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I don't know why the KSP version of the SSME is so powerful but inefficienct in the vacuum. Are they planning for something else back then? Personally, I wish they can make a 60% thrust nerf with a 400+ ISP in vacuum.

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The KS-25 engine primary purpose is to support essentially "asymmetric first-stage to orbit systems" via its massive gimbal, atmosphere performance and high thrust. 

The KS-25 is one of the few parts that is essentially designed around a specific build, which is a STS stack "replica", with 3 of these engines and 2 S2-33 SRBs. Nerfing the engine's thrust would mean such a setup's thrust drops significantly, forcing you to engineer around the systems lack of thrust beyond the SRBs. Right now such a stack is very forgiving, due to the gimbal on the engines, giving you a lot of leeway on where to put the center of mass, nerfing the engines thrust also means you will have a tougher time flying this thing. Currently, my STS builds can take up a full orange-tank as a payload without much fuss, this wouldn't be possible with a anything near a 60% reduction of thrust on the main engines. 

Buffing them to 400+ ISP would make these engines the most efficient vacuum engines in the game by a massive margin. Not only do they provide high thrust+high gimbal, but they would have the highest ISP in the game besides nuclear engines. 

It might be more accurate if the engine's performance was modeled more directly after the real life RS-25 engine's performance, but doing such wouldn't fit the game very well. 

Edited by MKI
grammars
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23 hours ago, Hatsune said:

I don't know why the KSP version of the SSME is so powerful but inefficienct in the vacuum. Are they planning for something else back then? Personally, I wish they can make a 60% thrust nerf with a 400+ ISP in vacuum.

The issue is fairly simple: stock KSP is not real life.

There are massive differences in deltaV requirements for orbit, but in real life, high specific impulses like those that you mentioned are achieved by using Liquid Hydrogen, which allows very high exhaust velocities, and thus greater efficiency.

KSP does not have different liquid fuels, and everything is shuffled under the "liquid fuel" label.

If you want a semi accurate fuel experience, check out the CryoEngines mod. It converts the stock KS25 to use LH2, along with adding some really cool (haha, get it?) engines.

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1 hour ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

KSP does not have different liquid fuels, and everything is shuffled under the "liquid fuel" label.

KSP 2
He3 h2 tritum

kerbin is 10x smaller @Hatsune

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