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Interstellar modification. New tutorial.

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"Interstellar" is a very heavy mod, I would say the heaviest and most realistic of all the mods that have ever existed in KSP. From a certain point of view, it turns KSP into the not yet released KSP2 in the spirit of the Atomic Rocket online magazine, popular among astronomers and astrophysicists, and allows you to create advanced spacecraft using 21st century experimental technologies and even distant speculative technologies like a “quantum reactor” with a black hole "
There are many details in fashion, many concepts and game mechanics, it is difficult for a beginner to understand what to do with all this, and this guide should help at least superficially.
To get started, go through the "packaging", and then go to the basics of game mechanics.
(!!!) I warn you right away - I do not speak English, and there may be inaccuracies in the translation.


Whatever you get confused, you need to note that now electricity is no longer (unit ЕС).
Instead, values are used in Watts (kW, MW, GW)
1 unit of electricity is equal to 1 kW
That is, 100 units of electricity is 100 kW
0.3 units of electricity - 300 watts
10000 units of electricity - 10 MW

To store so much greater supply of electricity, capacitors are now used that have a new resource - Megajoules (necessary for power supply) which are automatically convected from electricity.
But there are also advanced lithium batteries whose capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours.
Use from now on old batteries makes no sense. Just forget about them.
Well, we are starting

iHAL and Computer Core
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Two supercomputers with everything at their disposal to create a fully autonomous ship. IHAL is named after the IHAL9000 supercomputer from the movie "Space Odyssey" and will soon become your favorite for controlling small and medium spaceships.
For large ships, I recommend using the "Computer Core"
They have all flight instructions and have a built-in gyro.

Nuclear rocket engines
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The thermal energy of the reactor is used to heat the working fluid (hydrogen or atmospheric air) to create rocket thrust. Moreover, the higher the core temperature, the higher the specific impulse. With the exception of napimer nuclear engine Zubrin. He uses a terrifying and terrible nuclear reaction to create a radioactive torch giving traction.
Nuclear engines do not need electricity, but starting with the "liquid core" they need additional cooling with radiators.

Fusion Rocket Engine
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These engines use a fusion reaction to produce useful products (heat, plasma, or charged particles), which will then be used to create highly efficient rocket engines. External sources of electricity are needed to support the fusion reaction. Also in the process heat is generated, which must be removed by radiators.

Electric rocket engines
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They use a large amount of electricity and a working fluid (Hydrogen, Argon, Cesium, Sodium, Xenon) to create reactive traction.

Nuclear Reactor
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Nuclear reactors use a nuclear reaction to produce thermal power that can be converted into electricity using a thermoelectric generator or into traction using a thermal nozzle. However, some reactors produce both plasma (gas core) and charged particles (dusty plasma) and they require appropriate suitable equipment to use their fission products.

Fusion Reactor
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The synthesis reactor uses the synthesis reaction to produce heat, plasma, and charged particles. By attaching the appropriate nozzles (thermal, plasma or magnetic), you can get a highly efficient rocket engine. Or use a fusion reactor with a compatible generator to generate electricity.
However, fusion reactors need an external power source to support fusion reactions. This may be, for example, a molten salt nuclear reactor.

Antimatter Reactor
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Just power. However, they require antimatter and more radiators to work. Antimatter reactors can be used to produce more electricity or to create highly efficient traction using a compatible nozzle.

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Nozzles do not work on their own. They need a reactor (or thermal receiver for a heat nozzle) to create traction.
Connect them directly to a compatible reactor.

Electric generators
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Electric generators as well as nozzles do not work on their own. Connect them directly to the reactor (or thermal receiver for thermoelectric generator) to generate electricity.

Microwave transmitters
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Use "megajoules" to create microwave rays in different ranges over distances.

Microwave thermal receivers
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They receive microwave radiation from microwave transmitters due to which they receive thermal power which can be converted into electricity using a thermoelectric generator.

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Use "megajoules" to create a laser in different ranges.

