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Best Interplanetary Craft!


Andrew Ridgely
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My favourites right now are my Organa-class transports. There are currently 12 different modules (7 of which are included below) which can be arranged in whatever way is necessary to explore the inner planets. There are currently three configurations: crew transport (which includes a centrifuge module and is the only version that can go as far as Jool), freight transport (which is uncrewed and has a lot of cargo space) and compound crew/cargo transport (such as the IPT Red Star below). Initial cargoes (such as a Duna Exploration Vehicle) are shipped in the cargo bay whilst the vehicle is being constructed, and future cargoes will be shipped independently. Spent heat shields must be replaced using KIS/KAS.

Organa-class transports are primarily designed for exploring planets between Eve and Dres (or Arkas and Richell with those mods installed). The crew transport configuration can carry more kerbals and travel as far as Jool, but it has a limited cargo capacity and so cannot effectively conduct exploration missions on its own. In the early game, the compound configurations (like below) are most effective, whereas later on it becomes more cost-effective to use a separate freighter and crew transport for a planet. The convenient thing about the modular system is that a compound crew/cargo transport can easily be changed into either of the more specific variants by simply moving modules around until the correct ones are included.

tvMwCz6.jpg

The vessel above is constructed from 8 Organa-class modules (2 of which are identical). From the front is the propulsion core (2-mount configuration, alternative has 4 mounts) and 2 propulsion modules (mounted on the sides of the propulsion core), large cargo module, science module, habitation module (for 8 kerbals on long-duration missions), service module (where the solar arrays are attached), and the command module at the back. Not pictured are the 4-mount propulsion core, the small cargo module, the centrifuge module, the freighter command/service module, and the freighter KIS storage. The freighter command/service module also has a rear docking adapter for towing large cargoes (such as an Eve ascent vehicle).

In my beginner's guide over in the tutorials section of the forums, I'll be posting a guide later on that covers how to design motherships like this. It probably won't be until 1.2 is released since I have a pretty large mission that I need to do in 1.1.3 (because I don't want to postpone it whilst mods are updating), but I will try to make it very in-depth.

Edited by eloquentJane
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Hullo!  @eloquentJane  that sounds very complex.  Is that a MOD?  Have you been watching too many Scott Manley videos?  I don't have a photo site, so I will explain my favorite build.

I only know the CONSOLE version:

4 Kerbal shuttle and its giant mono propellant tank, reaction wheel on top, 2 giant crew cabins, heaviest fuel tank, and the big silver engine.  Stack decoupler under that, 3 giant tanks under that, then the 4 pack rocket.  4x RCS thrusters top, bottom, and above the silver engine.  8x 2 rows of the tall radial decouplers on the bottom 2 rows of tanks, followed by the structural girders.  This gives you enough room to go 8x on the giant tanks, 3 rows tall, with the 4 pack rockets.  Rotate the engines so none are overlapping.  Add 8x struts from the tanks to the 2nd row of girders because they don't auto snap.  8x nose cones and struts to the center.  8x fuel lines from outer tanks to center tanks, so you have full center tanks after littering.

8x tall radial decouplers near bottom.  Then 8x the double medium rocket that has its own fuel, with the orange tanks on top.  8x horizontal struts connect the double rockets near the very bottom.  Cones on top, struts to middle tanks.  Now 8x the tiny white bottle rockets on top of both outer stages, aimed towards center, so they shed away from the main assembly.  I don't remember what these were called, but they are near the bottom of engines list.  Combine them with the corresponding decoupler stages.  8x red structural launch assembly.

Save ship, exit game, backup save file externally, reboot game.

Warp to morning.  Fill the ship with 36 Kerbals.  52 rockets firing 1st stage, 36x 2nd, 4x 3rd, 1x 4th.  Fly almost straight up until 2nd stage because it's top heavy.  Orbit and or escape with 36 engines firing.  At 3rd stage you have a fully fueled giant cigar IFO on the 4 pack rocket that takes a long time to orient, but the Kerbals don't seem to mind.  Turn on the interior overlay to see how super stoked they are.  You still got stage 4!

Custom quicksave too risky.  Perform a perfect escape or orbit, warp to next morning, delete debris in tracking, delete auto-saved ship, save and exit game, backup data.  Reboot game.

