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Katve

How to design rocket to mun flight?

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Hi everybody!

I have been trying for couple of days to build launcher to my mun ship. I have Apollo inspired design. I have launched couple of different combinations. Below you see best attempt I can get and now I want some suggestions to design mun rocket that will actually go to mun. These flights have never exited atmosphere. I have already flown unmanned probe and unmanned rover to Mun so transfer burn will not be problem, only design.

KLermWF.jpg

Craft file if screenshot doesn't tell enough, 0.20 all stock

http://www./download/4b2zf8vrrozq1uh/Eagle_1.craft

Edited by Katve

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A suggestion; less is more. I can get to the moon with just 10 FL-T800 tanks. (Not counting the lander itself.)

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It starts with knowing how much delta-V (change in velocity) is required for each phase of the mission. For an apollo-style mission, I design the lander first, followed by the CSM and the stages to get it to orbit and to the mun.

Here is a link to a very recent apollo-esque design of mine: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/showthread.php/31222-0-20-Kerpollo-Mini

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Don't go too tall perhaps? Distribute the weight from the internal tank to the external tanks.

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Here are some things to improve:

  • Replace the Mainsail on your orbital stage with some side-mounted LV-Ns, the difference in ÃŽâ€V (available change in velocity) should be quite amazing.
  • The amount fuel is absolutely overkill, a good pilot using efficient engines can land on the mun from orbit and return to Kerbin with maybe 1000 units of fuel (just a guessed number, haven't done any actual testing).
  • Try putting everything on more symmetrical, having wings off-center doesn't really help.
  • The RCS of each stage should be top/middle/bottom not middle/middle/middle.
  • Really only a cosmetical thing, but turn symmetry off when placing ladders. :P
  • Also replace the lander's egine with two side-mounted LV-Ns, some people say that this isn't very efficient, but I seem to get way more ÃŽâ€V when doing it that way.
  • Edit: Use the AV-R8 winglets, the Delta-Deluxe winglets don't give you as much control (but more lift for compensation).

Hope this helped a bit.

Edited by Ben Kerman

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if you're using Kerbal Engineer, you should aim for a total delta-v in the 7100-7500 m/s range.

less than that if you feel like taking a risk :)

for example, here's a 3-seat rocket that can go to the Mun and back no problemo:

o8CxlZG.png

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You need 4 basic steps:

1-Reach orbit

For this phase, you need POWER. Use mainsail with the big engine to power them. Add them side-mounted to a center mainsail with aspargus staging, and fire all engines at the same time (the side-mounted and the center mainsail.

2-Transfer burn to Mun

Here you need efficiency. So you want to use nuke engines. They are slow but drink little fuel.

3-Mun landing

Once in a Mun encounter, you need to slow down. Nuke engines are generally enough from a kerbin transfer, depending on your lander you will need 3 or 4 just to be safe. Achieve a Mun orbit, and decide where to land. Burn down all the velocity you can with the nuke engines while landing as hey will surelly lift the lander without problem so you could be safe to land with them.

Once they are out, decouple and use your lander to land.

4-Return

Once you are bored of the munar surface, return to kerbin involves little fuel, just burn retrograde to how the Mun moves and lower your periapsis till you get aerobreak.

Tips.

More fuel does not mean getting higher, dont make a ship that big nor a central stage so long.

My landers are usually like this one:

OsoQP60l.png

Its easier to land an enough fuel in case something goes wrong to land safely and return to kerbin. Make your lander with side-mounted engines.

Do you want mi .craft file to get to the moon with ease?

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Two things that come to mind when I look at your ship:

1) The transfer/command module part looks a bit big and you're using a rockomax diameter engine (so either a poodle, skipper or mainsail).

2) Liquid fuel boosters are rather small in comparison to the payload. Also no SRBs.

So basically you can either make the payload smaller or the first stages bigger, the former is a bit trickier while the latter is fairly simple (also I figure you are more interested in that). For one I think you could cut the rockomax-16 tank and just leave the rockomax-32 on the command module stage. If you're using a mainsail (I don't think you are) swap it for a poodle or skipper. You don't need a lot of thrust on the transfer stage, although granted nobody likes sitting 6 minutes doing a transfer burn (like I did recently with my single NERVA setup). Either way the mainsail is rather heavy and mostly dead weight for a transfer stage, it's ISP is also meh (but it's good for the heavy lifter that it is if you need thrust).

Either way I split up my tips into two sections for both shedding mass and making a better carrier rocket.

Shedding mass on the payload:

The lander, now I'm unsure what I see there (don't have KSP on this PC to check the .craft). Is that a rockomax-32 tank or a hitchhiker storage pod+rockomax-16 below (well above since it's upside down) the lander can? A rockomax-32 tank would probably be overkill, to get a 2-man lander can into munar orbit for a return rendezvous (20 km altitude is what I use) from the surface you need less than two FL-T200 tanks worth of fuel (or just one FL-T400) and a single LV-909 engine.

The problem though is landing there in the first place, but a rockomax-16 tank and a poodle should be enough for that. Still you want to get back and minimize mass you're taking back into LMO to rendezvous with the command module. You can do what apollo did and have the rockomax-16+poodle as a descent stage and a single or double lv-909 attached to the minimum amount of fuel for the return/ascent stage. Or you can experiment with external detachable fuel tanks. Landing on the Mun is far harder than getting back from its surface when it comes to fuel.