Fuel Tanks 
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Everything should be clear here - they are used to store various substances. In general, there are 3 states of aggregation in the game:
- Liquid (liquid hydrogen, liquid nitrogen, liquid ammonia)
- Gas (compressed air, carbon monoxide)
- Solids (ore, sodium, cesium, uranium, thorium)
Resources such as "anti-matter", "solar wind" and other particles are stored in a special storage.

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Titanium or graphene - is used to remove heat, which is actively generated by nuclear reactors and engines

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ISRU - used for the collection and processing of initial substances into fuel and other useful products.
This is a very complex process, but when used correctly it gives HUGE opportunities that you could only dream of.

Parts that cannot be classified will be briefly reviewed separately.

Diode Laser Array 
Uses megajoules to create a laser beam.
Used in some laser transmitters in which there is no built-in laser generator.


Uses megajoules to create microwave radiation. It is used for some microwave transmitters in which there is no built-in gyrotron.

Magnetic Scoop

Used to collect substances from the atmosphere, radiation belts and interstellar space. A component of the Bassard interstellar ramjet engine.
It requires an insane amount of radiators and a lot of electricity to work.

New chemical engines
They are not forgotten, without them in any way. Interstellar adds completely new and powerful chemical rocket engines using the most advanced technology.
What about hybrid chemical engines running on Aluminum + oxygen and additional additives? they can not be called solid fuel - these 3 engines have the quality of both solid fuel and liquid rocket engines. There are no difficulties in their exploitation, just read the descriptions.
Use them, they are very powerful.

Deinonych 1st and Rutherford
A pair of new advanced liquid engines. The peculiarity is that ... they can use the kerosene-oxygen and hydrogen-oxygen fuel pair and a completely new combination of hydrogen + oxygen + beryllium, that is, it is a three-component liquid rocket engine, the specific impulse of which reaches 540 due to the addition metallic beryllium.

All about generators, reactors and how to get electricity.
Reactors (nuclear, fusion and antimatter) are used to produce useful products of which there are only 3 types:

- Thermal power
- Plasma
- Charged particles

Depending on the need, these products can be converted into electricity using a special electric generator or into highly efficient rocket trust a special nozzle.
In contrast, there are 3 type generators for generating electricity from useful products produced by the reactor:

Thermal Power Generator 
Thermal power = electricity

Magnetohydrodynamic Electric Generator (MHD)
Plasma = Electricity

Charged Partlcle Direct Power Converter
Charged Particles = Electricity

We will use Molten Salt Reactor as an example.
This menu in the parts catalog shows basic information about the reactor (we are only interested in compatibility)
Blue highlighted compatibility with a specific nozzle for rocket thrust.
Red highlighted compatibility with a specific generator to obtain electrical energy.
V - compatible
X is incompatible
(in some reactors there is V 50% ((or any other percentage)), this means partial compatibility, that is, it will work, but with a penalty of 50%)

In this case, it is clear that the molten salt reactor generates thermal energy and is compatible with the heat generator and the heat nozzle of the rocket.
We connect the reactor to a compatible generator
Next, we need to create a cooling system using radiators, otherwise the generator simply will not work. "KSP-I" - heat management assistance menu
Add radiators until we get a minimum of 10% efficiency at 100% load.
It took radiators ... a lot.
Now we go to test the stand and see that the generator is working properly and generates 192 MW of electricity (450 MW of thermal power of the reactor, 50% generator efficiency = 192 MW of electricity)

As you can see, the generator has a "Cold" and "Hot" bath. Under load, heat will be generated which reduces the efficiency of the Generator, which leads to a loss of power. For example, take the load in the form of a microwave gear. We see that the radiators are slightly reddened by heat, and the temperature of the cold bath increased from 312K to 789K, which led to a drop in power from 192 MW to 141 MW.
This is inevitable, but the throttling stiffness depends on the number of radiators and the quality of cooling.
Also, some reactors have a BUILT-in electric generator and cannot be used with an external electric generator to generate electricity or create rocket thrust using a special nozzle. Like Liquid Metal Cooled Reactor. Just attach enough radiators to it and you can produce electricity in one bottle
The disadvantage of such reactors with a built-in electric generator is that it cannot be used in any other way than the production of electricity.
From this list it is worth noting:

