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An Overengineered Mission to Minmus.


BechMeister

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An Overengineered Mission to Minmus

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The Little Base™ - being tested on the runway at KSC.

Foreword:

After finishing my Mun - Kerbin connection I decided the next logical step was a mission to Minmus (getting Kerbin SOI squared off).

In the beginning I thought it was going to be something pretty insignificant.. How ever.. What started with a rover and a "dropship", has now evolved into an over the top, over engineered base building mission.

The documentation for the whole affair started to outgrow what was feasible to post. So I figured I would just start "blogging" now. 

Hopefully this will be a much shorter endeavour than the K.G.01 and 02 saga.

 Mission Planning:

A. Design the base elements: 

  1.  A container housing unit (C.H.U.)
  2.  A Generator for powering the base and rovers.
  3.  A Command and Control Center (C.C.C.)
  4.  A Rover Capable of exploring Minmus in detail.

B. Design a dropship that can land elements of the base:

C. Design a Crew Shuttle for the Kerbalnauts.

D. Design a Vehicle that can "Carry" the mission elements from LKO to Minmus.

A. Designing The Base Elements:

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When I designed all the different Base Modules I decided to give them all little rover wheels and "landing legs" - first of all to be able to cushion the drop from the cargo hold of the drop ship. Second to be able to dock the parts with each other, as well as eliminate any terrain differences that would flip them around. They are also all supplied with a little bit of Δv (except the generator which has quite a bit) for being able to "fly up" and catch the docking port in the belly of the dropship again - in case the base has to be moved.

I've spend quite a few hours designing these little modules - I actually think it is very hard to make good looking base modules. But I think I somewhat succeeded... and the ones that are "ugly" are "ugly" in a cool way. (Talking about the CHU unit here)

1. Container Housing Unit:

Spoiler

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The C.H.U. is a 2 floor mobile container - It consist of a airlock for EVAs, the bottom floor holds the individually housing for the crew, as well as showers etc. for its complement of 8 Kerbals. The top floor has the cantina and R&R area.

2. Generator Power Unit (G.P.U.):

Spoiler

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The G.P.U. is a container with solar panels and Methalox for burning in fuel cells for the loong lunar nights. It will supply the entire base as well as fuel for the rover. Which can run on fuel cells as well in the lunar nights.

The red lit clamp-o-tron is the refueling array. were a Future_Refueling_Vehicle™ will be able to service the generator and top it up.

3. Command and Control Center (C.C.C.)

Spoiler

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This building consist of two air locks for EVAs and a command and control center as well as long range comms. It is also this building that connects with the  C.H.U. and G.P.U. - The Mobile Lab Rover can also dock to this section for refueling etc. 

The top floor in the copular is for mission planning and operation control. The lower floors contain the coms section and monitoring. - I dont know what it is - but the MK2 with the angled walls give me Star Wars vibes. 

4. Mobile Lab and Rover:

Spoiler

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The rover was actually what started it all - I have been wanting to make a rover out of the TR-3 Bulldog design for a while - but I just thought it was very hard to make a good looking and reasonable compact design.

When I build my LKO station Kerbin Gate 01 (K.G.01) I build a docking module with the 3 part splitter and cylinders that I connected with the small structural panels. Its proven to be very versatile technique for making triangled shapes, square shapes and here flat oval shapes. It looks good with the MK1 Stowaways and they match the profile of the cockpit a lot. I think that has been my biggest issue with the design. There has been too few bodies that looks good with it... I carried the design for the rover over to the Crew Shuttle, albeit its much longer as I wanted it to be able to land and take off from the Mun.

It drives quite well on Kerbin. I am exciting to see how it does on Minmus... With how low the gravity is.. it almost feel like its going to necessary to reverse the thrusters to give it down force so it won't drive off the surface.   

B. Designing a Dropship:

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Designing the dropship was actually the first element I went for. I recall seeing and very old KSP video where the player played on the real universe and made a long mission to Titan. He had 4 tubes connected to his space ship that housed the base modules etc. and I thought that was a brilliant way to use the stock cylindrical cargo bays.  - I wish we had XL rounded box cargo bays - mostly because the circle is hard to fit base modules in. 

As you can see it's quite the drop for the rover... If we had parts that could crain them down etc. that would be nice.

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As you can see the ship is a tube with a separated cargohold - and two engine compartments that hold the fuel and landing legs. On its front it has a large CC375-D Docking port and on the back it has 4x 48-7s "Spark" engines -giving it 1618 Δv in a vacuum. These engines are meant to do a de-orbit burn. 

