SkunkTwerks

KERBAL LAUNCHER 50000: A plane that fires kerbals like cannonballs

Recommended Posts

Last year, while visiting family for Thanksgiving, I accidentally turned my young cousins into "Gerbil Space Program" super-fans when we built silly rockets that did funny things in flight. This year they begged me to build something even more amusing with them.

Cousins: "Hey [SkunkTwerks], let's build an airplane!"

Me: "Sure thing, easy peasy!"

Cousins: "Yeah, an airplane that shoots kerbals!"

Me: "Hmm, I'm not sure how I feel about shooting things at kerbals... They have feelings too, you know!"

Cousins: *laughter* "No, an airplane that shoots kerbals out of the front of it!!!"

Me: "Oh. OH. OHHH! Like, using the kerbals themselves as the projectiles?"

Cousins: *mad laughter* "YEAAHHHH!"

Me: "BRILLIANT!" *may almighty Kraken forgive me for my kerbal-slaying sins*

 

So with the expert design help of my favorite little Kerbal Engineers ages 6-13, SkunkTwerks presents the KERBAL LAUNCHER 50000!

bqLpCD7.png

That little dot on the right is dear Bob Kerman, traveling at approximately ludicrous speed. I can't switch controls fast enough to get an exact maximum speed, but muzzle velocity is at least 300 m/s faster than the KERBAL LAUNCHER 50000's airspeed.

1gWtfgx.png

A close-up of the firing chamber. Since KSP treats engine thrust as very precise, laser-focused vectors, we used structural panels and four Vector engines (gimbals locked) to create an enclosure in which the kerbal has a high likelihood of being directly in front of at least one of the point sources.

Firing sequence:

1) Select a kerbal from the Mk2 Crew Cabin (not the Mk3 Passenger Module) and go on EVA

2) Switch control back to the KERBAL LAUNCHER 50000 using [ or ]

3) *Briefly* toggle the Vector engines On and Off by double-tapping Hotkey 2. Failure to keep it brief may result in a full stall & death spiral.

4) Watch 'em fly! Repeat as desired.

5) Refill the Mk2 Crew Cabin from the Mk3 Passenger Module as needed. Hotkey 5 opens the Mk3 cargo bay door for easier crew transfer.

fTso7kF.png

 

8mvgpK6.png

Jeb gives the KERBAL LAUNCHER 50000 a great big twisted & tangled thumbs-up after being fired at the VAB. I've never broken a kerbal so badly! I felt a little bit bad for the poor guy, but my cousins thought it was hilarious.

Here's to keeping the young kerbal engineers entertained!

-SkunkTwerks

  • Like 14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, HeliosPh0enix said:

This is pure gold!  Do you have a video of it in action?

Thank you! I will add one soon. Until then, you'll just have to test it yourself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you fly high enough can you get kerbal in to orbit or at least pe above ground?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 27.11.2017 at 7:18 AM, SkunkTwerks said:

3) *Briefly* toggle the Vector engines On and Off by double-tapping Hotkey 2. Failure to keep it brief may result in a full stall & death spiral.

Or just use equal and opposite force and worry not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/26/2017 at 10:45 PM, HeliosPh0enix said:

This is pure gold!  Do you have a video of it in action?

Took me a while (videos are a lot more time-consuming than screenshots) but... As you wish!

Video covers loading, double-loading, firing, clearing kerbal jams, magazine reloading, and a projectile-eye view of the action.

 

On 11/28/2017 at 3:20 AM, PT said:

Or just use equal and opposite force and worry not.

But where's the risk and danger in that? And why would I waste rocket fuel accelerating anything other than kerbals? :wink:

 

On 11/28/2017 at 3:04 AM, mattinoz said:

If you fly high enough can you get kerbal in to orbit or at least pe above ground?

Excellent question! Short answer, it's theoretically possible but I haven't tried it... My Kerbals often explode from aero heating at low altitude, and I haven't bothered to fit the craft for high altitude flight. If you'd like to modify and test it at high elevations, please feel very welcome to do so and tell us about your results.

