Help appreciated for a Layman

Lupus_Vulpes

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Hello everyone,
I downloaded this wonderful piece of software out of curiosity, only to find out that someone simulated the whole Apollo missions to the detail with working AGC emulation and all the gizmos and switches and procedures.... Holy S***!
I must say i am amazed at how much detail vent into this program, but the problem is... I know and understand perhaps 2-3% of all the stuff that's going on here in this sim, and the 90° vertical learning curve does not help much, so i wanted to open this thread to periodically asks questions when i run into stuff that i don't understand or problems during my simulation attempts (and i see and guarantee this will happen a lot) :)
I only hope i will find helpful enough people how will answer my many questions :D



OK, first question... When i have to insert the CM into earth orbit i get this task that i don't understand, what do i have to do here?

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Its also in the word checklist document, but i don't know what i have to write down.

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Thespacer

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Welcome, it’s a tremendous piece of software engineering - both the original AGC and the effort to integrate that and the Apollo systems into Orbiter. It’s actively being developed and the dedication of those behind it really shines through. While very difficult for new-comers, myself included, there is plenty of real-world documentation available, for example on this page: https://www.ibiblio.org/apollo/links.html#Systems_Handbooks

That will not solve your immediate concerns - none of those documents are a tutorial, but there is no better resource to fully understand the software hardware.

This forum is also invaluable, and there are a few recent threads with fellow users getting to grips.

All that said, we recommend flying Apollo 8 first - learning the CSM systems and AGC is hard enough without the LM attached.

Once you have mastered the “flow” of the checklist MFD, you will find it tremendously useful, although not foolproof. To answer your questions, a fairly common task around major manoeuvres was to read the DSKY and report values to the ground. In your case, the critical numbers following insertion: inertial velocity (VI), vertical speed with respect to the surface (Hdot), and height above the pad altitude (H) - these numbers confirm for you and the ground if you have inserted successfully. For simulation purposes, they are gee-whiz only and you don’t need to record them, but they should obviously be consistent with predicted values (available from flightplans and other mission documentation). Once you read/record them, you then press Verb 82 Enter, which will tell you your perigee and apogee, another confirmation of the success (or otherwise) of your insertion into orbit. It should average to about 100x100nm. The last figure of V82 is “time from freefall” - basically if you have an orbit that does not intersect with the atmosphere it will read 59m59s, which means it is “safe.”

We’re happy to help you with questions as you go along. Good luck.
 
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Urwumpe

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The good news: This display of the computer has only three output registers, so when you have to read three values it is usually exactly in the sequence as it is displayed, from top to bottom.
 

Lupus_Vulpes

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Well, the learning is going on smoothly, i am testing the Apollo 8 scenarios to get myself a bit more familiar with procedures and the instrumentation. I manged to get from launch to CSM-LV separation without problems but here i have question because i am not really sure what needs to be done in the "Load Dock Attitude" procedure.

Also a few more general questions:

1. I have a Thrustmaster joystick, and i think it can be used to maneuver the CM/LM but can someone explain how i set up a joystick in NASSP, because i read the joystick in orbiter must be disabled.


2. When flying the full scenario, what is the difference between a standard scenario and the MCC (Mission Control Centre) supported scenario?
 

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Thespacer

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i am not really sure what needs to be done in the "Load Dock Attitude" procedure.
Are you using the MCC-enabled scenario (the ground messages/uplinks in yellow text - see below answer)? If so, the TLI PAD contains three sets of gimbal angles: one for the TLM manoeuvre, one for the CSM/LV separation manoeuvre, and finally one for the LM extraction manoeuvre. The “docking attitude” is the final of the three: once you have separated and pitched around 180 degrees, (and rolled a bit), you should find yourself in the docking attItude. Executing the pitch around manoeuvre is conducted (at least by the checklist) using Verb 49
When flying the full scenario, what is the difference between a standard scenario and the MCC (Mission Control Centre) supported scenario?
MCC-enabled scenarios simulate mission control, to the extent that you can receiving Pre-Advisory Data (PAD) prior to each significant manoeuvre (basically, burn data), and State Vector updates. Certain missions have this already, including Apollos 8 and 11, but no mission after Apollo 11 have that feature yet (although advanced users may use RTCC MFD to simulate MCC functionality).
 

