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Jestersage

Building a pure nuclear SSTO -- possible?

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Before I go and try to figure it out myself, I just want to check if it's possible to build a pure nuclear SSTO to LKO? To Mun? (Inspired by this)

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The stock nuclear engine is tuned strictly for vacuum operation. At sea level, its thrust output is too low for meaningful propulsion, even on a plane. I mean, on Duna it could work, but not on Kerbin.

That said, there are mods which offer better atmospheric nukes, or even more exotic things like thermal turbojets.

Edited by Streetwind

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in stock, the best you can do is a pure LF design, using airbreathers and then nukes

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A stock LV-N has a sea level t/w under .5. That's not counting the fuel, wings etc. If you were to make it with an infinite number of fuel tanks it would barely have enough DV to reach orbit, but t/w approaching zero.

So no. An all-nuke SSTO isn't possible. Or at least not one that launches from sea level.

Perhaps if you were to launch from the top of a mountain....

Best,
-Slashy

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Just now, GoSlash27 said:

A stock LV-N has a sea level t/w under .5. That's not counting the fuel, wings etc. If you were to make it with an infinite number of fuel tanks it would barely have enough DV to reach orbit, but t/w approaching zero.

So no. An all-nuke SSTO isn't possible. Or at least not one that launches from sea level.

Perhaps if you were to launch from the top of a mountain....

Best,
-Slashy

I smell a challenge. 

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Stock: no. 

Modded: let's just say that I've made a VSSTO with only nukes before...

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If you are ok with mods, try Atomic Age. One of the engine features "hot mode" for extra thrust at sea level.

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