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)

Monday, 13 July 2015

More design and concepts

Some more dire needed holiday has passed, the weather was perfect. Back in a solar system far, far away, on a small planet called Kerbin: The Kerbal Space Programme continues under avoidance of the the time warp button. As such, the Crab Rover arrives at Mun and docks with the Scientia, but cannot venture further without a refuel. Travel times of all current operations in space, including my Fuel Ship, are still measured in days, and those days can be used to revamp some pivotal ship designs.

First, the White Goose class. Needs more engines in order to achieve higher atmospheric speeds, in order to benefit from the changes from patch 1.03/1.04, namely being able to achieve and hold high mach 4+ speeds longer before melting from thermic shock. Since the space foreseen for the engine nascelles is to small to accomodate another pair, I redesign the entire wing structure. Which proves for quite a challenge. So far, I just had clipped the engine in the wing structure. Now, I tack the enginges to the wing root and then tack on the rest of the wing. The results are majorly different. Wing stability goes haywire, I have wings like a wet lasagne noodle. 

 - very flappy wings

Several tries to stabilize this mess by means of struts make me discover another vital fact: Struts seem to be more stable the longer they are or the more triangulat-y the strut-angle is. Several small struts between the engine nascelles and the wings did not help, whereas one long pair of stuts to the outer nascelle suddenly makes the wing stiff as never before.

- also, only one jet nascelle and some additional fuel in the engine nascelles

The final result is pleasing: The new White Goose "V2" achieves orbit with almost double the amount of fuel than before left as a payload!

Emboldened, I then also test the Fuel Dragon a first time after patch 1.03/1.04. It still runs fine with just a little tweak to the engine nascelles like I did with the White Goose, although it of course now accelerates much slower than before. But there is no need to adapt its design: Likewise, it has almost double the fuel payload available for transfer in orbit! This means that the chore of refilling my flagship, the Omniscient, will be halved, from roughly ten flights down to five.

- Fuel Dragon, with an amazing amount of fuel payload

Once both spaceplanes are in orbit, I realize a mistake: I forgot the airbrakes on the White Goose V2. Oops. The point to reload the flight has long since passed. Hopefully it will still be able to sufficiently slow down during re-entry. But, since the fuel is in orbit, I want to wait until I have refilled something before doing that re-entry.

Since I do not really have a lot of time available for my game sessions, they continue to consist of little fixes and tries on construction.

- my old Swan Lander design from beta0.9, finally revamped

A basic mining rigg, just to see how it works. A driveable mining rigg, to find the best spot on the ground, once I have the tech node for the surface scanner unlocked.

 - let´s call it a concept drillcar

I also wonder about where to set up the ore converter (ISRU): On the ground together with the ore, or just bring the ore to an orbital ISRU+fuel tanks? There are quite some discussions in the game forums on which setup works more efficiently, and where. Thinking and conceptualizing, I in the end come to ask myself; why would I need such a mining outpost? My spaceplanes are much more faster, flexible and right at Kerbin, which is the better place for launching new operations, anyways. Should I bring a mining vessel along to Duna, docked to the Omniscient? Then, an idea dawns: Why should I have a seperate mining vessel at all? The Omniscient already did prove that it could handle a low-gravity landing. It has huge fuel tanks; what if I replaced one 1440-fuel tank with an ISRU and just add an ore container and a drill? In relation to its total mass, it would only add little more encumbrance and I would have a truly self-sufficient and thus independent interplanetary space craft.

 - a possible new Omiscient-class prototype with self-refueling capacity


Maybe a this revamped version of my flagship could get ready before the Duna transfer window is open? I also should probably look and see how much science I can still reap until then from missions to Mün and Minmus, to have the latest and best tech built into this second version of my flagship.

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