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Regarding setting up a joystick, did you manage to find the section in the Orbiter launchpad where you tweak joystick settings?

”3. Go to the Launchpad Configuration Options on the "Extra" tab. If you have a joystick, this is where you can configure your joystick for use in NASSP. Do not use the normal Orbiter controls page to configure your joystick, there it should be <Disabled>.”
 

Lupus_Vulpes

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Are you using the MCC-enabled scenario (the ground messages/uplinks in yellow text - see below answer)? If so, the TLI PAD contains three sets of gimbal angles: one for the TLM manoeuvre, one for the CSM/LV separation manoeuvre, and finally one for the LM extraction manoeuvre. The “docking attitude” is the final of the three: once you have separated and pitched around 180 degrees, (and rolled a bit), you should find yourself in the docking attItude. Executing the pitch around manoeuvre is conducted (at least by the checklist) using Verb 49

Yep, i copied the data from the TLI pad and the maneuver was perfect, it aligned me smack on with the LV.
Now the problem i have are the manual spacecraft controlls, i fugerd out you can controll it with the NUM pad on the keyboard, now the problem for me is the "CSM evasive maneuver"

The cheklist says:
-Maneuver to Local Vertical (+X towards earth) Maintain SIVB in CDR window

and then

-Thrust -X (Away from Earth) -1.5fps (+1.5 on EMS) (~15 sec)

This pertains to the X,Y,Z axis of the CMS and i would presume the X axis is the one "sticking from the nose straight forward".
How much do i have to maneuver? do i have to turn the CMS 180° from the LV? Do i use the THC for the final thrust (-X = -1.5fps)?
I am sorry to bother u so much, but the problem is that it's hard for someone to understand who doesn't have a flight school training :D
 

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That checklist file is actually meant for the Checklist MFD to read and not really for the NASSP user. If you want a checklist aside from the MFD you can just use the real one: https://www.ibiblio.org/apollo/Documents/A8-TLI procs-1003.pdf And it also has the evasive maneuver procedure.

For Apollo 8 the procedure is actually quite simple. You manually maneuver the CSM so that it roughly points at the Earth (can be done with Numpad in rotation mode) and then you fire the RCS away from the Earth (Numpad 9 in translation mode) for the specificed DV. You are just trying to get away from the S-IVB before it starts dumping LOX and maybe crashes into you in the process.
 

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I started a full Apollo 8 scenario with MCC that begins T-4:00h and my side hatch panel looks like this, i cant close it because there is no knob :D

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Lupus_Vulpes

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Ok, i realised now that i took a way larger bite than i can handle... I need to start with the basics because i have no clue what i am doing or what i need to do once i get inserted into orbit. I have no basics of astrophysics so NASSP will have to be put on hold until i get into grips with basic terminology and space flight related science.
First i need to learn that, then i need to learn how Orbiter works, and then try the Apollo missions.

So, what reading and learning material would you recommend to get into grip with basics? Also, do you guys have a discord channel?
 

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Hello Lupus. Like you I am new to NASSP. While I've used Orbiter for a few years, I found the learning curve for NASSP is much steeper, and I've had to dive into the original Apollo documents to understand what's going on. There's a ton of stuff on the internet, but some is obsolete as it pertains to older versions of NASSP, so you have to sort through it. The Apollo Flight Journal has a lot of links, and provides excellent explanations of what's going on while you follow along with an actual flight. While running NASSP I keep a separate laptop opened to a number of flight plans, checklists, manuals etc. trying to understand what I'm doing, so I'm not just flipping switches. The learning part is what's making this fun for me. Understanding the AGC has been the most difficult part for me so far. And for what it's worth, I spent over forty years as a military and civilian pilot, and I still find this difficult.
 