I also see a possibility of the carrier to perform the de-orbit burn. unload the dropship and boost back into orbit. Just to help the drop ship preserve Δv. For landing it uses 2x LV-909 "Terrier" giving it 1211 Δv on a full tank.

Its a pretty versatile design. that can also work as a vehicle garage for rovers:

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Here is a better view of the interior - with floodlights and all.

Now I'll be able to land all elements with out abrasive lunar dust getting kicked everywhere - and the modules can be shielded on the journey to and from the base destination. 

All elements are autonomous ofcourse - I see this landing by itself and base assembling by itself, and then the crew lands afterwards.

C. Design Crew Shuttle:

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As you can see its literally just the rover design, but with legs instead of wheels and more Δv. It holds 3 Kerbals and has enough Δv to land from a 10km Mun Orbit, and get itself back into a 10km Mun Orbit. I know because I tested it with the cheat mo... *cough cough* I tested it in "simulation"

D. Design Modular Interplanetary Spaceship:

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Now... I could have done something sensible - and flying the 4 dropships separately to Minmus and land them ahead of sending Kerbals... But this is where I decided to go overboard and over design the mission.

I build a crew ship with a 4 way split, that the dropships can dock to. It can hold the Kerbals as well as mission essential modules. I loaded the craft with 4x MK3 JFT-10000 weighing 50t each to simulate the weight of the 4 fully loaded drop ships. Then I loaded it with 3x Crew Shuttles.

With 2x LV-SW "Swerv" and 50t Hydrogen it gives me 3239 Δv - which if i calculated the Δv map correct - should give me enough and then some, for a tour-retour to Minmus... Yes.. its a ridicules craft for just going to Minmus... The whole vehicle also weighs 387t :D 

I opted for a "Space Tug" because I think it ISVs in Avatar is the coolest Sci-fi spaceship every put to film... and I think it's so clever exploiting tensile strength vs old boring compression. 

That being said - I dont think KSP gives any advantage to designing pull systems - unless you want something with a lot of drag into space. Its bit of a shame.. as it can be quite difficult to design a tug that looks decent.

The Tug:

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I wanted the Tug to be modular. I contemplated building it in 3 pieces:

  1. the long center piece with docking tower and tether.,
  2. the main fuel tanks with reactors
  3. the Main engine section. 

The vehicle would then consist of 2 engine pieces and 2 reactor pieces.

But as I don't think the game likes parts that has 2 or more connecting docking ports - I decided to design it so it looked modular.. but testing the double connecting docking ports... 

To me it feels weird that we dont have to put reactors on the ships when you have nuclear engines on it. I roleplay it - So I decided to put on reactors to the ship. Also now I won't need to put on solar panels - So that's cool:cool:.

I kind of whish we could remove the cylindrical gitter around the 10t ball tanks - or if we could get smaller spheres tanks.. because I think the double sphere looks great!

Engines are off set a bit - to not fry the spaceship. (too much)

The Crew Section:

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I see the crew section as the first part of a modular interplanetary vehicle. It will be the vehicle section of the future spaceship bringing Kerbals to and from bodies outside the Kerbin SOI.

I already designed a second section for the ship - a Methalox Fuel load - allowing me to refuel the landers when they come back to the ship looking like this:

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It is carrying my Standard 9t Methalox Tank - also used on my space stations K.G.01 and K.G.02. - It will not be used on this mission though. As all the vehicles have enough fuel for the mission within them.

For future missions I would like to have two gravity rings attached in front of this - or between this and the methalox section. I tried to make a gravity ring myself using wheels and empty space between sections.. but even if there is empty space between the turning section and the shaft.. it still acts as if they are bolded together. 

So that will have to wait until the Dev Team gives us "things" that allow us to make spinny bits. Or they release that gravity wheel they have been showing burning up in their atmosphere demos.

Another thing I really miss is some easier way to attach things at an angle.. Would you believe me how hard it was to make those ~45° angle bits and have them be "straight" again for the docking port sections.:confused: Any way - I got it done.. and center of mass.. is somewhat in the middle. :D

 

Moving Forward:

Next step is going to get all this into space!

Stay Tuned for More!

 

P.S. If there are to many images in this blog - please say so, or you will have to expect this level of detail moving forward.

