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What are some of the most useful techniques in this game that you know of?

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1 hour ago, Tyko said:

I have an extended keyboard and use the cluster of arrow keys plus right Shift and right Control keys for translation. It works great

I have no doubt. I'm just more of a 'hands on mouse & keyboard' type -a remnant of my days with HOTAS systems (proud owner of a X-52 and a TM Cougar). Target tracking and docking mode matched perfectly to the way I like to do things.

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8 hours ago, Clipperride said:

@Alpha 360 and @septemberWaves both mention using solid rocket boosters to get planes up to speed quickly.  Another method is to build a rocket sledge!

Spoiler

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Oooh, a high-velocity runway, I like it!  Does it go careening off the static runway on sep or does it use some chutes to stop itself?

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1.25m cargo bays are just better than heat shields. Not only they can protect your stuff and make you more aerodynamic at launch, but they also are lighter, impossible to deplete, and you can use them to MASSIVELY increase your ship's drag coefficient, which is good during a re-entry.

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I have mentioned this before to crickets - probably because no one else is as bad as me at designing ships. :) But I have a bad habit of designing ships for special mission that end up not being exactly symmetric, so I add the extra drag to the East side of the ship, so that on launch, it will naturally bend into a gravity turn. It beats fighting a ship that wants to naturally turn retrograde.

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20 minutes ago, Ty Tan Tu said:

so I add the extra drag to the East side of the ship...

Depending on the diameter of your stack decoupler and with the help of KER's torque readout, you could tweak the payload's placement on it, to minimize the said value. Once that's done, dress it in a fairing, add adjustable winglets at the rear end of your launch vehicle and your launch should be pretty much predictable. I've used it on a couple of asymmetric payloads I had to get into orbit and it has worked fine so far.

Edited by Atkara

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Wanna try to use a rescaled solar system, but afraid to do so because of the lack of Delta V Maps for the size you want? Well fear no more, for I have a simple equation for finding the Delta V for any rescale!

1. Get a delta v map for the system you're using 

2. Get the Delta V value you need (ex: it takes roughly 3200 m/s to get to LKO stock)

3. Get the rescale factor (rescale factor is how many times bigger the solar system will be. ex: 5)

4. Multiply the "stock" Delta V by the square root of the rescale factor to get your new Delta V!

3200√5 = 7,155 m/s

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On 20/02/2018 at 8:53 AM, KerikBalm said:

Meh, I've experimented with retrorockets before, but I don't bother with them. For the upper atmosphere, varying AoA should be enough to correct your approach to the landing site. For landing, I prefer a raidal mount drogue because it can stabilize and slow the craft. I have used retro thrusters for some duna spaceplanes because of the thing air and low gravity (very bouncy touchdowns), but now I just build them to be VTOL - They are vertical lift rockets, and I just pitch up to slow down.

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Ummm.... if you decouple the SRBs, then its not a SSTO. If you keep the SRBs, then you're taking a lot of excess dry mass and causing a lot of excess drag. You should not need any help with Whiplashes (or rapiers) getting to orbital velocity, and then should take you to more like 3/4 orbital velocity, not half. I've only used RATO to help accelerate on the runway, and even designed RATO boosters with sepratrons and parachutes so that when I decouple before the end of the runway, the SRBs land on the runway (before leaving the 22.5km physics bubble) and I can get 100% recovery.

I've seen (and since attempted to copy) a design where a SRB is used as a strong and non-bendy structural member as well as an engine. Fire it at altitude (as the jet engines start to expire) to cover the gap before nukes become effective.

Edited by FlyingPete

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SRBs are heavy for the amount of dV they'll give you. You'd have a lighter (and more controllable) design if you used an LFO engine between when jet thrust is insufficient, and when LV-N thrust is sufficient. SInce rapiers can already cover the gap and are what you should be using as jets for SSTOs anyway... the only real advantage is that the kickback is the longest single piece.

Now this is sometimes a good feature, but it ceases to be a SRB thing, and is a kickback specific thing.

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When rotating your craft around in orbit, don't use RCS.  Unless the thrusters are perfectly balanced around your ever-changing CoM, it will change your orbit.  Not a big deal when you're orbiting a planet or moon, but in interplanetary space, it can mean hundreds of thousands of kilometers at your target.  So if you set up your Jool intercept, then rotate with RCS to line up your solar panels... you might end up missing the Jool system completely, or diving straight in.

