Exothermos

Exo's Boneyard: SSTOs and more.

34 posts in this topic

XsgXG0G.png

Hi everyone, it's been a while!  I'm going to start uploading some of the deep backlog of craft I've built as I vacuum the floor mats and convert them to 1.2.  This thread will be the new dumping ground for those craft.  Those of you familiar with my stuff will be totally unsurprised that these craft are largely SSTOs, but there is a fun smattering of other things.

First up is a series of Mk-3 SSTOs I've been tinkering on since 1.04.  That's a ridiculously long lead time, but I fell off the KSP wagon for a while.  These 3 ships fit my personal SSTO design philosophy of being 1) easy to fly, 2) quick to get to orbit, and 3) good-looking and believable.  That usually results in pointy things with big TWR.  These craft all follow the "Set 10 degrees and Forget" school of ascent, and the 45 degree reentry profiles.

 

 hKX9cCE.png

Arbalest
This is the largest model in the line with a Max payload of around 45 tons.  That's an "orange can" and a lot more.  It might be able to lift more, but I've never really tried as the air-breathing acceleration time starts creeping up too high for me to tolerate.  It's got all the bells and whistles that a big, luxurious SSTO needs like... engines, wings, a cargo bay, um, a docking port.  More engines.

qHlrXEv.png

9fgh3LJ.png

DOWNLOAD ARBALEST (Dropbox)

 

 

Arbalest GT
Hey, I get it. 45 tons is WAY pointless.  Why should you lug all that extra stuff around?  You want to feel alive: get pushed back in your seat and hug the (air) curves!  Well the GT model will get that done.  All the horse power with less weight means you can still lift 36 tons (one orange can) but now you can put the top down and scan for Kerbettes in style (do not attempt top-down operation). 

RFjgVV2.png

ua7lmal.png

DOWNLOAD ARBALEST GT (Dropbox)

 

 

ArbaLEAST
HAH! Get it?  'Cuz it's the smallest?  Well.  OK, I can see you are the no-nonsense type, and I can respect that.  This is the model for the space program operator who is serious about utility.  Lighter weight, fewer parts, less TWR, and no superfluous Kerbal seats make this the most efficient in the lineup.  This leads to a still impressive 22.5 ton rated payload and the lower wing loading makes the landing sequence much less exciting.

k5tYscZ.png

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DOWNLOAD ARBALEAST (Dropbox)

 

The craft descriptions have pertinent info on Action Groups and flight profiles, let me know if you have questions.  I know lots of you are pros, but I am always surprised at the number of people intimidated by SSTOs (and space planes in general). Give 'em a shot: they're fun!  Next up is an SSTA i have floating around, or maybe a pack of Mk-2 SSTOs, or maybe some shuttle-style things, or, or, or...
     

EDIT:  Here is a annotated imgur album covering development if anyone is interested.  It was fun to look back over so many versions and remember all those AH-HA! moments.  It might be useful to those struggling with the usual SSTO design issues.

IMGUR ALBUM 

Edited by Exothermos
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@Rune! Your alpha status is being challenged!

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6 hours ago, Matuchkin said:

@Rune! Your alpha status is being challenged!

I have no problem letting @Exothermos keep you guys supplied with cool-looking SSTOs, since I've been kind of AFK lately. Still, 1.2 is up and running in my machine (and my save is intact!), and I do have a couple of things I never got around to post.

 

Rune. As always, cool stuff, Exo! :)

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9 hours ago, Matuchkin said:

@Rune! Your alpha status is being challenged!

ha!, Yeah thats not happening anytime soon.  Rune uses math and stuff.  That tends to have good results :D

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You realize that transporting an orange tank to orbit with a PLANE is no easy feat. Well done my friend!

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absolutely beautiful!

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Very aesthetic as well as functional.  Those engine nacelles are gorgeous!

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Thanks guys!

Yeah, I really like the look of the nacelles, but I am realizing that they are far too draggy to take advantage of the RAPIER's best ascent profile.  The Arbalest family was a long time in development, and frankly I wasn't aware how much some things had changed over the different versions of the game.  The ships work great as released, but they would benefit from an overhaul in the engine / streamlining department.  I have some in development that greatly reduce drag, weight, engine count, and fuel use, AND do it all with much more DV left in orbit, while lifting more weight!  This allows for the low altitude Rapier run-up ascent profile, which is the best way to do it right now.

jZwX2gp.png

The huge performance increase is accomplished by dropping the very draggy mark 3 engine pods in favor of 2.5 meter parts.