 

Edited by BechMeister
realized the moon was called Minmus and not Minimus.
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Okay, I was really bummed with K.G.01-02 coming to a close. I am way more excited about this now! I’ll keep my comments short here, but a few things. 

The stock KSP2 Main & Side missions are pretty lack luster, I’ve played through them a couple of times now on various campaigns, I’m not really looking forward to doing them again. Your K.G.01 missions and now this however really give me the itch to hop back in and keep playing. The detail you put into the blogs, and the ability to follow along in my own gameplay make it something really great. I hope those in charge of the KSP2 missions take note and give us more detailed engineering inspired missions like this. It is a sandbox however, and the game is what you make of it you’ve proved that much! 
 

The Command & Control Center you build is incredible! It looks like it could be a single item designed specifically for that purpose, it does not look like something built out of individual parts if that makes sense. I’ve been waiting on colonies update for parts like this, and you just went and built your own! 
 

Excited to see how that crew section evolves, looks incredibly sleek and sci-fi like. All the payloads I’ve landed and or sent interplanetary so far have been pretty small so looking forward to how you deal with all the mass. 

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On 2/10/2024 at 11:13 PM, Icegrx said:

The detail you put into the blogs, and the ability to follow along in my own gameplay make it something really great.

I am very happy the effort is appreciated. It is probably no secret that it quickly end up taking a while to write each blog entry x)

On 2/10/2024 at 11:13 PM, Icegrx said:

The Command & Control Center you build is incredible! It looks like it could be a single item designed specifically for that purpose

Thank you! It took quite a few different iterations to get it to "look right" - especially because it had to fit within the XL cargo bay...  I wish it was one single item too - My pc is absolutely struggling with this mission xD But more on that bellow.

MISSION_UPDATE:

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Minmus Mission Ship assembled and ready for the next leg of this mission.

Foreword:

This mission is really pushing my PC to the limit. I did not design any vehicle here with performance in mind. I indulged myself a lot in this mission... and my game is pushed to the limit. 

I've experienced more crashes than ever, and the game just starting to glitch out, probably from being unable to computate whats going on. The last part of this Mission Update was docking the two last crew shuttles to the main ship. It took 2 attempts as one of the docking glitched up by me doing time warp, and going out of time warp within the docking margins. The ship bugged out and docked in a "wrong" state and broke the ship.. I had to reload. in the end docking 2 vehicles less than 200m away from the ship took me 2h and 24min at on average 2 fps :confused:

I foresee that the undocking and landing of the dropships on Minmus will cause trouble. I have come to the conclusion that It will probably be best to circular the orbit around Minmus at a planned 10km altitude. Then I'll detach the main engine and park it in a higher orbit. Removing a lot of parts that needs simulating.

Then I hope that the dropships without the base in their cargo hold will give me a less glitchy 3 fps when I have to go back to Kerbin.

We'll see. Without further ado, here are the mission objectives:

 

MISSION TASKS:

 

A.  Get the Nuclear Space Tug into LKO. - Success

B. Get the Crew Ship into LKO and dock with the Space Tug. - Success

C. Get the dropships with Base Modules into LKO and dock with the crew ship - Success

D. Get the 3 Crew Shuttles into a LKO and dock with the Crew Ship - Success

 

Lessons Learned; Lessons Identified:

A.
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Space Tug enroute to LKO.

I do in general not like to fly "impossible" rockets into space. But I was afraid that If i build this in 5 pieces (as would be possible) - that the connections would either glitch out - or the added complexity would have been the final nail in the missions coffin.

While I did go into full self-indulgence mode with this mission - I was also aware enough to know that this mission would be tough on my hardware, to launch this in one piece.

Getting the rocket into LKO was not too difficult. The craft is stupidly overpowered when unloaded. that being said, I wanted to save fuel. I strapped 4 huge solid rocket boosters on it and got it into the vacuum no issues. Also the fuel tanks did survive the rapid ascension - I did not have to untoggle heat mechanics on this part of the mission. That came later - when I realized that farings does not shield the cargo from heat (which is annoying to say the least)

See Detailed walkthrough of this leg in the spoiler section bellow:

Spoiler

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Booster separation.

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Full engine burn - as you can see the engine plume is quite large - but I "simulated" (cheat tool) an extensive burn - and the tugged space craft was not fried. I wonder how much exhaust dirt would accumulate on a tugged vehicle though over time in real life?

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And the tug in orbit with its engines still glowing.

B.

