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Eve Elcano (Picture heavy)


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This mission report chronicles the capstone of my current career save, an Elcano mission to Eve.

Why Eve, then? I have played Kerbal Space Program for quite a while, but never managed to return from the purple deathtrap. And I wanted to do an Elcano of a descent size. My last attempt was a Mun Elcano back in 2015, but that got cut short in an update and missing mods. Also, the logistics of making an Eve return mission with life support are quite demanding anyway, so dropping a rover along the rest of the gear would be a relatively small addition.

Launches started back in February:


The descent/ascent vehicle: Not the most original. Features an aspargus of six dual vectors and stability and drag fins to keep it retrograde during descent. Parachute spam lowers speed in the final leg. It has a lower stage for carrying it to Eve, and the service module has supplies for a month, as well as sufficient RCS for docking.


It took two launches to refuel the D/AV, then it was good to go.


Comms array: Three high altitude equatorial and one low altitude polar with scansat abilities. If I had to do this mission properly, it would have launched on a previous window, but here I have savegames ;)


A recon craft for a DMOS contract. Little did I know that the Little Brother surveillance camera needed servicing for each use, something that will be of consequence later on.


The interplanetary transport (IPT) is heavily influenced by NASAs Deep Space Habitat. I did not want the crew to be cramped inside the D/AV for the entire trip, which carries no recyclers. In this craft, I use the recyclers of KPBS for their reliability under warp and easy tuning.


At that time I had gotten interested in SSTO's, and the Grey Goose II made my successful entry to the K-Prize for refueling the Interplanetary transport. Crew was supplied in an earlier attempt.


The Habitation unit with KPBS life support systems and a Pathfinder expandable habitat. I think that the expandable life support of Pathfinder is stretching credibility, but the aesthetics of the pack is incredible.


Drill for ISRU operations. Unfortuantely, I do not seem to have screenshots of the rover.


As I was not entirely certain that I had enough fuel, so I launched a craft for orbital refuelling from Gilly as well. Gilly has a horrible inclination and low Eve orbit makes it rather inefficient, but in the end I was very glad I had it.


Take off for Eve. Note that I have attached the Longboat to the tip of the IPT, completing the likeliness of the Deep Space Habitats Orion. It is used for ferrying between the IPT and D/AV. The nuclear engine is precisely identical to for nukes in performance. As a rule, I keep to stock engines, as I have a hard time telling whether a modded engine is unbalanced.


Here we go


Here we arrive. This was at this time I realized that I would be unable to refuel monoprop i orbit. I had very little on the longboat, but a great deal of it in the D/AV service module, so I had to plan rendezvous and docking operations accordingly. If I where to redo the mission, the Longboat would definitely have been better equipped.


Entry of the hab. The smaller units could fit low above an inflatable heatshield.


The rover was sandwiched between two heatshields for a tumbling ride down. Took quite some reloads not to overheat. If you look carefully, you can see Universal Storage life support units on the back of the rover. It turned out that they did not balance their recycling properly, so I had to replace them with the KPBS life support system of the base during the trip. Power is supplied by a NF small fission reactor not entirely like the kilopower reactor. Speed is throttle controlled with my controller, which makes driving a lot easier.


Freja vase and crew. The drill and rover is yet to arrive.


Refitting the rover. I was originally 500 km south when I found out the LS was inadequate and had to make a serious revert.


And off we go. Among the strange sights where the occasional glitched floating rock.


I have around a million screenshots from the trip. SVT, EVE and KS3P make for very pretty scenes.


Valentina in the crew cab. I chose KPBS base units for the rover to get adequate sleeping compartments for a crew of four. This made for a rather heavy rover, but eight MK2 wheels gives a solid traction.



I chose a more or less polar route to get the chance to visit the Eve Anormaly.

Above spoiler contains anormaly.


I have three aquatic propellers from Feline Utility Rovers for sea travel, a must on Eve.


Finally back. The trip took from mid april to mid may real time, and around 20 days in game. I did not drive during the night, so around 60 hours of play. Eve is a rather simple place to drive with only relatively few steep hills, most of the time I could just drive directly over them with 8° climbing ability. So for the most time driving I re-read the classic "Dune", which I had not done in almost twenty years.


Last one to leave, Lealyn removes the girders that originally held the heat shield, and later the KAS connectors from the drill. Due to the jumping bug I had fairly long winch lines between the craft, and relied on World Stabilizer to avoid explosions. No screenshots from the actual launch, I was pretty busy guiding a compromise between drag and gravity losses. In the end I made it out with a few hundred dV left.

This was when I realised I needed to service my recon craft in order to finish the DMOS contract, and neither the sat nor the D/AV serve module had enough fuel for rendezvous. I managed to get the recon to a coplanar orbit, but still then needed both rendezvous with the recon and the IPT.


Gilly refuel craft to the rescue. It had enough fuel for both the recon (pictured), the IPT and the D/AV service module, if it was left in orbit.


Going home.


Grey Goose picks up the crew from LKO and returns to base.


Approach as Kerbol sets.




I brought quite a number of experiments to quite a number of biomes during the Elcano.


The route around Eve the screenshot of the map is taken after the mission, but since the nuclear plant of the rover was used on the hab, electricity is long gone and I cannot show the BTDT scan showing the route. I placed a flag everytime I started a play session, a few of which are visible in the map, and a lot of custom waypoints for setting a course around obstacles.

In retrospect, I am quite happy to be done with the mission. It is an exercise in planning and patience rather than actual ingenuity, and not every ones cup of tea. The actual problem solving was very interesting, and the fact that I had to improvise kept my interest when it happened, but the trip itself was a bit to uneventful. Enjoy the scenery, fix a broken tire, read another chapter, make tea, make a course correction. I guess the Mun is probably a better choice as the terrain is a lot harsher, and you don't have to sink so much play time into it.

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