 

On 11/28/2017 at 8:29 AM, MacLeod-Industries said:

I've made Kerbal launcher quite a while ago,

but never on a plane.

Ima make on now. >:)

Awesome, I'd love to see your design. When it's finished I hope you'll post it here!

 

-SkunkTwerks

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SkunkTwerks said:

Excellent question! Short answer, it's theoretically possible but I haven't tried it... My Kerbals often explode from aero heating at low altitude, and I haven't bothered to fit the craft for high altitude flight. If you'd like to modify and test it at high elevations, please feel very welcome to do so and tell us about your results.

 

\-SkunkTwerks

 

Well... attempt one did okkish. Had craft 65km up with Pe just above ground level. Fire Kerbal and the poor kerbal exploded not far out front of craft.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

6 hours ago, SkunkTwerks said:

Awesome, I'd love to see your design. When it's finished I hope you'll post it here!

Oh, great. Now I actually have to make one!

Ima probably go with wing mounted cannons.

I might make it look nice and just use structural fuselages just because they look nice. Maybe, I'll go shotgun Style, can't decide.

Edited by MacLeod-Industries

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weaponizing Kerbals? This person is a genius!

Edited by TheKorbinger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/30/2017 at 2:25 AM, mattinoz said:

Well... attempt one did okkish. Had craft 65km up with Pe just above ground level. Fire Kerbal and the poor kerbal exploded not far out front of craft.

Nice! I'm still hopeful... sometimes the kerbals vaporize purely from the engine exhaust heating. Bet if you try it with a few more, you might get it to work. If you do, I'd love to see screenshots/videos/craft downloads!

 

On 11/30/2017 at 6:26 AM, MacLeod-Industries said:

Oh, great. Now I actually have to make one!

Ima probably go with wing mounted cannons.

I might make it look nice and just use structural fuselages just because they look nice. Maybe, I'll go shotgun Style, can't decide.

YES. (What, oh what have we started!?! Forgive us, almighty Kraken!)

Is it possible to fit a Kerbal in a structural fuselage? If so, that could really simplify things... One of the hardest parts of building the KL50000 was trying to get the kerbals contained directly in front of the source of the thrust. Turns out KSP is pretty picky about hatch obstructions, and we never figured out how to get a foolproof loading chamber.

 

On 11/30/2017 at 8:38 AM, TheKorbinger said:

Weaponizing Kerbals? This person is a genius!

I will pass that compliment along to my little cousins, they're the ones who came up with the brilliant idea!

 

-SkunkTwerks

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, I absolutely love it, the video had me in fits of giggles late last night!

Tonight I have had a great time with a friend attempting to clone this beast. I hope you don't mind, full credit will be given when I show it of, probably gonna call it Dongshui Wanlan Skunk or something to indicate it's an inferior copy. Gonna have some practice and get me a video of shooting the tower :sticktongue:

Once again, fantastic video, so pleased!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 30/11/2017 at 8:25 AM, SkunkTwerks said:

Excellent question! Short answer, it's theoretically possible but I haven't tried it... My Kerbals often explode from aero heating at low altitude, and I haven't bothered to fit the craft for high altitude flight. If you'd like to modify and test it at high elevations, please feel very welcome to do so and tell us about your results.

Well, I have recreated the firing mechanism, got it in a plane functioning as per the video, but I have also put the weapon into space, to attempt to de-orbit kerbals using it. No joy, they burn up on firing no matter what direction I point them. I wonder what effect it will have on minimus, and whether it can offer Kerbals a one way ride up to the Minimus Orbital Station?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically excellent. And perfect.:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So hilarious when one of kerbals had to be shaken into place!! It was like....NO...NO I don't wanna go!

Edited by Castille7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 12/2/2017 at 1:57 AM, SkunkTwerks said:

YES. (What, oh what have we started!?! Forgive us, almighty Kraken!)

