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Fearless Son

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About Fearless Son

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    Spacecraft Engineer

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    Seattle, WA

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  1. Forgive me, but I thought only Thermal Control Systems (the radiators that deploy by unfolding) cool any part of the ship? I thought that fixed radiators only cool the part their directly attached to. Or has that changed in the last couple years?
  2. It's a visual oddity of the game, but if you really need to land in a place and there's a reasonable chance it'll be dark where you touchdown, put landing lights on your lander. At least two lights in parallel around the bottom of your lander. I find they're also helpful for seeing how close you are to the ground, since due to the square-cube nature of their projection the breadth of illumination will narrow.
  3. "I have people coming in here every other week to propose using giant rockets to put tiny probes into orbit, and here you are telling me you plan to put an entire goddamn spaceship up there?" "We're using nuclear bombs, sir. We can put something roughly the mass of downtown Chicago into orbit." - Apocryphal conversation attributed to engineers of Project Orion in a meeting with a United States Air Force admiral.
  4. Oh Kod, I can hear this image...
  5. I actually love those kinds of missions. I'll sometimes wait until I have a bunch of contracts that I can do in a single mission, then run through them all at once. Doing any one of the contracts is a simple enough engineering challenge, but trying to do all of them and figuring out how to do so cost-effectively is a lot of fun.
  6. I'm betting Kerbal's would need a "Laythe-lung" rebreather to comfortably move around there without a helmet.
  7. Here's an example of a small spaceplane as a proof-of-concept piece I called the "Flechette": Two Whiplash engines give this thing a great acceleration force as it rises up through the atmosphere. The aerospike engine is activated before the Whiplashes flame out, and the additional thrust from it forces more of the increasingly thin air into the Whiplashes, allowing them to continue to contribute thrust longer than they would alone. The LF/O engine continues to burn throughout the parabola of the launch, and cuts out at about the time it reaches the apoapsis or shortly thereaf
  8. Maybe. I haven't tested it. But I do know that the Whiplash has a better TWR at high speed than the Panther does. I tend to use Panthers more in situations where I need a plane with a high gimble range on the engines or the ability to rapidly raise their thrust at a moment's notice. For something where you just push the throttle to max and go in a straight line at high altitude and high speed, my instincts tend toward the Whiplash.
  9. Admittedly, I don't use R.A.P.I.E.R.s much for many of the reasons you just described. I find most spaceplanes I build tend to be built with high-thrust Whiplashes and a low-thrust, high ISP vacuum engine. Instead of the long, slow speed build up of the R.A.P.I.E.R., I go for an aggressive ascent at a forty-five degree (give or take) angle where the Whiplashes can build a bunch of speed and send the plane into a suborbital trajectory on air-breathing thrust alone, then uses a long, slow burn from it's vacuum engines to circularize. Such a design is not, strictly, as efficient as more "e
  10. It's a balance of utility. The R.A.P.I.E.R. isn't a very good (lower) atmosphere air breathing engine, nor is it a very good vacuum LFO engine. However, it does both of those things for a very modest amount of mass compared to mounting multiple engines that do only one of those things. And nothing else quite compares to it for building surface-tangential speed during higher atmospheric flight. I do admit sometimes being a bit frustrated at it's lack of thrust in the lower atmosphere, which often requires either lots more R.A.P.I.E.R.s than strictly necessary for most of it's flight or
  11. Nebles Kerman was flown out to the southern Kerbin ice shelf to set up some additional solar panels and collect some barometric data to fulfill a contract. Unlike the last disastrous attempt, I had since upgrade my spaceplane hanger so it could have more than thirty parts on a plane. I set the plane up with a duel-wheel gear setup to better absorb the weight of the plane when it touches down (assuming all four tires impact the landing surface at the same time.) But I wasn't sure that would work, so I added about four parachutes on the wings and engine nacelles to allow it a vertical
  12. Small jet engines in wheel hubs? Where have I seen that idea before...
  13. Looking at your Minmus lander, I see it has some tail fins on it. That's great if you're going for aesthetics, but it does make the mission a little more difficult. They only add a little mass, comparatively speaking, but they do add a lot of drag relative to the mass of the lander, and further that drag will tend to pull the lander into a prograde facing when in atmosphere. That's fine if it was going up, but is going to work hard against you if you are trying to burn retrograde during aerobreaking. I suspect this is why your lander came apart when you were returning, the drag wanted it t
  14. Nice mission you ran! I love those high-science single returns. Mind if I offer a little design advice to help you get up into space and back to Kerbin with less trouble?
  15. Realized I recovered my landed plane before getting my final reading, so I have to fly back to the south pole. Also I might not have brought enough power for the monitoring station, so it was an excuse to drop off more solar panels. Unlocked the next node in the aircraft line of the tree, so I could use a design with Whesleys instead of Junos, which resulted in cutting the cruising time in half. ... unfortunately, there were some unforeseen complications on arrival. The fixed landing gear was heating up by the end of the trip, the atmospheric friction building heat just slightly faster
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