Mission: Jool

I haven’t played Kerbal Space Program at all this past weekend. I have a ship named DiamondDog I orbiting Kerbin. I’ve saved the game four days before its launch window to the Jool system. I’m somewhat afraid to continue.

It’s taken me a lot of game-play time, and a lot of experimentation, to get to this point. It’s going to take a long time, in terms of both game-play and in-game time, to reach Jool. A lot can go wrong between here and there.

I’ve often thought that I’d never get a ship to Jool, or any of its moons. I used to think that about Moho, and I’ve been there twice. I used to think that about Dres, and I’ve been there twice.

Kerbal Space Program is a game that celebrates its failures. It’s a game of serious rocket science, but it has a sense of humor, too. (The loading screen shows a failed mission to Mun, after all.)

I’m trying something new (to me) for this “land on everything” mission to the Jool system. Since I plan to do this in three missions (if all goes well), I’m building the ships in modules and assembling them for each mission. I won’t need to rebuild the same rocket for each of the three missions.

On top of DiamondDog I is a tiny Jool orbiter. It should be the easiest part of the three missions. Once I get the main ship in orbit around Jool, all I’ll need to do separate the orbiter, maybe adjust the orbit, and I can cross Jool off the list.

Once the Jool orbiter is launched, DiamondDog I will move to an orbit around Laythe, the inner-most moon of Jool. Next, the Laythe lander will be launched. Laythe is the only Jool moon with an atmosphere, so the lander is equipped with parachutes and fixed solar panels (which shouldn’t break off during landing). Laythe is mostly water, with scattered islands, so the possibility of an accidental water landing is there.

Under the Jool orbiter and the Laythe lander is a multi-stage rocket which carried DiamondDog I into Kerbin orbit, and, I hope, will get the mission to Jool. It’s basically a copy of the rocket which reached Dres with more than enough fuel, so I figure it should reach Jool.. (That’s another reason for my uncertainty about this mission. I never do the math – the Delta-Vs and Thrust-to-Weight ratios and so on. I’m more of the “that should work” school of rocket design.) If all goes well with this flight, the same rocket module will be used on DiamondDog II and III.

It’s just a game, and I should get on with it.

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