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


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Here is my entry: the S1 Shooting Star. It's a cargo plane that can take 2.2 tonnes worth of payload to a 75km orbit. It's not my first spaceplane, but it's the first that's well-documented enough to qualify for the K Prize.

 

My other spaceplane design flew better and could be landed at the runway easily, but I've unfortunately lost the craft file for it (but I needed this new design anyway for the payload capacity).

Edited by eloquentJane
Fixed the imgur embed.
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Well, here's my entry; my Hayha SSTO was designed to basically be flung wide but refuel on the way...but the K-prize rules said no refuelling, so I decided to forego landing and just did a flyby of both Mün and Minmus. Fell a little short of landing on KSC soil, but I was close! I think I'm starting to get the hang of piloting at the very least.

I've documented how to get into orbit with this thing in my thread's imgur album, so I'm just gonna include the flyby pictures in this one. Craft file here if you wanna try it out.

 

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I had wanted to try this mission profile for a while, and somehow playing pure stock during the pre-release gave me the urge to do it now. It was fun to design it with only stock tools and a spreadsheet, and it gave me my first specific clues as to exactly how much oxidizer needs to be on board a SSTO spaceplane. The full 1.1 release rolled out between the lander's return and the plane's re-entry, and I installed mods at that point, so KER starts showing up then.

The ship is regrettably named the Femtolander 1.1. The takeoff shows an earlier model than ended up completing the trip because I forgot to re-take those screenshots on the successful attempt (the 1.25m LFO tank moves from back to front, and I think I changed the lander's engine). I got kind of sloppy with the screenshots in general because I was focused on the piloting, but hopefully the combination of the altitude, orbital velocity, and prograde vector on the horizon is enough to demonstrate that orbit was made. Satisfyingly, the lander had almost the exact amount of fuel that it needed.

 

Edited by HebaruSan
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I was playing around with sending tiny payloads to space using tiny rockets, when i realized i had accidentally forgotten to stage... at all? So i wondered, how tiny can i SSTO? It turns out the answer is at least 1.43 tonnes tiny, so long as unnecessary luxuries are foregone, such as control surfaces and multiple wheels.

So here we have Little Oneleg - brought to you by the magic of reaction wheels! Just barely (72.5km/70.5km) reaches orbit, and easily lands back on the KSC runway :).

 

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Congratulations to... 

version 1.0.5

Caligari Kosmokerbal Commendation with Hayha SSTO.

version 1.1

eloquentJane Utilitarial Commendation with S1 Shooting Star.

HebaruSan Utilitarial Commendation, Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Femtolander 1.1.

mesilliac Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Little Oneleg (minimalist record holder 1.43t).

... for completing the K-Prize mission with flying colours. Thankyou for your mission reports and welcome to the K-Prize role of honour aka guest list for the K-Prize party, yaaaay!

 

 

Bad luck to micr0wave and JebsDead for being spotted in the act of gatecrashing due to the misfortune of doing a rolypoly on landing and losing wings and exploding unidentified parts on reentry respectively. Thanks for your reports which I have linked with mild mannered quips on the gatecrashers list. Hope you had fun.

Edited by boolybooly
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Dammit.

I had a mission going on for this challenge, but I now decided to quit it unfinished. Neither the craft nor the savegame made it into KSP 1.1, and I would have to continue the mission in 1.0.5.

A reentry profile and runway landing procedure was developed before the actual mission started. More bodies were planned to be visited. But to actually do all of this would now be a chore, as 1.1 is so much faster on my computer that I never want to launch 1.0.5 again.

This is not really bad, but rather a bit embarrassing, because I had recently boastfully promised to attempt an "exceptionally, spectacularly silly" entry, flying a "profoundly bonkers" craft. Now, I'm standing here with empty hands, as far as the K-prize rules are concerned. I mean, Duna is beautiful and all, but probably slightly too far away from the KSC runway to count for the "... and back" part of this challenge, right?

However, since the main purpose of my craft was to be silly and entertaining, I will show pictures of the unfinished mission below, and say a few words about the mission, and some more about the craft.
 

