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, 4 March 2016

Tough work on big stuff

The rendez-vous time draws close for my first big space station mission. However, as I have to find out the painful way, controlling big ships is an art in itself!

It took an eternity to rendez-vous, because the Spacewreck has a very low orbit. Only by raising it, I could accelerate the approach of the spaceship "Space Terminal" with its habitat module. However, docking those giants made my nose bleed. RCS authority of the Spacewreck is better, and it is the smaller of both. But it is still not easy going, because of a rather misaligned center of mass.

Nosebleeding stops and docking achieved, but only after I undocked the lander vessel which had totally screwed my RCS authority. However, backlash effect was, no control at all, because the only navigation computer was on the lander! I had to transfer the pilot from the bigger vessel before I could proceed. In the end, the Spacewreck merges with the large Space Terminal; not 100% aligned, but happy to have made it at all, I don´t care.

Trying to dock back the lander meets two unexepected problems. I had forgotten to stop fuel crossfeed, so it is out of RCS monopropellant rom the big ship´s maneuvers; I can therefore only change directions by turning and using the main engine. try that! And there is a huge second problem: The lander turns only very sluggish. Is this because of the dreaded part-count limit, bringing the game and my computer processor to its limits? If I thought docking was a nightmare before, this now is hell incarnate!

I don´t know how many minutes or hours I sit there, cramps in my fingers and back, trying to anticipate ship movements , trying to hit the docking port by using only the main engine. But in the end it is done. However, I am very disappointed of the part-count-limit. This means I cannot really further make use of this megastructure. I imagine my processor would fry and my screen lock down if I brought another bigger ship here for a rendez-vous!?!

This is the second big ship which was intended for a Minmus landing as "mining surface outpost" and then launch refilled into a solar orbit. I decided for nuclear engines, because, you can never have enough deltaV!

Problems, problems, problems! Adding a launch stage makes this a true monstrum, costing almost half a million credits (which I just have). However, to actually get this out, I would need an upgrade of the assembly building, costing a one-point-three-seven-million credits! Which means: I am stuck with contracts which I cannot fulfill until I take lots of smaller contracts and have earned enough money. Sigh!

Time for some relaxing "just flying around". This is a version of a simple orbiter, but with nuclear engines, just to see if a spaceplane like this could go farther than just into orbit.

In the end, the nuclear engines are too ineffective even in the upper atmosphere, which leaves only inconsequential extra amounts of deltaV. Also a problem: Re-entry heat. Really hot on this spaceplane! Main problem: These particular big wings have a very low maximum temperature allowance. Dark red temperature bars show up, translate: "can explode any moment"!

Somehow, they don´t. Well, nice flight into orbit and back, nice shape of the plane, but not really a success model, I would say. I did not hit the runway and landed far off the space center, the recovery costs me 20% of the plane´s expensive costs. A meager tourist contract "into orbit" just barely finances this little excursion with 21,000 Credits. Sigh. I need a over million more Credits in order to proceed with my big plans!

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