Nertea

[1.2.2] Kerbal Atomics: fancy nuclear engines! (March 2, various fixes)

519 posts in this topic

28 minutes ago, Nertea said:

What do people use for their nuclear engine mods these days?

You kind of just stole the show as far as NTR mods go ....
I see a lot of Atomic Age lately. KSPX, RLA, and FtMn are all still working IIRC (citation needed on FtMn) but not very common.

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The only ones I use are yours and Atomic Age if it ever gets updated.

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8 hours ago, Nertea said:

Yes they will work with NF Electrical that way, I am not ready to enable that patch yet though. 

I'm looking forward to NFE integration, however, I'm curious - do you plan to include any positive balancing factors to compensate for the challenges/limitations that NFE will add to the engines? A FissionGenerator producing 100 EC/s is significantly inferior to a ModuleGenerator producing 100 EC/s (no fuel required, no heat generated, etc.). It would strike me as fair if the NFE version was capable of producing at least twice as much EC as the ModuleGenerator version.

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On 2/6/2016 at 10:14 PM, Sudragon said:

A thought struck me the other day, as I was aerobraking during a return from the Mun. Going engine first into the outer atmosphere and watching the heat level rise, I thought 'I have a great big tank of liquid hydrogen, why can't I run that through engine to cool it?

Could this be incorporated into cryo- and atomic- engines? Open cycle cooling. 

That's something that I wish could be implemented, especially to help SSTO space planes get their velocities up while still in atmosphere and air breathing mode.

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13 hours ago, Nertea said:

Questions: What do people use for their nuclear engine mods these days? I want to make sure the hydrogen patches cover the right engines, the last time I went and looked for all the current nuke mods was a while ago. I'm also buffing the mass of most of the NTRs in LH2 mode so that they will be more attractive. I intended to do this originally, but it didn't sneak into the release. Things like LV-N going to a mass of 2.5 instead of 3. 

I sometimes like using the 2.5m stockalike nuclear engine from KSPX, but aside from the stock and the ones from this mod, that's about it.

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Cheers guys, I'll make sure at least all of those get the handcrafted (heh) treatment.

11 hours ago, Fraz86 said:

I'm looking forward to NFE integration, however, I'm curious - do you plan to include any positive balancing factors to compensate for the challenges/limitations that NFE will add to the engines? A FissionGenerator producing 100 EC/s is significantly inferior to a ModuleGenerator producing 100 EC/s (no fuel required, no heat generated, etc.). It would strike me as fair if the NFE version was capable of producing at least twice as much EC as the ModuleGenerator version

I think I view the modulegenerator approach as the bad thing in this case. It's really not very good in terms of balance with stock, much less with any pack that cares about electricity consumption. In any case, at the very least, NTRs won't really generate waste heat under thrust. The exhaust will carry around 95% of the reactor heat, which means that the lower power engines won't need any kind of radiators.

 

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20 hours ago, Nertea said:

Questions: What do people use for their nuclear engine mods these days? I want to make sure the hydrogen patches cover the right engines, the last time I went and looked for all the current nuke mods was a while ago. I'm also buffing the mass of most of the NTRs in LH2 mode so that they will be more attractive. I intended to do this originally, but it didn't sneak into the release. Things like LV-N going to a mass of 2.5 instead of 3. 

I know Ven's stock part revamp adds a 2.5 meter nuke, Modular Rocket Systems adds a few, I think RLA stockalike has a tiny nuke (maybe?), Atomic Age (natch), and Taurus HCV. That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

 

Also, seconding the request made upthread for a nuclear thermal turbojet, seeing as the only ones I know of are in Atomic Age (which hasn't been updated to 1.0.5) and KSP Interstellar (which is... not something I want to install just for nuclear turbojets).

 

Also, maybe some kind of nuclear thermal steam engine? Could be useful on Laythe, or for powering boats/subs. Not sure if that's within scope of this mod, but figured I'd ask.

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8 minutes ago, Nertea said:

I think I view the modulegenerator approach as the bad thing in this case. It's really not very good in terms of balance with stock, much less with any pack that cares about electricity consumption.

I agree. The NFE implementation will be all around much more interesting and well balanced. The modulegenerator version is the problem; it's overpowered. For example, the Poseidon's modulegenerator (100 EC/s) is equivalent to 133 stock RTGs, which corresponds to a mass of 10.7t and a cost of 3,106,667 funds - for the generator alone.

