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  1. You're looking to, or you've already downloaded @Nertea's shiny, shiny things so the air filters on your Laythe base keep filtering, or so the cryogenic fuel in your Eeloo probe doesn't escape. But how do you use these exactly? How do you balance the reactors, engines, radiators and overall dry mass to get decent TWR, consistent burns and keep the reactors in their prime too? Here is all the introductory info you need to get you going. Topics will be added over time so don't worry too much about things missing from this post. Glossary Reactor + Engine Balance Reactor + Radiator Balance Reactor Longevity Reactor Control Capacitors Capacitor Control (Soon) Fuel Performance Argon Xenon Refueling Lithium Reactor + Engine Balance When picking a reactor, watch its Fission Generator > Power Generated value and Fission Reactor > Required Cooling value. When picking an ion engine watch its Propellants > EC consumption and you'll find that this consumption will tend to be exact to the output of a given reactor and that there are several more such pairings begging for you to notice them. Reactor + Radiator Balance Once you can keep in mind how much the Fission Reactor > Required Cooling of a given reactor is, it should be easy enough to look at the stock radiators and add or multiply their Radiator Specs > Core Heat xFer values. Once your total exceeds the reactor's Required Cooling value that's it, that's how many of that radiator you need. This is a good setup: 400kW from 2x large static radiator > 300kW from 1x Garnet. Also, never forget that static radiators must be attached directly to the reactor or its parent part or else. I don't need to install a radiator mod to show how to balance a reactor with them, but I would need to install one because stock radiators do have their limitations, and "options" are especially important for ion-powered vehicles that dare to pass through an atmosphere with their reactors running. Reactor Longevity Don't get swept away with the power of a nuclear reactor that you decide to or completely forget to put an RTG or solar panel on your craft. Always include an alternate means of power generation so that the probe core can be kept alive and that you don't waste the reactor's nuclear fuel Enriched Uranium between the last orbital maneuver and the next. In flight there is the danger of the reactor overheating and the loss of core health (separate from core life). Core Health is expressed as a percentage and iirc, once health is lost, total output becomes capped and it can eventually meltdown and become dead and useless (I don't know if it explodes, haha). Core Life is the amount of time you get depending on how full it is with Enriched Uranium and what the output cap is. The output cap is controllable via a slider in the NF Reactor toolbar panel between 0 and full EC/s rate, technically allowing the reactor to run for decades or centuries as an oversized RTG. Reactor Control The final thing about nuclear reactors is, of course, how to operate them directly, especially from the snazzy NF GUI app. Look for this in your KSP toolbar once you have Near Future Electric installed and a nuclear reactor on the active vessel. (It does not show in Map View.) Every proper nuclear reactor mod out there should integrate into Near Future and can be controlled through it, and that makes life good. Such mods (that I know of) include USI Core and Mk2 + Mk3 Stockalike Expansion but exclude KSP Interstellar which changes all nuclear devices in its own way. Do not expect this to control any radiators associated with a reactor. Those must be toggled separately. The UI Elements are as follows: The radio (circle) button under a reactor name is the main switch and lights up when toggled on. The thermometer (with two checkpoint markers) respectively indicate the thermal range, the peak operating temperature, and the overload/shutdown temperature. The number will always be the temperature at a given moment. The three symbolic items above the thermometer represent kilowatt output (not necessary to most of us), the ElectricCharge output (most important) and Core Life (very important). When a reactor is on it will show you the duration in years instead of "Reactor Offline". Basic Controls is the output control slider (at 100% by default) which lets you finely control the ElectricCharge output. Accordingly, the kW, EC and Core Life values over the thermometer will change. Most of us don't need to click Advanced Controls. I didn't, so I don't even know what that looks like. This screenshot