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The K Prize - 100% reusable spaceplane to orbit and back

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I have modified the HKA-6B to produce the new  HKA-6C https://kerbalx.com/TheFlyingKerman/HKA-6C-SSTO-23t-cargo . The new version has bigger cargo bay and is rated for 23t to LKO. I document its use in my main science save.

So far I have flown 15 missions, mainly delivering inter-planetary payloads. The plane landed safely on the runway after each mission.






Mission 1. Delivered Dres science rover / return probe / relay into orbit.


Mission 2. Delivered rescue ship for a solar diving probe into orbit.



Mission 3. Delivered Eeloo science rover /return probe / relay into orbit.


Mission 4. Delivered Tylo science rover into orbit.


Mission 5. Delivered Laythe science rover into orbit.


Mission 6. Delivered Duna shuttle into orbit


Mission 7. Delivered Minmus miner into orbit.


Mission 8. Delivered Vall science rover / relay into orbit.


Mission 9. Delivered SSTA 1 into orbit.


Mission 10. Delivered Moho miner / shuttle / return probe into orbit.


Mission 11. Delivered Tylo shuttle / Bop rover / relay into orbit.


Mission 12. Delivered SSTA 2 into orbit.


Mission 13. Delivered drop tank for SSTA 2 into orbit.


Mission 14a. Delivered Laythe mining module into orbit.


Mission 14b. Docked and refueled Laythe spaceplane.


Mission 15. Delivered transfer module / tanker for Laythe spaceplane into orbit.





Edited by TheFlyingKerman
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Congratulations to @TheFlyingKerman and @KingDominoIII on completing the K-Prize challenge successfully.

In TheFlyingKerman's case fifteen times, all deserving utilitarial commendations for lifting useful payloads to Kerbin orbit and APPAs for landing safely on the KSC runway while one mission involving orbital docking earned the sought after APPA 1st class for the effective working spaceplane lifter HKA-6C.

In KingDominoIII's case an exemplary first K-Prize mission earned the coveted Astrokerbal Distinction and APPA for landing on the Mün and returning safely to the KSC runway.

Well flown both, thankyou for your mission reports and welcome (back) to the K-Prize party guest list, aka the roll of honour. Hope you had fun :D 

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Well then, congratulations are in order @arctangent on completing your ambition and the K-Prize mission with the useful and cost effective early tech rescue space-plane Johnny Five. Landing safely on KSC runway demonstrating skills worthy of the added kudos of an Advanced Pilot Precision Award. So thanks for your mission report and welcome back to the K-Prize. (I have linked this mission just below your previous mission with Aleph III). :)


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My submission to the K-Prize! I've always had the ability to complete this, but decided to get it done and over with. I had a lot of fun doing this challenge, and it's great to see that people are still attempting it!

Anyway, here's my submission, featuring the Long-Range Prototype Spaceplane!



Edited by Gaming Kraken
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Thanks for your well narrated edge-of-seat mission report video dramatically demonstrating the gravity assist and aerobraking techniques which took Long-Range Prototype Spaceplane to Minmus and safely back to KSC runway @Gaming Kraken earning the highly regarded and much sought after Advanced Pilot Precision Award as well as the coveted Astrokerbal Distinction.

Congratulations on completing the K-Prize and welcome to the K-Prize party guest list aka the roll of honour!

Thankyou especially for respecting the spirit and the rules of the K-Prize.

I should state clearly for aspiring future participants that the intention has always been that all Kerbin space center runways are valid destinations for the Advanced Pilot Precision Award. Since the rules previously referred to KSC only and clarification was buried somewhere deep in the thread referring to the Island Site before alternatives were introduced, I have amended the rules for unambiguity and swapped KSC for the more inclusive descriptor "space center". So thanks for referring to that. :D My bad, should have done it ages ago!



Edited by boolybooly
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Congratulations @DRAG0Nmon on completing the K-Prize challenge and thankyou for sharing your mission report with the thread.

I used the name ExSpace Vegas 2 from the imgur report for the front page link. If you want it shortened etc say so and it can be arranged.

This capable looking passenger craft successfully reached orbit and returned to land safely at KSC runway, thereby commendably earning the kudos of an Advanced Pilot Precision Award and shortening the walk to the cafeteria for all kerbals on board.