A lower mass and cost relative to RTGs can be justified for the NFE version, because it comes with additional challenges and limitations. But the "free electricity forever" version (i.e., modulegenerator) should probably produce substantially less EC in order to maintain reasonable balance.

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7 hours ago, Nertea said:

Cheers guys, I'll make sure at least all of those get the handcrafted (heh) treatment.

I think I view the modulegenerator approach as the bad thing in this case. It's really not very good in terms of balance with stock, much less with any pack that cares about electricity consumption. In any case, at the very least, NTRs won't really generate waste heat under thrust. The exhaust will carry around 95% of the reactor heat, which means that the lower power engines won't need any kind of radiators.

 

Okay I was on the fence about using the patch but near-zero heat generation > no spool time. I'll take the limited lifespan if it means I dont need to bring 4 tons of heat rejection out to Jool.

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18 hours ago, PanzerAce said:

That's something that I wish could be implemented, especially to help SSTO space planes get their velocities up while still in atmosphere and air breathing mode.

What would happen if the ablator mechanic was used?  Have an empty ablator 'tank' as part of the engine say...capacity 10. Then have a converter on the engine that converts Lhyd to ablator.  

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1 hour ago, Sudragon said:

What would happen if the ablator mechanic was used?  Have an empty ablator 'tank' as part of the engine say...capacity 10. Then have a converter on the engine that converts Lhyd to ablator.  

That's....an interesting idea actually. The only problem is that there would have to be a way to dump the used 'ablator' value into fuel that's being used. If KSP tracked how hot the fuel in the tanks was, this is something that could be done fairly easily I'm imagining, but since KSP DOESN'T (As far as I know), I'm not sure that the ablator is necessarily the best way to do it....Maybe something that actively chills the cockpit, but requires that X amount of fuel per unit heat is being used, and if it isn't, it basically vents the boil-off? So if you're running your engines, you don't have to worry about it, but say you're coming in for re-entry or something similar; you're still losing LF or LH2 to boiloff to cool the airframe....

 

If I knew anything about mods I'd do this in a heartbeat :(

 

edit: or do it the other way around, it ONLY cools the airframe when the engines are running. Probably an even easier way to do it, since you can tie the amount of heat that is being dumped out of the system to the thrust (and thus fuel usage) of the engine. It also wouldn't require any additional parts, just adding modifiers to the current engines (AFAIK)

Edited by PanzerAce

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54 minutes ago, PanzerAce said:

That's....an interesting idea actually. The only problem is that there would have to be a way to dump the used 'ablator' value into fuel that's being used. If KSP tracked how hot the fuel in the tanks was, this is something that could be done fairly easily I'm imagining, but since KSP DOESN'T (As far as I know), I'm not sure that the ablator is necessarily the best way to do it....Maybe something that actively chills the cockpit, but requires that X amount of fuel per unit heat is being used, and if it isn't, it basically vents the boil-off? So if you're running your engines, you don't have to worry about it, but say you're coming in for re-entry or something similar; you're still losing LF or LH2 to boiloff to cool the airframe....

 

If I knew anything about mods I'd do this in a heartbeat :(

 

edit: or do it the other way around, it ONLY cools the airframe when the engines are running. Probably an even easier way to do it, since you can tie the amount of heat that is being dumped out of the system to the thrust (and thus fuel usage) of the engine. It also wouldn't require any additional parts, just adding modifiers to the current engines (AFAIK)

This is for use in aerobraking, your nuke powered apollo is coming back from the mun, and wants to dock with the orbital lab at 600km altitude. You go tail (rocket) first into the upper atmosphere.  Rikocretes ballutes would work, but they're heavy. 

Blowing Lhyd through the expansion bell without heating it in the reactor first should cool it enough to stop exploding engine syndrome.

 

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23 hours ago, GreenWolf said:

I know Ven's stock part revamp adds a 2.5 meter nuke, Modular Rocket Systems adds a few, I think RLA stockalike has a tiny nuke (maybe?), Atomic Age (natch), and Taurus HCV. That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

RLA has a 0.625m NTR and a couple of electrothermal engines that currently run on monoprop but both could run on hydrogen. The arcjet is a bit iffy in that sense but the resistojet is functionally the same as a standard NTR with a different heat source.

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14 hours ago, Sudragon said:

This is for use in aerobraking, your nuke powered apollo is coming back from the mun, and wants to dock with the orbital lab at 600km altitude. You go tail (rocket) first into the upper atmosphere.  Rikocretes ballutes would work, but they're heavy. 