The Mission went to Minmus first, for refuelling by ISRU. Landed there with less than 1% of fuel left - I would likely not have beaten this sort of craziness for the rest of the mission anyway! Went to Duna next; the vessel carries some Duna-specific landing equipment. Suboptimal landing spot, slightly missing good ore reserves. Went on a cross country trip on wheels to get to a better mining location, when KSP 1.1 came along. Mirgy and her 1.0.5 universe are now frozen in time forever. (She doesn't know.)
 

The Circular Crackpot Contraption is a single seat, ISRU capable, interplanetary vessel, designed for horizontal takeoff and landing on all bodies that are named "Kerbin". Its outstanding uselessness can be quickly summarized: it's huge, uses lots of parts, but carries only one Kerbal and no payload. Delta-V or similar useful data isn't known, as this sort of information makes way too much sense for a craft like this. Given the silly shape of the thing, even the delta-V value would probably have been rounded to the point of being about as useless as the vessel itself.

But what really sets this craft apart, where plain and common stupidity has to make way for breathtakingly advanced, high grade, raging lunacy, is the "aerodynamic" layout.

No wings.
No control surfaces.
No fins.
No airbrakes.
    
But I insist that it's a spaceplane!

It does fly using aerodynamic lift. Apart from a little lift generated by tanks, most lift is derived from an outrageous abuse of a giant payload fairing.

(Yes! It's true! A saucer-shaped fairing, moving through the air sideways, behaves very much like you would expect it to do IRL. I was surprised to find this, because I had assumed that the simplified aero model of KSP would only properly deal with the fairing when flying along the intended orientation.)

Obviously, such a vehicle is a nightmare in terms of control and balance. Despite liberal reaction wheel spamming, the CG absolutely has to be, and needs to stay, exactly in the center, otherwise the handling turns from "unbelievably bad" to "utterly impossible to not wreck" quickly. This presented a huge problem with engine placement. After some time, I arrived at the solution of placing the nukes facing forward, to balance out the bunch of Rapiers in the back.

During ascent from Kerbin - which takes ages and is a nightmare in itself - there's a moment when the Rapiers run out of OX, before even a periapsis of 70km is attained. To switch over to the nukes, the vessel needs to be rotated 180° around the yaw axis while engulfed in plasma. If that sounds like horrible handling to you, you haven't begun to consider that this maneuver is possible only because there's no rudder to begin with!

I DO NOT recommend to use fairings as wings! This was an exercise in getting something to work that's really unsuitable for the job, while not using any of the parts that should really be present on any proper airplane. The result is decidedly worse than ... really, just about anything else I've built lately.
 

 

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Here's my unmanned Low Mass contender for SSTO 1.1.2, playing stock + KER

14 parts, 6.04 tons on the Runway.  Landed back with 60 LF still in the tanks, so room for optimization.

 

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eloquentJane, fixed.

Thanks for your reports both, congratulations to Jetski for completing the K-Prize mission successfully, listed on the party guest list as follows.

Jetski Advanced Pilot Precision Award with SSTO.

n.b.z. great looking ship and report, worthy of a gatecrasher listing plus quip :wink: poor Mirgy. FYI would have been a gatecrasher anyway due to the refuelling thing.

 

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ok so this is the first time i participate in a challenge. i read the rules and i think some of my career SSTO planes should be compliant with the rules

trying to embed the imgur album - sorry if it doesn't work.

 

i guess it's worth noting that the crew plane and the fuel plane variation (last 2 images) are from a new 1.1 career. I don't have the upgraded R&D yet (which i think is even visible on the first image), so I basically had to use the Panther jet engines rather than the much more viable ramjets or RAPIERS. I was pleasantly surprised that it actually worked, so I thought I'd share a few images.

 

EDIT: after clicking through the images, I realized that there are no images of the ascent or reentry. I'll see if i can dig up some footage. I actually do use those planes, an I can assure you that I actually fly them to space (no cheats or teleport mods or anything)

Edited by mk1980
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Yes of course, stock is king (for lifting related parts and physics see first post for rules), all the 1.1s are going to be under the same version though for administrative simplicity :) unless there is a big difference in part balance. I have added a + to the version number to indicate this.

