Rdivine

Bring back launch towers!

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Launch towers:

They are used on almost all operational rockets today. They provide stability, electricity, coolant, fuel flow and many more to the rocket, thus making it essential for a rocket to launch.

The old launch tower was removed as it occasionally clipped with large rockets etc. Furthermore, it didn't actually provide structural support as much as serving as an asthetics entity.

The old launch towers cannot be replaced by the launch stability enhancers. The current launch stability enhancer is unable to provide stability to tall rockets (since the base of the rocket gets wider than the top, the launch stability enhancer almost ends up clipping to the rocket all the time). The current artwork is outdated. Occasionally, the launch stability enhancer magically follows your vessel to space. Furthermore, the launch stability enhancers must be recovered after every launch, making it very inconvenient.

 

Additionally, here are some of the reasons why we should bring back launch towers:

-launch towers should be optional

-a ladder for kerbals to get up and down the tower

-fuel crossfeed from the bottom of the tower to the rocket

-allows rocket engines to actually touch the launchpad instead of magically floating above it

-allows kerbals to access the rocket from the bottom of the launchpad

-generate electricity

-3 or more arms extending from the tower to the rocket(it's length will be calculated based on the rocket's proximity to the tower) for structural support

-lights installed around the tower to illuminate the rocket at night

-provide structural support without excessive part count or use of launch stability enhancers.

-looks nice.

 

Let's share your opinions and comments on this below!

Edited by Rdivine

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Early KSP used to have a launch tower and users did not particularly liked it. It was part of the launchpad and limited rocket size. A too large and too wide rocket could hit it during lift-off.
It was removed from the game by popular demand.

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The easiest solution could be to make the horizontal part of the existing launch stabiliser extendable to increase the reach for larger rockets.

Perhaps a larger 'launch tower' version could be added at some point too, in which case it would be purely optional whether to use it or not.  It could maybe include a crew lift too as a bonus.

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20 minutes ago, pandaman said:

The easiest solution could be to make the horizontal part of the existing launch stabiliser extendable to increase the reach for larger rockets.

Perhaps a larger 'launch tower' version could be added at some point too, in which case it would be purely optional whether to use it or not.  It could maybe include a crew lift too as a bonus.

Yeah... the original tower was a bit irritating. I would prefer the current launch clamps with tweakables that allow you to make them taller and add more than one clamp which can be be made longer to accommodate wider rockets better. It'd also be nice if we could choose for them to fall down or to the side. 

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If the launch tower is optional in some way, I'm all for it. I think I would be using it at least with most of my more traditional launches, but not always.

I still do the occasional pancake launch, when I feel too lazy to assemble a wide payload in orbit and my career budget allows for the more brute force approach. I fear a permanent launch tower would permanently disallow such missions.

Also, at times, not all of my uhm.. 'launches' from the pad are intended to follow the traditional straight-up starting trajectories. In many of those cases, what I need most is every possible obstacle within an 85m radius protruding higher than 67m over sea level out of Harm Kerman's way (water tower, flag pole, and even the tanks may have had a couple of close encounters... :blush:).

So, if optional, yes please; permanent, no thank you. Optionality could come from making it a surface-attachable 'part', like the stabilizers we have now. Perhaps that would be the easiest implementation, and I could work with that.

My preferred implementation: add a 'stub' to the side of the launchpad, like an initially empty foundation (never higher than the launch deck!), that we can click from the spacecenter view to enable/disable the launchtower. If implemented, I would like to be able to see the launchtower from inside the VAB as well though, if at all possible, for consistency - in fact, could make that clickable as well to enable/disable use of the tower so you don't need to exit VAB before launching just to set/unset the tower.

I guess adding a checkbox somewhere that we click, or a question pop-up, when we click the launch button could work too.. but having that extra action for every launch if you happen to be predominantly of the non-default persuasion might get annoying quickly... so to me seems like the least preferable solution.

It would probably need to have some cost associated with it too: launch towers get damaged every launch, even if just getting the paintjob scorched. Cost could happen when 'buying' the part, or when choosing for the launchtower presence with aforementioned click-the-stub or checkbox/question implementations.