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The tug doing final maneuvers before docking with the Crew Ship.

Getting the crew ship into space proved to be more complicated than I had anticipated. The Idea was pretty straight forward - I just connected 4 L tanks with L docking ports to the crew ships. 2 with a engine optimized for atmospheric flight, which would be dumped once through the atmosphere. The second two were fitted with engines optimized for vacuum flight and would push the craft into orbit, to then deorbit themselves after stage separation.

Easy enough you may think. How ever I found out that the ship did not have its center of mass and drag running through the center. Even though I did all in my power to get the angle of everything to be perfectly symmetrical - It isn't.. and therefore its not in perfect balance.

It got into LKO with quite the inclination error something like 6° - unfortunately not in the same axis as Minmus - SO.. I have quite the inclination to correct in the future. It would probably have been smarter to get the ship into the correct inclination from the start - where it was less massious - but I did only think of that now. I should have a lot of  Δv though, as I did my calculations fully loaded, and when the ship returns from Minmus, it will be significantly lighter.

See Detailed walkthrough of this leg in the spoiler section bellow:
 

Spoiler

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The crew section enroute to space.

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1st stage dropped.

As you can see with KSC in the background, we got through the atmosphere at quite the off angle. - I tried to correct the  inclination with the subsequent burn. But I could only do so much.

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Vacuum optimized engines pushing the craft into a 90km orbit. Allowing me for a 80km orbit for catch up to the target, and a 100km orbit for the target to catch up the with subsequent missions. It should not interfere with K.G.01 - also at a 100km orbit. since they'll go at the same speeds.  

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crew ship in its orbit, and the engines turning retrograde to perform a deorbit burn.

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And here they are de-orbiting. - they were not that much in control.. so re-entry was quite random. (watch out for debris - Kerbels are sturdy people) 

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Link up with the Tug.

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The tug was the craft with the best RCS authority - I did not install a lot of RCS thrusters on the ship carrier - as it will be able to use the RCS thrusters of the docked vehicles. It was however the craft with the most stable roll authority.

It ment that it was the Tug that performed the docking approach. but the crew ship that made sure to roll into the correct orientation. I wish that KSP had more tools to make sure ships are docked in the right orientation. Here i was able to use the lights to align with the 4 large docking ports. as well as "drawing" an imaginary line between the tether and the panelborder in between the windows of the cockatoo cockpit.

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Here they are connected with a good look of the engines - angled slightly away from the cockpit.

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And the ship in orbit, ready for the mission specific vehicles to be docked. 

C.

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The Dropships enroute to the Crew Ship.

When ULA launched their Vulcan rocket - I read that they in the future think about making the engines re-usable by de-orbiting them on a inflatable heatshield that would also work as a float. The tank, which can be of a simple construction, would then burn up in the atmosphere.

I decided I wanted to make a launch vehicle for the dropships and mission modules that copied that aspect. 2 problems makes it more of a hassle than it was worth...

Problem 1: Make it fly straight:

Engines are heavy - so its hard to get it to fly nose down. The 1st stage engine section will survive easily though - it does not reenter at to high a speed. And even if it does not follow the prograde down perfectly, its good enough:

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The 1st stage engine section re-entering

As you can see from the screenshot it will re-enter and hold a AoA of ~15° - Its enough to protect the engines on the way down. But the 2nd stage section is a lot harder case. 

Even though it only has 3 engines instead of 6, it re-enters with about 500 Δv in its front tank AND has 6 grid fins instead of 4  - it will still only re-enter at an AoA 90° - It makes it quite hot.. but.. it will survive. I have contemplated to ditch the saving of the 2nd stage... I can't figure how to make it re-enter correct.

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Second stage re-entering. Notice that even with 6 grid fins it still tumbles once it reaches the thicker parts of the atmosphere.

Problem 2: decouplers and fuel transfers:

When you place a decoupler - which I have to do to be able to decouple the two parts and have room for the inflatable heatshields between two fuel tanks - they do not transfer fuel. I tried to connect them with fuel lines to bypass the decoupler. But it did not work. - I guess I could try make it work with docking ports? but then I can't figure how to attach the heatshield.

Any way This means that I have to place a fuel tank on the engine section I can transfer fuel to while it flies up. Unfortunately you can't just set it to transfer fuel and it will keep doing it. It only ever transfers the amount of fuel that was missing in the tank when you started the transfer. This means that you need to pick a tank that is big enough that you can do the transfer cycle before it running dry.

