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Rocket vs Spaceplane poll

Are you a rocket person or spaceplane person?  

292 members have voted

  1. 1. Rockets or spaceplanes, what's your perferred method of getting into space

    • Rocket
      200
    • Spaceplane
      36
    • Hybrid (VTHL, HTVL, etc...)
      18
    • Indifferent
      38


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16 minutes ago, Hannu2 said:

I do not say against your style of play. I only explain other point of view. For me the fun thing why I play is engineering. There is planning, building and micromanaging dozens of technical details. I do not want to be a pilot or actually execute everyday functions of kerbals. I get my satisfaction when crew returns from well planned long mission to planet with loads of science points and all objectives executed. My planning and managing have succeeded.

This is IMO the main difference.  Usually to me the launch rocket is just something I slap together and bung in to space, the interesting part of the game is the mission when they're up there. 

Having said that I recently decided to have a go with spaceplanes again for the first time in ages.  The seem to be a bit easier now than they were in earlier versions, getting a craft with 5 long Mk2 cargo bays to work properly only took a couple of attempts, however flying the mission to deposit some satellites in an 85km orbit took bloody ages.  I could have designed and launched several rockets in the same time.

So obviously I spent last night trying to design a space plane with a Mk3 cargo bag capable of lifting a full orange tank as cargo.  Nearly made it but after that one blew up I got silly with remote tech and tried to make a vtol version...

So in summary, rockets to haul cargo, space planes for a fun diversion.

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26 minutes ago, Bloody_looser said:

Darn, I showed-off too. :D

Showing off is life. ^_^

8 minutes ago, steve_v said:

A spaceplane with a re-dockable cockpit/long range module is my current concept, but it's proving an interesting engineering challenge.

I'm sooooo tempted to show off and point to the pinky logo in my sig. But I'm strong, and I resist the urge. The craft doesn't qualify anyways, as it's the lowest possible tech, so it has a decoupler instead of docking ports.

Edited by Evanitis

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26 minutes ago, Evanitis said:

...it has a decoupler instead of docking ports.

Very nice :D ... but the ability to dock back to the winged section for re-entry is kinda the point, If I can't land the whole shebang back on the runway in one piece I'll just use a rocket.  ;)

Edited by steve_v
Stupid half-arsed BBCode parsing... when do we get a decent editor?

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41 minutes ago, bulletv1 said:

My prefer a space plane, but can only do rockets as my space planes suck.

This sounds very familiar to me ... but for the sake of this thread (and my hurt ego) I will give it (building a spaceplane) another shot. It will probably go *boom* or disintegrate in mid-air like the others I tried to build so far.

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9 minutes ago, lodger said:

It will probably go *boom* or disintegrate in mid-air like the others I tried to build so far.

I managed to get a part rated at 2700k to go boom first last night (Mk3 cargo ramp), considering ballistic capsules are only rated to 2400 I'm quite impressed with that :D

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I use all manner of ways to get into space depending on the payload, and my free time.

Lately, I've been favoring vertical launch, horizontal landing, but the fairing drag bug makes those harder to fly than they should be.

11406970_10103666692715233_7978712877522

I can launch some pretty big things with horizontal launch:

12079947_10103920539299643_7804082981841

But something just won't work with horizontal launch, and need to be vertically launched and have a rather inefficient launch as they go mostly straight up at first, like this poodle tug:

12346550_10104056122809203_1167361329121

Spaceplanes are not unrealistic per-se. If we were on a planet somewhere between Earth and Mars in mass, they'd work great. Early mars, when it had water, if it had photosynthetic life to pump O2 into the atmosphere, would have been a great place for spaceplanes.

Even on Earth, the Skylon seems to be a feasible design, even if its at the limits, and it may not have such great economics. If I make a plane that launches 150 tons at once, instead of 7.5 tons at once (while having greater launch mass, as the skylon would), well, thats just good for gameplay so I don't need to fly the same mission profile over and over again to construct something in orbit... plus our options for in orbit construction are much more limited than in real life, so I'm fine with being able to loft more or less complete assemblies, given docking connections aren't so great, and we can't have hinged parts.

I do like using them to get to LKO, I do like having an STS, but mostly things after getting to orbit are done more realistically (I know, its not RSS, I do want to get that after I get a new computer though).

Like this mission to land a kerbal on Mun, and recover everything:

11154764_10103548408288173_5405657931943

Pretty much an Apollo mission with the saturn V lifter replaced with a spaceplane (even though the spaceplane had a massive fuel excess- that was from 1.0 btw).

At least my rockets don't look like this anymore (pre 1.0 days)

10296602_10102652838352503_3821428196968

 

Edited by KerikBalm

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28 minutes ago, lodger said:

This sounds very familiar to me ...


I'll join the club! The only way i had a spaceplane to actually reach space was attaching a couple of SRB's to the end of each wing, which worked surprisingly well... huh, okay, not "surprisingly", in fact i had to restart the mission a bunch of times to get it working. But it did!
Anyways i voted "indifferent" because i really love them both. Rockets get me into space, i can more or less achieve orbit no problem, and get to the Mun first try -even if highly unefficiently.  With planes i relax and enjoy the fireworks!