As for the command module if it has a mainsail swap it like I mentioned. If not you can experiment with the LV-N as its efficiency greatly reduces the fuel you need for a transfer burn but you don't need to if you don't want to. Also you would probably need two LV-N atomic engines to have decent transfer burn time, possibly more (if you dislike long burns). Side-mounting them is recommended as bi/tricouplers+fairings have a few issues (inner fairings crash into your engines) with the stack decoupler attached to the bottom of the fuel tank they're feeding from.

Carrier rocket

Double orange rockomax-64 jumbo+mainsail is the way to go for liquid stages for those very heavy payloads. If they're still too heavy to lift that (having less than 1.0 TWR for 5-10 seconds while avoiding overheating is usually worth it, but longer is questionable). Do proper asparagus staging. You have 4 liquid fuel boosters all connected to the central rocket (unless I'm blind and can't see how it really is), you should split them into 2 pairs for decoupling while retaining symmetry (you just need to drag individual decouplers into new stages so it doesn't matter you placed them in 4-fold symmetry and they got grouped automatically). Then connect the first pair to get jettisoned to the pair that goes second and the second pair to the main stage. So you stage and drop 2-2-1 and not 4-1. It's more efficient but you lose on some thrust (which is usually irrelevant but may cause problems if you're really on the edge of 1.0 TWR).

SRBs are your friends, strap as many as you can to the sides of your 4 outer liquid stages, symmetrically of course. Naturally have them all fire alongside your other lifting engines at launch, just throttle the thrust so you don't burn too much or accelerate too fast in the thicker lower parts of the atmosphere. I recommend putting a strut on the top of every SRB and attach it to the tank they're mounted on so that they're stable (assuming the rest of your rocket isn't too wobbly).

If that's still not enough then add more rocket (also struts, space tape is very important). For my biggest payloads I launched them with 8 double jumbo+mainsail side-rockets (with SRBs) around the main one. All staging in pairs for maximum efficiency.

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You need 4 basic steps:

1-Reach orbit

For this phase, you need POWER. Use mainsail with the big engine to power them. Add them side-mounted to a center mainsail with aspargus staging, and fire all engines at the same time (the side-mounted and the center mainsail.

2-Transfer burn to Mun

Here you need efficiency. So you want to use nuke engines. They are slow but drink little fuel.

3-Mun landing

Once in a Mun encounter, you need to slow down. Nuke engines are generally enough from a kerbin transfer, depending on your lander you will need 3 or 4 just to be safe. Achieve a Mun orbit, and decide where to land. Burn down all the velocity you can with the nuke engines while landing as hey will surelly lift the lander without problem so you could be safe to land with them.

Once they are out, decouple and use your lander to land.

4-Return

Once you are bored of the munar surface, return to kerbin involves little fuel, just burn retrograde to how the Mun moves and lower your periapsis till you get aerobreak.

Tips.

More fuel does not mean getting higher, dont make a ship that big nor a central stage so long.

My landers are usually like this one:

OsoQP60l.png

Its easier to land an enough fuel in case something goes wrong to land safely and return to kerbin. Make your lander with side-mounted engines.

Do you want mi .craft file to get to the moon with ease?

For a 1 kerbal Mun lander, that is severe overkill.

Also, reaching orbit is not all about power; It's mostly about efficiency. Learn to fly an efficient flight path for your rocket.

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There's a nice Apollo 11 tutorial on the wiki. The first two stages are a bit hairy but if you can light the third stage it works pretty well. That's of course assuming you're going for an Apollo-style mission; if not, what you have is overkill.

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I've made this for you, it has ~8100dV, so it will be easy to manage, the only thing that change with the real Saturn V is that the lander is up when it should be down... :P

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n76kvzfws2bvu8f/Katve-Apollo.craft

Thank you! Used this to get my mun landing.

3Ias6Um.jpg

About my own design:

Will design my own rocket to next landing so thanks for tips to everybody! Also changed my design little bit, but still some tinkering needed to get it to mun orbit. I used many of your ideas and it surely improved performance, but I couldn't resist downloading craft posted for me specially so next Mun landing will be first one with my rocket. I changed booster rockets to little ones and added some SRB, but 1st stage fuel ended before orbit and nuclears doesn't have trust to make orbit before dropping to atmosphere. I have not much ideas to improve it but will probably figure out something. I will post results there after I get it working. I still feel like cheating when landed to mun with rocket not designed by my own, but nevermind!

Thread can be moved to "Answered" but don't know how to do it by myself. (Do I even have permission? )

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You don't have to feel like a "cheater", you can use that design to see where your previously design was wrong :)

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There are many situations where we learn best by examining the work of others. Their example can serve as a model we use to move past those fledgling first steps and gain the necessary experience to start making our own designs. Learning is not cheating. In other words, why reinvent the wheel booster? :)

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Thanks for heads up! I will probably use same kind of design for future launches and when mun colony program starts and when going to minimus and stuff. I have already build space station to Kerbin orbit, but now I can also do landing to other world and do interplanetary/moon burns.

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Thread can be moved to "Answered" but don't know how to do it by myself. (Do I even have permission? )

Just to answer this bit. Edit your original post and select "Go Advanced". There will be a drop-down at the top that will let you change the label.

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