Welcome to this first post of LGTD. It is really just a very high level idea of what I want to get done and some of the steps I aim to take to get there.
So firstly, the aim. Get a ship and team to Duna, do science, and get back.
So at a high level, I need to get all equipment into Kerbal orbit, then take the trip to Duna, land on Duna, do science, return to orbit, return to Kerbal, and then return all important items to Kerbin’s surface.
Easy as pie, or maybe not. See, KSP behaves similarly to real life in orbital mechanics. Lifting all that equipment into Kerbin orbit at once is impossible. You have to build it in space, piece by piece. You also have to lift all the fuel you’re going to need for the entire mission as well. A payload of a mere couple of hundred kilos requires lifting equipment and fuel in the order of hundreds of tons just to get it into orbit. And you’re going to need tons of fuel at Duna for orbital insertion, de-orbiting, descent, landing, burn to orbit, rendezvous, interplanetary burn to Kerbin, etc, etc. So firstly, lifting all that fuel from Kerbin is truly a fools errand.
So how do we overcome this? Well the Mun has much less gravity than Kerbin, and has all the ore we need to manufacture the fuel required. This requires the setting up of Munar mining and processing operations well in advance. You could then lift fuel from the Mun to large tanks in orbit around the Mun for long term storage. Another plus here is that you’re really developing a lot of the know-how and tech to do EXACTLY the same thing on Duna.
The mission effects the equipment loadout. We want to put 3 Kerbanauts on the surface. They should be able to get around, do science, and live on the surface for an amount of time. They should also,obviously be able to de-orbit, descend and land on a predesignated site, and once complete, return to the vessel in orbit.
Equipment on ground is:
- Lander/Return vehicle (1 device for both roles means less equipment)
- Science module
- Mining module(s)
- Processing module(s)
- Surface rover
- Pre-landed robotic explorer for site identification – we could combine this with the surface rover for Kerbals.
Space based equipment would be:
- Orbital surveyor – Polar orbit mode.
- Space Habitat for all crew.
- Orbital science module(s).
Next design post, pre-mission requirements, and a further breakdown of the entire mission.
New get out there and fly.