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create a SSTO self refilling spaceship hosting 3 kerbals


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For quite a while i've been trying to create 3 kerbals on a SSTO spaceship that is able to refill itself by use of Ore / karbonite
With a goal of visiting multiple planets / muns beyond minimus and mun. I've been very close of making one so i believe someone eventually will make it.

Mods you might use

  • near future tech  (electrics/solar/nuclear/ ...
  • FAR  (if not mention that it wasnt used), because its more realistic to use it.
  • TweakScale (if you need it)
  • USG robotics (if you need it)
  • Karbonite (if you need it)
  • Asteroid recycling tech (if you need it)
  • Mods for different cockpits are ok to use if you want so.
  • no objections to other mods if they dont contain extreme engine hacks or extreme lifting wings

Space plane should contain (besides the other stuff).

  • Mining (ore or karbonite ) to fuel converters
  • Drills
  • Tools to scan so you know where to mine (or else you endup lost in space). 

Electrics might be based on Nuclear / Solar

No tanking by other planes or bases allowed, its SSTO

Most likely flight path is, to aim for mun or minimus first, start drill and refill fuel operation there.
From there visit some other planets or their moons to mine, then fly safely back on kerbin

What makes it hard is the first part, takeoff from kerbin and still be able to reach mun/minimus and to land there
As you will need a larger SSTO design to house the mining  parts, while larger planes have more mass and make it hard to reachout to other planets and land safely.
So this is quite a balancing act. You probably start of with air breathing engines and fly to Minimus using your inter-planar nuclear / electric engine.

So show your ships builds or youtube if your able to do it.


Edited by PGTART
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to give you some idea, this ship might be able to do it, has enough fuel left over in orbit (but i had no time to test it even more, its my own best attempt).


(note small ore drill at the bottom, mechjeb to rotate drill.

After having seen some more youtube's i'm more convinced now this challenge is possible.
It makes me wonder if there are smaller ships possible (half the size or so ?).

Edited by PGTART
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Should be possible.  I just quickly put together the monstrosity below.  It handles like crap, but it does fly.  As you can see, it got to Minmus with 875 delta-v left.  

It's got the small ISRU and 2 mini-drills, so it's not going to refuel quickly, but it it can refuel.  I did not add radiators or electricity generation beyond one RTG, but that should be doable without adding much weight.  Ditto with a scanning module (I would go narrow band).  


It's got 2 Rapiers, 2 nukes and 1 Whiplash to help with early stage takeoff.  I did the usual gradual takeoff to get to about 1,300m/s at 20k elevation, turned on the nukes, pitched up to about 20 degrees, then switched the rapiers until they pretty much burned out.  Nukes went the rest of the way.  (I drained a couple tanks of oxidizer since I did not need as much as in the adapters and bicouplers).  

After reloading LF on Minmus, this could definitely make it to the Mun and should be able to make it to a few other planets.  

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Here's a better, and much better looking ship [EDIT: just to clarify, I meant better than the one I posted above.  PGTART's ship is better looking than either of mine], based loosely on my Laythe SSTO.  It had almost 1500 delta-v left after getting to Minmus, and I did not do the most efficient maneuvers.  A direct flight to Duna or Ike might be possible, but it'd be tricky.  

This ship has the full ISRU setup, with power and a little radiator, which hopefully will suffice.  Only problem is I forgot the dang ore tank!  (not the first time).

This one is a pain to launch, though - thrust around takeoff is really minimal.  Same general flight plan above, but it has to go almost flat until it hits 500 m/s or so.  I left the oxidizer in the bicoupler but drained about 80% from the front adapter.  LF tanks were all full on launch.



Edited by Aegolius13
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This one hosts 4 Kerbals and is fully stock (no FAR either):


I've successfully flown it to Minmus and refueled there. From there I visited the Mun, Duna, Ike, Dres and Laythe. So far I got stuck there, just 50 m/s short of making it a safe landing on Vall, though I suspect that with a more efficient Laythe ascent profile it should be able to pull it off. Here's my mission log:


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6 hours ago, PGTART said:

@Aegolius13 Actually i find my ship rather bulky and therefore difficult to handle, and am now wondering about making more agile ships (shorter, smaller).

Yeah, I've found simpler is usually better with SSTOs.  In particular I can't get away from the Big S Delta wing.  Stiffer than the custom wings, plus has basically free LF storage.  So all my planes pretty much look the same...

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Trying to adapt my old Artemis workhorse SSTO for this, but I'm having trouble getting it tweaked for some requirements.

[imgur]cRB6q[/imgur] Edit: How the flip do I embed imgur slideshows now?


Only hits orbit with about 1200 d/V, which is borderline to get to minmus for refueling. A better flight profile might get it there, but I was hoping for an idiot-proof SSTA. I'll keep at it.

Edited by Jarin
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