Kerbal Space Program Stories 2023

In the spirit of Kerbal Space Program Stories but without reviving the thread, here’s another KSP story.

I decided to try some KSP with IVA and EVA but without 3rd-person view of the ship except when on EVA. Once unlocked, I can operate science experiments with action groups. If I don’t count maps as 3rd-person external view (maybe it’s just a video screen), I can do flight-planning and SAS-mode selection from the map screen; otherwise, determining the current and planned flight-path could be even more interesting.

The first mission, collect science, went well enough. Jeb can’t operate the mystery goo container from inside the ship, but Onion has TWO (tiny) windows, and one of the windows has markings for estimating angles. Jeb also can’t operate the mystery goo container while on EVA, but he can log an EVA report. I’m considering the 3rd-person ship view acceptable to recover the vessel, even when not on EVA (although the Tracking Station also has that functionality, as long as the situation is sufficiently stable to switch to the Tracking Station). Bob is able to operate the mystery goo container during EVA.

Because neither EVA while not on Kerbin nor Action Groups are unlocked yet, the second mission, escape the atmosphere is about the credits. Jeb manages to achieve orbit in a single stage craft – a Mk16, a Mk1, a stack of FL-T100s, and a Swivel. This was the first time judging orbital parameters from inside the craft really mattered, and the Apoapsis came in at something like 500k. That completed the third mission, achieve stable orbit.

The fourth mission ran into trouble. The second/third mission was run on the minimum of parts, not knowing when real science collection might start. The missing heatshield was fine. The missing decoupler was questionable. I was nervous about heat during re-entry because I’ve used the Swivel as a heat-shield before, but never during IVA. As the ship got closer to the surface, I could see the speed dropped enough that heating was no longer a problem, and I let out a heavy sigh of relief. Jeb was going to make it.

But 800m/s is not 6m/s, nor even 14m/s. The ship slowed enough to not burn up, but it wasn’t slowing enough for the chute to provide a gentle landing. Suddenly the view switched from IVA to the external view – with no ship. The contract was complete – Jeb returned to Kerbin, and funds were available for upgrades – however, Jeb had splashed down hard at something like 500m/s. Fortunately for Jeb, the game was set to respawn missing crew after 2 hours.

“What? That’s not the Onion, that’s an Orion pod. They couldn’t possibly have…”'Onion'_Reentry_Module

“Oh. Indeed I have misread that every single time.”