Nertea

[1.3.1] Kerbal Atomics: fancy nuclear engines! (October 17)

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Thanks for the the rebalance (this and Cryo*), and especially for the updated NTR patches. I'd been maintaining my own set until now. :)

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@Nertea You didn't answer my question from yesterday asking about the boiloff. Thought you were including some sort of patch for that. edit: The tanks don't seem to have any of the boiloff descriptor things in the configs, but I went and deleted the boiloff dll, so it's disabled anyway.

Edited by smjjames

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Absolutely gorgeous @Nertea!  I can't wait to play with these bad boys.

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On 2/12/2016 at 1:56 PM, smjjames said:

@Nertea You didn't answer my question from yesterday asking about the boiloff. Thought you were including some sort of patch for that. edit: The tanks don't seem to have any of the boiloff descriptor things in the configs, but I went and deleted the boiloff dll, so it's disabled anyway.

Maybe, but it's so low on my priority list that it could be never. As you indicate, it's trivially easy to do for the end user (delete the module or edit the tank patch).

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Kerbal Atomics 0.1.2

  • Reduced power generation of trimodal engines
  • Tweaked descriptions for some engines
  • Patched LV-N now uses ModuleEnginesFX, new FX
  • Added optional patch to unlock fancier NTR functionality with NF Electrical:
  • Engines have integrated reactors, reactors must heat up to nominal temperature in order to produce good thrust and Isp
  • Engines act as core heat radiators, cooling the core as a function of thrust fraction. Full thrust will cool the core completely. Without thrust or lots of radiators the core will overheat
  • Reactors will run out of fuel eventually; use much more fuel than long-term power reactors
  • Trimodal reactors have a generator component that takes priority over the engine. It will use a small amount of heat to create power. Keep reactor power low to use it separate from the engine
  • Engine heat production cut by factor of 10
  • Only applies to KerbalAtomics engines and the LV-N at the moment

This update primarily applies to people wanting to synergize KA and NFE. The patch seems pretty stable now and I mostly like how it works. Let me know how it goes.

Edited by Nertea

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There's a bug in the version file for AVC; the download links to the forum post for Cryogenic Engines.

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2 hours ago, Aristaeus said:

There's a bug in the version file for AVC; the download links to the forum post for Cryogenic Engines.

Yep, got the same thing and was about to post about that.

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Whoops. See this is why I hate updating. Takes me like 3 hours of modding.

Maybe I'll make msyelf a damn jenkins server to build things.

I'm not going to make a new release to fix that, so have an open-cycle gas-core engine. 

VhBXbVu.png

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Love the plumbing and truss work on that gas-core.

Edited by hoojiwana

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1 hour ago, smjjames said:

Also, what size is that engine model?

Two-point-five metres!

1 hour ago, hoojiwana said:

Love the plumbing and truss work on that gas-core.

Glad you like! I'm personally not really looking forward to the unwrap. It was a bit of a headache handling full plumbing for dual turbopumps with open exhausts, along with the somewhat peculiar plumbing required to cool the ridiculous thing. I'm doing a pretty cool plumbing system for the NSWR that you should enjoy if you like this one :).

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Ah, so this is the official return of the cool-looking hydrogen tanks! (Pun almost intended.)

Found some minor bugs in v0.1.2:

  • When Kerbal Atomics is present, the MRS Nuclear Quad Engine, 2.5m "Quad Nuke" (NB2mNuclearEngine) and LV-Nc "Mighty" Atomic Rocket Motor (RLA_small_ntr) remain as LqdHydrogen engines even if KerbalAtomicsLF.cfg from the Extras is installed. They are indeed converted to use LqdHydrogen by Kerbal Atomics; if KA is not installed, these engines use stock LF.
  • A dummy KerbalAtomics/Patches/KerbalAtomicsNFE.cfg is enabled by default, with NEEDS[ADummyPack] and some blank configs. (The real one is correctly present in Extras.)

As for mod compatibility, while many popular mods are already covered, noticed a gap:

  • Mk2 Stock-a-like Expansion: AT-2 "Pluto" Atomic Rocket Motor (Mk2PLUTO, Mk2Expansion/Parts/Engines/PLUTO/part.cfg) is an NTR with stats similar to the stock LV-N, the main difference being that it comes in the Mk2 spaceplane form factor. There are some minor differences: it uses ModuleEnginesFX, and has maxThrust=80, heatProduction=332, fxOffset = 0, 0, 0, and a custom running effect (running_closed, defined in the same .cfg). I think this engine could use a hydrogen patch similar to the LV-N, and similarly for KerbalAtomicsLF.cfg for the hydrogen -> LF backconversion.

Deep Space Exploration Vessels is another one, with the "Ace" ArcJet Rocket/motor (AJ5ArcJetEngine) and the Supernova Fusion Engine (WB8Supernova) always using LqdHydrogen (their default configuration), but this arguably makes sense - different technology not targeted by KA. The Supernova is obviously hydrogen-based, while the arcjet (judging by the Wikipedia description) could be either LqdHydrogen or LF, and the author has decided to go for LqdHydrogen.

