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, 19 February 2016

Kerbal: Docking Synergies

After last sessions´ failures, I play my game much more cautiously. It is always the same, as is in real life: routine and repetitiveness incoming, attention slips, mistakes happen. My next few sessions in-between do indeed fare better, but are largely about finishing up the existing bundle of missions and thus resemble a project and scedule management. Fun nevertheless, as tedious as doing a dozen missions in parallel is, the synergies are considerable. And I am a sucker for synergies!

I make the best of the now defunct Big Spacglider in orbit, by repurposing it as a refueling point. I wouldn´t have thought that my first real space station in Kerbin orbit would look like this! I call it lovingly "Spacewreck".

Never miss to reap additional science points by using your new science toys at each building of the Kerbal Space Center! Because cars have not been invented yet, Kerbals use jet-driven rovers.

A new Lander gets sent into orbit. Two capsules to collect copies of each science experiment and report, and parachutes, because this version will have to be replaced once I have unlocked the last science toys. Besides, there can be accidents and I don´t want to have to burn it in the atmosphere like the last one!

Stuff in another tourist, send the Lander to Mün and back. Routine. Except for, the extra capsule and parachutes take their toll on the deltaV budget. Back in Kerbin orbit, about 50km before reaching the Spacewreck for a refuel, the Lander is, well, out of fuel. And that despite my nice effort to do a point-exact pure aerobraking return into a 70x72 orbit!

In comes the Spacefish, which finally has done its aerobraking return into a low Kerbin orbit. This spaceship still has plenty of fuel reserves and will nicely do to rescue the Lander from its predicament. And all without extra costs for extra launches. Never underestimate redundancy in orbit.

So, this is how my Apollo mission would look in this career game. Wait... not a bad idea, right? I think I will send them together to Mün, where the Lander can profit sur place from the Spacefish´s fuel reserves and then do multiple landings before returning to Kerbin. A fitting coincidence that the next tourist contract requires a Mün orbit for four tourist (in additon to a Minmus flyby).
But first, I have to bring the current tourist passengers from the Spacefish back to Kerbin. I do this via my new refuel and transit terminal, the Spacewreck (tm).
Up goes an Orbiter, with a new batch of tourists for Mün and Minmus flybys, and to fetch the returning tourists at the Spacewreck.

Takes some practise in docking. Looks and feels like an intricate game of Tetris.

All goes well and the Orbiter returns down to the surface. Just a slight miscalculation of the re-entry point, so that it lands a bit far off in the sea, but that´s a minor detail. Once big tourist contract is finally fulfilled (~300,000 Credits), plus I receive about 400 science points from the last two Mün landings with tourists!

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