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    Senior Rocket Scientist

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  1. I personally think Minmus is one of the most useful bodies in the entire solar system. It's easier in many ways to get to and from than the Mun and much better suited for ISRU projects with the lower gravity (and flatter surface).
  2. Load up the torchship I used to insert into a retrograde Kerbin orbit, wait for Kerbin to rotate to the correct angle, then launch more or less straight up. When you have 22km/s of 1+g thrust you don't need precision. I might be caught by the game having to slow down during the launch sequence, though.
  3. Yeah, about the only structural failure you can reliably get any more is ripping wings off when executing 40g manouvers in the atmosphere. Nobody used to modern KSP has any idea what Wobbly Rockets(TM) used to be like. I bent some rockets into a clean horseshoe in days gone by.
  4. Jully 2011, 0.8. I had a few days of playing without symmetry and no option for snapping placement before 0.8.1 was released. Those were some wobbly-ass rockets.
  5. It's actually something I do all the time. Engine gimbals give you enormous torque compared to basically anything else, excepting reaction-wheels on small ships and appropriately sited aerodynamic control surfaces. With particularly large craft I will often crack the throttle in order to align, and then zero out the (minor) translation drift over the course of the burn. And with small craft I begrudge any pennysworth of mass not strictly dedicated to the mission :p
  6. Gimbal control is by far the most effective way to perform attitude control in a burn, excepting perhaps atmospheric control surfaces. It's non-burn attitude control that it struggles with, since any rotation inevitably requires some translation if you're using gimballing, whereas RCS can null out and reaction wheels don't produce thrust as such (although they do generate angular momentum from nowhere, which means you can build some interesting contraptions).
  7. KSP's reaction wheels are literal magic. Things like the Hubble or the ISS do use them for attitude control and fine pointing, but there's a world of difference between precisely torquing an orbital telescope to a ten-thousandth of a degree, and shoving an airplane around in midflight :p
  8. This is one of the first things I do with a new game. Makes me sometimes wish I had a third hand, though.
  9. Your issue is the addition of the radiator and the removal of the fins. Radially attached parts have significant drag (and, if asymmetric, can also cause a torque), and because you've put it at the top of your rocket, you've moved your center of aerodynamic force upwards. At the same time, you've eliminated the fins at the bottom that would've moved the center of aerodynamic forces back down. For a rocket of that size the capsule would provide entirely adequate steering otherwise. The heat shield's probably also unnecessary for an LKO machine like this appears to be, but if it's in the stack it shouldn't be causing aero issues. My suggestion would be to eliminate the radiator -- I don't see anything on the rocket that would require it -- and, if that's not enough, putting the smallest fins on the second of the solid stages. First one won't get you going fast enough for aero instability to be an issue, but the first Hammer will. Note: The above is trying to work with your extant rocket. My own preference for using solids for launchpad kick is to radially mount them and co-fire them with a gimballing liquid engine; the liquid will give you a bunch of control authority and with its likely higher efficiency is better at sustaining your flight, but the solids will shove you up to working speed much faster and cut back on your gravity losses significantly since you don't have to painfully crawl up at 1.1 TWR or what not. By the time they fall off you'll have burned enough liquid fuel, and gained thrust by getting into thinner air, that the liquid engine can now propel you just fine on its own. In addition, because they're a radial attachment at the bottom of a rocket, they can -- it depends on the weight distribution of the rest of the rocket -- act to stabilize you aerodynamically as they burn.
  10. It wasn't tied to the throttle; you can see mine is set at zero. As far as I know it was completely meaningless, and I don't remember at this remove what made it light up or not. My favourite part about picture is that you can clearly see the great big divot I had to make in order to avoid crashing into the old launch gantry
  11. Rockets flip for one of (usually) two reasons: 1. A center of mass that has moved below the center of aerodynamic pressure, causing aerodynamic instability; 2. A center of mass that has moved out of alignment with the center of thrust, which will induce a torque, and that torque becomes larger than your ability to counteract it. A picture of the rocket would be useful in figuring out the cause. It's usually aerodynamics if you're in an atmosphere, since engines are heavy and so fuel draining will tend to move the CoM down over a given stage's burn if you have them at the back (as is usual). One of the advantages of a staged design is that the mass of the next stage up helps to counteract that.
  12. I have a sneaking suspicion I've posted this before, but the definitive More Boosters picture:
  13. Nah, I've used it for orbital manouvers too. When you're that light you have all the dV in the world, if you want it. Nulling out any unwanted translation isn't difficult unless you're trying for extreme precision. This is especially so if you've got a pair of engines; you can roll trivially, toggle engines on and off with action groups, and flip end-for-end with just the barest puff of propellant and barely any translation. You should try it sometime. It's a whole new way to fly.
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