For my case it meant that I would be transferring fuel from a S4-25600 to a S4-6400 as seen here:

SqKFAED.jpeg

The fact you have to do this for the novelty of being able to recover the engines vulcan style is NOT worth the extra hassle.. I guess i'm a masochist - because I went through with it - both in the design phase of the rocket. as well as the subsequent 5 launches to get the modules into space. 

In the end the 4 drop ships were successfully docked to the ship.

Glitches:

I do not have any images of it - but while docking the last of the 4 dropships. It would start to act like Anti-matter meeting matter when ever it got close to either of the 3 other docked dropships (notice i said got close, not touch). It would make this weird glitch were the XL cargo holds would just disappear and then the base modules within them would explode. :confused:

I had to dock it at a off angle, So it would dock without getting to close and make the annihilation sequence. I then hoped that it would just snatch it into place... Which it did. It gives me a little worry on what will happen when I have to undock them again...  But we'll see how that goes in the next update.

Disable heat mechanics:

It was also necessary to disable heat mechanics as the faring did not propper shield the dropships coming up - the large docking port would break from the heat getting into space... Annoying, but it is what it is. At least we can disable it on vehicles that uses farings.

See Detailed walkthrough of this leg in the spoiler section bellow:

Spoiler

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The rocket in all its glory.

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right before the solid booster seperation.

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Solid booster separation:

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Stage separation - second stage continue the journey.

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1st stage engine ditch the fuel tank and prepares for deorbit

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Heatshield and grid fins deployed 

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re-entry

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parachute deployment 

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Even with 5 shutes it still hits the water with 27 m/s - so not really a gentle landing.

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as evident here.

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engine section of the 1st stage ready for pickup - Note that I had to do some timing trickery to make it look like the inflatable heatshield was the float. in reality its just the fuel tank that work as a float.

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back to the second stage.

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rendezvous with the target. and final burn to kill all relative speed.

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stage separation with the dropship - notice that there is a decoupler on a decoupler on the second stage. It is to ditch the faring connecting to the dropship to the decoupler. It's a tiny thing - but I dont like the look of the inflatable heat shield clipping through the faring.

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Here 2/4 drop ships docked:

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4th and final dropship arrives.

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stage separation.

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lining up the port. - this was the path that would cause annihilation - let's pretend it docked like this... and not at a 45° angle

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And Fully assembled.

Only thing left is to document the de-orbit of 2nd stage engines:

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in the upper atmosphere it goes fine - however once it hits the 35km mark it can't hold its course any longer.

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4E5ti5f.jpeg
 

And will start rotate around its axis, doing its best to point prograde- and subsequently oscillate quite a bit.

It will survive.. but only because the dev team has been very generous with how much heat the tanks can take, as well as their structural integrity. 

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The center tank heat meter will end here, where the craft regains stability.

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and splashdown - ready for pick up.

D.

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The crew shuttles enroute to the ship.

This part went really smooth except for the fact that my frame rate is crawling to a halt when I get near the ship now:

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As you can see my PC is absolutely tanking it. - It means it takes quite a while to get anything done.. and you have to be patient.. because interesting things can happen while in time warp. But it mostly went like this:

I would pause the game - get 15 fps which made it possible to pick my camera angles, what part of the ship I wanted to control from - as the easiest way to get the ship to point in a direction was to say "control from here" and "point at target" - manual control at 0-2 fps is not feasible. - then I would unpause, do the RCS thrust maneuvers - rins and repeat.

Moving Forward:

The Spaceship has been assembled, crewed and is ready for the mission to Minmus.

Because the game has a tendency to place blind passengers on ships that was not indented to be there - and I was not always good enough to check if a Kerbel had snug onboard when reverting launches.. the crew of this mission has become quite extensive:

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This is the crew that will go on this bold mission and set up permanent presence of Kerbals on Minmus.

 

Any way - Stay tuned for the next leg:
Destination Minmus.

 

 

   

Edited by BechMeister
realized the moon was called Minmus and not Minimus.
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MISSION_UPDATE
- DESTINATION MINMUS -

BzTG6mL.jpeg
ICV - Explorer performing circulation burn around Minmus.

Foreword:

I have encountered quite a few glitches I need to make the appropriate bug reports for, while doing this mission. It's been truly interesting seeing some of the bizar glitches that comes from the game when it's under this much pressure. I think I spend close to an hour terminating the game and rebooting it - or quick loading a save. trying to get a single inclination correction done.

