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Sepratron To Orbit Challenge on Kerbin (S.T.O.C.K.)


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Behold the humble Sepratron, favored tool for pushing boosters away from your valuable rocket.  With a thrust of just over 13 at sea level and a whopping 8 units of fuel, it has never been the star of the KSC parts department.

1kLz630.png

UNTIL NOW.

Your mission: using only Sepratrons and no other means of propulsion, get yourself to a stable orbit. 

 

 

RULES:

Stock only.

No physics altering mods or cheats. Otherwise, do what you need to do to get into orbit.

You may launch from any of the launch pads on Kerbin.  This is hard enough as it is, so take advantage of the altitude at the Dessert Airfield if you wish.

 

 

SCORING:

Anyone who gets to orbit gets a badge (when I get around to making one).

Leaderboard also for highest altitude achieved. This gives another side to the competition and takes the pressure off getting an orbit.

 

Bonus kudos for:

Highest Orbit

Getting into orbit from Woomerang

Retrograde orbit

 

Edited by Klapaucius
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1 hour ago, Pro100kerbonaut said:

first

there should be a category for least parts

It's entries like yours that remind me how much I am still not very good at this game!  Well done. Mine is stupidly tall.

Yes, least parts is a good category. I'm also going to add most Kerbals to orbit :-)

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@ralanboyle Nice!  How come you are not using auto strut and rigid attachment?

 

My entry.  Not the most efficient by a longshot, but I did get a Kerbal in orbit.  There is a pause and then a quicksave (which i did not need). I had a lot of Kraken attacks with this one.

400 parts, 30 stages!

Etg1zVv.png

KCVIc0A.png

WfbSiAk.png

 

Edited by Klapaucius
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Jeb was feeling bored so decided to rev up the Sepratron challenge he'd heard about. Of course, he refused to go in anything less than a Mk1 pod and thought a few creature comforts would be nice to take along - like battery, solar panels, antenna, reaction wheel - you know the drill. The first fifty tests were less than encouraging but he knew the key to overcoming almost any obstacle was to keep adding MOAR ... well ... very, very ... very tiny boosters. And finally it was ready to succeed.

Meet Megatron.

Hx1Av9R.png

2037 parts.
1992 sepratrons.
153.17 tons.
19 stages.

Each band on the 2.5m parts has 72 rockets. The first 11 stages have 2 bands with the upper one angled outward so as not to fry the bottom one.

Apoapsis achieved - 582.671km.

dKbgWGf.png

nhAYNeZ.png

 

Jeb says that he gets the strangest feeling sometimes - like he's died before. Many, many times before. And you may very well be dead too, before you finish watching this painfully slow video.

 

Edited by mystifeid
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8 hours ago, mystifeid said:

2037 parts.
1992 sepratrons.
153.17 tons.
19 stages.

Each band on the 2.5m parts has 72 rockets. The first 11 stages have 2 bands with the upper one angled outward so as not to fry the bottom one.

Apoapsis achieved - 582.671km.

I can feel my computer screaming from just seeing these numbers.

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13 hours ago, mystifeid said:

Jeb was feeling bored so decided to rev up the Sepratron challenge he'd heard about. Of course, he refused to go in anything less than a Mk1 pod and thought a few creature comforts would be nice to take along - like battery, solar panels, antenna, reaction wheel - you know the drill. The first fifty tests were less than encouraging but he knew the key to overcoming almost any obstacle was to keep adding MOAR ... well ... very, very ... very tiny boosters. And finally it was ready to succeed.

Meet Megatron.

 

2037 parts.
1992 sepratrons.
153.17 tons.
19 stages.

Each band on the 2.5m parts has 72 rockets. The first 11 stages have 2 bands with the upper one angled outward so as not to fry the bottom one.

Apoapsis achieved - 582.671km.

 

Jeb says that he gets the strangest feeling sometimes - like he's died before. Many, many times before. And you may very well be dead too, before you finish watching this painfully slow video.

This made my morning!  Brilliant.  I needed a good laugh right now.  And the video looked pretty good. I just watched the first 9 minutes at 2x speed.

