Numerlor

What is the obsession with cockpits on SSTOs?

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Every time I see SSTO it has cockpit but on rockets it is more 50/50 for manned/unmanned. Why? Most of SSTOs I saw were to deploy some kind of station,cockpit could be replaced by fuel tank and incerase delta V by nice amount

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I think the reason it mostly... who doesn't want a cockpit on an SSTO! It's a bit weird to see a plane without a cockpit. SSTOs are fully reusable, so why not give it a nice crew capacity?

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Not to mention that, to me at least, it seems much more reasonable to expect a probe core to bring a parachute recovery down, than to land a spaceplane on flat ground (first finding the flat ground) or a runway (first finding the runway).  Career KSP may consider a no-stars pilot to be inferior to a top end probe core, but I don't see them as such, especially for things like recognizing terrain that won't destroy your expensive orbiter if you happen to miss the Space Center.

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Otherwise it is boring. Some SSTO's do not have any purpose other than being an SSTO. So a Kerbal inside adds in an extra touch.

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I think the first unmanned aircraft was back in 1916, but even so it's not until quite recently that they've really...erm, taken off. So that might be one reason, we're just used to thinking of aircraft as being things which have pilots stuffed into them (usually at the anterior end). Whereas unmanned rockets are common.  So it just seems natural to have SSTOs as manned craft.

Another reason for having them as manned craft is the loss of signal during re-entry.  That's not an issue with a lander style craft, but with an SSTO loss of signal during reentry could result in it not maintaining pitch and overheating (although with SSTOs returning from LKO I've not noticed the loss of signal much). 

I prefer to take crew to orbit and bring them back in SSTOs rather than rockets.  Mainly because I like being able to return crew right back to KSC and SSTOs do give you a bit more control on reentry and even if you over/under shoot you can just fly back to KSC
 

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5 hours ago, NISSKEPCSIM said:

I think the reason it mostly... who doesn't want a cockpit on an SSTO! It's a bit weird to see a plane without a cockpit. SSTOs are fully reusable, so why not give it a nice crew capacity?

zbqdOQl.png

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14 hours ago, katateochi said:

[...] Mainly because I like being able to return crew right back to KSC and SSTOs do give you a bit more control on reentry and even if you over/under shoot you can just fly back to KSC
 

I have seen people deorbit and parachute to the launchpad, although I don't think it was intentional in any of those cases.

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Posted (edited)

i take kerbals in to space because i need them to do something.  

most of the time that's a scientist that will reset some experiments. 

so my ssto are mostly probe core ssto's but with a crew capacity of one so i can do and redo all kinds of cool stuff elsewhere. 

i hardly ever use pilots after i unlock a proper probe core. however... ever since squad introduced the signal range of probe cores, pilots are again useful for those remote locations which lack a proper commsat network. 

Edited by xendelaar

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Because IVA

Going into orbit while in IVA is awesome.

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In my case it's a mostly arbitrary rule; None of my stuff is passenger certified unless a kerbal has the ability to control it. This ensures that I cannot lose control of the vessel due to loss of power or signal.

My supply SSTOs have no crew capacity. Not for extra DV, but for extra cargo capacity.

Best,
-Slashy

 

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On 6/3/2017 at 4:14 PM, Numerlor said:

Every time I see SSTO it has cockpit but on rockets it is more 50/50 for manned/unmanned.

I'm not clear on your categories.  What sort of propulsion do you use for your SSTOs?

(Personally, I think it's kind of silly to put a cockpit on an SSTO unless it is also a spaceplane.  Pods work for holding the pilot, and they're great for simple reentries.)

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I use probe cores on almost every SSTO spaceplane I make. Sometimes they have a cockpit too, but usually not. 

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4 minutes ago, Red Iron Crown said:

I use probe cores on almost every SSTO spaceplane I make.

This thread definitely needs more pics of uncrewed SSTOs. :wink:

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Torque, EC, and monoprop storage in one unit. Also its convenient to have some crew capacity if you want to wait until the last flight to crew a vessel/station that you're assembling in orbit, and the last flight is a fueling mission. Its also convenient to still have control if one runs out of EC on the way down (yes, you could use an RTG or fuel cell instead).

Sometimes I just need mass up front to help balance the mass of engines to the rear once the fuel tanks are emptied.

This doesn't have a cockpit in the usual place, but its there just to give 1 crew capacity, and control for when the connection is broken if needed:

PQrxTGt.png

(yea, its not a kerbin SSTO, but same concept)

and again, for duna, a token 1 crew command cockpit:

ybLBmSd.png

In this case the torque/EC/monoprop argument doesn't make much sense as you see I have parts dedicated to that as well.

