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Hull Failure alternative
Instead of a random chance of failure, how about a guaranteed failure after x amount of fuel spent?  Make it tier-locked so you can't do a tier 9 until you're about to blow and then switch to a tier 1 to suffer minimal losses.

Basically each 'tier' you are sending out a different ship, one capable of being outfitted for that specific journey, and so each ship would have a set amount of hull points, let's say 1000.  Then, depending on the tier, fuel-reduction upgrades, etc. a final 'cost' would be deducted upon return.  If the total would bring the hull points to 0 or below, then you would get that familiar unhappy "you suck and get half of the minimum rewards wow that sure is great" message but at least it would be EXPECTED instead of random!

Since the standard failure chance is 20%, then you can choose to optimize the failure rate to be 1000/(x * z) where x is the tier of the mission and z is the efficiency coefficient which is a combination of factors such as higher tiers costing less fuel for the same rewards, and also any ship upgrades, character upgrades, etc.  Basically what I'm trying to say is that if you want failures to be just as 'painful' (i.e. total average rewards lost the same) as they are now, you have to decide on whether to have a separate set of numbers for each tier, or a flat tier that curves upwards or even downwards.  Do you you want the ship upgrades to be slightly stronger, slightly weaker, or about the same?  (I'm speaking to Ray here, not you nerds, but please feel free to chime in of course!)

The benefit to a system like this is that it removes the agonizing RNG that we all get from time to time where even with a level 15 hull we still can see a fucking 8 failures in a row.  This is just bad design and should not happen.  I'd rather have a guaranteed failure out of every x attempts than roll the obviously cracked dice every time!  The downside would be the number crunching and balancing, as it always is.

This also would affect any long-term plans you may have.  If you plan on adding more ship-tiers, or if there are ship upgrade caps, then that might make the balancing a bit trickier.

The goal here is to make it easier for people to understand what is actually going on with their ship upgrades.  You could even make it where ship hull upgrades just add more hull points so we can really see the affects of it in a more meaningful way than "well, I only failed 4 times in a row today, I guess that's an improvement?!"

Thanks for reading.

--cap'n nublord the sixty-ninth
Interestingly, some people thought how many upgrades should be made in the tab of the expedition (fuel station), so that if you press fuel charge (100 diamonds = 3 hours fuels). Remain at least for their own.

That is, we send for diamonds, we go to the station. We do charge, goes into the expedition, we press the fast flight .. and get back the diamonds. )

And is it possible in general in theory ...?)

This is probably possible ..
Because it is possible. But greedy developers will never allow this. For this reason, never "coming soon" upgrade Y, will never be made and put into play.
What would not have been a freebie)
That ins't possible. As you can only fast track the last 2 hours of a diamond expedition.

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