Kerbal Space Network continued … This is the Kerbal equivalent of golf. Actually quite time consuming and finicky. VTOL ability is essential, there are three things that get you:
- If a slope is too steep your probe will roll off. Most mountains are pretty steep except for small area at the top.
- I think the probe will vanish if you fly too far away before it lands, so you need to circle. This also gives ample opportunity to crash into a mountain.
- Even if your plane is in contact a few hundred feet over the mountain, the ground might not be.
I now fly to the target at 1000+ m/s at 10-20 km up, then drop down and brake into VTOL mode, trying to creep in around 50 m/s with the doors open. I need to be around that speed, and preferably rising when I eject the probe so it gets clearance, since it deploys chute, legs and antennas immediately. I was dropping two per target but now I try to drop just one and continue to the next mountain.
Current network status is shown in the photoshopped map. Turns out that gap over the narrow sea is hard to plug, since there isn’t much that’s tall there. Based on my last failed mission, it will take two stations minimum. I have the plane outfitted with antennas so I can see if I’m in contact or not. I think the two on the left will be in contact, but you can’t tell for sure until they’re in the network. So it pays to grow it incrementally, so you can optimize station placement. I’ve probably dropped twice as many failed stations.
That last picture is DSN Space Mountain Prime, on the pillar mountain near the cape. About 3 inches from the cliff.