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[1.12.x] Kerbal Atomics: fancy nuclear engines! (August 8, 2021)


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1 hour ago, ProgorMatic said:

Just wanted to show off something I made with Kerbal Atomic Engines:

40 Deliverance engines and 32 million units of Liquid Hydrogen gets a USI 20m Atlas Factory, Habitat, and Greenhouse, plus all 25 2.5m Kontainers (full), a reactor, all the necessary radiators (even to cool the engines when they are running at low throttle), and the Global Construction  Ground Assembly Line to Minmus in a single stage.  Vessel Mass fully fueled is 5,330 tons, Kerbin TWR is 1.49, total delta-V is 6646, and it has 176 parts.  There's enough delta-V left over that I'm sure I can bring along some Convert-O-Trons and drills to refuel and go just about anywhere else, so this seems to be a great craft for single-stage-to-anywhere-and-build-whatever-else-you-want-when-you-get-there that will end up being the main colony bootstrap lander for my far future generational colony ship.

With that said, 176 parts slows the game down pretty considerably.  I'm going to try to build a smaller version based on the 10m USI Atlas domes.  Also, now that I've proven I can do it with a "safe" engine, I don't mind replacing the Deliverance with some Far Future X-42 Nuclear Salt Water Rockets just to keep the part count down (assuming I don't end up just replacing the extra engines with more radiators).

Those domes are all from the USI-LS mod?

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I think the domes are actually in USI MKS.  There are 12 kerbal 10m domes and 96 kerbal 20m domes.

Stockalike Station Parts Expansion also has some 5m domes that honestly look significantly better than these.  They just don't have the Global Construction factory modules like the USI ones do.

Update: the X-42 does indeed require more radiators than the engine replaces.  Need to figure out how to get TweakScale to work with System Heat or make some bigger radiator parts.

Edited by ProgorMatic
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2 hours ago, CookieBorg said:

What niche does this mod fill (if any) compared to far future technologies?

Kerbal Atomics covers fission fuel/ thermal rocket progression (excluding what falls under FFT of course) which can stretch across contemporary and near future™ time frames. Not everyone who installs Nertea's mods is to be expected to have FFT be their end-game engine pack. Maybe Kerbal Atomics is at the end of tech progression for some, just as warp drives and not FFT can be at the end of progression for others, and BDB can be the beginning and the end for some players who only play historical. Your play style determines your progression path, then the real questions are: Does this mod fit on that path? Where along that path?

2 hours ago, CookieBorg said:

Is there any reason to use any of the Kerbal Atomics parts once you have access to fusion or antimatter engines?

Everyone who wants to have a lot of technology (and therefore, mod parts/ parts mods) to go through in a progression game has to ask the same question. It's up to you, with respect to your play style, to find out. There could very easily be a use case where an end-game engine will be too costly, too overpowered, or in some other way miserable for one mission or another. Example: Pulsed engines: You can't do fine course corrections with those, right? So you need to have a lesser engine of some sort and your choice could be one of the very best from Kerbal Atomics. Or You may want to launch a new ship with FFT vacuum engines from the surface of a planet with atmosphere. The lifter could have Kerbal Atomics LANTR for its main engines.

10 hours ago, ProgorMatic said:

Update: the X-42 does indeed require more radiators than the engine replaces.  Need to figure out how to get TweakScale to work with System Heat or make some bigger radiator parts.

Make parts. ;)

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15 hours ago, CookieBorg said:

What niche does this mod fill (if any) compared to far future technologies? Is there any reason to use any of the Kerbal Atomics parts once you have access to fusion or antimatter engines?

I've found that most of the Far Future engines have a limitation when it comes to atmospheric flight (or would not be used in atmosphere if you care about realism, like the NSW rockets that spew radioactive material out of their nozzles).  The atomic engines fit well here because the nuclear reactor is just used to super heat the propellant, and only the propellant leaves the nozzle.  So I use atomic engines (especially the Deliverance aerospike) for landing and ascent, and far future engines for interplanetary and interstellar travel.

Also, some of the atomic engines are fully cooled by their own exhaust, so one optimization strategy is to only use these engines at full or 0 throttle.  This lets you save on radiators, but you should be good at suicide burns to land that way.  For the most part, far future engines need a lot of radiators, so you can save on part count with atomic engines.

