KSP – To the Mün and back again

It took me quite a number of tries, but I’ve finally made it to Mün, Kerbin’s moon, and back again. The entire crew survived, though perhaps a bit shaken up:

moonland-crew

The ship is scratch built, entirely stock parts save for a flight computer. The rocket has 5 stages, and uses asparagus staging for the 4 side boosters, to get a little bit better delta-v for establishing Kerbin orbit.

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You can see the first stage separating here. At this point, I stop accelerating, and are rising at about 180 m/s. If I go much faster, and drag increases dramatically. I wait until around 10km altitude before raising the throttle back to 100%. The sunrise is breathtaking during the 3rd stage burn.

moonland-screenshot36The next step is leaving Kerbin orbit for the moon. Bellow, I’m just about to enter the moon’s gravity well (KSP only simulates one body gravitation, with spheres of influence)

moonland-screenshot40Establishing orbit goes smoothly, and I plot a descent trajectory toward one of the craters. I burn retrograde to slow the decent, and at 5km deploy landing gears. This is when I notice a major problem.

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Yeah, I only put one landing strut in place. Oops. In making last minute adjustments, I must have forgot to reset the symmetry mode when installing the struts. As a result, instead of getting 4 equally spaced struts, I got one. I can fix this…

After hovering, I eject the lower stage and land on the bottom of the fuel can for the final return stage. Time for some photo ops on the surface!

moonland-screenshot105Here we see Bill Kerbin (randomly generated name), posing in front of stage 5, with stage 4’s remains in the distance.

moonland-screenshot110Here Bill inspects our gross design flaw. Looks like the rocket engine was destroyed  on the surface.

moonland-screenshot114And here’s the flight computer, the only non-stock part on this ship. “Kerbal Engineer Redux v0.6.0.2“. I use it to compute delta-V of the rocket stages rather than doing the math by hand. Maybe eventually I’ll start computing them by slide rule, as I’ve got a few suitable for game use.

The flight computer saved our butts on the way home though. After liftoff from Mün, I take a look at the required burn to get back to Kerbin. It’s 330 m/s, or about 50 m/s more than I’ve got in the tanks. I pull out the orbital view and try to compute an alternate solution.

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Bingo. By thrusting forward about 110 m/s, I can catch up with Mün again just in time to slingshot into a lower Kerbin orbit. At this point, I only need about 70 m/s to reach an aerobraking orbit with Kerbin.

After two passed, I’m moving slow enough to enter the atmosphere safely. Just before reentry, I eject the engine and coast in on the reentry capsule, and splash down  just as the sun rises.

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All Kerbals accounted for.

 

 

 

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