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eddiew

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  1. That is... bizarre, and I may actually try it out in mk3 format if I can make it look good My other thought was top-mounting a small cockpit on the fuselage where it would be out of the airstream. OTOH, I feel like I'm fixing a problem specific to this simulation of thermal spread, and maybe I'll just raise the temp threshold a couple of hundred degrees to get some leeway.
  2. Update Well it's been 2 years and a day since I posted anything in this thread. I think we can assume my previous career is dead But I have recently been noodling with KSP, if only in sandbox, and I'm particularly proud of this very-nearly-stock SSTO for JNSQ, so I feel like I want to log it here. But before I get into the flight log: I have previously landed this airframe at 100% stock. That's screenshotted somewhere on the WDYDIKSPT thread about a week prior to the date of this post. I have really had a hard time repeating that however. Every subsequent attempt, the quad adapters for the rapiers have overheated. Since there isn't really much alternative to these, I have instead added a tiny patch that ups their thermal tolerance by 400 degrees, and increases their mass by 25%. So this is not quite stock anymore; but I hope the added mass reasonably balances it out. They're only structural parts, there's not a good reason they can't be made a bit tougher. The ascent is just a little heavier, the descent is vastly safer. Stock parts are very close to being able to handle JNSQ's scale, but the margin of error is too tight in this case. I am considering also patching the cockpit itself, because it does get very, very close to its threshold on descent. I guess I'll see with other airframes. I do wonder if a radiator on the top might not also be a big help. Ascent A good, reproducible ascent under JNSQ made me throw away everything I knew about SSTOs in this game. Speed on air doesn't matter nearly as much as altitude. The rapiers are there to get us to 20km. Whether we're at 1200 or 1500m/s doesn't matter so much as our vertical velocity is as high as we can get it - ideally upwards of 150m/s by 20km. So, off the runway; stay low. Hotwings is heavy and rapiers have poor thrust when stationary. She'll unstick near the end of the runway, not before. Rear and mid flaps deployed, just coast barely gaining altitude, but picking up speed. Use deployment on the tailfin to correct any yaw problems once off the ground; we can't afford manual inputs because they're always too strong and the nose will drop. Around 400m/s, cut flaps, use forward canard deployment to begin a smooth ascent; again, no manual input. Aim the nose ~9 degrees above the horizon, which may only need 10 degrees on the canards. From here, the ascent is dead-stick. Honestly, the less those controls are touched, the happier it will be. Around 15-16km, the vertical velocity will stop increasing; add the nervas. Very soon after that, it'll stop increasing again; add the vector. Hands off that stick. If everything is going well, vertical velocity won't drop below 120m/s. If it goes below 100, we might not be going to space today. The pitch creeps up from 10, to 15, brushing 20; let it. We've got to have altitude in JNSQ. There is no point doing 2500m/s 'down' at 20km and on the level. With a payload below 6,000kg, stay hands off until about 50km, at which point gently bring the nose to prograde. We'll get about 200m/s more out of the vector. It's not critical, but it is efficient and it gives us more leeway on descent. With a payload above 6,000kg, just let the vector burn out before touching the controls. Rather than turn prograde with the nervas, we'll need to keep about a 10 degree pitch above the horizon. That's how close this ascent is to failing. Hotwings 4 can carry up to 14 tons, but it's really pushing the fuel budget and we might have to do the descent completely unpowered. It's possible, but I'm not sure I'd call it fun. The AP might start coming closer when the vector burns out, but that's ok; by 65km, Hotwings will keep the AP about a minute ahead, as long as the nervas are burning. (Oh, that's another thing about JNSQ ascent; we pretty much keep the engines on until we hit vacuum.) With this profile, a simple 5.3t relay can be lifted to a 90x90 orbit, with about 600m/s still left in the tank, with that cargo still aboard. There's enough leeway there to rendezvous with something around the 120-150km mark. Heavier cargos really don't have any orbital options however; although they will go further under their own steam. My standard 5.3t relay carries 3,800m/s and can go to Minmus, Mun, Duna, or Eve (probably