Now you are ready to fly anywhere in pretend space.  Use default quicksave only.  No fuel cheats, no fancy "gravity" turns or delta-VBS.  This ship assembled quickly, launched over 900 tons into stable orbit, and escaped with over 400 tons of fuel.  Trade a crew cabin for a 2nd 4th stage fuel tank for outer planets, or 8 giant thermal assemblies if you want to get close to the Sun.

I encountered several wandering stars in the 30 days before I got my refund from Sony.

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@ Doctor Demential

You know the saying, "a picture is worth 1000 words" ? Lightshot for example is a great site that hosts pictures (for free), that's where I keep mine and you can also use their utility to instantly picture snap only a section of your display screen, like if you're browsing for example, or want to capture only a small section.

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@ Zamolxies77

LOL for 'free' huh?  Did you read their 'terms of service'?  It sounds like they're watching your screen all the time if they can just snap a small picture of it at any time. 

I took lots of screenshots on my PS4 but they don't show the hidden struts, the save process, or stage 4.  If you want to see the craft in action message me on PSN, or check the Kerbal Space Program Community.  I will post a pic of this ship in action within 24 hrs.

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2 hours ago, DOCTOR DEMENTAL said:

@ Zamolxies77

LOL for 'free' huh?  Did you read their 'terms of service'?  It sounds like they're watching your screen all the time if they can just snap a small picture of it at any time. 

I took lots of screenshots on my PS4 but they don't show the hidden struts, the save process, or stage 4.  If you want to see the craft in action message me on PSN, or check the Kerbal Space Program Community.  I will post a pic of this ship in action within 24 hrs.

There's always imgur for free image hosting.

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Thanks for the image hosting suggestions! 

Andrew said he wanted 'an idea of how to get to other planets', but did not specify console or PC.  I explained my step 1 for PS4, which is limited to 300 parts, and offers no fuel cheats.  Anyone on PS4 can see my images in the KSPC.  If he's on PC then he can build with way more parts, doesn't need to worry about 'curruption', and can refer to the other images y'all link to here.  Cheers :D

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My first "pure interplanetary" ship was for Anomaly Surveyor, sending me to Jool. I won't pretend it's any kind of faithful replica, but I did try to keep the theme of the mission :) 

u8AlssD.jpg

Full album: http://imgur.com/a/sJHOT (contains spoilers)

Basically, a massive fuel tank with a crew cabin at one end and some docking ports on the sides to attach small/symmetric landers. I planned to use the double ports for larger attachments in later missions but... truth be told, the design is flawed for KSP. There are plenty of times when what you want is a cruiser, and a single, large lander - not two dinky ones. A better option would have been something with a 2.5m docking port on the back, such that it could drag a heavy payload without having the CoM shift off-axis.

Of course, interplanetary doesn't have to mean complicated. A popular option is to use a 'nuclear tug' to take advantage of the high vacuum efficiency of the LV-N engines. The tug never needs to land anywhere or come home, so it can be a bare minimum construction, and you strap whatever you need to transport to the front/back :)

YxftwCy.jpg

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On 9/11/2016 at 7:25 PM, DOCTOR DEMENTAL said:

@eloquentJane  that sounds very complex.  Is that a MOD?  Have you been watching too many Scott Manley videos?

The Organa-class transports use quite a few mods, but they are rather simple (once you know what you're doing). I count 8 on the IPT Red Star (the example craft) not including cargo, MechJeb, or non-part mods. The other modules have couple more mods, and the Phasma-class transports (a bigger version for going to places out of range of the Organa-class transports) use around 15 to 20 mods depending on which modules are used.

As for Scott Manley videos, I don't watch that many actually. I watch them occasionally but they are far from the biggest influence on my spacecraft design style. My primarily external influences are some of NASA's concepts for deep space exploration vehicles (such as the NAUTILUS-X) and plans for interplanetary missions (like Constellation), as well as by the near-future designs from science fiction like The Martian. But it's mostly just personal creative flair that influences how I build my spacecraft; that has been developed simply through playing KSP for nearly 900 hours so far (most of which has been spent designing and testing vehicles as well as planning out missions).

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The Astro Explorer is my current most efficient and reliable interplanetary ship. Vall and Moho landings are both a little tough for TAE and Eve, Tylo and Laythe landings are impossible. I don't know about Duna. It is a little overkill and may not have enough TWR to get off the ground. Everything else though is possible.

It is featured in my mission to Bop, Vall and Tylo and my Jool 5 as well as my showcase thread. (Bop/Vall/Tylo and showcase in my sig, Jool 5 isn't yet.)

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