Welcome to the K-Prize party guest list aka the roll of honour.

Thanks again to @WafflesToo for creating the colourful K-Prize badge which all K-Prize achievers are entitled to display as they see fit.

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Challenge accepted...

I never built SSTO before but this is my best thing I can made...doing Mun flyby and landing at KSC runway is hard as building SSTO itself

NA-SP 31A  I will upload to KerbalX  if you want :rep:





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Congratulations @Nantares on designing and building a powerful and compact SSTO spaceplane with a novel wing form and also on taking NA-SP 31A on a free return excursion around the Mün and surviving several aerobraking passes to land safely on Kerbin at KSC runway with fuel to spare. For which feat you have earned the highly regarded Kosmokerbal Commendation as well as the sought after Advanced Pilot Precision Award, as noted and linked on the front page.

Thanks for participating and sharing a comprehensive mission report in the form of a video. Please feel free to share any data, models, tips etc as you see fit . There is no requirement to do so as the K-Prize welcomes all participants and mission reports in whatever form they prefer, on the honour system.

Welcome to the K-Prize party guest list aka the roll of honour. :)

Edited by boolybooly
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So, This is my "Tiny" SSTO:

No docking ports, DV after reaching orbit is not that rich, but it is light enough, at about 8.8 tons. It's the smallest (pure stock, manned) spaceplane I can think of.

Whole Craft Image

Launched to a 72*75km orbit, it still has an estimated DV of 400m/s (calculated roughly myself as there is no data)

Craft in orbit

Climbing at 20 degrees right after launch (TWR is 7, as an airplane with one jet engine.) Theoretically, it can have a vertical lift-off, but not what is permitted here. So I took the hard way of a horizontal take-off.

Initial Climb

Burning like hell when climbing. Jet engine becomes nearly useless at about 20km, so terriers are ignited.

To the upper atmosphere

Reaching orbit, the solar panels are beginning to generate EC. Hmm, "Orphan" Kerman sits inside the service bay and can't move, for he is stranded by 2 batteries and a RW. The ship mass is still more than 6 tons, so we spent less than 3 tons of fuel. Well, the most massive thing on this SSTO must be the jet.

Orfen Kerman in orbit

Going home. The re-entry heat may destroy some parts, but not if the trajectory is steep enough.

Going back

But I failed to land...on the runway. Going onto the bumpy grasslands a bit south to the runway and safely got home. The SSTO was sent "flying" again when passing the lump of KSC internal roads from the lower grasslands. But nothing broke or exploded.:)

Airbrakes are pretty

The landing problem may be a effect of too much control on some axis. But I switched off the RW... Possibly the elevons are too capable, which makes the craft almost uncontrollable under 450m/s, during which I chose not to control at all, at take-off. 

KerbalX Link

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10 hours ago, Prat4545 said:

So we need to make a ssto and go into orbit and land at the ksc?

You dont need to land at KSC, Kerbin will do but you can earn special kudos for certain accomplishments. Challenge and rules are in the first post. See rule #2.


1. The craft must launch and land intact using only the amount of fuel on board at launch, may not lose stages or parts in flight, no refuelling for thrust, see provisos below.

2. The craft must launch horizontally, reach orbit (PE > 70,000m) and land intact (on Kerbin) ready for 'refuelling'.

3. All fuel tanks, wings (ie lift generators & aerodynamic environments) and engine parts must be stock, for fairness.


Congratulations to @AllenLi on completing the K-Prize mission with the compact but effective Tiny SSTO. I haved linked your mission report on the front page roll of honour and the K-Prize committee have awarded a Pilot Proficiency Medal (PPM) as kudos based on your report that you did not land on the runway and the screenshots which show the craft on flat KSC terrain but not on the runway. Just so you know, taxiing to the runway would be considered OK for the runway award, if the craft is that close and still has the fuel to taxi then it is deserved. If the craft stops anywhere on KSC "tarmac" then it counts as runway. If you want to add further taxiing info to your report let me know (as you said you taxied over bumps) and I may be able to revise the kudos, though the PPM is a rare award for the reason that taxiing is allowed, so it has novelty value chic!