an eccentric orbit at this last, but it should be an orbit). I'm not really sure how much range we could pack into the maximum 14 ton mass and fit it in that cargo bay... maybe I will try to work that out some time. Descent I wish I could say it was another hands-off experience, but it's not. The best profile I can come up with requires a high (over 30 degrees, ideally 45 degrees) AoA, which mandates manual input. Which does tend to make the nose bounce. Once we touch the controls (which we'll have to eventually), best advice is just pull back on the stick all the way down. It will wobble 30-40 degrees, but that will be fine. Anyway, descent burn; there's a handy equatorial lake to use as a landmark, west northwest of the desert airfield. Burn until we have an impact point that is about 1/3 of the way between KSC and the island airfield. If all goes well, we won't need any fuel at all to land with. Set rear and mid flaps to 30 degrees, canards to max, and deploy them all. The inner air brakes can be used; the outer ones will burn off, so keep them down (set deployment angle to zero). Go ahead and slap the atmosphere at a solid 45-50 degree AoA. By 60km, we're 20 into the atmosphere, but this aggressive AoA generates enough drag that no velocity has been gained in the descent. By 43km (probably wrestling the S key all the way), we've actually shed about 1km/s, and things are starting to get toasty. So, there isn't a big margin of error here. The cockpit will peak around 1430-1440 degrees, and is rated for 1500. Experiments were run with longer descent paths and lower AoAs, but the heat just creeps up for longer and still exceeds the threshold. Best as I can figure, this is actually the safest flight profile. It's a little tricky and needs to be flown by the numbers, but after three attempts, all three came down smoothly. Eventually by a little over 30km, we should be well under 2km/s, and starting to cool off. Cockpit temperature continues to rise even as other parts are cooling off - not really sure why that happens! But it should stay within its tolerance. Just. By 1400m/s we can pretty much fly as we like, based on our distance to KSC. Using the desert lake as a visual landmark for the descent burn, Hotwings should get to the runway without any input from the engines. Touchdown is better now that there are added wheels under the nacelles, rarely swerving or causing any explosions. On the whole, I feel like this is as good as this design can deliver - but I really need to go find out if anyone's lifting larger cargos in SSTOs, and especially if they didn't need to slightly patch some parts to do it Also, to the JNSQ team: I apologise. Please don't delete my craft file.
  3. Spent the last week stuck in JNSQ SSTO maximum load and reproducibility testing. (I.e. how much can it carry, and how to bring it home reliably.) Ok, before I get into the flight log: I have previously landed this airframe at 100% stock. That's screenshotted somewhere a few pages back. I have really had a hard time repeating that however. Every subsequent attempt, the quad adapters for the rapiers have overheated. Since there isn't really much alternative to these, I have instead added a tiny patch that ups their thermal tolerance by 400 degrees, and increases their mass by 25%. So this is not quite stock anymore; but I hope the added mass reasonably balances it out. They're only structural parts, there's not a good reason they can't be made a bit tougher. The ascent is just a little heavier, the descent is vastly safer. Stock parts are very close to being able to handle JNSQ's scale, but the margin of error is too tight in this case. I am considering also patching the cockpit itself, because it does get very, very close to its threshold on descent. I guess I'll see with other airframes. I do wonder if a radiator on the top might not also be a big help. Ascent A good, reproducible ascent under JNSQ made me throw away everything I knew about SSTOs in this game. Speed on air doesn't matter nearly as much as altitude. The rapiers are there to get us to 20km. Whether we're at 1200 or 1500m/s doesn't matter so much as our vertical velocity is as high as we can get it - ideally upwards of 150m/s by 20km. So, off the runway; stay low. Hotwings is heavy and rapiers have poor thrust when stationary. She'll unstick near the end of the runway, not before. Rear and mid flaps deployed, just coast barely gaining altitude, but picking up speed. Use deployment on the tailfin to correct any yaw problems once off the ground; we can't afford manual inputs because they're always too strong and the nose will drop. Around 400m/s, cut flaps, use forward canard deployment to begin a smooth ascent; again, no