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A question on the practicality of Space Shuttles


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Hey,

So I've never actually bothered with *mostly recoverable* spacecraft or full blown SSTOs with rockets being so much more effective and simpler. However, I've also installed a few mods that ask rather high sums for the parts in the career mode, so it would seem I should start taking recovery more seriously to both save my money up and to recover the expensive engines and I would like to ask about the practically of this.

On average, what's the operating cost of a shuttle in percentage? How much of the starting sum do you never see again?

Should I just go with SSTOs? I've tried before but I could never build one, admittedly not having tried much, but there's also some charm in the Space Shuttle; after all however impractical was at times it's still one of the most iconic spacecraft and one of the first you learn about as a kid. Are such systems sensible in KSP? Maybe I could just take some of those oversized SRBs from the SpaceY mod and recover them with chutes and slap them on something with no other detachable parts?

Let me know about your ways to deal with recovery and efficient operation.

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Well, in KSP I also think landing is the most challenging part of an SSTO mission. Usually because the plane you are flying is a big and unwieldy whale, and it's so heavy and has so little lift for the supersonic phase, you have to come in fast. Kinda like the STS landings actually....

With smaller craft it's usually a relaxed affair.

And....I want stock rotors in KSP. Damn fixed wing dictatorship...

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Hang on, hang on! We're all missing the most important statement in the OP:

...[the Space Shuttle is] still one of the most iconic spacecraft and one of the first you learn about as a kid

*Sob* Apollo was still the icon when I was a kid (and whether it would get to the moon).

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And I will double it here:

Okay.

I tried to make career-useful shuttle. Well, I mostly cheated my way through anything that stood between me and design and test process, yet the results.

First of all, I still fail at shuttles, at Mk3 shuttles at least, I mean.

Second, it is possible to bring Mk3 shuttle stack up to 6 000 m/s of delta-vee for less than ~110 000 funds with solid boosters and for ~140 000 funds with liquid ones with ~40 000 funds recovered - I just need to tweak engine placement (I tried to design stack without RCS building aid mod, because I am too often rely on it).

I used MPL as payload and benchmarked my shuttle against space station contracts. Payment for successful science-lab-including five-kerballed space station is 132 250 funds. Double this figure for the Mun station contract.

That means that the shuttle stack will pay itself in stock career, in three-four runs for Kerbin or if you lucky in one Munshot.

Are there more economically efficient designs? Sure.

Still the STS-alike can be profitable in KSP. Maybe I will refine the design so it will be easy in use even for me in couple days.

So non-optimized design should bring like 30-40% of recoverability and have uses in stock.

Hope it helped and hope I'm not too late.

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Guys I think there's a way to recover the first stage of a rocket without mods! I think attaching a probe core will let it be recovered, provided it has parachutes.

Probe cores don't stop things being despawned due to atmosphere. I forget what the exact figures are, but it's something like below 30km altitude and beyond 5km distance from the active craft, anything in an atmosphere despawns regardless whether it's got a crew, probe core or anything, UNLESS it's already stationary on the surface.

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