Blowing Lhyd through the expansion bell without heating it in the reactor first should cool it enough to stop exploding engine syndrome.

 

Could do this with a low-thrust/low-isp mode that can be switched to, that consumes LqdHydrogen and removes heat.

Heck, a simple mod manager patch could add that to every nuke engine.

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On 2/8/2016 at 1:06 PM, Nertea said:

Questions: What do people use for their nuclear engine mods these days? I want to make sure the hydrogen patches cover the right engines, the last time I went and looked for all the current nuke mods was a while ago. I'm also buffing the mass of most of the NTRs in LH2 mode so that they will be more attractive. I intended to do this originally, but it didn't sneak into the release. Things like LV-N going to a mass of 2.5 instead of 3. 

I've been using Porkjets Atomic Age, the Lightbulb engine especially. Novapunch has two inline (a 1.25m and a 2.5m) LF powered nuclear engines (no idea what type they're supposed to be) which I use a lot. Theres of course, your own engines in Near Future Propulsion.

I was also wondering when the LF patch would be out for these engines.

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10 hours ago, GreenWolf said:

Could do this with a low-thrust/low-isp mode that can be switched to, that consumes LqdHydrogen and removes heat.

Heck, a simple mod manager patch could add that to every nuke engine.

I'm thinking if you did it on a pure LH2 setup (which, again, i was thinking more for being used in air-breathing mode, but w/e), shouldn't it be lower thrust but *higher* ISP? Since it probably wouldn't be liquid by the time it gets to the core, it'd be even less dense, and even hotter (and thus faster)?

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May I possibly request a conventional LFO fuel switch config for those liquid hydrogen tanks? I think they'd look very nifty with one of those 3.75m orbital engines from NF Spacecraft stuck to the bottom.

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4 hours ago, PanzerAce said:

I'm thinking if you did it on a pure LH2 setup (which, again, i was thinking more for being used in air-breathing mode, but w/e), shouldn't it be lower thrust but *higher* ISP? Since it probably wouldn't be liquid by the time it gets to the core, it'd be even less dense, and even hotter (and thus faster)?

The Lhyd wouldn't be going through the core. The whole point is to cool the engine during areobraking manauvers so it can act like a heat shield. I really should see what NASA has to say about this sort of thing

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Kerbal Atomics 0.1.1 

  • Updated bundled CRP to 0.4.9.0
  • Fixed ISRU patch ratios
  • Fixed ISRU patch not affecting the mini ISRU
  • Fixed tech locations for nuclear rockets
  • Increased Neptune thrust to 67 from 62.5
  • When converted to LH2, most NTRs now benefit from a mass reduction
  • Reduced boiloff cooling cost to 0.08 Ec/1000u from 0.1 Ec/1000u
  • Added new Extras patch converting engines to LF-only. LF-only engines have reduced Isp and TWRs, comparable to those from Atomic Age and Stock

 

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Is there a patch in there that removes the boiloff? Or I guess I'll just remove it manually (and delete that simpleboiloff dll thing).

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THIS IS AWESOME!  The last time I spent serious effort on KSP I was messing around with adding ModuleFissionReactor to Atomic Age nukes...  Never got it to work well though. I've been dreaming (and wanting) to have bimodal NTRs (especially with Nertea's epic modelling skills) in KSP for a long time.  

Also, I love the boil off mechanic! I remember bringing it up in the cryogenic engines thread a long time ago and someone told me to bug off and install real fuels... I gotta disagree.  This mechanic is great. Not very difficult to overcome but it still requires planning and it gives a nice balance to the benefits of all that high-isp goodness.

The sad news: Installed a clean 1.0.5 (along with most other NFE mods) but was quite sad to see the the NFE conversion cfg is very much WIP.  I put it in (and replaced [ADummyPack] with [NearFutureElectric] but the reactor didn't work.  I don't have very intense modding chops, but I was able to get it to produce power sort of like a typical NFE reactor when I added FissionGenerator module and some variables.  However, with my pitiful understanding of working with plugins, the reactor isn't working to satisfaction.

Also, I noticed a wierd bug when I put too many radiators on a ship.  The reactor couldn't produce any heat and just stayed cool with no EC generation. 

Obviously the NFE integration is still WIP, so keep up the good work sir!  