BdLRWGF.png

That 2.5 meter tank is quite ugly (lets get a revamp squad)!  It may have less character, but overall it's a nice "slimming" effect, and the performance alone is enough make it beautiful in my eyes.  8 engines to lift an orange tank is certainly not an efficiency record, but it is leaps and bounds better than the 14 (!) in the original machine.

a84zPKi.png

Or, almost twice the weight to orbit as the Arbalest, with 12 engines.

I'm not sure if anyone would be interested in a re-release of these improved versions, but I may edit-in the craft files into this post at a later date.

 

Edited by Exothermos
Speling is harde
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i'm just waiting for your XB-70. That thing is a beauty! (Though pretty much every model here is a beauty)

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Have you got a download for the 2.5m side pod versions? I have been testing many SSTO's for a version that can get to Eeloo and back and would like to see the numbers on yours. Are you aware of the new Aero GUI in this version of KSP? Alt f12 gives you a cool GUI and gives you the option to get a drag number in the menu of each part you are using by right clicking on it. My current best craft has 1 Rapier per 40 tons and I wondered if you had bettered that. :)

Edited by Redshift OTF
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9 hours ago, Exothermos said:

I'm not sure if anyone would be interested in a re-release of these improved versions, but I may edit-in the craft files into this post at a later date.

Yes please

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I just couldn't help myself, so I whipped-up the slimmed-down versions of the Arbalest.  The performance gain and ease of ascent was too satisfying to stop.  These all use the run-up style ascent profile discussed previously.

 

Arbalest Reloaded

lW2VVyz.png

This version is slightly longer than the original Arbalest and capable of lifting more than 2 orange tanks (72 tons+) to low orbit.

Download Arbalest Reloaded

 

 

Arbalest GT Reloaded

9HCiQSq.png

The GT will lift anything you can cram in the bay.  Want to lift a bunch of full large ore cans to orbit?  Why?  But...OK.  Or it can lift an orange can with enough DV to go to 200 km orbits and more.

Download Arbalest GT Reloaded

 

 

ArbaLEAST Reloaded

hE05vd2.png

The ArbaLEAST is even more rewarding to fly now.  Its a little rocket ship in the atmosphere and light and responsive during reentry.

Download ArbaLEAST Reloaded

 

 

 

Edited by Exothermos
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On 12/3/2016 at 8:25 AM, SHiftER2O said:

i'm just waiting for your XB-70. That thing is a beauty! (Though pretty much every model here is a beauty)

Yeah I'd love to get her flying again, but the new aeromodel hates the way some of the shapes are replicated with wing parts.  Specifically the long section on the Inlet trunk and the blended section to the fuselage (in red below).  I may conquer it, but I wish we could toggle lift on / off on the structural wing parts so they would just be draggy.

tX2pV4I.png

Edited by Exothermos
pic.
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Your reloaded craft links does not work, since it was attempting to find the files in MY dropbox (obviously I do not have Kerbalcraft folder in mine)

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I'm glad to see another convert to the "there is a right TWR for SSTOing" club!

Oh, and regarding your comments on engine nacelles, Mk3 fuselages can be made short-of-streamlined, if you cap them with mk3-2.5m connectors or you use all the nodes in the shuttle engine mount. I actually went to the trouble of moving them around with KER in my Spatha to have four in a 2x2 pattern without any torque, you can grab an example there with precoolers already installed if you want (so no other intakes required).

 

Rune. The hands-free ascent of a balanced design is really comfortable to pilot, too.

Edited by Rune
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23 hours ago, Jestersage said:

Your reloaded craft links does not work, since it was attempting to find the files in MY dropbox (obviously I do not have Kerbalcraft folder in mine)

Haha wow, what a noob mistake, how'd I do that?  They're fixed.  

That's like trying to share a picture and  posting C:/Windows/Users/DonandDebbie/Desktop/MomDontDeleteThisFolder/MikeysCoolPix/NeatPlane.jpg

20 hours ago, Rune said:

I'm glad to see another convert to the "there is a right TWR for SSTOing" club!