Is it possible to fit a Kerbal in a structural fuselage? If so, that could really simplify things... One of the hardest parts of building the KL50000 was trying to get the kerbals contained directly in front of the source of the thrust. Turns out KSP is pretty picky about hatch obstructions, and we never figured out how to get a foolproof loading chamber.

Yes, is is absolutely possible to use structural fuselages. I used it for my stationary cannon. However, my crew cabin was no where near the barrel, I just had then walk up the entire length of the barrel, and jump in, or put a really long ladder to climb up. Both are equally impossible on a plane. The barrel is the perfect size to shoot a kerbal, but cargo bays tend to be too big. (I tried a shotgun w/ mk 3 cargo bays. It failed).

I think I might still have the craft, might post pics if I don't forget. Pretty underwhelming though, but very simple design.

Edited by MacLeod-Industries

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/2/2017 at 2:26 PM, Andetch said:

Firstly, I absolutely love it, the video had me in fits of giggles late last night!

Tonight I have had a great time with a friend attempting to clone this beast. I hope you don't mind, full credit will be given when I show it of, probably gonna call it Dongshui Wanlan Skunk or something to indicate it's an inferior copy. Gonna have some practice and get me a video of shooting the tower :sticktongue:

Once again, fantastic video, so pleased!

Thank you, I'm glad it brought you joy, mirth, and creative inspiration. I hope you'll consider post your Dongshui Wanlan video here once you've mastered the fine art of aiming panicked kerbals. They are not the most aerodynamically-predictable of beasts.

I am 100% supportive of creative riffing when credit is given to all the creators!. My little cousins and I would love to see some of the carnage their crazy idea has inspired. 

 

I'm having a scientific observation moment here, between:

On 12/3/2017 at 1:24 AM, Andetch said:

Well, I have recreated the firing mechanism, got it in a plane functioning as per the video, but I have also put the weapon into space, to attempt to de-orbit kerbals using it. No joy, they burn up on firing no matter what direction I point them.

AND:

On 11/30/2017 at 2:25 AM, mattinoz said:

Well... attempt one did okkish. Had craft 65km up with Pe just above ground level. Fire Kerbal and the poor kerbal exploded not far out front of craft.

Innnnnnteresting. I wonder... Is the thick atmosphere the only thing cooling them down as they are heated by the cannon? Or are the aero forces of the atmosphere moving the kerbals out of the hotspot of the engine's point thrust vector before they soak up too much heat? And how might we tell the difference? Hmmm, any Kerbals want to volunteer to help me test this hypothesis? ... No? ... Nobody? ... Not even Jeb? Okay, fine, I'm heading over to the Administration Building to select the "MASS CONSCRIPTION" strategy. *evil laugh*

 

On 12/3/2017 at 9:09 AM, Castille7 said:

So hilarious when one of kerbals had to be shaken into place!! It was like....NO...NO I don't wanna go!

Haha, sounds like 80% of my mornings! I almost left that little "blooper" out of the video, but thankfully my sense of humor got the better of me.

 

12 hours ago, MacLeod-Industries said:

Yes, is is absolutely possible to use structural fuselages. I used it for my stationary cannon. However, my crew cabin was no where near the barrel, I just had then walk up the entire length of the barrel, and jump in, or put a really long ladder to climb up. Both are equally impossible on a plane. The barrel is the perfect size to shoot a kerbal, but cargo bays tend to be too big. (I tried a shotgun w/ mk 3 cargo bays. It failed).

I think I might still have the craft, might post pics if I don't forget. Pretty underwhelming though, but very simple design.

Cool, I'll have to try that out. Perhaps on a Paris Gun-inspired chassis? 

As for a craft screenshot... Post it! Post it! Post it! *cheering wildly* (Don't forget!)

-SkunkTwerks

Edited by SkunkTwerks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, SkunkTwerks said:

Thank you, I'm glad it brought you joy, mirth, and creative inspiration. I hope you'll consider post your Dongshui Wanlan video here once you've mastered the fine art of aiming panicked kerbals. They are not the most aerodynamically-predictable of beasts.

