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)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Bye, Mün

Here I am, spending almost two game sessions designing a new smaller plane, dedicated for quickly and efficiently rescuing a Kerbonaut in LKO. This kind of mission contract pops up quite frequently. It takes so long because somehow I cannot accept that a deltaV of 1400m/s for the second stage rocket should not be enough to reach LKO. I mean, the "Whiplash" turbo jet engines catapult the plane already to 24km altitude and 1200m/s speed. The altogether 2600m/s deltaV are enough to get me into orbit, but there is not enough left for course correction and re-entry.

The final version has to dump the excess liquid fuel for more oxidiser, and I finally can conclude my rescue business with a small, fast and easier to fly spaceplane. Just for the landing, I have to experience again that a too narrow landing gear can easily topple the plane when braking and not moving exact straight.

- just single-serving, because construction is fun

Other news, my Mün patrol now has established routine, the Yawl can cross the entire Farside Crater without a single crash. I wonder if a rover with just landing gear and an ion drive would make for an even better racing machine? Just a bit more punch for going upwards slopes would be really nice. I do a short stop to commemorate the Omniscient´s old landing area; it seems so long ago that it has landed on Mün so daringly, but in truth, the Omniscient hasn´t even returned yet from its virgin flight and "Grand Tour de Kerbin"!

- visiting a historical site

A game session later, I still find myself driving across Mün, on my last planned and very difficult leg. Upwards, out of the Farside Crater, onto the Highlands and then to a close by Highland Crater. I cannot avoid to have an accident, driving dully straight fowards numbs awareness and, suddenly, that crater opens up without a warning. I can hastily lower the Yawl´s landing gear and mitigate and survive the downfall, but my achingly slow route back upwards and out of the crater, over the rim, makes a rover wheel finally blow up. Since the Mün patrol is really not finished and the engineer on board is missing the experience level to repair it, I reload my last 15 minutes. Oh well.

The very steep slopes suck out the Yawl´s electricity charge and, as it is midday, my solar panels have almost no sun exposition, forcing long breaks for re-charging. Then, thanks to having two reaction wheels installed, I discover this little trick here to increase the sun exposition area for my solar panels;

- rest&recover in Praying Mantis style

After a while, I have conquered the worst cliffs and finally reach highlands. My scientist goes on EVA, slips and has to discover that the Yawl oviously has some more grip than the astronauts´ boots. She tumbles down for about 400 meters before I can regain control over her. Each bumb resembles more an impact and I feared the worst, but Kerbals are tough. This accident reminds me of the upcoming cinema movie "The Martian".

- she is my Mün-ian

Some time later, I reach my final goal, a very impressive looking highland crater.

- it´s like in real life; photos do not seem to do justice

For the Yawl´s launch, I travel some more miles back to the equatorial plane. Like this, I hope to get an immediate rendez-vous with the Kerbonaut which I have the rescue contract for. Getting sloppy, I drive with rover wheels at about 14 m/s over a steeper inclining rim, a rover wheel blows again. Since it is only going downwards from here on, the damage is not debilitating my movement anymore.

- hurrah for landing gear!

The Yawl´s launch is timed a bit too late and it requires to orbital revolvements before it has caught up with the Kerbonaut in need. Then it is time to burn for Kerbin and bring back a lot of valuable scientific data. Can´t wait for it! I will land the Yawl instead of keeping it in orbit and fetching the data via a spaceplane; it is not only the destroyed rover wheel but I also plan for some improvements for its next version. Overall I am rather content now how it worked out. Maybe I can access the tech node with the "ruggedized" rover wheels, which sound like they would not blow up? Should I dare to omit the landing gear once I have them? I will decide this later.

- a long and very successful expedition is heading for home

I have taken over all two full game session for just driving around Mün, so I say a heart-felt "Bye, Mün!". I have done about half of Mün´s biomes, but for the rest, there is still the Crab Lander ready. Not sure though if I really want and need all science from there, but the completionist within me is already tugging all my inner sleeves...

The final leg of Mün Patrol has also taken about one more Kerbal day and brought up the maneuver node for the Scientia 2, which is entering Minmus SOI. On board are tourists for a suborbit and a landing. For the latter, I choose the Greater Flats, because I already know how difficult it is to touch down this vessel; it could benefit from one more reaction wheel. And indeed, the last meters become a bit fiddly and I have to emergency burn upwards again for two times until the horizontal velocity is really low enough to not make the heavyhanded rocket-tower which the Scientia 2 is, topple over.

 - nice to meet again

I use the occasion to also bunker some more scientific data for the Scientia 2 Mobile Lab. There is now enough data to refill it twice. Until then, I shouldn´t overall have any open tech nodes anymore. The next stop should be Mün, where over my demanding little tourist buggers expect the same stuff. This should originally then have been done by the Yawl, but I am sure I will find another way once the Scientia 2 has arrived there. The insertion into Mün orbit takes a bit of fiddling with the maneuver node, and, due to a crappy transfer window, eleven travel days. But I have all the time in the world for this particular expedition; it is not vital for the upcoming big Duna expedition.

There is quite some time again until my next maneuver is due on the Kerbal Alarm Clock. I fulfill one older mission contract by sending scientific data to Kerbin, one of the still stored crew reports in the Yawl. Immediately, a new contract is available, another satelite insertion into Mün orbit. Which is a job for the Firebird.

 - always fantastic to behold

Sharpened by experience I notice that the required Mün orbit is a retrograde one. Once the satelite leaves the cargo hold, it gets plotted for a proper burn to arrive the "right way around".

After all this tight action since the start of the "busy days" a few weeks back and, in particular, driving around so long on Mün, it feels strange to suddenly have 5 Kerbal days with nothing to do. Even all my numerous contracts have nothing in there which requires another new expedition to be launched. Instead of pushing time warp, I decide on a little experimentation. The accumulated 1400 science points on my account get used to unlock Mk3 parts, all the advanced cockpits and docking ports, multi connectors. It is design and construction time! (I did not open yet the tech node with the claw equipment; I suspect it would introduce new types of missions, which I do not want and need yet; need to keep interesting stuff for later!)

Unfortunately, a game session spent on designing, trying to find a new iteration of my Omniscient-class motherships, is not something exciting to write about in this blog. Short version: Disappointing, because the Mk3-parts provide not really for an own ship line, but need to be combined with Mk2 parts, like the Mobile Lab or the ISRU and drills. As such, they just mean more mass but not better functionality. Basically, my current Omniscient class, the Navitas, already seems to have everything you can get and need for space travels, barring nuclear engines.

Well, we will see if I can still come up with something new and nice. In between my game sessions, three since my last blog entrys, I found an awesome album which contains a lot of inspiration.

In the meanwhile, over and out.

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