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11 hours ago, Tex_NL said:

Early KSP used to have a launch tower and users did not particularly liked it. It was part of the launchpad and limited rocket size. A too large and too wide rocket could hit it during lift-off.
It was removed from the game by popular demand.

Sorry, i did mention that the launch tower should be fully optional for rocket launches. If it wasn't selected, the launch tower would be shown retracted to the side of the crawlerway.

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Why not just build your own launch tower? 

I'm all for having towers but I'd rather be able to build my own than have a premade one that is like the launch clamps or the fasa towers. All we need is a retractable ramp, maybe by including some hinges etc.

I think what KSP needs is movable and robotic parts for things like the canadarm, ramps, movable hinges etc. 

THEN we can build our own towers. 

PS: What I'd really like to have is the ability to FUEL MY ROCKET on the launch pad. The launch clamps should have the function of fueling our rockets. We should be transporting our rockets empty and waiting to fuel them on the launch pad. It's a feature that would add to immersion. I'd also like to be able to transport Kerbals to their rockets via car from the astronaut complex. The VAB is NOT where kerbals should get onto their rocket... they should be manning their vehicles outside the VAB at the launch tower via car etc from the astronaut complex to the launch tower. 

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You know i kinda like this idea, i would try it out for sure and most likely use it for the more traditional set ups

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Why not just add more variety of Launch Stability Enhancers, they can look like launch towers.  Several versions with Mass limits.

Edited by Alshain

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5 minutes ago, Alshain said:

Why not just add more variety of Launch Stability Enhancers, they can look like launch towers.  Several versions with Mass limits.

What about recovery, kerbal transfer, lights, and actually allow the rocket to rest on the launchpad? The launch tower should be more inclined towards a building than a part.

 

1 hour ago, TeeGee said:

Why not just build your own launch tower? 

I'm all for having towers but I'd rather be able to build my own than have a premade one that is like the launch clamps or the fasa towers. All we need is a retractable ramp, maybe by including some hinges etc.

I think what KSP needs is movable and robotic parts for things like the canadarm, ramps, movable hinges etc. 

THEN we can build our own towers. 

PS: What I'd really like to have is the ability to FUEL MY ROCKET on the launch pad. The launch clamps should have the function of fueling our rockets. We should be transporting our rockets empty and waiting to fuel them on the launch pad. It's a feature that would add to immersion. I'd also like to be able to transport Kerbals to their rockets via car from the astronaut complex. The VAB is NOT where kerbals should get onto their rocket... they should be manning their vehicles outside the VAB at the launch tower via car etc from the astronaut complex to the launch tower. 

It doesn't seem very user friendly for a launch tower to be built out of parts for every rocket launch and be recovered. Additionally, the tower should provide structural support whilst acting like a building than a part, and allow for movement of kerbals etc.

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1 hour ago, Rdivine said:

What about recovery, kerbal transfer, lights, and actually allow the rocket to rest on the launchpad? The launch tower should be more inclined towards a building than a part.

Fair enough, I am completely against the idea then.  I do not want to return to the nightmare that was the old launch tower.  No thank you.

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This is what I would want in a launch tower:

 

  • Launchpad has a default "launch tower path" for the launch tower to sit on the terrain. Maybe a 50m long tarmac or something, just graphical for the tower to "sit" on.
  • New part in VAB: Launch Tower Segment, only can be placed to-the-north of the rocket.
  • Launch Tower Segments can be moved, but are locked on a north-south path (identical to the launch tower path on the launchpad.)
  • The launch tower automatically telescopes an "Umbilical Clamp" that provides support and fuels to that part (obeys crossfeed.)
  • Placing more Launch Tower Segments on the launch tower adds more "Umbilical Clamps", May be placed anywhere along Z axis.
  • Selecting the vertical tower lets you move the tower (and subsequently all clamps) in-and out.
  • Selecting an Umbilical Clamp lets you move the clamp up-and-down on the tower.

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I personally think we should have Generated Launch towers that are either tweak-able in terms of scale, length ETC. This would also correspond to costs, so having a large rocket means you need a larger upfront cost to hold it on the launch pad. It could get more complecated, but the Launch Clamps are todays launch tower. But they can totally be expanded upon since it is the only part that does the job and there is only 1 way to make them work. 

