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Found 4 results

  1. (There are past threads related to this, but they are "quite old!") So I've just recently become aware that solar sails might not be a thing in KSP2 (or at least not at launch), but also that the basic mechanic needed to make solar sails work — namely, the ability to make a ship constantly accelerate even when the player isn't actively flying it or focused on it — almost certainly will be in the game. So... I'm basically just here to beg our wise and awesome KSP2 devs to please please please consider having solar sails in the game after all, mostly because I think they are just about the coolest thing ever. :3 The main reason solar sails don't work well in KSP1 (though there are mods for them!) is that they generate only a very tiny amount of thrust, making the Dawn ion engine look like the Mainsail in comparison. Changing your orbit using a solar sail would take ages! However, in KSP2, unlike in KSP1, it seems we may gain the ability to have a ship continue to accelerate even when we aren't "looking" at it, so there will be no need to sit there staring at your screen for hours at a time at x4 physics warp; you'll be able to just set up your maneuver, and then switch away from the ship to do something else while it accelerates. This makes solar sails quite reasonable as a gameplay mechanic — and they are oh so cool. Here's the thing with solar sails: While they generate only a tiny amount of thrust, they allow your ship to literally be propelled by the very light streaming from the sun (or Kerbol, in KSP's case). Not in the sense of using solar power to generate electricity or anything — a solar sail is literally pushed by light itself, in the same way that a traditional seagoing sail is pushed by the wind. And, much like a seagoing sail-driven ship might never accelerate as quickly as one with an engine, but can keep on sailing as long as the wind is blowing, so too a solar sail can continue driving your spacecraft as long as you're anywhere near a star — no fuel or propellant required. The star itself is your engine! This means that while your acceleration is low, it is also constant. You don't have to worry about running out of fuel, ever, and so instead of having to plan out short, optimally efficient burns, you can just keep building up your velocity — and with a bit of time, you can reach speeds much higher than what any conventional rocket could hope to achieve before it runs out of delta-v. With solar sails, running out of delta-v isn't really a thing, at least until the day Kerbol goes extinct! This means that despite its lower acceleration, a solar sail could potentially reach remote destinations much quicker than a traditional rocket could, by gradually building up speed until it's moving much faster than any rocket. This also makes solar sails a practical means of potentially launching ships into interstellar space (especially with something called laser assist, though that would probably need to be a whole additional gameplay mechanic — potentially a very cool one — and I won't get into that here). As with sail-driven sea craft, you can "tack," in a sense, to control the direction in which you accelerate — solar sails are not limited to accelerating away from a star, just as sailing ships of old were not limited to only sailing with the wind. By angling the sail relative to the incoming light, you can accelerate prograde or retrograde, as with a more conventional engine, thus lowering or raising your orbit! (In terms of gameplay mechanics, I'm imagining something similar to the way solar panels in KSP1 can already tell their angle relative to incoming sunlight, and how much sun exposure they have.) Another cool thing about solar sails is that they have already been used for actual spacecraft propulsion in real life, and so despite sounding cool and science fictiony, are already a 100% confirmed real, practical means of spacecraft propulsion. So I, for one, would be super excited to see solar sails in KSP2. What do y'all think? Solar sails: So space travel can look like this... But feel like this. (With apologies to Disney!)
  2. I can not get part/s to "click" to bottom of the solar sail, how do I launch?? The search function makes the internet explorer chuck a wobbly.
  3. https://blogofthecosmos.com/2016/04/26/a-sail-through-the-cosmos/ There does not seem to be a thread on solar sails, just subtopics so I am placing this in a new thread.
  4. https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2016/nasa-begins-testing-of-revolutionary-e-sail-technology.html I estimated this might create a millinewton of thrust, at 1 AU. more at mercury, much less beyond Jupiter. Steering is applied by shifting the voltages of the wires.
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