Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Friday, 29 May 2015


The questions from my last blog entry basically culminated to a wish to start a Duna mission asap. Since the travel time will at least last two Kerbin years, I can do plenty of other missions on Mun and Minmus while that expedition is going to be underway. With this goal in mind, I modified the Scientia-class once more to a version with a size in-between the two existing vessels. I also toyed with the idea to just refill the Scientia 2 at Minmus and move it onwards to Duna. 

However, one thing kept me musing: How on earth can a crew survive a 2+ years-voyage mentally sane in a tight enviroment of a Mk1-cockpit, a 2-manned Mobile Processing Lab and a 4-manned „Hitchhiker“ passenger module, or mayhap an even smaller spaceship, and no gravity? Of course, you could probably assume that Kerbals could have the ability to kind of hibernate at will. However, I find this a highly unrealistic setup, and thus, against the spirit of this game, or, at least, how I see and want to play this game. 

The construction of a real long distance spacecraft is in order. Kinetic gravity is in order. Enough living space is in order, this thing will be home for my Kerbonauts for a very long time! Enough fuel and a barge for Duna landings is in order. Even more things could be in order, if I had the tech levels to do so, but let´s see what I can come up with right now…

- lander Mk2, high deltaV

… and such I spend two entire game sessions on diverse construction attempts and different spaceship concepts, until this thing here emerges; may I proudly present the „Omniscient“-class! A central Mobile Processing Lab receives all data aquired during its long voyage and creates 100% transmittable science points from it. Altogether five Hitchhiker passenger modules constitute the living area; a central „dining hall“ and one private accomodation for each of the intended crew of four (two scientists, a pilot and an engineer). As a barge, an already pre-designed new lander vessel gets attached via a docking port (not sure if Duna-able, but hey, it´s my first try ever!).

- basic hulk of the Omniscient class

Once the new ship class is ready, though, I have to swallow hard to actually follow through. Both the VAB and the launchpad need an upgrade to the highest tier 3 in order to support the weight and part count. Scratch off 2 million credits. The ship itself, inclusive launch stage, costs a whopping 175,000 credits. Is it really worth it or just hopelessly overengineered? And I am kind of broke now. Ah, screw it, this is fun!!!

- ready to rocket...

As much fun as, say, trying to launch that baby to orbit? Even more so than with the Scientia-class, designing the proper launch stage and trying it out requires another full game session. The main problem turns out to be the „cross-piece“ consisting of eight structural fuselages, which I use for role-playing reasons as „connection tubes“ to the outside „crew appartments“; the top-weighted drag makes the rocket flip over once it gets too fast in the lower atmosphere.

- uhm... maybe like this?

- nope, neither...

 - maybe this one?

 - looks good...

In the end, I finally have the Omniscient in orbit. A mix of initial raw booster power, slightly thrust limited, and carefully throttled "Skipper" engines finally achieves the right mix between little drag, but still sufficient vertical as well as horizontal speed, so that, after staging to the final configuration, the remaining feeble "Poodle" engines finally manage to circularize the ship in time before gravity´s tentacles can strike back. I am pretty sure that the launch would have been much more routine if I already had unlocked Mainsail engines, but such is my tech limitation at this point.

 - orbit achieved!

The Omniscient in LKO. The mother of all ships so far. A mothership. I hope this investment will live long and prosper. A pity I did not have a station contract which would have financed its costs. My ideas for next session are to refill the voluminous fuel tanks via multiple spaceplane flights, bring all Kerbonauts to Minmus to land and plant flags (experience boost for everyone!), refuel as appropriate, stuff it with Minmus science data (for the crew to have something to do), and then finally send it on the required one-year trip to Duna (possibly even beyond?). If I am feeling bold I can even try to land it first on Mun and cash-in that Mun-outpost-contract on my list, to at least cover some of its costs! Wohoo!

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