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The Elcano Challenge: Ground-Based Circumnavigation (4th)

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14 hours ago, Jack Joseph Kerman said:

Eve complete!

Leaderboard updated!  By the way, you've been added to two leaderboards with this entry- Eve and the Master Navigator leaderboards.  The Master Navigator is for folks who have circumnavigated both Kerbin and Eve.  It is a very short list, although I suspect I'll be adding another name to it soon.

Fantastic entry!  I enjoyed the video of the entertaining diversion you took at one of the poles.  Good luck at Gilly.

11 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

How do you manage to be in warp x2 without breaking the propellers ?

I'm sure @Jack Joseph Kerman will also reply on this question, but here's a few things I do:

  • I use the shortest propeller blades available.
  • I attach them with 'Rigid Attachment' on.  You might need to enable Advanced Tweakables to find this option.
  • I also attach them using auto struts.
  • Edit- just thought of another possibility, offsetting the blades inward.  In aerodynamic challenges this could be considered an exploit, as you can reduce your electricity usage to zero by offsetting prop blades.  For Elcano, it’s fine, and might help allow 2X or perhaps even higher physics warp..

Even doing that, I think the diameter of the rotor disc does expand slightly at 2X warp, but it was workable for me.  One other side-effect is that using physics warp with robotics parts (including the electric rotors and propeller blades) can cause them to shift their position on your vessel slightly.  


Edited by 18Watt
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8 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

How do you manage to be in warp x2 without breaking the propellers ? --> with a rotation speed <240 rpm you still reach >60m/s ?

I had the blades maxed out at only 210 RPM or so on the water, on land they could do around 230-240. Like @18Watt has said, I used the short ducted fan blades and auto struts to better hold them in place.

I did have a slight torque problem though, every couple minutes I’d have to correct the craft’s drifting attitude.

8 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

Besides this memorable base-jumping moment, did you really do the rest without breaking anything and without reloading?

Sadly no, there were a fair few fails during the land part of the circumnavigation, probably about 6 or so. None of them involved the complete destruction of the rover however, most of the time it would be just a nosecone or landing gear breaking. Considering the length of the trip, however, which I want to say was 11-12 hours in real time, there really weren’t too many accidents.

Edited by Jack Joseph Kerman
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2 hours ago, Jack Joseph Kerman said:

I did have a slight torque problem though, every couple minutes I’d have to correct the craft’s drifting attitude.

I didn’t notice your props were identical until @Pouicpouic pointed it out.  Counter-rotating props solves the torque problem completely.  If you need to mount the props on the centerline forward and aft props can accomplish the same thing.  It’s a little awkward getting them set up properly, but worth the effort in my opinion.

Sorry we waited until after you completed Eve to point that out..

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11 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

How do you manage to be in warp x2 without breaking the propellers ?

Lower the RPM of your motors. You can go to great lengths with adjusting motor RPM and prop angles. The endurance prop planes I've built were running their motors as low as 60 RPM, generating good thrust through adjusting prop angles and flying comfortably at 3x phys time warp. And that's on Kerbin, mind you: with Eve's souposphere you might go even lower if you want to

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Tylo finished!



step 1: climb a hill in a few minutes
step 2 : go down the trapping slopes as long as possible while keeping the inertia (be careful, this can last more than one hour at more than 80m/s)
step 3 : F9 or go back to step 1


Ok, I love speed in rover so I was not soft on my machine. Tylo punished me many times... But Tylo still rewarded me with my new PB in rover without propellants and in vacuum. A staggering 143.3 m/s. :o (I even reached a second time more than 144m/s but lost the rover)

Rover destruction counter (Tylo) – Estimations      
Speed Reached* Destructions* Risk
0 – 95 m/s Many none none
95 – 105 m/s Many 2 very low
105 – 115 m/s > 20 6 medium
115 – 130 m/s ~12 8 very high
130 – 140 m/s 4 2 suicide
> 140 m/s 2 1 ?
*non cumulative   19  




Every time you think you're taming Tylo, going at more than 100m/s without seeing any danger, you're wrong: the risk is always there. A deceptive shadow, a radical change of slope, a climb that is in fact a descent, a hidden rock or metallic concretion, etc.




