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9 days ago
Sergy, France
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Kerbin Space Port: playing with freighters, and a place to park them

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In the previous entry, there is a new class of vessel shown. This vessel is designed to haul ore inside a planet SOI.

Some new classes of vessels for freight hauling
Whereas before I was using an ore tank pushed by a nuclear transfer stage, this new class of vessel is specifically designed for the ore hauling task.
The ore tanks are part of the vessel body, and one big advantage is the better balance of RCS ports making docking much easier than with the previous setup.
Also with 16 Nerv engines instead of 4 or 6, burn duration are more reasonable. For example getting into LKO from Minmus, now take 2 burns instead of 4 to 6 burns.
Fully fueled when leaving Minmus, the vessel can bring it’s ore to LKO and go back to Minmus once empty of ore, all on internal fuel and without refueling.
Crew: 12 Kerbals
Capacity: 24k units of ore (240t)
Δv without payload: 5900 m/s
Δv with full payload: 2500 m/s

Based on the same design, a less specialized version was investigated. The ore tanks were replaced with cargo bays, and the crew capacity increased.
Turns out, this variant has even more capacity (for ore transport) than the Canterbury class. Also with it cargo bays, it may be able to act like a mother ship for exploration purpose.
The class name was choosen by a friend. A 13 minutes video of the launch is available there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc9uHwsvEDw
Crew: 20 Kerbals
Capacity: 4x mk3 cargo bay
Δv without payload: 5900 m/s
Δv with payload: depend of the payload mass
  • 50t: 4500 m/s
  • 100t: 3600 m/s
  • 200t: 2600 m/s
  • 300t: 2100 m/s

All the previous classes of vessels use Nerv as their engines due to its excellent ISP.
But what happen if we go for higher TWR at the cost of efficiency and capacity ?
The class name was choosen by a friend.
Crew: 20 Kerbals
Capacity: 2x mk3 cargo bay
Δv without payload: 4200 m/s
Δv with payload: depend of the payload
  • 50t: 3000 m/s
  • 100t: 2300 m/s TWR ≥ 1
  • 150t: 1950 m/s
  • 200t: 1600 m/s

A new facility in Kerbin orbit to handle this large vessels
The existing Kerbin Space Station architecture is not suitable to use by those kind of big vessels, furthermore the fuel storage capacity has proved to be limited too with those monsters.
Their maintenance and refueling around Kerbin will be handled on a new facility name Kerbin Space Port.

Kerbin Space Port
For this one there are several downloads:
The fuel depot can contain:
  • 106k units of Liquid Fuel
  • 44k units of Oxydizer
  • 8k units of Monopropellant
In addition the station can refine ore brought by vessels with two ISRUs.

Below are some images of the launch of the main section, or a 35 minutes long video of this same launch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfsN06bW-dk

The space port in use
  • front side, from left to right:
    • Kangoo class freighter
    • Hades N.mk3 class vessel with ore tank (my previous ore tanker generation, being phased out and replaced with Canterbury class vessels)
  • back side, from left to right:
    • Pélican class freighter
    • Hades N.mk3 class vessel
    • Canterbury class ore freighter

The control towers are being replaced by a new variant shown on the blue print.

One more thing

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14 days ago
Kerbal Space Truck Simulator ?
Sergy, France
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Eve… You get some love too (a.k.a Eve Expedition 01)

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Waiting for the vessels bound to Duna to arrive, a transfer window to Eve has arrived. With probes in orbit and on the ground, a communication relay network already there, it’s time for some Kerbals to go there too.

Eve will not be used as much as Duna for future travel, so there are less objectives for this transfer window:
  • Have Kerbals landing on Gilly, and some on Eve
  • Locate a favorable spot for an Eve base
  • Land a new kind of ground base on Eve
  • Start a space station in low Eve orbit. For the time being there will be no fuel depot.

The fleet going to Eve during this transfer window (around Year 3, Day 370) is made of 11 vessels.
Eve being Eve… the courageous kerbals which will land there won’t have a return ticket for a (very) long time. Because of this, I will try to provide them with a nice place to stay on the ground.

In the space program, we tend to re-use designs and evolve them not restart from scratch, so you will notice some of the vessels are the same or just slight evolutions of the ones sent on the Duna mission.