Getting the ship to Minmus took a lot of time. Once the drop ship separated from the main craft and started their decent, the frame rate improved a lot and the glitches got manageable .

Minmus is a interesting body to land on. The gravity is so weak that I actually thinks in some way it gives a false sense of confidence. It was utterly easy to land things close to each other etc. The question is if I would have been able to do the same precision on a mission to The Mun.. or other atmosphere free bodies around Kerbol. 

Which moon has the strongest gravity in the Kerbol System?

Any way - after countless quick saves and loads - I managed to get the base set up on Minmus.

Enjoy the following rundown:

MISSION TASKS:

A. Get the ICV into a Minmus Orbit at ~20km altitude - Success

B. Undock the dropships and land the base modules at a suitable flat terrain - Success

C. Assemble base - Success

D. Get the Dropships into a MLO (minmus Low Orbit), rendez-vous with ICV - Explorer and dock - Success

E. Land 2/3 Crew shuttles at base and get it operational. - Success

Lessons Learned; Lessons Identified:

A.

m9UaUrm.jpeg
ICV - Explorer performing capture burn to Minmus.

First things first - I've named the ship ICV (Inter Celestial Vehicle) Explorer. And then to the lessons learned.

This was the hardest part on my pc. I quickly found out there was a rhythm to how to play to keep the Kraken at bay. For some reason, when I went to map mode to plan the node, the vehicle would start to warp while I didn't look at it and eventually blow up. It took a while to figure what happened, and the only solution was bursts of Time Warp to stop the glitching. I later found out that in general once I loaded in the vehicle, it would start ocellate until the point were it did truly weird things. It meant that I had to start every load in with a 3x time warp to make sure it would remain stable - before doing anything else. 

See spoiler for glitches:

Spoiler

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I managed to take screenshots of the glitching this time. Here you can see a sequence of how the parts would ocellate extremely much and break. - Notice that the two lower screenshots are taken within the same second... and how much movement there is.

Besides the glitches the operation went without incident.

For detailed task walkthrough see spoiler section bellow:

Spoiler

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First step was to perform a inclination correction burn. Since I did not know the position for a minmus capture - I would need to be in the right inclination to be able to place my maneuver node any where on the orbit around Kerbin, until I found the right spot for capture. Quite an expensive maneuver as something like 21° had to be corrected. 

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The correction burn took a few reloads to get right - I was too lazy to do them real time, and used time warp to "speed up" the slow process. Even if the burn was only 1m 20s - it would take a long time with only 1-2 fps. 

I still hate how the change between time warp levels has a long de acceleration.. it made me overburn the maneuver a few times. - at least the nuclear engines looks awesome the way they light up. small plaster on the wound.

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Here, the same maneuver, from another angle - over the blue oceans of Kerbin.

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Next was the intercept burn. - Nice and close to Minmus. I wanted to hit a ~10-20km altitude, as I have read that 10km is the safe zone. I wanted my dropships to be able to orbit 10km lower than the ICV - Explorer for intercepting it when rendezvousing after base deployment.

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Here the ICV in all its glory. Notice the warm orange reflection of on the underside of the craft - created from the warm bounce light from the deserts of Kerbin.  

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Intercept burn.

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Next up was the circularsation maneuver.

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The ICV coasting ever closer to Minmus. now that it is away from Kerbin the reflective light is absent - and the harsh light and intense shadows permeate the ship. I love the industrial look and hard lighting.

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ICV performing break burn with Kerbin as the perfect backdrop.

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And the ship now in a ~20km orbit around the very irregular body of Minmus.

B.

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The four dropships has detached the ICV and are performing their deorbit burn to land at one of the flat ice plains of the tiny moon.

To avoid having to perform inclination burns and wait 1 orbital period pr. launch I tried to de-orbit and land all 4 crafts together. Building K.G.02 I have gotten quite the experience juggling multiple vehicles flying in tandem at the same time.

How ever - I did not anticipate the issue of the game despawning the un active vehicles as they get closer to the ground. I had timing the burns to space them out with about 1km between them in altitude, to give me time to give them seperate landing maneuvers. But once they started to get close to the ground. they would just despawn.:mad:

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A picture of the spaced de orbit burns of the 4 drop ship - notice that the ICV at this point has yet to enter its circular 20km orbit.

