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Best Liquid Fuel Engine?


KerbalNetwork
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  • 4 years later...

Guess who's back to  revive a thread without a reason! 

I think the Skipper is the best engine both for first and second stage, because of high power for such efficiency. And its very low tech.

The Poodle is another good engine for a second stage (Wolfhound is better but the double thing on the Poodle is just superior) And the Skiff too.

The Dawn is good for interplanetary travel (Only for probes), as it has a very high ∆v, although electricity runs out quick.

The Vector is only good for HEVY rockets where small, but powerful engines are necessary. The bad thing is it costs quite a lot.

The almighty Nerv is a good engine too, but I still haven't made a what you can call a successful rocket.

Terrier. Recommended for first Mün and Minmus landing.

R.A.P.I.E.R. is poop for a first SSTO, better for gigantic SSTOs or Laythe SSTOs

Fun fact: Its 2:00 AM local time and idk what im doing with my life. I have school after 11 hours.

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On 6/9/2017 at 6:32 AM, Kerbart said:

Consider installing Kerbal Engineer. You can see how swapping out engines affects DV. I often use a Skipper on lighter 2.5m rockets. If you don't need the thrust it wil save you tons of weight (literally!)

There's no best engine. There's a "most suitable for the job" engine. And that... depends on the job.

KER is a life-saver in plenty of situations. It doesn't have any requirements for download so it's a must have for all PC players.

Spoiler

RIP Console Players ;.;

 

5 minutes ago, Aerodynamic Kerbal said:

Guess who's back to  revive a thread without a reason! 

Spoiler

Oh shoot! I didn't know that this tread was 4 years old!

 

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8 hours ago, AtomicTech said:

KER is a life-saver in plenty of situations. It doesn't have any requirements for download so it's a must have for all PC players.

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RIP Console Players ;.;

 

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How do I remove this

 

As a console player, I can say there is an app (or whatever you want to call it, maybe widget?) in the down right corner in the VAB hud, its for ∆v. You can toggle sea level/altitude/vacuum. That's how I found out why all of the engines I listed are useful. Is it on stock PC too? 

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31 minutes ago, Aerodynamic Kerbal said:

As a console player, I can say there is an app (or whatever you want to call it, maybe widget?) in the down right corner in the VAB hud, its for ∆v. You can toggle sea level/altitude/vacuum. That's how I found out why all of the engines I listed are useful. Is it on stock PC too? 

Like practically everything on console, it was on PC first. KER still has more info on other stuff.

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“What’s the best liquid fuel engine in KSP” is a bit like asking “what’s the best internal combustion engine”- it depends very heavily on what you’re doing. A little 2-stroke engine will be useless on a truck, a massive V8 overkill on a leaf blower and a gigantic container ship diesel engine is no good for a plane.

If you’re only after raw power you want something big and heavy that gulps fuel like it’s going out of fashion but produces tremendous power- whether that’s a Rolls-Royce Merlin or a Rockomax Mainsail. If you want maximum efficiency even at the expense of power you’ll get something small that makes the most of every drop of fuel- a 3-cylinder turbodiesel or a Terrier. If you want power AND efficiency and are prepared to pay for it, options are there too- a modern Formula 1 engine or a Wolfhound, which both produce plenty of power with high efficiency* but come with a cost (literally in the F1 engine’s case, and metaphorically for the Wolfhound as it’s much heavier than other vacuum engines compared to its thrust output, as well as costing more).

I exclude jet engines because using an external propellant source (oxygen in the air) is cheating, massively inflating their ISP numbers compared to a rocket using the same propellant- which since both Jet A-1 and RP-1 are both refined kerosene is actually a valid and fairly easy comparison to make.

*Today’s F1 engines are some of the most thermally efficient ICEs ever made and can turn more than 50% of chemical energy from their fuel into usable power that drives the car; a typical road car might manage 20-30%.

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5 hours ago, Aerodynamic Kerbal said:

As a console player, I can say there is an app (or whatever you want to call it, maybe widget?) in the down right corner in the VAB hud, its for ∆v. You can toggle sea level/altitude/vacuum. That's how I found out why all of the engines I listed are useful. Is it on stock PC too? 

Yeah, we have a stock KER, it's just a bit wonky with delta-v. Aside from that, I use it fairly often for TWR calcs and sometimes delta-v at sea level.

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On 9/23/2021 at 3:52 AM, jimmymcgoochie said:

“What’s the best liquid fuel engine in KSP” is a bit like asking “what’s the best internal combustion engine”- it depends very heavily on what you’re doing. A little 2-stroke engine will be useless on a truck, a massive V8 overkill on a leaf blower and a gigantic container ship diesel engine is no good for a plane.

If you’re only after raw power you want something big and heavy that gulps fuel like it’s going out of fashion but produces tremendous power- whether that’s a Rolls-Royce Merlin or a Rockomax Mainsail. If you want maximum efficiency even at the expense of power you’ll get something small that makes the most of every drop of fuel- a 3-cylinder turbodiesel or a Terrier. If you want power AND efficiency and are prepared to pay for it, options are there too- a modern Formula 1 engine or a Wolfhound, which both produce plenty of power with high efficiency* but come with a cost (literally in the F1 engine’s case, and metaphorically for the Wolfhound as it’s much heavier than other vacuum engines compared to its thrust output, as well as costing more).