Always pack your reaction wheels!

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5 hours ago, Geonovast said:

Always pack your reaction wheels!

And pack EC for your reaction wheels!

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When going interplanetary, plan out at least the delta-v margins. I failed with this criteria and lost a valuable pilot in the process............ Just a warning

Happy Explosions!

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Some simple things I know.

While docking, use the advanced tweakable "aim camera" option to center you view around the dockingport, additionally set the camera mode to locked.

It do comes quite in handy, whenever I get confused about the rootparts rotation, relative to the camera.

Another advanced tweakable I make great use of, Is FuelFlow priority. Gives a lot of power, being able to control which tanks are emptied in what order(without having to use tons of fuel lines).

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Controlled aerocapture. I just figured that out and wrote a mini-tutorial about it. If it's a well-known technique, it's not advertised enough because I didn't know about it!

 

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On 2/19/2018 at 5:56 PM, septemberWaves said:

@Alpha 360 Currently I'm more interested in rocket-assisted landing for shuttles. Quite a few times in the past I've built a space-shuttle-like vehicle that works perfectly, except for the fact that I can barely land it because the safe speed for hitting the runway is too low for the wings to provide enough lift as it decelerates to that speed. So I thought that rather than redesigning the whole shuttle to have more wing area and subsequently redesigning the launch vehicle (which tends to be massively complicated and a challenge to optimize), it'd probably save some mass to just stick a retrorocket under the nose and fire it immediately before landing. Parachutes would probably work too, of course, but everyone uses those. In my testing process so far I started trying out rocket-assisted takeoff too just while I was experimenting (since I've had a few planes in the past too that could definitely have benefited from a boost at takeoff) but I started testing mainly for landing systems.

Rather than a retro-rocket, I recommend you stick a couple of Junos on the back of your shuttle, or maybe Wheesleys if your shuttle is really big.  The reason being that those are relatively light and fuel-efficient jet engines which would allow your shuttle to cruise to a landing through the air (even if they do not provide quite enough thrust they give you more control) and they are capable of doing reverse thrust, which higher speed jet engines do not support.  You can set them to reverse thrust while breaking and slow you down rapidly, and since they just use intake air (heated via liquid fuel combustion) as propellant, they ultimately save on mass compared to retro-rockets.  

Edited by Fearless Son

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On 2/25/2018 at 4:17 PM, Alpha 360 said:

plan out at least the delta-v margins.

hahahahha... You can do this, but still almost not make it.

Plan the mission, fly the plan.

Or make it up as you go along if you can.

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in the VAB and SPH, when you attach struts and fuel lines; drag the second point THROUGH the target part, not TO the target part.

Try to attach the second point to the FAR SIDE of the part, it will attach to the near side of course, but you'll be able to get things much straighter and more accurate.  Fort instance you can drag several struts to the same farside point on on the near side they will be perfectly spaced out and lined up.

Edited by Brainlord Mesomorph

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As soon as you craft has a bottom (gear wheels engines whatever) put it on the the floor of the VAB

1, it helps line up landing gear and stuff like that

but 2 its more fun. Its more realistic and  the kerbal ground crew is bigger and actually seems to be walking around it and working on it with you.

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When docking, switch to the other craft, target your ship, point to it, then switch back and target the docking port, then point to the target vessel and use RCS to move in for docking.

Even if your target ship is rotating, SAS will keep pointing toward the target.

The issue is that if your target is a large space station, it might not be able to rotate. So in that case you’ll have to manually line the craft up with the target port.

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On 2/27/2018 at 2:12 AM, Fearless Son said:

Rather than a retro-rocket, I recommend you stick a couple of Junos on the back of your shuttle, or maybe Wheesleys if your shuttle is really big.  The reason being that those are relatively light and fuel-efficient jet engines which would allow your shuttle to cruise to a landing through the air (even if they do not provide quite enough thrust they give you more control) and they are capable of doing reverse thrust, which higher speed jet engines do not support.    

Junos do not have thrust reversers

Only the wheesley and goliath do. Also, I would consider the juno to be pretty inefficient, as it cones in at #4 of 6 for the jets, behind the Goliath, the wheesley, and the panther (dry mode)

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