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fourfa

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    Explodium handler

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  1. If you start a new career on the default settings, you can certainly accomplish every traditional KSP task - landings, grand tours, and so on - without ever building a plane. You might also play on harder difficulty - say at an extreme, Nano-Crystalline Diamond mode in the Caveman challenge, where you’ll likely scrape every single fractional science point on Kerbin’s surface with planes. Or self-impose challenges like building ground relay stations, or improvised refueling airbases, or never ever use the Recover button unless back at the KSC runway. I’ve been enjoying building tall radio towers on mountaintops since the ground anchors dropped, with teams of engineers deploying on cargo helicopters. There are many ways to play the game. Play long enough and there will be no stock parts you don’t use.
  2. You might try the technique I use in this craft for the nose. Start with a 1.25m fairing base on the Mk3 nose but don't build the fairing yet. Attach a 0.625 heatshield in front of the fairing, then offset it like 4-5 ticks forward. Build the fairing, straight walls for the first few ticks, then close it on the side of the heatshield. Set the fairing to not staged. Attach a 0.625m part (any part) to the FRONT of the heatshield, outside the fairing, then offset it INTO the fairing. Now offset the whole nose assembly back into the Mk3 cockpit until it looks clean. Might take a few tries to get the curve of the fairing nose to match the Mk3. It's a bit tweaky with the aero, but it bugs me that a heatshield with an open node has like 10 times the drag of the entire rest of the craft, and this solves that This setup should be good for 1600m/s+ in the mid-atmosphere, and orbital speed in the high atmosphere
  3. Sure, good question. There's a trick involving the service bay right behind the heat shield on the nose. Attach the service bay, then attach the heat shield. If you leave it like this, you'll find the heat shield has crazy drag, like ten times the whole rest of the craft, and probably can't even break Mach 1. So add a basic nose cone in front of the heatshield (occupying that drag-causing attachment node) but then use the SPH offset tool to move the basic nose cone backwards, into the service bay. Now it's hidden from drag, the heatshield is super low drag, and the high heat tolerance of the heat shield (3300K) and service bay (2900K) work for you. You can skip the service bay too - just put the heat shield on the Mk3 cockpit, then the basic nose cone in front of it, then offset the nose cone backward behind the heat shield. Not hidden from drag any more but not a big deal. On my craft the service bay is doing a whole lot more than just hiding the nose cone, so I need it there.
  4. Aesthetics yes up to a point; I don't want to have intakes that are totally invisible inside some other part, or on the ventral (bottom) side where real-world reentry ablation would destroy them (despite the fact that KSP doesn't care at all). Everyone's got their own playstyle, I guess I have played with how to protect a nose-mounted intake with the front-most part being a node-occupied heatshield: I personally don't currently see the node-occupied tweak as an exploit. A thin, sideways, high-temp part like this should not have ten times the drag of the entire rest of the craft - that's how it is otherwise, just an odd side effect of gameplay tweaks that don't make sense for this alternate use. And hmm, so far the dorsal precooler experiment has been a bust. No substantial change in cooling, and a little more drag. There's something magic about the advanced nose cone + shock cone nacelle, it's super slippery. Not what you'd expect from a whole additional 1.25m drag face ordinarily.
  5. Fascinating! Yeah for both those examples, I need the wings for fuel. It's not THAT much fuel though, there might be another way with structural wings. But it would be interesting to replace the dorsal aerospike intake with a dorsal precooler, and attach the wings to that... I have seen that heat-dumping behavior, where one of the hot wing segments suddenly cools down massively, then starts to heat up again.
  6. I've been spending time lately optimizing SSTOs for high speed and low drag. I found out a couple of interesting things. Top speed in the atmosphere on ascent is often limited by the temperature tolerance of the nose pieces. No big newsflash there, I'm sure we've all had some cockpits blow up from overheating on ascent. (Assuming here that you have enough engine power, intake air, and minimum of drag, so that it's possible to overspeed the heat tolerances on your spaceplane.) So naturally, we'd think to put a heatshield on the nose of the craft to take advantage of its 3300K limit, highest in the game. Then you'll find out something interesting about the heatshields - if both the inside and outside attachment nodes are occupied (like the configuration you'd find in an ordinary rocket stack), they are very low drag pieces. But if the outside node is not occupied (like you'd have on a capsule re-entry) the heatshield drag is stupendous, totally out of line with other similar sized parts. I assume this is one of the tweaks made to allow for safe and easy capsule reentry from a broad range of orbits. So if you just slap a heatshield on the nose, you will likely never get to high speed at all. So, hack the system - attach something to the outside, but use the build tools to offset that piece away from the front. Even better, offset it into a service bay or fairing to hide it from drag entirely. Doing this, I routinely find that the wings (all of which have the same 2400K limit) are the limiting factor. Not much you can do about that short of using heatshields themselves for wings... This simple hack has me routinely seeing 1650m/s on just airbreathing RAPIERs, instead of the 1200-1400m/s I used to normally see. Then the rocket equation reaps benefits - that extra speed on ascent means less rocket fuel needed to reach orbital speed and circularize. It's a bigger assist than one might think, and directly leads to smaller fuel tanks, fewer parts, less mass, less drag, fewer engines, fewer intakes... it's good fun to downsize for better performance rather than spiral bigger! While we're misusing fairings to hide things from drag - consider that a fairing only needs to surround the centerpoint of an item (ie where the three Offset tool handles converge) to occlude it. This makes it very easy for a central 'spine' of fairing to occlude lots of parts (fuel tanks, fuselages, even cockpits) from drag... and thus also from heating. Hax! Cheating! Definitely but it makes it possible to build some very small pocket SSTOs, things that fit in cargo bays. This craft has no drag or heating on the entire front half due to a hidden extension to the fairing seen at the nose: https://kerbalx.com/fourfa/Starling-Science-SSTO This craft hides the whole nacelle assemblies in interlocking fairings, plus the orbital engine in a tail fairing, plus attitude control RCS in the nose service bay, and I was surprised how small and simple it ended up for the payload capacity and ease of flight: https://kerbalx.com/fourfa/Sundiver-SSTO The node-occupied heatshield trick could make a circumnavigation-record craft a little easier, something I might work on soon Hope someone finds this interesting.
  7. I've been mucking about with drag optimizations and heat tolerance. I'm now routinely hitting 1650m/s on ascent without exploding: https://kerbalx.com/fourfa/Starling-Science-SSTO
  8. For that problem (more control and precision) I use the mods Editor Extensions (allows any angle snap you like; I usually have 1 / 5 / 15 degree options active) and Part Angle Display (high precision readout of part angle, simple!)
  9. I’ll just add - I’ve had situations where thrust was not obstructed while not steering, but was blocked when gimballed over while steering. That can seem to the pilot like an intermittent, hard to diagnose overheating problem. But yeah, no way to find out except trial and error. Maybe something like a static fire test, where you start engines but don’t release launch clamps, and try every combination of steering inputs
  10. For me, a death in NCD is a reset. There's enough grind as it is without having to recover rep and cash from a fatality, and with enough practice you get through the marginally-safe reentry phase of play pretty quick. After that there's little risk
  11. Great thread! There are a couple of simple mods that can help with this design challenge: I use these in combination to get 1 degree angle snap, and sub-degree angle read outs.
  12. Claw them together in a graveyard orbit, build a new moon
  13. I love the decouplers as canopy frames, looks so good
  14. @InterstellarKev those are spectacular craft! thanks for sharing, really given me some ideas
  15. You'll need to outlaw Zompi drives for this one...
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