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21 hours ago, mystifeid said:

Jeb says that he gets the strangest feeling sometimes - like he's died before. Many, many times before. And you may very well be dead too, before you finish watching this painfully slow video.

You made me check to make sure the video was still playing so many times.

Edited by RoninFrog
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21 hours ago, Klapaucius said:

I needed a good laugh right now.

Right now I could use a few laughs too so here is me cheering myself up with a ... Mun flyby!!!

Jeb was already planning where to put another couple of sepratrons on the top of the rocket that would see it able to enter into orbit around the Mun (and Minimus) until I pointed out that those few extras on top would require another three or four hundred on the other end. I reminded him of the almighty struggle he'd had this time just keeping the thing pointed vertically and if he was going to forget to use rigid attachments again it would do nothing to lessen his collection of ... strange feelings.

This is Shockwave.

mHxHI2K.png

2147 parts.
2084 sepratrons.
160.699 tons.
26 stages.

Apoapsis achieved - 12185.933km.
Periapsis achieved - 701.234km.

SRtnhBW.png

pH1cDZp.png

This time I've taken the liberty of removing all of the intermissions from the video so make sure to grab your popcorn before it starts. You'll need it.

https://youtu.be/_HmqQjEIG4Y

 

Edited by mystifeid
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56 minutes ago, RoninFrog said:

Dewd.  TOO MANY BOOSTERS!!! (If it's even possible)

 

6 hours ago, Klapaucius said:

What the heck do you have for a computer? I've got a pretty grunty one (I used it to run Adobe Premiere) and I'm not sure it would cope with that.

If you want pure part count, my record is about 4400 with an asparagus ringed craft that looked something like the one below. (I made quite a few of these and I'm no longer sure which is which but they were all very high part count). No mods used.

As far as the potato goes - trust me, it's nothing special. Must be five years old now. An old 4770 with 16GB ram and a (newer) GTX1060. It does have two ssd's and eight hard drives in five raid 0 arrays with the whole lot in an ancient steel Thermaltake Armor case (that weighs 17kg before you put anything inside). I love that case.

If you do have a grunty computer then it will be perfectly capable of making high part count craft. You should try it. A certain amount of patience is required above about 1000 parts - for example, click and drag becomes click, wait and drag. Above about 1500 parts, any reverting or undoing will sooner or later lead to a ctd. Above about 3000 parts I can revert only once or twice before a ctd.  Don't load auto-saved craft when restarting.

Above about 1500 parts I need to start shutting down other processes. I use a ram drive so it's the first thing to get shut down.

There is something of an art to it - example : about a third of the craft below actually fits in the VAB (and much less on the launch pad) - but you end up learning things that will help in normal situations. (Like don't make mistakes that require reverting).

Launching/flying is also very slow. You saw how long it took for the engines to fire in the first video above. With only 2000 parts. So best your craft sheds parts as it goes so that things eventually speed up.

ejMijCk.png

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I decided to try and send up two kerbals with sepatrons. Nothing really impressive, just two kerbals thrown on the top of a rocket. Has some nice aero-fuddling which I think reduces the impressive amount of drag from the 50+ sepatrons smushed inside the stages. Also (IMO) looks quite clean compared to some of the other monstrosities here

The creatively named Sepatron Rocket II

NQqO4BQ.jpg?1

More images in spoiler (do not have/particularly wanna try video recording with this thing....)

Spoiler

Somewhere in ascent

3CrN2l6.png

Stage separation. Something to point out is that the fairing remains with a hole in it. Allows the sepatrons to fire while still being occluded from the airflow.

EtJyI4t.png

Fast.

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The last two stages. 10 sepatrons to kick it up, plus a 2 sepatron stage to circularize (since I never got the ascent profile quite right). These were in the fairing nose cone thing

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Final orbit

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Lovely time floating here.

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Mass.... IDK, some number.

Sepatron count - 512

Total part count - 524

Can chuck 2 kerbals into orbit. Recovery not guaranteed.

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Nice rocket and that's a really good tip about the fairings. Pity I'd already made another monstrosity...