features the 2.5m USI device with its context window open and the NF control window. Note that in both GUI its output slider is set to 25%. Both windows have their distinct advantages, but NF's window shows you what matters right now, and for all your reactors if you have more than one, removing the need to pin all your reactors' context windows if you ever have to access them all at once. You do not want to end up like this! In the odd chance that you visit an infernal planet and decide that solar panels were not necessary...or they are present but useless at the time, make sure to never leave things on that will guzzle the current. In this case I had a life support device on and the ship's radiators were maxed out, causing them to fail to cool the reactor, which in turn led to the reactor gradually overheating, losing output efficiency, and nearing its overheat/shutdown temperature. If it reaches its shutdown temperature and does not receive cooling, it will remain super-heated and its Core Health (the percentage status of the core, not the output duration bit) will start to fall, meaning it's decaying and it will become a metal brick. As long as it is hot it will decay. If there's a separate power source able to feed the radiators and cool the reactor down, the decay will stop. Jebediah! Capacitors As @Supercheese mentions below (which helps me a lot in do this part, so thanks muchly ) installing capacitors instead of a reactor can save cost and weight and increase deltaV by quite a lot. As shown in the first picture, you get 8x the amount of StoredCharge to ElectricCharge for the same mass and volume of the part. Each part here weighs 0.25 tons but one quarter-ton of capacitor shines brightly against 2 whole dark tons of normal battery. (Stock 2.5m batteries featured here) While that is a great thing, they have their disadvantages. They are not a 2-way street like batteries and cannot be used out of while they're charging. A capacitor can be paused from charging (and when charging it will feed from everything that produces or stores ElectricCharge) but it cannot be paused while discharging (in doing so it will feed everything that stores or consumes ElectricCharge). You can control* the discharge rate of a capacitor in the VAB and in flight at the Near Future Capacitor toolbar button. As shown in the second picture: because the visible ion engine consumes 1999 EC/s I set the discharge rate to just over that to feed the engine and any vital systems. Unfortunately, as far as I know, you must manually discharge capacitors in series to feed your engines. If you discharge them all at once that's quite literally wasting tons of power. * There are certain lower limits to the discharge rate depending on a capacitor's size which will occasionally force you to add an engine or else waste a portion of the released power. Even if for some reason you end up stacking a reactor's weight or more in capacitors (and heavy, heavy solar panels...) on a craft, you're still saving more than just cost. You're avoiding the troubles of nuclear fuel and reactors themselves if you're still skeptical about the things, but you'll remain at the mercy of solar panel efficiency if you're operating very far from a star. The next thing to consider is how many capacitors set at a given discharge rate will afford a consistent engine burn up to a desired maximum length. The reference formula to measure by is very simple: Total StoredCharge / Discharge Rate = Maximum burn time in seconds. Fuel Performance If you're a nut for fuel performance, then here are a few opening stats including engine sizes to help weigh Near Future's propellants in your mind before you read about them below. Argon Engines 1 ~ 54.55 kN, 2800 ~ 5500 Isp 0.6m, 1.25m, 2.5m Xenon Engines 1.4 kN, 4000 Isp (Stock Dawn engine) 2.3 ~ 5.6 kN, 6500 ~ 19300 Isp (Added engines) 0.6m only VASIMR Engines (can halve their Isp for nearly triple thrust, no change in propellant consumption) Xenon mode: 4 ~ 68 kN, 6000 ~ 7000 Isp Argon mode: 2.5 ~ 44 kN, 8500 ~ 9500 Isp 0.6m, 1.25m, 2.5m Lithium Engines 46 ~ 237 kN, 2900 ~ 3800 Isp 0.6m, 1.25m, 2.5m Argon I personally prefer ArgonGas over XenonGas because it's more abundant in-game (as it is irl) than Xenon and is hence easier to harvest from Duna and other planets with atmosphere. Here I modify a probe that was never meant to go far from wherever it's deployed, to (almost) be able to cross SOI. Almost = not enough fuel but there's plenty, plenty room to fix that. Adding a radial Argon tank (or 4) and changing the Garnet to its TopNode subtype so I can attach things to