8) Dres – Interplanetary ‘learning curve’

Posted on Updated on

The Kerbals had developed a re-useable interplanetary tug but had yet to actually erm… use it. So they decided that the mission target after Duna should be the next planet out – Dres.

Flight 10 – Dres

Jeb, of course, volunteered and his lander was prepared for him.

Using the RIS meant the lander itself could be launched on a relatively small rocket.
Using the RIS meant the lander itself could be launched on a relatively small rocket.

The lander is launched into orbit and the RIS is undocked from the KSS. The two meet above Kerbin.

The lander approaches the RIS
The lander approaches the RIS
The RIS starts carrying the lander to Dres
The RIS starts carrying the lander to Dres
After a long burn, an encounter with Dres is made.
After a long burn, an encounter with Dres is made.
Sucess! An orbit is around Dres is established
Sucess! An orbit is around Dres is established

So Jeb got himself to Dres. With just one minor problem. Although the lander still had a full tank of fuel, the RIS was running very low! The orange tank was completely empty and even the four side tanks over the nukes were slightly depleted. I had to hope that the lander would have some fuel left over after the landing and that the lighter payload for the return journey wouldn’t guzzle so much fuel.

Jeb was confident enough to go ahead and land on Dres in any case, how bad could being stranded in interplanetary space be anyway? So he detached from the RIS and burned retrograde to land. Dres is a small world with a gravity similar to the Mun. In that sense, landing here was easier than landing on Duna although there was no atmosphere to slow descent.

From this angle, Dres looks kinda gray and boring...
From this angle, Dres looks kinda gray and boring…

Not at all distracted by the way the world below him was giving his skin a grayish tinge, Jeb expertly piloted the lander to the surface without incident.

The landing spot was a little slanty but from the looks of it so it most of Dres!
The landing spot was a little slanty but from the looks of it so it most of Dres!

Jeb found he could jump just as high here as he could on the Mun but without the glorious view of Kerbin to keep him company. He had a look around for the famous Dres Canyon that had been spotted by astronomers from Kerbin but it didn’t seem to be anywhere nearby.

Wheeeeee!!!!
Wheeeeee!!!!

All in all Dres seems… pretty dull. After doing some science and posing for a selfie…

Dres selfie

Jeb does some science things with Goo and samples but swiftly runs out of things to do. He blasts off from Dres, happy to have expanded the borders of Kerbally exploration but a bit jaded that the surface wasnt covered in awesome gray…somethings. What’s awesome and gray? Chicken walkers from star wars perhaps? On reflection Jeb decides that most things that are awesome aren’t gray and decides that the next place he visits should be a different colour.

Jeb re-docks with the lander and begins the return journey to Kerbin
Jeb re-docks with the lander and begins the return journey to Kerbin

The lander still had about 150 units of fuel left inside. Jeb transferred this to the RIS and ejected the empty lander cans. It’s still looking extremely tight for fuel however, getting back to Kerbin is going to take quite a lot of detla-V and at this point I wasn’t sure if the craft would make it.

And sure enough, after escaping Dres’ orbit, burning to an encounter with Kerbin and arriving in Kerbin’s sphere of influence, the RIS ran out of fuel… at this point…

Crap
Crap

No chance of even so much as an aerobrake, the craft was going to head straight back out into Kerbol orbit. I only really had a couple of options at that point, either give up and terminate the mission, starting all over again, or attempting a rescue. I really don’t like the idea of ‘terminating’ Jeb after all he’s done for the KSP so I decided to try and rescue him. All he really needed was some fuel, so I simply launched a fuel tank into orbit.

screenshot14

Not a particularly pretty ship but does the job.
Looks like a flying dumbell.

The fuel tank docked with the RIS and gave it enough delta V for a proper Kerbin encounter. I put both on a suicide burn for Kerbin, undocked the lander then used the RIS’s engines to push it’s periapsis higher, going for an aerobrake rather than a suicide burn.

screenshot27

The lander detaches from the RIS above Kerbin
The lander detaches from the RIS above Kerbin
I was lucky enough to catch an aurora as the Lander slammed it's way through Kerbin's atmosphere.
I was lucky enough to catch an aurora as the Lander slammed it’s way through Kerbin’s atmosphere.
The lander finally came down safely under an overcast sky.
The lander finally came down safely under an overcast sky.

So the rescue worked! This wasn’t a particularly smooth mission however, I have learned a few things from it.

My main change for future is realising that the current RIS does not have enough fuel for taking landers beyond Duna/Eve. Luckily, it’s design included a nice big docking port Sr. to attach extra fuel tanks in just such a situation (which is how the refueling tank was able to dock). So I sent another gray fuel tank to increase the range of the RIS.

The expanded RIS docked to the KSS
The expanded RIS docked to the KSS

At least this mission did show that the RIS concept could work, even if it didn’t go quite as planned!

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s