Overall, seems nice. Looking forward to employ these engines in new ship designs.

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19 minutes ago, Technologicat said:

Found some minor bugs in v0.1.2:

  • When Kerbal Atomics is present, the MRS Nuclear Quad Engine, 2.5m "Quad Nuke" (NB2mNuclearEngine) and LV-Nc "Mighty" Atomic Rocket Motor (RLA_small_ntr) remain as LqdHydrogen engines even if KerbalAtomicsLF.cfg from the Extras is installed. They are indeed converted to use LqdHydrogen by Kerbal Atomics; if KA is not installed, these engines use stock LF.
  • A dummy KerbalAtomics/Patches/KerbalAtomicsNFE.cfg is enabled by default, with NEEDS[ADummyPack] and some blank configs. (The real one is correctly present in Extras.)

Thanks, I'll look into it. I think the :AFTER mm tag is missing there.

9 minutes ago, Technologicat said:

As for mod compatibility, while many popular mods are already covered, noticed a gap:

  • Mk2 Stock-a-like Expansion: AT-2 "Pluto" Atomic Rocket Motor (Mk2PLUTO, Mk2Expansion/Parts/Engines/PLUTO/part.cfg) is an NTR with stats similar to the stock LV-N, the main difference being that it comes in the Mk2 spaceplane form factor. There are some minor differences: it uses ModuleEnginesFX, and has maxThrust=80, heatProduction=332, fxOffset = 0, 0, 0, and a custom running effect (running_closed, defined in the same .cfg). I think this engine could use a hydrogen patch similar to the LV-N, and similarly for KerbalAtomicsLF.cfg for the hydrogen -> LF backconversion.

 

I did a call out for other packs a week or two ago and ensured the ones people responded to were in. I'll add those eventually.

9 minutes ago, Technologicat said:

Deep Space Exploration Vessels is another one, with the "Ace" ArcJet Rocket/motor (AJ5ArcJetEngine) and the Supernova Fusion Engine (WB8Supernova) always using LqdHydrogen (their default configuration), but this arguably makes sense - different technology not targeted by KA. The Supernova is obviously hydrogen-based, while the arcjet (judging by the Wikipedia description) could be either LqdHydrogen or LF, and the author has decided to go for LqdHydrogen.

 

I would leave this the way it is. They're not "wrong" like all the other NTRs ;).

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22 minutes ago, Nertea said:

Thanks, I'll look into it. I think the :AFTER mm tag is missing there.

Ok.

 

I did a call out for other packs a week or two ago and ensured the ones people responded to were in. I'll add those eventually.

Ah, ok. Fair enough. Only noticed KA this week when upgrading NF :)

 

I would leave this the way it is. They're not "wrong" like all the other NTRs ;).

Makes sense.

Thanks for the quick reply!

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On 2/21/2016 at 0:22 PM, Nertea said:

so have an open-cycle gas-core engine. 

 

Man is that exciting!!  Congratulations on working out the NFE connversion so quickly as well.  I'm very happy about where all of this is going.

 

I spent some time over the weekend dinking around with it and I do have some feedback/observations.  I feel like they aren't quite there and I want to do what I can to help.  

1. I love that firing the engines cools them down! I was turning up the reactor to 100%, letting it go almost to critical and then injecting LH2.  It's a lot of fun to see the temporary (and dangerous) boost in thrust and Isp. 

2. After playing with the reactor in this way, I would turn it down to 1% and the temp kept stable at it's max.  However, once I started to time warp out, the non-heat tolerant parts of the ship would explode! I guess I just didn't have enough radiators.  The thing is.... If i put too many radiators on the ship, then I can't get the reactor to overheat and get that nifty thrust/Isp bonus...  If i put WAY too many radiators, I couldn't get the reactors to heat up at all.

3. I noticed that once the reactor was heated up to capacity, I could throttle down really low and it made no difference in heat/thrust/Isp.  i.e. I had the Poseidon at 6% and I had plenty of power for the burn.  Is this by design?

4. The lifetimes of the reactors functioning as power generators are sort of impractically short. i.e. even turned down to 1% power they last around 400 days, not nearly enough supply for a round trip to Duna.  Given that a moderate EC requirement is needed with the cryo tanks, it makes the power generation function sort of impractical outside the kerbin system. You are going to need to either bring extra nuclear fuel or a supplemental source of power.  I'm curious to know if this is by design? It does encourage fun little EVA missions and whatnot.  However, would the bimodal NTRs proposed in NASA's Mars design reference documents need to be re-fueled mid trip? something tells me not.  

After messing around it made me wonder how much of a coding wormhole it would be to make the engines have 2 distinct target temperatures or something like that.  I.e. you want it at 3300K for engine mode, and 800K for generator mode.  I don't know enough about how your plugins actually work to understand whether or not this is a feasible idea in practice, but I think it makes sense from a gameplay and realism standpoint.  

Finally, I would love to help try and write up NFE conversion configs for the Porkjet engines if I can find time, and I can figure out what exactly every part of all these plugins are all about....

