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space shuttles (post your pictures here)


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I've never succeeded in making a proper, bone stock shuttle replica.      I have, after a lot of work,  made something that's hard to fly,  requires max tier techs, costs more to operate than a  disposable rocket and has worse payload fraction/delta V than an SSTO.    

The problem is, KSP has parts that look like Shuttle parts, but behave differently.

Real Shuttle  :

60% of mass in boosters.   80% of thrust in boosters.   Boosters Gimbal.

External Tank - Only 30% of mass due to liquid hydrogen being so light.

SSME   -  Not especially powerful (compared to Keralox motors or SRBs) but extremely efficient at sea level and vacuum.  450 Vacuum ISP.     The mass of the Vector engine needs to be halved in order to have the engines make up the same % of the orbiter's mass as they do in the real thing, and have the CG in the right place. 

Orbiter - less than 10% of the mass of the stack.       Fuselage contributes lift so CoL further forward than it is on a KSP shuttle lookalike,  as is CoM for the reasons given above.


So basically, unless you edit the craft files to make

- the Vector lighter and more efficient but much less powerful

- the external tank lighter and lower fuel capacity

- The Kickback boosters much heavier and more powerful, and to have their own gimbal

you can't make it work the same way.



Starswift Mini Shuttle - https://kerbalx.com/AeroGav/Starswift-Nano-Shuttle

I don't know if this still works under 1.4,  fairings (used as a nose cone on this craft) now have horrible drag.


  If you want an example of why shuttles fail in KSP, look at the stock vessel the Learstar in the VAB -

Hard to fly,  expensive, high tech, mediocre delta V/payload

Much more practical are multi stage space planes.   You can use cheap Pather or Whiplash engines as boosters.   This is the stock Learstar converted to staged jet Ops - 


Much cheaper to operate and much nicer to fly.

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Well, not the first time I post my shuttle on the forums but here you go:

The mods I was playing it with was a full RSS/RO/RP-0 install with some extra mods I liked. It was mainly used for bulding my station around Earth.







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I discovered my love for building shuttles a while ago and here is the pinnacle of my work.
The Broadhead Mk I is a cute little shuttle designed for shuttling (who would've guessed) a couple kerbals around Kerbin's SOI and probably Duna's too, but I've not sent it there yet.
The shuttle is lifted to orbit with two kickbacks and a skipper. I deliberately tried to avoid the vector so that I'm not bankrupting my space program every time I toss away the lifter. 
The LF booster actually has around 1,000 m/s of extra DeltaV so it can be used as a transfer stage to get you where you want to be.
One tiny solar panel powers the whole thing, so you've gotta remember to keep the shuttle oriented towards the sun. I could easily add a bigger solar array but I think having it tucked away in the Universal Storage container is really cool. A battery, antenna and monopropellant tank are also stashed in containers, leaving two extra containers to be used to hold experiments or any other equipment needed.
It can rendezvous with anything in Kerbin's SOI and can land on both Mun and Minmus, although it can be tricky to take off from the Mun. In theory the craft could land on on Duna but I doubt you'd be able to get home.
Normally my shuttle designs spin like crazy on re-entry but I somehow made the broadhead extremely stable when entering the atmosphere.
I really need to improve my aim when landing, as I was a whole continent off KSC this time. The shuttle, however, can be landed with ease. I have a parachute on the back but you can land just fine without it. I keep it on there to protect the spacecraft from my god-awful piloting skills.
It looks much cooler when it's on the runway, I promise.
Edited by A Soviet Tank
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Well I've got this thing.



I call it the "Orbitus Space Shuttle".

It is derived from an old shuttle I made by the same name way long ago, before wing parts got the overhaul.

Like it's predicessor, this shuttle is overbuilt, but not to the same degree. This one was designed with a fuel tank payload instead of the poorly thought out ore tank payload of the old one lol.

Anyways, it can lift 50 tons into orbit. Since usually payloads that are put inside do not weigh 50 tons, it often ends up with quite a significant amount of fuel left in the external tank upon reaching orbit. Good for when you need to do that 30 degree plane change.

Instead of the usual vectors, this thing uses mainsails for the SMEs, relying on careful design, RCS, and occasionally shutoff of the upper SME to keep the stack on-course.

On reentry she's a bit squirrelly.... The COL and COM are pretty much right on top of each other, so minor changes in surplus fuel loading and return cargo can change the stability significantly.

I'm thinking of doing a rebuild to reduce the excess fuel left in the external tank on launch, because by reducing the excess fuel, launch costs can be improved. Optimally, the external tank could have parachutes and be deorbited and recovered. Also in the rebuild I want to make the thing a little more stable, so it's not so tedious to land. There's a bit of a fine line though, because if it's too nose heavy, it will become hard to maintain a high angle of attack duting reentry, which is crucial to keeping heat on the belly where it's supposed to be, and also to bleeding off speed or performing crossrange maneuvering.

If you want to download it despite the flaws, you can find it here.




@AeroGav what you say about the SMEs is true, but in order for high ISP vectors to be reasonable, we would also need a liquid hydrogen equivalent fuel, otherwise the external tank on any stock shuttle would look rediculously small. I mean, the main reason my own shuttle is so overbuilt is because I couldn't stand the look of the shuttle being as big or bigger than I the external tank. ... And yet it's still almost there...

I think Kerbin being so small doesn't help with mass ratios either. :P


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