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is it technically possible to fly in or land on the sun?


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kerbol has an atmosphere and seems to have a surface hitbox far from the visible surface, but is it possible to land there? i mean obviously its not likely possible without disabling heat first, but i do wonder how much the new inflatible heat sheilf coild take, or just turn heat off  completely and try parachuting. thing is youd need the strongest heat sheild and vessel possible, as hitting the stmosphere of the sun will be horribly straining at the speed of entry even without heat being accounted for

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4 minutes ago, Mjp1050 said:

I do believe that our friend Danny has beaten you to it...

This should never be a deterent to doing anything in KSP.  If Danny's already done it, do it for yourself.

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I'd never make low orbit, instead I'd go on a very excentric elliptic one. A bi-elliptic transfer, to be precise. I didn't run the maths (and am too lazy for such a crazy endeavour), but I'm quite optimistic that by this you might be able to get your PE inside the "atmosphere" of Kerbol without using infinite fuel.

As heating will have to be disabled anyhow (at least I think there's no way to cool your craft sufficiently to survive being close to the sun...), you can just as well aerobrake. ;)

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On 4/15/2016 at 11:26 PM, Snark said:

It's not so hard to land on the sun.  The important thing is to go at night:)

Came looking for this, left satisfied :D


On 4/15/2016 at 11:30 PM, Robotengineer said:

Make the sun-diving landing ship black, all black. 

I tried that once. I was forced to spend a year dead for tax purposes :(

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Update: I accidentally confirmed that it's easily possible to go sub-orbital on the sun without needing the infinite fuel cheat.

Yesterday I tested if the cooling system of my Eeloo ship still works in 1.1 (it does), by just burning all its fuel in a random direction. The ship was already close to Eeloo when I did this, and as it was still on a Hohmann transfer from Kerbin, so it had an orbital velocity of approximately 3300 m/s. I didn't even think about the sun at that point, so you can imagine I was quite surprised when the camera suddenly started to move and I got a "World's First" message...

I think I'll try to build a sun-diver in sandbox now, just to see how bad the heat is.

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  • 4 months later...

Pardon the necro, but I've got a bit of a bomb shell, and other people will probably come across this topic while searching for the answer.

     Yes, you can fly at the sun in stock, no-cheats KSP.


You can even do it in an armchair. Crazy, right? Here's how. Put a big battery on the inflatable heat shield and keep the battery pointed at the sun. You are now nearly immune to radiative heating. You're not immune to other forms of heat though, so you can only just dip your feet in the chromosphere, not go aerodynamically flying around. Still, it's enough to get the EVA of "Flying high at the sun" so that's sweet!


  Here's a video showing the basic shape and concept. It's not indepth, but should be enough to go on.


Here's a silly video which actually dips a toe into the sun. Most of it is very silly. Be warned!

Discussion from an earlier thread:

There's an interesting interaction caused by the boundsmultiplier field on the inflatable heat shield, which allows for sun stations to not absorb thermal radiation. Given this immunity, they can orbit the sun as close as you please and can even slightly enter the chromosphere so you can pick up an EVA from 'flying high at the sun'. Anything put within ~7 meters of cage end (for preference) of the shield will not absorb thermal radiation, but the object will still block thermal radiation from passing through, so it protects the heatshield and whatever's behind it. As long as you're willing to keep the setup pointed at the sun within about 5-10 degrees, it'll protect you indefinitely. In any case, there's plenty of room to put in a little sun station, complete with a Cupola and command chairs from which you can view the beautifully hilled and valleyed surface of the sun, or the nostalgic v.1 sun within the sun in map mode. Solar panels have the solid angle of continents, and the Oberth effect is at its boggling extreme. It's great fun! A highly recommended trip.

As I understand it, this is actually an unintended effect of the boundsmultiplier field. The inflatable heat shield apparently made mischief when trying to calculate its bounds through the renderer, so the boundsmultiplier field was introduced to provide a fudge factor. As NathanKell explained in an earlier post that I had a hard time quoting properly: " The bounds reported by the bounding method, prior to PartSizeModifier, are based on the renderer bounds of the given renderer. There used to be multiple calls because there are multiple renderers for some parts. I'd like to say the renderer bounds are correct, but the inflatable heat shield has proved that that is not always the case with skinned meshrenderers. For this reason we support the new field Part.boundsMultiplier to correct for such problems. "

I understand this use of the boundsmultiplier is a glitch, but it's a very charming one which lends itself well to our ambitions. I hope it serves others well in the future.


Incidentally, I've got a standing badge for anyone who enters the chromosphere on a command seat. Just for funsies.


Alright, have fun playing Icarus, everybody!

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So I still wonder, has anyone managed real atmospheric flight on the Sun, with or without cheats? I mean being able to bank, turn, climb, descend, etc relying on wing lift, not just shooting through at orbital speed.

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20 hours ago, cantab said:

So I still wonder, has anyone managed real atmospheric flight on the Sun, with or without cheats? I mean being able to bank, turn, climb, descend, etc relying on wing lift, not just shooting through at orbital speed.

I gave it a try! The good ship Suraci was supposed to be able to fly into the sun until it got too low and burned up (2 guesses how I named it :D ). It was essentially a cube of 5x thick 3.5m heat shields supported on an inflatable shield in such a way that both radiative heating and reentry heating would be abated. I never got it working though! The setup blocked radiative heat well enough, but at 90km/s, the heatshields were burning up before they could use their ablator. I tried playing with active coolers in the mix, but it wasn't quite working and I eventually found some other shiny thing to play with (this being KSP and all :) ). I'd love to have someone else give this a shot, though. If you try, tell us what happens!

Regardless, I think any serious soirees into the sun will be mercury-capsule styled decents (using body lift) at best. The winds are _very_ strong, and it's hard to control anything besides your roll in those conditions.

6 hours ago, LordFerret said:

What was the altitude? I've been within 144km before going poof (burning up) ... stock, no tweaks or cheats.

Yeah, it's tricky for sure, but worth it once you get it! Squad made the sun very pretty for somewhere you can't normally visit.

The atmosphere starts at 599,045m altitude, and I've dipped down as far as... I think 599,020m with an exposed Kerbal and something to shield the wind. For some reason, having more small things on the craft (like science modules) increases the heatload and can dramatically decrease how far you can dip in.

By poofing I assume you mean the entire craft going poof? If you're poofing out at 144km (or I'll assume actually 144Mm altitude?) I'd suspect it's from not having the craft pointed directly down at the sun. Approaching periapse takes a bit of time, but it can be easy if you do it like this starting at about 250,000km:

1. point a few degrees to the right (up-orbit-wise) of straight-down
2. time warp a few minutes until you're pointing a few degrees to the left of straight-down
3. repeat

It takes about 10 minutes to reach periapse once you get the hang of it, and I'd recommend turning on the no-heat-damage cheat while practicing so you can get the hang of what angles are ok for your craft. If you want to load a quicksave, you'll also need the no heat damage cheat on for a moment, even if the craft is correctly oriented. I've done the whole trip without cheats for those two videos up above.

As another note, your periapse will tend to decrease slightly (by a couple hundred meters) during the trip, so it's nice to aim a bit high and use rockets to push the periapse down the last hundred meters when you're only a minute away

I hope that helps! The poofing could be something else though. If you send a picture of your craft, I'd be happy to give it a look. As a note, I'll be off on vacation starting tomorrow but I'll probably poke my nose back in by phone from time to time. Cheers!

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