its other end. Xenon Here's a Xenon-powered Duna probe I launched soon before KSP 1.2.0 was even announced. This is 6 tons, 1 TWR in low Mun orbit iirc, and 11km's dV! The Garnet reactor underneath has 2x Radiator Panel (edge), the straight ones with 150kW cooling power directly attached and they're exactly enough (300kW together) to keep it at/within its limits (300kW). The particular Xenon engines on this one have been deprecated so I can't explore them now. Refueling There are two mods I know of that supply a means not just to use Argon or Xenon, but to replenish your tanks. The first is Karbonite, part of USI. Its low-altitude atmosphere scoops come in 1.25m and 2.5m size. They have very poor intake values since they are firstly filter type devices, and they operate better the faster you're moving and the thicker the atmosphere. Strap some of these, a karbonite power cell and a USI kontainer (for Argon) or a stock Xenon tank to your airplane and fly around (if you have the patience or an autopilot mod). Have the scoops filter karbonite too to feed the power cell and even better, feed some karbonite jet engines so you can infinitely fly and refuel faster.... Or you know, spam them on a landed craft and do the timewarp disco. (Forgive me for mentioning so much karbonite.) Then there's Near Future, of course. It provides the AIReS Atmospheric Sounder (Science category) and the M-2 Cryogenic Gas Separator (Utility category) for harvesting Argon and Xenon. The AIReS is a scanner and both parts only work in atmosphere. Unlike karbonite's scoops, the M-2's performance is not influenced by whether it's moving, and it consumes between 12 and 24 EC/s, or 12 + 24 depending on which gas, or both, you're processing. Lithium The story isn't very different for lithium-fueled crafts, except that Lithium, being a solid material is much denser than Argon and Xenon and that makes it better for crewed ion vessels. TWR is much better at the cost of Isp, and empowers heavy landers and even enables Duna SSTOs. I've made Argon-fueled SSTOs (in KSP 1.1.3) but those required very, very tedious mixing and matching of USI and NFT's reactors, karbonite scoops (to refuel themselves), and engines for sufficient dV and TWR. I don't know if it's still possible now. I haven't been at this kind of thing since KSP 1.2 arrived. Sometime perhaps I will post examples of a perfected ion-powered SSTO. Near Future Propulsion adds Lithium modules to the stock drills and stock ISRU (and the ISRU of Kerbal Planetary Base System if also installed). Here we have an Augustus-capable Lithium SSTO prototype. Since I always have Galileo's Planet Pack installed, I have KER set to Augustus, a moon, and it compares as follows: Augustus: 0.35g, 65km atmo, 350km radius. Duna: ........0.30g, 50km atmo, 320km radius. The Garnet reactors have just enough cooling and this Lithium engine pairs it perfectly for EC flow. The 3 tons of Ore simulates precious cargo like LS resources. Full or empty, though, this craft can make it (however, it's not aerodynamically sound). When devising a Lithium-driven vessel and want to make your engine setup controllable, make sure to add this to your procedure: Setup the reactor on its own stack and if possible, attach all the needed radiators to it. Attach its complement engine and if necessary, nerf the engine so it doesn't drain more EC than is produced (this is only necessary for the huge engines). Take that stack now and multiply it with symmetry until you get a satisfying number for TWR. This only really matters if you want to land or launch in atmosphere. With the prototype craft below, 2x is not enough and 4x is even better. But this isn't always the case. Diminishing returns are hard to avoid or control, especially when the payload fraction goes up from here. Here's a mothership I launched from Minmus. It doesn't claim to be an SSTO but it had about 6km/s dV fully loaded and had some LFO and roughly 1.2km/s for its VTOL mode and a tiny chemical rocketed lander. it was rated for operation with the surface gravity of Vall which is greater than that of Mun. It also contained 3x Near Future's 8 ton Prometheus reactor and 6x 1.25m Lithium engines.
  2. I remember some mod that had engines that heated up air using nuclear fuel and made propulsion. Does anyone know what that mod was?
  3. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Fuel-loading-under-way-at-Chinese-EPR-1104184.html What do you think of this? Specifically, the fact that something envisioned and developed in EU has been made faster in China. Any benefits (to either side) or downsides to it?
