Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kerbal Space Project: MPT-2-Minmus

Mün Probe Test phase Two: Mission to Minmus!

How exciting! I've never tried a Minmus mission before. 

The previous phase of the mission was so successful, mission control decided to send Lendin on to Minmus before returning home. One probe would land on the surface, and another would remain in orbit around the small and distant moon.

 First order of business: dropping a probe in Münar orbit so we even out the center-of-mass.

That was easy. Next, we plot a transfer to intercept Minmus. Escaping Mün influence is easy compared to Kerbin - the Mün is a comparative featherweight!

Executing the transfer burn.
That was surprisingly cheap. Leaving orbit around a moon requires a much smaller fuel (or, more precisely, delta-V) investment than leaving Kerbin.

Getting closer now. It's about time to see how Lendin is going to enter orbit around this odd-looking blue marble.

That will do it - if these maneuvers are executed properly, the craft will be in a neat circular orbit around Minmus.

About to begin - the surface does not look particularly smooth or inviting.

We will have to aim the probe at one of these flat areas. A mare of sorts, I suppose.

Undocking the probe, it is discovered that one of the rocket engines is missing! Oh well, that's why there are four of them - the one opposite the missing engine is disabled so the craft won't start spinning uncontrollably as soon as the throttle is opened.

Mental note: check that engines are bolted on before launch.

It took only a small amount of thrust to drop the orbit down. Two engines is more than sufficient - Minmus has very low gravity. Controlling the unbalanced probe was not too difficult here.

The descent is going smoothly here. The tiny RCS nozzles, which are most often employed for adjusting the orientation and for docking maneuvers, are powerful enough to slow the descent. This saves primary fuel, which is nice, but the main benefit is that they are extremely responsive.
A soft landing on the bright blue mare.

Deploying the science equipment. This probe could ostensibly explore more of this small moon. Nearly all the fuel and RCS fuel is left!

The final probe is released from the craft, in Minmus orbit.

Orienting towards Kerbin. There is so much fuel to spend, and Lendin is quite homesick after 3 days in space. This is going to be a straight shot without subtlety of any kind.

The second-to-last burn of the mission. Lendin is going to need to slow the ship down before re-entry to avoid breaking up in the atmosphere.

The Mün could have formed a fatal interruption, but the current trajectory brought the vessel safely past the devious satellite. This encounter was unplanned, and rather frightening!

Threading the needle here...

Home, sweet home. The main engines and fuel will remain safely in orbit, while the smaller ship detaches to bring the control module into the atmosphere.

The dropship ran out of fuel, and the control module has detached. Lendin would have preferred a dry landing, but the orbital speed was too great and the dropship overshot the intended landmass.

Parachute deployed!

A reasonably safe velocity for a water landing. Lendin is a true hero, having brought the extended MPT mission to a successful close!

No comments:

Post a Comment