I have had a satellite around Duna for some time now, but today I decided I will attempt to land a rover on Duna with a re-entry and landing design inspired a bit by Curiosity's :D Not as fancy as Curiosity's, but it was very fun to make and even cooler to see it actually work (and almost result in a huge crash!).
|The test rocket for the early rover module design.|
The landing stages is almost the same as Curiosity; After entry of the atmosphere, a parachute will deploy, slowing it down and shortly after that the heatshield will be dropped. The rover then gets dropped and here is where there is some difference. This rover will drop in freefall, where four Sepratron I boosters will push it away so that the outer hull do not land on it. After that, two parachutes will deploy on the rover, bringing it down for a safe landing.
The Mission: The launch went pretty well although the whole build is way too heavy. I had to add several struts to keep the sections from breaking apart due to the weight of the top half.
Eventually I made it into space and with some trouble (yup, forgot to add RCS) I finally got a course set to Duna.
|Kerbin, the Mun and Minmus in the distance.|
Travelling to Duna was nothing exciting... well untill I realised I never added Solar panels on the rocket, which in turn forced me to turn the rocket, which is time consuming without RCS, toward the sun now and then, as luckily some of the sunlight hits the solar panels on the rover... glad those gaps in the corners were there...
|Duna in the distance.|
After that was the big moment, to see if this method of landing is even going to work in Duna's atmosphere.
First came the deployment of the parachutes, which was almost too late as I was waiting to see the cool entry-effect which never happened.
Dropping the heat shield since that was not needed, but looked cool hehe.
Then came the free fall for the rover followed by the Septratron I boosters which was pushing the rover to the opposite direction that I wanted! So I deployed the parachutes on the rover... and this is where it got very exciting for two seconds. The parachute slowed down the rover so much, that the hull was coming straight at it at a massive speed, even with its parachutes, but about half a second before hitting the rover, the parachutes of the hull and rover opened completely, saving the rover JUST in time as the hull piece slowed down... phew!!!
|So CLOSE! and yup, the hull actually twisted upside down.|
After that, a nice view could be enjoyed as the rover slowly lowered to the ground...
Sadly, it landed a little bit too hard. One of the wheels broke on impact, but it is still fully functional, woohoo!
All the science equipment could be used and driving around, the rover, now called Wheely for obvious reasons, investigated it's first Duna rock!
So, 155 days after launch, I finally have my first rover on a planet! Not the best missions, but not to bad either :D