SQUAD

KSP Weekly: Project Daedalus

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Welcome to KSP Weekly! Have you ever heard of Project Daedalus? One of the first detailed design studies of an interstellar spacecraft, Project Daedalus was conducted between 1973 and 1977 by a group of 11 scientists and engineers belonging to the British Interplanetary Society. Intended mainly as a scientific probe, the design criteria specified that the spacecraft had to use existing or near-future technology and had to be able to reach its destination within a human lifetime. Alan Bond led a team of scientists and engineers who proposed using a fusion rocket to reach Barnard’s Star 5.9 light years away. The trip was estimated to take 50 years, but the design was required to be flexible enough that it could be sent to any other target star.

The proposed design would have been 190 meters long and have weighed about 2400 metric tons; 18x bigger than the largest payload ever launched to orbit. Therefore, it would be constructed in Earth orbit. Daedalus was to be a two-stage spacecraft. The first stage would operate for two years, taking the spacecraft to 7.1% of light speed, and then after it was jettisoned, the second stage would fire for 1.8 years, taking the spacecraft up to about 12% of light speed, before being shut down for a 46-year cruise period. Due to the extreme temperature range of operation required, from near absolute zero to 1600 K, the engine bells and support structure would be made of molybdenum alloyed with titanium, zirconium, and carbon, which retains strength even at cryogenic temperatures.

Daedalus would be propelled by a fusion rocket using pellets of a deuterium/helium-3 mix that would be ignited in the reaction chamber by inertial confinement using electron beams. The electron beam system would be powered by a set of induction coils trapping energy from the plasma-exhaust stream. 250 pellets would be detonated per second, and the resulting plasma would be directed by a magnetic nozzle. Due to scarcity of helium-3 on Earth, it was to be mined from the atmosphere of Jupiter by large hot-air balloon supported robotic factories over a 20-year period, or from a more abundant source, such as the Moon.

The second stage would have two 5-metre optical telescopes and two 20-metre radio telescopes. About 25 years after launch these telescopes would begin examining the area around Barnard’s Star to learn more about any accompanying planets, the main reason why the star was the chosen target, although we learned later that the star doesn’t have any orbiting planets. This information would be sent back to Earth, using the 40-metre diameter second stage engine bell as a communications dish, and targets of interest would be selected. Since the spacecraft would not decelerate, upon reaching Barnard’s Star, Daedalus would carry 18 autonomous sub-probes that would be launched between 7.2 and 1.8 years before the main craft entered the target system. These sub-probes would be propelled by nuclear-powered ion drives and would carry cameras, spectrometers, and other sensory equipment. The sub-probes would fly past their targets, still traveling at 12% of the speed of light, and transmit their findings back to the Daedalus’ second stage, mothership, for relay back to Earth.

Although the concept was far from perfect, it did demonstrate that we might be capable of building an interstellar spacecraft in the near future. And if not, it allows us nerds to at least dream of such a fantastic feat.

[Development news start here]

This has been an exciting week at the KSPHQ. Patch 1.4.4 was released yesterday, and with it, a wide array of enhancements: from performance and wheel suspension improvements as well as the in-game integration of some really cool Steam features, this patch is meant to further advance the KSP game experience. Click here to read the full release notes.

Any successful release always comes with a broad spectrum of tasks, from last minute fixes and polishing to merging branches, preparing the release candidate, testing it and uploading the final build to all platforms. Any release always has all of the team on its toes. This one was no exception. We are very happy with the results, too. Since the very beginning we have taken feedback from the players very seriously and this patch includes several elements taken directly from community suggestions. For instance, the integration of Steam Workshop will facilitate both craft and mission sharing among Steam users, and let us drive visibility to some of those creations. Cloud Saves for both game saves and missions are also now implemented on Steam (Here’s an example of how you can setup your own Cloud in case you are not a Steam user).You can read more about the newly implemented Steam features here.

We are already featuring some cool missions in in this newly born Hub, including a couple of missions made by some of our team. Simple, yet fun, these missions are meant to showcase how anyone can be a Mission Designer. Check them out and let us know your thoughts. We’ll be adding more featured missions in time, so check the Steam Workshop Hub regularly.

The improvement and expansion of the controller support for the game via the Steam Controller framework has also been a heavily requested feature. We’ve added two different presets for you to choose from: the Advanced and Simplified Presets. The former is a comprehensive preset that includes all the commands and functions a veteran player would expect. The Simplified Preset is meant to be more approachable to players and be as similar as possible to the Cursor Preset from KSP Enhanced Edition. Click here to see the new controller layouts.

KSP Enhanced Edition also has a patch on the way. If you’ve been following us, you’ll know that aside from several bug fixes and improvements, we are also implementing new quality-of-life features taken directly from feedback provided by the community. For instance, BlitWorks managed to include a missing element from the PC version into Enhanced Edition: The Physwarp. The Physwarp allows you to perform warps within atmospheres, but all at your own risk. You’ll be able to enable it from the Radial Menu and speed up time up to x4 to shorten the length of time it normally takes to perform a task.