- Liquid Metal Cooled Reactor
- Tri Alpha Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor
- Muon Catalized Fusion Reactor

Please, do not try, do not try to connect any external generators or nozzles to them. All of them have a built-in electric generator and cannot be used for other purposes except for the production of electricity.
Reactor control
Select a reactor from the catalog (in this case, the Molten Salt Reactor demo) and see the sheet

Reactor control
Select a reactor from the catalog (in this case, the Molten Salt Reactor demo) and see the sheet
Swap Fuel - changes the nuclear fuel of the reactor to alternative (if such a function is possible). For example Uranium Tetrafluoride (UF4) on Thorium Tetrafluoride (ThF4)
The choice of nuclear fuel determines the power of the reactor as well as the duration of the operation. So, with a load of 13.5%, the reactor on Uranus will work for 40 years and will give out 178 MW of power, while on Torii with the same 13.5% load it will work for 27 years but will give out 246 MW of power.
Switch Mode - changes the MODE of the reactor (if such a function is possible). In this case, it is "Uranium Floride" which can be changed to "Uranium Burnup" as more economical, as a result of a drop in power.

Reactors also produce waste, and in this case: Helium, Xenon, Antinoids and Tritium.
Helium, Xenon and Tritium are gases that can be extracted and used for other purposes.
Actinides are harmful, and their accumulation will cause poisoning of the reactor and a drop in power.

Fusion spaceship. An example of construction.
1. The basis is the Tokamak version 1.875 with a capacity of 46 MW. In Next Fusion Mode, you can choose the reactor operating mode, I chose “Cold Deuterium-Deuterium”, which produces a lot of bad neutrons, but we don’t care.
Directly connect the thermal nozzle to Tokamak (I will choose it, you can choose a plasma nozzle, although the result will be different)
We add radiators, condensers, a tank with hydrogen and a small (2 MW) nuclear reactor supplying Tokamak.
As you can see, the system gives a thrust of 0.08 kN with a specific impulse of 7000.
Little rocket thrust? What do you want from the most realistic mod? everything works as it should.

Wireless power transmission, microwave
First you need to build a generator station that will transmit microwaves.
To do this, you need to connect the transmitter (directly !!!) to the microwave generator, and the gyrotron itself to a pair of generator-reactor for power.
Many transmitters have their own built-in microwave generator.
This simplifies the design, for example:
It remains only to "go out" and press the button "activate transmission"
Transmission began in the Ka-band. Now you need to build a receiver object.
Here, the thermoelectric generator should not be connected to the reactor, but to the heat receiver, which is heated by the microwave rays transmitted by our station.
Go to the streets” and press the “activate receiver” button
The receiver is warm. The generator generates up to 3 GW of electricity.
For operation, the receiver must be in the visibility range of the transmitting station. The atmosphere can also block some types of microwave rays.

Lasers and laser nozzle
KSP-I allows the use of lasers for the movement of solar sails and a special, but very powerful rocket engine - an ablation laser nozzle.
First you need to build a laser station according to this scheme:

The laser transmitter must be DIRECTLY connected to the diode laser array.
Some lasers have an integrated diode laser array, but in our case, the DT-L-IR-1 does not have that luxury.
We go outside and press the button "Activate transmitter". Working laser.
Now you need to build a receiver with an ablation laser nozzle.
Everything is simple, just connect the ablation laser nozzle to the rocket and go to the launch pad.
The main thing with ordinary accelerators is to gain a little height so that the rocket is in the field of view of our laser, which is now at the airport.
Everything must be done in strict order.
Otherwise, instead of a working engine, you will get a blast.

Step 1: After climbing, first activate the receiver.
Step 2: Increase the power of the engine not yet turned on by 5-10%
Step 3: Turn on the engine.
Now adjust the power according to the situation.
The laser heats the surface of the engine thereby creating rocket thrust.