It was so exciting that I couldn't resist testing the limits from beginning to end :cool:


Endurance in its raw state, where my rover is at its maximum capacity: probably where it is most adapted in the whole kerbol system. No fear jumping at 100m/s if the landing is in a nice slope.




When the complete challenge will be finished, I will come back here with the same rover purified of all the superfluous to try to pass the 150m/s, it is capable of it, it is certain.


6d2h48 IGT, nothing remarkable.


But, I warped twice to avoid driving at night for a total of 3d5h03, which gives a travel time of 2d3h45 (15h45)! This means a raw average speed of 67m/s --> adjusted for the actual distance traveled, the value is more like 71m/s (+or- 2m/s). If we also count the 30 or so stops assigned for routing and quicksaves, I have no doubt that we have this average. It's quite simple, I rode for hours at more than 90m/s. Awesome!

This time I passed the 2/3 of the whole challenge in km to cover (close to 19000 out of 28000). No repair kits used here: each time it broke more than a single wheel.:D

Preparing for transfer toward Bop.

Edited by Pouicpouic
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Gilly complete! Definitely the easiest circumnavigation I've ever done; I want to say I did it from start to finish in about 45 minutes.


The Eve Ascent:


Of course, in order to get to Gilly, the crew still had to get off of Eve, something made more difficult by the fact that I was launching from sea level. The ascent was pretty finicky and took a few attempts to get right, but we made it in the end.

Waluigi ascent vehicle preparing for liftoff from Eve


10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1.. Liftoff! You can see the EELP still floating in the sea, as well as what's left of the flotation system, if you look closely.


Side booster separation. I started losing a little bit of velocity at this point due to the high drag, but quickly made it up later.


Second stage activation. At this point, I had to start a really aggressive gravity turn, as my TWR was very high, meaning that I would get an insanely high apoapsis if I did not. Something funny that I also forgot to mention is the fact that the Kerbals' heads are sticking through the service bay doors, as I appear to have placed the command seats too far apart. I was initially worried about this, but it turns out that they produce no drag and are safe from aerodynamic heating as long as the service bay doors are shut.


Gravity turn


Third stage. For some reason, the third stage's delta-V wasn't included in the in-game calculations until I had actually activated it.


Ran out of fuel about 100 m/s short of orbit. It's jetpack time!



I had to time the jetpack burns carefully; if I spent too long on one kerbal, the others would not have enough time to reach orbit before they fell back into Eve's atmosphere. As such, I got Bill and Jeb about halfway to orbital speed, with a time to apoapsis of around 2 minutes, this giving Bob enough time to accelerate to orbital velocity entirely.


Bob then set up a rendezvous with the transfer vehicle, which he barely made it to with 0.09 units of EVA fuel remaining.



Once that had been done, Bill and Jeb followed suit.


Getting to Gilly:


Getting to Gilly was fairly easy; all I had to do was boost the mothership up into a higher orbit and rendezvous with the MicroGee Gilly rover, which had way more delta-V than necessary.


I still had to time my burns carefully, though, as my TWR was so low that if I started my burn at halfway to the maneuver node time, I would just go flying straight past Gilly.


Orbit achieved


Landing was very easy, if a little annoying thanks to Gilly's absolutely nonsensical time warp altitude limits.


Circumnavigation & Return to Kerbin:


As I said before, the actual Gilly circumnavigation did not take very much time to complete at all, and as such there aren't very many screenshots.




Getting dark already


Casually flung myself almost into orbit. I had to have the ion engines on almost constantly just to stay on the ground.


Gilly Rift


Another Everise


Somehow managed to break a wheel on Gilly. It's alright though, I had literally 5 kilometers to go at this point.



Circumnavigation finished!


Once that was done, Bill went over to the lander and attached the rover's command seats to it, as this would be how they would get back to the transfer vehicle.


