Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kerbal Project: Goal and Mission Outline

The goal:

  • To send a team of kerbonauts on a return tour of the complete kerbol system to make scientific measurements and take photographs.
The mission:
  • A probe will touch down on every celestial body with a surface.
  • A manned lander will touch down on Mün, Minmus, Duna, Dres, Laythe, and Eeloo, before returning the kerbonauts to the space center on Kerbin.
The engineering:
  • A new lander
  • A new probe
  • An interplanetary stage
  • A launch vehicle
Some thoughts:
  • It will be necessary to construct the spacecraft in orbit around Kerbin. 
  • Such a heavy craft makes ion engines impractical.
  • A nuclear engine will work, but will require a whole lot of fuel. 3 orange tanks? More?
  • It may be possible to refuel later on, if the mission turns out not to be feasible with the existing fuel.
  • The mission will likely last a year or more. A habitation module would be nice.
  • 14 probes will be necessary - minimal design!
    • Only 3 bodies have atmospheres, allowing parachute landings. (Duna, Laythe, and Eve)
    • The rest of the probes will have to land on rocket power.
  • The lander will execute 6 landings and take-offs, before a 7th and final landing (on Kerbin).
  • Landing on and leaving Duna will likely be the most challenging parts of the mission, although the landing may be easier if parachutes are used.
Out-of-game thoughts:
  • I've safely landed on the Mün just once. This is all going to be very new!
  • Let's take it one easy step at a time...

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