Nuclear Aircraft and "TORY".
TORY is a direct-flow nuclear engine in which air is used as fuel, which passes through the reactor and is heated.
With it, you can create an atomic plane that will fly for a very long time.
Take for example this ready-made airliner.
We are modifying it
TORY is a direct-flow jet engine and to start creating traction it needs to be dispersed using conventional engines.
Such a cargo nuclear plane can even make jumps into space.

For those who understand at least a little chemistry, this section will not be so difficult.

First, consider the Refrigerator

The refrigerator allows you to change the state of aggregation of substances (turn liquid into gas and vice versa)
In fact, this is a mandatory element for ALL ISRU stations. It is also a required component for a magnetic scoop).
To liquefy (or vice versa) substances, you need to move the slider in the right direction.
By default, you have "compressed air", outside the assembly shop, just click the "discharge" button to set the desired tank with the desired substance)
If you want to start collecting atmosphere you need to go to the menu.
Please note that operation requires 20 MW of electricity.
In addition, Cryobak, for example, already has a built-in refrigerator that allows you to easily change the state of aggregation of a substance (just remember to attach a gas cylinder with the same substance)

ISRU Processor
It allows you to process fossil resources extracted with the help of a drill (I think you yourself will figure out how to use a drill, you just took as many storage facilities for fossils as possible, lower the drill and start mining)
ISRU Processor offers us processing capabilities (read the descriptions in the game what’s what). To start, just click the "Start" button above the desired process.
The ISRU Processor menu allows you to start ocean extraction, regolith processing, and the oxidation of methane to carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

ISRU Converter 

ISRU Converter is a real chemical plant according to its capabilities. It can produce fresh nuclear fuel for the Molten Salit Reactor thanks to the possibility of producing Uranium and Thorium Tetrafluoride. ISRU Converter also offers methods for producing: hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, hydrazine, water gas, methane and nuclear fuel reprocessing.
Please note that methane produced for example will be in gaseous form. You will have to liquefy it yourself using a refrigerator

ISRU Electrolyzer 
Allows to destroy some substances. The main function, of course, is the electrolysis of water for the production of oxygen and hydrogen. But, as you can see, there is the possibility of electrolysis and heavy water to produce deuterium, respectively.

For mining, I recommend using the "green universal drill"
To collect the atmosphere

How to get Liquid Hydrogen and Oxygen from water?
You'll need:

- ISRU Refrigerator
- Universal drill
- ISRU Electrolyzer with water tank
- 2 tanks with Hydrogen (one with liquid, the second with H2 gas)
- 2 tanks with Oxygen (one with liquid, the second with O2 gas)
1. First you need to get "water" using a drill, for example from the pole crater of the moon.
2. Use your refrigerator to convert “water” to “liquid water”
3. Start the process "water electrolysis" in the menu "ISRU electrolyzer"
4. Now your gas cylinders will begin to fill with H2 and O2. Use the refrigerator a second time to liquefy Hydrogen and Oxygen to a liquid.

Having figured out how this process works, you can synthesize other substances.

I will repeat again - "Interstellar" is a very heavy mod. Therefore, nothing prevents to look into the official topic of assistance. Which was created by the developer of the mod. There you will find additional information as well as other people's guides and you can always ask a question.

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2 hours ago, FreeThinker said:

Nice, but many of the older images are still in russian. :rolleyes:


This is a side effect due to the Russian client of the game.

1 hour ago, JcoolTheShipbuilder said:

what about how to use the EM and the mach effect drive?

I did not delve into these speculative engines. Most likely they need simple electricity to work generated using a reactor.

Edited by OOM
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On 7/5/2020 at 5:02 PM, Mandella said:

Very nice to see a more up to date tutorial for Interstellar, but no images before 

Fusion spaceship. An example of construction.

are loading for me.

I also really appreciate this tutorial! Unfortunately the images are not loading.

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