manual input. Aim the nose ~9 degrees above the horizon, which may only need 10 degrees on the canards. From here, the ascent is dead-stick. Honestly, the less those controls are touched, the happier it will be. Around 15-16km, the vertical velocity will stop increasing; add the nervas. Very soon after that, it'll stop increasing again; add the vector. Hands off that stick. If everything is going well, vertical velocity won't drop below 120m/s. If it goes below 100, we might not be going to space today. The pitch creeps up from 10, to 15, brushing 20; let it. We've got to have altitude in JNSQ. There is no point doing 2500m/s 'down' at 20km and on the level. With a payload below 6,000kg, stay hands off until about 50km, at which point gently bring the nose to prograde. We'll get about 200m/s more out of the vector. It's not critical, but it is efficient and it gives us more leeway on descent. With a payload above 6,000kg, just let the vector burn out before touching the controls. Rather than turn prograde with the nervas, we'll need to keep about a 10 degree pitch above the horizon. That's how close this ascent is to failing. Hotwings 4 can carry up to 14 tons, but it's really pushing the fuel budget and we might have to do the descent completely unpowered. It's possible, but I'm not sure I'd call it fun. The AP might start coming closer when the vector burns out, but that's ok; by 65km, Hotwings will keep the AP about a minute ahead, as long as the nervas are burning. (Oh, that's another thing about JNSQ ascent; we pretty much keep the engines on until we hit vacuum.) With this profile, a simple 5.3t relay can be lifted to a 90x90 orbit, with about 600m/s still left in the tank, with that cargo still aboard. There's enough leeway there to rendezvous with something around the 120-150km mark. Heavier cargos really don't have any orbital options however; although they will go further under their own steam. My standard 5.3t relay carries 3,800m/s and can go to Minmus, Mun, Duna, or Eve (probably an eccentric orbit at this last, but it should be an orbit). I'm not really sure how much range we could pack into the maximum 14 ton mass and fit it in that cargo bay... maybe I will try to work that out some time. Descent I wish I could say it was another hands-off experience, but it's not. The best profile I can come up with requires a high (over 30 degrees, ideally 45 degrees) AoA, which mandates manual input. Which does tend to make the nose bounce. Once we touch the controls (which we'll have to eventually), best advice is just pull back on the stick all the way down. It will wobble 30-40 degrees, but that will be fine. Anyway, descent burn; there's a handy equatorial lake to use as a landmark, west northwest of the desert airfield. Burn until we have an impact point that is about 1/3 of the way between KSC and the island airfield. If all goes well, we won't need any fuel at all to land with. Set rear and mid flaps to 30 degrees, canards to max, and deploy them all. The inner air brakes can be used; the outer ones will burn off, so keep them down (set deployment angle to zero). Go ahead and slap the atmosphere at a solid 45-50 degree AoA. By 60km, we're 20 into the atmosphere, but this aggressive AoA generates enough drag that no velocity has been gained in the descent. By 43km (probably wrestling the S key all the way), we've actually shed about 1km/s, and things are starting to get toasty. So, there isn't a big margin of error here. The cockpit will peak around 1430-1440 degrees, and is rated for 1500. Experiments were run with longer descent paths and lower AoAs, but the heat just creeps up for longer and still exceeds the threshold. Best as I can figure, this is actually the safest flight profile. It's a little tricky and needs to be flown by the numbers, but after three attempts, all three came down smoothly. Eventually by a little over 30km, we should be well under 2km/s, and starting to cool off. Cockpit temperature continues to rise even as other parts are cooling off - not really sure why that happens! But it should stay within its tolerance. Just. By 1400m/s we can pretty much fly as we like, based on our distance to KSC. Using the desert lake as a visual landmark for the descent burn, Hotwings should get to the runway without any input from the engines. Touchdown is better now that there are added wheels under the nacelles, rarely swerving or causing any explosions. On the whole, I feel like this is as good as this design can deliver - but I really need to go find out if anyone's lifting larger cargos in SSTOs, and especially if they didn't need to slightly patch some parts to do it Also, to the JNSQ team: I apologise. Please don't delete my craft file.
