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


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Posted (edited)

So many puns & I like the interesting Pompidou vibe going on there. 

But there is the small matter of breaking K-Prize rules with a vertical take off and first stage separation, also the whole not landing thing, so it will have to be linked in the OP as a gatecrasher,  with a well earned customary quip.

@OJT consider yourself entitled but not compelled to display the gatecrasher badge of anarchic iconoclastic rebellion.  :wink:

 

Edited by boolybooly
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Something I've built while experimenting with weight optimizations

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Manned, has enough battery charge for short near Kerbin operations. Got it to 5935 kg. Haven't checked the submissions from other users, but I reckon this might be one of the lightest manned SSTOs here. Let me know if this is light enough to be eligible for Minimalist rank @boolybooly

Spoiler

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As I got to 1800ish m/s of orbital speed, I switched the RAPIER to Closed Cycle mode and pushed the rest of the way

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70x72 km orbit reached

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I used the rest of my oxidizer to deorbit

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I overshot KSC a bit, so I turned around and flew a bit under engine power: I still had some liquid fuel left over

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Landing was a bit sketchy due to narrow wheelbase. Took me two attempts to stick it

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Now if only Reaction Engines can do the same!

Well flown @OJT and congratulations once again on completing the K-Prize mission successfully with a the Lightweight Manned SSTO, even timing reentry with enough left over to land at KSC runway for a well deserved Advanced Pilot Precision Award.

However it is my duty to report that Lt_Duckweed has the minimalist record (which does not distinguish between kerballed and unkerballed missions) at 0.835t. So there is your target.

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42 minutes ago, boolybooly said:

Now if only Reaction Engines can do the same!

Well flown @OJT and congratulations once again on completing the K-Prize mission successfully with a the Lightweight Manned SSTO, even timing reentry with enough left over to land at KSC runway for a well deserved Advanced Pilot Precision Award.

However it is my duty to report that Lt_Duckweed has the minimalist record (which does not distinguish between kerballed and unkerballed missions) at 0.835t. So there is your target.

Huh, I assumed that there was a certain weight limit that one must go under to get the Minimalist rank. From what I understood, it is an "absolute" rank (meaning if you want to get it, you need to break the record)

Still, at least I got my fourth Advanced Pilot Precision award :)

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Made another SSTO, and actually took a picture of the orbit this time!

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This is where I turned closed cycle on. (I think)

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I'll try spinning, that's a good trick!

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Landed, although I went a bit too fast on the runway.

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The first and last pictures are really different. You can see what changed between KSP 0.15 and KSP 1.12, it's wonderful!

P.S: This thread is probably the oldest on the forums to be still updated by its OP, congrats!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @Nazalassa :D

 

In which case @Admiral Fluffy congratulations are in order for successfully completing the K-Prize mission with the capable looking Lurker and returning to land safely at KSC on flat terrain which earned the greatly respected kudos of a Pilot Proficiency Medal. It is the tradition of the K-Prize that those who report a successful mission and win the K-Prize after gatecrashing have the option to choose whether to keep their gatecrasher listing or have it expunged. Your call, if you say nothing I will do nothing!

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

 

Edited by boolybooly
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  • 1 month later...

I've used a few SSTOs in my career save, shuttling crew.  These were difficult, because I don't have Rapier yet, and I was always hauling a heavy Nerv engine with me.  Several weeks ago, with a couple of LKO rescues coming up, I reevaluated mission requirements, and realized I don't need that Nerv engine.  The mission of my SSTOs right now is LKO rescues, and crew transfers to and from my LKO station.  So I built an SSTO for my first rescue, then realized it had non-stock parts.

Here's my latest, "Jackie Cochran".  All stock parts.  Seven seats, two Whiplash engines and an aerospike Dart.  Small cargo bay, outfitted for this mission with a claw and solar panels.  I did test the parachutes, and the front two need to be further forward, but it will land intact with parachutes.