Edited by boolybooly
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1 hour ago, boolybooly said:

Yes of course, stock is king (for lifting related parts and physics see first post for rules), all the 1.1s are going to be under the same version though for administrative simplicity :) unless there is a big difference in part balance. I have added a + to the version number to indicate this.

Does it have to carry cargo or crew?
 

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58 minutes ago, Atlas2342 said:

Does it have to carry cargo or crew?
 

Nop, there are many examples of satellite pod controlled craft which have successfully completed the K-Prize eg mesilliacs recent minimalist record holder "Little Oneleg", you will find it listed in the first post.

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Looks like it, horizontal lift off check, periapsis > 70km check, touched down and stopped rolling without blowing up check!

Congratulations to ...

Atlas2342 with Northern Star.

For completing the K-Prize mission challenge successfully. Welcome to the guest list for the K-Prize party aka the roll of honour.

 

 

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did you overlook my  plane or was something missing in the images? if it's the latter, please let me know what sort of footage is missing. i think there's images from takeoff, orbit, docking and landing in the album.

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Half a year ago, it seemed alsmost impossible to me, to build a SSTO. :confused:

But here are some SSTOs that i have build since then :D

 

 

Heavy interplanetary cargo ISRU SSTO "Excalibur":  plantig a flag EVERYWHERE based on a single launch SSTO. (since ISRU ist not allowed, just count the first launch at kerbin:)

 

 

MK1 Mini SSTO. Great for orbital rescue (has a probe core for remote control) 

 


MK3 SSTO "Super Short Shuttle", verry easy to fly crew transporter, expandable as tanker, wide range or cargo SSTO. And isn't it cute? :D

 

Competition version "Z2" of my MK3 cargo drone "Zeppelin Winglift". Usually used for orbital station building AND deorbiting station parts, but in this version tuned to bring up a full 36T orange tank with minimum starting weight.

 

Further tuned competition version "Z2D" able to orbit cargo, land, launch again without refuelling, catch an deorbit cargo.

 

 

RS-17 White Phoenix, competition model that can get 4 times to orbit without refueling. Don't ask what that should be good for :D or just use ist as high range SSTO with lots of DV after launch.

 

Experimental X-Thing SSTO with ion engines. Could be tuned to land horizotal using RCS at low gravity. Have not testet yet, how far the ions will take it. :D

 

 

 

Experimental Pod1 SSTO. Needs some rebalancing to slow down landing speed :huh:

Everything absolutely stock 1.0.5

Does anyone of these qualify? :)

 

EDIT: I realized these are all a little "special" because they all were build for challenges.:D  Maybe I should take some pictures of my daily use SSTOs :huh:

Edited by Kergarin
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Mission report:

Reached LKO, performed launch of a small satellite, docked with the station in the orbit and performed fuel transfer (cargo to Kerbin simulation) and succesfully landed on the runway of KSC. Uncut video of the full mission, timeline and screenshot after landing is included (forgot to show fuel carried while recorging).

 

07:05 Achieved stable orbit and launched small satellite.
10:40 Started docking procedure.
17:30 Approaching the station.
21:00 Docked.
22:10 Transferred fuel to the ship to simulate cargo and undocked.
That fuel was not used at any moment in the mission.
28:00 Started reentry burn.
31:18 Completed reentry and proceded with flight towards landing site.
35:45 Landed and stopped.

 

lIAj5iD.jpg

I hope this was an ok way to do it.

Edited by Prieblanda
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On 5/5/2016 at 10:16 PM, mk1980 said:

did you overlook my plane or was something missing in the images? if it's the latter, please let me know what sort of footage is missing. i think there's images from takeoff, orbit, docking and landing in the album.

Yes I did overlook it sorry, I got caught up in answering questions, told myself not to forget your mission and of course promptly forgot it. But then I couldn't find a name for your ship so I gave it a temporary name, what do you want to call it?

