Radboy16

Do I need a change in gameplay?

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I've owned this game for a few years now, and you know what I have NEVER done? Build a spaceplane. I've only done rockets up to this point, and maybe flown a stock spaceplane once just to see the old KSC easter egg.

 

Are space planes any more advantageous over plain old rocket launches? What is their practicality (i.e. what planets can I go to with them, how should they be built, etc etc...)

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Thinking of joining that crazy spaceplane fraternity? Sorry, bud. I'll have to report you for that. Yo, @SQUAD. Put this guy on the list.

 

:)

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They are easier to recover at KSC, and can get higher payload fractions to orbit.

If you don't care about either of those, then stick with rockets.

You can go anywhere with them, but if the destination doesn't have an atmosphere, why would you want bring wings? So this would just be Eve, Kerbin, Duna, Jool, and Laythe that even have atmospheres. Jool is featureless and has no solid ground, so wings don't really serve any purpose there.

 If its an airbreathing spaceplane, if the atmosphere doesn't have O2, why would you want to lug airbreathing engines there? This leaves just Kerbin and Laythe in the stock game

I use them for surface to orbit cargo/kerbal shuttles, thats it. In stock its not to hard to make a spaceplane that can go from kerbin to the surface of minmus and back... but mostly I just dump payloads in LKO and then land them.

If I send a spaceplane interplanetary, its to act as a surface to orbit shuttle at a body with an atmosphere. In stock this is just Duna and especially Laythe. In theory, you could have one for Eve too, but a resuable Eve ssto spaceplane seems to elude the community (I've seen one that could make the ascent from the highest point on eve, but it couldn't land there.

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It took me over a year... I think... before I attempted an SSTO, and I am not an expert by any means. But as far as advantages and disadvantages, they are great for hauling crew, tourists, or small amounts of cargo into LKO, especially if you have some sort of space station and/or shuttles to pick them up. Then the SSTO can return, and the only thing you've spent funds on is fuel. 

Disadvantage, it is kind of hard to build one that can get beyond LKO and back home with a lot of cargo.  not impossible, it's just... well, there are other players that can help you with this part a lot more than I can.  :wink:

For me, the best part is if you can get a big one to work, like my Diamondback, they're just fun to fly!

mzMAxW7.jpg

 

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23 minutes ago, Radboy16 said:

I've owned this game for a few years now, and you know what I have NEVER done? Build a spaceplane. I've only done rockets up to this point, and maybe flown a stock spaceplane once just to see the old KSC easter egg.

Are space planes any more advantageous over plain old rocket launches? What is their practicality (i.e. what planets can I go to with them, how should they be built, etc etc...)

Excellent discussion above.  The short answer is:

  • Rockets and spaceplanes are very different in play style.
  • They both work in the game.  They both get the job done.
  • So if you like rockets you should fly rockets, and if you like spaceplanes you should fly spaceplanes.

Whichever way you play, I suggest dabbling a bit in the other way just for variety and the fun of it.  :)

For example, I'm a rocket person, I basically never fly spaceplanes; they're just not my personal cup of tea.  But every once in a while I'll build one just for fun-- either for variety, or for some RP reason having to do with my current career.

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I'm terrible at planes, I've only built one that's consistently reliable.  I only use it for ferrying crew or very small equipment to space stations.

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18 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

It took me over a year... I think... before I attempted an SSTO, and I am not an expert by any means. But as far as advantages and disadvantages, they are great for hauling crew, tourists, or small amounts of cargo into LKO, especially if you have some sort of space station and/or shuttles to pick them up. Then the SSTO can return, and the only thing you've spent funds on is fuel. 

Disadvantage, it is kind of hard to build one that can get beyond LKO and back home with a lot of cargo.  not impossible, it's just... well, there are other players that can help you with this part a lot more than I can.  :wink:

For me, the best part is if you can get a big one to work, like my Diamondback, they're just fun to fly!

 

4 minutes ago, Snark said:

Excellent discussion above.  The short answer is:

  • Rockets and spaceplanes are very different in play style.
  • They both work in the game.  They both get the job done.
  • So if you like rockets you should fly rockets, and if you like spaceplanes you should fly spaceplanes.

Whichever way you play, I suggest dabbling a bit in the other way just for variety and the fun of it.  :)

For example, I'm a rocket person, I basically never fly spaceplanes; they're just not my personal cup of tea.  But every once in a while I'll build one just for fun-- either for variety, or for some RP reason having to do with my current career.

I agree with both! I'm expanding into SSTO for cargo and crew transport and nothing else - but mainly for Kerbin. For the style of gameplay I do, I can accomplish any of my other self-imposed torture game goals through the use of large space craft, much like I imagine NASA, ESA, and JSA (and their descendants) will adopt.

Most of the planets we visit in KSP do not have an atmosphere, so a SSTO makes no sense beyond Kerbin. But where you do have an atmosphere, even the largest of spacecraft can carry a modestly sized SSTO craft to ferry cargo and Kermen from orbit to the surface, and return. Again, with the way I play KSP, they are fun and useful, but are NOT my main craft type by any stretch of the imagination.

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I use both, I like a lot to build reusable vehicles. I prefer to make cool/realist concepts, with a little role-playing.