Eve ground base

Eve is known for it's high gravity and very thick atmosphere. The kerbals sent there will currently only have a one way ticket to the surface, with no warranty to ever leave Eve. It was decided that they needed a cool ground base with plenty of space, and expandable.

So I present the Eve Colony Hab Tent for 64 kerbals
The more interesting part is the little interior yard
A base using this design might be sent to Duna if Eve results are good.

Who will get to Eve surface ?
There was also a careful selection for the firsts kerbals that would land be stranded on Eve.
Two teams will provide the ground crew. They consist of 3 scientists, 2 engineers and 1 pilot.
Those kerbals are all Level 1 at the moment, but by the time they reach Eve surface will have been promoted to level 3, after having landed on Gilly.

Ground base launch (12 minutes video)
To put this base in orbit, I brute-forced my way.

Eve space station 01 a.k.a EvSS 01 in low Eve orbit
Except for the occasional Kerbals passing through Eve SOI, this space station will not be used much.
The station consists of:
  • crew compartments for 28 (only Hitchiker are counted for crew compartment, the other modules being working space)
  • science lab (very important to bring the kerbals from level 1 to level 3 before landing on Eve)
  • cupola
  • capsules docking nodes
  • communication relay
  • electrical production (RTG + Fuel Cell + solar array)
  • radiators
  • ISRU (planning for future expansion as a fuel depot)

Below are some pictures of the station en route to Eve

Eve SOI mining fleet
During this transfer window there will be a minimum mining operation set up around Eve. The main goal of this operation will be to refuel vessels around Eve so that they can go leave the SOI with plenty of Δv left.
Due to the high cost of maneuvers in Eve orbit, the refueling hub will be located around Gilly

Ore freighter and Mining rig + Refinery
The mining rig will mine the ore on Gilly, and also serve as refinery.
The freighter part is an adaptation of what used to be my standard ore hauling setup, before the creation of the specialized vessels shown below.

Specialized ore freighter to bring ore from Gilly to Eve
Instead of using my usual Ore container pushed by an Hades N, I created a specialised vessel for Ore transport. This class named « Canterbury » in my game, can haul 24k units of Ore (or 240t) having ~2500m/s of Δv fully loaded.
The craft file is available on Kerbalx: Ore Freighter mk1
This one is the second member of the Canterbury class, of course, this one going to serve in Eve SOI, is named Adam.

Rest of Eve fleet
Crew transfer between Kerbin and Eve
Simple vessel with crew space for 3 or 4 teams of Kerbals (1 team is 3 kerbals)

Gilly shuttle
A simple shuttle to bring Kerbals from Eve space station to Gilly surface and back.

Same scanner satellites as the one sent to Duna and Gilly (see Duna… here I come), but this time sent to Eve and Gilly. I do not plan to extract ore from Eve, but this is so cheap…

Eve lander seeder
Eve surface being blocked in the map view (thanks E.V.E), these 16 landers will be deployed to spot a good spot for the colony, and also get some science in different Eve biomes.

One more thing

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24 days ago
In my attempt to post more regular update of my KSP plays…
Sergy, France
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You are go for launch with LEGO Ideas 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V [Review]

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The Saturn V moon rocket is a masterpiece of engineering and remains the largest rocket ever successfully launched. Between 1967 and 1973, thirteen rockets left earth, taking us to the moon and building Skylab, the United States’ first space station. So it’s fitting that LEGO Ideas 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V is the largest Ideas set produced to date, clocking in at a massive 1,969 pieces in an homage to Apollo 11. When countdown ends and the rocket set launches on June 1, 2017, it will retail for $119.99. Included is the Saturn V rocket in three stages, the command and service module, lunar lander, and command module with floatation device.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The Box (and instructions)

Like other Ideas sets, Saturn V comes in a black box, with the model on the front and the LEGO Ideas branding. Unlike other Ideas sets. the box is not made of the thicker, sturdier cardboard, likely due to the size, nor does it have a hinged lid that opens and reseals easily. Our box, sadly, arrived a little worse for the wear.