  4. It's an interesting idea, but I don't really want to have to calibrate for every descent possibly bouncing and needing to loop back. That's more fuel than I want to try to carry with JNSQ. Margins are already kind of tight... (Although I'm pretty sure my mk3 design could climb to orbit, land, and go to space again on stock Kerbin.) For my own purposes, I have made a little patch that raises the mk1 cockpit's maxTemp to match the mk3, and the skinMaxTemp to a bit less than the mk3, and add 10% mass by way of paying for it. It is 'enough', but doesn't particularly let you take any liberties. Realising that the inline cockpit is lighter than the pointy one, I swapped it in on my mk1 design and gave it a shot. It is... a bit of an unnerving descent, some thermals get within a hundred degrees of failure, but it does survive the drop. Again, a very high 30-40 degree AoA seems to do the trick with spreading out the heat and preventing the shock intakes from melting. Unfortunately this one does need some jockeying at higher altitudes, since it doesn't have any reaction wheels and doesn't like holding that inclination without manual input. Somewhere around 2400m/s it settles out and can be allowed to drop to a more sedate 25-30 degrees, which it will hold on its own. The mk1 seems a lot draggier for it's weight than the mk3, and this descent fell short of target and needed a bit of flight time to get back to KSC. Fortunately it can be nudged with the rapier at 17-20km up and get a lot of mileage out of the 10% (160 units) of fuel that remained. This is of course, not a useful spaceplane. It doesn't carry any cargo, doesn't have a docking port, and doesn't have enough spare fuel to pipe into anything else. But it is a proof of concept, working spaceplane (not actually an SSTO) for JNSQ with only a very slight thermal tweak, and I'm basically ok with it if the little ones don't work so well at this planetary scale. That my mk3 design flies to space and back (shown a few posts ago) is a massive surprise to me, and I'm happy with that
  5. Figured I'd give my Hotwings 4-ST SSTO for JNSQ a try at 100% re-entry heating to see what explodes and needs patching. All parts in use are currently set to stock thermal tolerance. The rapiers are accidentally 10% heavier because I forgot to comment that out when resetting their thermals, so that added about 1.6 tons to the overall mass, but that's only about 1% of launch weight so no biggie. Same old flight profile on the ascent. With flaps deployed, Hotwings 4-ST will unstick before the end of the runway. Fly flattish up to ~250m/s, at which point drop the flaps and begin a gentle 5-10 degree climb to 6km. At this point the rapiers are hitting their power band and push transonic. Don't worry too much about maxing out on rapiers, 200m/s here or there disappears into the overall delta-v requirements under JNSQ and this vessel usually hits LKO with 700m/s spare. Kick the nervas and vector engines around 18-20km. By this point the nose has probably risen to about 10 degrees above the horizon; let it continue to rise during the rocket burn and by the time the oxidiser runs out the AP should be past 60km and even the tiny LV-N thrust is adequate to go the rest of the way. Altitude is important for both thermals and drag reasons, the nervas can't fight the atmosphere at 40km. (And yes I do tend to fine control vessel pitch by adjusting the deployment on the canards; it leads to a lot less jumpy behaviour and doesn't get into the control wobble state where you have to wrestle the stick all the way up. Most of the ascent is hands off.) Deploys a relay satellite in LKO as usual before preparing for a descent approximately 90 degrees around the planet from KSC, setting a point of impact somewhat west of the runway. (I find these much easier to judge than long shallow glides.) Roughly the same 30 degree AoA as the actual space shuttle feels good. All flaps deployed and a pair of 2.5m SAS units seem capable of holding it as long as you don't manually fiddle the controls. (Seriously don't fiddle the controls. I'm never sure whether this is an oddity of KSP or something I don't understand about aerodynamics, but if you touch that pitch, it's going to drop the nose real hard and you'll be jockeying it the rest of the way down. Leave it alone and it's fine.) Anyway, let's see where the hot spots are. The quad couplers are currently the scariest red, with some deep orange thermals across other components. Ok, so maybe the previous rapier patch would be good, and a similar touch for the cockpit might be nice. Wait a moment... What do you mean it's cooling down and nothing blew up yet? Ok, so it does get very, very close to the quad couplers' thermal limits; I guess they're a bit blunt and they stick out into the airstream under the vessel, so they're taking a beating - but they just barely held together. I might patch them just a bit more mass+tolerance, because that wouldn't feel deeply cheaty to me. You can't tell me those are solid blocks of steel and couldn't be made a bit sturdier. I did whiff the landing a little, but it's on the runway with all crew present and that's good enough. I'm sure we can get back to using the KSC just as soon as the radiation from the exploded nerva clears up. (Side note; I might put some landing gear under the nacelles to prevent this happening. Not sure if it's wing flex or that I'm misjudging how close the rapiers are getting to the tarmac, but it's happened a lot with this airframe.) But anyway, er... stock mk3 SSTO for JNSQ. An accidental success story.