With that said, if you don't care about realism (or want to keep part count down and still launch kilotons), the X-42 will get you anywhere in the Kerbol system, and the Frisbee will take you everywhere else.  You can just pretend Kerbin doesn't have a magnetic field, so all life evolved with radiation immunity.

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On 9/16/2021 at 1:30 PM, ProgorMatic said:

Just wanted to show off something I made with Kerbal Atomic Engines:

i2K9e7n.png

40 Deliverance engines and 32 million units of Liquid Hydrogen gets a USI 20m Atlas Factory, Habitat, and Greenhouse, plus all 25 2.5m Kontainers (full), a reactor, all the necessary radiators (even to cool the engines when they are running at low throttle), and the Global Construction  Ground Assembly Line to Minmus in a single stage.  Vessel Mass fully fueled is 5,330 tons, Kerbin TWR is 1.49, total delta-V is 6646, and it has 176 parts.  There's enough delta-V left over that I'm sure I can bring along some Convert-O-Trons and drills to refuel and go just about anywhere else, so this seems to be a great craft for single-stage-to-anywhere-and-build-whatever-else-you-want-when-you-get-there that will end up being the main colony bootstrap lander for my far future generational colony ship.

With that said, 176 parts slows the game down pretty considerably.  I'm going to try to build a smaller version based on the 10m USI Atlas domes.  Also, now that I've proven I can do it with a "safe" engine, I don't mind replacing the Deliverance with some Far Future X-42 Nuclear Salt Water Rockets just to keep the part count down (assuming I don't end up just replacing the extra engines with more radiators).

For your colony ship, would you consider making something like this? The ship comes from Silent Running.
5477375011_1c0c8072a7_b.jpg

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That image looks cool, but I don't see anything resembling fuel tanks, engines, or radiators from this angle, and there doesn't seem to be enough room for them to cover a long interstellar voyage.  I don't think I could make a functioning ship in KSP look like this without cheating.  If I were going to try, I'd probably hide a full length Frisbee in the central truss, replace the back domes with LH2 spherical tanks, and build the Command center area out of Kontainers (to hold the fertilizer and supplies) and Antimatter tanks.  I'd probably also have to scale the mission down to 20 kerbals or so, and use the 10m or 5m domes, or it would take 100s of years to get from one star to the next.

The vision I have right now is basically several domes all facing prograde, so that the thrust from the engines behind them produces artificial gravity (hoping to engineer it so I can provide at least 0.5g for the entirety of a 10 light year voyage).  I'm limiting myself to technologies that we've at least been able to detect the fundamental particles for, so antimatter is in but warp drives and gravity generators are out.  The engines that have interstellar ISPs all seem to be super long, so it will probably end up looking like a 9-headed jellyfish.  I'll call it the Hydra, because every time a "head is cut off" - dome undocks to land and start a colony - the colony will be advanced to self-sufficiency as quickly as possible so it can grow the mothership a new head and send it on its way.

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10 minutes ago, ProgorMatic said:

That image looks cool, but I don't see anything resembling fuel tanks, engines, or radiators from this angle, and there doesn't seem to be enough room for them to cover a long interstellar voyage.

To be fair, in the movie the ship was in permanent orbit around Saturn and not actually going anywhere.

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Nertea's SSPXr-Pack has those cupolas, NF Construction has many trusses in many variations . You can build something like this right now. Just get Nertea's other mods.

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15 hours ago, intelliCom said:

For your colony ship, would you consider making something like this? The ship comes from Silent Running.
5477375011_1c0c8072a7_b.jpg

that looks amazing, I'll try to build it today!

4 hours ago, Rakete said:

Nertea's SSPXr-Pack has those cupolas, NF Construction has many trusses in many variations . You can build something like this right now. Just get Nertea's other mods.

yeah

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On 9/17/2021 at 6:40 PM, jefferyharrell said:

To be fair, in the movie the ship was in permanent orbit around Saturn and not actually going anywhere.

They did have propulsion though. They were ordered to take their ships back to Earth at the beginning so they could be used for 'commercial service' and towards the end, Lowell takes the ship into the rings to hide. 

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4 hours ago, Starwaster said:

They did have propulsion though. They were ordered to take their ships back to Earth at the beginning so they could be used for 'commercial service' and towards the end, Lowell takes the ship into the rings to hide. 