I exclude jet engines because using an external propellant source (oxygen in the air) is cheating, massively inflating their ISP numbers compared to a rocket using the same propellant- which since both Jet A-1 and RP-1 are both refined kerosene is actually a valid and fairly easy comparison to make.

*Today’s F1 engines are some of the most thermally efficient ICEs ever made and can turn more than 50% of chemical energy from their fuel into usable power that drives the car; a typical road car might manage 20-30%.

I agree with this, basically. I use all sorts of different engines on stages depending on need. However I will say that there are some engines that come into my builds quite often, and others that seldom fit my purposes.

Spark, Terrier, Cheetah, and Poodle I use often on upper stages, landers and probes, or even sustainers. Ant, Spider, and Twitch I hardly ever find a use case for.

Bobcat and Skipper see a lot of use as a light first stage, or a sustainer engines. But Skiff seems to occupy this strange niche case that hardly ever comes up, and the combined cost of the decoupler and the engine is usually as much or higher than simply using a Skipper with a larger fuel tank instead on a $ per DV basis.

Skipper and Twin Boar are great first stages, with the latter being overkill for many of my builds but it's just too cost effective compared to the alternatives. And clustered Skippers make great first stage heavy lifters until bigger engines are unlocked in the tech tree.

I hardly ever have a use for Thud.

 

Huh, if I had to pick one, I'd pick Twin Boar. It just has SO much thrust and is so cheap that it had wide applications as a first stage for payloads big and small. I often find that I don't need something that powerful for my payload, for example it is giving me a TWR of 2.8, but when I price out a more tailored multi-stage lifter with engines that keep the TWR more in the 1.5 - 2.0 range, it ends up costing the same amount or more. Frankly I think the Twin Boar is just underpriced. But we don't need perfect game balance. Sometimes in real life you get a design that just dominates because it's effective, reliable, strong, and cheap. I like to think of the Twin Boar as that magic combo that some Kerbal rocket scientist devised.

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The Spark is the best engine in the sense of "if you had to pick one engine to use for every situation". Good overall combination of thrust and atmo-vacuum efficiency, and its small size makes it readily scaleable (for bigger rockets you can Just Add More™).

I'd like to nominate the bare variant Cheetah, because it's almost as compact and vacuum Isp matters a lot more than surface Isp (as soon as you're 20km high at Kerbin, you already have about 98% of your vacuum Isp), but Kerbin's lower atmosphere is always the first hurdle so any single engine choice absolutely needs the surface-level performance before it can focus on anything else.

Edited by Rocket Witch
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Because the title is very ambiguous, I am going to put my picks for the best engines of all types.

Best Jet Engine: Panther

Reasoning: Two modes, Wet and Dry. Good for going very fast.

Best First Stage: Mammoth

Reasoning: Lots of thrust, doesn’t have bottom node, it’s like it’s made to be a first stage! Cause it was

Best Second Stage: Rhino

Reasoning: Good size fit, lots of power.

Best Vacuum Engine: Poodle or Wolfhound

Both have great vacuum efficiency.

Best MonoProp engine: Puff

Reasoning: Only one out there.

Best Xenon Engine: Dawn

Reasoning: Again, the only one out there.

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/9/2017 at 4:41 PM, KerbalNetwork said:

I love putting the RE-M3 "Mainsail" Liquid Engine in my rockets, but since it's the heaviest are there any best liquid fuel engines for first stages out there? (no mods please) 

I use the 'Skipper' Liquid fuel engine for my second stage.

 

Im quite sorry if i necroed this but putting skipper is a bad idea. However putting poodle with the rockomax jumbo fuel tank in the 2nd stage gives it a chance for 3000 m/s. If you put something heavy this will decrease. So Use poodle it is super efficient

Edited by Pod4898
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i rarely use most of them anymore; my huge missions have very precise requirements.

nervs - dozens - to move my mothership around with high deltaV.

wolfhounds - again, dozens - to move the mothership around with high thrust.

the multikiloton mothership is launched to orbit with mammoths - once more, dozens of them.

running grand tours with life support and large crews requires big ships, and they require big engines. i had to mod my own scaled-up engines to reduce part count.

 

i do find use for smaller engines on the service ships, though. the dart has become a favourite for spaceplanes (i don't want them to be limited to oxygen atmospheres), it's in the right power/weight class and it has high efficiency both in atmosphere and vacuum. also, it looks more aerodinamic for when i'm not using it and just flying with propellers - no idea if it actually is.

 

and I'm getting a lot of use for the cub engines. with part failures, i want redundancy. a single terrier for a lander would be better, but if it fails, it strands the crew to die on a planet. sparks would work well, but how to fit them around a lander? the cubs have good stats overall, they fit the right mass/thrust spot where I can use 6-10 of them, and the radial mount makes it easier to fit them around a lander.

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