So even if it made a lot of sense (especially with how easy it is not to crash into Minmus) I had to do it the "long way." Meaning individual launches.

Bit of a tangent: 

Because the ICV was so heavy on my system.(or at least I think that the reason) It meant that I had a lot of trouble "leaving" the vehicle. If I pressed escape and loaded into KSC or the Tracking Station I would still have the navball and ICV loaded. Even if I took control of another vehicle I would not lose control of the ICV..

If i tried to load into the VAB the game would crash... And I really wanted to load KSC so I could take advantage of more then 3x speed.

In the end the method to escape the ICV was to load another craft. Like the little rovers Ive placed around KSC as "aiming markers" . Then I could go into the VAB without the gaming crashing... and once in the VAB, The ICV would finaly have losned its tight grip on the controls. 

And finally I could timewarp at 6x or 7x speed and get the craft around the little moon in quick fashion.

Then It was just a matter of undocking, correct inclination and land. Since the vehicles were made to be able to land on The Mun - they had plenty of fuel to do expensive maneuvers around the weak gravity of the tiny moon.

For detailed task rundown - See spoiler section bellow:

Spoiler

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Dropships above the flat ice field I had picked for the landing zone.

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The shadow of the ICV cast on one of the dropships with the rugged surface of Minmus bellow. love the graphics.

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Here a close up of all 4 performing their deorbit burn.

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Once the deorbit burn was done, the two terrier engines in the belly of the craft would do the final break to kill any drifting and get a nice decent down.

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Touch down.

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Here I have abandoned the Idea of dropping all at once - so just pretend they all land in rapid succession.:wink:

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Third can landing. Kerbin rising in the background

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and fourth can coming down. - I can't figure if Minmus is just hardcore easy mode - or if I have really gotten this good at landing the modules.

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another angle of the last dropship landing.

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And an angle from the ground with all the icy dust kicking up.

C.

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Base Camp One being assembled on the a Ice Plane of Minmus.

Okay - I picked the dark icefields because they would provide a really flat terrain, which I think is really nice for the base modules - as they will on leveled ground. But I dont know if its because of the body's low gravity.. or they really do simulate low tracktion of ice.. because getting the base modules into position felt like trying to push an elephant on ice skates into position.

First things first though... I had to kill all reaction control torque. as the first module was about do flips from pure torque. (man the gravity on this moon is weak!) 

After that It was really just a question of Slow is smooth - Smooth is fast. Keep the speeds low and assemble the modules. I decided to assemble them a few 100m from each drop ship to avoid them being sprayed by ice and exhaust gasses on take off. (roleplaying)

This step was pretty straight forward - once I had found that the surface was slippery, and taken the right precautions, it was "smooth sailing."

See detailed task walkthrough bellow:
 

Spoiler

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C.H.U. dropped and ready for roll out.

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C.C.C. dropped and ready for roll out - this one was the most tricky as it has the least wriggle room to get out - also it is the tallest of the buildings. Fortunately I was right. By putting the springs on max it lifted the dropship enough that it went clear of the roof. (it was not quite strong enough on Kerbin)

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G.P.U. dropped and ready for roll out.  Since the solar panels on the roof are angled - this was the most important to get positioned right - facing east to west and with the panels angling south.

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As you can see it's all clear and no issues.

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And here we see the first dropship take off again, with the base assembled in the background and rover parked. All done autonomously of course.

 D.

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Dropship 3/4 re docking with ICV - Explorer after end mission.

The fact I had to do the dropship launches in 4 go's - which meant 4 orbits - meant that Base Camp One was seeing the sun set. Instead of doing night landings I decided it was better to just relaunch the dropships and dock back with the ICV while the base was on the night side of the moon.

It turned out to be a good choice, as I just about managed to dock the last dropship as the second sun dawned on the newly assembled base.

Because the moon had rotated so much, and I burned the dropships 90° east, It meant that the orbit of the ICV and Dropships had 20° to correct. Instead of having the dropships doing it all by themselves. I decided to spend some helium meeting the dropships halfway as seen here:

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I think it is super annoying that we cannot find the body we orbit's 0° inclination to the equator.  But this was close enough.

This maneuver also ensured that the dropships would not need to perform too insane inclination corrections to line up with the base again - which is further "south" than at the equator.

Speaking of annoying. I found that I cannot timewarp near the base. If I timewarp the base will simply fall through the ground and be swallowed hole by the tiny moon. - So all maneuvers has to be done real time until I am far enough away from the base, that it is no longer being simulated. 

