Jool Mission Planning – Engine Thermal Test

Blaugust 2015 Day 28
I played Kerbal Space Program last night and spent a couple of hours fine tuning and testing my lander and explorer ships designs as well as planning out the launch sequence and orbital construction process.

My current plan is to put the lander up one it’s own, followed by the crew and engine halves of the explorer ship. The engine module of the explorer will be empty of fuel, in fact I’ve already managed to launch a massive spherical tank of hydrogen fuel into orbit in preparation. I pretty much just threw this together and brute forced the launch, but I wanted to put something into space.

Hyodrogen Fuel Tank

Once all of the pieces are in orbit, then I’ll rendezvous the two halves of the explorer ship with the fuel tank and assemble the ship and transfer as much hydrogen as it will handle. Then, I’ll deorbit the left over launch vehicles and bring the lander craft in to rendezvous and dock nose to nose with the explorer. The last bit will be to send up a crew shuttle once the Jool transfer window gets close.

I have the lander contained in a fairing now with enough of a launcher to get into orbit. I’ll use the lander’s existing fuel and engines to dock it with the explorer ship, which will be carrying fuel to refill the lander anyway.

Jool 5 Lander Launcher

 

Before I package up the explorer craft, I wanted to make sure I had the fission reactor and VASIMR engine set up correctly. I’ve not used either on a mission before and I didn’t want to have problems with heat before I even left the Kerbin system. So I set up a test using a stripped down version of the engine module and let it run for fifteen minutes. I’m glad I did because my original thermal system had some issues and needed tweaking.

VASIMIR Thermal Test

 

Unfortunately it turned out to be 1 am before I noticed so I had to stop there. I’m getting close though. I need to get launchers set up for the two halves of the explorer ship and then it’ll be time to start putting stuff into orbit for assembly. It’s exciting but nerve wracking as well. I keep double checking things to make sure I haven’t made any mistakes or forgotten a part. I really don’t want to have my three Kerbals arrive at Jool after a two year trip and realize I forgot something stupid.

 

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