It might be a good idea to use Pioneer One as a "spacecraft carrier" for Delta-glider or a dedicated lander - the interplanetary ship enters into orbit around Jupiter (or even Saturn, because why not
), and soon thereafter its Delta-gliders or landers depart to explore moons - this is how I see manned exploration of the outer Solar System in a few decades
That's exactly what I am doing!
I did wonder early on what to use for landings, because I definitely plan to land on the Galilean moons. My original idea was to put a port under the ship to allow the Deltaglider to dock flat to it, a bit like the port in the cargo-bay of the Arrow Freighter.
But, eventually, I came up with an idea. At the back, I intend to put six engines. So, I thought, why not remove one of the engine and the module its connected to and replace them with a landing craft?
While I like the idea, I realised it would be a bit of a pain to use. So, ultimately, I opted for another solution:
You can see the back of the ship as it will be once Pioneer One is completed (14 flights left before it's done :O). There are four cockpit modules at the front of the propulsion section. Well, they are actually placeholders. What will really be there are the pods of Pioneer One (which will serve as landing crafts). There will be four. One for each Galilean moon!
I don't know yet how the pods will look like. To be honest, I don't know how to model them. It's a bit of an endeavour I'm taking since I will need to learn how to make animation for them to deploy landing legs.
But, for now, I think they will be something like this:
Basically, the pod will have four landing legs and engines at the back (main) and engines on the belly (hover) (+maybe a single one at the front for retro, but shouldn't be necessary). The docking port at the back (to attach to the main craft), will also serve as a airlock to allow for some astronauts to walk on the surface of the moon (which will come from @jacquesmomo
's version of the VesselBuilder UMMUs he's working on that I want to adapt for the pods.
With that, the pod will allow the crew of Pioneer One (me) to land on the moons of Jupiter and explore them a bit! Gonna be exciting!
(I need to finish the main ship first, though)