Tag Archives: SF gameplay

Kerbonaut Program #2

Second installment of play of Kerbal Space Program.

At the fourth postflight report, Werner announced. “Another successful flight. Val, would you give your report? 

Valentine walked up to the podium. “I only reached 1051 meters altitude which is short of Jeb’s, as we expected.  But *I* got to FLY the beast, not just take an elevator ride.  I nudged the yaw to a little east, and landed on the causeway between the VAB and the launch pad. And didn’t get so flustered that I forgot my crew report or my EVA. It’s a magnificent view from up there. “

Wernher stood back up. “This is what it’s about, kerbs. Each flight advances a little on the success of the previous one. This gave us enough Science. to qualify for a research grants in Stability.  Now, we have an announcement from Mortimer Kerman, our Finance director. “

Mortimer announced “Although we are in a good cash position, We have an extensive program of research and flight testing which may not be very lucrative. Accordingly, we have initiated a PR program which will trade on our good publicity to generate a little more cash. I’m sure Wernher will agree; no disasters, please.  Now, Gene, for our next flight?”

Gene took his place. “Fifth mission. This one’s to Jeb, again. You’re getting ears, Jeb.”

This drew some laughter.

“There are several directions we could have gone but we elected to continue as we began. This vehicle, which we’ve called Jumping flea, is our first stock vehicle and we will be flying it over and over, with slight mods, trying for further height and horiztonal range, to get statistics on our performance  We’re giving you two  mystery goo containment modules, and 10% more fuel. ISP for this fuel is 140 s. This should give you 1.5 t dry weight and 1.8 loaded.  32.48 kn thrust. TWR 1.81, a 13 second burn., for a delta V of 249 m/s We want to take a goo reading on the ground and one in flight after you have deployed your parachute.  Straight up and down again if you please.

For the fifth post-mission report, Werner announced “Another success. First we’ll hear from Jeb.

Jeb took his turn. “Everything was as it should have been, except that someone gave me a full load of maneuvering fuel. I took a goo reading just before launch.  In spite of the extra weight,  the 13 second burn got me 890 meters at flameout and 1504 at apokerb, my highest point. At that point, the rocket started to tip over, so I deployed the parachute, although I suppose I might have tried attitude control.  I took a goo reading on the way down and landed on the causeway. I did a crew report and an EVA,  but I don’t think that added much to science.  Wernher again took the stand. “We got good reports on mystery goo; we’ll be doing more. Next mission, Gene”?

Gene stood up. “This will be our sixth mission. The contracts we’re being offered will be calling more for airplanes than spacecraft, so I’ll be arm wrestling with Wernher about what research grants to apply for. Although I would like to do a straight up repeat of that test without the added fuel, we need to move faster than that.  I’m adding a communications antenna to the vehicle in place of the fuel. This one will go to Val. I want you to bear north toward the runway, if you can. Take your goo readings in flight and on landing.  Same thrust and SRB fuel load.”  The TWR and delta V are just a little bit higher.

“Copy on the directions and goo readings” she replied.  Gene nodded. “Let’s fly, kerbs”.

At the sixth post-mission report. Werner did not look happy. After the usual introductory remarks, e asked, “Val?”

“I didn’t get readings at flameout or apokerb, alhough I did go above 1200 meters. I got the goo reading in flight and tried to radio it in, but ran out of battery power. I suppose that will be he subject of a research  grant at a some point. I landed just north of the runway.  I got the goo report Landed at Kerbin’s shores, the crew report same, and an EVA, the same. “

Werner stood up. “That’s still a success. That gave us enough science to apply for the stability research grants.   I still have that arm wrestle to do with Gene about whether to go for aerodynamics or rocketry. Gene?”

Gene took the podium. “Seventh mission. We’ve been putting off that test of the Swivel engine long enough, and we need the cash so we can expand mission control and get more contracts in the queue. Jeb, this one’s for you. We’re going to try to activate the engine with a bare pod and  no fuel, and see whether that will do. Let’s do a test, kerbs.”

Werner began the seventh mission report. “The test was a success. We got paid enough that Gene could upgrade mission control.  Over to you, Gene.“

Gene reported. “With the proceeds from this latest launch, I have been able to hire more staff and expand the mission control center.  This means that I can accept more contract offers and not miss any limited time offers, so that we can earn as we go. “I have three contracts in the queue, but nothing we can do right now.

“For our eight mission, Val, it’s your turn.  We’re going to install a thermometer as well as the Commutron 16 antenna, and see if you can radio that in.  We’re going to give you more fuel to see if you can break 2 km, and we’d like you to bear westward toward the ocean. “ copy. Theromometer, try to radio it in, and bear westward toward the ocean.