  6. Noodling around, wondering exactly how much work is involved in making patch files for MK1, 2 and 3 parts such that a stock spaceplane can survive ascent and re-entry in JNSQ without heating changes. Started with mk1; the cockpit is the biggie. 2000 skin temp and 1500 (core?) temp limits are just too low for handling mach 12 in any kind of atmosphere. After a little experimentation, bumped those up to 2400 (less than stock mk3) and 1700 (200 more than stock mk3). I thought I was also increasing the skin temps of the mk1 LF tank and rapier... but they don't actually seem to have skin temps by default. Since their max (core?) temp is 2000, this seems completely fine. I'll remove my configured skin temps (2400) and test again. Max temps on landing gear raised from 2700 to 2900 - though I'm not sure this was necessary. The dry masses of these parts have been increased by 10%, which hasn't helped an SSTO who's delta-v was already struggling, but it is possible to get my previously-posted Hotwings airframe to orbit with about 380m/s remaining. The flight profile changes a bit; stays low off the runway, builds speed to about 200m/s, aims at 5 degrees and basically holds it all the way. The under-wing shrimp SRBs kick in about 20km, shortly followed by the nervas. Kicking off the shrimps, TWR drops to about 0.8, which results in a slight altitude dip around 40km, but eventually the forward velocity starts to carry the ground away faster than Hotwings is falling, and eventually it ends up orbital within the atmosphere. It does get hot, but with the new settings, nothing explodes. For re-entry, it goes with a solid 30-40 degree AoA, which seems to de-focus the heat from the cockpit and allows it to dump speed really quickly, such that by 30km it's well within its thermal comfort zone. I got the landing coords horribly wrong, but that's another issue and I don't need to address it right now. But now I'm pondering just how close the stock mk3 I built is to handling the heating of JNSQ... it might only be a couple of hundred degrees short. One to experiment with
  7. SAS is on Though to be fair, turn it off and you might settle into a stable all-feet configuration that feels better to the eye.
  8. Early experiment with adding ablator (and thermal tolerance) to a mk1 cockpit and flying to orbit with JNSQ at 100% re-entry heating. Even Jeb seems a little concerned at the kinks that haven't been ironed out of this one. Maybe he has reservations about sending a pair of nuclear engines into an uncontrolled descent back to Kerbin. (Honestly, I suspect I'll end up adding thermal limits and ablator to so many parts it's probably not worth the effort, and I should just keep the heating setting dialled down. But it's been a fun experiment, and I learned a whole new flight profile where this spaceplane doesn't even hit the SRBs until supersonic at 10km. Now it uses them to get as much vertical velocity as possible once the rapier maxes out, rather than to get off the runway. I didn't know it could get off the runway without the SRBs!)
  9. There is now a setting for same vessel interaction... I have yet to try it.
  10. Oh dear, now I feel compelled to create a station with a very long robotic arm that can Klaw any vessel within 50 metres... but that might have to wait until I actually kick off a proper game instead of just noodle around in sandbox. Mostly I was thinking to have a big ore station in LKO, and a small blacksmith 'pod' that would float around in orbit and glomp on to any vessel that needs the attention Although especially using modded engines, I'm sure it's possible to build a useful SSTO that also carries a docking port and has balanced RCS. Oh hey, I remember spirographs...
  11. Interesting... I might give this a go. I was pondering whether to make some thermal tolerance patches using OPT's parts as my guideline, but the idea of an expendable heat coating feels quite good. Although that does mean the SSTO needs to be rendezvous/docking capable... or that the ablator factory needs to have a Klaw and be able to come to them. Which might be the best answer. Probably need about 1000 units of ablator on those frikking air brakes though
  12. Literally the day I needed it, thank you! I was wondering how to survive my new game without a porkchop plot
  13. I could try burning out all my remaining fuel, would take orbital speed down to about 3050m/s. Might be survivable - although the drop is going to be much harder, of course.
  14. If you want to try doing that, feel free My gut feeling is that you'd have to be almost skimming the atmosphere when you drop the probe, and have it decelerate really hard so's to be in the clouds very quickly. You'd also likely end up doing this either at the daylight terminator, or into the night side, because you're coming from close to the sun and would reach Joolian periapsis around the back of it. This means you have no control, because Kerbin has got to be on the sunward side. Although I guess the Galileo probe had no concept of remote control, so it might well have just dumped all it's data to the orbiter for later transmission.
  15. This is one of the biggest gotchas. My personal strat is to drop the atmo probe off in low (polar) orbit, then boost up the AP of the relay on the Kerbin-facing side of the planet. This way you just wait for a time when both vessels are coming from round the back of the planet and start the descent. Should have plenty of time with the comms relay accessible. Bit harder for Jool due to it's scale and the fuel cost of changing your orbit. You may wish to establish the relay in high orbit as a separate vessel entirely.
