited by 18Watt
Leaderboards updated
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