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All stock parts, with MechJeb for precise ascent control (see instructions below)
The Dragon capsule is able to carry 5 crew upto a 200km orbit and return with a powered landing.
Design is balanced so that the Falcon9 1st stage will return to dry land if you follow the flight instructions to the letter!
See video of mini-mission taking crew up to a station (at 200km) with recovery of all stages. >>
Note - The craft file is called
FieryLizard not dragon!
- Use MechJeb SURF to control pitch during ascent. Set heading, pitch and roll to 90 degrees and execute.
- Stage once to retract StrongBack.
- Set full throttle and stage to launch.
- At 2km pitch to 80 degrees
- At 5km pitch to 70 degrees
- At 8km pitch to 60 degrees
- At 11km pitch to 50 degrees
- When Ap reaches 20km reduce throttle a little (to just over 2/3)
- When Ap reaches 30km, pitch to 40 degrees
- When Ap reaches 40km pitch to 30 degrees - Open fuel display on lowest fuel tank
- When Ap reaches 55km pitch to 20 degrees
- cut throttle when fuel in 1st stage reaches 700 units (you need that for landing) At this point the Ap should be around 75km AND most importantly the suborbital path should put you just past the next stretch of land on the equator (see image –>)
Flight Instructions Part II
As soon as you reach an alt of 70km, separate the 2nd stage and thrust it sideways away from the 1st stage (so the 2nd stage’s engines don’t push the first stage of course).
The 2nd stage needs to reach a stable orbit before the 1st stage gets too low into the atmo. Set pitch to 20 and burn hard. Pitch of 20 is needed to keep the Ap in front of the craft. As you proceed, you will need to adjust the pitch down to maintain a vertical speed of around 10-15m/s. The second you reach a stable orbit you need to switch back to the Falcon9 1st stage to land it.
Landing the 1st stage
Once you switch to the 1st stage you need to flip it round to be retrograde. It is tricky to control as it doesn’t have much SAS. It will see-saw on the way down, just let it and switch off SAS, it actually settles down better with SAS switched off.
Hit action group 5 to shutdown the central engine, tap G once so gears will respond the next time you hit G.
At about 7km up lock open the airbrakes. Stage should now be in a stable descent.
At around 1.5km up fire up the engines (around 2/3 throttle). As speed drops to around 50m/s hit action group 3 to shutdown the T-30 engines (you’re now just on the 4 T45 engines). Adjust throttle gradually down and deploy landing gears and pray like hell you’re coming down on something flat!
Prep 2nd stage for re-entry
After landing the first stage switch to the 2st stage and lander. The 2nd stage will need 60 units of fuel to deorbit and land and you’ll need to transfer some fuel out of the Dragon Lander to make it up to 60 units. (see pic below)
Landing 2nd stage
2nd stage should re-enter prograde to protect the rear components. It is hard to keep it prograde however, pumping the fuel into the first tank will help.
After de-orbiting you should have about 400m/s dV spare to make the powered landing.
The DragonX Lander
Once the lander is in orbit (and had a bit of it’s fuel taken to top-up the 2nd stage) it should still be capable of reaching a 200km orbit and rendezvousing with something and then returning to perform a powered landing. You need about 400m/s dV spare for the powered landing. With ~400m/s dV available, don’t fire up the landing engines until the last minute, it has a high TWR at this point so it doesn’t require a long burn to slow it down to landing speeds.
Album of full mission to take crew to station
(or just watch the video at the top)
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