Fun in KSP! Most of these will be posted to the mod blog, I just want to catagorize the adventures of Cmdr. Maud Pie (she has quite the record) and Co.! Currently doing orbital tests on the MLM-6 “Jackhammer” system, prepping for a long-overdue Mars shot! But this could be a fun way of getting folks involved! The current crew is Cmdr. Maud Pie, Col. Applejack, and Dr. Minuette, PhD. But I have quite a cast of pones! Who should I bring? 

What your Kerbin parking orbit says about you

71 km: You value efficiency more than anything. You have played KSP since the earliest versions (and were annoyed when the atmosphere limit was raised from 34.5 km to 69 km, and then again to 70 km) and have done really complex missions, and to do a Grand Tour of everything in the Kerbol system is your ultimate aspiration (or maybe you’ve already done it?). You also probably achieved the given orbit with an SSTO and MechJeb.

80 km: While you’re trying for efficiency, your reasons for picking this number are very similar to those of 100 km.

100 km: You like 100 km, as it is a nice round number. You also like that in KSP, all the planet radii are given in exact numbers in kilometers (such as Kerbin’s being 600 km). More likely than not, when you perform a gravity turn, you also turn exactly 45 degrees at 10 km, and were outraged when the atmospheric changes made this sort of gravity turn inefficient.

121 km: The 50x time warp limitation at 120 km annoys you.

601 km: Any sort of time warp limitation annoys you.

2,863 km (KEO): You’re playing KSP heavily modded, including but not limited to TAC Life Support, FAR, RemoteTech, Kerbal Construction Time and a couple of visual mods. God, can’t Squad just make these mods stock already?

Elliptical 71 km x 251 km: You’re playing science/career mode and are really just looking forward to mining all the science from Kerbin right now.

Any other elliptical orbit (including “orbits” with periapsis below 70 km): You’re still a beginner in KSP, still confused by the multitude of concepts you have to wrap your head around.

You haven’t reached Kerbin orbit yet: Either you’re completely new to KSP, or you gave up trying to reach orbit early on and are now focusing on projects that do not have to do anything with space (e.g. submarines, airplanes, ground-based vehicles). Eventually, KSP will stop meaning “Kerbal Space Program”, right?

Oh gods. I bought Kerbal Space Program this week, and it’s way too much fun. Insanely hard, but fun. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically a videogame in which you lead a sort of NASA on a fictional planet inhabited by Kerbals (little green aliens), and you have to design rockets and satellites and probes and get them on the right trajectories while making sure your astronauts make it home in one piece. 

On the plus side, I learned more about rocket science, orbital mechanics, and aerodynamics in one weekend than in five years of physics class.

On the downside, I can’t manage to land on the Mun (Kerbin’s moon) quite right, and it’s driving me nuts. Getting the right balance of fuel for each stage is hard. Like, you want a certain amount of fuel for your Mun lander, and if you want to bring more you need a ton more fuel for your other stages, since the fuel weighs a ton, and you need MORE fuel to haul that into space. But if the ship gets too big it becomes hard to control and expensive. The fact that I haven’t unlocked the good engines yet doesn’t help either. But figuring it out is fun. More fun that I had in quite a while. 

Munlanding isn’t the only thing I’m struggling with. Having two ships rendez-vous (fly close enough to each other so they can dock or attach to each other) seems almost impossible. It’s so freaking precise. but oh so rewarding if you get it right. 

Also, it’s so fun to spend an hour doing an intricate science-gathering mission, only to realize as you’re flying back to Kerbin that you forgot to pack a parachute, and that all your hard earned data is gonna smash into the ground at about 3 km/s. By fun, I mean you feel immensely stupid, but you can still laugh at it. 

Anyway, I wanted to share that, I guess. And explain why I haven’t been doing that much writing lately. KSP and school. Freaking Kerbals. Freaking Mun.


KSP Mission To Mars: Homecoming:
1. The Trailblazer, minus 1 crew mate, begins the long orbital maneuver train home.
2. After so long away and so much trial, the crew is happy to see Earth again. Maud seems indifferent, knowing that she will go just that much farther.
3. A little multinational help, as the lander wasn’t meant to handle atmospheric reentry. A Canadian drone, the MCRV, sits on the launchpad, ready to do some sweeping.
4. The MRCV ascends to match the speed of the Trailblazer, the telemetry being rather rock solid for a drone.
5. Cmdr. Pie floats outside the MRCV, taking one final glimpse of the lander that served them so well for so long….and killed one of them, but hey.
6. The MRCV, once it’s orbit has been terminated in the Earth’s atmosphere, releases it’s secret weapon: the Drag Shield. Closed….
7: ….and open.
8: The MRCV’s chutes slow it enough for a water landing.
9: Splashdown! The Trailblazer 1 crew makes it home, relatively intact! A lot was learned in this trek, what to do and what not to do, as well as new designs impoving on fuckups! The Zurich crew still remains in orbit above Mars, as Cmdr. Lulamoon now has a very different job…..


KSP Mission To Mars: Highs and Lows
1: The Zurich Orbital Refueling Platform sits on the launchpad. To date, the heaviest thing I’ve ever launched.
2: Lost an engine on the uptake, but shockingly it stabilized the damn thing. Call it luck?
3, 4, 5: Leaving Earth, on approach to Mars. Crew: Cmdr. Trixie Lulamoon, Col. Rarity, Col. Pinkie Pie. Surprisingly, navigated the orbital trajectories PERFECTLY, setting the precedent for interstellar navigation.
6: Col. Rarity inspects the hull, a small shimmy displaced the engines.
7: Back on Mars, disaster. Col. Applejack was repacking the parachutes for the ride home, and took a tumble, landing on the leg of the craft. The landing leg was already under stress, and the impact of a falling body caused it to buckle and explode, killing the astronaut instantly. Cmdr. Pie was able to re-balance the craft with her body weight, but time will tell if this becomes lethal for three instead of one.
8: Against a few odds, Cmdr. Pie and Dr. Minuette actually get off of the ground, despite the solar panels windmilling about. The angle of the craft was used as a pre-emptive gravity turn.
9: The Zurich and Trailblazer meet up over Mars, failing to tow, but succeeding to refuel. Now, the journey home!

The Downlink 2 - The Cubesat Podcast

On this podcast we talk about:

  • A 20 year mission to the next solar system? IT’S POSSIBLE! (check out the graphic above)
  • An inflatable space station? less sci-fi than you might think!
  • Kerbal Space Program Cubesat Mods
  • Cubesats to go to Europa? perhaps?
  • ULA wants more cubesats! k-12 schools might be making them!

Have any thoughts? Do you what any other segments? let us know if you would like?

Also check us out on itunes: the downlink on itunes

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