boolybooly

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

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Here is something big I've been working on for a while - a 600 part cargo SSTO capable of putting a 40 tonne cargo on Minmus and returning home. Should hopefully qualify for multiple distinctions :)

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I'd like to submit my first entry to this (or any) challenge for consideration.

I would like to be considered for the Minimalist prize, as I managed to beat the current Minimalist record by a whopping 0.1T. Also, managed to land safely on the KSC runway.

I came up with a hare-brained scheme to shave weight, which didn't work out: I felt I didn't really need landing gear, as the engine has more than enough thrust to launch vertically from the runway. This plan didn't pan out for two reasons. First, the rules actually state you need to launch horizontally. The second (and more important) reason I didn't go this route is that the parachute only works if you still have landing gear underneath. The impact speed is too much for the rest of the vessel. So, had to put the landing gear back on, but no longer needed the parachute.

My entry is called "Tiny SSTO", with a launch weight of 4.3T. It achieved orbit, with a PE>70km, and was able to return to KSC for a safe landing on the runway. It is very stable (when empty) and also very maneuverable. The empty stability was very important, as I use wing loading to add drag as needed during the descent to keep the trajectory close to the KSC. With such a short plane, placing the COL close to the COM like I normally do caused stability issues at high angles of attack. So I ended up with the COL quite a ways aft of the COM.

I play completely stock, no mods at all. So my ascents are not even remotely close to ideal, I just have to point it in the general direction I think will work, and hope for the best. With an ascent planner or a better pilot, you could probably get this ship to orbit with less fuel.

This is also my first attempt at embedding IMGUR stuff, hope this works..

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Edited by RexKramer
First time embedding IMGUR albums.

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The RAMSES 1 had no docking/RCS capabilities, so...

RELEASE THE KRS-1!!! IMAGE HEAVY!

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Just made a couple of adjustments to my new Triangle spaceplane (see here). I took a bit of advice on ascent paths from this thread, and it worked out well. The spoilers are very image heavy, covering the whole journey.

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First, a glamour shot on the runway before takeoff. This is the Triangle, a one-man, drone-piloted spaceplane with a single turboramjet and four 48-7S engines for propulsion. Inside that bay is the probe core, solar panels, and batteries, for safekeeping against reentry heat. The plane docks with its nose, and doesn't carry any cargo. Some of the fuel in the central tank has been removed to reduce weight.

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Here is the Triangle docked to Stopover Station, my current career mode space station at 100km circular orbit around Kerbin. I just docked, then undocked, without transferring anything. The Triangle flew up uncrewed, and the whole path is available in the spoilers above. In summary, however, I took off from the runway and immediately levelled out. Then, I built speed to about 340m/s, increased angle to 30 degrees slowly so as not to lose too much speed, then levelled off again around 11km. Here I built speed to roughly 1km/s, and began to climb again, trying to continue accelerating. I switched to map view, and tried to keep apoapse one minute away, firing the rockets when I needed to. I put the apoapse to 75km, coasted there, circularised, and then set up for docking. I had to turn my graphics down as the station came within physics distance... but I turned them up again once out of physics distance after separating.

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Finally, here is the plane landed back on the runway. I actually managed this first try, but I wasted some of the oxidiser firing rockets to adjust the descent where I could have just used the air and my angle. There's still lots of excess fuel in the plane, but I might want to keep some of that as a safety margin.

So, I think this qualifies for Advanced Pilot Proficiency 1st class?

Edited by Concentric

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Congratulations to ...

Zaddy23 Utilitarial Commendation, Advanced Pilot Precision Award with the ship with no name.

kookoo_gr with Valkyrie Mk-I.

hazard-ish Utilitarial Distinction (Minmus mining base + scansat) Advanced Pilot Precision Award with SSTO Shipment 1.

RexKramer Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Tiny SSTO (minimalist record holder 4.3t).

TrainEngie Advanced Pilot Precision Award 1st Class with KRS-1.

Concentric Advanced Pilot Precision Award 1st Class with Triangle.

