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)

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Minmus Outpost

As always, my completionist streak hits me and I hesitate to just press "fast forward"/"timewarp", until the Navitas has reached Minmus. However, this time, my hesitation does not last long.

One more flight with the Phoenix... aaand I have already forgotten what its mission was. Wait, I know, I know! A satelite contract for Mün. The flight is not without difficulties. First, the satelite has no RCS and of course I had forgotten to disable crossfeed so that I only realize after releasing it that it is out of fuel. Second, I don´t hit the right re-entry point and overshoot quite a bit. Third, I have not enough fuel to fly to and land at the Space Center, I even miss landfall and do my first water landing with a plane here. Things like this happen when you play Kerbal Space Program without proper planning or too tired or drunk. Or all three together. As such, I am happy my plane was still one piece!

Before I get lost in other smalltime business, the following game session I convince myself to finally timewarp forward those five days until the Navitas reaches Minmus orbit. On its route, I undock the Lander, so that it can already aim for a different entry point in a high Minmus orbit, close to the first rescue mission location (will take a while to align).

Minmus orbit, and the two survey toys get activated. The big dish is the survey scanner. The small hexagon radar is a narrow band scanner.

The survey scanner shows areas on the planetoid which are supposed to have a higher ore concentration. The narrow band scanner shows in that little window to the lower left the "topography" i.e. borders of the biomes and the ore concentration of each biome in the area directly under the Navitas.

Problem is: The result of both survey tools do not fit together. The survey scanner just gives a coloured spot based on a percentage of ore concentration. The narrow band scanner only has one generic value for each biome, highest ore concentration is 4,5% for slopes. Looking this up in the forum, supposeddly I should have brought along and use a third toy while landed, the surface probe, and then the former two toys should give out more coherent and accurate data. Damn, I should have informed myself.

Since I did not bring the surface survey tool along - same case as the typically forgotten solar panels - I decide to land on slopes in a colored area. The landing is a close affair. As you can see from the narrow band survey window, I was close to land in an area with no ore concentration at all, I have to maneuver a lot, which is very difficult with a clumsy elephant like the Navitas is. Second, landing and standing upright on slopes is an art in itself. Thanks to the Navitas broad based structure, I manage.

CHEEESE! Planting a flag adds experience for the Kerbonauts, but just on an individual base, so all 13 have to come out and do so. Tedious, but a nice occasion for a classroom picture. At the same time, check of one big mission contract to build a "Minmus surface outpost" for almost half a mission credits!

The drills are set to work. It takes a while to understand how the amount of mined ore is calculated. With the aid of some forum posts, I understand that the mining efficiency of 12% is not really "cool". Even though I have a big ship, the heat produced from drilling is not radiated away well enough and overheating limits their efficiency. I would have needed some heat panels, which suck up heat and radiate it into space.

A perfect occasion to test a new launch system. Just about 5,000 Credits per launch costs me this spaceplane with an already big cargo hold. However, aerodynamics and control are pretty crappy, I will have to go back to the drawing board. This version was the only one which is under 28 meters length and thus could launch from my current runway.

This particular cargo is a small unmanned lander, which is attached to and will bring a bunch of heat panels to Minmus to the Navitas. I placed plenty of small docking ports on the Navitas for such cases where I need to add some new equipment. 

Construction, launch and landing this spaceplane cargo transporter has lasted me two game sessions, and the result is still not satisfying. Only later I realize that my Minmus operation actually got me the money to upgrade the runway, so I can actually build bigger and better balanced planes. Back to the drawing board!

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