I did want to add my two cents on development though.  From a gameplay standpoint, I've always hoped NTRs could work in some version of this:

Right click menu looks like an NFE reactor.

You tweak the power slider to get the reactor up to high temperature.  At its max operating temp the engine functions at max ISP.  Lower temps, lower ISP.

You can toggle the 'generator' through the right click menu.  The generator isn't capable of running anywhere near the temp used for firing the engine.  thus, after a burn, you power down the reactor (way way down) and once the core is at generator temp then the generator can be run at max efficiency.  

I'm sure I'll be wildly fond of whatever you end up using as a final mechanic, and after seeing a new "Radioactivity.cs" file on your Git, I'm even more excited.  Keep up the good work!

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26 minutes ago, Businfu said:

after seeing a new "Radioactivity.cs" file on your Git, I'm even more excited.

Good find! Nertea, do you have any teasers regarding what this might entail?

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2 hours ago, Businfu said:

The sad news: Installed a clean 1.0.5 (along with most other NFE mods) but was quite sad to see the the NFE conversion cfg is very much WIP.  I put it in (and replaced [ADummyPack] with [NearFutureElectric] but the reactor didn't work.  I don't have very intense modding chops, but I was able to get it to produce power sort of like a typical NFE reactor when I added FissionGenerator module and some variables.  However, with my pitiful understanding of working with plugins, the reactor isn't working to satisfaction.

 

Yeah... without the dev build of 0.6.2 that patch doesn't really do much beyond break the engine!

2 hours ago, Businfu said:

Right click menu looks like an NFE reactor.

You tweak the power slider to get the reactor up to high temperature.  At its max operating temp the engine functions at max ISP.  Lower temps, lower ISP.

You can toggle the 'generator' through the right click menu.  The generator isn't capable of running anywhere near the temp used for firing the engine.  thus, after a burn, you power down the reactor (way way down) and once the core is at generator temp then the generator can be run at max efficiency.

That's 95% of what it is, so you are probably in for a good time there!

2 hours ago, Fraz86 said:

Good find! Nertea, do you have any teasers regarding what this might entail?

Well, I have a bunch of time at work that sometimes sits idle. I thought I'd start working out an algorithmic approach to radiation handling in KSP that would be both efficient and simple. It is the last piece of the puzzle with respect to all the development I'm doing on nuclear-based systems and there's no mod to handle it. My code skills are probably good enough to deal with it now. I want to handle, in order of priority:

  • Point source radiation (from reactors, engines, engine plumes, nasty fuels)
  • Solar radiation (and attenuation of such by planetary magnetic fields)
  • Planetary radiation belts (for jool and such)
  • Global background radiation (cosmic rays)

No promises though. We'll see how far i get!

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19 minutes ago, Nertea said:

 

  • Point source radiation (from reactors, engines, engine plumes, nasty fuels)
  • Solar radiation (and attenuation of such by planetary magnetic fields)
  • Planetary radiation belts (for jool and such)
  • Global background radiation (cosmic rays)

 

Awesome news! I hope you get far.

So talking about radiation: the lab I work at applied for a NASA grant awhile back to test the healing potential of banked bone marrow stem cells (specifically mesenchymal stem cells, MSCs) in jumpstarting the healing process in tissue damaged by radiation exposure.  Bummer was we didn't win the grant.  nonetheless, worth mentioning because these cells have the capability to transfer healthy mitochondria and vesicles of enzymes/nutrients into damaged cells to help them repair and may someday help with radiation exposure/poisoning. The work at this stage is all in vitro but a theoretical treatment might look like this:

Patients (kerbonauts) have a bone marrow extraction while still on earth(kerbin).  MSCs are isolated and frozen.  Frozen MSCs can be protected from radiation much more easily than the entire crew (small volume so less shielding mass).  When the patients tissues become damaged by radiation, the banked MSCs can be used to help jump start healing.  Different administration methods can target different tissue types, but the MSCs are very good at playing the altruistic healer type no matter where they go.  Additionally they are autologous (the patients own) so there is no risk of rejection and if you start running low you can expand them in culture first to resupply up to a limited number of divisions.  

Obviously, being obsessed with KSP, I immediately wanted a radiation mechanic and some sort of sick bay where the scientists have to sit around and culture stem cells and give Jeb an injection after he goes sailing through Jool's van Allen Belt.  No time or coding chops to actually make it a reality though...

Anyways.  food for thought!

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