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Stage Recovery in Career


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I read this question but it's from a while ago and I was wondering if there's been any updates:

I've been messing with recovering Asparagus stages.  I've gotten a workable setup, but it only works as as long as you're watching - however (as mentioned) stages will get deleted if you don't watch them and if you watch too long your main stage can go out of physics range and there seems to be no way to return to it (Tracking Center link is disabled in Atmosphere)

The StageRecovery mod may be a reasonable work-around, although I suspect it might be a bit generous with the cash - it's been a fun challenge getting the stages set up just right and it seems to be a bit of a let-down to be able to just stick any old parachute on a stage and get the full value back.  (With a Jumbo-64 + RE-I5 based stage I use two Mk12-R plus four Mk2-R to get under 8 m/s, but only barely)

Have there been any changes since the last question that would improve this situation?

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21 hours ago, Tibrogargan said:

Have there been any changes since the last question that would improve this situation?

Not that I know of.

It's also worth noting that unless you play with the difficulty settings cranked way up, there's basically no practical / economic reason to recover stages, in a stock career game.  The cost of a spent SRB booster is trivial compared with the payoff from contracts, and the real in-game currency is your (player's) time, not :funds:.  If you save yourself five minutes by saying "eh, to heck with it, I'll just discard the stages" rather than trying to recover them, and instead apply those five minutes towards some contract... the payoff from the contract is hugely bigger than the time spent recovering the stages.

Just because it's not economically needed doesn't mean "you shouldn't do it", of course.  :)  As with basically everything in KSP, it all comes down to individual player choice and playstyle:

  • Some people (like me) find trying to recover stages to be a pointless waste of time that gets in the way of doing other "fun" things, and don't bother with it.  And they have a fun and satisfying KSP experience.
  • Other people find more "realism" in their games (such as stage recovery) to be fun and important.  So they do stage recovery for the fun of it.  And they have a fun and satisfying KSP experience.
  • Other people like running with the difficulty settings cranked up so high that just running a space program without going bankrupt is a big challenge, and even a 1% savings in ship cost really matters.  So they do stage recovery to pick up a few spare pennies that can make the difference between survival and insolvency.  And they have a fun and satisfying KSP experience.

So, as with everything:  do what's fun for you.  :)

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I agree that stage recovery is a generous mod, but there is an alternative that's a bit more fun. FMRS. It allows you to jump back in time to when you stages to manualy land your boosters. you can find it here: 

 

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TTd3hTA.jpg

Tibrogargan,

You can try something like this. Fully- disposable lifter that's good for up to 47t to LKO for only $36k. $26k if you recover the core stage. SRBs are adjusted 100/80/60 % throttle.

Best,
-Slashy

Edited by GoSlash27
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3 hours ago, Not Sure said:

I agree that stage recovery is a generous mod, but there is an alternative that's a bit more fun. FMRS. It allows you to jump back in time to when you stages to manualy land your boosters. you can find it here

That sounds pretty cool - thanks for posting it.  It does sound like a bit more micro-management than I'd like to do.  What I really want to do is design and test my stages so that they are recoverable, but once the design is effective never actually have to worry about flying them.  (What works for my example above at 15k most definitely does not at 70k.  Airbrakes to the rescue!).  Sounds like FMRS would be awesome for refining the design, or diagnosing why you didn't get a recovery.

Do you know if it lets you automatically land your stages?  I'm really just after some setting so that instead of just deleting a stage, the engine simulates them all the way to termination in the background instead.

Edited by Tibrogargan
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5 hours ago, Snark said:

Other people find more "realism" in their games (such as stage recovery) to be fun and important.  So they do stage recovery for the fun of it.  And they have a fun and satisfying KSP experience.

This is the category I fall into.  I find it a challenge to design a recoverable stage - it's definitely a worthwhile use of my time.  Actually flying a recoverable stage isn't.  StageRecovery might be the best compromise - I can design and test my stages with it disabled and then just let it handle them once they work.

Thanks for the input.  Helps clarify my thinking :)

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6 hours ago, Snark said:

Some people (like me) find trying to recover stages to be a pointless waste of time that gets in the way of doing other "fun" things, and don't bother with it.  And they have a fun and satisfying KSP experience.

I'm with this camp. The cost is negligible, and you could be doing more important/fun things like launching another mission instead of mucking about recovering SRB's that cost next to nothing.

Heck I have Spaceplanes that drop their entire liquid fuel/air-intake/jet-engine assembly on the way up. Part cost is just not an issue after the early Career game. Especially if you are doing a contract, whatever you lose in parts you will more than make back up in profit.

As @Snark said though; don't let that stop you if you find it enjoyable. I do all sorts of silly self appointed missions that end up costing me funds and make me nothing in return, because I like doing them!

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2 hours ago, Tibrogargan said:

That sounds pretty cool - thanks for posting it.  It does sound like a bit more micro-management than I'd like to do.  What I really want to do is design and test my stages so that they are recoverable, but once the design is effective never actually have to worry about flying them.  (What works for my example above at 15k most definitely does not at 70k.  Airbrakes to the rescue!).  Sounds like FMRS would be awesome for refining the design, or diagnosing why you didn't get a recovery.

Do you know if it lets you automatically land your stages?  I'm really just after some setting so that instead of just deleting a stage, the engine simulates them all the way to termination in the background instead.

It does not, but possibly using physics range extender and mechjeb will allow your stages to land by themselves without unloading. 

