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#3541947 - 03/20/12 01:56 PM One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics).  
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Paul Rix Offline
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Some of you will be aware of the indie game Kerbal Space Program produced by 'The Squad'.

Kerbal Space Program in it's present state is essentially a sandbox physics game where you build your own rockets and launch them into space. The action takes place on the fictional world of Kerbin, a planet smaller than Earth with one Moon (called the Mun). The planet Kerbin is populated by the Kerbals (little green men who want to explore space and visit the Mun.

Ok, enough of the storyline. Under the cute cartoon exterior KSP is like a light version of Orbiter that the rest of us mere mortals can understand and enjoy. You still have to learn a bit about orbital mechanics, but it is all presented in such simple terms that it becomes very straight forward and easy to comprehend. The KSP community is very active and there is a large amount of player produced content that you can download freely, from rocket parts to auto-pilot modules etc etc.

So, to get to the Mun you have to first design a spacecraft to get you there. The vanilla parts provided will certainly get you there, or you can add some very well done parts to provide some extra 'bling' (such as larger fuel tanks, payload fairings, crew capsules, lunar lander parts, bigger parachutes for landing amongst others). You assemble your rocket in the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building), starting with the crew module and then adding stages from the top to the bottom. So the build sequence goes backwards from that of the mission (ie think about landing the capsule first, then add stages for the other parts of the mission until you have your final 'stack'. While putting the rocket together you can adjust the stage sequence using an intuitive drag and drop process. In flight, you cycle through the stages using the Spacebar.

After all the design and preparation, it is time to fly your creation. I put together a rocket using vanilla parts, with the exception of a player created autopilot module (called the Mech-Jeb if you want to download it).

It is going to be a night launch and we are going to the Mun. To add to the challenge, we are going to touch down at the same site as some of my previous missions (think of it as the site of a new moonbase).

So here we are, sat on the launch pad, Kerbals strapped in, and the autopilot activated for a vertical climb (pitch 90):


10, 9, yeah yeah, lets go!


We have cleared the pad!


As we leave the denser part of the lower atmosphere we can start to pitch over to gain orbital velocity:


The first stage is out of fuel, so it is time to get rid of it. You can see the RCS jets keeping the vehicle pointed in the right direction.


With the first stage gone, we continue to accelerate. Need to reach an orbital velocity of about 2300 m/s to achieve a stable orbit at this altitude:


This is the 'map' view. We can see our orbital path (the green line) and the spacecraft position (the capsule icon). Also notice all the space junk, spent stages jettisoned during previous launches. Space junk continues to orbit indefinitely or until the orbit decays and the part returns to the planet.


Starting the TLI burn to slingshot our intrepid Kerbalnauts out towards the Mun's orbit.


The second stage is out of fuel, so here we see the puffs of smoke from explosive bolts of the decoupler.


Using the map view, we can see that our orbit now takes us out to intercept that of the Moon. We have to lead the moon and aim for the point it will be when we get there.


The planet Kerbin is looking pretty small in the rearview mirror!


We are now getting close to the Moon (Mun)..


Captured by the Moon's (Mun's) gravity. Our lunar orbit is far from circular, so we can anticipate having to perfrom a retrograde burn to slow down when we are close to the Periapsis (lowest point of the orbit). That will result in a more circular orbit, close to the lunar surface (I usually aim for about 10-20 km).


Much better. You can see that we are now established in a fairly circular orbit and I have adjusted it so that our flightpath takes us over our target landing site (the capsule icon on the right side of the moon. You can also see a space junk icon, which is a rocket stage I jettisoned on a previous mission. I think it is going to be in orbit for a long time!:












Last edited by Paul Rix; 03/20/12 03:11 PM.

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Carl Sagan
Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#3541960 - 03/20/12 02:15 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Paul Rix Offline
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So, it is time to tackle landing. Setting down in the target area is a simple case of slowing down at the appropriate time (now that flight path has been adjusted to fly over the landing site).
First we cut loose the spent 3rd stage:


Ans now it's time to slow down, ideally almost to a complete stop over the landing area. Here we are in a retrograde burn to achieve this:


Looking good, I pitch the craft to the vertical and unfold the landing legs..


Dropping down towards the landing site. We can see the labels for the previously landed craft:


Steady as she goes:


A successful landing! You can see that I have been experimenting with different designs. The smallest ship there was tricky to land because the descent stage ran out of fuel before touchdown, so I had to cut it loose and carefully land the return stage (not a realistic decision I know).




Time to head for home. The descent stage stays on the surface...








So now we are back in Lunar orbit. We now need to slingshot ourselves home..




Last edited by Paul Rix; 03/21/12 10:30 AM.

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Carl Sagan
#3541972 - 03/20/12 02:34 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Paul Rix Offline
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While orbiting on the far side of the moon, I start a pro-grade burn to push the orbit out towards the Planet Kerbin. Again, we aim for an offset point because the Moon will drag us along while we are still under it's gravitational hold.


As the Planet's gravity takes hold we are now in a wide orbit. We will have to perform another retrograde burn to slow down and bring our flightpath close to the planet..


