kBob

Your Unusual Tricks of the Trade

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I came across an old thread asking about weird tricks.  Some interesting stuff but a bit dated now and maybe there are new tricks.  So what do you have up your sleeve?  Be it in flight, building ships or whatever.   (I'll post mine once I have some :wink:.)

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Handy trick for doing efficient suicide burns to land on a vacuum world, if you don't have some mod like BetterBurnTime installed:

  1. Put yourself on a suborbital trajectory.
  2. Drop a maneuver node right precisely at the spot where your trajectory intersects the surface.
  3. Grab the "retrograde" handle of the node, and drag it until the projected post-maneuver trajectory collapses to a point and the node's drag handles start flipping back and forth.
  4. Put navball into surface mode, and set SAS to "hold retrograde."
  5. Start your full-throttle burn when the time remaining until the node is roughly 2/3 of the estimated burn time.  (For example, if it says your estimated burn is 15 seconds, start your burn when you're 10 seconds before the node.

 

 

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Rescue Contracts = Free Kerbals. Most everyone knows that. But if you really want to reap the full benefits of them in a time-efficient manner, build a rig like this with a bunch of rescue spacecraft you can detach at a moments notice, place it in a 300-500 km circular orbit over kerbin and rake the kerbals in. It's a bit more inefficent in terms of money but its a huge time saver not having to launch a new vessel every time you need to rescue.

LAjxkpr.png

-Decouplers can snap over a heat shield. (Not have that white fairing around them.) Lower profile spacecraft. Also, I've never needed a HS with more than 1/2 the regular amount of ablator.

-Take the monoprop out of a pod if you're not using it. Very useful when getting that first orbiter up.

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Radial ant engines make really good airhorns with both shutdown and startup sound replaced...modded to have no fuel

Also works for tram bells..something nice about toggling the gear lever on my steering wheel for a bell to sound

Loud..simple and in the case of horns..long seemless blasts with multiple firing..bells any combination too

Jet engines modified also make good Klaxxon horns & air raid sirens modified to spool correctly

 

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I can make huge things actually work (sometimes, see my mission report) and I am really good at super efficient landings. I put myself into an extremely low orbit (10m above surface) and burn at periapsis, pitching up when I need to. This leads to very exciting and efficient landings, but it does require a few quickloads sometimes to figure out where the surface is. I am also good at drawing KSP pictures (note to self: scan and upload soon).

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Protecting LV-N's on cruisers intend to land is important. If you intend to land, have powerful rcs or lots of sas. Slow down with LV-N's, then shut them down and switch to thud radial engines balanced around the center of mass. If you can, NEVER DOCK USING A CRUISER! Go through every other possible way before having to use the cruiser. I have wrecked countless at least 12 small refueling stations that way. Also, in deep space solar panels won't help you much. For Dres and beyond I use RTG's. If you need help with cruisers just ask me.

Also, 1.25 meter xenon tanks surrounded by clipped batteries so you can only see the lights with nose cones on the ends make good fake nukes. If you want real ones, just drop some LV-N's on them.

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Wow some great things already!  I'll be trying them (well some of them will have to wait until I get my new career up to speed just did a Minmus landing so hopefully not too long now). 

 

I guess I do have one though, if you try to take a bunch of passengers into orbit and you don't have the hitchhiker yet you can try a triple stack of crew cabins like this using an inverted Mk-1 stack tri-coupler, but beware: the guys from Red Dwarf will try and use their Triplicator on you like this somewhere on the way...I still managed to deorbit and land with all passengers but it was a harrowing ride when one engine suddenly turned to three loosely connected engines.

Edited by kBob

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Not entirely sure if this is actually unusual, but in science mode I usually spam myself towards the mobile science pod thingy that analyzes science, make a spacestation that's just it, and whenever returning from a mission dock up with it and deposit all of it's science in there, getting the same giant science bonus without having to lug the damn thing everywhere.

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7 minutes ago, nosirrbro said:

Not entirely sure if this is actually unusual, but in science mode I usually spam myself towards the mobile science pod thingy that analyzes science, make a spacestation that's just it, and whenever returning from a mission dock up with it and deposit all of it's science in there, getting the same giant science bonus without having to lug the damn thing everywhere.

Speaking of science mode (and to a lesser extent), I just farm as much science as I can at KSC.

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4 hours ago, Kuansenhama said:

Rescue Contracts = Free Kerbals. Most everyone knows that. But if you really want to reap the full benefits of them in a time-efficient manner, build a rig like this with a bunch of rescue spacecraft you can detach at a moments notice, place it in a 300-500 km circular orbit over kerbin and rake the kerbals in. It's a bit more inefficent in terms of money but its a huge time saver not having to launch a new vessel every time you need to rescue.

LAjxkpr.png

-Decouplers can snap over a heat shield. (Not have that white fairing around them.) Lower profile spacecraft. Also, I've never needed a HS with more than 1/2 the regular amount of ablator.

-Take the monoprop out of a pod if you're not using it. Very useful when getting that first orbiter up.

One tricks I tend to use is to use an taxi to pick up kerbals in various orbits then send them Mun orbit, Minmus landing and refueling, then out to solar orbit and back to LKO where they board the landing capsule and return, this give 3 star Kerbals directly. The lander will also bring kerbals up, the ones in orbit outside of Mun orbit I prefer to return to kerbin first.   

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This is probably common knowledge, but if you have to throttle at all during your ascent, you are doing it wrong ineffectively in my opinion.

You can use tweakables to amend the thrust of your launch engines, and your gravity turn will fly itself (after the initial turn to 10 degrees). Turn too slowly, turn the thrust down. Turn too quickly (ie don't make it), turn it up.