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7 hours ago, Not Sure said:

I agree that stage recovery is a generous mod, but there is an alternative that's a bit more fun. FMRS. It allows you to jump back in time to when you stages to manualy land your boosters. you can find it here: 

 

Actually, my return rates are even higher with FMRS than with SR, though that's because I have more precise control over where I land with FMRS.

The two things that SR doesn't simulate that makes it easier than FMRS are:

1) Can the craft keep it's heatshield prograde?
2) Will the craft slow down enough to safely deploy its parachutes before it's too late?

It fudges reentry heat, but I think the actual parachute results are fairly accurate baring these three things.

I switched from FMRS to SR for two reasons.  First, I got tired of manually flying in for landings.  Unlike my landing capsules, doing a flyback with a booster actually requires me to pay attention, and it takes long enough to get monotonous, especially when you're doing it one to three times for every launch.

Second, FMRS isn't compatible with Tourism Plus, if the tourists die when you're using FMRS to time travel back and land the boosters, the contract gets flagged as failed, and that propagates to your non-time travel save. 

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On 11/28/2017 at 8:33 AM, Snark said:

t's also worth noting that unless you play with the difficulty settings cranked way up, there's basically no practical / economic reason to recover stages, in a stock career game.  The cost of a spent SRB booster is trivial compared with the payoff from contracts

I'm sure this will be the case once I get the base fully upgraded - but I'm finding it coming along slower than I'd like, so I'm looking for ways to save some cash.  Oddly enough, the Asparagus Rocket gets my flying fuel can into Orbit for ~ 99K.  The equivalent SRB based design does it for 90K.  The Asparagus stages cost about 20k a pop, but I could feasibly recover 10k on each ... so effectively the asparagus version would be ~ 60K, significantly cheaper than the SRB based version.  But I guess this all is moot once I build a fuel base on Minmus

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6 hours ago, Spricigo said:

90k? What that vessel is for?

Refueling (96K for the Asparagus version).  A Jumbo-64 plus a recoverable docking maneuver piece.  244 tons total with 43.9 ton payload.  I believe 18% to orbit isn't bad for a rocket.  Obviously once I open the tech I can do a lot better with turbo-jets.

Technically, if I was recovering all the pieces it's possible to recover the actual cost would be more like 50K.

I believe the SRB version was considerably heavier - and way harder to control (I deleted it, due to terrible)

Edited by Tibrogargan
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Not bad indeed. However I'm not so sure you should refuel anything at that phase of carrer. 

You will be doing contracts inside Kerbin's SoI for funds. The deltaV requeriments for those are low enough that you can easily reach with a single launch. Some missions will call for returning with the vessel (rescue, tourism), some will permitt ludicrous amounts of deltaV in the vessel (satellites) others yet will leave the vessel as a glorified debris (stations). And even in the cases where the vessel end up out fuel is often a better use of your time to just abandob it and do something else than sending a refueller.

Of course you may still do it because of roleplay/challenge/whatever. 

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12 hours ago, GoSlash27 said:

You can try something like this. Fully- disposable lifter that's good for up to 47t to LKO for only $36k. $26k if you recover the core stage. SRBs are adjusted 100/80/60 % throttle.

Ooh, never occurred to me that you could adjust an SRB's throttle.  Thanks!

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On 11/28/2017 at 8:37 PM, Eric S said:

Second, FMRS isn't compatible with Tourism Plus, if the tourists die when you're using FMRS to time travel back and land the boosters, the contract gets flagged as failed, and that propagates to your non-time travel save. 

I use FMRS with Tourism Plus in 1.2.2 all the time.  I get the messages about the death of the Kerbals, but I never have a problem once I switch back to the main mission.  I have been meaning to check my income/rep, to see if I'm showing losses after returning to the main mission, but never get around to doing the math because my funds always seem to be going up as I am able to complete the contracts.

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Not sure what I did wrong then.  Did you finish the contract and then go back to land the boosters?  I landed the boosters before I finished the tourist orbital stuff, the contract got flagged as failed, I initially panicked but calmed down when I realized that they were safe in the main branch of the save, but the contract was still flagged as failed after I landed the booster and switched back to them.

 

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19 hours ago, Eric S said:

Did you finish the contract and then go back to land the boosters?

My sequence is as follows.  Launch, drop and land two SRBs, return to main mission, drop and land main LF/O engine stack, return to main mission and enter orbit or complete sub orbital contract with a small ship using an orbital engine (usually a LV-909).  The SRBs usually land while the rest of the ship is still airborne, but the orbital engine doesn't engage while decoupling the main engine stack, so the ship and main stack always plummet back to Kerbin together, killing the crew as the engine/tanks land.  Once I return to the main mission, the death and recovery messages are there, but I can complete the contract just fine.  None of my stages have control, mind you, just altitude set parachutes on the decoupling staging.  I mostly use FMRS so I'm charged for the distance the stacks land from KSC as I find Space X style booster returns tedious other than one-offs for funzies.

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I’ve done a lot of tourist missions using FMRS. Try this - launch, and follow the crewed module all the way to orbit (or whatever it’s doing). Get its contract objectives to check as complete (like stay in orbit for 2 hours or whatever). Then go back and clean up the boosters - the message may pop that the tourists died etc since the crewed module is now out of focus - but it doesn’t matter because you’ve already completed those contract bits. When you go back to the main mission and land it, it always seems to work out 

But I agree there is a problem here and it’s a good idea to raise it on the FMRS thread. The head guy there @linuxgurugamer is generally very responsive to gameplay factors like this

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