 

 

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On 12-12-2015 09:54:13, KrazyKrl said:

This is what I would want in a launch tower: (...)

So basically, that's a procedural launch tower? You may be able to do that with a lot of current code pieces, as the fuel lines and fairing system are also procedural and would be similar in construction. We've already got provisions for resource and crew transfer in game through the docking ports, having the craft's hatches act as a special docking port would allow resource and crew transfer in and out of the command module.

The umbilical lines would be restricted to a single axis so they could move in and out, or up and down the tower and remain horizontal, and the topmost segment would have the same special docking port that mates with the craft's hatch. Like in real launches, that segment would retract before launch.

I'm in favor of keeping the current launch clamps in one way or another though, as they are very useful for clamping craft on the *bottom*.

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5 hours ago, Stoney3K said:

So basically, that's a procedural launch tower? You may be able to do that with a lot of current code pieces, as the fuel lines and fairing system are also procedural and would be similar in construction. We've already got provisions for resource and crew transfer in game through the docking ports, having the craft's hatches act as a special docking port would allow resource and crew transfer in and out of the command module.

The umbilical lines would be restricted to a single axis so they could move in and out, or up and down the tower and remain horizontal, and the topmost segment would have the same special docking port that mates with the craft's hatch. Like in real launches, that segment would retract before launch.

I'm in favor of keeping the current launch clamps in one way or another though, as they are very useful for clamping craft on the *bottom*.

 

Yes, I was suggesting another part entirely. Launch clamps stay. I don't think hatches being attached to the launch tower are really necessary. There are plenty of features that I can accept as an abstraction, like crew transfer, or fuel-duct-less fuel crossfeed; KSP is a game first and foremost.

I'd just like to see another part where you can stabilize a tall craft, just like the Saturn V or space shuttle on the launch pad. Having it procedural like this would make the launch tower be a minimum of parts. Being procedural would also mean the launch tower won't get in the way of whatever absurd boomy-thingy you design (which is the entire reason the static launch tower was removed, the launch tower sometimes got in the way because you couldn't move it.)

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14 minutes ago, robopilot99 said:

Well apart from the small detail of....

"Outdated Mod

This mod is not known to work with the latest version of Kerbal Space Program. Proceed with caution."

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5 hours ago, robopilot99 said:

Problem solved... temporarily.

-You'll have to wait for the mod to update everytime there's an update for KSP.

-As the list of things that KSP is lacking grows, the list of mods that fill in the gap grows. It wouldn't be very user friendly to download tons of mods for every version of KSP. Additionally, mods may not be compatible with each other.

-It needs to be in the stock game, hence this post is put under "Suggestions and development discussion". If i were looking for a mod, i'd go to curse.com. 

 

Therefore suggesting mods to replace a feature that i feel is lacking in the stock game doesn't seem very practical :P 

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I support this. While reading, I was going to suggest using a subassembly. But, as you said, this would break down after each update. As usual, the simplest solution is not the best long-term solution. I have often wished for a procedural launch tower / gantry / support dock in the stock game.

After attempting to build my own, I am now even more impressed by those user-built towers with working features. But why should we all reinvent the tower, when this is a game about building spacecraft?

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On ‎12‎/‎12‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎49‎:‎49‎, TeeGee said:

Why not just build your own launch tower? 

I'm all for having towers but I'd rather be able to build my own than have a premade one that is like the launch clamps or the fasa towers. All we need is a retractable ramp, maybe by including some hinges etc.

I think what KSP needs is movable and robotic parts for things like the canadarm, ramps, movable hinges etc. 

THEN we can build our own towers. 

PS: What I'd really like to have is the ability to FUEL MY ROCKET on the launch pad. The launch clamps should have the function of fueling our rockets. We should be transporting our rockets empty and waiting to fuel them on the launch pad. It's a feature that would add to immersion. I'd also like to be able to transport Kerbals to their rockets via car from the astronaut complex. The VAB is NOT where kerbals should get onto their rocket... they should be manning their vehicles outside the VAB at the launch tower via car etc from the astronaut complex to the launch tower. 

Well for one thing if u build it out of structal parts(it makes it look nice) it can cause a lot of lag.

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