The box features a beautiful picture of Earth below and a starry sky above. The front has blue schematics of the model made to mimic blueprints, giving the scale and physical size of the model. The back of the box shows the model in its finished sub-models, along with a launch sequence and iconic pictures from Apollo 11. A map of the moon shows where each Apollo mission landed.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The instruction book is just as beautiful as we’ve come to expect LEGO Ideas books to be. It’s bound like a book and 182 pages long. The cover features a white-line drawing of the rocket leaving Earth.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

When you open the cover, you are greeted by historical photos from NASA of Saturn V, the command module, the moon rover, and members of the crew in front of a training lunar lander. The opposite page contains a brief history of Project Apollo, focusing mostly on Apollo 11 with brief mentions of the other missions. Turn the page to see the LEGO version of the rocket broken down into each of its parts, giving names for the engines, stages, and modules. Included are photos from the rocket in the Vehicle Assembly Building, along with descriptions of how the command and service modules docked with the lunar lander.

The following pages give a visual timeline, from launch to lunar landing of an Apollo mission, complete with photos (where available) of different stages along with more photos of the program. Flip the page one more time to learn about fan designers Valerie Roche and Felix Stiessen and LEGO designers Michael Psiaki, Carl Thomas Merriam, and Austin William Carlson.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V


The Build

This is a long, luxurious build. Overall, the model took more than 5 hours to construct, and each moment was spent uttering things like, “oh, that’s clever” and, “Wow. Really? In an official set?” Practically the entire rocket makes extensive use of some of the most complex SNOT techniques to ever grace an official set.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The set comes with 12 bags: Bags 1-8 make up the first Stage (the business end of a Saturn V); Bags 9 and 10 make up Stage 2. Bag 11 contains Stage 3, while Bag 12 completes the rocket with the launch escape system, command module, service module, and lunar lander.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The rocket comes together from the bottom up and inside out, then circles back around: most of the first Stage is complete before adding on the F1 engines that the entire rocket rests on. Despite being a 39″ tall tower, the model is bottom-heavy and relatively stable. A good push will knock it over, but its sturdy enough to stand alone while building.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

One point of difficulty comes from attaching some of the sub-builds to the core of the model: the tolerances for getting studs lined up is very tight and on more than one occasion, I had difficulty snapping pieces together. This is particularly noticeable on Stage 1, since the sub-assemblies are so long. Part of the issue included a mistake I made early on: the instructions were unclear on precisely which studs the sub-assembly was supposed to attach to. This was due to the point-of-view angle in the instructions, resulting in my sub-assemblies being misaligned by one stud. This was the only place there was an issue; all other instances of attaching long sub-assemblies had easier visual references.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

A number of unorthodox techniques are at play in holding the exterior panels in place, including brackets turned at 45° angles, as well as clips and Mixels ball joints. In some instances, the designers have even exploited the geometry of unusual parts like the 1×2 plate with vertical bar (in green) to hold segments in place.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The Parts

Like all Ideas sets, there are no stickers to be found around here. There are tiles that say “United” and “States”, printed 2×3 curved slopes with U, S, and A, along with four printed curved slopes with American flags on them. There’s also a single 1×8 white tile with black rectangles to add detailing. Additionally, there are printed elements on the lunar lander and command module, as well as the 1×2 clear tile with the flag used for the vignette of the lunar lander.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The set comes with four micro astronauts (one is an extra). They are all identical, so it’s up to you to choose who gets to be Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, or Michael Collins.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

Saturn V does not feature any new element molds; it does, however, feature some parts in new colors. My favorite part in a new color goes to the half large barrel, appearing in Pearl Dark Grey for the first time. The texture on it works perfectly as the F1 engines. It also includes the new 1×1 round tile with bar (aka inkwell) in both black and white. White is currently only otherwise available in the Collectible Minifigures Series 17 Dance Instructor, while black has only just shown up in the Speed Champions Bugatti Chiron.

You’ll also get 144 2×3 curved slopes in white, not counting the printed ones, plus 144 brackets in various styles and colors.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The Finished Model

This model is stunning. It’s impressive to behold, standing 39 inches tall. The iconic black and white checkered patterns stand out, with enough details worked in to help the rocket avoid looking like a bland pillar. Putting your micro Neil Armstrong at the base of the rocket gives a sense of just how massively large these rockets really are.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V
21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

Once assembled, the rocket fits the lunar lander above the third Stage. Unfortunately, the landed command module does not fit inside the finished rocket.
21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V
21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The very top of the rocket is made up of the service module, command module, and launch escape system. There are a number of changes here from the original fan model to the set, most noticeably on the launch escape system. The fan model used a 2x2x5 lattice support brick in white, which has been changed to columns of white taps here. The overall look is streamlined, and works quite well on the final model.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