Werner began, as usual.  “This is our eighth mission report. Let’s hear from Val. “

“I goofed, chief.   I did a goo reading on the launch pad, so that should be about all thee science we can get there. I steered west too early and almost lost control, and went further out over the ocean than I wanted.  With the bad angle, I missed the 2km height target by a measly two meters.  We really need the SAS assist. I forgot the temperature reading in flight, and didn’t keep the goo trial. I splashed down in the ocean, got a temperature reading, and radioed it in. I got a crew report and an EVA, but in the excitement forgot the goo again. Sorry, chief, everyone.“

Werner stood up. “We’re going to make mistakes, kerbs. We aren’t going to fire you, Val, but do better next time.  Gene, over to you.”

Gene took his turn.“Ninth mission. Those first few flights spoiled us for science readings. From here on out, we’re going to have to scramble. We have a barometer to test but first, another piece of hardware.  Jeb. It’s your turn. We’re going to add a TD-12 stack decoupler between the command module and the Flea booster. Same instrument profiles. Go straight up and see if you can get to 2k. Eject the booster, get your temp and goo readings, and bear south if you can. You’ll be busy up there. “

“Got it.”

“Let’s fly, kerbs”

At the ninth mission report Wernher looked seriously displeased.  “Jeb, give us the news”

“Something went wrong. The stack decoupler wasn’t staged properly and activated at launch. I nearly lost control.  I did get the goo readings and temperature readings in flight, and landed next to the SPH, the Space plane hangar, and got crew report, EVA, goo, and temperature reports from there. “

Wernher scowled. “Not your fault, Jeb. This happened at the VAB, which is my department. We got lucky. We fix it and keep flying. We have enough science that we could go for general rocketry research grants, but Gene won the arm wrestle and we’re going for aviation first.”

Gene took his turn. “Tenth mission. Val, you’re up.  Try the profile we assigned to Jeb last time. We’re going to go ahead and got that barometer, and to compensate, giving you 10% more fuel.”

At the report, Wernher began “Congratulations, kerbs. We have completed ten missions. Val, your report.”

She stood up. “I got the temperature readings and a pressure reading in flight, and landed next on the launch pad close to the crawlerway. Also the height record at 2.95 km. Other than that, nothing exceptional.

Gene took his turn. “Eleventh mission! We’re so close to those aviation grants! I’m going to cut fuel back to 40%, Jeb, without the stack separator, and have you bear south. Don’t forget the pressure reading at launch, and see if you can radio it in. We also need goo readings at the shore when you land, ”

At the eleventh post mission report, Wernher stood up. “We have some news. But first, Jeb, your flight report.

“That Jumping Flea is a clumsy beast to handle. I couldn’t get it to bear south.  I did get your pre-launch pressure reading, and squeezed out a goo trial in flight. I landed just south of the launch pad, got another goo reading, and a temperature.  Perfect for a swim, if we were any closer to the water. Nothing exceptional”.

Gene stood up. “Still a success. We got just enough science from that one to qualify for Aviation grants. We’re going to use the next several missions for aviation purposes.  Yes, this is a space program, but we have to get through the atmosphere to get to space. We are negotiating several contracts lined up to research high altitude and long distance locations, and our control for suborbital launches isn’t that good, as Jeb just informed us. Our research into basic rocketry will let us start testing liquid fueled engines, but I’ve managed to arm-wrestle Wernher into working on airplanes first.

For our next mission, Jab, you’re going to be testing something I call the Slugbeast. It’s a ground vehicle. Some version of this is going to be our go-to vehicle for gathering science reports from around the Launch facility. Later we will be modifying this to get an airplane. It has a Mark1 cockpit, and mark 1 fuel fuselage, from C-7 aerospace. It’s powered by an engine pod which has an air scoop, a  mark 0 fuel fuselage, and a J-20 Juno jet engine, also all from C-7 aerospace. There are two pair of LY-B1 fixed landing gear from LightYear corporation, so it’s a our wheeler.  In general, I don’t like testing vehicles more than one part at a time, but this was the best I could get. The main fuel fuselage will be empty and the small one at 10%, and thrust linited to 10%. I want you to try to get a crew report from the runway and do an EVA to see if you can get back in. See how fast it goes, and steers, and check the brakes. Easy does it. Drive safe.  

The Kerbonaut program #1

This story is derived from play of an unmodified version of Kerbal Space program 1.8.1 on a custom level of difficulty.

After years of jockeying, cajoling, diplomacy, pleading, and begging, Wernher von Kerman finally had himself a launch facility with a launch pad, crawlerway, runway, mission control center, tracking station, R&D center, astronaut complex, VAB, aircraft hanger,  and administration building,  He hired two Pilots,  Jebediah Kerman and Valentina Kerman; a scientist, Bob Kerman;  and an engineer, Bill Kerman.  Most of the vehicles were based on his designs.  Gene Kerman was his right-hand man as the Mission controller.

