Krow

How much of your staged rockets do you recover?

Recommended Posts

So, this is something I've been messing with for a while. I haven't gotten into SSTOs much in my latest career mode, so I've been doing a lot of staged rockets. Lately I've been trying to ensure most if not all stages are completely recoverable, this includes attaching probe command modules and batteries to each stage in order to fly it back to kerbin.

 

Of course, this just increases the overall size of the rocket and required fuel. Am I just being nuts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, and welcome to the forum!  :)

42 minutes ago, Krow said:

Am I just being nuts?

Well, that depends.  Are you having fun?  Because that's what KSP is for, and if you're having fun, then you are using it for its intended purpose and therefore are not nuts.

On the other hand, if it's an incredibly tedious drag and you're doing it anyway, then that would be nuts.  :wink:

 

(For myself... I never bother recovering stages.  The game pays off pretty well, it's easy to make plenty of money with a contract or two, and the amount of money recovered from the stages is fairly low in comparison, and I don't personally find recovering the stages to be interesting or fun.  So for me, it makes sense just to write them off and just fly my way to space.  That's just me, though-- not everyone likes the same things!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Krow said:

Of course, this just increases the overall size of the rocket and required fuel. Am I just being nuts?

It might be more of a pain, but IMO it's a lot more fun.  I'd do it a lot more, but I really don't want to deal with switching rapidly between vessels to try to land lower stages and still get the thing to orbit.

Usually if I have a recoverable rocket, the whole thing gets to orbit, then stages, so I can bring the stage down when it's convenient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend not to bother recovering.  I always try to ensure that any spent stages (launch or transfer) have control and enough fuel to de-orbit though, to minimise debris floating about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I experimented with putting parachutes on launch stages for a bit, but it's usually more trouble than it's worth to recover them. I do make sure to de-orbit any stages that aren't part of my final payload, though, usually through the use of Separatron rockets that I fire just before detaching the final stages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using the ummmm.... StageRecovery mod for a while now.  Really kinda enjoy it.  All the benefits of recovering stages, but without all the hassle.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stage recovery is the best.  I feel it is a little to generous with the recovery so as an RP rule I have to run a "SIM" to make sure the lower stages are actually recoverable

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Krow said:

Of course, this just increases the overall size of the rocket and required fuel. Am I just being nuts?

No, you're not nuts.  According to Space-X's own docs, incorporating the ability to recover stages adds 20-25% to the size and cost of each stage compared to what's needed just to lift the payload.  And it's similar in KSP if you do powered landings (rather less if you use Stage Recovery).

But beyond that, KSP and the real world diverge.  Stage recovery in KSP is much more beneficial than in real life.

In real life, Forbes financial analysts think, stage recovery really isn't saving Space-X any money per launch.   That's due to a combination of having to price  their significantly bigger rockets the same as the smaller, 1-shot rockets of competitors, the costs of refurb, and the discounts customers will want for riding a "used" rocket, which will limit how many times each stage can be re-used.  What it DOES save is time, in that a refurbished rocket is available for re-use sooner than building a new one from scratch.  This is allowing Space-X to do more business with fewer assets, both the rockets themselves and the facilities and staff making them.  Thus, over the long term, they have lower operating costs for a given number of launches, which will (hopefully) offset the reduced income they get per launch (compared to 1-shot rockets).

In KSP, however, rockets take zero time to build unless you have a mod like KCT, BARIS, or some such.  And you don't have to pay for refurbishing, either.  Thus, you can save lots of money per launch, way more than in real life.  There are 2 ways to do this.  The more flexible way is to use the in-game Recover Vessel function, whether manually or via Stage Recovery.  In this case, you're not actually re-using anything and you still pay the full price to launch every rocket, but this is offset by the money you get back on the recovered stages.  In this way, you're not stuck with using standardized lifters.  Or you can actually re-use the same physical rocket by refueling it on the pad (for free after buying the infrastructure).  This saves even more because you don't have to buy any fuel and your only expense per launch is the payload.  However, you're stuck with the same lifter.