Hopefully I have got everyone this time.

So congratulations to ...

mk1980 Advanced Pilot Precision Award 1st Class with Startours 2.

Kergarin Advanced Pilot Precision Award with MK1 Mini SSTO.

-  Advanced Pilot Precision Award with MK3 SSTO "Super Short Shuttle"

-  Utilitarial Commendation (36t), Advanced Pilot Precision Award with MK3 Z2 cargo drone "Zeppelin Winglift".

-  2x Utilitarial Commendation (36t), Advanced Pilot Precision Award with MK3 Z2D cargo drone.

-  Advanced Pilot Precision Award with Experimental X-Thing SSTO.

Prieblander 2x Utilitarial Commendation, Advanced Pilot Precision Award 1st Class with SSTO Drone "Twin".

... for completing the K-Prize mission successfully, thanks for your mission reports. Welcome to the K-Prize party guest list aka the roll of honour.

 

Kergarin I make that 5 missions. First and last were gatecrashers due to refuel from mining and "not landing" respectively but your overall record is success due to the other missions. Let me know if the last landed successfully, I construed from your comment and lack of screeny that it didn't. Fun design though.

Edited by boolybooly
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24 minutes ago, boolybooly said:

Yes I did overlook it sorry, I got caught up in answering questions, told myself not to forget your mission and of course promptly forgot it. But then I couldn't find a name for your ship so I gave it a temporary name, what do you want to call it?

I called the crew plane "Startours 2" - used it mostly to ferry tourists to the station where they would embark on mun/minmus tours with the nuclear powered spaceships docked to the station. Startours 1 was a smaller earlier version of it with only 4 seats. The cargo version I just called "Fuel Drone Mk2" (Mk1 was a failure) It's mostly a "workhorse" that delivers the liquid fuel for the spaceships so I didn't give it a fancy name. someone on the steam forums suggested I could call it "Milk Cow" :wink:

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I feel like a super KSP newb, even though I'm hundreds of hours into the game.

 

Just completed this challenge (as far as I am concerned), but would like to know if it "counts"

- I used parachutes

- I used engineer for stats info only.

Encoding my video so I can upload for proof as long as it counts!

 

edit:

 

here's the video

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LovXa2lDNlk

Edited by Hegemon
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I finally have one worth posting! This is the SP-61 Cargomaster. (Yeah, this is my 61st SSTO design attempt, and I ran out of good names a long time ago.) 
zbqdOQl.png

Been playing this game for 4 years and came close a couple of times, but this is my first one that can both carry a usefully large cargo, and do it reliably. 

It can do the orange tank thing (up to a 90km orbit). 
sz2Guy6.png 

And can carry lighter payloads up to the 200km orbit of the station it is helping to assemble. 
yRacsVx.png

And of course, return to Kerbin. 
QCZ37IG.png 

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Congratulations to ...

 

Hegemon Advanced Pilot Precision Award with SSTO.

Vanamonde Utilitarial Commendation (36t) with SP-61 Cargomaster.

... for successfully completing the K-Prize mission. Thanks for your mission reports and welcome to the elite club of K-Prize party goers.

 

Hegemon, what's it called? 

mk1980 so was did the second vehicle the Mk1 or Mk2 drone and did it complete the mission?

Edited by boolybooly
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Here are my first 1.1.2 SSTO Creations:

 

The crazy new POD1 SSTO V2 which is now landable! :)

 

 

Thats my SSSTO1 (Single Stage STATION to Orbit) :)
It is a fully functional, fully reusable orbital Space Station. You can't go much cheaper! :wink:
It also has an emergency escape pod as its nose.


If this is to small for your station needs....

Here is the Excalibur Station Lift. (to have at least one Excalibur model in here, since the Excalibur UC, which has done the Ultimate Challenge, is a gatecrasher :) )
It is able to orbit the most unaerodynamical payload: a fully assembled mid-sized space station. :wink:

 

 

This is the DELTA6 LF.
A beauty running on LF only, made for crew transfers of 6 Kerbals.

 

I like SSTOs :)

 

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