So long, Gilly!


Heading back down into lower Eve orbit


Rendezvous and crew transfer


Lander de-orbit


Burning for Kerbin after waiting a while for a transfer window. The trajectory I took here was a little bit unconventional, as my starting orbit was pretty eccentric. I still had enough delta-V to make it work, however.




Kerbin re-entry


Parachute deployment


Back on terra firma


Jeb poses with both the Mun and Minmus behind him



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7 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

No repair kits used here

I was wrong... When docking with the transfer vessel, a wheel was broken. I preferred to fix it rather than try several times with potentially worse results.





fixing on Bop. With the 2 for this wheel, there are 6 left in the rover and 12 in the transfer ship (so for 9 repairs), but I'm slowly starting to worry about that anyway.



After the repeated destructions on Tylo, I really wanted to have a smooth trip on Bop. It took me a little while to get used to the new gravity, but in the end I managed to maintain a good 35m/s average without any fear.



But was scared by Bop's rift



Well, I can be careful and patient, it is possible, rarely, but possible. :D


2 800m to 17 000m...



Bop circumnavigation no losses.


a weird circumnavigation for a weird moon


Yes, I hate small moons in rover, it is confirmed and definitive. :huh:

Let's get out of this hell. reffuel, catch, gas! ;)


Next and last of joolian system : Vall





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9 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

Tylo finished!

Leaderboard updated!

9 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

I warped twice to avoid driving at night

I find rovering at night to be extremely risky.

8 hours ago, Jack Joseph Kerman said:

Gilly complete! Definitely the easiest circumnavigation I've ever done;

Leaderboard updated!  Personally, I found using wheels on Gilly very frustrating.  So I gave up and did something different.

8 hours ago, Jack Joseph Kerman said:

Ran out of fuel about 100 m/s short of orbit. It's jetpack time!

Reminds me of sometimes being offered contracts to take ore from Eve and deliver it somewhere.  Took me nearly 6 years to figure out how to get a Kerbal to Eve orbit.  Nice job getting 3 Kerbals into orbit with jetpacks!  I'm sure there was some frantic keyboard action to make that happen.

51 minutes ago, Pouicpouic said:

fixing on Bop. With the 2 for this wheel, there are 6 left in the rover and 12 in the transfer ship (so for 9 repairs), but I'm slowly starting to worry about that anyway.

I think you'll make it.  But if not, don't forget that it is absolutely fine to deliver spare parts, or even a replacement rover.  I know you want to do the whole thing with a single rover, but don't forget you can deliver more repair kits if needed..

55 minutes ago, Pouicpouic said:

Bop circumnavigation no losses.

Leaderboard updated!

@Jack Joseph Kerman, by my count Laythe is the only stock CB you have left?

Also, as always please double-check the leaderboards to make sure I'm getting all the entries added correctly.  You guys are doing these so quickly I'm worried I'll forget an entry somewhere.


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15 hours ago, 18Watt said:


@Jack Joseph Kerman, by my count Laythe is the only stock CB you have left?.


Yeah, only one more to go. I really intended to get to Laythe much earlier, but sometimes that’s not how things work out. 

7 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

I bet that the L.E.L.P under construction (with counter-rotative propellers), will go so well on Laythe that its wake will cause tsunamis! :)

Since this is going to be my final circumnavigation, I may or may not have something “special” planned.

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Small review for the 2nd important milestone: 20 000 km covered with the rover.