Oh, and regarding your comments on engine nacelles, Mk3 fuselages can be made short-of-streamlined, if you cap them with mk3-2.5m connectors or you use all the nodes in the shuttle engine mount. I actually went to the trouble of moving them around with KER in my Spatha to have four in a 2x2 pattern without any torque, you can grab an example there with precoolers already installed if you want (so no other intakes required).

 

Rune. The hands-free ascent of a balanced design is really comfortable to pilot, too.

Yeah, frankly the ridiculous number of engines was a bandaid for not understanding the aeromodel (MOAR BOOSTERS!).  I just couldn't figure out how it was done in this version (even though many people had shared the low altitude speed run, It went in one ear and out the other.)

I tested your assertion that mk3 parts are just as slippery as 2 meter parts with this sleek beauty:

ZO8jKMY.png

And you are right! I saw no noticeable difference in drag when flying perfectly prograde.  There is a tiny difference when any AoA is introduced (mk3 spiking with slightly more drag sooner), but it is totally negligible in normal flight.  Either way, I definitely didn't need the extra mass of the 3.5 meter parts once i no longer was trying to achieve clean lines on the "fancy" intake arrangement.

Edited by Exothermos
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On 2016-12-08 at 10:49 AM, Rune said:

I'm glad to see another convert to the "there is a right TWR for SSTOing" club!

What would you say is the right RAPIER surface level TWR? My SSTOs tend to be around 0.60, but I haven't done any real experimenting. I just came up with something that works quite well, and try to get all my SSTOs around that number.

8 hours ago, Exothermos said:

And you are right! I saw no noticeable difference in drag when flying perfectly prograde.  There is a tiny difference when any AoA is introduced (mk3 spiking with slightly more drag sooner), but it is totally negligible in normal flight.  Either way, I definitely didn't need the extra mass of the 3.5 meter parts once i no longer was trying to achieve clean lines on the "fancy" intake arrangement.

How do you measure drag, and how it varies with changes in angle of attack?

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4 hours ago, Zwolff said:

What would you say is the right RAPIER surface level TWR? My SSTOs tend to be around 0.60, but I haven't done any real experimenting. I just came up with something that works quite well, and try to get all my SSTOs around that number.

0.6 is a good one, permissive but close to the edge. The absolute minimum (and thus, the most efficient) is somewhere below 0.5, 0.45 or so, depending on how streamlined you are. And anything above ~0.7 will mean that you can burn yourself up during ascent a bit too easily for my taste. So yeah, 0.6 is a good number to shoot for, lets you miss either way and still come up with something good.

4 hours ago, Zwolff said:

How do you measure drag, and how it varies with changes in angle of attack?

The only precise way is to bring up the aero info in the right click menus through the cheat menu (ALT+F12, hunt for "enable aero data in action menus" or something like it), but the in-flight visualization tool (F12 to toggle) is a bit more intuitive (and certainly faster), with vectors and such. Mind you, don't trust it too much. The size of the vector is mainly a factor of their node size, so only compare very similar things, and in case of doubt break any ties with the hard numbers of the menu.

 

Rune. Hope that helps!

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I reworked my old Valkyrie model into something more friendly with the 1.2 aerodynamics.

The new model uses fairings for the fuselage, eliminating the troublesome lift and drag that the mk-2 parts produced.  I'm quite pleased with the effect!

SmKtvd5.png

 

The new landing gear seem tailor-made to this model.  The ground stance is close to perfect.

poBzrBS.png

 

Performance is quite good.  That's a lot of wing area!

Aal682e.png

 

Mach 3 and 70k feet are achieved.

e6SPT8r.png

 

the Engines really spool up above 12k meters.  High mach numbers will be achieved above this altitude.

aq97upJ.png

 

The stand-off "Nuclear" Missile is released.  Those Kerbal Scum on the other continent never saw it coming!

5hFu525.png

 

DOWNLOAD XB-70 Valkyrie

Edit: Improvement to missile launching system.  Now uses docking ports instead of decouplers to avoid root-part control bugs. 

Edited by Exothermos
new craft file
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You sir, are a mad, wonderful genius!  That XB-70 is simply fantastic.  Take my likes!