If you’re not a Steam user or you just want to share your creations to everyone regardless of the platform they use to play KSP, don’t forget that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, and the KSP Forum.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates!

Happy launchings!  

PS: Kerbal Space Program and the Making History Expansion are included in the Steam Summer Sale! With discounts of 60% and 30% respectively, this is one of the biggest discount ever for the base game, and the biggest ever for Making History. So now is a fantastic opportunity to get your copy and/or have your friends join you in space. We are also matching these discounts on the KSP Store.

*Information Source:

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I feel like we should all have the chance to transfer our game to steam if we bought it on the store, because people not on steam basically are left out of this content

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2 hours ago, SQUAD said:

For instance, BlitWorks managed to include a missing element from the PC version into Enhanced Edition: The Physwarp. The Physwarp allows you to perform warps within atmospheres, but all at your own risk. You’ll be able to enable it from the Radial Menu and speed up time up to x4 to shorten the length of time it normally takes to perform a task.

Erm... cant we already do the 4x warp within atmospheres?  Its in space that it doesnt work.  

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1 hour ago, Ineedaweapon said:

Erm... cant we already do the 4x warp within atmospheres?  Its in space that it doesnt work.  

Hold down alt and '.' for the 4x warp in space. :) for PC.  So it IS possible in some games. 

Edit - sorry to be a Pc patroniser. Didon't read the thread properly

Peace. 

Edited by theJesuit

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16 hours ago, Ineedaweapon said:

Erm... cant we already do the 4x warp within atmospheres?  Its in space that it doesnt work.  

They are adding so that you can now do it in space by actually allowing you to do it manually from the radial menu.  As of now it automatically does it while in atmosphere with no way of choosing it over the other warp type while in space.

It worked in the old version because we had a separate button command to apply physic warp in space which they left out in this version when making the new control schemes.  This seems to rectify that.

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13 minutes ago, OrganizedChaos said:

They are adding so that you can now do it in space by actually allowing you to do it manually from the radial menu.  As of now it automatically does it while in atmosphere with no way of choosing it over the other warp type while in space.

It worked in the old version because we had a separate button command to apply physic warp in space which they left out in this version when making the new control schemes.  This seems to rectify that.

The passage doesnt mention space in any word, it reads more like a reason why it wasnt working since day one. I also guess that it will now, otherwise they shoot their own foot by that

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7 minutes ago, PrvDancer85 said:

The passage doesnt mention space in any word, it reads more like a reason why it wasnt working since day one. I also guess that it will now, otherwise they shoot their own foot by that

It doesn't mention space, but the important part is the ability to use physic warp from the radial menu (which was the issue) That indicates that you can now choose to use it in space because you now have the button mapping to do so like we did in the old version.

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3 minutes ago, OrganizedChaos said:

It doesn't mention space, but the important part is the ability to use physic warp from the radial menu (which was the issue) That indicates that you can now choose to use it in space because you now have the button mapping to do so like we did in the old version.

I got that part. Im really interested in the changelog

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I bought the game just afte the transfer date, and I’m fairly ticked off that they’re finally focusing on the content for steam, that I have literally no use for. At least give us a transfer window without having to have bought it before a certain date.

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4 minutes ago, ShadowGoat said:

I bought the game just afte the transfer date, and I’m fairly ticked off that they’re finally focusing on the content for steam, that I have literally no use for. At least give us a transfer window without having to have bought it before a certain date.

SQUAD would probably like unlimited transfers as well; I would wager that the limit was put in place by Valve to ensure they would get their cut of future sales.

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5 minutes ago, ShadowGoat said:

At least give us a transfer window without having to have bought it before a certain date.

Agreed.  If they're going to add Steam-exclusive features, they should allow transfers for everyone.

 

That doesn't do anything for those of us that don't want Steam, however.

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Huh? Helium-3 on the Moon is in the parts per billion. In Jupiter's atmosphere it's much more abundant, but still hard to come by, as even though Helium makes up over 20% of the atmosphere's mass, Helium-3 makes up a very small fraction of that Helium. Still more abundant than the Moon's surface, by orders of magnitude... And provided fusion power is in use, the required energy to extract it may be less than the amount you get from burning it...

But that's a nitpick.

Anyway, great work on this update.

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On 6/22/2018 at 10:55 AM, SQUAD said:

For instance, BlitWorks managed to include a missing element from the PC version into Enhanced Edition: The Physwarp. The Physwarp allows you to perform warps within atmospheres, but all at your own risk

FINALLY!!!

You never know how much you need this until it's not in the game! This'll help me test out SSTOs so much more effectively!

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