This is Optimus.

hQ0TX9M.png

 

Optimus can reach solar orbit,

Spoiler

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Mun orbit,

Spoiler

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And Minmus orbit.

(Note that significant portions of this video have been removed for your viewing enjoyment - most notably, pauses during staging and the struggle to find a maneuver that required 226m/s to intercept Minmus. Also, it plays at 2x speed.)

Duna and Eve fly-bys look posssible.

Optimus has 2344 parts, 24 stages,  2236 Sepratrons and weighs 176.277 tons.

Edited by mystifeid
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Well, I think now that the big stuff has been explored, time for a tiny boi.

Tiny Boi, a 78 part sepatron powered probe core to orbit. (and 4 of those are launch clamps!)

Makes use of the fairing aero optimizations to get into a decent orbit, but still has optimization potential.

Other stats

Mass - 5.442 tons

Sepatrons - 60 arranged in 6 stages

 

Just now waiting for someone to do better (like remove the battery, figure out a better ascent, etc.)

 

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Just put Jeb into orbit with a 6.997 tonne rocket but getting him back to Kerbin is tricky.

lG6cCs5.png

Six stages, like @qzgy, but distributed a little differently. All motors are inside one of the two fairings.

Spoiler

JHTFOAL.png

Having all of the engines just barely poking out of the fairing is a nice look if nothing else. Launch clamps made the gravity turn a bit easier.

I will have to set control to a docking port rather than Jeb, as he's a little off-kilter:

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That should do it.

Time to launch!

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Rather high acceleration.

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Immediately tracking prograde to begin gravity turn. Supersonic in, let's see...three seconds?

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First-stage separation just before Mach 2.

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5 km high, 10 seconds into flight, and nearly at Mach 3 with shock heating at second-stage burnout.

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We will cost up into the upper atmosphere like this. Note the barely-visible engine nozzles peeking out of the bottom of the fairing ring; they are inside the upper fairing.

Once most of the atmosphere is behind us, we'll blow the fairing and fire up our third stage.

Mp8TP01.png

Inside the fairing are three boost stages in parallel. This happens quickly.

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PMsaLIU.png

This second boost stage gets us going fast enough for more shock heating. Fortunately the atmosphere is thin or we'd be toast.

3LpgaNr.png

At this point our apoapsis is well out of the atmosphere so we'll plot a circularization node.

These next two stages will get us set up nicely for orbital insertion.

sTJZaXr.png

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By this point we've got a nice smooth apoapse. Problem: we have no way of controlling that command chair once we jettison the battery and reaction wheel.

Solution: Spin up Jeb before staging.

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The next few moments are scary.

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

But finally....

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He made it!

Getting home will require Jeb to get out and push.

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This lowers us to a "safe" aerobraking altitude.

Many aerobraking passes....

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It got a little toasty, but after repeated attempts we made it down.

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Selecting a good splashdown spot:

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3, 2, 1...

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Success. Now to await rescue...with a Sepratron-powered seaplane, perhaps?

 

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I'm a bit paranoid about having miscounted the number of sepratrons so I've counted them about fifty times but I'll do it again anyway. There, 58 sepratrons. I'm still paranoid. (And let's be real - 58 seps? Where's the fun in that?) Below is the 'Wishful Thinking' because that's what it's largely held together by. My goal: use less than 60 seps without using a fairing.

Other stats
4.52 tons
74 parts
14 stages

 

Edited by mystifeid
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Funny story ... at some point I looked at the parts page on the wiki, saw that empty sepratrons had a mass of 0.0 ... and I believed it!!

I've been doing my best to believe that less is actually more but I've been feverishly fighting the feeling that I'm now gradually having less fun with each subsequent attempt at this challenge.

After a few staging changes, 56 Sepratrons turned out to be easy and I made orbit on my first two attempts. So what about 54 Sepratrons? After many more staging changes, learning how to manage the upper stages a bit better and a few hundred attempts ...

This rocket is called 'Dreaming'.

54 Sepratrons
72 parts
4.25 tons
14 stages

 

Edited by mystifeid
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