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Posted (edited)

Here is a simplistic take on a Mk 3 SSTO that emphasizes aerodynamics and minimalism.  

SQpembF.png

The Fusilid is as close to bare-bones as I can muster, while still achieving the minimum requirements of 1) Jumbo 64 "Orange Can" to low orbit 2) Full rendezvous & docking capabilities 3) Easy and responsive flight characteristics & operation.

yPOFz3G.png

To achieve all those, very close attention was paid to the game's aeromodel and the craft's weight and balance.  The ship is super slippery, quickly achieving well over 1000m/s near sealevel, even with only 4 rapiers and 36tons of cargo.  During the climb to orbit, 1550 m/s is the usual speed before airbreathing cut-out at 24k meters.  This makes the closed cycle climb much more efficient.  High temperatures on the fairing nosecone are experienced at these speeds, and it can be disconcerting,  but the many test flights done have never resulted in an over-temperature failure. 

hbQmANl.png

Properly configured or refueled, the Fusilid can easily visit kerbin's moons.  Here, I am servicing a small Minmus staging station with refueling / crew change (Jeb was stuck in there, and needed to rejoin the flight test program.)

SZhcDaI.png

When empty the Fusilid's center of mass does not migrate far from it's fully fueled state.  This allows easy, responsive reentry as well as light controls.  The wide track landing gear make landing in the field very easy, as well as providing a stable takeoff roll.

2MIrOWi.png

I'm pretty delighted with this craft's performance, even if it is rather plain.  But simple can be beautiful!

DOWNLOAD Fusilid

KerbalX Link

Edited by Exothermos
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10 hours ago, Exothermos said:

The download link seems to be private or dropbox now requires you to have an account in order to download anything :/

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, SHiftER2O said:

The download link seems to be private or dropbox now requires you to have an account in order to download anything :/

Yeah, it looks like our good friends at the totally-not-evil-corporation Google mandate that you make a simple account.  If you don't want to, I get it.  Here's a KerbalX link.  I'll start uploading there as well.  Of course, you will have to make a KerbalX account too, but it is non-intrusive.

Edited by Exothermos
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9 hours ago, Exothermos said:

Yeah, it looks like our good friends at the totally-not-evil-corporation Google mandate that you make a simple account.  If you don't want to, I get it.  Here's a KerbalX link.  I'll start uploading there as well.  Of course, you will have to make a KerbalX account too, but it is non-intrusive.

You da real MVP :D

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Posted (edited)

On 02/01/2017 at 3:09 AM, Exothermos said:

Here is a simplistic take on a Mk 3 SSTO that emphasizes aerodynamics and minimalism.  

SQpembF.png

The Fusilid is as close to bare-bones as I can muster, while still achieving the minimum requirements of 1) Jumbo 64 "Orange Can" to low orbit 2) Full rendezvous & docking capabilities 3) Easy and responsive flight characteristics & operation.

yPOFz3G.png

To achieve all those, very close attention was paid to the game's aeromodel and the craft's weight and balance.  The ship is super slippery, quickly achieving well over 1000m/s near sealevel, even with only 4 rapiers and 36tons of cargo.  During the climb to orbit, 1550 m/s is the usual speed before airbreathing cut-out at 24k meters.  This makes the closed cycle climb much more efficient.  High temperatures on the fairing nosecone are experienced at these speeds, and it can be disconcerting,  but the many test flights done have never resulted in an over-temperature failure. 

hbQmANl.png

Properly configured or refueled, the Fusilid can easily visit kerbin's moons.  Here, I am servicing a small Minmus staging station with refueling / crew change (Jeb was stuck in there, and needed to rejoin the flight test program.)

SZhcDaI.png

When empty the Fusilid's center of mass does not migrate far from it's fully fueled state.  This allows easy, responsive reentry as well as light controls.  The wide track landing gear make landing in the field very easy, as well as providing a stable takeoff roll.

2MIrOWi.png

I'm pretty delighted with this craft's performance, even if it is rather plain.  But simple can be beautiful!

DOWNLOAD Fusilid

KerbalX Link

Oh, nice! And it's only 71 parts! I'll be using a fleet of these to assemble my interplanetary vessels if you don't mind. Can that fairing be replaced with a normal nose cone without any penalty?

Edited by Veeltch

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