I don't know if it's my imagination but I have the impression that the parts are fatiguing :
- the outer wheels do not touch the ground anymore when stopped (in low gravity)
- it turns slightly to the right when accelerating
- it seems to me less resistant during shocks
- even the SAS seems less efficient
Well, maybe it's also because I have less fun than expected on Vall. hint: I can't make jumps as big as anticipated :D

Elcano Challenge diameter (m) perimeter (km) %circu km estim Max Speed (m/s) AvSpeed estim (m/s) Minimum dur. (h) IGT (Days) Fun  /10*
Kerbin 600000 3770 1,06 3996 74,5 57 19,5 3,25 8* (6)
Minmus 60000 377 1,05 396 70,2 53 2,1 0,35 3
Mun 200000 1257 1,08 1357 72,6 50 7,5 1,26 10
Duna 320000 2011 1,2 2413 76,3 53 12,6 2,11 7
Ike 130000 817 1,1 898 93,8 62 4,0 0,67 6
Dres 138000 867 1,02 884 60,8 43 5,7 0,95 6
Eeloo 210000 1319 1,05 1385 85,1 57 6,8 1,13 5
Laythe 500000 3142 1,04 3267 76,3 44 20,6 3,44 7* (4)
Pol 44000 276 1,2 332 35,5 22 4,2 0,70 2
Tylo 600000 3770 1,06 3996 143,3 71 15,6 2,61 8
Bop 65000 408 1,2 490 54,4 33 4,1 0,69 3
Vall 300000 1885 0,6 1131 124,0 55 5,7 0,95 7
Moho 250000 1571 0 0   40 0,0 0,00
Gilly 13000 82 0 0   8 0,0 0,00
Eve 700000 4398 0 0   45 0,0 0,00
TOT mini   25949   20546 total km   108,5   *not counting
TOT approx   28025   73,31 %         water time

20 000km with a single rover... its crazy. :confused:

So far no superfluous refueling, but the series should end after Vall. Can I consider a transfer Vall --> Gilly ? I don't think so.

In raw calculation, 20500km/109h= 52,5m/s on average --> this is at the level of my initial expectations (I wanted 50m/s)
But, if we consider the 90 reloads (at least) that I had to do, we should be able to add 10h easily, maybe even 15... ;)

After having rediscovered 8 kits hidden in the cabin... (it seemed to me that I had stashed them everywhere), I used 50% of my wheel repairs (including the one done on vall). 12 out of 24? I'm pretty sure i filled all the slots at the beginning... if yes, that makes 48 kits. But I seem to have given the value of 40 at one point so I'm lost. Anyway, I'm reassured with that I have 12 repairs left. 9+4=13 (-1 vall = 12).


Less than 10 000 km to go  ! :cool:

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Even if the rover was below my expectations on Vall, it was a nice trip. Circumnavigation done. ;)


Several sessions >10min at more than 80m/s on the large icy expanses.


But it requires constant attention for rock avoidance maneuvers: the white death, which can decimate 4 wheels in one impact. At least 30 emergency maneuvers in total, less than 1/4 second to react. 2 broken wheels were fixed here.



Monstrous jumps to the limit. About 10h30 of driving. But I had a hard time finding my rhythm, I expected to be able to do like on Tylo, but it was not so simple to keep the inertia: forced to brake to avoid damage.





It's time to enjoy the colors of the joolian system one last time ! :0.0:




Finally I wanted to try the Vall-Gilly link: I have a backup and it would be a good starting point to go to Moho.


almost 4700m/s left in low Vall orbit, it must be enough.


I'm far from being an expert of multiple gravity assists...but for once I was tempted!


Vall - Tylo assist 1 - Tylo assist 2 and here I am expelled


A 1200m/s maneuver gives me a meeting : Eve assist 1 - Eve assist 2 and finally insertion in Eve's orbit with an ideal angle to catch Gilly in flight.


A little more than 300m/s remaining in orbit of Gilly, largely sufficient to land. Perfect, well perfect for my goal but probably very bad in optimisation since I did everything by eye.

However, I need to bring back the network in orbit, otherwise I won't have access to kerbnet.

I prepare myself psychologically for the worst experience of the challenge :D

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9m/s on average, with an incredible peak of 13.5m/s! If you don't accelerate time, it's impossible to stay awake... :huh:  for me, it's not a moon, if only one CB had to be destroyed : I vote for Gilly ! :D




I slept for a few minutes, just enough time to dream: I was in a rover and see usain bolt running past me without putting on the indicator. Luckily he was stopped by the Gilly police. :/


Detailed view of the rover from above and below :




I almost hit the ship at the end... it takes miles to brake on this thing.


