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Creating a tanker that can haul 5 Jumbo 64 tanks


Misguided Kerbal
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Short Story: I need to make a (preferably reusable) vehicle that can haul 4.5 Rockomax Jumbo-64 tanks worth of liquid fuel up to a 100 KM orbit, plus have margin to spare for rendezvous and docking. 

 

Long Story: I'm creating a system based around space tugs called ANTS (Advanced Nuclear Tug/Transfer Stage). In theory, a fleet of ANTS would service the Kerbin system by making back and forth transit between Kerbin and its moons relatively easy. The ANTS (solely powered by liquid fuel) would dock to a station in LKO, refuel, send it's payload off, then head back to LKO and then repeat the process over and over again. In practice, however, that requires a tanker vehicle capable of refueling an orbital station.

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The KOFD (Kerbin Orbiting Fuel Depot) can store 4.5 orange tanks worth of fuel, give or take. Attached to the bottom truss is one of the ANTS vehicles. The ANTS's sole fuel source is a Jumbo-64 tank, and in theory there would be 4 in active service at a time. Since the nose cones can hold fuel, that means that it has enough to refuel 4 empty ANTS vehicles at once, with about half a tank worth to spare. Since I'm using a handy patch provided by Kerbal atomics, each tank is modified solely for liquid fuel, therefore storing about 6400 units worth in each tank. The ideal tanker would be reusable, easily recoverable, and easily launchable.

 

Any help and suggestions would help me greatly, as I really look forward to using the ANTS system soon!

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no need for all those exotic options. A few mammoths will do the trick just nicely.

In fact, just eyeballing it, I think an asparagus stack of 5 S4-512 tanks and 5 mammoths should be fully capable going SSTO with your tank, with spare fuel. and since they are going SSTO, you can deorbit them and recover them (put parachutes, of course), so the cost is minimal. and it won't require any mod

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14 hours ago, Misguided Kerbal said:

I'll be refueling the depot often, so a simple solution would be preferred.

How about some mission automation mod like Routine Mission Manager, KSTS or Davin Fuel Supply?

I mean, given that you are playing in sandbox, you may even use [set orbit] from the debug menu and call it an automatically deployed craft. 

 

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1 minute ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

If there is no fund limit, I would go with a cryogenic cluster 7.5m first stage (with SRBs of course) and a nuclear aero spike from KA as the second stage, and a CE vacuum cluster. 

While that is always an option (I play in sandbox), I would prefer a reusable option and one that isn't too big (<5m).

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Just now, Spaceman.Spiff said:

Slap a bunch of FFT NSWRs on a stage :P?

Thats kinda cheaty, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t work   

Hmmm... FFT NSWRS are not available to me as of yet, I'm on 1.9.1. 

 

1 minute ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

Or do a clustered cryo first stage and boosters and use FMRS to land and recover them.

I haven't used FMRS yet. That does seem like a rather overcomplicated solution though. I'll be refueling the depot often, so a simple solution would be preferred.

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1 minute ago, Misguided Kerbal said:

simple solution would be preferred

Hmmmm..... That’s tough. 
Do you have Mk33? I’ve found that the linear aerospike is a great booster engine for clusters. 

Also what is the payload mass?

Off the top of my head I can’t remember what the mass of a full fueled J64 is

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3 minutes ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

Hmmmm..... That’s tough. 
Do you have Mk33? I’ve found that the linear aerospike is a great booster engine for clusters. 

I don't actually. The patch that changed the fuel tanks also breaks the spaceplane parts for some reason, making them only oxidizer instead of both lf and oxidizer.

3 minutes ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

Also what is the payload mass?

4.5 of them would make around 162 tons I believe. 

Edited by Misguided Kerbal
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6 minutes ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

I have thought of something. 
4 Deliverance(?) Nuclear Aerospikes. (Whichever one can use lf/o mix) 

upper stage is an emancipator NTR

May require a large first stage 5m/4x 3.75m symmetry, no decoupler)

I do want to try and stay away from those options. YOU KIDDING? SPEWING RADIATION INTO KERBIN'S ATMOSPHERE? AHHHHHH

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1 minute ago, Misguided Kerbal said:

I do want to try and stay away from those options. YOU KIDDING? SPEWING RADIATION INTO KERBIN'S ATMOSPHERE? AHHHHHH

It only spews superheated hydrogen! No big deal. All the deadly radiation stays INSIDE the aerospike. :P

the only thing spewing enriched uranium in the atmosphere is the UPPER stage, which is open cycle. :sticktongue:

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3 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

no need for all those exotic options. A few mammoths will do the trick just nicely.

In fact, just eyeballing it, I think an asparagus stack of 5 S4-512 tanks and 5 mammoths should be fully capable going SSTO with your tank, with spare fuel. and since they are going SSTO, you can deorbit them and recover them (put parachutes, of course), so the cost is minimal. and it won't require any mod

That's a good idea, since I already have a lifter using the mammoth engines. I could probably cluster the cores and call it a day.

10 minutes ago, Spricigo said:

How about some mission automation mod like Routine Mission Manager, KSTS or Davin Fuel Supply?

I mean, given that you are playing in sandbox, you may even use [set orbit] from the debug menu and call it an automatically deployed craft. 

 

That is an option, but I've never actually used those mods before now, and I don't feel like cheating is a good option. I will consider it, but I would prefer not to add any more mods to my install (10.6 GB as of current!)

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Just now, Misguided Kerbal said:

I don't feel like cheating is a good option.

Well, I just mentioned it as an option, you don't need to use it if you don't like the idea. However,  it is kind of a general consensus that it is only really cheating on your game if you decide so. 

 

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