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MaximumThrust

SSTO Ascend Profile

Question

What's the ascend profile you use and recommend? What do you prioritize in your crafts?

Mine:

I prefer to build SSTOs with relatevely large wings, and high TWR. They are not the most efficient, but are easy to use and can have small launch times (so I use them more often, instead of using rockets almost every time).

Ascend constantly at around 20 degrees, don't like to change the pitch to prioritize vertical or horizontal speed at different altitudes, it seems to produce large loses to drag when trying. I turn the rocket mode right before I start losing speed (at around 24 km of altitude). Sometimes I keep at 20 degrees, sometimes go to 25. Never got any luck trying to increase this number, like in animations from the Skylon, that it seems to go at around 45 degrees to avoid the atmosphere.

When returning I like to do long reentry burns, at around 600 m/s, so I can reentry on prograde, with more stability and precision, making the landing on the runway easy and routine.

I managed to make combos with nukes that got me high amounts of dV after archiving orbit, but it's not worth it, the TWR is too low. I usually have an "Orbital Shuttle", and I carry the fuel and supplies (for USI-LS), dock, transfer the crew and refuel it, leaving the SSTO in orbit, waiting to return.


 

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Depends entirely on the craft. 

If it's an over-powered craft to throw a Kerbal into space then the profile is steep. 

If it's a long-range craft designed to have a lot of dV on orbit (and low TWR) then it will need more babying to orbit. 

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You seem to have it well figured out mate. If your TWR is high enough, you can definitely get away with holding a constant pitch throughout the ascent and avoid drag losses.

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