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Lupus_Vulpes

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Thanks, i will take this slowly, one step at a time, first the basics. I figured out the orbital mechanics like Apoapsis, periapsis, dV, inclination, prograde, retrograde... Stuff like that, now i have to fiddle around in orbiter tutorial missions and guides to get really familiar with the program, then ont NASSP. I already downloaded a lot of NASA handbooks, flight journals, training guides etc. to familiarize myself with the Block II CSM and LM . I have a ton of stuff to read and learn, and the best thing is that it really is interesting. I understand the mechanics of how the AGC works, watched plenty of documentaries about it, but i have very little clue what individual programs do and i have to learn a lot of verbs and nouns to get around with that. All in all it's an interesting endeavour and i will try the Apollo 8 mission step by step.

Speaking of Apollo 8, when u have to set-up the ORDEAL, it says to calculate average alt and enter that in ORDEAL knob, now...
You enter V82 and it show you your apogee, perigee and time to free-fall. The number that i have to enter would be the average alt between Ha and Hp, right?

Oh, btw, i found something VERY useful... The Apollo 8 flight jurnal where every step is explained in detail what they did. Very helpful stuff for new players.


From the Apollo 8 flight journal, it says they set the average alt to 101 nautical miles so that should be right my DSKY is reading Ha = 106.8 Hp = 96.1 the average would be 101.45
 
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Wedge313

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Sounds right, I've run the scenario a few times getting into orbit and while the Ha and Hp values change a little each time, the average always seems to be around 101 or so (which is why they have us pre-set the ORDEAL to 100, I guess!). There are a lot of great video tutorials for Orbiter, but very few for NASSP. Some videos that demo lunar landings (without instruction), but I'm still working on Apollo 8 , the LM is a future endeavor. I've relied a lot for help from people on this forum, but digging into the documents has been helping me a lot. Good luck. If you pick up stuff let me know, I'm still learning.
 

Lupus_Vulpes

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Hah, been fiddling around with the CSM systems a bit, managed to shut-down all three fuel cells by the procedure... floating dead in space :D
 

Lupus_Vulpes

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It seems the reactant valves can be reopen once they are closed, i guess their irreversible shutdown is not implemented due to the program limitations of Orbiter?
 

n72.75

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So I've been working on a fairly major update to the fuel cells and EPS cooling system. See: https://www.orbiter-forum.com/threads/v8-release-work-thread.36128/post-574450

While shutting the reactant valves will eventually will eventually result in the cell shutting down and becoming inoperative, it takes a fair amount of time. The reason that cells shutdown is that when they can no longer produce their own heat, and they cool below ~300F the KOH in the water-KOH mix in the electrolyte chambers comes out of solution and solidifies, making the cell non-conductive and unable to produce voltage.


When the cells are off line, but still supplied with reactants, a heater provides heat to the incoming Hydrogen. That and the cell's own ohmic heating provide the heat to keep cell alive.
 

Lupus_Vulpes

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So I've been working on a fairly major update to the fuel cells and EPS cooling system. See: https://www.orbiter-forum.com/threads/v8-release-work-thread.36128/post-574450

While shutting the reactant valves will eventually will eventually result in the cell shutting down and becoming inoperative, it takes a fair amount of time. The reason that cells shutdown is that when they can no longer produce their own heat, and they cool below ~300F the KOH in the water-KOH mix in the electrolyte chambers comes out of solution and solidifies, making the cell non-conductive and unable to produce voltage.


When the cells are off line, but still supplied with reactants, a heater provides heat to the incoming Hydrogen. That and the cell's own ohmic heating provide the heat to keep cell alive.
Oh... so even if you close react valves the cell will be functional until it cools down, that means if you reopen the react valves before the water-KOH mix solidifies you can still reactivate the cell?
 
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