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Beating the early hard mode 4 tourists at a time! (almost SSTO, almost automated, vomit bags included)

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Hey guys,

I've been playing for a couple months now (stock 1.3, no mods), and lately I have decided to tackle the hard mode (or at least the beginning thereof)...

Obviously, the biggest issue with this mode (default difficulty settings) lays in the "200% fundings" modifier that makes buildings evolution extremely costly, when you get just 60% of the rewards from your contracts.

I got quite inspired by Virgin Galactic and spaceX plans to fly lay people to space for a few (million) bucks, and decided to try and milk the VIP/Tourists suborbital contract till I get enough to upgrade a few buildings (Mission control, VAB, tracking station and launchpad).
Interestingly enough it turned quite well and our witty engineers came up with a design that allows me to get 40,000 every 2 minutes (from launchpad to recovery), with minimal intervention (only the first 30 seconds of the 2 minutes, almost a fire & forget! ).


the Vomit Comet (ta-daaaablurglupblooaaarg!)

Album gallery/2o1bT will appear when post is submitted


Basically, all you need is: 

- To enable physics warp *4 if not already done (allows you to complete the mission in under 2 minutes by warping to *4 just after launching)

- Do the 2 first contracts and get enough science and money for the parts and to upgrade the mission control


- Then just build the rocket and get all dem juicy suborbital contracts!!! (just warp to next day if you don't have any left; they will respawn as long as the first orbit hasn't been achieved)


Now ,for the fun part:

- Get your most stupid pilot in the ship (only takes him activating 2 stages)

- Slam 4 tourists in the caske - the first class

- Go to the launchpad, max throttle, sas on....

- Launch and immediately warp to *4 DO NOT TOUCH THE CONTROLS

- After less than 30 seconds, your SRB should run out of fuel; activate the 2nd stage (sometimes results in a magnificent SRB explosion)

- Go do some stuff for 1:30 min, or get all sweaty seeing the Vomit Rocket getting on a lithobraking trajectory

- Recover

- ???

- Profit! (40k funds and quite some rep)

- repeat


Once you get used to it, you should be able to milk 10k a minute, including the time spent to check contracts and warp to the next day...


The trick of this design is to return the whole second stage, the first stage being only a SRB and a decoupler ... Allows for a 4.5k refund on the < 6k spent on the rocket; more than 75% refund! (can't get closer to an SSTO).

But wait there's more to it!

The swivel engine balances the rocket and acts as a heatshield during aerobraking, allowing for a nearly automated functionning (launch and press space for stage 2).


Almost SSTO, almost automated, high fundings return for a smooth ealy hard game...



Enjoy guys! (and feel free to comment and post better designs)




Edited by zorzevic

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