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Using KER it's really easy to just add engines/srbs until your dV works out.  Basically I slap together a new lifter every launch, but it goes very quickly.

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Standardized sub-assembly first stages with an embedded probe core. Staged at 1500-1800 m/s, you have time to circularize your orbit while the first stage just starts to hit the atmosphere. Minor boostback to avoid serious heat and parachutes for a nice, soft landing. Everything saved, no need to build it everytime. 1 Skipper and 4 Reliants are nearly the same thrust as a Mainsail but much cheaper.

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I really enjoy the building part of the game, so I will hardly ever use a standard lifter.  Though, when creating ships for missions with similar requirements at the same tech-level, it's inevitable that they end up being very similar.

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Anyone using KCT will have the additional benefit of spare parts and economy of scale.

Any recovered boosters will significantly drop the time required to assemble the next launch vehicle, and using the same parts in bulk will reduce the build time as well.

 

I've mostly got a 3 seater, 1.25m orbital tourister design in which the whole craft is reused for any LKO rescues, tourism and 1-star basic training flights.

A slight variant on that has the same launch vehicle, but just one capsule and a docking port, with the mass budget taken up by extra fuel tanks for resupplying things in orbit.  It gets obsoleted by Minmus tankers as tech progresses however.

 

Then, a medium-heavy lifter, which is 6 orange popsicles and 3 mainsails to punt heavy things into space and then recover on chutes.  All payloads are expected to put themselves into actual orbit, so there is no space debris left behind.

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I use standardized lifters but I have one for every 5 ton increment.  I've found if I build on the fly, I end up with a much more expensive, overpowered, and over fueled lifter than I need (even using KER).  When I'm playing career, building standardized lifters that have been well tested balanced really saves me money, plus I know they work and are free of staging errors.

I still get to enjoy the build aspect, it's just I'm building the payload, and that of course includes any rocketry that I need to perform extra-orbital tasks.

09rZNVn.png

Edited by Alshain
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I don't have a sub-assembly of a lifter but I normally make a very similar lifter for all of my 1.25m parts. When I use 2m (or if I'm going insane 3m) it's generally a special case and as such requires its own lifter. But if you standardize lifters it saves you loads of time.

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I tend to have modular lifter systems, and sometimes the lifter can determine the "Program" the launch is a part of.

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I've got two types of lifters, heavy (based on double orange tanks) and stupidly heavy (based on double biggest tanks) They are both asparagus staged monsters, and as asparagus staging is a little bit fiddly, I really can't be arsed to build any custom versions so they get used for everything. The stupidly heaver lifter does destroy the pad every time, but I play sandbox so :sticktongue:

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I use separate asparagus launchers for payloads, which are basically Mainsails with more/less orange tanks on top. I also have one for really draggy payloads that goes around it instead of below it.

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On 5/6/2016 at 1:43 AM, ruiluth said:

One thing I have noticed recently is that everyone seems to use standardized lifters and I do not. I use standardized payloads (like lil' science and mapping satellites) and build a booster for wherever I want to send them. So my questions:

  1. Do you use standardized lifters or do you build them custom for every mission?
  2. Why or why not?
  3. Is there any real reason for using standardized boosters? I understand that in Real Life standardization of rockets makes sense for economics and all, but in a game like KSP that does not model assembly or supply it really seems pointless.
  1. I've built standardized lifters, but never used them. I almost always custom build the lifter for the rocket.
  2. I would if there was an in-game benefit for it, but I tend to enjoy tailoring the lifter for exactly what I need to lift. I'd like to - say - design a single lifter and then get a 10-50% discount for using it, but that would be pretty hard to program, I think.
  3. Other than potentially saving time, no. And that's arguable I think.
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I always build a custom lifter for my payloads because a. Making rockets is one of the top things I enjoy about the game, and b. I've tried creating standardrized lifters but its too boring for me.  Only reason why I'll reuse a creation is because I want to send the same thing up multiple times, or Im just changing something minor to the payload and it won't effect the launch

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Absolutely I use standardized boosters. First: more realistic. Second: saves time to just grab a booster from the subassemblies. Third: I like to spend more time building payloads than building lifters.

Edited by Brotoro
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I haven't used them yet. So far I've tended more to building a single rocket which then gets used for multiple mission types. This usually means that it's got a full science load on it, lots of seating and over kill in rocket engines and fuel. As an example my present Munar Lander carries five (mk1 capsule, Hitchiker) and has a Materials Bay, Goo, Temp, and pressure and is capable of getting to Mun and Minmus and land on one and possibly both if I get good alignment.

 

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Last career (1.0.5) I ended using a couple of standard designs. A SSTO rocket with a probe core and hitchhiker to get rescued kerbals back from LKO has saved me a bunch of funds. A slightly modified version took care of most Kerbin satellite delivery. Then 80t and 125t to LKO subassemblies, as asparagus staging is annoying to build from scratch every time, as well as staging separatrons on all the boosters. These subassemblies would then evolve over time when significant technological improvements came up. For bigger missions, I tended to custom build the rockets, because they where mostly bleeding edge technologies. In earlier careers I have build a standard Mun mission that I used to harvest science, but last time around I got my science from a bit of everywhere instead. Much more fun in that.

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anything under 30t i use an SSTO cargo plane to bring it to LKO.  With mining and resource creation i often have them reach LKO dry to save ascent costs, and refuel them in orbit.