Each stage is connected using clips, creating a very sturdy connection that’s still easy to separate for transport or display. Stage 1 uses four sets, while the other stages use two sets each. Much of the most complicated SNOT work is used to put the clips into place in such a way they stand up to the force necessary to separate the stages.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

This is a big set, and I knew that after reading the press release, but nothing quite prepared me to stand next to the finished model. The large Stage 1 section stands taller than my cat.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V
21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

For reference, here’s Saturn V standing next to 10231 Shuttle Expedition. The shuttle has 1,230 pieces, and stands an impressive 17.5 inches tall, and was formerly the largest NASA LEGO set. It includes the fuel tank and booster rockets. The shuttle and rocket are not quite to scale with each other, but they’re close, with the shuttle being just 3 inches shorter than it would be at the rocket’s 1:110 scale. Nevertheless, the shuttle looks tiny compared to its predecessor in manned spaceflight.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

With all this talk about large rockets, let’s not forget about the smallest of the builds: the command module and the lunar lander, the reason for the rocket’s existance. After all, that giant rocket is merely the propulsion system for this tiny lander.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The lunar lander is adorable and instantly recognizable. It’s a simple construction, without using many parts.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

A printed 2×2 round boat tile is used to great effect as the hatch.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

Smallest of all is the command module, floating in the ocean after returning to Earth. The whole thing uses just 10 pieces, with eight orange hinges for the floatation ring. The ring simply rests snugly around the module with no official connection.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

The Verdict

The set will appeal on many levels: it’s a solid build with excellent techniques. It’s got a good selection of parts, and it’s a scale model of the most iconic launch vehicle of the 20th century. The Saturn V deserves a place on any LEGO or Space fan’s shelf. Plus, even if you just want it for the pieces, it’s a bargain at just over $0.06 per part, roughly 40 percent lower than most LEGO sets average.

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V will be available June 1, 2017.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The post You are go for launch with LEGO Ideas 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V [Review] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

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43 days ago
Sergy, France
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New career play: Galileo's Planet Pack first big endeavour

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As I’m getting ready to send a manned expedition to Eve in my standard career, I started to play an heavily (for my standard) modded KSP installation.
Instead of playing in the stock solar system, I decided to get a fresh experience in KSP. This career is played with the beautiful and intriguing Galileo’s Planet Pack.
Since I started playing this career, I have not played to much in the stock-ish one.

After the initial grind for science and money, I had enough to start some buildings of my own. One of the contracts I was given was to have a Iota outpost. I decided for once to try to build an expandable ground outpost.

Below is the outpost after the first two modules installation: a science lab and an habitation module.

An ISRU is now also installed

Yep, the solar array finally arrived, but just as the sun was being blocked by the terrain, so basically useless for the time being.

With the sun back (at least according to the solar panels), the first crews have arrived to the outpost grand opening.

Some of the kerbals were there just for the inauguration, and are now heading back to the small Iota research space station.

And have arrived on the space station.

In order to have a functionnal outpost for the long (~11 days) Iota night a nuclear reactor was brought to the outpost. Standing alone some ~400m away from the habitation part, this reactor is just the first module of a full power plant that will be built there. The resources are shared using the Simple Logistics mod.

In the meantime, a contract to expand the outpost was received, and completed. Now with more living space.

Decided to try to have a workshop to build vessel at the outpost using Simple Construction, so an ore storage was added to the outpost.

The workshop require way more storage that I had planned, so a metal and rocket parts storage module is now there, as the first resource module of the outpost
Also after some tests, the workshop output docking port is not correctly oriented to be useful.

Now baring the addition of an improved EPL and of other resources module in the future as needed, the habitation and workshop part of the outpost is done.
Top view
Left view
Right view

With the habitation/workshop kind of complete, tt’s time to build the power plant next to the lone nuclear reactor.

The truss segment was built on site, and I reused some of the tugs to deploy it. This is the only useful onsite vessel built by the workshop.

While the truss segment was being built, 2 battery and solar arrays modules were sent from Gael, and brought to the surface one truss deployment was done, to complete the power plant.

With that the Iota outpost is now more or less complete. My eyes are directed toward Ceti now anyway.

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44 days ago
Sergy, France
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Which is worse?


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44 days ago
Sergy, France
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