Let's see if I can reach Moho now.

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23 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

Even if the rover was below my expectations on Vall, it was a nice trip. Circumnavigation done. ;)

Leaderboard updated!  (both Vall and Gilly..)

23 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

I'm far from being an expert of multiple gravity assists...but for once I was tempted!

I have a much easier time hitting Tylo on arrival to Jool, I seem to mess up catching Tylo on the way out of Jool.  Nice assist!

10 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

9m/s on average, with an incredible peak of 13.5m/s!

That is blazing fast on Gilly.  Good thing Gilly is so small..

10 hours ago, Pouicpouic said:

Let's see if I can reach Moho now.

Good luck!

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On 6/25/2022 at 10:23 AM, damerell said:

In the past people have had trouble with parts shifting on rovers during long expeditions. It may not be your imagination.

Not so much long expeditions but I've definitely bent planes and rovers before. Usually timewarp instafixes it.

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On 6/25/2022 at 1:23 PM, damerell said:

In the past people have had trouble with parts shifting on rovers during long expeditions. It may not be your imagination.

It definitely isn’t; by the end of my Tylo run my rover was shaped like a banana.





Edited by Jack Joseph Kerman
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Final minimalist rover: seats a pilot and an engineer, fits into a 3.75m engine plate (don't ask. The docking port is inside and the rover too, when docked. So it's unaffected by drag. And the shroud of the engine plate has no collision).



It has another solar panel.

The lander also has some (very uneffective) mining equipment and might require prelaunched fuel reserves, but it can do without.


(Here seen during a mining test. The engines are firing to remove fuel from the tanks.)

(Ah, and the shroud is off)

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Moho circumnavigation done !


Transfer from Gilly


Gilly-Moho planned with huge values in dv as every time. I was still amazed to be able to circularise with less than 1100m/s, when you think of the absurd values when you come from Kerbin or further away...


I'll come back for you beautiful purple one, but for now I'd like you to boost me to Moho !



No access to the network here, and I'm too lazy to bring probes from the KSC... and I regret it, Kerbnet is very good for placing points ;)

Circu :


The only purpose of this planet is to kill your rover. :D

At least on Dres, with a cruising speed of 30 to 40m/s I was "safe". On Moho, there is no safe speed, even at 30m/s slope failures can destroy a vehicle.
--> It could also be that my rover is quite heavy...



Why I chose this route... no choice, it's the same everywhere :huh:


There are still the big craters that are safe




max 104.3m/s, not bad. Certain that its possible to reach 120m/s in this crater.

In the end, I am divided, I think my final grade will be lower on Moho than on Dres. Because if I'm asked "choose between moho and dres for your next circumnavigation": I take Dres, it will be less time consuming and far less dangerous. ;)

Only one more to go! Let's hope I can land on the big purple one without burning everything... :cool:

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For the last time I grab the rover (the 14th) and here we go!




After some weirdness and some wasted dv I circularize Eve (for the 3rd time). But I still don't want to try an atmospheric entry with so little fuel : I don't have any heat shield, you must have seen it ;)... And yes, this is Eve, nothing like Kerbin or Laythe.


So I need a pit stop on Gilly (only body I would have visited twice in this Elcano grand tour)


Do you think a TWR of 1464 on Gilly is enough to land on Eve? :D  You have 10 min, no calculator allowed :mad:


If we consider that Gilly has a SOI :confused:, then it is the 6th time that I enter the SOI of Eve: this time it will be the good one my beautiful!

3400m/s left in low Eve orbit, its better... maybe enough...TWR 1.54


I'm going to keep the same strategy to avoid the wheels from cracking: as soon as the first warm up I put the gas. :/

?imw=5000&imh=5000&ima=fit&impolicy=LettHot, very hot ! plz don't burn, plz !


It worked!


No chance that everything will go well directly ?