  16. You are quite possibly right for reality; but I'm not sure KSP does this. It isn't the most realistic of atmospheric sims. I remember the days of drag cubes and how it didn't really matter whether you put a nose cone on your rockets But if you're looking for the most realistic behaviours, you might want to try FAR: Side note; I think your SSTO is unstable because it seems to be quite short and wide. Your trailing control surfaces don't have a lot of leverage distance from the CoM, and likely don't give you very much assistance. Adding canards at the front feels like brute forcing the aerodynamics with control authority. Which often works
  17. I... I feel relevant for the first time in years... Full log available at Anyway, all you need is radial symmetry. Go for maybe 12+, flip your fuselage/fuel tank sideways, and drag it out away from the central point. You might need Editor Extensions Redux to make this happen. I used to use the UbioZur Welding mod to reduce part count and physics calcs, but I'm not sure it's still available. I may have done a few variants of rings in the past... you don't really need parts mods, you just need unlimited offset in the VAB and lots of patience. Some big launcher options do help however, because a ring is not, not, not aerodynamic --- Re artifical gravity in a spinning ring... I mean, KSP does have a physics model that will technically work with that. But if you don't build yourself something with a navigable inside, there is nothing with a navigable inside, so you can't tell whether or not there is centrifugally-induced 'gravity'. You can make a ring out of crew cabins where "down" is always outwards, for sure, and I think Stockalike Station Parts has some of those ready made that might be a starting point for you.
  18. IIRC, thermals get distributed in KSP; the canards may be dumping their heat into the cockpit. Logically they also have a very high surface area to volume ratio and should be able to radiate more efficiently than a cylinder/cone. And I guess they present a relatively small profile to the airstream, especially if you're coming in prograde. The cockpit has a 1.25m radius, no matter how streamlined it is. The canard is a knife edge.
  19. This was not an easy thing to make! JNSQ is hard on SSTOs; it's very hard on stock SSTOs. This is the fanciest one I've managed to build in many hours, and it only lifts a 2 ton cargo, and it only survives the trip because I reduced the re-entry heating setting to a suspiciously magical 42%. That said... the Hotwings 4ST gets to orbit. It even gets to orbit with some spare fuel. I suspect it can probably lift 4-5 tons because that would only be a small fraction of the vessel weight, but I'll have to test that. It definitely does not survive the descent at 100% heating, even with the most conservative "periapsis at 35km above KSC" flight profile. It just can't slow down enough without active braking (although I am now suddenly considering retro-rockets in the nacelles - but it would then need a bigger fuel budget to make use of them). I am basically ready to throw in the towel on that because stock parts were just not designed to hit an atmosphere at 4km/s. You can't hit Kerbin's atmosphere in stock at that speed either; not without a heat shield or modded parts. And that's fine, I will just consider this the tweak necessary to get the gravitational challenge of JNSQ without also having to find more thermally tolerant parts The ascent follows my standard "point at 10 degrees" profile. There's no real need to wring every last m/s out of the rapiers, and it's very questionable whether doing so even saves fuel. It seems better to keep vertical velocity above 100m/s than it is to push for horizontal; and realistically, +/-200m/s at 20km is only 5% of orbital velocity anyway. Altitude is preferable. Aim for ~1400m/s at 15km, then kick in the nervas, followed by the vector around 20km. While the oxidiser holds, TWR will be above 1, and should get a 50km apoapsis or better at ~3200m/s. The nervas are capable of adding the last 600 to break atmosphere, but it does feel very tight, with vertical velocity nearing zero even under thrust. Not particularly visible; the Hotwings 4ST has a lot of vertical as well as lateral symmetry. There are two nervas under the wings, and the small tail fins exist on both dorsal and ventral sides. I found this helped with avoiding roll coupling while trying to yaw. It's basically only the landing gear and aerobrakes that are on just the top or bottom. There is a very slight dihedral slant on the wing tips which just helps a little bit to prevent unwanted roll on the ascent. On the way down, it handles just fine. I brought this one down on a shallow ascent just to see how it went, and it did leave me much closer to KSC than previous harder drops have done, with more control over exactly where I wanted to come down. But I may try a bigger cargo and a steeper descent later, just for curiosity. I would like to know why our space shuttle comes in at 30 degrees AoA, and all kerbal craft seem to be closer to 5-10. Atmospheric handling is pretty good on low fuel. At takeoff, yaw and roll and made a bit precarious because of the heavy fuel in the nacelles, so those are set to drain first. With the wings dry, she basically floats. The CoM moves about half a metre between empty and dry, and is far enough back that it doesn't flip unless hamfisted into it, and you can give the KSC a good buzzing if you desire. The main-wing elevons are just flaps to provide more lift on take off, and are locked flat once in flight so's they stay out of the way of the nerva exhaust. The clearance is tight, but it works.
