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Thread: From the launchpad to the Mun in 13 seconds

  1. #1

    From the launchpad to the Mun in 13 seconds

    Over in the challenges thread, I discovered that if you make a really light ship, and attach 700 decouplers, they propel it pretty high.





    It works because decouplers exert a fixed amount of force, which, when multiplied by 700 decouplers and applied to just one capsule and a bunch of virtually weightless struts, makes you go very, very fast.

    There are some problems with the approach: Firstly, 700 decouplers takes around half an hour to load, and you need every one of those decouplers to get your speed. That's because you have to use the heavy manned capsule: you're going to lose 95% of your speed to low-altitude drag, so the low-drag capsule is a necessity over the much lighter probe core. You also can't attach anything to it: it turns out that once you get into the neighborhood of thousand-G impulses, things start to tear off. While attempting to solve these problems, I ended up creating the vessel I dubbed Plaid.





    Plaid is a mere 300 parts, loading in seconds. It's basically a line of struts with decouplers stuck on the bottom, and a detatchable probe core. The RCS block is instantly annihilated by the acceleration, but it looks pretty at launch.

    Now, I'm sure you're eager to get to the whole 'Mun in 13 seconds' thing I mentioned in the title. This is what happens when you "launch" Plaid.





    The game's readouts have a bit of trouble catching up to the absurd speeds generated, but take a look at the numbers in that second screenshot. Plaid is leaving Kerbin at nearly a million meters per second. This is possible because Plaid is built with a strut as its core piece: the probe core is left behind on the ground, meaning all of the decoupler force transfers into those virtually weightless struts, accelerating them to completely insane speeds.

    But Plaid isn't just shooting off into space.





    Plaid has a destination.



    It's going there very, very fast.







    So there you have it. A 300 part craft can accelerate to over one million meters per second, and reach the Mun before someone five kilometers from the launchpad hears it leave.

    I've created two albums, one showing Plaid's journey, and one showing the construction. The basic principle can be scaled up as far as your computer can handle. Exceeding the speed of light is left as an exercise for the reader.

    UPDATE: Youtube user Stun_gravy has used decouplers and ladder physics to launch Kerbals. To Duna. In just 35 minutes. AWESOME!
    Last edited by Ninety-Three; 23rd October 2013 at 10:29.

  2. #2
    Jaw
    : ()
    On the floor.
    : (__________)

    Abusing the physics at its finest.
    Quote Originally Posted by pizzaoverhead View Post
    Theory should be identical to practice, in theory...

  3. #3
    ... You sir, deserve a medal. And from the looks of it... What happened to the Mun after impact? Did it just... Vanish?
    Last edited by Specula; 12th July 2013 at 00:45.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Specula View Post
    What happened to the Mun after impact? Did it just... Vanish?
    I impacted at speeds a little higher than KSP was meant for, causing me to end up buried 6 km down in the Munar soil.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninety-Three View Post
    I impacted at speeds a little higher than KSP was meant for, causing me to end up buried 6 km down in the Munar soil.
    LOL.

    Any chance of getting the craft file to play with?

  6. #6
    Alpha Torotot Omega Robot Flixxbeatz's Avatar
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  7. #7
    The album I link in my first post shows how to construct this type of ship, but if you want the exact one I buried in the Mun, here you go.

  8. #8
    wonder why you're using those blue stack decouplers. Aren't they heavier for the same power as compared to the regular ones?

  9. #9
    Space Nut(ter) Tw1's Avatar
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    That's awesome! I wonder if you played about a bit, you could launch just enough weight with it to impact the Mun with reasonable speed, and carry enough fuel to land a tiny probe.

    Until then, this is the most kerbal launch vehicle ever.
    "After boosters, struts and parachutes are a Kerbal's best friend." -Concluded by Bill Kerman after mediating an argument between Bob and Jeb.


  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jwenting View Post
    wonder why you're using those blue stack decouplers. Aren't they heavier for the same power as compared to the regular ones?
    They are, but that's irrelevant. When they decouple, they separate themselves from the ship, which stops their mass from counting. Those decouplers have the highest force available, and with weight out of the question, the only thing that matters is how CPU intensive the part is. Generally the best way to go about that is a low part count, so we use the blue ones.

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