And that was the mistake... parachutes deployed way too early. Result: "the parachutes failed due to aerodynamic forces". :o Noooooo

It happens, I still have some fuel and a TWR>1, I can do it! :/
almost... at 20m from the ground no more fuel... and here it is


Everyone is alive, but despite all my attempts, no way to turn the rover the right way...
But: now, I know I can do it !!! F9


2nd attempt, parachutes deployed after the critical phases, just a little push, and voila, landed!


Almost 42 years after the start I landed on all CBs, super fast! 1st time I did a jool 5 with only 5 reffuel, eeloo-jool link quite fast (it can take 30 years just for that in some cases)

I'm going to take my time on Eve, the rover is stuck on the ground as never, already a broken wheel after 30km...


I can't believe I made it this far. I'm going to enjoy Eve!

Edited by Pouicpouic
RPP in french = TWR
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I decided to take another crack at Eeloo. I was able find out how to reliably reproduce the bug I encountered and, crucially, how to not encounter it. I also learned some interesting things about the large rover wheels I was using as well as rover wheels in general

Here's the mission:


Landed an upgraded Honeybadger on Eeloo near where our last one died


Tried to refuel it so we'd have a ride home, but the drills don't reach. Oh well. That looks like a problem for future me.


A problem for present me though, is that the kerbals aboard the old honeybadger can't escape. Bill's doing his best the free Jeb and Val, but it's no use. We'll have to resort to more drastic measures.


Honeybadger has landing thrusters. I haven't mentioned it until now because the Elcano challenge prohibits their use and, well, I haven't used or even really wanted to use them until now. You might notice their dV decreasing in successive screenshots though, because the rover's powered by fuel cells.


The old version of the honeybadger has the problem that the structural link between the cockpit and the rest of the rover is the weakest on the vehicle by far. I've addressed it in the new version, along with the cockpit being inescapable, but here it's saving the day. I was able to slam honeybadger into the ground just hard enough to free the cockpit, but not so hard that it was destroyed in the process. Only took two reloads.


Freedom. We change up the seating arrangement here, Jeb and Val sit in the back and get some fresh air while Bill and Bob take the controls.


I messed with the wheel settings again and got the rover driving properly fast now. This'll be done in no time flat at 300+km/h




I carefully examined the persistent file and some quicksaves I took with the wheels in different states to try and sus out how the game was marking the wheels as borked. I thought maybe the game was keeping track of wheel RPM and my wheels have spun so fast that they triggered some floating point precision error, or maybe it's related to the number of total rotations the wheel's had? I didn't see any state related to that. I messed with some values, but it didn't help. I tried teleporting the rover to another planet, which got it roving again, but as soon as I tried to put it back in it's spot on Eeloo it would lock up again.


But I refuse to lose. I will taste victory And I'll have it on the rocks!  Because Eeloo's made of ice...


Eeloo, I've come to bargain


Multilaunch 1 away.

The Honeybadger Multilaunch rocket was 800 parts on the pad and it's still over 700 here in low Eeloo orbit.


Infuriatingly, Landing this rover next to Honeybadger 2 was for some reason the secret sauce that restored function to it. I still transferred the crew to the new one before taking off again.


Over 400km/h. That's pretty fast for you Americans out there. Honeybadger picks up a little speed each time it touches the ground, which isn't very often it this speed.


We flew too close to the sun, which is impressive all things considered. This failure is recoverable,  but since we lost both our SAS modules and we have 7 more in orbit, it's not worth it,


Multilaunch 2 awa-

I didn't check the staging...


Multilaunch 3 away!


Almost ran out of fuel loitering over the LZ looking for the old rover. I didn't end up seeing it, so I just set down. Surprised I got it all down in one piece. The ground kind of snuck up on me.


Not bad for flying blind


Multilaunch 3 lasted all of 13 minutes before locking up. I got Highly Tilted and walked away from the game for the rest of the day. In the mean time I realized that my rovers started failing after I adjusted their settings for more speed, even Honeybader 1. I just didn't notice because I adjusted 1 and 2's settings while under way and it took a while to kick in. When I came back I raised the traction control of all wheels. At first it didn't help, but while I was preparing to drop Multilaunch 4, I found I could drive 3 again. Whatever. I'll take it.