  20. Went to space in a stock mk3 SSTO with JNSQ. No modded parts. Not even Tweakscale. (Disclaimer: I reduced re-entry heating. I'm not sure this would survive the ascent at 100% thermals. Heat is more your enemy than gravity in JNSQ.) Hotwings 4 ST has 750m/s left in orbit, while the comms satellite has a further 2k - enough to take it to a local moon. Refinement pass and full write up tomorrow. It doesn't have any aerobrakes and I haven't tested stability with no fuel, but it is now 1am. Took so many tries to get this bird to orbit at ~2.4x scale
  21. Oh, well then maybe have a trawl through the "What have you done in KSP today?" megathread. There's literally years worth of ideas for station/base building, mining rigs, Mun-capable SSTOs, and the like Ahh, gotcha. Then that is a fear to be rid of - by practising. Send a probe to Duna, learn to park in orbit, how to land, and maybe have a little science capsule that you fire off and bring back to Kerbin. If it fails, if you fly off into deep space, if you crash on the surface; no matter. It was only a probe. They're there to learn with Also, never be afraid to install some mods! Transfer Window Planner, Kerbal Alarm Clock, and Kerbal Engineer Redux are very, very powerful for getting you to the right place. If you can read a delta-v map, build a vessel that works, and know the launch window, you can build interplanetary manoeuvre nodes by hand. Mostly it's just about knowing whether now is a good time, or you need to fast forward 6 months.
  22. This took a while to work out... Now knowing that Thor Tech adjusts aerospikes to be more efficient, I got rid of that particular patch and instead tried to build a viable spaceplane using JNSQ's supplied/approved Javelin engines. Went through... about 6 versions that didn't go to space, ranging between 4-5 Javelins and 4-8 nervas. Eventually found success with even moar tweakscale. Upping the LV-Ns to 1.875m turned out to be the happy place. The wings are also something like 140%, giving them more lift and fuel capacity. Hotwings 3JS dusts off around 130m/s, and the oversized rapiers again deliver a good heavy kick on the way up, ignoring the mach barrier completely and passing 10km well above mach 3. Adding the nervas around 12km allows the Javelins to kick in past 20, swooshing the whole thing up to about 2800m/s at 40km. It is... a tight ascent. The vertical velocity very nearly falls to zero around 50km, but Hotwings just barely gets through it as the periapsis stops being so very negative and the long, long ascent resumes. It takes blooming ages to get this thing to space; but it does reliably get there. Pointing to around 10 degrees all the way works well, although nosing down once atmospherically-orbital is advised. The biggest issue on descent is overshoot; it is hard to get this low-drag, heavy thing to come down from mach 12, and I think I ended up setting the impact point several hundred kilometres west of KSC - and even then, a hard dive was needed at the end. Fortunately you can get away with all kinds of nonsense at 3km in stock atmo As usual, descent exclusively works with reduced re-entry heating. In fact I suspect it won't survive the ascent either, at full thermals. Respectfully, I don't care I wasn't very pleased with re-entry heating when it was first added to stock way back when, and I still don't feel like it adds anything to (my personal) gameplay. I know it's realism, but I honestly prefer just being able to drop a brick back to Kerbin and have it survive. Side note: I did also try using a 2.5m scaled version of the unbuffed aerospike; it still flies, but the margins are the narrowest of all three builds. Still, it does look quite pretty with a big ol' bee stinger on the back!
  23. Honestly, if you have to ask this question, you might not be very into this game Which isn't gatekeeping; honestly, if you want to go to other planets, go to other planets, I've spent thousands of hours doing so. The joy for me is in building, refining, mission planning and eventual execution with maximum efficiency. But if you found nothing fun about going to Mun (including the design and building phase), be aware that that's basically the rest of the game, just with different colours and some atmospheres. Couple of places you can send a plane, most you can't.
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