I personally find an average surface TWR of 1.3 to be about the sweet spot. (So if my second stage is 1.2 I'd set first stage to 1.4 to compensate, but if the first stage was 1.3, I'd also set second stage to 1.3), but this can vary depending on how much fuel each stage is carrying.

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Two other less know things, an 1.25 meter service bay on top of an MK1-2 pod or MK3 cockpit work as an small airbrake while is nice to store probe core, mechjeb, batteries, life support and an kas winch. 

The low attitude/ ground resource scanner shows the biome you are over in real time, also in high orbit and during time warp. 
Pin it and use it to know then you fly over biomes you want science from. 

Edited by magnemoe

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"jumping" to the moon, or minmus need - on the paper- less dv.
orbiting first makes it more easy to reach moon or minmus.

 

a higher orbit need less dv than a lower orbit...
(the high need more energy, but the orbital -speed are less... )

if you want to leave kerbin, reach a low orbit first.
you can use a very low TWR , to escape the system (like ion engines) if you accelerate on the periapsis. (like a child on a Swing...)

Edited by Sereneti

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Probably not a revolutionary way of doing things, but I build my stages out horizontally rather than vertically, I've found it to make for much stabler rockets. I also build them with a rectangular profile rather than a more square profile, seem to make them more aerodynamically stable, I don't even use with fins anymore. Besides that I guess to things pretty much in the traditional way, I'm not even a very efficient builder, my crafts tend to be unnecessarily heavy and large.

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- you can adjust the "thrust limiter" of rocket engines during flight. this can be very useful for doing small burns that require high precision (like correction burns to adjust your periapsis location in the target SOI).

with some practice, you can use the same technique (combined with a lot of reaction wheel torque) for rendezvous and docking maneuvers without RCS thrusters.

 

- one of the aircraft tech nodes contains the "small hardpoint". this part is essentially the same as a radial decoupler, but costs only 60 funds rather than 600. this is especially useful for small-ish rockets. using the cheap, small "hammer" or "thumper" boosters is a lot more economic when the decoupler to mount the booster isn't more expensive (or almost as expensive) as the booster itself.

 

- structural pylons or girder segments can be used as very sturdy "static" landing gear for spacecraft. this avoids the problems with the relative fragility of retractable landing legs. note that they are also quite a bit heavier than the landing struts, so it's not recommended to use them on small-ish craft like a one seat mun lander. they are better suited for larger craft like mining rigs or science outposts.

 

- structural aircraft wings can be used to widen the "base" of landers without adding a lot of extra weight (especially the long and thin structural wing type C). it's a bit of a hassle to get such craft to space, though, as the additional drag near the top of the rocket makes it much more likely to flip over.

 

 

 

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I'm quite proud of my low-tech, low part-count vertically launched spaceplane designs. The idea that improved my efficiency a lot was to place the main booster on top of the rocket, so the payload plane's wings can act as fins on ascent (and it substitutes heatshields and gears on the way down). Of course that setup means I have to face off prograde to stage.. but it costs a lot less dV than I save with this setup. It can also only land on water, but it's still a small price to pay. Even hard careers start easy when you can take 8 tourists to orbit from 30 parts:

8xJEREy.png

With less seats and more fuel it can bring down 6 stranded kerbals from LKO too.

Edited by Evanitis

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Wobbly rocket or payload? Mount a probe core on the first or second stage with a small nosecone or a cubic octag, and click "control from here" at launch. SAS will use the orientation of that probe core and it's what the navball will show too, which makes it a lot more stable and controllable even if the payload on top is flexing around a bit.

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Having explosions when staging off boosters? instead of just a regular radial decoupler, use a radial decoupler with a type E wing to stand your boosters well away from the main body of your ship.  Low cost, low mass, and low drag solution.  Also if low enough it acts as fins and keeps your rocket pointed up!  If you want to keep the fin effect, just add the radial decoupler on the end instead.

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1 hour ago, cantab said:

Wobbly rocket or payload? Mount a probe core on the first or second stage with a small nosecone or a cubic octag, and click "control from here" at launch. SAS will use the orientation of that probe core and it's what the navball will show too, which makes it a lot more stable and controllable even if the payload on top is flexing around a bit.

I occasionally use this trick myself, it works with docking ports as well.

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- long wobbly rockets? use the small fins as anchor points for one strut going straight down and one straight up, use a symmetry >3 that fits the rest of your design. (will add a pic later)

- need another few m/s during ascent? put some tanks on top of your SRBs and connect them to the core. play around with SRB thrust and tanksize until you got a timing that makes sense.

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Mk2 cockpit exploding from heat on launch or reentry?  Stick an antenna on the nose.  (The Communotron-16).  You'll have to stick it on at an odd angle and use the rotate/offset gizmo to put it precisely on the tip of the nose.  Presto chango, never worry about heat again.  This trick is so OP it will probably get nerfed at some point.

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13 hours ago, Kuansenhama said:

Rescue Contracts = Free Kerbals. Most everyone knows that.

I did not.

I don't think I've ever actually done one because they seemed overly fussy and I didn't see the point so I turned them off...

Lol...

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When you need every last drop of delta vee and no extra weight, remove the monopropellant from your pods to lighten your crafts! Or as an alternative, add a few radial monopropellant tanks to the side of the Mk 1-2 pod near the bottom, along with a few Puffs, for deorbiting or for any small necessary reentry course corrections.

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Speaking of monopropellant, 1.1 added a new option on RCS thrusters: Under actuation toggles, "Fore by Throttle" which makes them work as main engines!

KER won't tell you the delta-V, but a bare 1-Kerbal lander can with a couple of single-way thrusters gets 200 m/s just on its internal monopropellant. Enough for basic orbital manouvering, or even to take off from Minmus.

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You can use alt-F5 instead of just F5 to NAME YOUR QUICKSAVES!!!

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