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17 hours ago, Businfu said:

1. I love that firing the engines cools them down! I was turning up the reactor to 100%, letting it go almost to critical and then injecting LH2.  It's a lot of fun to see the temporary (and dangerous) boost in thrust and Isp. 

 

Cool yes, you can do this if you're brave :P. 

17 hours ago, Businfu said:

2. After playing with the reactor in this way, I would turn it down to 1% and the temp kept stable at it's max.  However, once I started to time warp out, the non-heat tolerant parts of the ship would explode! I guess I just didn't have enough radiators.  The thing is.... If i put too many radiators on the ship, then I can't get the reactor to overheat and get that nifty thrust/Isp bonus...  If i put WAY too many radiators, I couldn't get the reactors to heat up at all.

 

You could close/turn off some radiators for the burn. As to explosions, well, there are still some known issues with the stock heat system that cause some explosions sometimes. It would help if you provide any logs, pictures, debug menu open, etc...

17 hours ago, Businfu said:

3. I noticed that once the reactor was heated up to capacity, I could throttle down really low and it made no difference in heat/thrust/Isp.  i.e. I had the Poseidon at 6% and I had plenty of power for the burn.  Is this by design?

 

This is a bit of a problem... the radiators (including the exhaust "raidiator") don't cool any more than the goal temp. So you could heat up the reactor to full, turn it down and it would take a long time for the core to cool down, when really running fuel through it would cool it really fast. 

 

17 hours ago, Businfu said:

4. The lifetimes of the reactors functioning as power generators are sort of impractically short. i.e. even turned down to 1% power they last around 400 days, not nearly enough supply for a round trip to Duna.  Given that a moderate EC requirement is needed with the cryo tanks, it makes the power generation function sort of impractical outside the kerbin system. You are going to need to either bring extra nuclear fuel or a supplemental source of power.  I'm curious to know if this is by design? It does encourage fun little EVA missions and whatnot.  However, would the bimodal NTRs proposed in NASA's Mars design reference documents need to be re-fueled mid trip? something tells me not.  

 

The reason that this happens is due to power level differentials. The DRE architecture specifies a 50 kWe (maybe 300 kWt) or so generator, and the reactor's actual thrust power is going to be measured in the 10s of MW. So you're running it at like 0.1% for electricity generation. If I make the actual reactor produce so many MWs, there's going to be a problem with the thermal system. I would like the fuel burnup to be relatively high when running engine mode, so I don't want to decrease it too much. I might go a factor of 3 higher, which would put core life at around 3 years, which is similar to the NFE reactors,

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I like that OCGC model, have you posted it before, like in the dev thread? I guess I could check but then I'd lose this text... Anyway it looks great, love the little fins,  although it's a little strange to me that it's barrel shaped and not round like the Liberator.

Edit: Does this make the Liberator a closed-cycle gas core? Like a lightbulb?

On 2/21/2016 at 2:15 PM, Nertea said:

...NSWR that you should enjoy...

Oh boy

Edited by Starbuckminsterfullerton

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That might sound a bit heretic, but is there a way to disable the usage of LiquidHydrogen and go back to LiquidFuel usage ? Thanks :)

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13 minutes ago, MegaUZI said:

That might sound a bit heretic, but is there a way to disable the usage of LiquidHydrogen and go back to LiquidFuel usage ? Thanks :)

Yes, it's included in the Extras folder when you download Kerbal Atomics:

On February 11, 2016 at 1:50 PM, Nertea said:
  • Added new Extras patch converting engines to LF-only. LF-only engines have reduced Isp and TWRs, comparable to those from Atomic Age and Stock

I can vouch that it works quite nicely for stock-balanced NTRs. The 1.25m engines are a bit better and more specialized than the LV-N, while the Liberator is end-game tech ideal for pushing around payloads too massive for stock propulsion to cope with.

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Almost unwrapped the open cycle gas core, and also made this:

 

TWfmXhY.png

Edited by Nertea

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Yup, it's a 3.75m NSWR. Everything except the approximate plumbing is totally a guess, doesn't seem to be many concepts hanging around.

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1 hour ago, Nertea said:

Yup, it's a 3.75m NSWR. Everything except the approximate plumbing is totally a guess, doesn't seem to be many concepts hanging around.

Considering just how unsafe such a thing is, gee I cant imagine why there wouldnt be specs for it. I mean NASA loves designing things that could render the entire complex uninhabitable. :sticktongue:

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about the trimodal nuclear engine-- how does it work? because, it can be similiar too how hte LLL mod does it, where it has a passive generator, like a RTG generator with amped up power gen, but add too it a alternator part module, with the same power gen, but negative! that way, when you throttle it up, the alternator will cancel out with the passive power gen, so it works like a trimodal with a smooth transition.

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14 hours ago, Nertea said:

Yup, it's a 3.75m NSWR. Everything except the approximate plumbing is totally a guess, doesn't seem to be many concepts hanging around.

So.....what fuel is it going to be using? Are we going to get yet another fuel (NSW)?

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