I make reusable launch vehicles for 10, 15, 20, 35, 50, etc, tons to LKO, alternating between 2-stage rockets and air-breathing SSTO spaceplanes. Them I build my spacecrafts to fit in one of them, attach and profit.

I find SSTOs spaceplanes overpowered (in cost to LKO), but they are much more harder to design, time-consuming to fly and can be a little challenging to land. The payload bays can also impose some limits that rockets deal better. So, in game-plays terms, I find them balanced. One can make more money doing more contracts with a lower margin.

It took me ages to learn how to build, fly and perfectly land SSTOs spaceplaces. But are worth, they are very fun and rewarding.

I have this one, based on the Venture Star, takeoff like a rocket, return gliding without fuel. It can take only 10 ton, terrible inefficient compared to it's air-breathing version. But I find it cool, fun, realistic, and use it anyway.

 mIieqNN.png

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I created my first successful SSTO with a Matt Lowne tutorial. It works reliably, is fully stock, can get to minmus pretty easily, and can easily swap the  crew cabin for a large cargo bay. After that and I realized that they were actually quite easy and fun, plus they are great in a career mode play through, as, with a little practice, you can easily get 100% of it back from landing back at the runway. As for cargo capability, it's pretty hard to make a successful and reliable one, but definitely worth it, as you get 100% of the ship back other than the fuel. Plus, I find planes more fun to build and fly, but Rockets are easier, more reliable, and work faster. But that depends on the design.

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For my two cents the difference between a fully recoverable SSTO space plane and a disposable rocket is time. Do I really feel like spending another 10-15 minutes landing at the KSC runway every time I want to send some crew or cargo up to orbit? Are the funds saved worth the extra hassle?

For me the answer is usually no and no. A cheap disposable suits me better. 

Edited by Randazzo

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Once I got into it, I really enjoyed building SSTOs and still do. Completely useless for my playstyle though, where rockets are quicker and more useful. 

For me there's just the engineering achievement of making the most efficient SSTO by careful selection and deployment of parts, especially for really little SSTOs.  

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6 minutes ago, Randazzo said:

For my two cents the difference between a fully recoverable SSTO space plane and a disposable rocket is time. Do I really feel like spending another 10-15 minutes landing at the KSC runway every time I want to send some crew or cargo up to orbit? Are the funds saved worth the extra hassle?

For me the answer is usually no and no. A cheap disposable suits me better. 

I have a counter point that has the exact same difference, but the other way. I wrote/play with Kerbal Construction Time, so if I can launch a fully reusable craft then I can save days of in-game time. I tend to prefer rockets, so I prefer to build reusable rockets instead of space planes, but I have made a few crew SSTOs for doing crew transfers and emergencies.

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Biggest thing I use spaceplanes for is Laythe crew transfers where both the wings & jet engines remain useful.  For Kerbin SOI, rockets are simpler & quicker to me.   I LIKE messing with spaceplanes, but for routine missions like crew transfers or training runs to Mun/Minmus, I usually stick to rockets.

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3 hours ago, Just Jim said:

It took me over a year... I think... before I attempted an SSTO, and I am not an expert by any means. But as far as advantages and disadvantages, they are great for hauling crew, tourists, or small amounts of cargo into LKO, especially if you have some sort of space station and/or shuttles to pick them up. Then the SSTO can return, and the only thing you've spent funds on is fuel. 

Disadvantage, it is kind of hard to build one that can get beyond LKO and back home with a lot of cargo.  not impossible, it's just... well, there are other players that can help you with this part a lot more than I can.  :wink:

For me, the best part is if you can get a big one to work, like my Diamondback, they're just fun to fly!

mzMAxW7.jpg

 

Wow that's a lot of pants!

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rockets are easier because they self balance for the most part where a plane needs the wings and bits placed a lot more exact or you end up flying into the ground or have really poor climbing ability. it can be tricky finding the perfect engine that works for both atmo and space and you can start to over complicate it if you use a launch system like a shuttle.

its fun to try tho and once you get the hang of it you can bring that into your rocket building and get creative.

 

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I've never managed to get a spaceplane to orbit, other than my Taxicab series that were built to carry LKO tourist missions early in my career -- they launch on top of a rocket, like Dyna-Soar (if it had been designed by Burt Rutan, hence came out as a canard).

OTOH, I have a very functional SSTO -- a reusable booster, in fact -- that I created for a Mass Fraction Challenge a while back.  It's a Twin Boar, with an orange tank (6400 units) on top, and an 800 unit 2.5-1.25 adapter tank.  A few batteries/fuel cells, a probe core, and an extra reaction wheel, then a decoupler -- and anything 1.25 m base diameter and weighing less than about 15.5 T can get a ride to LKO without using any of its own dV.  Once decoupled, the booster has enough dV left to deorbit, stands up nicely to reentry from ~80 km circular, and with half a dozen landing legs (three on each side) plus, IIRC, 12 radial parachutes, it manages a nice, zero-damage horizontal landing on either reasonably level ground or water.  I could easily (much more easily than the real world engineering SpaceX had to do) join this into a three-wide and lift 45+ T, still with 100% reusability, presuming I can manage a ballistic reentry in Kerbin's atmosphere and get close to KSC.

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