Spacecraft Design Evolution in KSP

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I recall the older versions of the game as tending to favour stout designs over long ones. Aerodynamically there was little difference, and the barn door approach was more stable because it could better resist deadly flexing. For me, that led to a style of rocket that had 'waist tanks' on the orbital transfer stage (upper stage radial fuel tanks) to cut down on the length of the rocket and provide a convenient point of leverage for struts (running from bellow the transfer stage engine to the bottom of the tanks, and from the top of the tanks to the final stage(s).

My designs started to change once new and larger parts were added, along with new places to visit. The LV-N engines in particular got me into radially mounted engines on that transfer stage. Finally, I picked up the Kethane mod, which prompted me to move the LV-N's to the landing stage instead, with the landing gear attached to the central body of the craft.

That design pattern is one I still use for some general tasks like ore mining, crew/cargo transport, and general exploration.

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6 hours ago, Wanderfound said:

*Moho Economy Challenge*

Did...did they fix embeded imgur albums?!  Is that what those 502 errors were about?

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Posted (edited)
On 3/19/2017 at 8:02 PM, Wanderfound said:

Asparagus adds a few hundred m/s per booster ring compared to onion staging, which adds up when you're trying for extreme range. And although you can usually just substitute bigger boosters, the big rockets are expensive compared to a cluster of low-tech boosters (the one in the pic was built for a career game, so I was trying to keep cost down).

SRB droptanks are tricky if you want to absolutely maximise it, but if you're willing to undershoot on maximum tank capacity it isn't too hard; just build so that the tanks run dry well before SRB separation. I nearly always stick at least a small tank on top of any SRBs these days; no fuel hoses required, just activate crossfeed on the decouplers.

The pictured ship only has the mess of hoses because the inner liquid boosters are properly asparagused (i.e. dropping in pairs instead of quads), so all of the SRB droptanks need to feed into the first-dropped set of LFBs. Even that could be avoided these days if you want to take the time to fiddle with advanced tweakables and fuel priority.

Demonstrating the point:





Much cleaner looking (and cleaner still if you replace the struts with autostruts), but nearly double the price. Pushing a heavier payload, though; crewed instead of a robolander.

Edited by Wanderfound

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