KSP #3 – Spaceplanes!

Hello Hypothetical readers, time for some updates on the program so far.
Squad released the new 0.25 update, and with it a lot of cool new features, most notably the new strategy system and integration of the awesome spaceplane plus parts. Filling a long overdue lack of better design choices for planes.
approaching_probe_thumbUnfortunately, this also means that I had to fiddle and search around for the various updates on mods, checking on compatibility and issues. Fortunately, I was also able to keep a safe backup where everything was working.
I’ve also delved into some different and very interesting mods, I’ve been checking out B9 and its sexy ships for quite some time, and finally decided to try it out, and its awesome!

But all of this goodness will only be revealed next time, for now lets check out on this week’s missions. Oh and I’ve also forgot on my last post, to add this little gif animation of a probe rapidly approaching Kerbin returning from a fly-by free return trajectory from the Mun, quoting Tom Hanks on Apollo 13, “the world is getting  awfully big in the window”.

Eagle I str-3-01

After a long time of developing and testing, with the latest technology available, the KSP engineers came up with a very stable and well balanced, but rather simple, aircraft design. Fully equipped with update material for science, this vessel is very well fit to survey, land and gather data on the biomes surrounding the KSC. With very powerful jet engine, it can easily amount to a 300m/s airspeed, an average ceiling of 14km  above sea level. However, traveling on transonic speeds, the craft becomes rather unstable, becoming increasingly difficult to maintain control, on altitudes higher than 10km, the control surfaces also become increasingly unresponsive.

  • Y1D132H2str-3-02

The Eagle I’s maiden voyage, commanded by no other than Jebediah. The vessel smoothly hover above the runway, Its a relative very light craft to its immense thrust power.
Jeb takes the Eagle for some real testings, high altitude, str-3-03flips and everything else. He also test out the craft capabilities during the very unstable phases mentioned above. Might have occurred a small stall but he managed to recover. He also takes some time to perform some aerial surveys as requested per contract, coming in for a soft landing after that. Actually landing this thing is not so easy, the wingspan is actually small to the heavy weight, the craft hardly loses airspeed and doesn’t become very responsive anywhere below 70m/s.

  • Y1D139H1str-3-04

This time Melfry kerman is on the Pilot’s seat, taking out the Eagle for a few spins and perform some survey contracts.

  • Y1D146H0

Yet another morning Melfry K. takes out the Eagle to perform another contract, this one however is quite ambitious, “perform aerial surveys at 14km altitude”. Its right around the vessel’s ceiling but Melfry  believes strongly on the plane and goes for it. “The Eagle has no problems going up, reaching 14km high is easy, the problem is controlling there.” says Melfry, and as such, he makes all the surveys.str-3-05 However right after the last survey, he’s punching at the vessel’s limit, when a big stall cuts of his lift and punches the craft in a uncontrollable spin, quickly descending down to the ground. Luckily, the Eagle  is equipped with safety chutes for landing on rough terrain, and a back-up system for capsule the only. So after a few broken wings and a few spins, the chutes deploy and the vessel drops to safe landing.

  • Y1D156H2

Melfry K. Takes again on the pilot’s seat, even through the mishap that occurred on the previous flight he still looks forward to next mission.  Same thing, complete a survey contract and maybe land and collect some more science.This time though, I decided to bring a little more to the table and record some parts of the flight, showcasing my knowledge and piloting skills (cough), though my piloting skills actually were very much lacking, the vessel showed to be greatly hard to land on uneven surfaces, after a few attempts I just gave up and used the chute instead.

Hermes V

str-3-06Again the leading design for small probe usage. This time it will only use a simple Communotron 16 omnidirectional antennae. Three of these, on a 800km orbit will compose a triangular communications networks that will maintain coverage for the whole of Kerbinstr-3-07, they won’t be able to reach too far out of the system, but they’ll reach keosynchronous orbit.
The people at the KSC engineered this by imagining three triangles with equal 120° between them, the bigger side side of a triangle, between two of these probes and the center of Kerbin, needs to be smaller than maximum reach of the antennae. With help of this useful Triangle Theorems calculator, we found that the maximum distance to the central point would be 1443km, subtracting the 600km radius of Kerbin, we have a 843km, rounding down to a 800km orbit for a safe margin, resulting on a 2424km separation from each probe.

  • Y1D154H1

str-3-08Code named H5 ComSat2, the first of these satellites launched incredibly efficiently, with initial tilted launch position and quickly gaining speed, it barely tilts (no SAS), due to its stabilizers. It directly shoots to a 1000km apoapsis (my initial calculations were wrong), all of its derelict stages designed to go back to Kerbin and recovered.
ComSat2 and 3, launched two days later consecutively. Setting up them on the triangular pattern wasn’t that hard, after I figured how to do it. First you set your apoapsis to the targeted 800km, then, all you have to do make adjustments to the orbit and wait until you have the targeted 2424str-3-09km separation( to the first probe), small adjustments such as, making you orbit bigger reduces your orbital period and thus reduces separation of the next circle. After you reach the desired separation its a matter to make your orbit somewhat circular and then make fine adjustments to make your orbital period the same as the first probe. Finally you will have the two probes within safe reach and with minimal drift in relation to each other.

Artemis V

Taking back on the manned program, Artemis V, the first ship with a capacity of three, will be the last iteration of the Artemis series, now the KSP project is aiming at missions to the Mun or maybe to build a Orbital Station.str-3-10
This is also the vessel featuring a heavier frame and bigger engines, some trial to what may come next with heavier and bigger payloads.

  • Y1D167H2

This is a training mission to rendezvous with Burbas K., that was purposely  left in orbit after jumping on a huge trampoline. Piloted by two newcomers to the program, Kerdin and Munfred, on their first mission, but they’re already fully trained and very capable, they’ll be sitting in as a back up crew for the Mun missions.str-3-11
Being much heavier and cumbersome than our fellow probe carriers, this vessel is actually much harder to pilot and easily subject of unintentional separation, carrying just enough fuel to make orbit and rendezvous, there isn’t a big window to errors (I actually had to try a couple of times).

Istr-3-12‘ve also decided to record this mission, doing it mostly IVA. But since editing video takes quite some time, and maybe doing voice over or subtitle descriptions, I’ll be pushing that to another time, along with the video for the Eagle flying.

Experimental Plane 1

str-3-13I’ve actually expended a lot of time trying to design the next Eagle I and II, lots and lots of time. This here is one of the designs that even though being very cool looking, doesn’t work quite as well, nor is it much more usable. Since then however I’ve designed (with a bit of help of the B9 and Tweakscale mods) a much cooler, incredibly stable and easier to control aircraft. I’m so proud of this creation that I want to make a exclusive video for its debut flight, while explaining a few hints on aircraft construction and stability.str-3-14

So all in all, all this video creation I want to do is going to be quite the job, not to mention, making the move to the 0.25 version.
That’s it for now, thanks for reading, and as always, any demonstration of love is greatly appreciated.

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Gfurst

To be Written

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