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Here's the rescue mission.  My "F1" screen capture isn't capturing everything, so I switched to Windows-Alt-PrtSc (Xbox screen capture) somewhere in the middle of the mission.

Ascent to orbit (5 images)

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Begin takeoff roll

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Almost max jet speed

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Aerospike does the rest

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Circularizing

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Very circular, very low orbit of 70,749 x 70,704

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Rendezvous and Rescue (5 images)

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Intercept burn

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11m away

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Ready the claw

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407cm away

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Got it!

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After transferring Johnsy, it was time to head home (13 images)

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Deorbit burn

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Release the capsule

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Ready for reentry

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Visible heat at 50km altitude

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Still descending

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Feet dry

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Full throttle for more speed and altitude

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Cut throttle and glide the rest of the way (with a little fuel still in reserve)

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Gliding in

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13km from KSC

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Almost there

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Almost went off the right side of the runway

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Full stop

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Here's the whole album.  Most of these photos are already included above, but there are a few extras.  https://imgur.com/a/cfMWTZC

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Congratulations @Poppa Wheelie on completing the K-Prize mission successfully with the capable career focussed orbital rescue vessel Jackie Cochran. Transferring and rescuing Johnsy earns the sought after Utilitarial Commendation and docking in orbit plus landing on the KSC runway earns the highly regarded Advanced Pilot Precision Award 1st Class.

Well flown, thankyou for your mission report and welcome to the K-Prize roll of honour aka the K-Prize party guest list. See you there!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, imcute said:

does underclocked engines count as refueling?

? What do you mean "underclocked" ? 

Does that mean fuel use rate (ISP) is modified? Or do you mean thruster power slider reduced via context menu?

It could not count as refuelling anyway if no fuel was added to the tanks,  but it could count as modded parts if you edited the engine for non-stock ISP fuel use, which would break rule #3 in the OP.

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

If you just mean the thrust slider is adjusted down using the context menu, as part of stock gameplay it is fine. :) That would not change thrust/fuel ISP ratio, just alters max thrust and permits low thrust  fine adjustments to velocity which is often useful to make a rendezvous etc.

Does that answer your question?

Edited by boolybooly
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Just now, boolybooly said:

? What do you mean "underclocked" ? 

Does that mean fuel use rate (ISP) is modified? Or do you mean thruster power slider reduced via context menu?

It could not count as refuelling anyway if no fuel was added to the tanks,  but it could count as modded parts if you edited the engine for non-stock ISP fuel use, which would break rule #3 in the OP.

If you just mean the thrust slider is adjusted down using the context menu, as part of stock gameplay it is fine. :) That would not change thrust/fuel ISP ratio, just alters max thrust and permits low thrust  fine adjustments to velocity which is often useful to make a rendezvous etc.

Does that answer your question?

What they mean is abusing the KAL-1000 to change the thrust limiter to below 0. If you do that, the engine will start generating fuel.

In case you're unaware, the KAL-1000 does not check limits, so you can set parameters like the thrust limiter to values outside the range allowed in the context menu.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, QF9E said:

What they mean is abusing the KAL-1000 to change the thrust limiter to below 0. If you do that, the engine will start generating fuel.

In case you're unaware, the KAL-1000 does not check limits, so you can set parameters like the thrust limiter to values outside the range allowed in the context menu.

Thanks for explaining, that adds fuel to the tanks so OK definitely a gatecrasher on grounds of refuelling!

I am all for regenerational braking in EVs. I think in rocketry this is not possible yet, though with a scoop you could compress atmospheric gas using energy of velocity in theory, which could give you compressed thrust mass and slow the craft down, which is the kind of thing which might even be possible for real with Reaction Engines' SABRE hypersonic ramjet heat exchange tech one day.

 

Edited by boolybooly
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9 hours ago, QF9E said:

What they mean is abusing the KAL-1000 to change the thrust limiter to below 0. If you do that, the engine will start generating fuel.