  4. This is the 1.1 Release of my Fusion Tech mod, which now includes three types of fusion drives, reactors, a retractable 10m heat shield, a high-power RCS block, and balanced some numbers. --NOTICE: NEW VERSION WITH PRETTY MODELS N STUFF WILL PROBABLY LAUNCH BY THE WEEKEND-- Changelog: Reduced thrust of both 3.75m Drives to 50,000 KN. Reduced thrust of both 0.625m to 10,000 KN. Removed gimballing on all drives - ship will flail erratically at high throttle due to the game trying to compensate for thrusts it wasn't really designed for by gimballing the drive. Added Infinity Heat Shield. Added "Spike" Kerman Drive designed for landing. Added Kerman RCS Drive for high-power maneuvering (WARNING - NOT TESTED WITH DOCKING) Enjoy! PARTS INCLUDED 0.625m Kerman I-Drive (100,000 ISP, 10,000kn) 1.25m Kerman Drive (100,000 ISP, 25,000kn) 1.25 Spike Kerman Drive (Varied ISP, 2000kn) 2.50m Kerman Drive (100,000 ISP, 50,000kn) 3.75m Kerman Drive (100,000 ISP, 50,000kn) 0.625m Basic I-Drive (500 ISP, 10,000kn) 1.25m Basic Drive (1,000 ISP, 25,000kn) 2.50m Basic Drive (1,500 ISP, 50,000kn) 3.75m Basic Drive (1,500 ISP, 50,000kn) Fusion Reactors (0.625m, 1.25m, 2.5m) Reusable 10m Inflatable "Infinity Shield" Heat Shield High thrust & efficiency 4-way RCS block ALL PARTS USE REGULAR LIQUID FUEL - NO SPECIAL TANKS NEEDED Kerman Drives are high thrust and VERY high efficiency. (Basically for flying in a straight line really, REALLY fast) Basic Drives have the same thrust as there same-sized counterpart, but they are very inefficient. (Good for missions with lots of actual orbit maneuvers) Fusion Reactors make lots of power with a little bit of LiquidFuel. All rights reserved. DOWNLOAD
  5. Love using the D-T Vista and tearing across the system. But I don't see many tips available on how to get the most out of this engine. Specifically, I find the Tri Alpha Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor to be my best general choice for powering this engine (without beamed power, of course). But there are even fewer tips on using this reactor (I don't see it listed in the KSPI wiki, for instance). One particular question - what's the best way to add fuel/propellent to a D-T Vista ship in order to increase the ship's operational range? Adding D-T and Liquid Fuel tanks actually doesn't seem to help (and I think this may be due to the fusion reactor chugging from the Vista's fuel stocks) Also, is it possible to refuel a Vista's internal supply of D-T and LF? For what it's worth, I want to use Vista as my main workhorse for system-wide exploration and exploitation (sandbox, just 'cuz).
  6. Hi, This is the 1.0 release of my KSP Fusion Tech mod! Parts included: Two types of fusion drive: Kerman Drive (High thrust, High ISP) Basic Drive (High thrust, Low ISP) Both use standard Liquid Fuel Fusion Reactors, they make power from Liquid Fuel. Simple. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THINGS TO NOTE: The models and CFG files were made by and are the property of SQUAD. I simply modified them, mainly because A) I can't model and B) I'm too lazy to make a config from scratch. DOWNLOAD HERE. ENJOY! This is a ship with 8 2.5m Kerman Drives after 2 minutes of burning immediately after being HyperEdited into a 100KM orbit.