... for completing the K-Prize mission successfully and thanks all for your mission reports I am sure aspiring spaceplane pilots will find them valuable reading. Welcome to the K-Prize party guest list aka the roll of honour.

... and commiserations to FlipNascar for exploding on impact, well done on saving the Kerbal though! Nevertheless I am afraid it had to be linked on the gatecrashers list! :)

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Zaddy23 Utilitarial Commendation, Advanced Pilot Precision Award with the ship with no name.

Oh, oops, forgot to mention the name of the craft was the ZSA Wallaby :sticktongue:

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Made another one. This time, I didn't dock, but I carried a payload designed to do single-person crew transfers between Stopover and MunRod. It masses 3.515t and just about fits in the cargo bay of the Delta Drone.

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Here's the drone before takeoff.

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The fuel balance ended up a little off, but it got up there. The engine situation is a little different, too: once out of the atmosphere, I shut off the Sparks to use the higher isp of the Terrier, as the thrust boost wasn't needed.

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I quicksaved before letting the payload out, then reloaded to that point. I had to turn down my graphics for rendezvous with Stopover, and I have no images of that. But the drone can't dock, anyway. The payload was released there, and docked while the plane drifted away.

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And here we are, back on the ground. The fuel situation is kind of off: over 220 excess oxidiser, but only 150 excess liquid fuel. Still, it got the job done, I guess. Might want to finetune it, is all. I also did another plane, but that one didn't do anything that hadn't been exceeded by either the Triangle or the Delta Drone.

Still, utilitarian.

Edited by Concentric

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Aircraft name: Minotaur Orbiter

Aircraft mass on launch: 110.1 t

Propulsion: 8xRAPIER, 4xPuff for precision orbital maneuvers (not used in this flight)

Pilot: Kenlan Kerman (EVA in orbit)

Payload to orbit: 1.7 t ion-powered science satellite (see screenshots)

Orbit attained: 127x82 km

Landing on KSC runway.

Flight time: 0:52:42.

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Edited by Haruspex

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Obviously, using a single jet and rocket engine is the most efficient way to build a SSTO, right? At least until the RAPIER, but my current career isn't there yet.

It would have been simpler if there were two centers of mass to align the trust vectors with. But moving the center of lift way back did a similar trick.

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Congratulations to ...

Concentric - Utilitarial Commendation, Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Delta Drone.

Dfthu Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Far-Reacher SSTO.

kalabaddon Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Pocket Rocket MkI.

Haruspex Utilitarial Commendation, Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Minotaur Orbiter.

StanK Advanced Pilot Precision Award with One Rocket, One Jet, One Fuel.

... for completing the K-Prize challenge with flying colours. Thanks for your mission reports featuring some interesting craft designs which I am sure other space plane designers will find food for thought. Welcome (back for some) to the K-Prize party guest list aka the roll of honour.

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Here's my entry of the K-PRize Challenge! It's nothing fancy or anything. I was going for a small/ light ship. I managed to build a 6t SSTO- ship ( with 18 parts).

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Here she is... the K-prize SSTO. Weighs 6 tonnes

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Ready for lift off

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I still don't know what the best ascend profile is... But I guess this works

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I have no idea what I'm doing

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We're in orbit! hurray for me!

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Getting back to the KSC... and we're coming in hot

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A nice view of the KSC

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We're almost there

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Touchdown! Time for some ice cream!

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Or visit my Flickr Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskkhhK69

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I thought I had entered this already, but can't see my name on the roll of honour, so it must have been another SSTO challenge I entered.

My entry for this one is Kiter SSTO

40 parts

26.1t

Kiter SSTO is capable of rendezvousing and docking with space stations up to 350km orbit, and has seating for 6 Kerbals for crew rotation duties. Fuel is tight to reach a 350km orbit, so for de-orbiting without refuelling, I limit it to 200km orbits.