With the retro-grade burn completed, we can now see that the lowest point of the orbit brings us very close to the surface of the planet (in fact I brought it low enough that we will be able to use the atmosphere for aerodynamic braking).


Some time later, we are descending towards the planet at high velocity.


Time to lose the service module...




For now, we don't have to worry about burning up in the atmosphere, but that feature will be added at some point in the future.


Deploy the chute!


Thankfully we have a good chute!


Splashdown!


Now where's the helicopter, aircraft carrier and band? Oh well, such is the life of a Kerbalnaut
duh

Thanks for tagging along on my little adventure..

Last edited by Paul Rix; 03/21/12 10:34 AM.

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Carl Sagan
#3541982 - 03/20/12 02:45 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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ForSquirrels Offline
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Looks cool. May have to check that out.


"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it."
--Mark Twain

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#3542006 - 03/20/12 03:23 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Gopher Offline
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That's pretty sweet, Paul. I remember playing an earlier stock version without landing legs and got pretty close to a moon landing, only to have too much lateral velocity on touchdown - you can guess the rest.
The persistence of objects is pretty sweet. Are the telemetry windows on the right hand side a new addition to 0.14?

#3542024 - 03/20/12 04:06 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Paul Rix Offline
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Gopher, the game has come along in leaps and bounds recently. The telemetry data is part of the "Mech-Jeb" autopilot module, which is a player created addon (free).

For $15 KSP is great value and it is only going to get better. I have spent more time playing around with this than I have with many of my full price games.


Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Carl Sagan
#3542059 - 03/20/12 05:08 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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RSColonel_131st Offline
Lifer
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Cool game, well written AAR!

#3542209 - 03/20/12 09:16 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Heretic Offline
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Note: .13.3 will remain freeware, so there's no risk in trying out some of the cool stuff of the later versions.

One of my designs (user-made parts pack) from pre-Mun days:
http://i51.tinypic.com/1042cyw.jpg
Too bad .14 doesn't run on my laptop, otherwise I'd have already bought the game.


Anyway, good tutorial AAR. Gotta love the implemented persistent world!

#3542234 - 03/20/12 10:10 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Panther Offline
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I have lost many Kerbalnauts in my journey to the Mun. Great AAR.


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#3542246 - 03/20/12 10:20 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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More of this plz =) This looks like so much fun. I might buy it when it gets released =)

#3542454 - 03/21/12 04:28 AM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. [Re: Paul Rix]  
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That is really cool...



#3542461 - 03/21/12 04:46 AM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Great AAR, Paul! I've also played this one a bit when it first came out, didn't know it was this advanced already.

Originally Posted By: Paul Rix
So now we are back in Lunar orbit. We now need to slingshot ourselves home..


Shouldn't that be 'loonar' orbit?


There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the universe is for it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
#3542521 - 03/21/12 10:40 AM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Paul Rix Offline
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Glad you all enjoyed the AAR, it was fun to put it together.


Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Carl Sagan
#3542879 - 03/21/12 09:19 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Paul Rix Offline
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Paul Rix  Offline
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This was an interesting challenge, made possible with another player produced module called the 'RinComp'..

Orbital Rendezvous cool



Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Carl Sagan
#3542908 - 03/21/12 09:59 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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very cool Paul! I've been messing around a bit; but still have problems maintaining orbits; so I just try to build the biggest damn rocket I can and "shoot for the moon" lol...yes I realize this is impossible but I like things blowing up hehe

#3543138 - 03/22/12 08:18 AM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Thanks for the AAR and the screenshots, there certainly has been a lot of development since I tried it the last time.

But looking at your screenshots - where the heck are Jeb, Bill and Bob?

I'd especially miss Jebs character, this always happy madman - the more parts came flying the happier he became.

#3543275 - 03/22/12 02:41 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: purolator]  
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Heretic Offline
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Originally Posted By: purolator
I'd especially miss Jebs character, this always happy madman - the more parts came flying the happier he became.


http://i.imgur.com/vQtbG.png

Last edited by Heretic; 03/22/12 02:42 PM.
#3543291 - 03/22/12 03:13 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Paul Rix Offline
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hahaha

I think Jebediah is still in the mix, but they had to recruit more Kerbalnauts now that we can have multiple spacecraft active at any one time.


Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Carl Sagan
#3543510 - 03/22/12 08:45 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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Gotto say. It looks brilliant and i really like the persistant items in space.

Looking into this.


Fighterops...

The only TRUE Stealth crowd funded game.

Devs said there was stuff there, but you just couldn't see it.
#3546843 - 03/28/12 10:23 PM Re: One small step for a Kerbal, a giant leap for Kerbal Kind. (Lots of pics). [Re: Paul Rix]  
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bogusheadbox Offline
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Well, i have been playing with the stock version (freeware) and, i like it. Though Orbiter is more sim like, i like the ability to build your own rocket in many mad designs and impractical shapes and use of rocket power.

Just love it.

Sorry Kerbonauts - I have just purchased! Getting to the moon is not the hard bit for me. Its keeping that damned rocket together lol.

Many thanks for the heads up.

Last edited by bogusheadbox; 03/28/12 10:24 PM.

Fighterops...

The only TRUE Stealth crowd funded game.

Devs said there was stuff there, but you just couldn't see it.
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