Thursday, November 03, 2005
Beating NASA Back to the Moon...
...virtually, of course. I've decided to try my own "back to the Moon" program using Francis Drake's CEV-1 add-on, especially since I found that LazyD's Land MFD works great with this "tail sitting" lunar lander. It brought me hands-off from lunar orbit to pad-1 at Brighton Beach. Not much challenge in that, you say? True, but without a landing autopilot, a tail-sitter with only a main engine is not something I'm ready for. Plenty of other challenges in this, including planning (with IMFD) the whole Earth to the Moon thing for the CEV-CRM (if that's what it's called, command & resource modules), rendezvous in lunar orbit with the separately launched CEV-LM (making sure the resulting orbit is in reach of the desired landing spot), land (easy now), then take off with enough fuel to rendezvous with the CEV-CRM.
In my test launch from the Moon, I ended up with 6% fuel in the CEV-LM ascent stage, and not in a very good orbit to dock with the CEV-CRM. I need better planning (it's all in the timing), because in the test scenario, the CEV-CRM only has 33% fuel itself (after LOI burn), and I don't know how much is needed for TEI (trans-Earth injection burn).
So all the needed parts are there, and I can even install some of the Apollo 3D terrain "bases" for more realistic landing sites (I don't think there will be pads and a control tower for the first few flights). This will familiarize me with the CEV game plan and brush up some of my rusty orbit sync/dock skills. The hardware looks a little different from the current concept - but even that is still artists' conceptions. I think it looks kinda cool.