For one of my planetary missions i sent the Landers, orbiting mapping sattilites, Interplanetary Depature and return vehicles to orbit at 70t dry, and about 150t fully fueled

Edited by kinnison
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I use standardized lifters.

Why? because as a (real life) engineer, I aim for solving problems only once. :wink:
So when I found a lifter setup that can serve a good range of payloads without having to change much (best case: Only change the fuel loadout),
I can concentrate on building and buckling up my payload.

Of course it's fun to build those crafts in KSP. And of course I also try other designs like using a space plane or SSTO to deliver my payload.
But a lifter rocket is only a work horse for me that I need to accomplish my missions. So I'm better off re-using the design than
to fiddle with the details of my lifer every time I try to bring a satellite into space.
I of course have several lifter designs for the different payload weight ranges, but I only keep those that showed to be practical.Insert other media

Edited by Cairol
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Standardized lifters, standardized booster sections sometimes, even separate upper and lower stages for some of my rockets. Almost everything I do in this game is highly modular and revolves around the ability to have a quick launcher for almost any payload. My payloads tend to be in relatively similar mass ranges and with similar needs when in orbit, so I'll have a series of lifters that are designed for a particular mass range, size, and amount of delta-v left in orbit (e.g. 10-20 tonnes, 2.5m, at least 600 delta-v left when in 75km orbit). I'll usually have 3 to 5 launchers in a range, with similar designs and naming schemes, but slightly increasing the amount of fuel or thrust, or adding more boosters (made easier by having standardized boosters as subassemblies). Also, using the NRAP test weight mod allows for easily configurable experimental payloads for your launchers, so that you can get a very precise mass without struggling with fuel tanks.

The only exception to this rule currently is if I have a particularly odd payload that either a) doesn't fit nicely inside a fairing or b) makes the rocket too top-heavy to fly (it's usually both of those for that sort of payload). In that instance, I'll create a pair of custom-built rockets which I can attach radially to the payload. I've currently only had to do this once, but if it becomes useful then I'll standardize the radial lifters as well.

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I have a stage designer spreadsheet that takes my mission requirements and spits out the ideal engine, number of tanks, how much to fill 'em, and where to set the throttle limit. Since the process requires no guesswork, trial and error, or testing... I can design, build, and launch in less time than it takes to write this.

Best,

-Slashy

 

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Remember people, there is no shame in using standardized lifters.  I personally use standardized lifters for my dres missions, and they got the trick done, because my

payload never changed too much.  I'll give an example of a standardized lifter: The Atlas V booster.  NASA had used that for plenty of missions, haven't they(For

example, New Horizons was launched on an Atlas V lifter)?  People use these lifters because they are cheaper, less work, and more reliable(If they've seen it work

before, there's a better chance it will work again over a new experimental lifter).

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I have a degree in aerospace engineering and used to work in the field of manned spacecraft design; I know *HOW* to design lots of things. But having mastered how all of that applies to KSP doesn't mean I want to reinvent the wheel every time I need to toss something up to LKO prior to moving it to Mün, Minmus, Ike, Laythe, Duna .... etc. I also don't need 10 tweaks or variations to every low-g mini-rover or orbital science station.

Back in the 0.2something days, I discovered Wayfare's MOMS system of standardized craft. Totally revolutionized my gameplay and made my roleplaying much more satisfying. This thread made me remember how much fun I had with it back then, enough that I dug through my archives and found the .zip files. I think I'll load them up in Sandbox and see how well they translate to 1.1.2. I have no doubt some of the more complicated modules will need design revisions but the lifters themselves ought to be pretty usable as-is (may have to rewrite the descriptions for lift capacity because of the new aero system and tweaks to part mass and engine ISP).

 

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I have standard builds of sort, and I name them. However, I build them for each payload, and mix and match launch and upper stages and fuel levels as needed.

For example, I recently had a satellite contract to deliver to a particular high orbit. At that size payload, I used a Hermit (Spark) upper stage and Magician (LVT-45) launcher.  A 160-ton fuel tanker needed an Empress (Rhino) upper stage and Death (Cluster of 6 Vectors and two Mammoths, asparagussed) launcher.

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This thread is quite amusing!

You wouldn't believe the complaints the game used to receive for the fact that you couldn't easily merge craft files together.  That's why subassemblies became a thing.

Before the subassembly manager mod, some of us used Payloader (remember that?) which was a standalone craftfile merging application.

payloader.jpg

You used to have to put a decoupler as the last part on your payload, save it, fire up the application, merge the payload and lifter, and then the lifter would be added to the bottom (or was it the other way around and you had to build craft backwards... I forget).  Load the craft file back into the VAB and hope it worked...

Anyway, yes, standard lifters all the time... once I get far enough up the tree if playing career.  The tech tree make the constant redesigning pointless.

Edited by TMS
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On 5/8/2016 at 8:24 AM, Snowstorm said:

Remember people, there is no shame in using standardized lifters.

Snowstorm,

 Oh, absolutely. No insult intended for people who use standardized lifters. I used to use them myself.

 It's just that in my situation, due to the tools I use (and lack of the tools I don't use), custom designs actually require *less* time and effort than standardized lifters. Most players don't go about it the same way I do, so standardized lifters make perfect sense for them.

In fact... I actually go the opposite way; custom lifters and standardized modular payloads. Eventually I end up with a lego set of standardized launch stacks that I use to construct my missions in orbit.

Best,
-Slashy

Edited by GoSlash27
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