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)

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Kerbal obstacles and evolution

And as it must with time, failures start to creep in. As it equally must with time, failures generate challenges, and overcoming those makes you learn a lot more.

Since the Orbiter / Spaceglider class is such a success, I think I can evolve the concept into a bigger version! This one can carry only four passengers, but also brings along a full 1440 units of fuel.

Like this, a refuel of the Mün lander is in order. Also ready for transfer: a tourist who wished for a Mün landing. Since the lander flys automated, no problem to bring him along and get science along the way for one more biome.

And while we are at it, another rescue contract in low Kerbin orbit. Talk about synergies!

Re-entry works fine on first try of the newly constructed ship. Rare.

Touchdown as planned. The spacecarft cost almost 80,000 Credits, about 60,000 of which are refunded if landing close enough to the space center (90% recovery rate, also after deducting costs for boosters which I always use during launch in order to quickly get the rocket up to 100+ m/s). That´s triple the cost of the small version, but still cheap considering that I get a considerabe payload of fuel into orbit with it.

My Mün lander with the tourist does its job. A pity that tourists can´t do EVA or take surfaces samples!

Return trip for the Mün lander is via aerobraking. Multiple passes. Yawn. However, I learned a trick that rotation helps stabilising alignment, as well as better distributing the heat to all parts of the spacecraft.

The lander transfers its passenger and some more science to a newly launched Big Spaceglider (tm). Keeping the landers in orbit enables you to save weight for parachutes and, of course, costs for launching new ones.

In the meanwhile, the Spacefish arrives and starts its tedious array of multiple aerobraking passes.

Maday, mayday, mayday! What´s wrong, Spaceglider?

Collision with the Mün lander while it tried to burn for another Mün landing! This is what happens if you operate exclusively from the map view and don´t check vessel positions after undocking!

The lander pilot, a hapless but courageous science officer, evacuates per EVA. Not an easy task at already 8km distance.

Another Big Spaceglider gets sent up to evacuate the crew.

Docking those behemoths is a bit more challenging. Thank god they have plenty of monopropellant to fuel the RCS thrusters!

Rescue operation successful, with a precice gliding and touchdown!

Wait, what!?!? Happened!?! The vessel is too high to land and remain upright on solid ground. And as not suited for a horizontal touchdown (activating lesser parachutes, makes touchdown speed too high, BOOOM). Even a fourth try again in water goes wrong, the ship gets destroyed while it topples from its upright position. Finally, after six reloads and tries, I manage. Key is to land totally upright in water, with SAS activated and a quick click on "recovery" before it gets a change to topple. I need to rethink the design, after all!

Since the old Mün lander is defunct, I need to launch a new one. This time, I invest science point for a shiny packaging!

This also goes wrong. In this new design of a lander (two capsules, more science toys), I placed the fuel lines in the wrong direction, meaning I get only 1/5th of the deltaV it is logged for. Total failure and another classic! Reload, and this last game session did not have a very good karma. Better continue another time!

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