  7. Using nuclear reactors needs to come with much more risk. I use nuclear reactors from 2 different mods, Solaris Hypernautics, and Near Future Electrical, and using them is risk free... Unlike solar panels, which are very "unlikely" to kill you, Nuclear reactors built by Kerbals should be very risky to use... IMO. I would LOVE to see a mod that patched all the common nuclear reactors in such a way, that if they over heated or were destroyed by impact, they explode in a similar fashion as the nuclear weapons in North Kerbin Dynamics. What do you guys think? @Nertea @Carbonjvd @harpwner
  8. Last week, I started development on a new deep space exploration mod, with manufacturer name Corvus Applied Sciences. It's going to be a sci-fi / quantum physics themed mod, with an emphasis on using real-world quantum physics principles to make space travel easier. I think it's safe to say I'll be doing plenty of background research for it. I'll end up using plenty of quantum physics jargon, but I assure you it'll at least be appropriately used. And because I have a background in 3D, aesthetics are going to be a major focus. Actual game balancing is going to end up taking a backseat to the models. The mod is mainly going to focus on high-thrust, high ISP engines and high energy output fusion reactors, the only catch being that they are very expensive and produce a LOT of waste heat. The only ways to keep them from overheating and exploding are to vent them manually (which disables the functionality of the part while it's happening), or to attach a closed-loop superfluid cooling system. This allows you to continue to use the part while it is cooling. The cooling system was the first part I've made so far, and besides a few tweaks I'm going to make to the animations, it's essentially done. The cooling system uses Helium-4 in a superfluid state, and passes it around to keep high-heat parts at safe temperature levels. As the liquid helium-4 is warmed up by the waste heat, it will convert back into gaseous helium-4. However, if the cooling system is turned on (not just deployed), it'll use a set of radiators and "polarization gradient" lasers to condense it back down to superfluid state (while using large amounts of energy to do so). Polarization gradient lasers are in essence cooling lasers. They are currently used in laboratory settings to reach temperatures near absolute-zero. Planned parts: Magnetoplasma thruster: This 2.5m engine uses large amounts of energy to produce high thrust, with high efficiency. It uses hydrogen gas as a fuel. As a catch, while it is burning, it will also heat up very quickly. The only way to avoid overheat (and the subsequent explosion) will be to stop your burn, and vent the engine by passing gaseous hydrogen through it. This hydrogen will be wasted by being blasted out the sides of the engine, but will help cool it down to reasonable levels. If you don't like the prospect of constantly stopping your burns to cool off the engine, you can attach a superfluid cooling system to it. This will allow you to burn all you want and not have to worry about engine overheat. Miniaturized fusion reactor: This part will produce high amounts of energy for long periods of time, but because storing ionized plasma at 100 million degrees is no small feat, you'll need to either vent it or attach a cooling loop if you want it to continue to function without exploding. It will use custom fuels such as Deuterium and Tritium, since I feel like using regular hydrogen gas would probably make it overpowered. Pre-built science probes: Since I've had problems with building rovers and surface probes in the past, I figured it'd be interesting to try making surface drones that already have all the parts you need built into them. Since they'll already have their own power supply, science parts (possibly interchangeable ones), thrusters, crawler legs, and cameras (possibly hullcam-enabled) built into them, there's no need to mess with Tweakscale or IR to make a space probe. Although, because they're pre-built, you'd have limited (if any) ability to customize it. I'll be designing them for my own use, personally because I think it'd be really cool (and good game asset design experience), but I'd like to know if you want them to be in the final mod. Science parts: These may include mass spectrometers (lasers which can analyze rock content, like ChemCam), Infra-red cameras, X-ray imaging systems, so on. Realistic science results like mineral composition would also be incorporated into science messages. Not sure how much community interest there'd be in this, though, so I can't say with certainty that it'll end up in the final product. I made a Youtube video showing off the model and slapped some music on it (Disregard complete lack of tech specs and info, it's a model showcase as well as a proof of concept and not a mod outline): I'm not worried about the polygon count, even though it looks excessive in the video. Right now it's floating around the 45,000 mark. For a point of reference, the Mainsail is 10,000. Polygons are usually less game engine intensive than collision meshes and textures, both of which I'll try to keep as simple as possible. I've done all of the part details in 3D anyway so I don't see how I'll be needing anything more than solid colors (and perhaps metallic shaders) with the final product. Unity makes a pass for every 66,000 polygons, so any less than that shouldn't tax any modern computer too extensively. I shared this all with you because since this is my first mod, I wanted to know what kind of community interest there would be with something like this, what other kinds of related parts the community would be interested in, and which direction I should take this mod in. That's why this is posted in add-on discussion as opposed to add-on development. When I make some more progress on modeling, I'll create an add-on development page.
  9. I want to know more about nuclear fission and different kinds of fuels, but all the literature I can find is denser than the fuels themselves. All I really want to know is; what machinery do you need to produce controlled nuclear fission and what wastes are produced by uranium, plutonium, and thorium fission?
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