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This is a repository for my shared launch vehicles. I started this thread because I've noticed that launch vehicles, unless they're for terrifyingly-large payloads or are replicas of real rockets, do not get much attention on the forums. I like spacecraft to look good through the entire duration of their use, and although the launch tends to be a rather small portion of that temporally it is still very important. I also enjoy designing launch vehicles, so this thread exists in part to showcase my designs.

 

Requests

I am happy to take requests for launch vehicles. I can design for a specific payload capacity, stock or modded games, unusually shaped payloads, scaled up versions of Kerbin (if I'm provided with the right Sigma Dimensions settings), reusability, and really just about any launch vehicle specification you might need. I can also design stylistic replicas of real launch vehicles (including accurate payload capacity if you want) if you have few preferences on mods used.

I will also include transfer stages if you want to send a payload beyond Kerbin orbit.

What I can't do is design for ridiculously massive payloads which would require launch vehicles with 300 parts and 40 stages. But I find that generally people with such needs prefer to design their own lifters anyway. I also can't do designs involving Tweakscale, as it causes numerous issues that are inconvenient to find the sources of.

 

Downloads

When downloading modded vehicles you should use the mod list I provide in this thread, as KerbalX does not detect all mods.

LKO (Low Kerbin Orbit) is always defined as an 80km prograde equatorial circular orbit, unless stated otherwise.

"Avionics" means whether or not the stage has independent control (including antenna).

Vehicle descriptions in-game will include notes for successful use of the vehicle.

 

Main Series

These are my standard launch vehicles for a wide range of payloads.

Spoiler

Cinnabar Series

Payload range: 0.2 to 1.0 tonnes.

Mods required:

  • B9 Part Switch
  • Color Coded Cannisters
  • Fuel Tanks Plus
  • Interstellar Fuel Switch
  • Near Future Spacecraft
  • Procedural Fairings
  • RLA Stockalike
Spoiler

Cinnabar 1

DgKHR0f.png

Download
Payload to LKO: 0.2 tonnes
Cost: to be added
Reaction control: no
Top Node: 0.625m
Details: 2 stages, no avionics, no reaction wheels, no power generation or storage
Propellants: 1st stage LFO; 2nd stage monopropellant

 

Cinnabar 2

igVKaoT.png

Download
Payload to LKO: 0.4 tonnes
Cost: to be added
Reaction control: no
Top Node: 0.625m
Details: 2 stages, no avionics, no reaction wheels, no power generation or storage
Propellants: 1st stage LFO; 2nd stage monopropellant

 

Cinnabar 3

qcWoVul.png

Download
Payload to LKO: 0.6 tonnes
Cost: to be added
Reaction control: no
Top Node: 0.625m
Details: 2 stages, no avionics, no reaction wheels, no power generation or storage
Propellants: 1st stage LFO; 2nd stage monopropellant

 

Cinnabar 4

sr1Iqqa.png

Download
Payload to LKO: 0.8 tonnes
Cost: to be added
Reaction control: no
Top Node: 0.625m
Details: 2 stages, no avionics, no reaction wheels, no power generation or storage
Propellants: All stages LFO

 

Cinnabar 5

K78EoGX.png

Download
Payload to LKO: 1.0 tonnes
Cost: to be added
Reaction control: no
Top Node: 0.625m
Details: 2 stages, no avionics, no reaction wheels, no power generation or storage
Propellants: All stages LFO

 

 

Edited by eloquentJane
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1 hour ago, Bill the Kerbal said:

How do you manage to make your launch vehicles look so awesome?

Thanks for the compliments. Regarding my design methods, generally it helps to have mods that add a lot of possible style variation. Fuel Tanks Plus and Color Coded Cannisters give me a huge number of options for fuel tank color schemes (there's a lot of possibilities that I still have yet to explore even just in terms of color palettes), and I also use several other parts mods which give me more options for other aspects of the design. Having a lot of options is a major help when it comes to effective aesthetic design. I'll also make stock vehicles (or ones with limited part mods) by request, but you'll probably find that they often won't look as good just because of the more limited options in a stock game.

Other than having a good range of options when it comes to parts, effective vehicle design mainly comes down to experience and experimentation. After a while, I get a good idea of what things look good, and I generally stick with appearances that are relatively close to things which have worked well in the past. That being said, I do try to deviate somewhat from past styles (the red-and-white color scheme on the Cinnabar vehicles is something I've never tried before, for example), and I'll do a few test designs with something new to see if it looks good or not. If it does, I'll stick with it, and even if it doesn't that just means that I've learned something new that'll be useful for reference in future designs (I'll know whether it's a good idea or not). After a while of designing vehicles, I've also now gotten to the point where I can get a fairly good idea in my mind of what it's going to look like before I actually design it. This is helpful because it makes part choices easier and lets me focus on finer details, ultimately making the design process a lot quicker.

There are two main ways that the design process works: designing for a particular appearance, and designing for a particular payload. For an appearance, I'll generally have a vague idea of the size I want the vehicle to be, which will limit the part choices to ones that fit the size, and then I'll find a design I'm happy with and figure out the maximum payload later. For a payload, however, I'll start with the mass that I want and work my way down. MechJeb is helpful for this because it lets me know if I'm overbuilding or underbuilding the rocket, so I can find out what I need to add or remove. Test flights are also important for both methods, because they give me a better understanding of how the rocket will fly and help me to find and solve any problems. I also use the Kerbal NRAP mod to figure out the maximum payload for a rocket, because it adds a highly-configurable test weight that removes the need to find the right parts to simulate each payload mass.

Additionally, I do have to have a good idea when starting a design of what extra design aspects need to be included. This could mean possible variants (made by adding boosters or lengthening fuel tanks, or other minor modifications less significant than a total design overhaul), transfer stages if the payload needs to go beyond low Kerbin orbit, independent control systems on any stages which need them, and any other requirements beyond the basic "move this amount of mass into orbit" mission of a simple launch vehicle. Knowing these things beforehand lets me integrate the required extra systems into the design as I'm making it, rather than having to adapt it once it's been built (which tends to take a lot of tweaking to make it look good).

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