Oh yeah. I forgot that part. Been years since I've seen the movie.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello all,

I'm new to using Kerbal Atomics and was lured by the prospects of having more atomic engines to play with. However, I am aghast by the amount of LH2 fuel they consume, and I'm thinking to myself that either I have no clue about ISP (rudimentary at best) or I'm experiencing a bug? For example, from a fresh install with only kerbal atomics and restock installed, the "Liberator" engine consumes 726.273 LH2/sec?? What is the use case of such engines? Maybe I'm not thinking large-scale big enough, but even so, conventional rockets would still seem better. I really don't understand this mod, can someone please clarify

 

......eventually, using the ISP formula, Isp,g0 = FT / mfuel   and finding in-game the mass of LH2 ~= 0.0708 kg/unit I confirmed that the expected fuel flow is indeed 726 LH2/sec, but I'm afraid this leaves me just as confused

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2 hours ago, rocketBob said:

Hello all,

I'm new to using Kerbal Atomics and was lured by the prospects of having more atomic engines to play with. However, I am aghast by the amount of LH2 fuel they consume, and I'm thinking to myself that either I have no clue about ISP (rudimentary at best) or I'm experiencing a bug? For example, from a fresh install with only kerbal atomics and restock installed, the "Liberator" engine consumes 726.273 LH2/sec?? What is the use case of such engines? Maybe I'm not thinking large-scale big enough, but even so, conventional rockets would still seem better. I really don't understand this mod, can someone please clarify

 

......eventually, using the ISP formula, Isp,g0 = FT / mfuel   and finding in-game the mass of LH2 ~= 0.0708 kg/unit I confirmed that the expected fuel flow is indeed 726 LH2/sec, but I'm afraid this leaves me just as confused

It's a double edged sword to be sure. H2 is the most efficient propellant, all other factors being equal but yes you will be consuming a lot of it by volume.

Usually though, mass is the main consideration, not volume.  Actual conceptual designs revolving nuclear rockets see a mass reduction by not having to include oxidizer. The H2 tanks can be made lighter as well. (Real Fuels takes lighter H2 tanks into consideration so give that a try if you're not already using it)

All that said, nuclear rockets using ammonia or methane have always been my preference. You'll definitely want RF for that but I'm not sure if  any current mods or configs  offer those propellant choices for nuclear.  Not anymore.

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7 hours ago, Starwaster said:

It's a double edged sword to be sure. H2 is the most efficient propellant, all other factors being equal but yes you will be consuming a lot of it by volume.

Usually though, mass is the main consideration, not volume.  Actual conceptual designs revolving nuclear rockets see a mass reduction by not having to include oxidizer. The H2 tanks can be made lighter as well. (Real Fuels takes lighter H2 tanks into consideration so give that a try if you're not already using it)

All that said, nuclear rockets using ammonia or methane have always been my preference. You'll definitely want RF for that but I'm not sure if  any current mods or configs  offer those propellant choices for nuclear.  Not anymore.

I appreciate this clarification, and it makes sense to me that volume is a better tradeoff over mass. Thank you for your time, my early career is going to need to invest is some large volume tanks smh

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just so I don't get stranded anywhere, the 'core life expectancy'(or something) is the time left until all the enriched uranium is depleted at the current regime, same as NFP's reactors, right? 

Thinking of using Eels for attitude control on a soon-to-be late-FFT playthrough exploration of the Outer Planets Mod.

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Hey love your mods but there seems to be a problem with the ntr-375 (ingame the NV-DC Scylla). Even the game says it uses LH2 as main propellant it actually can't use it but only use LfOx for boost and LF for normal use. Additionally it seems as if the cooling doesn't work. no matter how much cooling is attached to it it just overheats. and is it intending that it seems to produce electricity even if it is switched off?

(have only your mods installed)

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There is an optional patch that makes the NTRs use LF instead of LH2. I checked the configs, it is using ModuleGenerator(constant) instead of ModuleAlternator(throttle linked).

As for overheating, the non extending radiators will only cool parts that are connected to them or connected to parts that are connected to them. My advice is to use the Scylla as an upper stage lifter, where its efficiency shines, and burns are relatively short.

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