Multilaunch 3 encounters some BG ground scatter at nascar speeds. Fortunately, we still have an SAS module this time, so We'll just patch up the wheel and-




Multilaunch 4 is Go.


It happened again. I had been progressively lowering the traction control setting to go a little faster, but after setting it to 1.0 the wheels locked up again. I set it back to 1.1, but it didn't help, even after quickloading and timewarping with that setting. I timewarped to morning so Multilaunch 5 wouldn't have to land in the dark, but that somehow restored function to 4. Sure. Whatever. Off we go again.


Getting so close to the end that I'm pointing SAS at the capsule I landed in instead of prograde. It's happening. I can feel it.


*that noise from Mario Kart when you cross the finish line*


The path I took. I was marking my way with flags at first because I forgot about kerbnet. then I realized I only had 2 flags because Jeb and Val were stuck in the pod, so I just drove with no markers until Honeybadger 2 arrived. after that there's kerbnet markers

I'm sure there's enough equipment on and around Eeloo right now to get the crew home, but I'm not sure there's enough patience left in me. I'm certain I'm not doing it right now anyway.

And here's the TL;DR for those interested in weird overly specific KSP tech and glitches:

  1. The bug that caused my rover to stop working was related to traction control. specifically values below 1.1 seemed to cause it. I also experienced this bug on Dres during testing with traction control set to default value, so I suspect somehow local gravity factors into it or something else about the planet. I haven't reproduced the bug on any other planet so far.
  2. The RoveMax model 3 wheels, while steering with the throttle limiter turned off, seem to behave as perfect flywheels. Their RPM  increases seemingly without limit and the wheels have enough inertia that this can flip/launch you if they encounter the ground after "charging" up for a little while. I suspect this could be exploited to make a rover wheel powered thing-launcher/railgun.
  3. When expecting to travel at high speeds, high spring and damper settings are the strat.
  4. Traction control stops wheels from running when not in contact with the ground. Huge EC/fuel saving potential in leaving it enabled.
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The final obstacle, Laythe, has been circumnavigated! 


This circumnavigation was very similar in a lot of ways to my Eve run, with the main difference being that it was (obviously) done entirely be sea. Thanks to this, I didn't need to include landing gear on the L.E.L.P, which helped save a little bit of mass. Another notable change is that the vehicle actually has counter-rotating propellers now, which were a big help in minimizing drift. In addition, since this was my final Elcano run, I wanted to make it a special one, and as such I included a few extra vehicles and goodies that I thought were fun. 



New Vehicles and Getting to Laythe:


The first vehicle I want to showcase is the lander, which you can see launching in this picture.


It's called the Neidon Escape Rocket, and it's supposed to be a replica of the Neptune Escape Rocket from Subnautica. Its name is derived from Neidon, which is the Kerbal version of Neptune in the Outer Planets mod. Pretty ironic that I'm using this name without having it installed, as that means I'm technically naming it after something that doesn't exist.


 In addition to looking somewhat like the original, it also has a flotation system and a gantry (which is just a simple piston elevator). It's definitely a much heavier and more impractical vehicle than one actually needs to get off of Laythe, but where's the fun in practicality? I was able to minimize the cupola's drag by placing a nose cone on top of it, and then clipping the nosecone into the fuselage to preserve the look.

The launch was a little annoying though, as the flotation platform was too wide to fit into even a 5 meter fairing.

Still made it into space okay though.


Next was the L.E.L.P. proper and the crew module. It's a fairly similar vehicle to the one I used to get to Eve.



Transfers and midcourse corrections





Managed to do a perfect aerobrake to an apoapsis of 62 km


LELP Laythe entry




Neidon entry



Safely landed about 3 km from the LELP. Probably one of the closest pinpoint landings I've ever done on an atmospheric body other than Duna.