He gathered his crew for their first mission briefing. “We are going to fly safe”. said Wernher. “First of all we fly. We will design, build, test, and fly vehicles; both aircraft and spacecraft. We will test components and performance envelopes.  Second, we are safe.  We cannot afford to kill Kerbonauts or destroy vehicles.  As a rule, we are going to go with the minimal changes possible in each flight. We cannot afford to be too fancy with our designs.  Gene, I’m turning the time to you for our first mission briefing.”

Gene Kerman stood up. “Our first contract involves no flight at all. It’s an equipment test.  Jebediah, as our lead pilot, will get the honors of sitting in an unpowered, unfueled Mark 1 Comand pod on the launch pad. He will file a mission report and do an EVA. That is all.” Groans came from the audience. “None of that.  We will be getting to powered flight soon enough.”

At the first post-mission briefing,  Jeb reported. “No surprises. I have filed a crew report from the launch pad, and an EVA report. All the switches flipped and the door opened and closed.”  Gene stood up. “Congratulations, people, We have completed our first contact, to gather a science report.  Our second contract will be to actally fly.  However, before we do that we have an additional test. There are a couple of new modules for science research, and Mystery Goo containment module, and a 2Hot thermometer. We are giving this mission to Bob, since it’s an unpowered science mission. For this one, Bob, the batteries will be changed. Get a report from the goo and the thermometer”. “Understood. Gene. I’ll get right on it. 

At the second post-mission briefing, Wernher reported. “That was another success. We now have a mystery goo and a thermometer reading from the launch pad. That qualifies us for a research grant in Engineering 101 and there are people designing several new components which we will be testing soon. In the meantime, Bob has some additional details.” He nodded to Bob and stepped aside. “I tried out the goo module from outside and it worked fine. I did an EVA to reset the goo container from outside and reran the experiment. I didn’t get any new information, and since we don’t have an antenna, couldn’t transmit.  That’s all”.  Wernher stood back up.  “That’s unfortunate, but not unexpected. We will be working on communications in our test program, and we will be doing more testing. For now, here is Gene with the exciting news you have all been waiting for.

Gene stood. “Our third mission will be an actual test flight. Once again, Jebediah will take the lead.  Valentine, your turn will come.  We are going to use the Mark 1 command pod, but strip the goo container and science gear, and activate the on-board reaction wheel. We will be adding a nose cone with a mark 16 parachute, set for full deployement at 3/4 standard atmosphere. The command pod will be sitting on top of a TS-5 “Flea” Solid Rocket Booster, set to 20% thrust and and 20% fuel. That’s 1.6 t loaded weight, 1.4 t empty, with  ?? kM of thrust, a thrust to weight ratio of 2.17.  We calculate that after a 9 second burn, this will give you 199 m/sec delta Vee, which should get you high enough to safely deploy the parachute. Go straight up; don’t try anything fancy with attitude control. At the height when your rate of climb drops to zero, deploy the parachute.  We’re taking no chances with you this flight. Everybody,  Let’s fly!” Cheers arose.

The pattern was now set. There would be a pre mission briefing, the actual flight, and the mission report.  Again  Wernher took the lead. “Another success” We have a report from in flight over Kerbin’s Shores, and and from vehicle recovered after a flight. This qualifies us for research grants in Rocketry! Jeb has more. “Everything went pretty much as planned. I did use the attitude controls after I deployed the parachute, but it only swung me back and forth. the parachute brought me straight back to the launch pad.  I got so excited I forgot to do reports on landing”.

Werner stood up. “There were other reasons for not doing those. I don’t want anyone falling off the tops of boosters and not able to climb back in. Also, the Command module has limited data storage. You might have done an EVA and extracted and sorted the data, but that’s something to remember for future flights.  We will be doing missions close enough to the launch pad long enough that we can collect  appropriate reports later.  For now, kerbs, well done!. Gene, your turn”.

Gene stood up. ” We now have a contract to Test the LT-45 Liquid fueled “Swivel” rocket engine on the launch pad.  But that’s for a later time. For now, Valentina, it’s your turn to fly. ” After the applause he continued. “”Werner has a design he’s working toward. For now, the only change to the Fleahopper 1 that Jeb flew is to add three fins for stability control. Recall that we want the aerodynamic center of pressure behind the center of mass. This will of course affect the mass of the rocket, so you probably  won’t go as high as Jeb did.  On the other hand, we’re giving you permission to try to affect the attitude as you go up. Don’t test it too far; we’ve had sims that suggest that you can easily lose control before your burn is over, an you don’t want to be accelerating straight for the ground!. Gently. “There was a titter of nervous laughter. “Again, deploy the parachute at your highest point. We’ve done this once, kerbs, we can do it again. Everybody,, let’s fly!”