But I don't always do it, like here:

This SSTO for my mod planet rald doesn't have a cockpit and would rely on a crew module in the cargobay:

ovzVPeY.png

Depending on occlusion settings/plasma blackout, and the com net, you may lose connection in LKO, but with a good com network its not such an issue (and you can have a higher tier probe set to follow prograde or such during the blackout)

So, I do use cockpitless SSTOs on kerbin as well, but so far I haven't made one in my 3x rescale save. This one is just stock kerbin and stock parts:

y6Zzgs5.png

vBCAIcf.png

hq9lOgo.png

SvIyLrk.png

and similar earlier designs:

Fvfy9vY.png

PMFJD2u.png

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In terms of designing any craft, I'm usually trying to keep the craft aesthetic looks pleasing while still retaining it's utility. Personally, I love the cockpitless SSTO as it gives a "Futuristic" feel to it's aesthetic compared to conventional aircraft look of aircraft cockpit, so it's no surprise that most of the SSTO that I created is drones. However, I DO need a crew to control the craft, especially during plasma blackout during re-entry. Adding antenna is not an option for me when I'm designing SSTO's aesthetic. So how I get both of the control and aesthetic?

Simple:

OLKwMb9.png

It looks cockpitless from outside

oyGG635.png

Because I put the cockpit inside the cargobay

Also, there's some particular feel for me when going IVA inside mk1 command pod, seeing on it's tiny window, it's all black before suddenly the cargobay door opens and I can see the starry sky from inside the command pod. I can only imagine myself unable to resist the urge to grab the hatch of the command pod and crawl outside it for EVA

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Karty: Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Doc. Ah... Are you telling me that you built an SSTO... with a cockpit?

Doc Krown: The way I figured it, if you're going to build an SSTO, why not do it with style.  Besides I needed the extra reaction wheels and battery charge to ---

"Back to the Orbit"

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I've built a few drone SSTOs for things like mapping and such, back in the day -- once you've imaged the whole planet, a satellite just sits there unless you recover it or blow it up...an SSTO can just come back down and land to be scrapped.

 

But most of my vessels have both crew modules and drone cores, so I can run them either way.

 

-Jn-

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On 2017-6-3 at 10:14 PM, Numerlor said:

Every time I see SSTO it has cockpit but on rockets it is more 50/50 for manned/unmanned. Why? Most of SSTOs I saw were to deploy some kind of station,cockpit could be replaced by fuel tank and incerase delta V by nice amount

Do you specifically mean cockpit or just any crew capacity? Personally, if its just cockpits then I agree with you. Nearly all of my SSTO's are drone controlled but have one of the crew cabins on board.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, MR L A said:

Do you specifically mean cockpit or just any crew capacity? 

Yup cockpit

 

 

16 hours ago, stibbons said:

This thread definitely needs more pics of uncrewed SSTOs. :wink:

These two don't have big cargobays but are certainly capable of liftiing something up there, they just weren't intended for it

20170512151252_1.jpg
20170606194925_1.jpg

Edited by Numerlor

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Posted (edited)

Simple answer, all probe cores except the Mk2 look terrible on a plane and there is no good looking Mk2 nosecone.

Edited by Alshain

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26 minutes ago, Alshain said:

Simple answer, all probe cores except the Mk2 look terrible on a plane and there is no good looking Mk2 nosecone.

Assuming you mean purely stock. If you get into mods, there are some decent choices.

I've built a couple of Mk2-based drone SSTO spaceplanes. One was just a basic crew shuttle. The other was just a glorified SCANsat "satellite" that was easier to retrieve once Kerbin was fully mapped. (I don't remember if the design was capable of Mun or Minmus orbits...) The Mk2 Expansion mod was the bulk of the extra parts needed to make them look nice, but I vaguely recall toying with Mk2 parts from OPT and QuizTech for the design.

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Yes, I meant stock.  But the Mk2 expansion mod works with that statement too, they are a good concept but the textures are a poorer texture quality than porkjets and its obvious when putting them side by side.

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Aside from aesthetics and control without signal, Mk3 cockpit is great mk1-mk3 adapter as well. As RAPIERs can easily accelerate a plane to 1600m/s, Rockets just need to give 700m/s to LKO. So in most cases LF+Ox storage from the adapter is a waste for me.

Also cockpit serves as counterweight for the engines, reducing CoM changes.

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On 6/6/2017 at 0:14 AM, stibbons said:

This thread definitely needs more pics of uncrewed SSTOs. :wink:

Here's an older album of an uncrewed SSTO delivering an uncrewed nuclear tug to low orbit:

 

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Posted (edited)

You're not alone OP. I also prefer SSTOs and spaceplanes without the 'classic' cockpit, though it's seldom for saving deltaV... in my headcanon cockpit glass would've been fully replaced with cameras/monitors by the time SSTO spaceplanes become viable.

Additionally, while I like PJ's parts in general, I'm not the biggest fan of his cockpit designs. To me they look out of place and/or not able to reach hypersonic speeds (*cough*). So whenever I design a new spaceplane, I either use drones or custom cockpits.

 

On 06/06/2017 at 4:44 AM, stibbons said:

This thread definitely needs more pics of uncrewed SSTOs. :wink:

Here's a couple of my stock SSTO spaceplanes (some crewed, but all without the standard role cockpits):

KxoQAMV.png

1zHZFUr.jpg

ZyCIDXm.png

8lMohNo.png

Vvu3nGj.jpg

oWvhiwY.png

 

NB: The only mods used were visual ones... and KER most likely

Edited by Yakuzi

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