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  1. Using small decouplers if the engine above is as well small is fine. Actually you need to add struts (in structural pane) between the tanks above and below the small sections anyway. The smaller the diameter the less rigid it is. It looks to me like a Mainsail, which can lift 120 T with a small dV penality due to the low TWR at launch. However check the most upper stage design: It looks extrem overpowered, since it is likely a LV-909 Terrier and therefore the SL 1400 m/s will be more like 6000 m/s in vacuum. Or if you really need that much, adding a smaller stage could result in the same dV with less mass.
  2. Actually I spent the last 2 days mastering my pilot skills since I thought that the thin Duna atmosphere makes it superfluous to add some aerodynamic top. Well ... regarding thrust and dV it was, but dealing with the high drag at very front proved to be very difficult Next time I will care about aerodynamic stability. After like 20 launches I finally got it to orbit and was not too busy with piloting to gather some more science in low atmosphere. Reintegration in Base with a heatshield parked behind was rather minor trouble. At least after I realized that it is way easier to pickup the heatshield with smaller lander first and then do powered reconnect instead of trying to target a free floating port with a massive rocket. Since I did care about rotation angle docking was all manual Thanks for the recent forum reminder of Snarks great tutorial, was good to read again. Targeting a passive docking port is tricky compared to another ship that auto aligns. Now doing world first contracts on Ike before returning to Kerbin.
  3. The first thing you need to figure out: What is your problem ? Launching into 90° inclination or matching plane with your orbital redezvous (aka getting right LAN) ? Both are way more tricky from polar. Lets talk about inclination and surface vs orbital speed first. When you launch from equator rotation adds only to the length of your velocity vector, so switching orbital vs surface mainly affects how steep to ascend. At polar or high inclination launches rotation is sideways from your velocity and switching changes your inclination. Finally orbital speed defines your inclination, so do a gravity turn using orbital speed as direction from launch. The second thing is matching longitude of ascending node (LAN) with your target. Or where to go to. If you are at the very north pole everything is south. Kompass are no big help. Mathematically (and in a simulation) you never are at the point, so directions are always well defined. Which is an illusion, because they move fast with small changes. Watch the target indicator as the target moves over you and you rotate with the surface. Unfortunately I can only advice to try and learn. Pick any direction for launch, check LAN difference after orbit and improve on next try. It massively depends on position and orbit which direction is really right.
  4. That was what I though, but in my tests I never saw a wing control go beyond the deploy angle, even if there was still room in its mechanic. So for instance set deploy angle to +10° and authority to +5°. I only saw the wing move between 5° and 10°, but never to 15° although it could. However at deploy angle 0° it semms to move from -5° to 5°. All visual observations, I did not had time to throw together code to monitor control wings.
  5. Glad you found it. I was just about to write that your installation might be the problem. I did start something compareable and the yellow spikes from control wings were completely missing in your screenshot, but should have been quite huge at that speed.
  6. As your overall rocket is not trivial, could you add a screenshot with aero forces enabled ( F12) ?
  7. You can afford it, so why make it cheaper ? If you want to launch it multiple times to get all science: Don't, instead try to build restartable biome hopper in order to visit multiple biomes with 1 Kerbin launch and transfer. Yes it will be more expansive once, but should be cheaper than x times this one. If you want save money in general: Do not stage first stage before orbit and try to return vom LKO towards KSC for maximum return.
  8. Spacey Lifters and Spacey Extended has as well very large drone cores with huge included batteries. In general you will need some model and texture files together with the part file. If new features (resources, converters, ..) are added you will likely need some other stuff the part depends on.
  9. Since 1.8 both are in angles and can be set independently, however they seem to work different than I thought. So my question: How are they intended to work together, especially when you choose settings that are asymetric ?
  10. That might be the problem, if they just grab the ladder, they might be still treated as individual vessel. I am pretty sure KSP does heat calculation including shielding per vessel, therefore non of your Kerbals actually is protected by the heatshield.
  11. Hmm what could be more fun to try ? So I asked in my astronaut complex if there any voluntar for a crazy idea: no problem ! Note: 160 Ablator are enough, but 800 do not make you too heavy... Check 1: Entry speed well above 3000 m/s Check 2: Heating during entry just cosy Check 3: Proof all Kerbals still alive as flames die Note on Piloting: Do NOT go retrograde as seats are unlikely in that position (at least mine have been not). I had to turn 90° to bottom until heatshield was in true front.
  12. Heat transfer is not your problem, but piloting or design: The Kerbals must get direct heat. 67km alt is just 1-2 seconds into the atmosphere, if your PE is low enough (and it should be since you are very draggy and very light). 3km/s is roughly Minimus return, it should take a lot more time until Kerbals suits crit temp is reached. Try to enable heat info in debug menu for each part, open all Kerbals and seats and heatshields in space, pin them and use pause to have time to study the readouts.
  13. Finally I got my first Ike lander where it belongs. Due to some heavy bribery space enthuiast support it got a little bit bigger than original planned as first landing, but combining 4 contracts in a single mission was too good. With budget saved, priority was on time and therefore aerobraking into Duna required some effort to shave off 4000 m/s in single entry. First landing on Ike, sponsored by Maxo Construction by 2 Mio funds is full base on wheels, loaded with refined 6000 liquid fuel and room for 10 Kerbals including a viewing cupola. The front section did turn its Duna lifters to assist on soft lay down for mining. Now we need to collect 2500 ore and lift it into Duna orbit. Had I know how bouncy pistons can get, I had opted for different way to extend wheels from service bay on ground. With assistance from the hinge at rear heat shields and cargo bay I managed to extend them just enough to stay locked once I raised all assistance back up. Since Maxo Construction required at least 10 seats, a rather large crew could enjoy the expierence from Duna orbit and Ike landing. Finally my sentinel awaits his final manoveur for orbit between Kerbin and Eve. Meanwhile 8 tourists enjoyed a luxury cabin for their 40 days visit to ... Sunny View of Kerbin, a wunderful destination around Kerbol, just outside Kerbins SOI. Any claims that fin design on Sunny View is inspired by human space program are strictly refused by the chief engineer.
  14. I am not sure if your bug related to the abnormal drag values in part database as others pointed out as main reason why people had very low drag and therefore high thermal stress on reentry. I just tested a 1.25 SSTO rocket and reentry heat and drag seemed quite like in 1.6 and 1.7.
  15. Mine enjoy reentries with their head outside the service bay, so it is not a problem in general. But heat transfer and rotational stability are important to watch, otherwise they get grilled