In case you're unaware, the KAL-1000 does not check limits, so you can set parameters like the thrust limiter to values outside the range allowed in the context menu.

yes(i thought that the only use of kals are for setting values more than 100 or less than 0 without file editing)

9 hours ago, boolybooly said:

Thanks for explaining, that adds fuel to the tanks so OK definitely a gatecrasher on grounds of refuelling!

hmmmp

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Well, gonna gatecrash this thread with an SSTO that is so OP, it broke my game...

How did it all start? I saw that QF9E holds the Altitudinalist Record of this thread, reaching 1 Petameter and returning to Kerbin. I reckoned I could have a crack at it, installed BetterTimeWarp and went into the SPH

After a bit of experimenting I ended up with this

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Simple and straightforward design, RAPIER for atmospheric ascent and offset NERVA for vacuum

Ascent was standard, nothing to mention here: RAPIER pushed the plane up to 25ish km and then NERVA was engaged and burned the rest of the way to LKO

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My plan for this mission was to get some gravity assists to raise Sun apoapsis and then burn at periapsis once it is high enough to save some fuel

First up is Eve. The ejection was done in two burns

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This would be the result of the Eve fly-by

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Eve fly-by

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After that I set up a Kerbin fly-by

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Kerbin fly-by

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After couple of orbits around the Sun I set up a second Kerbin fly-by

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This one will be a powered fly-by: I will be engaging the NERVA at Kerbin periapsis to get that extra kick I need

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Final orbit prognosis: 71,5 Petameters. This would shatter the current record

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Keyword "would"

Here's where things got messy: first sound broke, then the ingame timer capped out at 32-bit integer value, then both Ap and Pe markers disappeared and then the plane couldn't even get close to the Sun no matter how much I played with timewarp settings: velocity would get to around 11 m/s and then swing back to 0 and this went back and forth

I thought "yeah this is pretty freaky, but I have a save before Kerbin fly-by, I will just reload". And as I opened my menu to load a save... all of my saves disappeared. I thought "now this is REALLY freaky, I better Ctrl+Alt+Del the game and restart it". And as I did that I saw that all of my gamesaves were gone aswell. My Career save, all of my Sandbox saves, everything got wiped. And even though I wasn't too stressed about it, it was still quite annoying as I had some dope crafts on these saves

TLDR: I inadvertedly cosplayed Danny2462

@boolybooly reckon this is good enough for a Gatecrasher? :lol:

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7 hours ago, imcute said:

yes(i thought that the only use of kals are for setting values more than 100 or less than 0 without file editing)

Never tried to build a walking robot? The KAL-1000 comes in pretty handy when you want have multiple parts moving in unison.

In my opinion the KAL-1000 not checking for limits is a pretty big oversight of the game designers. KSP is supposed to be a somewhat realistic spaceflight simulator. You cannot run real-life engines at negative thrust to produce fuel, nor can you run real-life engines at, say, 10x their rated thrust.

And besides, using the KAL-1000 in that fashion removes almost all difficulty from the game. While it is not up to me to tell you that how you play this game is wrong, you won't earn my respect by exploiting loopholes.

But I'm ending this discussion here. I don't want to derail @boolybooly's excellent SSTO challenge any more than we have done already.

6 hours ago, OJT said:

Here's where things got messy: first sound broke, then the ingame timer capped out at 32-bit integer value, then both Ap and Pe markers disappeared and then the plane couldn't even get close to the Sun no matter how much I played with timewarp settings: velocity would get to around 11 m/s and then swing back to 0 and this went back and forth

I thought "yeah this is pretty freaky, but I have a save before Kerbin fly-by, I will just reload". And as I opened my menu to load a save... all of my saves disappeared. I thought "now this is REALLY freaky, I better Ctrl+Alt+Del the game and restart it". And as I did that I saw that all of my gamesaves were gone aswell. My Career save, all of my Sandbox saves, everything got wiped. And even though I wasn't too stressed about it, it was still quite annoying as I had some dope crafts on these saves

That exactly mirrors my experience when I was setting the record. My current record is about at the limit of what the game engine allows.