Thanks for your mission report and welcome to the roll of honour aka the K-Prize party guest list. :)


Edited by boolybooly
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Here i have my ssto! it was hard to design but ok! Some more information of my craft!

it weighs 160 tons and can carry 25 tons without boosters!

with some boosters it can carry the biggest rocket fuel tank!

i'm not sure if it can go to the mun but i think it can!

Here is the trip to minmus and back on the runway!


i dont have any mods installed except for kerbalengeneeringredux

so that's my story i hope it's good enough


scincerly prat4545

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Looks great @Prat4545 :)

Congratulations are in order for completing the K-Prize challenge with the capable looking heavy lifter spaceplane Sacure VII, with special kudos of the Astrokerbal Distinction for landing on Minmus and the Advanced Pilot Precision Award for landing safely on KSC runway, second time lucky, well flown! 

Thanks for your mission report and welcome to the roll of honour, aka the K-Prize party guest list.

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3 hours ago, Prat4545 said:

Do you get the badge automatically?

You can legitimately show it if you complete the mission but you have to copy it into your sig manually. You can just copy/paste the jpeg into your signature box which is accessible in settings via the little triangle beside your forum name at the top right of the page. See first post for the link to the full set of badges by Waffles Too.


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I would like to present my Hope-class SSTO! It's nothing special, but I threw it together in a few hours, so... :P

This is a heavily modified version of a Mk2 non-orbital survey plane I made for my career mode. The only thing that's mostly the same is the fuselage - I spent a good hour trying to get the wings right, since the original ones were pretty inadequate. The key turned out to be those strakes, which I had previously thought were totally useless.

Its range doesn't go beyond LKO, but it can carry a small payload - I had Valentina deploy a comms satellite before deorbiting and somehow landing at the KSC runway without reloading a quicksave. I can only assume that that last bit was the result of divine intervention.

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Congratulations @OutInSpace on completing the K-Prize challenge successfully with the Hope-class SSTO using a whiplash and twin LV-N nuclear engines with innovative strake arrangements and a closely attended ascent profile, which earned the praiseworthy Advanced Pilot Precision Award and the highly regarded Utilitarial Commendation for delivering a satellite to low Kerbin orbit with the Hope-class SSTO and returning safely to land on KSC runway.

Thanks for your mission report video and welcome to the K-Prize roll of honour, aka the K-Prize party guest list. :) 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/19/2020 at 9:45 AM, Space Nerd said:

So can I use DLC parts?

I have a Minmus SSTO that used twin wolfhound engines for its high thrust and 380 vacuum ISP, hopefully it's not considered overpowered.

Sorry if it's already answered.

 If you mean stock DLC from Squad then all stock parts for all the parts of the released game are OK. See rule #3 in the OP. Stock Wolfhounds are very useful. :)


3. All fuel tanks, wings (ie lift generators & aerodynamic environments) and engine parts must be stock, for fairness.

If you mean a mod part then its OK if it is a graphical mod. If the mod changes stock physics characteristics for lift or drag etc then any mission including it is not eligible for a K-Prize because one point of the K-Prize challenge is to encourage comparisons which are meaningless if you can use mod parts with exaggerated performance.

Since clipping and widgit use are part of the stock build experience anything you can make using these is valid. 

Edited by boolybooly
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I flew a plane I built a while ago...  It will go to orbit, dock with something, and come back.  It has about 800m/s at LKO.  It flies really well, and can takeoff and land around 60 mps.  Easy to make a runway landing





@boolybooly Thanks for letting me know.  

I updated an old craft called Strix, first flown in 2016, to be compatible with the latest version of KSP.  I completed a test flight where I took off from the runway at the space center, flew to orbit, completed a single orbit, then de-orbited and landed back on the same runway I took off from.  This plane has 800 m/s DV in orbit, and a low takeoff / landing speed, making it perfect for a re-usable orbiter/lander on Laythe.  

Edited by CalmLlama
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@CalmLlama , thanks for sharing your screenshots. That looks like a nice pilot friendly spaceplane and I would like to award the K-Prize but cannot because ... not wishing to sound pedantic ... it can only be awarded for a report of a specific mission not for a craft. Saying that a craft has these capabilities is not the same as saying it actually flew a mission and how it achieved the K-Prize challenge objectives. I hope that makes sense. Also a name for the craft would help, though I can make one up if you like! :) 

All you need to do is add a little text documenting a mission flown.

Edited by boolybooly
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