Now, hold on a second, didn't I say vehicles? I've only shown one special vehicle so far. Well, originally, I was just going to use the Neidon and call it a day, but I later decided that wasn't good enough, so, after the LELP and Neidon had already arrived on Laythe, I launched another rocket containing two vehicles: a firework launcher for when I completed the circumnavigation, and a small helicopter for exploring some islands. 




After Laythe entry, the helicopter was detached from the firework probe, which would float down to the surface on parachutes. Special thanks to @Echo__3for this simple helicopter design and saving me a lot of frustration trying to figure them out.


Safe splashdown of the firework probe confirmed




Once the firework probe had safely splashed down, I began flying the helicopter towards the LELP, a flight of about 12 kilometers. Flying it went okay, but landing it on the boat was downright annoying. After a few attempts, I finally landed it in an acceptable position, and the circumnavigation was on! The LELP's top speed on Laythe was a little less than that on Kerbin or Eve, being about 49 m/s (compared to 52 on Kerbin and 57 on Eve).


Almost immediately after leaving the landing site, I spotted Jool on the horizon. It turns out that I'd landed in a spot where it was just barely hidden from view.


Approaching the northern coast of Sausage Island


Flying over to land in the helicopter


Sausage Island Geyser. Until now, I never realized that the terrain scatter in Breaking Ground actually made sounds, which I thought was pretty cool. Then again, I don't think I've ever been to Laythe with it installed before, and, if I did, I didn't visit a geyser.



Flying around a bit more



Landed back on the LELP. Only took about 15 attempts this time. I'm starting to think this whole helicopter thing is more trouble than it's worth.

Tylo eclipse


Flying the helicopter again, this time on Heck Island, a small island off the coast of Clover Island. It's called that because I crashed a plane and got a kerbal stranded there once.



Next on the itinerary was this completely normal island... nothing suspicious about it at all. 


At least it's got nice views like the rest of Laythe.


At this point, Bob decided to put his helmet back on, as he's not entirely convinced the atmosphere is breathable (and is afraid of getting altitude sickness)


Around 2,000m above sea level, Jeb and Bob landed the helicopter and spent the night on Amorgos.


**Bob's plaque inscription and naming rights have been rescinded indefinitely**


First thing the next morning, they leave the suspicious island behind.


At our next destination, Bowl Island, called that for the volcano it appears to have on it, I decided to ditch the helicopter, as I really didn't feel like it was worth continuing to use.


Beautiful morning on Laythe


Jool eclipse, with in-game brightness turned down to simulate the darkening effect



Back out of eclipse


Somehow crashed into a tiny island that I didn't see in the map view. Ah well, I'd quicksaved literally five minutes before that point, so it was no big deal.


Shortly afterwards, night fell, and that's when I got some really good shots of Jool in total darkness.



I also managed to spot Pol, which I thought was pretty neat.


Pringle Archipelago, called that because the four islands look like the Pringles man






A few more waypoints and island hops later, I'd planted the final flag of the mission on the Crab Claw Crater rim.



From there, it was full steam ahead to go and watch the fireworks before sunrise. It was also at this point that I found out holding prograde was actually slowing me down a little bit, as without it I was able to reach almost 51m/s, compared to 49 with it.


I then parked the LELP about 1 km from the firework probe, and all three crewmembers went on EVA to enjoy the show.




Once that little spectacle was finished, the LELP finished its journey by sailing back to the Neidon Escape Rocket.




Returning Home:


This is where the Neidon rocket comes in. Again, as I said, it's way more than I actually need to leave laythe, but I thought it was still cool and paid homage to one of my favorite games nonetheless.





Orbital rendezvous


Docking. Way more difficult than it should have been, but that's what happens when you don't put a probe core on your mothership and remove the kerbals' jetpacks to save weight.


Ejection burn



Final trajectory


Coming in VERY hot



Chute deployment





Elcano Challenge Planets Tier List:


Edited by Jack Joseph Kerman
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