Once In space and in the right orbit to intercept the ICV I just had to wait.. How ever, when ever I wanted to time warp faster than 5x (if there were no mountains) or faster than 3x(when there were mountains) at 3 fps - I had to do the Tracking Station>Control another vehicle> VAB > Tracking station - look at minmus and then do the time warp maneuver. :confused:

Any way I parked all the dropships as pearls on a necklace in a 10km orbit - catching up to the ICV. Once bellow I burned prograde for a rendezvous and docked. It matched up with each ship docking as the next ship was ready to perform its prograde burn to rendezvous.

The docking went without incident. The fact that they had dropped their load and parts count significantly meant a surprisingly 3 fps and less glitches - compared to the 1 fps and constant glitches. It was a nice change of pace.

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The dropships on lower orbit to intercept ICV - Explorer

For detailed task rundown see spoiler bellow: 

Spoiler

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Dropship 1 take off

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Burning to get back into orbit.

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Final dropship leaving the base. This part went suprisingly smooth. Now unloaded of their cargo, they went from having 400-500 Δv to 1000-1200 Δv (depending on the amount spend on landing)

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first dropship docking. I had given them just the right amount of Monopropellant to make it back to the ICV. They were all close to dry when docking. meaning that they did not carry to much excess dead weight. (besides the methalox load which could be cut by 1/3 and still have comfortable margins)

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ship 3 break burn with Kerbin rising in the background. - absolutely stunning.

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here dropship 4 lining up the docking. I really cant describe how much I love the hard light and the dark shadows giving the vehicle form 

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steady as she goes - Notice here how "warped" the dropships has become - It does not bode well for the game if vehicles can "break" and unalign parts this much from a simple trip.

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Here from another angle - notice how much the engine plates has moved on some of the dropships. 

E.

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Crew Shuttle 01  - detaching from the ICV - enroute to Base Camp One.

Landing 2/3 crew shuttles at the base - with the complement of 10 kerbalnauts was an easy task. The vehicles has been designed to be able to land and take off on The Mun from 10km altitude with a ~100Δv to spare. This means that they are ridiculously overpowered for Minmus. 

And since all  weight shaved off now is more Δv for the tour home, I was very sloppy with my maneuvers - I did not save on the Δv - which means I could break off all speed at 8km altitude and just drop and control my decent straight down to the base.

I wanted to land close, but not so close that the kick up of dust would be "damaging." - not that it matter.. but for roleplaying .

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The 10 kerbalnauts who will crew this base for the time being, holding a little ceremony at the flagpole In front of the C.C.C. building, I'm sure they had a few bottles of champaign afterwards.

3 crew members stay to crew the ICV - keeping a Comms link up between Base Camp One and KSC - They can pick up situation reports when flying over, and relay to kerbin, when the base is on the far side of the moon. 3 men means an 8h shift each, and enough company that I dont hope they will go nuts together.

The last crew shuttle is their emergency vehicle - in case of accidents - they can evacuate to Minmus

This part of the mission went smooth and without incidents (besides the ones that were already mentioned about timewarp etc.)

For detailed task run down - see spoiler section bellow.

Spoiler

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Crew Shuttle one burning radial to correct inclination towards Base Camp One.

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Here from another angle.

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Touch down at Base Camp One.

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And the first Kerbal to set foot on the slippery surface of Minmus.

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Second Crew Shuttle 02 makes its landing. - As you can see it was quite easy to control the decent. I didn't even have to "fake it" and do a lot of maneuvering to land beside the Crew Shuttle 01

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Touch down.

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Flag pole meeting and congratulations given.

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Base Camp One - fully operational.

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one of three Kerbalnauts getting ready to take the Rover for a spin (literally.. damn its hard to drive straight) - exploring the surface of the tiny body.

 

 

Moving Foreward:

From here on it's just a matter of testing the rover. I noticed when reloading and loading in the moon - that I saw glimpse of ancient statues - or something. I'm going to see if I can find them with my little rover. 

That being said.. even though the moon is little. It still takes quite some time to drive across it.. especially with how slippery the surface is. But a an excursion has to be made, before the ICV turns tack to LKO to finish the last step of the mission - proving I designed the craft so it could also return home after deploying the base.

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Base Camp One in all its glory.

 

 

Stay Tuned For More

 

Edited by BechMeister
realized the moon was called Minmus and not Minimus.
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