To get back your saves: delete the "persistent" save file in the campaign where you attempted the record. Your other saves are still there, it's just that the menu loading screen where you can choose which campaign you want to continue breaks if one of the save files is corrupted.

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2 hours ago, QF9E said:

Never tried to build a walking robot

the idea itself is meaningless for me(why would u walk if u could fly)

2 hours ago, QF9E said:

using the KAL-1000 in that fashion removes almost all difficulty from the game

i use it to make my manuver errors acceptable(bad manuvering causes waste of fuel)but i also use it in small probes that are not supposed to bring lots of fuel or use ion engines

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2 hours ago, QF9E said:

nor can you run real-life engines at, say, 10x their rated thrust.

Well this does actually exist at a smaller level, for example the space shuttle would lift off running at 104% thrust on the RS-25s and if I remember correctly they could go to 110%

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9 hours ago, OJT said:

... reckon this is good enough for a Gatecrasher? :lol:

Yup ...

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- Was flying high until pilot Jebediah Kerman fell off the map, entered the twilight zone and was eaten by a cyber dragon. We salute your sacrifice but no admittance without a bonafide ticket.

 

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5 hours ago, QF9E said:

To get back your saves: delete the "persistent" save file in the campaign where you attempted the record. Your other saves are still there, it's just that the menu loading screen where you can choose which campaign you want to continue breaks if one of the save files is corrupted

Appreciate the help mate: this fixed other savefiles. I will try to be more modest in my next attempts :lol:

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15 hours ago, camacju said:

Well this does actually exist at a smaller level, for example the space shuttle would lift off running at 104% thrust on the RS-25s and if I remember correctly they could go to 110%

I have also flown equipment with similar limit labels, one that comes to mind is an engine variant on which max power was 103.5%.  It is possible there was a good reason for doing that, but it always struck me as absurd, and unnecessarily confusing.

Also reminds me of Nigel Tufnel’s amplifier that ‘goes to eleven’.  (Spinal Tap)

In the end, you don’t get any more power out of the engine, the amp isn’t any louder, etc.  They just changed the label to have a different upper value than what would make more sense.

I do also recall that the RS25s had an upper safe range above ‘100%’.

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17 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

It is possible there was a good reason for doing that, but it always struck me as absurd, and unnecessarily confusing.

I feel like the reason for the RS-25s was that they were upgraded to produce slightly more power, but their "rated power" remained the same?

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1 hour ago, camacju said:

I feel like the reason for the RS-25s was that they were upgraded to produce slightly more power, but their "rated power" remained the same?

Yes, that certainly makes sense.  With enough operational experience it’s possible to expand the envelope safely.   Plus, to keep everybody on the same page (thousands of engineers with the shuttle program), it also makes sense to keep the same thrust values for ‘100%’, instead of keeping track of different values for different engine variants.

In the case of the engine I mentioned from earlier in my career, it was set to an odd value from day one.  

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After failing my Altitudinalist attempt, I decided to do the complete opposite of it and reach as low of a Kerbin orbit as I could. I present you...

The Anti-Altitudinalist

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Flying to Orbit. The whole ascent went super smooth

Spoiler

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After circularizing I carefully adjusted my orbit with RCS thrusters and achieved orbit of 70000.2x70000.3 meters

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Deorbiting and reentering

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Flying towards the runway

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Smooth landing

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In which case, congratulations @OJT on completing the K-Prize mission successfully with the minimum of excess altitude. Altitude is a double edged sword and too little can be as dangerous as too much but in this case the K-Prize committee agreed that almost exactly the right amount at both ends of the orbit entitles you to a discretionary Goldilocks award in addition to the highly regarded  Advanced Pilot Precision Award for landing on the runway at KSC.

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- Advanced Pilot Precision Award with AntiAltitudinalist . (Discretionary Goldilocks award.)

Thankyou for your mission report and well done on retrieving Jeb from the gizzards of the cyber dragon, welcome back to the K-Prize party guest list aka the K-Prize roll of honour.

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