I personally don't do any of this, however.  I've never bought the hype that re-usability will reduce launch costs in real life, and this seems to be being borne out by the Forbes analysis.  Because of this, I have no hero-worship of Elon Musk and thus no desire to emulate his stuff in KSP.  Besides, the whole point of the game is flying the payload, not the boosters :)  And I find it very hard not to view Stage Recovery as a total exploit out of keeping with financial realities.  Thus, I don't recover anything except crewed capsules.

Of course, I don't like debris as it adds a bunch of overhead to the game.  But I LOVE explosions.  Therefore, all my boosters that won't hit the ground if left to themselves employ the wonderful TAC Self-Destruct mod.  That way, I have no debris and get some pretty fireworks :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Geonovast said:

It might be more of a pain, but IMO it's a lot more fun.  I'd do it a lot more, but I really don't want to deal with switching rapidly between vessels to try to land lower stages and still get the thing to orbit.

Usually if I have a recoverable rocket, the whole thing gets to orbit, then stages, so I can bring the stage down when it's convenient.

That's what Flight Manager for Reusable Stages is for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am currently using a main 6 ton lifter with 2 SRB's.  I don't bother trying to recover the SRBs as they are deleted by the game for being out of atmosphere physics range long before they'd parachute to safety.  The Lifter though yes, I recover that every single time.  Mostly because I get a kick out of it.  The cost of the lifter is ~23,000 with fuel and ~19,000 empty.  Landing on the opposite side of kerbin will net you 25% return on the cost ~ 4000 funds.  Being careful where I de-orbit I can usually get 75%+ cost back.

uD5AMQx.png
 

Edited by NewtSoup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, linuxgurugamer said:

Also, Stage Recovery

Which is good if you want to save time irl, but FMRS is for physically simulating stage recovery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Pipcard said:

Which is good if you want to save time irl, but FMRS is for physically simulating stage recovery.

the two are not mutually exclusive, I've found it handy to use both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Capt. Hunt said:

the two are not mutually exclusive, I've found it handy to use both.

Which is why I wrote an interface between the two mods

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't bother recovering strap-on boosters since the parachute itself becomes most of the recovery value.

The main stage runs hot and short and splashes down in booster bay for a pretty high percent value.

The payloads then put themselves into orbit before refueling and never get recovered; just reused until they're broken down for KAS parts at Jeb's Minmus scrapyard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I remember, usually most of the boosters. I use stage recovery for that period

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The payload and whatever that deal with. If its a simple return craft, then just the top of it+parachute. If its a rescue craft, its whatever parts are needed to get them back safely. If its a non return craft however, nothing gets recovered and I just let it explode. I've never done well with career so money doesn't effect me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In stock, the fist stage, and maybe the last stage. If the first stage, its probably a SSTO rocket, while the next stages go elsewhere (a moon or other planet or something). Sometimes I also use very short burn SRBs to provide the first ~150 m/s, then they decouple and can land before leavig the 22.5km  (I think this is the correct number) physics bubble.

In 3x, forget about it...

I did make a flyback booster once for stock, but it wasn't worth the effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My standard lifter can take about 10 tons up and recovers the first stage. If I time it right I can boost back to the KSC.

 

C8lJceO.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally either go fully expendable, or do SSTO (either with spaceplanes or rockets).  Never bothered with a mod to be able to recover boosters partway through flight.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been a long time since I really bothered with recoverable rocketry. I'll be designing some new ones soon (ish) though. My 2.5m rockets will include recoverable boosters and possibly a recoverable first stage (all by parachute; not totally sure about the first stage) and my 3.75m Raven-series rockets will have a recoverable first stage (Falcon-style) but probably expendable boosters (though that's still undecided). For 5m and 7.5m rockets I very much doubt it'll be practical to install landing systems to the rocket stages (except possibly the heavy boosters), although a 5m spaceplane might happen eventually (though that's not in the realm of staged rockets).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/02/2018 at 10:48 PM, Rocket In My Pocket said:

Just the tip baby. :wink:

If Jeb's lucky... safe return wise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.