I am 100% supportive of creative riffing when credit is given to all the creators!. My little cousins and I would love to see some of the carnage their crazy idea has inspired. 

 

I'm having a scientific observation moment here, between:

AND:

Innnnnnteresting. I wonder... Is the thick atmosphere the only thing cooling them down as they are heated by the cannon? Or are the aero forces of the atmosphere moving the kerbals out of the hotspot of the engine's point thrust vector before they soak up too much heat? And how might we tell the difference? Hmmm, any Kerbals want to volunteer to help me test this hypothesis? ... No? ... Nobody? ... Not even Jeb? Okay, fine, I'm heading over to the Administration Building to select the "MASS CONSCRIPTION" strategy. *evil laugh*

-SkunkTwerks

So, I have made this for your amusement. Please excuse the quick editing of the video, and also the fact that I forgot all the action keys immediately after setting them, save for the important one, the trigger (action key 0).

Also, I feel it worth mentioning that I run on a years old HP laptop, with an early i3 core, and only 8GM RAM. No special video cards or anything... The only reason KSP works is OS choice - it didn't run on my friend's newer, windows machine. Adding the recorder into the background always causes some jitters. And as for transferring crew - well that is hard at the best of times!

I have also changed the design of the gun slightly as it seemed to be working better this way.

Anyway, please enjoy! The craft will be available on KerbalX just as soon as I am done ironing out some minor flight issues.

Enjoy!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

9 hours ago, SkunkTwerks said:

Cool, I'll have to try that out. Perhaps on a Paris Gun-inspired chassis? 

As for a craft screenshot... Post it! Post it! Post it! *cheering wildly* (Don't forget!)

-SkunkTwerks

Mine definitely looked like an artillery cannon... Kinda went for a similar theme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 08/12/2017 at 5:20 PM, SkunkTwerks said:

Innnnnnteresting. I wonder... Is the thick atmosphere the only thing cooling them down as they are heated by the cannon? Or are the aero forces of the atmosphere moving the kerbals out of the hotspot of the engine's point thrust vector before they soak up too much heat? And how might we tell the difference? Hmmm, any Kerbals want to volunteer to help me test this hypothesis? ... No? ... Nobody? ... Not even Jeb? Okay, fine, I'm heading over to the Administration Building to select the "MASS CONSCRIPTION" strategy. *evil laugh*

 

Well turns out I fired the engines too long first attempt. Or maybe just not high enough about atmosphere at 65K. If I edit up to a higher orbit and fire and can get clean shots and add a fair bit of eccentricity to the orbit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/8/2017 at 5:08 AM, Andetch said:

So, I have made this for your amusement. Please excuse the quick editing of the video, and also the fact that I forgot all the action keys immediately after setting them, save for the important one, the trigger (action key 0).

Also, I feel it worth mentioning that I run on a years old HP laptop, with an early i3 core, and only 8GM RAM. No special video cards or anything... The only reason KSP works is OS choice - it didn't run on my friend's newer, windows machine. Adding the recorder into the background always causes some jitters. And as for transferring crew - well that is hard at the best of times!

I have also changed the design of the gun slightly as it seemed to be working better this way.

Excellent work, I appreciate your bravery in working with the setup you've got. On the plus side, being able to watch your kerbal get stretched and deformed in slow-motion at 8:18 was hilariously cool.

Love how you added the Mk1 cockpit for maximum viewing enjoyment, and your tweaks to the firing chamber do indeed seem to be more efficient in getting kerbals to load and fire.

 

On 12/10/2017 at 1:30 AM, mattinoz said:

Well turns out I fired the engines too long first attempt. Or maybe just not high enough about atmosphere at 65K. If I edit up to a higher orbit and fire and can get clean shots and add a fair bit of eccentricity to the orbit. 

Interesting! Well that would certainly seem to disprove my hypotheses about atmospheric cooling. Must really be aero heating that's blowing them up! Thanks for doing some science.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/12/2017 at 6:34 AM, SkunkTwerks said:

 

Yeah, I like to have a hump-back designs! Thank you for your kind words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now