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Duna Ion SSTO


The Blazer
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I wanted to build some sort of Duna Science unmanned space plane, to visit multiple biomes on Duna and send data back to Kerbin. I think a small Ion powered plane makes sense, but I’m not sure. 

Do you guys have any tips, suggestions? Has anyone ever tried this? 

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Yes. it works very well.

Use a LOT of wing, and put some small retractable landing gear out on the wingtips to take impacts--You will be landing at high speed, and bouncing over quite a few dunes as you brake to a stop.

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3 minutes ago, FleshJeb said:

Yes. it works very well.

Use a LOT of wing, and put some small retractable landing gear out on the wingtips to take impacts--You will be landing at high speed, and bouncing over quite a few dunes as you brake to a stop.

Thank you! I’ll try for myself.

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12 minutes ago, The Blazer said:

What kind of power source should I use? Solar panels on the wings? 

Yes, although they're about 1/2 as effective on Duna. It's not going to be efficient to bring enough power to keep the engine firing continuously, so bring a lot of batteries--They're very energy dense. This will allow you to timewarp to charge while landed and have enough power to hop between biomes, or return to orbit. You may also want to bring a single RTG for some nighttime charging (although they're heavy).

Being a nerd, I'd plug all my options into a spreadsheet to figure out the most mass-efficient package, but if you just want a rough estimate, a single RTG, two big static panels on the wings and 3000-5000 electrical units worth of batteries should get you around OK.

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11 hours ago, FleshJeb said:

Yes, although they're about 1/2 as effective on Duna. It's not going to be efficient to bring enough power to keep the engine firing continuously, so bring a lot of batteries--They're very energy dense. This will allow you to timewarp to charge while landed and have enough power to hop between biomes, or return to orbit. You may also want to bring a single RTG for some nighttime charging (although they're heavy).

Being a nerd, I'd plug all my options into a spreadsheet to figure out the most mass-efficient package, but if you just want a rough estimate, a single RTG, two big static panels on the wings and 3000-5000 electrical units worth of batteries should get you around OK.

Thank you. I kinda made a combination of all three of them. Some solar panels, a couple of RTGS and a Fuel Cell Array. And a big battery too.

It almost works! The only problem is stability on the ground. Also, you were right: Ion engines work really good on Duna.

2 hours ago, Snark said:

@The Blazer Another option to consider, if you happen to have Breaking Ground, would be to use a rotorcraft.  Electric-powered propeller aircraft are doable on Duna.  Just, make sure you have a lot of wing.

Thanks. The only problem is that I don’t have Breaking Grounds. Just Making History. Also, I was thinking that electric propelled aircraft would work much better on Eve, cause the atmosphere is very thick.

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33 minutes ago, The Blazer said:

Thank you. I kinda made a combination of all three of them. Some solar panels, a couple of RTGS and a Fuel Cell Array. And a big battery too.

It almost works! The only problem is stability on the ground. Also, you were right: Ion engines work really good on Duna

Congrats! If you post a picture here, we might be able to help with the ground stability. I tend to go with diamond-shaped layouts for the gear in this situation--One each front and back, and one on each wingtip.

Electric propeller craft do work on Duna, and they take a lot less electricity than ions. Ions are super fun though, so enjoy yourself.

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5 hours ago, FleshJeb said:

Congrats! If you post a picture here, we might be able to help with the ground stability. I tend to go with diamond-shaped layouts for the gear in this situation--One each front and back, and one on each wingtip.

Electric propeller craft do work on Duna, and they take a lot less electricity than ions. Ions are super fun though, so enjoy yourself.

Yes, I’ll post the prototype here.

just give me a couple of hours, cause I’m nowhere near my PC at the moment.

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2 hours ago, The Blazer said:

Okay, so how do I upload a picture here? Am I forced to upload something via URL, or can I just choose a picture from my phone?

 

I’ll be honest i’ve been following this so I can see the SSTO and I ran into the same problem when I had an unstable F-15

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5 hours ago, The Blazer said:

Okay, so how do I upload a picture here? Am I forced to upload something via URL, or can I just choose a picture from my phone?

 

Something via URL.

Make sure to grad the link to the actual file  instead of something else. E.g.: https://i.imgur.com/h8sJO5o.jpg instead of https://imgur.com/h8sJO5o.

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6 hours ago, The wizard of me said:

I’ll be honest i’ve been following this so I can see the SSTO and I ran into the same problem when I had an unstable F-15

What do you mean you can see it? 

 

3 hours ago, Spricigo said:

Something via URL.

Make sure to grad the link to the actual file  instead of something else. E.g.: https://i.imgur.com/h8sJO5o.jpg instead of https://imgur.com/h8sJO5o.

Okay, thanks. I’ll try that tomorrow. To be honest, stability is not the problem anymore. I’ve had several working prototypes. They can fly in the atmosphere of Duna and even takeoff, but they run out of power before reaching orbit...

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