Ready to go

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Docked at 350km

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Just short of touchdown

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Przemqo and Scarecrow88, can you please confirm that you completed the K-Prize mission if you want to be included in the roll of honour.

eg I need to know if a mission was completed from start to finish in its entirety and not just if a ship is capable of doing it. Did it reach orbit with PE > 70km and did it land intact ? Your word is good enough but you need to say what your craft did wrt the challenge mission, the images you kindly showed in the thread do not tell enough of the story to confirm completion and you didnt otherwise say that you did. It would be wrong of me to asume you had if you hadnt, some people come here just to share designs. Hope that makes sense. :)

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Sure:) I was able to reach 100x100km with a little bit of fuel left. After that I did reentry and landed on runway. I did it few times, but unfortunately not all of them were completely successful :P

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My entry made it to space and back in one piece but because I used it to ferry crew to my station at 350km I needed to add some fuel for the de-orbit burn. I'll fly it again to a lower orbit in order to comply with the challenge fully. Watch this space.

ETA: New mission flown and K-challenge completed. Single flight to 166k x 166k orbit with 2 crew on board. No saves or reverts, nothing dropped and nothing taken on board. Landing was back on the runway at KSC.

Edited by Scarecrow88

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I've owned KSP for a little over 3 years. In all that time I have NEVER made an SSTO work (or at least not a useful one) - until today!

Presenting my entry - The "I can't believe it made it" - all the important parts of the plane are stock, but the payload has a remote-tech antenna, and the plane has a Novapunch decoupler (for the payload) and reaction wheel. I could replace them with stock parts, but the rules just say fuel tanks, engines and lift generators must be stock.

Don't know if it matters, but I used Mechjeb for information, holding prograde a couple of times on re-entry, and to give me a guide down onto the runway (but I landed it myself). 96x96 orbit, and landed back on the runway perfectly.

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Edited by severedsolo
Just cleaned up the text a little.

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I just successfully completed my first SSTO spaceplane mission and only used stock parts. But I suspect I don't qualify for the K-prize because I have FAR installed?

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Correct RCgothic, I am afraid it changes the flight conditions which means we are not comparing like for like, though there are several gatecrashers who did likewise so if you wanted to make a mission report then it would get a link among the infamous ;) gatecrashers!

Thanks very much for the recent mission reports and clarifications. Congratulations to...

Przemqo Pilot Proficiency Medal with Kescape.

xendelaar Advanced Pilot Precision Award with K-Prize.

Scarecrow88 Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Kiter SSTO.

severedsolo Utilitarial Commendation, Advanced Pilot Precision Award with I can't believe it made it.

... for completing the K-Prize challenge and welcome to the party guest list. See you at the dog and booster, hope the car park will be big enough...!

PS Woohoo! page 100, I think we might need an extra party to celebrate! Many thanks to all who have contributed over the three+ years the challenge has been running. Pats on backs all around!:D

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[quote name=boolybooly;2226605...

...PS Woohoo! page 100' date=' I think we might need an extra party to celebrate! Many thanks to all who have contributed over the three+ years the challenge has been running. Pats on backs all around!:D

Congrat's to YOU for this excellent challenge boolybooly !!!

And i think it's 200 pages... not 100 ;)

Fly safe with Valentina :)

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Thankyou astrobond, very kind.

I guess the page count depends on our personal profile preferences for how many posts are loaded per page. Nevertheless, it says 100 here and that is a lot of contributions whichever way you look at it, so thanks everyone and thanks to Squad for all the nice spaceplane parts. I wonder when life will begin to immitate art and someone will build a spaceplane for real, one day I feel sure.

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I'm fairly proud of my cargo SSTO spaceplane, which can take up to 100 tons of cargo to LKO. It can be seen used in part 2 of my manned Eve mission series, deploying the Kerbin-Eve round trip space tug, and then landed in part 5

Part 2: Take off and orbit

Part 5: Landing (On runway)

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Thankyou EvermoreAlpaca, looks like a very capable spaceplane from your mission videos. So did you run the mission specifically to work in harmony with the K-Prize rules? Looks complete for a Utilitarial Commendation plus Advanced Pilot Precision Award, assuming there was no fuel usage from the payload during the lift to orbit, which I was unable to verify, can you confirm that? Your word is good enough, just to be sure I am not assuming anything.

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