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, 24 July 2015

A nice combined satelite deployment & rescue mission

The mission control center offers two new contracts. A simple satelite deployment and a rescue mission in low Kerbin orbit. I can neatly combine them by using my cargo shuttle. Since there is not much else happening in this particular game session, here is just a little picture story about it. I think the value is in documenting that a routine mission can actually unwind flawlessly. A rare event...

A satelite plus a rescue contract in a perfect combination for a spaceplane launch system, my cargo shuttle.
The cargo shuttle´s ascend, phase 1. Phase 2 starts at about 9 km, by dropping the angle of attack down to 8 degrees.

Ascend, phase 3; fire rocket engines once speed starts to drop (~18km altitude), adjust angle of attack between 10-20 degrees. The goal is to achieve your target apoapsis at the same time as you achieve orbital speed (2300 m/s). Too low angle means an inefficient late apoapsis, too high requires a longer more inefficent burn for the final orbital insertion. Shut down jets and air intakes at 24 km altitude.

Orbit achieved; the cargo shuttle can carry two satelites, just in case.

The red orbit is the satelite´s destination; the yellow orbit is that of the stranded Kerbonaut. On the lower right, you see the rendez-vous point with only 1km distance, which I achieved by using a prograde and radial vector to adapt the cargo shuttle´s orbit.

After the Kerbonaut is rescued (her wreck is still targeted in the background), the satelite gets deployed.

Some simple maneuvers to get it to the target orbit. First match periapsis, then orbital angle, then finalize by raising apoapsis.

Cargo shuttle re-entry. Pump fuel to front tanks for a forward center of mass. Drop periapsis to 10km at about a quarter of Kerbin ahead of the landing area. Use airbrakes only for adjustment of your cours towards the landing area, or when heating up too much between 20-40 km; does not happen here when I keep prograde (later, when under 15km, keep horizontal).

I think I finally found inspiration for a name for the cargo shuttle; Firebird!

Touchdown! A arrive at the final approach often too high and thus slow down and glide until touchdown. Pump fuel back from front tanks to aft tanks for (better) maneuverability at low speeds.

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