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I prefer spaceplanes, because I think they look cooler, and i'm a big show off. I like the attention it gives, and I like to help people get better at making spaceplanes.

But I wonder if the whole "spaceplanes are hard, rockets are easier" situation would be different if the tech tree was structured different and unlocking new technology wasn't like "I just did a goo experiment, now I know how to make a bigger rocket engine" or "I took a temperature reading on the Mun, now I can make a bigger SRB"

I know the science gathering is just a gameplay way of saying, "you learnt a lot building a craft that could fly to the Mun, but there's no way to represent that, so we'll just condense it into some readings taken there".

What if unlocking tech actually required you to do a task that relates to the tech. Unlocking a new rocket engine, was done by flying the previous model to a certain altitude and or speed. To develop a new nosecone or tailfin, you had do tests on a high speed, high altitude aircraft.

Might make for some very linear science development, though, and not so much a tree anymore. I don't know.

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5 hours ago, steve_v said:

Well... yeah. What you get for all the hassle is dirt-cheap flights to LKO. Anything that goes further is usually carried as payload, with the lifter left in LKO... much like a rocket.


That said, I'm trying to figure out a way to get both... A spaceplane with a re-dockable cockpit/long range module is my current concept, but it's proving an interesting engineering challenge.

I've been working on just such a system.  It's still a work in progress - the reentry handling of the spaceplane sucks atm.  And the explorer/lander only has 4272 m/s so doesn't have quite the range I was looking for yet.  But it does have a starting TWR of 0.44.  If parachutes were working properly at Duna, a variant with chutes could get to Duna and back.

It uses my Hawk-dock system (pat. pending) :) (there are two Jr. docking ports in the bottom of the cargo bay) to hold the explorer/lander in place for a secure ride back down.  I like the realism of having the command pod docking port connected directly to the cockpit of the spaceplane.

KKKWhlY.png

Happy landings!

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6 hours ago, steve_v said:

Fair enough, If you don't enjoy piloting you probably won't enjoy spaceplanes - I'm not aware of a mod that'll fly them for you. :P (MJ can land them, but that removes half the challenge IMO - my landings are a bit hit-and-miss)

I am. Sort of. Pilot Assistant does a pretty good job of flying the things, but you still have to know your flight profiles to tell it what to do.

(Also, I fid MechJeb does a terrible job of landing planes; it always wants to plow them into the runway threshold. You have to really keep a firm hand on it to keep it from crashing every single time)

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I'm more into rockets actually than spaceplanes. Spaceplanes look cool and are hard to engineer. And I must know - I've even 3D modelled and modded one... But I'm so bad at piloting that I've given up on them. My crash landing percentage is at about 90%. And it doesn't matter which flight simulator software I have used over the last 3 decades... So I stay with rockets...

Regarding costs: I allow myself to use the "Stage Recovery" mod, which fixes the "bug" ;) of the too small physics bubble and the inability to switch between vehicles inside the atmosphere properly. With stage recovery rockets can be almost as cost efficient as spaceplanes.

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Makes me sad to see a lot of people think spaceplanes are useless.... Have ROCKETS ever done single stage Kerbin-3 Tours?

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21 minutes ago, Workable Goblin said:

I am. Sort of. Pilot Assistant does a pretty good job of flying the things, but you still have to know your flight profiles to tell it what to do.

(Also, I fid MechJeb does a terrible job of landing planes; it always wants to plow them into the runway threshold. You have to really keep a firm hand on it to keep it from crashing every single time)

Mechjeb's Smart ASS does a pretty good job IMO, set it to Surface mode and then have it hold a pitch, roll and heading.  Give it a bit of roll and heading to line up on the runway and then fly it on pitch setting, throttle and brake.  I can't get on with flying it on the keyboard and don't have a working joystick.

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Playing mostly RSS here, so spaceplanes are not that much of an option.

I never really been into spaceplanes anyway, I've made a few recently, but just find them boring and awfully long to fly. Also, piloting a plane with a keyboard is kinda tedious.

Still, I like firing up some VTHLs (understand small shuttle on top of a rocket) from time to time, especially for LEO stations crew transfers.

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No option for space trains?

As long as it can into space, then it is good!

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It seems that it has been tried. Results were not satisfactory. Trains have attractive payload ratio compared to rockets but TWR need some improvements before they are suitable for orbital operations.

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2 hours ago, Val said:

What if unlocking tech actually required you to do a task that relates to the tech. Unlocking a new rocket engine, was done by flying the previous model to a certain altitude and or speed. To develop a new nosecone or tailfin, you had do tests on a high speed, high altitude aircraft.

Might make for some very linear science development, though, and not so much a tree anymore. I don't know.

There's a couple of mods that move the R&D tree around for a more natural progression, like surface and atmospheric travel before space, instead of the other way around.

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Spaceplanes are cool, but with my 150+ parts station, a total of more than 200 parts within physics range means I will experience unnecessary 'time dilation'. So I'd prefer launching my payloads with a rocket.

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